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Preoccupied with Love: One-on-One with Colin Smith on Nominal Christianity
“I have found the story of the thief on the cross profoundly helpful in challenging this assumption...that entrance into everlasting joy depends on living a good enough life.”Ed: It’s hard to deny that we are living in challenging times culturally. The church’s influence is fading, and we are struggling to find answers to some hard questions. What’s your take on the health of the church today, especially as it relates to our witness?”Colin: Church health is not the same as church size. I come from the U.K., where secularism has made deeper inroads into the culture than here in the U.S. Church attendance has dropped dramatically but, in my opinion, church health in the U.K. is better than it was 20 years ago.One reason for this is that as nominal Christians abandon the faith and leave the church, those who remain realize their dependence on God in new ways. When numbers go down, spiritual temperature can go up, and I have seen new resilience, new cooperation, new faith and new venture in many U.K. churches.If that happens here in the U.S., we may be in a better position than before and, like Gideon’s army, more useful to the Lord than when our numbers were larger.Ed: Evangelism has especially fallen on hard times. It seems that everything else—even good things like discipleship—has overwhelmed our passion for sharing the love of Jesus with others. What does evangelism look like today, and how can we begin to develop a passion for showing and sharing the love of Jesus on a daily basis?Colin: I really appreciate the focus of Amplify on evangelism. Discipling goats is an impossible task. The first priority is always that a person becomes one of Christ’s sheep.Evangelism today needs to begin further back. For much of the 20thcentury, Christians were able to assume a basic understanding of who God is, what sin is, and why we need a Savior.When people ...Continue reading...
Can Anti-Aging Treatments Offer Abundant Life?
Science seeks to fix aging and death. But a Christian vision of the good life might actually embrace them. A preacher’s kid growing up in the Bible Belt, Micah Redding had a particular view of the physical world and God’s work in it. Singing popular hymns like “This World is Not My Home” and “I’ll Fly Away,” he took away this message: It’s all going to burn anyway, so why bother with the environment or curing diseases? That’s a distraction from the gospel. Our bodies don’t go to heaven, just our souls.When he started studying the Bible for himself and reading authors like N. T. Wright and C. S. Lewis, Redding formed a theology that more closely embraces the material world. “If we believe the material world is good, we have to engage in the transformation of it,” he said. He sees science and technology as part of God’s vision for the world, which, for him, includes radical life extension.Redding points to Isaiah 65, where “one who dies at a hundred years will be thought a mere child,” as well as the extremely long-lived Genesis patriarchs. “Scripture really places this value on human life, relationality, and productivity,” he said. “We have to appreciate that idea as part of our embrace of the material life.”In 2013, Redding founded the Christian Transhumanist Association (CTA), a group bringing faith and ethics into transhumanist conversations. Transhumanists, who believe that human capacities can be enhanced by science and technology, hold a gamut of views. Some are anti-aging researchers applying biomedicine to improve humanity. Aubrey de Grey, for instance, who headlined a recent CTA conference, studies preventative maintenance for the human body and believes the first human to live to 1,000 has already been born. ...Continue reading...
How to Jump Back In to Bible Reading
Christian leaders have their own reasons for not reading Scripture.It’s worth remembering that Augustine was “weeping, with agonizing anguish in [his] heart” over his inability to control himself before he read Romans 13:13–14.We tend to think that Scripture usually works the other direction. We read seeking instruction, wisdom, or intimacy and then read a challenging word like Paul’s that prompts contrition: “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” We’re convicted by Scripture, then we repent.But in Augustine’s archetypal testimony, Confessions, that’s not what happened. First he was in anguish, then he heard a child chanting, “Pick it up! Read it! Pick it up! Read it!” He wrote (in Sarah Ruden’s 2017 translation) that when he obeyed the voice and read Paul’s words, “I didn’t want to read further, and there was no need. The instant I finished this sentence, my heart was virtually flooded with a light of relief and certitude, and all the darkness of my hesitation scattered away.” His response was not to wallow or to regret how long it took him to repent. Instead, he immediately and joyfully told his friend Alypius and his mother what had happened.Many times the Holy Spirit really does use Scripture to illuminate our sin and to make us deeply uncomfortable. It is, after all, “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). And “no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful” (Heb. 12:11). Nevertheless, ...Continue reading...
Emerging Adults and the Church: Is There Really an Exodus?
Are emerging adults are leaving their faith behind? We are hosting a conference to explore this question.It seems every few weeks a new article makes the rounds on social media heralding the collapse of religion in America. Often central to these pieces is an emphasis on the role of emerging adults, focusing either on their declining church attendance or their rejection of traditional beliefs or practices.Emerging adulthood describes that phase of life between adolescence and full adulthood as marked by transitions like marriage and kids, settled careers, and owning a home. This life stage covers people ages 18-29 or so.So what are we to make of the claim? Are emerging adults are leaving their faith behind?Yes.And no.And maybe.Let me explain…Let’s start with yes. There is ample evidence to suggest that many emerging adults are questioning the religious beliefs and practices of their Christian upbringing while still others are leaving church altogether.According to the Pew Religious Landscape study published in 2015, younger emerging adults (18-24), identify as nones at a 36 percent rate compared to only 25 percent in 2007. Just last month, LifeWay Research reported that “two-thirds (66 percent) of American young adults who attended a Protestant church regularly for at least a year as a teenager say they also dropped out for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22.”While many return, Kara Powell in Growing Young estimated the long-term loss at around 50 percent of those who initially left. Attempts to explain this exodus vary and often include descriptors of emerging adult spirituality like “Spiritual by not Religious” to characterize those who still value spirituality but have rejected religious organizations or doctrines as ways of pursuing their spiritual interests.Turning to the ...Continue reading...
How Cracking Wheat's Genetic Code Reminds Us Who We Are
This grain's genome echoes of the strength found in the diversity of God's people.Like many kids, I grew up picking wild grasses believing that they were wheat. I would pick one from the yard of my childhood home, believing the harvest I held in my hands could be transformed into food. As I grew up, I quickly learned that the “wheat” in my yard was far from a bountiful harvest and instead was actually weeds and wild grasses.Yet, my childhood confusion about wheat is, in one sense, understandable. Wheat is a part of the grass family. In Matthew’s telling of the Parable of the Weeds, the “weeds” represent darnel, “a poisonous weed organically related to wheat, and difficulty to distinguish from wheat in the early stages of the growth,” writes New Testament scholar Craig Keener.In the Bible, wheat is used as a metaphor for the people of God. The scientific study of wheat prompts reflection on how what distinguishes God’s people and how our vast diversity can strengthen us all.Wheat’s genetic makeup has baffled scientists. But last summer, after 13 years of research, a team of international scientists cracked the wheat’s genome to reveal the baffling, beautiful genetic material that makes wheat, well, wheat.Essentially, a genome contains all of the genetic knowledge needed to create and sustain an organism.It would be easy to assume that the wheat genome would be more straightforward to sequence than the human genome. After all, human beings are the crowning achievement of God’s creative work while wheat is a mere plant. However, the wheat genome holds mysteries that offered significant challenges to research scientists who wanted to understand this plant at the most minute level.The full sequence of the human genome was published in 2003, ...Continue reading...

