Church & Ministry

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Posted 5/25/15 at 11:37 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Why All Churches Should Address Depression & Anxiety

It’s no secret that my past was ridden with mental health issues—ones that kept me from wanting to live for much of my teenage life. I’m very vocal about this truth, and I will continue to be as along as my story may have an impact on others who need to hear it. And while I do believe today’s church is doing better at addressing the issue that is mental health, I believe there can be so much more done than what is currently taking place in regards to depression and anxiety. Let me explain.

I never tried to take my own life in my younger years, but I frequently found myself googling painless ways to commit suicide, and really had no remorse once finding what I was looking for. It was a sad state to be in. The reality is that my life was infected with the burden of depression and anxiety, and the only places I could find reliable information from were not churches in my local area. Why? Because mental illness wasn’t really talked about. FULL POST

Posted 5/23/15 at 3:21 PM | Mike Stickler

Social Media: A Confession (of sorts) By Mike Stickler

I love social media. But I don’t always like it.

Here are some of my thoughts about this incredible exciting—but sometimes frustrating—phenomenon.

  • Social media communication is immediate. That means I can spread an urgent message instantly. That’s good. It also means I can post something the ends up hurting someone because I didn’t pause and think about it first.
  • It can give a great idea a wide audience. It came do the same thing for a bad idea.
  • It can help me to connect with old friends and make new ones. It can also eat into the time I could spend with the people right around me.
  • Social media can allow believers to share a biblical perspective on an important issue. It can also allow Christians to come off as unloving, self-righteous judges.
  • As with every technological development, it can be a conduit of great good and of great harm, depending on the heart and motives of the user. Speaking about social media, apologist Ravi Zacharias said, "Where destruction is the motive, unity is dangerous. Where goodness is the motive, unity is phenomenal."

How do we make the best use of social media while avoiding the pitfalls? I think these things are essential:

  • Pray before you log on. Ask the Lord to guard your heart and your words.
  • Check your motives. Why do you want to post that message? To put someone down or build someone up?
  • Have empathy. Remember that the person who reads your words is a human being, someone with needs and burdens and feelings, someone precious in the sight of the Lord. Just like you and me.
  • Remember that every believer is an ambassador of Christ to the world, wherever we are—even online.

Do you have a like/dislike relationship with social media? How do you use social media as a force for good? How can Christians be a redemptive presence online?

You can hear more about Effective Ministry Leadership from Mike Stickler on this week's featured program. Mike is also one of the presenters for The Raise Your Vision Online Forum

Would you like to learn more? Join Mike for this free Training

I love social media. But I don’t always like it.

Here are some of my thoughts about this incredible exciting—but sometimes frustrating—phenomenon.

  • Social media communication is immediate. That means I can spread an urgent message instantly. That’s good. It also means I can post something the ends up hurting someone because I didn’t pause and think about it first.
  • It can give a great idea a wide audience. It came do the same thing for a bad idea.
  • It can help me to connect with old friends and make new ones. It can also eat into the time I could spend with the people right around me.
  • Social media can allow believers to share a biblical perspective on an important issue. It can also allow Christians to come off as unloving, self-righteous judges.
  • As with every technological development, it can be a conduit of great good and of great harm, depending on the heart and motives of the user. Speaking about social media, apologist Ravi Zacharias said, "Where destruction is the motive, unity is dangerous. Where goodness is the motive, unity is phenomenal."

How do we make the best use of social media while avoiding the pitfalls? I think these things are essential: FULL POST

Posted 5/22/15 at 10:35 PM | Duke Taber

The Bride

Allow me to paint a picture if you will.

This is the story of a young couple, their closest family members and friends, and a crowd of onlookers.

The crowd has gathered, the stage is set. All the people are in their places.

Women are huddled in groups chattering softly among themselves. The smiles are gleaming brighter than the lights. It is the day they have all been waiting for.

Men are making jokes, and reliving stories of their experience with this type of day. They are handing out advice to the young man they are there to support. There is a lot of backslapping and fist tapping going on.

Finally everyone arrives and a quiet expectation fills the room.

The Music Starts

A cute little girl comes down the aisle of the building they are assembled in followed by a boy holding a pillow with a couple of fake rings attached to it. It is obvious that he is not all that excited about being with the girl. She on the other hand thinks the event is all about her as she tosses the rose petals high into the air as she walks to the front. FULL POST

Posted 5/21/15 at 8:20 AM | George Sarris

What Do You Think?

Rethinking Hell.  I was blown away when I saw the name of this conference.

I was even more impressed when I learned that it’s the second time scholars and other knowledgeable people with strong beliefs will be getting together to discuss their views . . . and listen to those of others who disagree but hold equally strong beliefs. And I was honored to be asked to participate.

The second Rethinking Hell Conference will be held June 18-20 at the prestigious Fuller Theological Seminary, with all three historic views of what happens after we die being represented . . . those who believe Scripture teaches endless punishment . . . those who believe Scripture teaches the wicked will be annihilated . . . and those who believe Scripture teaches the ultimate restoration of all.

Speakers include a Professor of Systematic Theology at Fuller Seminary; a Senior Research Fellow in Rabbinics and the New Testament; an Editor from Wipf & Stock Publishers; a Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Taylor University; and a Professor of Philosophy and Scholar-in-Residence at Houston Baptist University. FULL POST

Posted 5/20/15 at 7:14 PM | Mark Ellis

Are mysterious trumpet sounds in the sky a warm-up for Christ’s return?

