Church & Ministry
Posted 5/22/13 at 3:55 PM | Emily Fuentes
Project Endurance: Open Doors Team Brings Relief, Hope to Suffering Christians in Northern Nigeria. Read Project Edurance Journal entries for Day 1 and 2 here.
By Jerry Dykstra
Day 3: Providential meeting with Danladi
Previously on the Project Endurance journal, we promised to tell you more about a young man named Danladi Usman.
We noticed Danladi as he worked at the restaurant where we had a quick lunch before continuing our journey of Project Endurance deliveries. Like many other Christians in northern Nigeria, Danladi has had a hair-raising encounter with Boko Haram fighters. When the young man started telling us his story, it was hard to get all the details of the experience, but what was clear to us was the fact that Danladi was still traumatized.
He told us how Boko Haram rebels attacked him and his father at their home. His father was severely injured and lost a limb. Danladi’s hand was almost severed in the attack. The young man told us how they had spent all of the money the family had on medical bills. He needs follow-up surgery but cannot afford it.
Still, he remains thankful.
“I am grateful to God Almighty. He did not allow those people to kill me. It was really a miracle. And I am thankful for this job. My employer took me in out of compassion to help my family and I make ends meet.”
Danladi’s employer, a Christian, has opened up a chain of diners to help keep Christian youths employed. FULL POST
Posted 5/22/13 at 3:35 PM | Jack Wellman
Let Jesus Come into Your Heart
When a mother heard her young son rummaging through the kitchen drawer she came in and screamed. There was the young boy standing with a long knife pointed at his chest ready to plunge the knife into his heart. His mother screamed and he dropped the knife and started to cry. She said, “What are you doing?” The young boy said, “I wanted to let Jesus into my heart.” The young boy went into the kitchen after he asked his mother about Jesus and how to go to heaven. She had told him to “Just let Jesus come into your heart.”
That event was not just a story but it really happened. This unbiblical presentation of the gospel almost cost her son’ his life. Where in the Bible does it say that we must “Let Jesus into our heart?” Answer? Nowhere! Should we also let Him into our kidneys, our liver, or our appendix? Come on. This doesn’t work. FULL POST
Posted 5/22/13 at 2:54 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Ron Edmondson
This was a week (again) where the news was dominated by a natural disaster. Knowing that this blog is read by many pastors and church leaders, I felt led to address the issue many of them (us) will be considering…or at least should be.
This is often a delicate issue. Unless your church is super large, and probably even then, you won’t be able to respond to every disaster with money and people. Obviously there are disasters every week. Some get more national attention than others. How do you know what to address on Sunday? How do you respond as a church?
Determine impact on the church – Consider how much this particular disaster is on the minds of the people you pastor and how long it will take to recover from this disaster. That’s not always the same. The tornadoes in Oklahoma have dominated the news. People are saying things like, “Worst I’ve ever seen.” Obviously this one has major impact on people and will be difficult to ignore. FULL POST
Posted 5/22/13 at 10:49 AM | Tim Challies
Just about every Christian has memorized the closing verses of Galatians and Paul's description of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. This is the character of the man or woman who has been justified by grace through faith.
Yet as we review the list, and especially as we review it slowly and prayerfully, we may find ourselves growing weary and discouraged by how little of that fruit we see. We are still angry at times, still struggling with self-control, still not nearly as gentle as Jesus Christ was and is.
Paul's metaphor of the "fruit" of the Spirit can help us, though. Here are five things that are true of fruit trees and, therefore, true of the fruit of the Spirit.
1. Growth is Gradual. We are an impatient people accustomed to instant gratification. But fruit grows slowly. A fruit tree grows gradually and over many years of careful and deliberate cultivation. If you purchase a sapling apple tree today, a sapling which is already more than a year old and well established, and if you plant it in the right climate zone and in fertile soil, and if there are other trees nearby that can help pollinate it, and if you care for it exactly as you should, it will probably be close to 5 years before you see the first apple dangling from the end of a branch and many years beyond that before it is at its top production, bearing the most and best fruit. Trees are tended carefully, pruned deliberately, and loved patiently until they bear the best fruit. Our growth in character is also far more gradual than we may like but the patience that is to mark our lives first marks God himself; he is patient with us as we grow toward maturity. FULL POST
Posted 5/21/13 at 3:06 PM | Alex Murashko
Psalm 46:1 - "God is our refuge in strength, an ever-present help in trouble."
Share this and help us create an army to pray for Oklahoma. – Every Man Ministries>
Posted 5/21/13 at 1:10 PM | Brian Stiller |
If any Christians can be known for following Jesus’ word on being “as wise as serpents and harmless as doves” it is Christians in Myanmar, formerly called Burma.
Surviving 50 years of brutal military dictatorship, they are alive and well. I asked how they emerged intact, without elongated stories of suffering and rationale for weakness. A pastor smiled: “Dr. Brian, we didn’t put signs on our buildings. When we wanted to build a church, we just built a house and made it larger. We kept our heads down.”
