Church & Ministry

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Posted 7/27/15 at 3:26 PM | Audra Jennings

New DVD Series Helps You Let Your Story Draw Others to Christ

Intersect by Rob Peabody and Cris Rogers
Kregel Publications
Intersect DVD series, by Rob Peabody and Cris Rogers

Let’s face it: Opening up to the people we love most about the most important issues in life — such as faith — can be tough. Whether it’s embarrassment or misunderstanding, the fear of rejection can keep our lips sealed, thus keeping our unsaved loved ones lost in the dark. This is why Rob Peabody and Cris Rogers created Intersect: Where Your Story and God’s Story Converge (Kregel Publications/July 27, 2015/$15.99), a five-week short film resource designed to help Christians engage their family, friends and neighbors in a meaningful way about their faith. Whether used in a café, a friend’s living room or a more formal church setting, the video series can be tailored to a variety of audiences.

Intersect follows the lives of five people as they examine their struggles and triumphs in light of what God teaches us about life in Scripture. Viewers can relate easily to their stories, which cover issues such as:

  • Rest
  • Control
  • Expectations
  • Disappointment
  • Trust

The power of story plays an important role in Intersects intended impact. “The beauty of each person’s individual journey is that although they are each completely unique, they can also relate and intersect,” Peabody explains. “When that happens, it may bring validation, hope, assurance, comfort and meaning. In a day and age where truth is debated and experience reigns supreme, our stories speak volumes.”

Avoiding “Christianese,” Intersect is specifically designed to appeal to all people, regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey. “We’ve created Intersect in such a way that anyone can play the films and facilitate the conversation from the study guide,” Peabody explains. “We see Intersect as a ‘pre-intro to Christianity,’ entertaining ideas about God and what He might have to say about universal issues we all face.”

In the end, both Peabody and Rogers hope Intersect will help Christians understand that even if they don’t feel like they have anything to offer their searching loved ones, they have a story, and God wants to merge with and use their story to reach the lost.

For more information about Intersect and to watch a preview,

visit www.awakenmovement.com/intersect.

About the Producers

Rob Peabody
Rob Peabody

Rob Peabody left his position as lead campus pastor of a mega-church in Texas in 2011 and moved with his wife, Medea, and their two sons to the U.K. He is now the co-founder and director of Awaken, a non-profit organization that exists to provide resources and creativity to the church and reach Londoners in their 20s and 30s with the Gospel. This work is commissioned by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and in partnership with the Church of England.

Peabody also currently serves as a missional consultant for multiple church networks. He appears regularly at the Spring Harvest conferences in Great Britain and will be leading a new upcoming national U.K. conference for young adults called The Pursuit.

In addition, Peabody has written a small-group film series entitled Kingdom Rise (2013), as well as the book Citizen: Your Role in the Alternative Kingdom (2014).

Connect with Rob Peabody at his online home at awakenmovement.com, like the Awaken Movement on Facebook (awakenmovement) or follow Rob on Twitter (@AwakenRob and @awakenmovement).

Cris Rogers
Cris Rogers

Cris Rogers is a writer, pastor, speaker and church visionary. In 2010, Rogers planted a church in the poorest area of London with a dream for it to be an explosion of joy within the tower block estate in which he works.

Follow Cris Rogers on Twitter (@RabbiRogers).

Posted 7/27/15 at 1:44 PM | Welby O'Brien

10 Things People with PTSD & Their Loved Ones Need from Church People & Ministry Leaders

Would it shock you to discover that someone at church is having flashbacks of blasts in Iraq during a worship song? Does it sadden you that people stay away- crippled by rage or fear - feeling utterly abandoned by God? Would you be stunned to get a call from someone who is ready to end their life?

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is rampant, plaguing millions in the U.S. alone, along with all their loved ones. The urgent need is rapidly rising, and needs to be addressed by churches and ministry leaders.

When my veteran husband and I first started seeing each other, he divulged, “I’ve got PTSD and I’m all screwed up.” Totally clueless, I devoured everything I could get my hands on. I wept for the horrors our trauma survivors have experienced that haunt them day and night. I also learned that it was NOT ME. And I could not fix it. Now years later after much counseling, prayer and support, I thank God for the privilege of loving my warrior and being loved by him. It IS possible to thrive in spite of the PTSD!

