Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 440069 times)

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[Cfamily]Learning to Say Hello Again
« Reply #768 on: January 10, 2018, 12:00:25 AM »

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Learning to Say Hello Again

A New Year's resolution that could make a big difference.

In his superb biography of Francis Schaeffer, An Authentic Life, Colin Duriez tells us that Schaeffer was known for his kindness. In Escape from Reason, Schaeffer recounts meeting a young man who attended one of his lectures. He lovingly describes him as having a “good-looking, sensitive face, long curly hair, sandals on his feet and ... wearing blue jeans.” Schaeffer greeted him the next day, provoking this response: “Sir, that was a beautiful greeting. Why do you greet me like that?” The great evangelist and apologist replied, “Because I know who you are—I know that you are made in the image of God.” He goes on: “We then had a tremendous conversation.”

Greetings matter. Jesus knew this:


And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? (Matt. 5:47)

Character is largely formed through manners, even by how we acknowledge the presence of others. Virtues and vices begin small and grow larger through habits. Virtues and vices may take over, making us a saint or a devil. Who, having read C. S. Lewis’s “The Weight of Glory,” could forget this?

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our ...

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US Adds Pakistan to List of Religious Freedom Violators in Belated Report

This year’s State Department rankings come six weeks after the new congressional deadline.

Two weeks ago, the US State Department released its list of countries of particular concern (CPC)—a compilation of nations that have “engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”

The list contains the same names as last year: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Pakistan was added to a “special watch list” of governments or entities that don’t meet the requirements for the CPC designation yet still “engage in or tolerated” severe religious freedom violations.

The CPC list was about six weeks late, frustrating some religious freedom watchers, including the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which is appointed by the federal government to make policy recommendations.

The State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom (IRF)—established nearly 20 years ago under the Clinton administration—is officially tasked with annual reports on the state of religious freedom around the world.

The office is responsible for passing along a list of CPCs to the president each year, who would determine if the religious freedom violations were egregious enough to merit sanctions against particular nations. Almost right away—in 1999—that responsibility of naming the CPCs was shifted to the secretary of state.

But it didn’t always get done. A list came out promptly in 1999 and 2000, but was running two months late by 2001 and missed 2002 entirely, in the wake of 9/11 and the early years of the Iraq war. There was a list in 2003 and 2004, and the first sanctions appeared in 2005. The spotty performances continued: A list was issued ...

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[Cfamily]The Gospel Life Podcast
« Reply #770 on: January 12, 2018, 12:00:23 AM »
The Gospel Life Podcast

Start each week with this encouragement to show and share the love of Jesus.

Persevering in Our Love of Others

Karen Swanson, director of the Institute for Prison Ministries of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, shares how we can persevere when living out the gospel in long-term rolls. What do we do when we don’t see the fruit of our labors or we are mocked for not quitting? What can keep us going? Karen shares how these situations can sometimes reflect the character of God, and open up doors we thought were shut forever.

Caring for the Lonely through Radical Hospitality

Michael Hakmin Lee, research fellow of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, helps us understand the significant problem of loneliness in our world today and how Christians can provide presence and care for many around them. What does the gospel say about the ‘loneliness epidemic’? How can radical hospitality deeply impact those who are lonely today? And how can these moments of connection lead to gospel conversations?

Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.

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[Cfamily]Moody Bible President and COO Both Resign, Provost Retires
« Reply #771 on: January 13, 2018, 12:00:18 AM »
Moody Bible President and COO Both Resign, Provost Retires

Board unanimously decides "it is time for a new season of leadership."

Amid “widespread concerns over the direction” of Moody Bible Institute (MBI), the historic Chicago school announced today that President J. Paul Nyquist and Chief Operating Officer Steve Mogck have resigned, while Provost Junias Venugopal has retired.

“Let there be no mistake that the Board of Trustees holds these three men in high regard for their ethical, moral, and spiritual leadership,” stated Randy Fairfax, chair of the board of trustees. “They are godly, honorable men to whom we entrust to the Lord and offer our deep gratitude for their years of faithful service to Christ and to Moody.

“However, we are unanimous in our decision that it is time for a new season of leadership. I ask that you be in prayer for them and their families.”

Nyquist took the helm of Moody in 2009, after serving as president and CEO of Avant Ministries, a church planting missions agency based in Kansas City, and pastoring churches in Iowa and Nebraska.

Mogck had served as COO and executive vice president since 2012. In recent years, he was involved in efforts to lease certain Moody properties and adjust zoning for campus buildings. Prior to Moody, he was an executive and attorney for Carlson Hotels.

The board has appointed Greg Thornton, senior vice president of media, as interim president, and board member Mark Wagner, former president of Walgreens, as interim COO. John Jelinek, vice president and seminary dean, is now interim provost.

The news was announced in an email sent to the Moody community Wednesday evening, following a special meeting of the board of trustees.

“Understandably, there are many questions at this time,” stated Fairfax. “Please know that we are working diligently through ...

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[Cfamily]Video-Driven, Multisite Church Planting in Rural North America
« Reply #772 on: January 14, 2018, 12:00:22 AM »
Video-Driven, Multisite Church Planting in Rural North America

Bringing big church opportunities to small communities

“Honestly, I think you’re crazy.”

That was the conversation stopper offered by a friend and colleague. We had gone to seminary together in the Dallas – Fort Worth metro area, served on staff at the same church, and now lived halfway across the country from each other in two different worlds.

Matt chose a more urban ministry setting in northern California, and I had returned home to the wheat fields of Kansas. Even before this conversation, he had been giving me a hard time about moving back to rural with several statements beginning with, “Why would you…?”

