American Christian History Institute (A.C.H.I.)
A Christian Muslim Dialog
Answers in Genesis
Kincheloe Michigan (MI)
Sanford North Carolina (NC)
What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
Shane Claiborne and Michael Martin envision a future without firearms. Should believers rally to their cause?Someone, somewhere in America will be the victim of gun violence today. Mass shootings have become part of our routine national experience. What should be done with guns? That, essentially, is the question animating a new book from Shane Claiborne and Michael Martin, Beating Guns: Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence.Claiborne and Martin argue that that guns should be destroyed and refashioned. Their argument runs like this: Guns are violent, violence is antithetical to peace, and because Christians must be committed to peace, they should oppose guns. No Christian who cares about peace is energized for violence.Many readers will be familiar with Claiborne’s previous books on Christian nonviolence. He has been admirably consistent: Christians who take the teachings of Jesus seriously must forsake violence and pursue what makes for peace. In Claiborne’s case, this has meant a recurring emphasis on aiding the poor, sheltering the homeless, and advocacy against capital punishment. Martin, for his part, is the founder and director of RAWtools, Inc., a nonprofit that turns guns into gardening tools. Together, they want to beat guns, figuratively and literally.Surprising StatisticsBeating Guns offers a useful historical overview of gun markets in the US and an instructive statistical analysis of American gun violence. The book is at its strongest when accounting for the scale of firearm ownership and use in the United States. Many of Claiborne and Martin’s findings are indeed quite alarming. Most people are aware, for example, that Americans own more guns and experience more gun violence than any other nation in the world. But did you know that Americans own half of all firearms globally, even though the ...Continue reading...
A close look at the deadly church shooting, “Emmanuel” reveals ruthless sin, scandalous mercy, and divides that persist.“Only five of us were left after the massacre,” said Polly Sheppard.In 2015, Sheppard was in the prayer circle at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church when a 21-year-old white supremacist started shooting. The nation’s deadliest racially motivated mass shooting at a place of worship took the lives of nine Christians she had worshiped alongside with for years: senior pastor Clementa Pinckney and congregants Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and her best friend Myra Thompson.Four years to the day of the massacre, Emanuel, a documentary recounting their story, will open in over 1,000 theaters nationwide on Monday. Members of all nine victims’ families participated in interviews, along with survivors such as Sheppard, local reporters, the Charleston mayor, and the Charleston police chief. The film examines societal effects of racism—for this particular historic church and in the American South at large—before transitioning to the massacre and the victims’ loved ones’ subsequent acts of forgiveness.“This film is not just about racism—it’s about grace,” said director Brian Ivie, who worked on Emanuel for three years. “It’s a story of a group of people who decided they were going to bear the full weight of the wrong and still wish good upon the wrongdoer. That is the highest form of love possible, a love that Jesus Christ perfected.”Emanuel opens at a time when stories of people of color drifting away from evangelical churches due to increasing politicization of the gospel have made national news.“It’s a hard movie to watch, ...Continue reading...