Woman in Texas scans the skies for source of unusual sounds

By Mark Ellis

“And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet and they shall gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” –Matthew 24:31

For almost a decade, people scattered throughout the world have reported unnerving trumpet-like sounds that are so loud they stop and scan the heavens to find the source.

To some, it sounds like the brass section of a symphony orchestra warming up, as demonstrated by a collection of videos filmed from the U.S., Ukraine, Germany and Belarus, according to a report by the DailyMail.

The first YouTube video recording the sounds was posted in 2008 by an observer in Belarus.

Kimberly Wookey from Terrace, British Columbia in Canada also recorded the trumpet sounds in the months of May and August, 2013. “On the morning of August 29, 2013 at approximately 7:30 am I was awoken by these sounds,” she recounted. FULL POST

Posted 5/19/15 at 9:17 PM | Robin Schumacher

Three Reasons Why Christianity Might Be in Decline

It’s hard to miss all the latest news articles and blog posts detailing how Christianity is on the downturn in the United States. The Pew Forum’s latest research points toward that conclusion, saying simply: “The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining”.

Responses to Pew’s opinion range from heartfelt admissions of Christianity being in trouble by journalists like Michael Brendan Dougherty to very analytical replies like the one penned for CNN by Ed Stetzer. Other research by Pew says that Islam will likely overtake Christianity as the #1 world religion by 2100. FULL POST

Posted 5/18/15 at 12:48 PM | Mark Ellis

Four college grads went around world, loving and serving in the name of Jesus

Clockwise, starting top left, are filmmakers Ryan Wekenman, Matt Fons, Doug Wekenman and Ethan Matott

By Mark Ellis

Some college students embark on travel adventures after graduation, but not many choose to visit 10 countries in a yearlong trek dedicated to serving Christ. These four grads also made a documentary about their quest, “The AC Project: To The Ends of the Earth,” which recently screened at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

In his junior year at CU Boulder, Doug Wekenman took a drive above the campus with his friend Ethan Matott. They took in the view of the Flatirons and carped about dating, which had resulted in a “lame Saturday.”

As they read the Bible and blasted music from their truck, they began to dream about taking a trip with friends after graduation. Both had become more serious about their faith in the last year.

“For the first time we were reading the Bible on our own, taking this Jesus thing seriously,” Doug recalls. “Jesus asks us to share his love with anybody who will listen and make disciples and do these things to the ends of the earth,” he notes. FULL POST

Posted 5/18/15 at 11:22 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Why Millennials Are Sick of Church

There are literally thousands of articles online about why the millennial generation is disillusioned with church, church culture and church politics. And while I applaud the attempt to wrap one’s head around the issue, I’ve noticed that most of the articles seem to be written by people who know nothing about the millennial generation. Weird.

I’ve talked with thousands of young-people over the years who have told me, “I’m just sick of church.” I’ve heard everything under the sun when it comes to one’s reasonings for leaving, and I believe many of them carry a lot of heavy truth. Here are some of them…

1. “It’s not authentic.”

2. “It’s too corporate.”

3. “I don’t like the political side.” FULL POST

Posted 5/16/15 at 4:15 PM | Larry Fell

Are We Growing New Believers?

What Is Going On In Our Churches?

The short answer, at least in terms of turning commitments for Jesus into long term Salvations, is not much. It seems our Churches can get people to approach the Altar and profess a commitment to Jesus Christ and a Christian life but we (Christians in general) aren't doing enough to take the seed that is planted and nurture it to the point the roots take hold and the plant can flourish. Just how bad is it? Consider this:

Charles E. Hackett, one time Home Missions Director for the Assemblies of God is quoted as saying "“A soul at the altar does not generate much excitement in some circles because we realize approximately 95 out of every 100 will not become integrated into the church. In fact, most of them will not return for a second visit.”
In his message titled "Hell's Best Kept Secret" Ray Comfort, well known Evangelist around the world, relates the following: In 1991, in the first year of the decade of harvest, a major denomination in the U.S. was able to obtain 294,000 decisions for Christ. That is, in one year, this major denomination of 11,500 churches was able to obtain 294,000 decisions for Christ. Unfortunately, they could only find 14,000 in fellowship, which means they couldn't account for 280,000 of their decisions, and this is normal, modern evangelical results FULL POST

Posted 5/14/15 at 2:38 PM | Mark Ellis

Nepal quake: Three-story concrete church pancaked during worship service

Collapsed church

By Mark Ellis

In a rural church four hours outside Kathmandu, 60 people were in the midst of their Saturday worship service – with many eyes closed in prayer – at the moment when the devastating earthquake hit.

“As the quake started, people ran out of the church,” says George*, a leader with OC International, according to a story by their partner organization, ReachGlobal.

The house next to the church collapsed, which scattered a thick haze of red dust into the air, blocking out the sun. “This scared a number of the children, who unfortunately ran back into the church not realizing the danger,” George told ReachGlobal.

Several family members went back into the church to pull the children outside. “The oldest brother got out carrying a child to safety, but the second brother was reaching out to grab his wife who was trying to get their three sons out – he grabbed her shawl only to have it tear in two as the roof collapsed,” George reported. FULL POST

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