Driving through the redwoods area of northern California where Matt had asked me to speak, the conversation in the car was about an idea I was working on back in the heartland.

We had grown substantially in the four years I had been back in Kansas. We even started a second location across town (a full 3.5 minutes away) in an abandoned Big A auto parts store to deal with overflow issues from our little neighborhood church. And now we were considering taking our ministry to other communities, reaching smaller and more distant parts of our state.

It was part of a growing passion for reaching rural places.

I was born in a suburb of Los Angeles and went to seminary in the large Bible Belt Buckle City of Fort Worth, but my heart is where I was raised: in the middle of nowhere.

I love knowing what it means to sing “amber waves of grain.” I love the fact that traffic jams only happen around the co-op during harvest time. I love the reality that rural junior high kids singing “dated” songs like Shout to the North turn and face the right direction because they know North.

God has been more than faithful in the 15 years I’ve ...

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[Cfamily]Hiding the Full Truth from Kids Is Often Healthy
« Reply #773 on: January 15, 2018, 12:00:18 AM »
Hiding the Full Truth from Kids Is Often Healthy

As our children come of age, how do we talk about the brutal realities of a broken world?

We were driving home from preschool when my daughter Marilee—four years old at the time—asked, “Momma, are all Indians mean?”

I paused the audiobook version of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie and reminded myself that she’s just a kid asking an honest question. After inquiring about her perspective, I replied, “All people have kindness in their hearts, and all people have meanness in their hearts. But why do you ask if the Indians are mean?”

“Because they seem mean in the book,” she said.

My seven-year-old son, William, chimed in with a short synopsis of American history and western expansion, then wrinkled his forehead, and said, “Mom, it’s not fair if the government keeps making the Indians move. It seems really selfish.”

I nodded my head. “It was selfish, William.”

Our conversation underscored an uncomfortable truth: I cannot defend the decision—by Pa Ingalls or anyone else, including our own distant relatives—to settle the East and then push west at the cost of decimating native peoples. I also don’t want to pretend that these stories we have grown to love portray a pure or unadulterated past.

When I first realized that these stories could perpetuate a myth of white American conquest, I considered leaving them behind. Instead, they have become a way to enter into our history—the glory and the shame of it, the complicated, messy, ugly, selfish, and sometimes beautiful humanity of it all.

For kids’ sake, adults often curate the details of the past—whether it’s the history of white settlers and Native Americans, the facts about slavery and race relations, narratives from the Bible, ...

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[Cfamily]It Doesn’t Get Any More Personal
« Reply #774 on: January 16, 2018, 12:00:18 AM »
It Doesn’t Get Any More Personal

Why evangelicals give pride of place to penal substitutionary understandings of the Cross.

I was sitting outside the library at the University of California at Santa Cruz when two other students walked by complaining about Christian faith in the crucifixion of Jesus. As a young Christian with an interest in working with my cohorts to evangelize the campus, I turned my head to hear more. I don’t remember much of what they said except the exclamation of one of the women: “Dying on a cross—it’s just so disgusting.”

To this day I think this young woman grasped better than many Christians the horrific nature of Jesus’ death. We sometimes try to drive this point home by comparing the cross to death by electrocution, wondering if we’d wear necklaces or sport T-shirts with electric chair symbols. But as gruesome as electrocution is, crucifixion is far worse—a long, drawn-out affair, sometimes preceded by bloody scourging, with hands and feet pierced with thick nails, the entire weight of the body suspended at three agonizing points. After hours of agony, you slowly suffocated when your legs could no longer support you and your lungs were smothered with the weight of your body. All this etched in blood dripping mercilessly from head and hands and feet.

This young woman had it right. A bloody and violent event stands at the very center of our faith. And it’s not just the event, but its meaning, especially as evangelical Christians see it, that prompts many to recoil in disgust. Evangelicals more than most are deeply moved by the notion that Christ died for us on a cross, that he was a substitute who suffered in our stead, that he endured a punishment we deserved.

This idea—summarily called the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement—has fallen from grace ...

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[Cfamily]The Religious Conflict at the Heart of Our Culture Wars
« Reply #775 on: January 17, 2018, 12:00:30 AM »
The Religious Conflict at the Heart of Our Culture Wars

How theological differences over sex have fueled some of the bitterest political fights of the past century and more.

If we want to understand the challenge of disintegrating sexual norms and the culture wars surrounding them, one of the most important things we need is history. This crisis did not just explode out of nowhere in the 1990s or even the 1960s. In Moral Combat, R. Marie Griffith, director of the John C. Danforth Center for Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis, reviews a century’s worth of American cultural conflict over sexuality, fueled by a growing divide between religious subcultures. Her account is subtly biased, but readers will benefit from her clear presentation of the longer history and larger significance of our sexual conflicts.

Griffith picks up the story in the aftermath of the conflict over the 19th Amendment. With women’s suffrage enshrined in the Constitution, the nation had hardly caught its breath before it was embroiled in a series of political conflicts over sexuality. Suffrage was followed by a series of what we would now call “culture wars” over birth control laws, censorship of pornography, marriage across ethnic lines, Alfred Kinsey’s sex research, and sex education in schools. These led straight into the battles over abortion, sexual harassment, gay rights, and transgenderism that are still raging today.

The first and most important takeaway from Moral Combat, then, is that the culture wars are at least a century old. Since the women’s suffrage movement began, there has never been a time when political conflict over sex was not an important presence in American public life.

The second takeaway is the centrality of sex to the culture wars. Other issues have been involved, of course. But there is a reason the controversy over abortion shot right to ...

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