Christian

Four Consistent Conversations We Must Have with Ourselves

By Shawn Lovejoy As it turns out, talking to ourselves may not be so crazy. Here’s a confession for you. I talk to myself. A lot. Yes, I do mean out loud. I have regular conversations with myself: at work, at home, in the car … everywhere! Sometimes my family overhears me and it solidifies their belief that I’m just a little bit crazy. Do you ever talk to yourself? Some experts say that the smartest people talk to themselves. If that is the case, I must be brilliant! How about you? As it turns out, talking to ourselves may not be so crazy. In fact, I would actually suggest that all of us need to have consistent conversations with ourselves regarding certain areas of our lives. As we prepare for the New Year, there are things we need to be thinking about and conversations we need to be having. Self-assessment, self-awareness, and repentance are all necessary in becoming who God wants us to be. Some of the most important conversations we can have are with ourselves. These conversations allow God to examine our hearts, motives, and actions. Here are four consistent conversations we need to have with ourselves: “Me” Conversations The most difficult person I will …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Christian

Christians Win Nepal's First Anti-Evangelism Case

By Vishal Arora – World Watch Monitor Court frees grief counselors charged under former Hindu kingdom’s new constitution. A court in Nepal has dropped a case against eight Christians, the first religious freedom dispute since the country’s new constitution was implemented last year. The seven men and one woman had been charged with proselytizing after giving out a pamphlet about Jesus in a Christian school while helping children through the trauma following the 2015 earthquake. Anything perceived as evangelism is outlawed under the new constitution. Five are staff of the Christian teacher-training program Teach Nepal, while two others are school principals. They were arrested in June, and the pastor of Charikot Christian Church, Shakti Pakhrin, was detained a few days later. Nepali Christian leaders have welcomed their acquittal. Barnabas Shrestha, chairman of Teach Nepal, says they were “invited by a pastor to do the counseling in the school.” While it is a Christian school, not all pupils are Christians. Shrestha denies the counselors were trying to convert children. The police making the arrests “wanted our people to say yes, they have preached the gospel… which is not true.” The freedom of Nepal’s Christians is increasingly under threat. Last week, according to one missionary, the government announced to leaders of Christian orphanages …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Christian

British Government Affirms Christmas at Work

By Kate Shellnutt New report details when workers’ faith expression is protected and when it can get them fired. British officials are encouraging the country to put Christ back in Christmas—even in their workplaces. “There are a lot of myths out there when it comes to dealing with religion at work. I want to put the record straight: It is OK to hold a party and send Christmas cards,” said David Isaac, chairman of the national Equality and Human Rights Commission. This week, Christians and politicians alike welcomed Isaac’s assurance following the growing prevalence of more generic terminology in public and office celebrations, such as “season’s greetings” and “Winterval.” “We have a very strong tradition in this country of religious tolerance and freedom of speech, and our Christian heritage is something we can all be proud of,” Prime Minister Theresa May responded. “We all want to ensure that people at work do feel able to speak about their faith and also feel able to speak quite freely about Christmas.” The equality commission also released Friday a new report on anti-discrimination law for British workplaces. The report assessed current government policies, finding mostly reasonable, balanced guidelines for religious expression in the workplace—though employers don’t …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Christian

Arrival’s Terrifying Vision of a Global “Unfriending”

By Jeffrey Overstreet Although caused by aliens, the breakdown in communication in Arrival feels all too familiar. Reader, I confess: I clicked “unfriend” last month. Several times. Understand, I wasn’t ending friendships. I was respecting them—by refusing to let Facebook’s limitations do them further harm. It troubled me to see conversations we might have enjoyed in person go so horribly awry on social media. And anyway, our heated arguments attracted other angry voices, voices that overwhelmed our debate with snark, hostility, bullying, even hatred. I had to shut things down. Nevertheless, I lose sleep at night over that “unfriending.” It feels like unforgiveness. It feels like despair. So Arrival, the new science-fiction feature from director Denis Villeneuve, kicked me where I already hurt. Arrival, based on Ted Chang’s novella The Story of Your Life, is the kind of mind-bending science fiction that cannot be discussed very thoroughly without revealing the movie’s huge surprises. But I promise to proceed with caution here, so that you can discover its challenging, rewarding, and—for some—confounding revelations for yourself. Louise (played by Amy Adams) is a linguist who previously worked for the US government. In a time of crisis, she is called upon to help translate strange messages from alien visitors. Twelve spaceships—they look …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Christian

