Posts in Church Life

People: the Cause of Cyclical Poverty or the Source of Prosperity?

By Dave Keehn Oct. 18, 2017 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Ethics, Ministry and Leadership, Missions

A brief look back over the history over the world or turning on the nightly news will reveal the pain of people caused by the actions of others. It can be simply stated: People have caused the impoverished lifestyle experienced by so many in the world through harmful acts. Some cyclical poverty is the result of well-meaning assistance that has perpetuated dependency, unintentionally making things worse. Other people are trapped in communities of poverty through corrupt policies and a lack of rule of law. Worse, history is full of the evil of some to oppress, steal from and enslave people resulting in deadly poverty ...

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Is Hell the Enemy of God and the Christian?

By John McKinley Sep. 27, 2017 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Theology

In the fourth verse of the popular modern hymn, “In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, we hear this line that poses Hell as our enemy: “No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand.” My ear has been catching a similar idea of Hell as a powerful enemy in several other contemporary worship songs. My guess is that songwriters are (perhaps) unwittingly drawing on Jesus’ statement in Matthew 16:18, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (NASB[1], NIV, NKJV). Other translations give “the gates of hell” (ESV, NLT, KJV; the Greek text has "Hades" not "Gehenna"). I prefer the RSV and NET that give “the powers of death” by interpreting the usage of Hades in line with Sheol of the OT, referring to the place of the dead, particularly for the wicked. The slip of meaning from “Hades” to “Hell” is understandable, but this causes a problem theologically that we need to pause and consider more closely ...

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The World Will End On Saturday

By Joe Hellerman Sep. 21, 2017 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Culture, Evangelism, Ministry and Leadership, New Testament

My students in Exegesis In The Gospels (a second-year Greek course) were delighted to discover that (in the words of one news agency) “Christian conspiracy theorists have gathered clues that suggest the end of the world is nigh" ...

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“Cut and Paste” Biblical Living

By Dave Talley Sep. 20, 2017 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Culture, Spiritual Formation, Theology

There is no end of opportunities to be blessed with the teaching and preaching of God’s word. Great preachers can be heard on the radio. Podcasts can be automatically downloaded to our phones or iPads. The teaching of God’s word is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on cable television networks. Christian bookstores are full of books by the greatest authors of our day. Electronic books can be carried with us everywhere with ease. Churches have program after program geared toward teaching God’s word, not to mention a worship service every week, which includes a Bible-based sermon. From the cradle to the grave, opportunities abound ...

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What is the Core Reason Kids Leave the Faith?

By Sean McDowell Sep. 11, 2017 9:00 a.m. Apologetics, Christian Education, Church Life, Marriage and Family, Spiritual Formation

There has been a lot of discussion recently about why kids leave the faith. People have rightly drawn attention to the role of poor theology, the importance of kids owning their faith, the significance of intellectual issues such as the apparent tension between science and religion, and more.

But there seems to be a core issue that is often overlooked—to develop a lasting faith, kids need to grasp their need for God. Let me explain ...

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La Compasión: Una Marca Central de Jesús y Sus Seguidores / Compassion: A Central Mark for Jesus and his Followers

By Octavio Esqueda Sep. 7, 2017 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Culture, Ministry and Leadership

La compasión debe ser sentimiento esencial de aquellos que se dicen seguidores de Jesucristo. La palabra compasión significa “sufrir juntos” y es un sentimiento que se manifiesta al percibir y comprender el sufrimiento de los demás y, por lo tanto, produce el deseo de aliviar, reducir o eliminar este sufrimiento. Al ver las noticias, caminar por las calles o simplemente al conversar con personas a nuestro alrededor es fácil darse cuenta que muchas personas están sufriendo por diferentes circunstancias. La tendencia natural y tristemente común incluso en muchos de aquellos que se dicen cristianos es juzgar a los demás y asumir que sus circunstancias negativas son consecuencia de sus malas decisiones. Es fácil amar a los que nos aman y preocuparnos por aquellos que son cercanos a nosotros, pero una marca central de Jesús y sus seguidores debe ser amar y tener compasión por todos sin importar quienes son o qué han hecho ...

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Everyone Loves Sex: So Why Wait? Interview with Author Bryan Sands

By Sean McDowell Aug. 21, 2017 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Culture, Marriage and Family

I recently received a book in the mail called Everyone Loves Sex: So Why Wait? by Bryan Sands. Given that my father launched the “Why Wait” sexual purity movement in the 1980s, when I was in my early teen years, I was curious to see what approach Sands would take. And I was pleasantly surprised! His book is balanced, biblical, hopeful, and grace-filled. In fact, when young people ask me for a book on sexual purity, this is going to be one of the first books I will recommend.

After thirteen years as a local pastor, Bryan has served as the Director of Campus Ministries at Hope International University in Fullerton, CA since 2011. He is also a public speaker who encourages students across the country. You can find out about his book at www.EveryoneLovesSex.org.

I recently caught up with Bryan and asked him a few questions. Enjoy! ...

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