Efrem Smith, preacher, author and urban ministry advocate, delivered a challenging, uncomfortable and anointed message about evangelism, according to some of the thousands who attended or tuned in via a live webcast to the Exponential West Conference at Saddleback Church on Tuesday.
Smith, president and CEO of World Impact and author of The Post-Black and Post-White Church, preached a message titled "Rethinking Evangelism Through the Suffering," making the case that the atrocities and painful conditions people experience today require a refocused approached to doing outreach.
He began by reading to the thousands in person and likely thousands more watching online, the description of the multi-ethnic and multi-lingual kingdom of God described in Revelation 7, specifically verses 9-17. more >>
Editors' Note: This is a growing list compiled by the author and at the end of the article, there is information for readers wanting to make their own submission or contest an entry. Below is David Housholder's list in no particular order.
1. Angels with wings (there are angels but no mention of wings). Or that people become angels when they die. And would you believe the angels are not singing at the birth of Jesus, but rather just speaking? And yes, seraphim (the "burners" – flame on!, plural form of "seraph") have wings, and no, the Bible never identifies seraphim as angels. Ditto cherubim (plural of cherub), who are intimidating beasts in the Bible, but turned into fat, naked, winged babies on the walls of Italian churches. Find me one place that says seraphim (burners) are angels (messengers). I'm waiting….
2. The devil with horns and a pitchfork (there is a devil but no red skin, horns or pitchfork) more >>
Pope Francis and the Synod of Bishops on the family heard from a married couple who asked Catholic parishes to welcome same-sex couples as a model of evangelization, and at the same time uphold traditional church teachings on marriage.
"The church constantly faces the tension of upholding the truth while expressing compassion and mercy. Families face this tension all the time," Ron and Mavis Pirola of Sydney told the synod on Monday, Catholic News Service reported.
"Take homosexuality as an example. Friends of ours were planning their Christmas family gathering when their gay son said he wanted to bring his partner home too. They fully believed in the church's teachings and they knew their grandchildren would see them welcome the son and his partner into the family. Their response could be summed up in three (sic) words, 'He is our son.'" more >>
Christian youth leaders need to teach teenagers and young adults the basics of apologetics in order to be able to defend their faith in a logical manner, says student pastor and writer Benjer McVeigh.
McVeigh notes that even though youth ministers may not be educated in philosophy or apologetics, they need to be able to answer questions that may arise from young individuals about the validity of their faith. Not doing so may hinder them from justifying their belief in Jesus from common objections, he explains.
"I believe that one of the ways that youth workers can equip teenagers in a meaningful way is to help them understand that faith in Jesus is not a blind faith that goes against all reason but rather a logical response to evidence that supports the existence of the God of the Bible and the fact that Jesus really is who the Bible claims him to be," McVeigh wrote in a blog post for Church Leaders. more >>
A World Wildlife Fund report released Tuesday claims that the planet's wildlife population, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, has declined by 52 percent since 1970. The executive director of A Rocha USA said that the findings are alarming, but not surprising, and called on Christians to witness to the world by starting to care for the planet.
"Indeed, the report simply confirms what we read in Hosea — the birds of the air, the beasts of the field and the fish of the sea are dying — and in Romans — the creation groans. Why? Because of humankind's sin. We have not treated God's Earth as we should. We've treated it as rapacious squatters rather than the Christ-like stewards God created us to be," Tom Rowley, executive director of A Rocha USA, told The Christian Post in an email on Wednesday.
"Imagine what a difference we could make if we Christians began to care. Not just care about. That's easy and not worth much. But actually and actively care for both people and planet. Which is really what A Rocha is all about. Consider also, what a witness it would be to an unbelieving world if Christ followers started caring for the planet." more >>
Don't judge me. The use of these three words to deflect perceived unwarranted criticism, is indeed biblical, according to one megachurch pastor. The problem is, as with many popular and oft-quoted Bible verses (like Jeremiah 29:11, Philippians 4:13, Romans 8:28 for example), is that Jesus' words in Matthew 7 are usually taken out of context.
In Matthew 7:1-2, Jesus says, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
While the full context of Jesus' remarks run from verses 1-6, the most frequently quoted part of his teaching in this particular Bible passage usually includes just the first three words — used either lightly or in sincerity. more >>