From my own life and the input of many others, I’d like to share 10 things that those with PTSD and their loved ones desperately need from those around them. FULL POST

Posted 7/27/15 at 1:43 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

How to Say 'No' to a Wonderful Opportunity

“They said to Him, ‘Lord! Everyone is looking for you.’ He said to them, ‘Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth'” (Mark 1:35-38).

Turning down a lousy request is no problem.

–“Hey Joe! Wanna go bungee jumping?” Ha. Not in this lifetime.

–“Hey preacher! How about a night of bar-hopping on Bourbon Street!” You talking to me, Leroy?

–“Pastor, would you write a book on the superiority of your theological system over all others?” Uh, no. But have a nice day.

Saying ‘no’ to something you hate to do, do not want to do, cannot do, and would not be caught dead doing–piece of cake.

No one has to counsel you on how to do that.

It’s all those other requests that you find difficult to turn down.

“Would you judge our city’s beauty contest?” Okay, no one has actually asked me to do that, but I live in hope. A preacher, if asked to do this, which I find inconceivable, should turn it down for a hundred rather obvious reasons. FULL POST

Posted 7/26/15 at 7:16 PM | Daniel Levite

Charge And Challenge For Life - Part 1

Anytime you meet someone to talk about spiritual matters you should always have in mind a Charge and Challenge for the other person. Even though we Evangelize for Life and have a long-term view of the relationship we have with the other person, we still want to move the relationship forward. This requires we have some kind of action in mind that the other person should commit to each time we meet with them. This is not to say we force or coerce our friend in any way.

The bare minimum charge we might consider is the next meeting. For example, when you feel the current meeting is nearing an end, then you might say something like, “Ok, next week let’s talk about God’s nature. Is next Saturday at 10am, right here at Starbuck’s still ok?” You see this comment is not offensive, uses a question to make the other person feel comfortable, but still moves the conversation and the meetings forward. It challenges the other person to talk about God’s nature and charges them to agree to meet again. This is a habit an ordinary Christian can develop in order to keep evangelism going.

Notice in our example above our friend might reply that they don’t want to talk about God’s nature in your next meeting. They may suggest a different day or say they cannot meet next week. When that happens, rejoice in it. They may be suggesting a different discussion topic or a different or future day to meet. However, they are planning to meet. They are already thinking about talking again. This is the power and victory of Evangelism For Life. They are taking regular meetings and spiritual topics as important and consistent. FULL POST

Posted 7/23/15 at 9:16 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

My Single Biggest Regret In Ministry

I invite you to read this opening to my journal dated October 1980.

I was 40 years old and Margaret was 38. We were in our 19th year of marriage, and pastoring the First Baptist Church of Columbus, Mississippi. Our children were 17, 14, and 11.

The first entry in the book is dated October 9. However, the paragraph above that reads:

The month of October got off to a poor start around the McKeever household. I announced to Margaret that until October 27th, there were no open days or nights. The month was filled with church meetings, committees, banquets, associational meetings, speaking engagements at three colleges, a weekend retreat in Alabama, and a few football games. She cried. Once again, I had let others plan my schedule in the sense that I’d failed to mark out days reserved for family time.

I ran across that book today, read that paragraph, and wept.

The irony of this is that a year or two earlier, we had come through months of marital counseling and felt that we finally had a healthy marriage. In fact, one Sunday night six months after this journal entry, Margaret and I would take the entire worship service to tell the congregation of our marital woes, of our attempts to make this relationship work, of our extraordinary efforts to get counseling, which involved driving 180 miles round trip twice monthly for two-hour sessions with a professional therapist, and of the Lord healing our marriage. FULL POST

Posted 7/22/15 at 4:07 PM | Mark Ellis

Pastor escaped persecution with broken leg, led two Hindu extremists to Christ

Pastor Degal

By Mark Ellis

In 2008 and 2009 Hindu extremists went from village to village destroying churches, burning houses, and killing Christians. Their agenda was to wipe out Christians and Christianity from India starting in Orissa.

Some pastors were beaten, doused with petrol, and burned to death. One pastor was beaten to the point of death by a mob of 100. He vomited blood and later regained consciousness and managed to flee. Another pastor and his pregnant wife ran away in the darkness and hid themselves to save their lives.

