Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 439448 times)

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[Cfamily]How Can We Overcome Our Fear of Evangelism?
« Reply #976 on: August 11, 2018, 01:00:15 AM »

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How Can We Overcome Our Fear of Evangelism?

Confidence in evangelism begins in the love of God.

A short while ago I was talking with a student about the fact that so few people in North America actually engage in sharing the gospel with others. I asked her why she thought this might be so.

There was no hidden agenda behind my question; I was genuinely curious. What is it that keeps believers from telling non-believers that they are loved by God and that their sins are forgiven in Christ?

This student replied, “I think we are afraid of what people might think of us.” In that moment a light went on for me.

I do believe we should be concerned of what people think of us to the degree that we will avoid being obnoxious while sharing the gospel. We should do the work the Holy Spirit prompts us to do, and do it with all the fruits of the Spirit on full display: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

But when this student said she thought we are afraid of what people might think of us, it dawned on me that if I am more concerned of what people think of me than what God, who loves me, thinks of me, then I’m struggling with some form of idolatry.

The love of God as a counter to idolatry

The Scriptures say that “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). I suppose a corollary could be drawn from this that “imperfect love breeds anxiety.” If I am looking to anyone other than God as a primary source of love, then I am setting myself up to be afraid and insecure, especially when it comes to sharing the gospel.

Human love is great as far as it goes, but if we consider the weakness of our own love towards others, it becomes easy to imagine that human love, as good as it is, cannot do for us what only God’s love can.

C. S. Lewis once wrote an ...

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[Cfamily]‘Christopher Robin’ Is Childhood Revisited ... and Resold
« Reply #977 on: August 12, 2018, 01:00:11 AM »
‘Christopher Robin’ Is Childhood Revisited ... and Resold

The keepers of our nostalgia want to peddle it to us again and again.

In most lexicons, nostalgia means either a wistful longing for the past or products and artifacts that invoke that feeling. Contemporary film is glutted with nostalgia. Sequels and franchise films parlay the profits banked by their predecessors, often reducing beloved narratives to familiar slogans and cookie-cutter plot formulas. To date, eight of the 10 highest-grossing films of 2018 are either sequels or franchise films. Only A Quiet Place and Ready Player One are new cinematic stories, and the latter, while wildly entertaining, is based on a novel of the same name and relies almost completely on affection for the games and films of a previous era.

It’s especially important for Christians to be aware of the nostalgia craze and to distinguish between nostalgia and memory, as nostalgia can be a particular temptation for us. The NIV translation of the Bible uses some form of the word remember more than 200 times. In his epistles, Paul often urges readers to remember the past events and relationships, both as an encouragement and a caution (Eph. 2:12; 1 Thess. 1:3). But it is equally important to note that the Christian exercise of memory includes the acknowledgment of past pain and suffering. Good memories should be an encouragement in the face of current trials, not a psychological escape from them. In stark contrast, the etymology of nostalgia roughly translates as “homesickness”; the nostalgic person does not simply remember the past or take strength from it, he or she longs to return to it as deeply as an exile longs to return home. That backward-looking focus can be paralyzing and counterproductive, and it is the antithesis of learning to be content “in any and every situation” (Phil. 4:12). ...

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[Cfamily]Rwanda Restricts Fasting as 8,000 Churches Closed
« Reply #978 on: August 13, 2018, 01:00:15 AM »
Rwanda Restricts Fasting as 8,000 Churches Closed

New law requires pastors to obtain theology degrees and forbids urging lengthy fasts.

About 8,000 official and unofficial churches, as well as 100 mosques, have been closed in Rwanda for failing to comply with health, safety, and noise regulations. This includes 4 in 10 congregations belonging to a nationwide association of 3,300 Pentecostal churches.

And authorities indicate such shutting down of houses of worship in the East African nation will continue until congregations meet the strict requirements of a new law adopted by Rwanda’s parliament on July 27.

The latest requirement: Pastors must now have a degree in theological education from an accredited school. The law also prohibits church leaders from urging their followers to fast for lengthy periods—like Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness—in order to better secure God’s blessing; authorities claim this is a form of starvation.

Many churchgoers look at the new law as a form of harassment and restriction on freedom of worship. But many also fear to speak out, saying it’s a directive from the government and Christians should not oppose authorities.

The law also requires churches and “prayer houses”—unofficial places where Christians gather to pray and worship—to explain their sources of funding, while donations received must be kept on a known bank account.