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Jeanne Robertson "Don't go rafting without a Baptist in the boat!"
Jeanne Robertson "Don't go rafting without a Baptist in the boat!"Jeanne is on Sirius & XM Radio this clip is from Jeanne's DVD Flat Out Funny!
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C.I.B.C. - PREACHING - 26 April 2017 Wednesday Night - Pastor Hoose
C.I.B.C. - PREACHING - 26 April 2017 Wednesday Night - Pastor HoosePLEASE SUBSCRIBE! Enjoy this video of some great bible preaching during one of our services. If you want to find out more about our church please visit our ...
Easter 2017 - Sin is a BIG DEAL - Orange County Baptist Preaching - Pastor Daniel Pigott
Easter 2017 - Sin is a BIG DEAL - Orange County Baptist Preaching - Pastor Daniel Pigott
Roll Call of the Very First Baptist Church - Dr. Andy Tully
Roll Call of the Very First Baptist Church - Dr. Andy TullyTitle: Roll Call of the Very First Baptist Church Preacher: Dr. Andy Tully -Video Upload powered by https://www.TunesToTube.com.

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Msg #1906 Three Rs of Arranged Marriages
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Msg #1905 Truth is Fallen
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2018/05/10 Hosting Service Planned Outage
Friday 05/11/18

I received notification that our hosting provider will be doing required maintenance in the morning (05/11/18) to fix security problems.

The gave me a three hour window form 6-9 AM but say it should not take all three hours.

2018/04/27 We are back on the new server permanently now

2018/04/24 Server Issues

I have temporarily fallen back to the old server - may be here for a while - but the changeover has been transparent.

2018/04/13 New Server

I have had some major problems with database servers over the last week, which has prompted me to move the Baptist Minisstries Database to a new server this afternoon. So far so good, things are looking great, but it has been less than an hour.

Lord willing this new server will be able to handle the load better.

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