Some took shelter in the forest without food and clothes for days. When they returned to their village, they found their homes and property burned and looted by angry mobs.

Pastor Mahara Degal was forced out of his village during the persecution of 2008 and 2009 because he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He barely escaped with a broken leg after being beaten. FULL POST

Posted 7/16/15 at 11:58 AM | Audra Jennings

Parents Cannot Leave their Children’s Spiritual Training Up to Youth Leaders

Part 2 of an interview with Dr. Michelle Anthony and Megan Fate Marshman,

Authors of 7 Family Ministry Essentials

Click here to read part one of this interview

7 Family Ministry Essentials by Michelle Anthony and Megan Marshman
David C Cook

In 7 Family Ministry Essentials, written for church leaders who have a passion to disciple kids and teens in partnership with the Holy Spirit and the family, Michelle Anthony and Megan Marshman capture the guiding essentials to build a strategy for life-changing family ministry in this ultimate leadership resource. These seven essentials emphasize:

1. Empowering families to take spiritual leadership in the home

2. Forming lifetime faith that transcends childhood beliefs

3. Teaching Scripture as the ultimate authority of truth

4. Understanding the role of the Holy Spirit to teach and transform

5. Engaging every generation in the gospel of God's redemptive story

6. Making God central in every biblical narrative and daily living

7. Participating in community with like-minded ministry leaders

In the interview below, the authors share more about the mission of their book.

Q: 7 Family Ministry Essentials call for a strategy change for children’s and student ministries. What are some of the most common practices that need to be changed in these ministries today?

Michelle Anthony, author of 7 Family Ministry Essentials
Photo credit: Traci London
Michelle Anthony

Anthony: The practices that need changing are the ones that don’t bear fruit. Just because we have always done something one way doesn’t mean it will be effective in this generation. We need to be willing to reimagine ministry based on meeting the needs in our generation. Tradition is a wonderful thing but not when it gets in the way of transformation. Yet change for change’s sake is also hollow. Leaders are best when they initiate change to breed a cultural change — meaning one that permeates the culture in such a way it remains long after we are gone and bears fruit.

Marshman: I would add that specifically within student ministries, leaders tell parents they are the primary disciplers of their children but oftentimes do nothing about it. Leaders have the opportunity not only to encourage parents to live out that role, but equip and support them with the resources to do so.

Students need space to meet with the living God during student ministry gatherings. Students also need opportunities to speak about their faith experiences within their faith community. It’s key for students not merely to agree with what their youth leaders are saying but to begin to live out and speak about the reality of their own personal faith inside and outside the walls of the church.

Q: What are some practical ways parents can make spiritual deposits into their child’s life?

Megan Marshman, author of 7 Family Ministry Essentials
Megan Marshman

Marshman: First and foremost, parents can make spiritual deposits into their child’s life by loving Jesus deeply. As parents deepen their love and dependence upon the Lord, it becomes easier to entrust their children into His hands. In moments of struggle, parents can surrender their children into the hands of a gracious God. In moments of triumph, parents will praise and worship God as the ultimate, generous gift giver.

Additionally, parents can put their honest faith journey on display. Admitting their weaknesses and showcasing their own dependence upon the Lord through every season can radically impact their child's life by modeling true discipleship.

Q: Why are parents quick to pick up a book about potty training or discipline, but hesitant to try to learn about how to teach their children spiritual discipleship? How can ministry leaders help them overcome their fears?

Anthony: We all want a quick fix. We all want to be in control of the outcomes of our children. Spiritual discipleship is neither of those. It is supernatural. Only God can change a heart or transform a life. We need His wisdom and His power. This requires us to be in an intimate relationship with God. Often parents’ faith is not that vibrant at the time of child-rearing, and it is impossible to give away something they don’t have. And even when it is vibrant, it is difficult to relinquish control and trust God to transform a child’s life when and as He chooses. Parents are required to be faithful and role models; they are not required to make their children spiritual.

Marshman: Ministry leaders can help parents overcome their fears by informing them of their role as a spiritual parent, to create environments for faith formation to come alongside what the Holy Spirit is doing in the life of their children. God doesn’t call them to change their children, God calls them to love Him, love them and entrust Him with the transformation.

Q: How can a youth or children’s minister foster the leadership a parent should have in their family, if that parent is overwhelmed and spiritually immature themselves?