This week, Terrie and I celebrate thirty-three years of ministry at Lancaster Baptist Church with the Anniversary Sunday and host the Spiritual Leadership Conference. (And I hope you're planning to join us!)Before guests arrive for the conference, however, I wanted to share with our church family some convictions regarding ministry that I am as convinced of today as I was in 1986. Last week, I preached a message titled “This I Believe” in which I shared four such convictions.Whether you are just starting out in the ministry or have been preaching the gospel for decades, remembering and holding to these truths from God's Word will keep you going during seasons of challenge and difficulty.These convictions aren't helpful because you believe them, but they are truths that help you when you believe.1. The Power of the GospelFor I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.—Romans 1:16Following Romans 1:16, one of the great declarations of the power of the gospel, the Apostle Paul describes the darkened, hardened hearts of a culture in need of the gospel. We see many of these marks of depravity in our culture today.Thankfully, at Lancaster Baptist Church, we've also seen the power of the gospel to change lives—one person at a time.The fact is that the gospel is more powerful than the dark hearts, false worship, vile affections, and reprobate minds described in Romans 1.If you don't believe in the power of the gospel, you will become discouraged or jaded in ministry. But when you believe that the gospel is the “power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth,” you want to continue to preach it. You rejoice in every life it changes. And you never lose hope for those who still need salvation.2. The Potential of ChildrenBut Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.—Matthew 19:14One of the blessings of spending over three decades in one church is performing the weddings of those you prayed over on baby dedication Sundays. It is watching the spiritual fruit in the lives of young families who were once children attending Sunday school. It is seeing God shape new generations of biblically-committed, Spirit-filled, Christ-centered Christians in this world.But whether or not you've had the privilege of being in once place for a long period of time, the reality of potential in children is there. This is why a Christ-centered church must be a child-inclusive church that nurtures and disciples hearts for God.We must continue to bring children to church—by discipling parents who already come and by sharing the love of Christ with children whose parents are not yet saved.We must also teach children. Paul affirmed to Timothy, “that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). Children face unrelenting indoctrination from a corrupt culture. We must point their hearts to Christ and equip their minds with the truth.3. The Priority of the Church But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.—1 Timothy 3:15The local church is a body of believers that is supposed to function as a place of teaching and building up (Ephesians 4:11–16), encouraging and loving (Acts 2:46), and holding sound doctrine (1 Timothy 3:15, Titus 1:9).As a family, the local church has challenges. If it has real people, it has messy people. That's just the nature of life and the process of sanctification for all of us. But the church is to be a place where sin is confronted (1 Corinthians 5:1–5) and the fallen are restored (Galatians 6:1–2).The local church is God's plan for reaching the world with the gospel (Acts 1:8). Above all, it is the place where Christ is to be given preeminence (Colossians 1:18).Although there are certainly times when those of us who lead in local church ministry become weary, remembering the priority of the church—to Christ who loved it and gave Himself for it, to those within our church families who need the church to grow into Christlikeness, and to a lost world in need of the gospel—reminds us of the greatness of any ministry that is part of the local church.4. The Provision of God's GraceAnd he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.—2 Corinthians 12:9God's grace is sufficient.It is sufficient for your family. It is sufficient for your financial challenges. It is sufficient for your trials. It is sufficient for your ministry. It is sufficient.When you face challenges in your life or ministry and consider if you can continue, the answer is always yes. Yes, you can.Because of God's grace.Because of the priority of the church.Because of the potential of children.Because of the power of the gospel.
We're all perfectly aware that Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale doesn't like Christianity. Why else would it paint the religion as a part of a theological dictatorship where women are treated like cattle, child brides are legal and men beat their wives? After all, it's not like the show's going to acknowledge those are very real […]
You don't exist to help professional ministry leaders fulfill the Great Commission. We exist to help you do it.Leer en español | Ler em portuguêsBut will they listen?”I sat across the table from a friend, Bill Pollard, who had a hopeful but slightly doubtful look on his face. I had just shared with him the Lausanne Movement’s vision to convene more than 700 Christian workplace leaders from more than 100 nations.Bill loved the vision: to mobilize Christians in the workplace as God’s instruments to bring kingdom impact in every sphere of society. However, he wondered whether some church leaders would have questions about the effectiveness of this type of ministry through so-called “lay” leaders.His questioning reflects a long history of Christian ministry being viewed as the restricted responsibility of “professionals” such as pastors and missionaries. People like Bill have challenged that notion, showing instead that the mantle of ministry belongs on the shoulders of every Christian.Bill served as CEO of ServiceMaster, which, during his leadership, was recognized by Fortune magazine as the No. 1 service company among the Fortune 500 and was noted by the Financial Times as one of the most respected companies in the world. For Bill, work at ServiceMaster was about service to the Master. As he would often say, “No company has eternal value. Only the Church does. Only people do.” Bill shared with me stories of people as far as Tokyo, Japan, whose lives were impacted by the gospel love he and others in his company shared.We need more people like Bill, and for that to happen, there needs to be a change in the way we view ministry and work—a return to the way it was meant to be. From my vantage point as a full-time ministry leader within a global evangelical movement, ...Continue reading...
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