A Response to Jen Hatmaker. By Rosaria Butterfield.
"If this were 1999—the year that I was converted and walked away from the woman and lesbian community I loved—instead of 2016, Jen Hatmaker's words about the holiness of LGBT relationships would have flooded into my world like a balm of Gilead. How amazing it would have been to have someone as radiant, knowledgeable, humble, kind, and funny as Jen saying out loud what my heart was shouting: Yes, I can have Jesus and my girlfriend. Yes, I can flourish both in my tenured academic discipline (queer theory and English literature and culture) and in my church. My emotional vertigo could find normal once again.
Maybe I wouldn’t need to lose everything to have Jesus. Maybe the gospel wouldn’t ruin me while I waited, waited, waited for the Lord to build me back up after he convicted me of my sin, and I suffered the consequences. Maybe it would go differently for me than it did for Paul, Daniel, David, and Jeremiah. Maybe Jesus could save me without afflicting me. Maybe the Lord would give to me respectable crosses (Matt 16:24). Manageable thorns (2 Cor 12:7)."
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We know as Christians, on an intellectual level, that we have idols—be it family, food, football or whatever. But to see the allure of idolatry can be hard for those of us in the Western world.That’s why I appreciate the points laid out by Doug Stuart in his Exodus commentary (450-54). Stuart suggests nine reasons idolatry was attractive to the Israelites and in the cultures of the Ancient Near East.
1. It was guaranteed. If you do the right incantation, you get the right results. Just say the right words and the gods show up. Who wouldn’t want that?
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Every Christian must come to terms with the fact that there will indeed be a Man of Lawlessness and our beliefs about him will play a role in the way we think and live today.
If you are interested in some basic information on the Anti-Christ you will find the list contained in this article, written by Matthew Holst at Alliancenet.org, informative.
"One of the Apostle Paul’s great preoccupations in both of his letters to the church at Thessalonica is the second coming of Christ. He was not only concerned with getting the doctrine “right” but also with the great pastoral implications of such teaching.
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I was in an engineering class the first time I watched the tragic explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Even though I wasn’t alive when it happened, I caught a glimpse of the horror thousands must have felt as the events unfolded.
And, the first question everyone wanted to know was, “What happened?”
After months of investigation, here’s what the Rogers Commission (the group commissioned to investigate the explosion) discovered: an o-ring seal in the right solid rocket booster failed at take-off. I won’t bore you with the details, but an o-ring is a small device relative to the size of a space shuttle. Very small.
It wasn’t something huge, like a puncture in the rocket booster or a hole in the cabin, that caused this disaster. It was a small, seemingly insignificant, o-ring failure.
I think there’s a lesson here for the church. What if the big sins, you know the ones you try hardest to avoid, aren’t the greatest threat to your joy and the church’s mission?
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Joni Eareckson Tada has given us many books on the subject of God’s tender care for His children in times of suffering. Joni strikes the chord of authenticity with us so well because suffering is the world she lives in 24/7, literally. My personal favorite is When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty, co-authored with Steve Estes, a pastor in Pennsylvania. The following list of God’s purposes in our suffering is from one of the appendices in that book.
Take some time to meditate on the wisdom of God as He works out His perfect will through our suffering. No wonder James, the brother of our Lord, commanded us to “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” (James 1:2)!
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“It’s just not natural to be a good, kind parent.”
The mother who said these words at a recent Mother/Daughter event certainly seemed good and kind! She was a well-educated, well-respected physician in her community, but she was having a hard time parenting her 14-year-old daughter.
“It’s just not natural,” she repeated again with growing emphasis. “What’s natural for me is to be angry, frustrated, and inconsistent. I try one thing and it doesn’t work. So then I try something else. I just wish there was some kind of manual. Parenting is harder than anyone ever tells you. I mean, they come into the world crying, after all. That should be some kind of sign as to what’s to come.”
You may have felt the same way. (You probably do often if you have a 14-year-old!) Inconsistency happens. You are going to struggle. You may fail at your intentions. You may get angry or not follow through on your discipline. But even despite these struggles, you can still establish a pattern of consistency in your home.
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Faith in Hostile Times: A Study of Elijah & Elisha
We are excited to announce the upcoming study series for LifePoint Bible Study!
This September we will dive into a 10-week study called "Faith in Hostile Times: A Study of Elijah & Elisha" for the Fall Semester.
In a world gone mad with sin, God spoke with clarity to a culture that was falling over the cliff. These were desperate times for God's people. What does it look like to hear God and trust Him with your life in a world that is hostile to faith in the one true God? What does faith look like in a culture that is unwilling to hear of anything but promises of prosperity and where it is considered a virtue to tolerate evil? Oh how the God of Elijah & Elisha speaks to us!
Our Fall study will start the week of September 11th at three locations in the Valley:
Registration will take place on our new LifePoint website! On July 15th you may go to www.LifePointBibleStudy.org and click on the "REGISTER HERE" button on the home page.
Until then, keep on reading with us through the Bible!
So... mark your calendars! We can't wait to immerse ourselves in God's precious Word with you!
~ Julie and Nichole
Wounds inflicted by Christian leaders are sometimes the hardest felt and the slowest to heal. What exactly is "spiritual abuse"?
"Spiritual abuse is a sinful use of spiritual authority by Christian leaders to promote, protect, or enrich a person or a Christian institution regardless of the spiritual damage done to innocent parties and the cause of Christ."
For a succinct exposition of spiritual abuse, read the full article.
Kelly Needham: Each season of dying has felt just like that—dying. The choking out of something I have loved, desired, and clung to for hope, peace, and safety. The choking out of things in me, writhing, gasping for breath and praying, “Does it have to be this way? Can’t I follow You and also keep this with me? Does it really need to die?”
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These articles have been posted to challenge, inform, encourage,