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[Cfamily]The Ultimate Billy Graham Playlist
« Reply #816 on: February 26, 2018, 12:00:28 AM »

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The Ultimate Billy Graham Playlist

How America’s pastor popped up in lyrics from Pat Boone to Johnny Cash to dc Talk.

Many musicians—from Johnny Cash to dc Talk to Pat Boone—considered Billy Graham an inspiration, often bringing him into their songs. For decades, Graham has made cameos in tunes across multiple genres, not just Christian music. (Here's a Spotify playlist with songs from this article.)

Fernando Ortega, one of Graham’s greatest admirers, wrote a song in 2011 called “Just As I Am” specifically for the evangelist. Ortega’s original tune shares the title with Graham’s favorite hymn—sung at most of his crusades—and includes the same famous chorus:

Just as I am

Without one plea

But that Your blood

Was shed for me

But Ortega’s version is written from Graham’s perspective. “Lyrically, I was trying to imagine what his prayer life must be like as he approached the end of his life,” Ortega wrote Wednesday on his Facebook page.

On Graham’s 94th birthday in 2012, Billy’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz invited Ortega to the Graham home in Montreat, North Carolina, to join a low-key celebration. Ortega recalled that after Anne led a Bible study, “we ate birthday cake and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Dr. Graham. Then he asked me to sing a solo for him. I leaned over and sang in his ear ‘Just As I Am.’”

Here is Ortega’s song. Listen for Graham’s voice in the bridge:

Randy Stonehill, one of the pioneers of Christian music, wrote a sweet-but-seldom-heard song called “Billy Frank”—Graham’s nickname as a boy. The last verse is especially poignant:

Now your flame is flickering as you are nearing home
And pretty soon you’ll stand in awe before God’s gleaming throne
I have no doubt ...

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Source: The Ultimate Billy Graham Playlist

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[Cfamily]Interview: What It Was Like to Be Billy Graham’s Pastor
« Reply #817 on: February 27, 2018, 12:00:23 AM »
Interview: What It Was Like to Be Billy Graham’s Pastor

Don Wilton, Graham’s spiritual confidant and preacher at his burial, said the evangelist never stopped striving for God.

Billy Graham has prayed for millions. Far fewer can say the famed preacher asked them to pray for him.

Don Wilton had the privilege of being the one Graham turned to for spiritual guidance, fellowship, and prayer in the final years and days of his life.

“He would ask me to pray that God the Spirit would fill him to the extent that he would be totally hidden behind the cross and people would only see Jesus,” said Wilton, who served as Graham’s personal pastor and met with him weekly for the past 15-plus years.

“His entire life was in pursuit that he would decrease so that Christ would increase.”

During his crusades, Graham often ended his messages by urging the audience to get connected with a local church. Once his days of touring the globe came to an end and he lived out the final decades of his life in his home near Asheville, North Carolina, the aging evangelist took his own advice. He tuned into sermon recordings and eventually became a member of Wilton’s congregation, First Baptist Church of Spartanburg, in 2008.

A South Africa-born preacher leading a major Southern Baptist congregation in South Carolina, 64-year-old Wilton is a fitting reflection of the global scope and Southern heritage of Graham’s own ministry.

Wilton joined the Graham family for a week of memorials to the late evangelist and will offer the message at his burial on Friday, March 2, preaching from Galatians 6:14—a passage Graham handpicked several weeks before.

“This is the verse he said he would have liked to use if he preached one more crusade,” he said. It reads (in the NIV): “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, ...

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Source: Interview: What It Was Like to Be Billy Graham’s Pastor

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[Cfamily]Jerusalem Christians Unite ... to Close Church of the Holy Sepulchre
« Reply #818 on: February 28, 2018, 12:00:28 AM »
Jerusalem Christians Unite ... to Close Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Against centuries of precedent, Holy City? authorities pursue? $186 million in church taxes.

Update (Feb. 27): Israel has suspended Jerusalem’s tax collection effort, so the famous church will reopen.

In an action not seen in more than a century, the leaders of Jerusalem’s churches closed the doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Sunday in a show of united protest. The dramatic decision comes in response to moves by Jerusalem authorities to begin collecting tens of millions of dollars in taxes from churches, as well as proposed legislation to confiscate church-owned land.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre—considered by many Christians to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, tomb and resurrection—is jointly managed by a cadre of Orthodox and Catholic churches. It is one of the most-visited sites in Israel, and its closure came as a sudden shock, especially with Easter celebrations approaching.