A Journey as Old as Humanity Itself

By A. J. Swoboda What’s behind our timeless fascination with religious pilgrimage? Years ago, Thomas Friedman’s The Lexus and the Olive Tree contrasted two ways of being in the evolving Western world. One, epitomized by the “olive tree,” is rooted, in place, stable, stationary. The other, the “Lexus,” was the emerging vision of the modern individual: a life distinguished by movement, displacement, and “being on the road.” The first was being. The second was going. The Lexus, Friedman argued, was quickly replacing the olive tree. At the time I read Friedman’s book, I felt freed, the way you feel freed when someone puts into words what you hadn’t found yet. Friedman was describing the church I saw in America—olive-tree Christians were being replaced by Lexus Christians. Less and less, I was discovering, were people content simply being where they were, settling down, rooting themselves, and embracing mundane Christianity. Ours was becoming a church addicted to movement. Everything had to be radical. Why? We’ve grown bored of our freedom. Truth is, Christians are “pilgrims” (1 Pet. 2:11). This isn’t our home. We’re simply passing through. Thus the theme of James Harpur’s latest book, The Pilgrim’s Journey: A History of Pilgrimage in the Western World, a lucid and expansive study …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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The Bigger Story Behind Jen Hatmaker

By Kate Shellnutt The benefits and challenges of women’s ministry in the age of bestsellers, viral blog posts, and inspirational conferences. The most influential women’s leader at your church may be someone who has never stepped inside its sanctuary. It may be someone your pastor has never even heard of. “If you had to ask, ‘Who’s Jen Hatmaker?’ it’s time to be more directly invested in the spiritual nurture of half your church,” tweeted Jen Wilkin last month. The women’s ministry leader was responding to the wave of Christian reactions to news that LifeWay Christian Stores had stopped selling books by Hatmaker—one of the biggest writers and speakers among today’s generation of evangelical women—after she spoke out in support of same-sex marriage. Hatmaker’s popularity underscores how women’s ministry has transformed in the 21st century. Christian women increasingly look to nationally known figures for spiritual formation and inspiration—especially when they don’t see leaders who look like them stepping up in their own churches. While various evangelical subcultures may find different female teachers filling their social media feeds and Amazon recommendations (Austin-based Hatmaker seems especially popular among white women in the South and Midwest), the numbers show that the top names in women’s ministry rival or even …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Christian

The Bigger Story Behind Jen Hatmaker

By Kate Shellnutt The benefits and challenges of women’s ministry in the age of bestsellers, viral blog posts, and inspirational conferences. The most influential women’s leader at your church may be someone who has never stepped inside its sanctuary. It may be someone your pastor has never even heard of. “If you had to ask, ‘Who’s Jen Hatmaker?’ it’s time to be more directly invested in the spiritual nurture of half your church,” tweeted Jen Wilkin last month. The women’s ministry leader was responding to the wave of Christian reactions to news that LifeWay Christian Stores had stopped selling books by Hatmaker—one of the biggest writers and speakers among today’s generation of evangelical women—after she spoke out in support of same-sex marriage. Hatmaker’s popularity underscores how women’s ministry has transformed in the 21st century. Christian women increasingly look to nationally known figures for spiritual formation and inspiration—especially when they don’t see leaders who look like them stepping up in their own churches. While various evangelical subcultures may find different female teachers filling their social media feeds and Amazon recommendations (Austin-based Hatmaker seems especially popular among white women in the South and Midwest), the numbers show that the top names in women’s ministry rival or even …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Christian