Lawmakers even debated imposing limits on how much churchgoers could tithe to their church, given the numerous complaints about pastors who collect money from impoverished worshipers while living luxurious lives. The Council of Protestant Churches in Rwanda even “declared war” on such “bad pastors” last year.

Robert Kayitare, a businessman who attends St. Peter’s Anglican church in Kigali’s Remera neighborhood, believes ...

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[Cfamily]Willow Creek Elders and Pastor Heather Larson Resign over Bill Hybels
« Reply #979 on: August 14, 2018, 01:00:16 AM »
Willow Creek Elders and Pastor Heather Larson Resign over Bill Hybels

Church leaders apologize to Nancy Ortberg, Nancy Beach, Vonda Dyer, and other women with accusations: “We have no reason not to believe you.”

In the summer of 2008, Bill Hybels stood in front of thousands of pastors and other church leaders gathered at Willow Creek Community Church and admitted his megachurch had failed.

“We made a mistake,” he told the crowd gathered for the 2008 Global Leadership Summit (GLS). A detailed Willow study had found that the church had helped many people find new faith in Jesus, but had failed to teach them how to practice the spiritual disciplines needed to grow their faith.

He vowed the megachurch would do be better in the future.

Ten years later, Willow Creek’s leaders confessed even more mistakes. On the eve of the 2018 GLS, they admitted in a special congregational meeting that church leaders had failed to appropriately handle recent allegations of sexual misconduct against their founding pastor.

Lead pastor Heather Larson announced that she was resigning immediately. The church’s elder board announced that its members would also step down in an orderly fashion by the end of 2018.

Steve Carter, the church’s lead teaching pastor, had already resigned on Sunday, saying he could no longer continue at the church in “good conscience.”

At tonight’s Willow family meeting, elder Missy Rasmussen said she and other church leaders had been blinded by their faith in their founding pastor and had failed to hold Hybels accountable.

“We trusted Bill, and this clouded our judgment,” she said.

That blindness, Rasmussen said, led to a number of missteps, including a rushed investigation when allegations that Hybels had had an affair first surfaced in 2014. Church leaders did not move quickly enough to secure his’ devices or other forms of communication, she said. When the woman who made ...

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[Cfamily]One-on-One with Karen Swallow Prior on ‘On Reading Well’
« Reply #980 on: August 15, 2018, 01:00:13 AM »
One-on-One with Karen Swallow Prior on ‘On Reading Well’

Reading good literature well is in itself a practice of virtue.

Ed: The subtitle of your book is “Finding the Good Life through Great Books.” What do you mean by “the good life”?

Karen: Some people think living “the good life” means having career or financial success, traveling the world, and owning lots of things. But in classical philosophy, going all the way back to Aristotle and through the founding of America, the pursuit of the good life, or as it is alternately translated, “happiness,” refers to having the freedom to fulfill our human purpose by excelling at the very things that make us human.

In other words, what makes for a good life is good character. And good character is manifested through the virtues.

Ed: How are these virtues defined?

Karen: Philosophers and the early church fathers put a lot of thought into identifying and examining these “excellencies,” or virtues, that cultivate good character. They include courage, prudence, humility, kindness, patience, diligence—all of which I cover in the book—and many, many more.

Aristotle defined a virtue as a mean between an excess and a deficiency. For example, to be excessively bold is to be rash; to be too lacking in boldness is to be cowardly; the mean between these two extremes constitutes the virtue of courage. Each virtue is a moderation between two extremes, and each virtue depends on all the others. For example, it takes prudence to determine how to avoid both cowardice and rashness in a given situation in order to exercise true courage. And while the origins of these ideas are in Greek philosophy, we find confirmation of them in biblical truth: Philippians 4:5 exhorts believers to let their “moderation be known to all,” as it is rendered in ...

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[Cfamily]Onward Christian Superheroes
« Reply #981 on: August 16, 2018, 01:00:15 AM »
Onward Christian Superheroes

Two of Netflix’s Marvel heroes arise out of their respective Christian cultures.

Blind lawyer Matthew Murdock (Charlie Cox) sits in the confession booth at a New York City Roman Catholic church describing his family history—that is, his and his boxer father’s violent natures, where they “let the devil in” and people get hurt. But instead of confessing past sins, Matt says, “I’m not seeking penance for what I’ve done. I’m asking forgiveness for what I’m about to do.”