In a defiant statement released at the time of the closure, church leaders called the municipality’s new policy a “systematic campaign against the churches and the Christian community in the Holy Land,” according to The Jerusalem Post.

“Recently, this systematic and offensive campaign has reached an unprecedented level as the Jerusalem Municipality issued scandalous collection notices and orders of seizure of church assets, properties and bank accounts for alleged debts of punitive municipal taxes—a step that is contrary to the historic position of the churches within the Holy City of Jerusalem and their relationship with the civil authorities,” the church leaders stated. “These actions breach existing agreements and international obligations which guarantee the rights and the privileges of the churches, in what seems as an attempt to weaken the Christian ...

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[Cfamily]Unlike the Bible, ‘Living Biblically’ Plays It Safe
« Reply #819 on: March 01, 2018, 12:00:25 AM »
Unlike the Bible, ‘Living Biblically’ Plays It Safe

Despite the provocative concept, the CBS sitcom avoids offense as well as true humor.

Can a rabbi, a priest, and a TV writer known for edgy comedies like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia make a network sitcom about the Bible that everyone will want to watch?

That’s what CBS is betting with the new half-hour sitcom Living Biblically, which premieres tonight.

The show is based on A. J. Jacobs’s The Year of Living Biblically, the 2007 bestseller that journaled the author’s experiences interacting with religious communities and attempting to follow scriptural prescriptions in a modern-day context.

The book was a hit with Christians when it debuted more than a decade ago. Books & Culture reviewed the release, and Jacobs was interviewed multiple times in Christianity Today about how the experiment—which he called “an ethical makeover”—taught him about faith and showed him more of the evangelical world.

There was a little something for everyone in Jacobs’s endeavor: some Christians appreciated his interest in understanding and obeying the Bible, others applauded him for recognizing where legalism can fall flat, and nonbelievers saw him as calling out the seemingly ridiculous aspects of some Old Testament rules.

The creators of the Living Biblically TV adaptation wanted to keep religious viewers interested in their project too. Clearly Christians will go for shows like The Bible miniseries and movies like War Room, but will the “faith audience” get behind a program with a looser approach to Christian themes?

“If you’re not religious, [the fear is], ‘I’m going to be preached at. What is this doing on my TV?’ and if you are religious, it’s, ‘Oh, you’re going to make fun of me and my beliefs,’” Living ...

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[Cfamily]We Need to Read Stories of People Who Were Enslaved
« Reply #820 on: March 02, 2018, 12:00:31 AM »
We Need to Read Stories of People Who Were Enslaved

Six reasons why listening to these voices is worth your time.

One day, a friend and I were shopping after brunch. We paused to look at a work of art where a woman was walking down a street with the eyes of every person in the painting fixed on her—some smirking, some laughing, some lustful, some indifferent. My friend, a woman of color in the South, said, “That’s how I feel every day of my life.”

I realized in that moment that my friend’s experience of life was vastly different from mine even if we lived, worked, and walked in the exact same places. Her comment offered a small window into a parallel America that I had never experienced. But even though I listened, I did not have the context to grasp what she was telling me. Years later, I discovered that in order to move forward in understanding, I needed to look backward.

Whether you are building interracial friendships, have a passion for equality and standing in solidarity with African Americans, or are simply always looking for ways to continue to learn and to grow, here is a recommendation that has helped me: Read the narratives of people who were enslaved.

Frederick Douglass. Harriet Jacobs. Solomon Northup.

Compelling, thoughtful, and revealing, these narratives form the first distinctively black genre of literature in America, and they are well worth reading for six important reasons:

1. Hear It Firsthand

The United States has lost much of our interior history of slavery because many slave narratives were never written down or published. When abolitionists like William Wilberforce and his friends began their work, they realized that there was a dearth of accurate information about slavery. Thomas Clarkson was sent on a two-year investigation, the findings of which were used by anti-slavery preachers ...

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[Cfamily]How Evangelical Biblical Scholars Treat Scripture
« Reply #821 on: March 03, 2018, 12:00:30 AM »
How Evangelical Biblical Scholars Treat Scripture

We agree on the “divine inspiration, integrity, and authority of the Bible.” But there's much more to our hermeneutic.

Wheaton College hosted a colloquium on the book of Deuteronomy in 2015, and we recently published those papers as a book. As we put it together, we hit a problem that has come up in other contexts: Do we call the contributors evangelicals?

Continental Europeans (of which we had several) distinguish evangelisch, which means “Protestant,” from evangelical, which connotes hard-right fundamentalist. The latter may correlate with the way the North American media and politicos view “evangelicals,” but few, if any, at the table, are comfortable with that position—including the North Americans.