The Bigger Story Behind Jen Hatmaker

By Kate Shellnutt The benefits and challenges of women’s ministry in the age of bestsellers, viral blog posts, and inspirational conferences. The most influential women’s leader at your church may be someone who has never stepped inside its sanctuary. It may be someone your pastor has never even heard of. “If you had to ask, ‘Who’s Jen Hatmaker?’ it’s time to be more directly invested in the spiritual nurture of half your church,” tweeted Jen Wilkin last month. The women’s ministry leader was responding to the wave of Christian reactions to news that LifeWay Christian Stores had stopped selling books by Hatmaker—one of the biggest writers and speakers among today’s generation of evangelical women—after she spoke out in support of same-sex marriage. Hatmaker’s popularity underscores how women’s ministry has transformed in the 21st century. Christian women increasingly look to nationally known figures for spiritual formation and inspiration—especially when they don’t see leaders who look like them stepping up in their own churches. While various evangelical subcultures may find different female teachers filling their social media feeds and Amazon recommendations (Austin-based Hatmaker seems especially popular among white women in the South and Midwest), the numbers show that the top names in women’s ministry rival or even …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Christian

Recommended Church Planting Books: New and Old

By Daniel Im “Read two old books for every new one.” Today, more than ever, we have an abundance of digital resources, webinars, training videos, and templates for church planting. However, as you might already know, not all resources are created equal. (That’s why Ed Stetzer and I created and lead NewChurches.com together—an online hub for church multiplication.) Having said that, there really is nothing that replaces a good book! I love what the great theologian J.I. Packer says about books, “Read two old books for every new one.” Or how about this quote from Francis Bacon, “Some books are to be tested, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” While less books on church planting are being published today than in years past, there is still a steady stream of new books coming out on a regular basis. The purpose of today’s article is not to create some sort of bestseller list or rank some church planting books higher than others, but rather to give you perspective on five new and five old church planting books you should be aware of. Five Old Church Planting Books Moore, Ralph. How to Multiply Your Church: The Most Effective Way to Grow. …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Christian

Recommended Church Planting Books: New and Old

By Daniel Im “Read two old books for every new one.” Today, more than ever, we have an abundance of digital resources, webinars, training videos, and templates for church planting. However, as you might already know, not all resources are created equal. (That’s why Ed Stetzer and I created and lead NewChurches.com together—an online hub for church multiplication.) Having said that, there really is nothing that replaces a good book! I love what the great theologian J.I. Packer says about books, “Read two old books for every new one.” Or how about this quote from Francis Bacon, “Some books are to be tested, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” While less books on church planting are being published today than in years past, there is still a steady stream of new books coming out on a regular basis. The purpose of today’s article is not to create some sort of bestseller list or rank some church planting books higher than others, but rather to give you perspective on five new and five old church planting books you should be aware of. Five Old Church Planting Books Moore, Ralph. How to Multiply Your Church: The Most Effective Way to Grow. …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

Recommended Church Planting Books: New and Old

By Daniel Im “Read two old books for every new one.” Today, more than ever, we have an abundance of digital resources, webinars, training videos, and templates for church planting. However, as you might already know, not all resources are created equal. (That’s why Ed Stetzer and I created and lead NewChurches.com together—an online hub for church multiplication.) Having said that, there really is nothing that replaces a good book! I love what the great theologian J.I. Packer says about books, “Read two old books for every new one.” Or how about this quote from Francis Bacon, “Some books are to be tested, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” While less books on church planting are being published today than in years past, there is still a steady stream of new books coming out on a regular basis. The purpose of today’s article is not to create some sort of bestseller list or rank some church planting books higher than others, but rather to give you perspective on five new and five old church planting books you should be aware of. Five Old Church Planting Books Moore, Ralph. How to Multiply Your Church: The Most Effective Way to Grow. …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Christian