Later that night, dressed in black and a ski mask completely covering his eyes, he attacks criminals engaged in human trafficking, the first of many bloody (though non-lethal) encounters to follow.

With Marvel Studio’s incredible box office success now having earned over $3 billion for 2018 alone for three films—Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Ant-Man and the Wasp—it might be possible to overlook the presence of more grounded superhero series in the same Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), on Netflix. Superhero mythologies tend toward outright fantasies, with often cosmic levels of power providing conflict for the stories (see Infinity War). But some of these Netflix series—in particular, Daredevil and Luke Cage—take a different path, getting their down-to-earth dilemmas and moral themes from another place: their protagonists’ faith backgrounds.

Just as Phil Vischer promised we’d never see a VeggieTales installment featuring Jesus as a vegetable—it would violate the essential conceit of the stories to feature the Son of God in an animated vegetable world—it’s hard to include Christian themes when a genre tends to work by displacing real-world conflict and psychology into fantastic scenarios featuring super soldiers, ...

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[Cfamily]Why Zika, and Other Viruses, Don’t Disprove God’s Goodness
« Reply #982 on: August 17, 2018, 01:00:15 AM »
Why Zika, and Other Viruses, Don’t Disprove God’s Goodness

A microbiologist reflects on the problem of evil in human diseases.

It’s been two years since Christian missionaries and aid workers in Zika-infested areas wrestled with whether to stay or go after the virus triggered an international public health emergency. Last week, the CDC released a new report indicating for the first time what happens as babies exposed to the Zika virus grow older—they may face problems when none presented at birth.

Seeing the most vulnerable in our society suffering so cruelly can raise questions about God’s goodness. Anjeanette “AJ” Roberts, a microbiologist and scholar at Reasons to Believe, began thinking about these issues in graduate school.

In the 30 years since, Roberts’s work at the National Institute of Health testing the SARS virus on older mice contributed to an understanding of the pathology of the disease and how it affects older humans. As a postdoctorate scholar at Yale University, Roberts worked on proof of concept vaccines that used the same vector now being used to manufacture the Ebola vaccine.

CT recently asked her to explain how her work affected her view of God and his creation.

What are viruses? Where do viruses come from?

The first virus was discovered in the late 1800s, and it was a virus that infected tobacco plants, the tobacco mosaic virus. The word virus basically referred to a poisonous entity.

Viruses aren’t really living. (Bacteria are actually living cells.) There’s a little bit of debate in the field about whether they’re alive or not, but living things can utilize nutrients for energy and produce waste. Viruses can’t do any of those things. All viruses share the characteristic that they cannot make more virus outside of a living cell.

Where did viruses originate? No one knows. ...

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[Cfamily]Why You Got Blocked: What’s Okay, and Not Okay, on Social Media
« Reply #983 on: August 18, 2018, 01:00:13 AM »
Why You Got Blocked: What’s Okay, and Not Okay, on Social Media

Social media is a place where we should first seek to be light and salt to a world that needs Jesus.

I don’t block a lot of people on Twitter.

But sometimes I do, and people ask me why.

First, I found Jonathan Merritt’s article on how he mutes some and not others to be helpful. Merritt explains,

“The biggest reason not to block is that it often makes matters worse by adding fuel to the fire. It gives the critic a reason to keep attacking you. They’ll tell all who will listen that you simply can’t take criticism, and you’ll end up looking like a petty child with your index fingers showed into your ear canal. And they will use it to perpetuate their own narrative of victimhood.”

Merritt hits a crucial point here: Some people see blocking as a vindication; that they bested you and as a result you fled the field of battle. While I have a combative instinct to not give in, we need to realize that these trolls will claim victory no matter what we do.

More importantly, I am hesitant to block because I remain committed to good and healthy dialogue. I have never blocked someone because he or she has disagreed with me. On the contrary, I find that on rare occasions my thinking can be sharpened and my blind spots uncovered by thoughtful responses from other viewpoints. This is one of the benefits of the medium and that continues to draw me back into conversation despite its flaws.

Social media is a place where, first, we seek to be light and salt to a world that needs Jesus, and second, where we are to allow others to share their own considerations as we ourselves speak into various events and conversations.

So, why do I block people?

To be honest, I actually don’t generally reply to that question on Twitter, because then the conversation becomes, “Well, prove that I did this or that…” ...

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Source: Why You Got Blocked: What’s Okay, and Not Okay, on Social Media

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