A little history matters in understanding the Myanmar church today.
After a century of British, colonial rule in 1948 (then called) Burma, was given independence. Some saw it doomed from the start, given independence occurred on the wrong day, according to astrological readers. Astrology here is core to what’s done and when it is done. In contrast to Thailand where appeasing spirits rule daily life, in Myanmar, reading the astrological signs matters so much that all kinds of governmental and business decisions will only be made when the Buddhist priest in reading the astrological signs, gives his ok. Even in building bridges!
Between British colonial rule and independence there was a hiatus when the Japanese ruled, a time of a rising of tribal enmities as non-Burmanese ethnic nationalities such as the Karen, Karenni, Chin and Rohingyas sided with the British. Some were not Buddhists and so when they supported the British they were seen as traitors to the nation and its religion, especially the Karen tribe. For years they were targets of persecution by the government, until 2012 when a treaty was signed. Only time will unfold the honor and integrity of this treaty. FULL POST
Posted 5/21/13 at 11:44 AM | Eddie Williams |
We’ve all seen the recent developments in our day that just don’t align with the way things used to be. The statistics used to be that more than half of our country consisted of followers of Christ. There used to be a time when we could freely speak about prayer, Jesus or sin without much criticism or debate. Before, in the 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s, the Christian seemed to be the majority. Mega Churches, national days of prayer and para-church organizations led the way, but now we have seen a radical shift in that culture. The United States lived up to the moniker of the “Last Christian nation” back then, but as we can see, we are seeing a great shift into something increasingly more un Christian.
STATE OF THE CULTURE AND IT’S RAPID SHIFT
In this century, church is dying. Less people are going to church now than ever before. More importantly, less people understand and agree with the foundations of scripture and who Jesus is. Young people especially have completely abandoned traditional biblical principles in favor of the new ‘tolerance culture’. This new culture is a pluralistic, therapeutic one that says everything, no matter what, is tolerated and accepted by all, with one exception, Christianity. John Dickerson writes in his book The Great Evangelical recession, that culture is shifting faster than it ever has. If we look back to the 70’s or 80’s or even early 2000’s we will see the most rapid cultural shift our nation has ever seen. In the last 15-20 years, culture has shifted more than it had in the previous 100 years. FULL POST
Posted 5/21/13 at 10:17 AM | Tim Challies
You may be one of those Christians who serves. And serves. And serves some more. When you head to church on Sunday you are preparing yourself to serve and when you return home you are exhausted. And if you are one of those servant-hearted Christians it may just be that the more you serve, the more you see how so many other Christians serve sparingly and half-heartedly. You may find that it is a challenge to serve Christ and to keep your joy.
Enter Serving Without Sinking by John Hindley. This is a book about what happens inside our minds and hearts as we do our acts of Christian service. It is a call away from weariness, discouragement, bitterness and joylessness as we serve. And it does that by pointing us to the greatest Servant of all--the one who came to us not to be served but to serve. "This book isn't primarily about our service. It's mainly about Jesus Christ, and about His service. ... Jesus does not want you to measure your life by your service of Him. He does not want your service to get in the way of your love for Him. He did not come to be served by you--He came to serve you." This one truth is remarkably freeing. It frees us from service done to earn or impress or compare and instead allows us to enjoy the ways in which he serves us. But, of course, when we are so loved and so served, we will long to joyfully serve in return. FULL POST
Posted 5/21/13 at 9:34 AM | John Dillard |
Duluth/Gwinnett CPA: What the Bible Teaches us About Tragedy
What Can We Learn When Trials Beyond Our Control Hit Hard
The walk of a believer is often fraught with trials and tribulations leading to both defeat and victory. Life’s tragedies, your personal 9/11’s come into our lives seemingly in waves as we face obstacles, which both challenge our confidence and test our faith. Time stood still as the towers fell on that fateful day on September 11, 2001 and lives all over the world were changed forever and the world as we knew it would never be the same. It is only by the power of an almighty God that we are to persevere.
Posted 5/21/13 at 9:05 AM | John Dillard
Duluth/Gwinnett CPA: This letter was sent to one of our most primary contacts on the Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico where every hear 40-100 people from mostly GA but all over the U.S. go to serve our great God by being His very hands and feet. The words (what God did through ordinary people is extraordinary). Seek today to how you might serve God wherever you go!
I pray great happiness for both you and your bride as you begin your new lives together in full retirement. I pray that your latter years in wealth and health and most of all in Him are greater than you ever imagined.
From the first year when we were so much like Jesus with no place for us to rest for the night, you have worked hard with and for us to bring Jesus Christ and a bunch of Georgians to the Dine, the Navajo people in Pueblo Pintado, White Horse, Ojo Encino, Torreon and beyond.
Sometimes we have to wonder if what we did was good, but that is not the case for you and great things and love you have shown for the Navajo people. You have changed hundreds of lives there as well as hundreds of lives here. You have made a great difference in the lives of many. You have helped hundreds of Navajo students sometimes with tough love but always with great love.