The contributors reflect a broad spectrum of theological and hermeneutical perspectives within evangelicalism, and all subscribe to the statement on Scripture that unites the fellows of the Institute for Biblical Research: belief in “the unique divine inspiration, integrity, and authority of the Bible.” But this statement is very general, neither declaring this to be a distinctly evangelical stance, nor prescribing or delimiting what sorts of hermeneutical approaches are deemed to fall within the label.

The search for a new label to replace evangelical is difficult. So we contented ourselves with describing our hermeneutic, rather than labeling it. Still, identifying the marks of a distinctly evangelical hermeneutic is precarious business, because few represent the paradigm described completely. However, we must begin somewhere.

First, evangelical biblical scholars treat the object of their study as Scripture, not merely as a literary artifact in a museum that may be dispassionately analyzed. Among other entailments, this means that we stand before the text with reverence and awe, and seek to draw from ...

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[Cfamily]Gandalf on the Quad
« Reply #822 on: March 05, 2018, 12:00:28 AM »
Gandalf on the Quad

What The Lord of the Rings can teach Christian leaders in higher education (and elsewhere).

I have the privilege of serving as an English professor at Houston Baptist University (HBU) under the inspired Christian leadership of Robert Sloan. As president of HBU, Sloan has made it his vision and his goal to conform all that we do and all that we are to the simple but profound confession: Jesus is Lord. The Lordship of Christ is not just a catchy slogan for us; it undergirds every facet of our teaching, scholarship, administration, student affairs, finances, and community life.

Wheaton College, located in a suburb of Chicago, is privileged to be led by a man who shares this integrated vision for Christian higher education: Philip Ryken, former senior pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. Ryken has brought to his presidency not only top-notch scholarship—he has a degree from Oxford and has written or edited over 40 books—but the heart of a pastor, the mind of a philosopher, and the soul of a poet. Like Sloan, Ryken views his calling as working on multiple levels: guide, intercessor, shepherd, encourager, advocate, judge, and leader.

But where can men like Sloan and Ryken find resources to equip them to fulfill such a multifaceted calling? Our age certainly has no lack of self-help and leadership books, but they are not enough. College president-as-CEO is not sufficient for one who would lead as a disciple of Christ and who would thus embody the messianic roles of prophet, priest, and king.

Prophetic Discernment and Priestly Presence

Serendipitously for Ryken, his university houses the Marion E. Wade Center, which boasts the best collection of C. S. Lewis’s letters and papers in the world and one of the best for Lewis’s friend and fellow Inkling, J. R. R. Tolkien. Though Ryken could ...

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[Cfamily]The Red Carpet Is No Longer a Refuge from Real-World Issues
« Reply #823 on: March 06, 2018, 12:00:35 AM »
The Red Carpet Is No Longer a Refuge from Real-World Issues

This Academy Awards season, celebrities and fans are looking for more from Hollywood, but even with more robust coverage, they may not always find it.

As the line between politics and entertainment becomes increasingly blurred, this Sunday’s Academy Awards will showcase issues like income inequality and sexual harassment alongside the biggest performers and movies of the year.

Organizers are hoping to keep the awards ceremony focused on filmmaking rather than politics, but celebrities are set on bringing their advocacy to the forefront, starting with the red carpet, a place that used to be a refuge for small talk about movies, fashion, and celebrity gossip.

Entertainment coverage has struggled to keep up with an era where celebrities endorse #MeToo and #TimesUp as openly as they do brand designers. For this season’s awards shows, The New York Times and New York magazine’s The Cut announced changes in their red carpet coverage and stopped “grading” looks out of respect for more serious topics raised at the events.

We’re seeing the beginnings of what could be a dramatic shift in how the media, and in return, society overall, approaches celebrity. Some of those moves come from the talent themselves, who are adjusting how they want to use their time on camera, one awards show at a time.

Actors and actresses wore black at the Golden Globes and white roses to the Grammys to symbolize their commitment to reform for women in their industry. It was a choice that uniquely spoke to the celebrity-industrial complex; suddenly, “What are you wearing?” became a chance for them to endorse a cause rather than a brand or label.

Plenty of us look to the entertainment industry, well, to be entertained. But even when the red carpet resembled a superficial fashion show, issues lurked underneath. Celebrities have always been more than their IMDB credits, ...

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Source: The Red Carpet Is No Longer a Refuge from Real-World Issues

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