Anthony: Baby steps. Meet them where they are at and disciple them just as we would a child or a teen. We must help them see the connection and then lead them one step at a time. Often we overwhelm them with all they should be doing. It’s not attractive for parents to think they are failing at yet another thing. We need to give them a small win!

Q: When one thinks about the state of the family, even within the church, it can feel hopeless. But you say it could change in as little as one generation. Why?

Marshman: We are in the midst of a movement. Typically, movements are things we look back on in the past. It’s critical to see in the past five years, family ministry has begun to take ground within churches. Church staffing structures are changing to include an emphasis on the families, youth pastors are joining in on the efforts, and children’s ministry leaders are impassioned like never before to recognize their jobs reach far beyond children. It could absolutely change in as little as one generation because God is on the move through family ministry. When you feel hopelessness, remember God is in the habit of using broken families for His glory.

Learn more about Dr. Michelle Anthony at www.michelleanthony.org, on Facebook or by following her on Twitter. Learn more about Megan Fate Marshman at www.meganfate.com, on Facebook or by following her on Twitter.

Posted 7/15/15 at 8:29 PM | Daniel Levite

Dumb and Dumber For Life Part 2

Last time we discussed what I call the ‘Dumb and Dumber For Life’ tactic. We covered the first two advantages of this tactic. We looked in detail at the first two advantages in Part 1. The first advantage of this tactic is you can relax and just spend your limited time learning about your own faith. You do not have to know anything at all about what your friend believes before you share your faith. You can be free to let them explain what they believe and why. As it turns out this is imperative in learning how to share your faith and becoming effective in making friends. The second advantage this tactic provides is showing other people respect. By allowing them to explain what they believe and why, you show respect for their beliefs and their point of view. This is about creating friendship and keeping the conversation on your friend and their need for Jesus.

The third advantage of this tactic is to remember other people do not study their faith as well as you might think. The friend with whom you are sharing might not personally believe all the things their faith holds. So studying what Islam teaches, may not fit with what your Muslim friend believes. It is better to let him tell you what he believes instead of imposing on him what you know about Islam. Islam is a good example. Most ordinary Christians will talk to Muslims at work or around their own communities. It would be a gross mistake to think your Muslim neighbor believes the things you may see in the news. Most Muslims are nominal followers of Islam. They neither know much about their faith nor follow it strictly. In that way, they are a lot like most Christians. So it is imperative to get to know the person and not assume they believe everything you may know about Islam. If you take this approach seriously, guess how much Islam do you need to know to start talking to a Muslim friend? Absolutely nothing! How easy is that? So with one tactic you can relax, start talking to others and learn about their faith as needed. Very cool, huh? FULL POST

Posted 7/15/15 at 8:20 PM | Daniel Levite

Dumb and Dumber For Life Part 1

What I call the ‘Dumb and Dumber’ tactic is not one encouraging stupidity. While it is named after the Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniel’s movie, it bears little resemblance other than the title. The name of this tactic is intended to remind the ordinary Christian they do not have to share everything they know at every meeting. Also, they do not have to know everything or much of anything to get started. There are many ways to use this tactic and we will try to review some of the more important ones in today’s blog and the next.

When an ordinary Christian starts out trying to share their faith with others, a common mistake is to try and learn everything they can about other worldviews and other religions. Now, it is not a mistake to learn such things. It is a mistake to do so before getting started. Let’s say you have a heart for Muslims. The first inclination of an ordinary Christian is to study Islam. You study the various claims, the responses and the Koran references. Unless you have a friend or a family member who is currently a follower of Islam, you will forget all of this before you talk to your first Muslim. The other problem is you will spend a great deal of time studying other faiths and religions like Islam while missing an opportunity to study your own faith and reasons for it. So what is a better way to proceed? FULL POST

Posted 7/11/15 at 10:13 PM | Zebulan

HeavenCode

“DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.”

― Bill Gates, The Road Ahead

//*****************************************************************************
//*****************************************************************************
// File : HeavenCode.cpp
// Date : Creation of the Universe
//*****************************************************************************
//*****************************************************************************

#include "stdlib.h"
#include "godslaw"
#include "humanity"

//*****************************************************************************
//*****************************************************************************
// Function: HumanLife
//*****************************************************************************
//***************************************************************************** FULL POST

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