You Are Plural

By Clayton Carlson Trillions of foreign creatures in and on our bodies shape our health, desires, and behavior. Here’s why they matter. Let us make humankind in our image,” said the triune God. And then he made us plural, too. “Male and female he created them,” but we are even more plural than that phrase indicates. Each of us is plural. We might picture our “self” as a single body. We know we’re a grand collection of cells, trillions of microscopic units that do everything from moving blood to processing nutrients into energy. But when we think about these cells, we take comfort that together they’re all one “me,” a huge organism sharing one DNA code that all started from one fertilized egg cell. True, we are that. But we are more: Each of us is a collection of communities, millions of millions of organisms working together, with very different DNA. We have about as many bacteria and other microbes in and on our bodies as we do human cells. For decades biologists estimated that we had about 10 times as many microbial cells as our own. But a new study found that the average man has about 39 trillion bacteria in his body and about …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Christian

You Are Plural

By Clayton Carlson Trillions of foreign creatures in and on our bodies shape our health, desires, and behavior. Here’s why they matter. Let us make humankind in our image,” said the triune God. And then he made us plural, too. “Male and female he created them,” but we are even more plural than that phrase indicates. Each of us is plural. We might picture our “self” as a single body. We know we’re a grand collection of cells, trillions of microscopic units that do everything from moving blood to processing nutrients into energy. But when we think about these cells, we take comfort that together they’re all one “me,” a huge organism sharing one DNA code that all started from one fertilized egg cell. True, we are that. But we are more: Each of us is a collection of communities, millions of millions of organisms working together, with very different DNA. We have about as many bacteria and other microbes in and on our bodies as we do human cells. For decades biologists estimated that we had about 10 times as many microbial cells as our own. But a new study found that the average man has about 39 trillion bacteria in his body and about …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

You Are Plural

By Clayton Carlson Trillions of foreign creatures in and on our bodies shape our health, desires, and behavior. Here’s why they matter. Let us make humankind in our image,” said the triune God. And then he made us plural, too. “Male and female he created them,” but we are even more plural than that phrase indicates. Each of us is plural. We might picture our “self” as a single body. We know we’re a grand collection of cells, trillions of microscopic units that do everything from moving blood to processing nutrients into energy. But when we think about these cells, we take comfort that together they’re all one “me,” a huge organism sharing one DNA code that all started from one fertilized egg cell. True, we are that. But we are more: Each of us is a collection of communities, millions of millions of organisms working together, with very different DNA. We have about as many bacteria and other microbes in and on our bodies as we do human cells. For decades biologists estimated that we had about 10 times as many microbial cells as our own. But a new study found that the average man has about 39 trillion bacteria in his body and about …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

You Are Plural

By Clayton Carlson Trillions of foreign creatures in and on our bodies shape our health, desires, and behavior. Here’s why they matter. Let us make humankind in our image,” said the triune God. And then he made us plural, too. “Male and female he created them,” but we are even more plural than that phrase indicates. Each of us is plural. We might picture our “self” as a single body. We know we’re a grand collection of cells, trillions of microscopic units that do everything from moving blood to processing nutrients into energy. But when we think about these cells, we take comfort that together they’re all one “me,” a huge organism sharing one DNA code that all started from one fertilized egg cell. True, we are that. But we are more: Each of us is a collection of communities, millions of millions of organisms working together, with very different DNA. We have about as many bacteria and other microbes in and on our bodies as we do human cells. For decades biologists estimated that we had about 10 times as many microbial cells as our own. But a new study found that the average man has about 39 trillion bacteria in his body and about …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

You Are Plural

By Clayton Carlson Trillions of foreign creatures in and on our bodies shape our health, desires, and behavior. Here’s why they matter. Let us make humankind in our image,” said the triune God. And then he made us plural, too. “Male and female he created them,” but we are even more plural than that phrase indicates. Each of us is plural. We might picture our “self” as a single body. We know we’re a grand collection of cells, trillions of microscopic units that do everything from moving blood to processing nutrients into energy. But when we think about these cells, we take comfort that together they’re all one “me,” a huge organism sharing one DNA code that all started from one fertilized egg cell. True, we are that. But we are more: Each of us is a collection of communities, millions of millions of organisms working together, with very different DNA. We have about as many bacteria and other microbes in and on our bodies as we do human cells. For decades biologists estimated that we had about 10 times as many microbial cells as our own. But a new study found that the average man has about 39 trillion bacteria in his body and about …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

You Are Plural

By Clayton Carlson Trillions of foreign creatures in and on our bodies shape our health, desires, and behavior. Here’s why they matter. Let us make humankind in our image,” said the triune God. And then he made us plural, too. “Male and female he created them,” but we are even more plural than that phrase indicates. Each of us is plural. We might picture our “self” as a single body. We know we’re a grand collection of cells, trillions of microscopic units that do everything from moving blood to processing nutrients into energy. But when we think about these cells, we take comfort that together they’re all one “me,” a huge organism sharing one DNA code that all started from one fertilized egg cell. True, we are that. But we are more: Each of us is a collection of communities, millions of millions of organisms working together, with very different DNA. We have about as many bacteria and other microbes in and on our bodies as we do human cells. For decades biologists estimated that we had about 10 times as many microbial cells as our own. But a new study found that the average man has about 39 trillion bacteria in his body and about …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

You Are Plural

By Clayton Carlson Trillions of foreign creatures in and on our bodies shape our health, desires, and behavior. Here’s why they matter. Let us make humankind in our image,” said the triune God. And then he made us plural, too. “Male and female he created them,” but we are even more plural than that phrase indicates. Each of us is plural. We might picture our “self” as a single body. We know we’re a grand collection of cells, trillions of microscopic units that do everything from moving blood to processing nutrients into energy. But when we think about these cells, we take comfort that together they’re all one “me,” a huge organism sharing one DNA code that all started from one fertilized egg cell. True, we are that. But we are more: Each of us is a collection of communities, millions of millions of organisms working together, with very different DNA. We have about as many bacteria and other microbes in and on our bodies as we do human cells. For decades biologists estimated that we had about 10 times as many microbial cells as our own. But a new study found that the average man has about 39 trillion bacteria in his body and about …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

You Are Plural

By Clayton Carlson Trillions of foreign creatures in and on our bodies shape our health, desires, and behavior. Here’s why they matter. Let us make humankind in our image,” said the triune God. And then he made us plural, too. “Male and female he created them,” but we are even more plural than that phrase indicates. Each of us is plural. We might picture our “self” as a single body. We know we’re a grand collection of cells, trillions of microscopic units that do everything from moving blood to processing nutrients into energy. But when we think about these cells, we take comfort that together they’re all one “me,” a huge organism sharing one DNA code that all started from one fertilized egg cell. True, we are that. But we are more: Each of us is a collection of communities, millions of millions of organisms working together, with very different DNA. We have about as many bacteria and other microbes in and on our bodies as we do human cells. For decades biologists estimated that we had about 10 times as many microbial cells as our own. But a new study found that the average man has about 39 trillion bacteria in his body and about …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

You Are Plural

By Clayton Carlson Trillions of foreign creatures in and on our bodies shape our health, desires, and behavior. Here’s why they matter. Let us make humankind in our image,” said the triune God. And then he made us plural, too. “Male and female he created them,” but we are even more plural than that phrase indicates. Each of us is plural. We might picture our “self” as a single body. We know we’re a grand collection of cells, trillions of microscopic units that do everything from moving blood to processing nutrients into energy. But when we think about these cells, we take comfort that together they’re all one “me,” a huge organism sharing one DNA code that all started from one fertilized egg cell. True, we are that. But we are more: Each of us is a collection of communities, millions of millions of organisms working together, with very different DNA. We have about as many bacteria and other microbes in and on our bodies as we do human cells. For decades biologists estimated that we had about 10 times as many microbial cells as our own. But a new study found that the average man has about 39 trillion bacteria in his body and about …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »