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Christians explore how ecological work can support the gospel mission.The first time Joel Kelling saw the Jordan River, on a 2010 Oxford University field trip, he was stunned. He was one of only two Christians in his group, and his traveling companions were unimpressed by the puny, polluted river.“It didn’t have the wonder I anticipated,” he said. “It’s small, it’s low, it’s brown, and it’s unrecognizable from what we might imagine the great River Jordan to be.”As a Christian, Kelling felt “a strange sense of responsibility” for the state of the river. “You think we should have been the ones protecting this resource.”Now an Anglican missionary serving in Jordan with his wife, Fiona, Kelling hopes to work with EcoPeace, a local environmental NGO, to bring the Jordan’s plight to his community’s attention. “A lot of people locally don’t even know what state [the river] is in,” he said. But between political turmoil, the refugee crisis, and other local conflicts, Christians living in the Holy Land have many things vying for their attention.Before the 1960s, the Jordan looked much like it did at the time of Christ. Its annual flow hovered around 1.3 billion cubic meters a minute. “It used to be a powerful river,” said Theodore Varaklas, a tour guide based in Jerusalem. “It was dangerous to cross.” Today, the Jordan’s waters have been reduced to 20 to 30 million cubic meters—a mere trickle of their former flow. The river is now so narrow that in some places you can hop from one bank to the other.It is an exercise in cognitive dissonance to stand on this river’s polluted shores and believe that it is the Jordan referenced 186 times in Scripture. This ...Continue reading...
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), the leading national organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation, has released their annual “Dirty Dozen List” that exposes and calls to account groups, agencies, and businesses who contribute significantly to the normalization of sexual exploitation through pornography, prostitution, sex trafficking, and other forms of exploitation.At yesterday’s event announcing the list, NCOSE said, “This list ensures that their participation and collusion with the various aspects of the sex trade becomes public knowledge and equips citizens with information and tools to hold them accountable.” The Dirty Dozen List is meant to be an activism tool for consumers and a public call for these companies to reform their exploitive policies.Since 2011, NCOSE has instigated 98 policy improvements in corporations and government entities. As NCOSE’s vice president of advocacy and outreach Haley Halverson said, “No corporation should profit from or facilitate sexual exploitation.”Here is this year’s Dirty Dozen List of shame. Click on the organization’s name to join the campaign and send a message to these entities that are profiting from the sexual exploitation of women and children.1. Amazon“Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer” is “promoting material that sexualizes children and normalizes the dehumanization and sexual commodification of women.” … “Items for sale on Amazon include child-like sex dolls, photography books with eroticized child nudity, pornographic magazines, and clothing items, and more. Their Kindle e-reader is riddled with sexually explicit content containing incest, babysitter, and group-sex themes.”2. EBSCO“EBSCO Information Services offers online library resources to public and private schools (K-12), colleges and universities, public libraries, and more. In its advertising for schools, it promises ‘fast access to curriculum-appropriate content.’ However, its Explora, Science Reference Center, Literary Reference Center, and other products, sometimes provide easy access to hardcore pornography sites and extremely graphic sexual content.”3. GoogleGoogle Chromebook, which is often used in schools, is marketed as “built from the ground up to be shared with an unlimited number of students.” “Unfortunately, many schools distribute unprotected and unfiltered Chromebooks when Google could easily turn on a default setting for safer use by children.” … “YouTube, the world’s largest video-sharing platform, regularly hosts pornography and sexual violence while Google shirks responsibility by forcing users to act at content flaggers.”4. HBO“HBO, a division of Time Warner, is an American premium cable television network that has consistently produced content which normalizes rape myths, sexual violence, and commercial sexual exploitation through [sic] with sexually exploitive depictions of sex and sexual violence. This has been displayed over the years through shows like Game of Thrones and The Deuce. The HBO GO home streaming service and app make accessing this exploitive content even easier.”5. Massage Envy“Massage Envy has been and is being, sued by hundreds of women for failing to take appropriate measures when a massage therapist sexually harasses or assaults a client. Among a number of poor policies, the company has hidden clauses in customer agreements which force women to surrender their rights, and many former employees report being trained to do all in their power not to encourage police to show up at their locations. Massage Envy does not even require reporting of suspected assaults to the Massage Therapy Board and a number of cases against Massage Envy involve prior complaints of sexual assault by customers being made to management and them doing nothing about it, thus allowing perpetrators to continue preying on vulnerable clients.”6. Netflix“Despite much highly-rated originally produced content on its platform, Netflix sinks to storytelling which portrays gratuitous nudity and graphic sex acts in shows meant for teen and young audiences. Further, Netflix portrays graphic and violent depictions of sexual assault in a number of their shows and has even produced shows normalizing sex trafficking and eroticizing children. Netflix allows a loophole for children to easily get around parental control features and it regularly recommends children’s content paired right next to NC17 and TV-MA content.”7. State of Nevada“Nevada is the only state in America with legalized brothel prostitution, in select counties. As of February 2018, there were at least 21 brothels active in Nevada. While some may claim that legalization provides better regulation and increased safety – the truth is that sexual violence, racism, and socioeconomic disadvantages are inextricable from the prostitution experience.”8. Roku“Roku, a leading media streaming company, provides its users with the ability to stream television programs, movies, music, and more, on their personal devices. Unfortunately, Roku also facilitates access to hardcore pornography channels through hundreds of private and hidden channels.”9. Sports Illustrated (Swimsuit Issue)“Since 1964 this magazine has sexually objectified women for sport and profit.” … “These images are not designed to be empowering. Rather, they are designed to portray women as sexually desirable and available to the male customers purchasing this magazine. Women who have achieved remarkable athletic feats do not deserve to be put back into the box of male sexual accessibility in order to promote ‘body positivity.’”10. Steam“Steam® is a popular distribution platform, owned by Valve Corporation, which sells thousands of video games for PC, Mac, Linux box, mobile device, or even televisions, in addition to connecting gamers with community forums on its website.” After receiving backlash from gamers about working to remove rape-themed games, Steam instituted a new policy to “allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling.” As soon as this new policy launched, the number of games tagged for “nudity” doubled from approximately 700 games to around 1,400 in just four months—and now there are over 2,000 games with this tag.11. Twitter“For years, Twitter has done little to stem the overwhelming tide of sex trafficking, prostitution, and pornography accounts on its site. In fact, media reports suggest that as many as 10 million Twitter accounts may include explicit sexual content. Twitter prides itself as being a platform for ‘free expression’ yet refuses to remove accounts posting likely advertisements for sexual slavery.”12. United Airlines“United Airlines fails to adequately train aircrews to address the problem of pornography-use on airplanes and the sexually hostile environment that this fosters. While reports of sexual harassment and even assault have increased in the airline industry, United Airlines has not prioritized policies and procedures to keep customers safe.”
We recently had a post in the Musicademy Facebook Group that asked: How do we explain to a new musician how to find beat one? Cue lots of hilarious comments from the community that anyone so musically illiterate could actually be on a worship team and the usual references to people who clap on the […]The post [Journal] Teaching a non-musician to get them to play conga for worship appeared first on Musicademy.
by Justin Petershen most of us think of John MacArthur we think of the precision of his preaching and the care with which he has handled God's word. We think of the courage he has displayed in interviews with Larry King and more recently Ben Shapiro as he has boldly declared unvarnished biblical truth and yet done so with love and compassion. All of these things are true.There is another aspect of John, though, that has had just as much impact upon me as has his preaching. His humility.Though I do not pretend to know him nearly as well as do many others, I have had the opportunity to see his humility come through in a couple of totally unscripted moments. One such opportunity came on a Sunday morning in November of 2017. I was guest preaching at the Grace Life Pulpit, led by Phil Johnson and Mike Riccardi. John knew that I was there with my wife, Kathy, and invited us to sit on the front pew with him during the morning worship service.Kathy and I were not there by ourselves, however. Also with us was one of Kathy's close friends, Franke Preston, whom God soundly saved out of lesbianism just a year or so before, and Franke's then 19 year old niece, April. After Grace Life Pulpit the four of us walked to the sanctuary and sat down on the front pew. Kathy sat to my left followed by Franke and then April.A few minutes after taking our seats John walks into the sanctuary from our left so the first person to whom he comes is April. He extends his hand to shake hers and said, "Hello, what is your name?" She responds, "April. What's your name?" Without missing a beat and without the slightest hint of surprise he responds, "Hi April, I'm John. It's so good to have you here with us this morning."You see, April is lost. She does not know Christ. She had never heard of Grace Community Church and had no idea who John MacArthur even was. Imagine this scene for a moment and put yourself in John MacArthur's shoes. You walk into the sanctuary of Grace Community Church on Sunday morning for worship, greet someone on the front pew sitting there by invitation, she looks you in the eye and asks, "What's your name?" I'd be willing to bet that it is not often John MacArthur is asked that question—much less on a Sunday morning by someone sitting in the front pew of Grace Community Church. It had to have been at least somewhat surprising to him that this young lady did not know his name, but if it was, you would have never known it by observing this brief but revealing interaction between a seasoned pastor and a young lady who does not know Christ. He was so kind and gracious with her. It was an impromptu reveal into John MacArthur's heart that I will never forget.Now, lest you think I am giving him undue accolades, I understand theologically that none of us as believers does anything with 100% pure motives. We live in a fallen world with fallen bodies, fallen wills, and fallen motives. Yes, we are new creatures in Christ; the old things have passed away and new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our hearts of stone have been graciously and sovereignly replaced with hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). But within every believer resides rebel outposts of sin that not even the most godly among us can completely put to death this side of glorification (Romans 7). John MacArthur is not an exception to this; a reality, I have no doubt, he would be the first to confirm.But if anyone had reason to be prideful it would be John. He has preached through the entire New Testament verse by verse, has written dozens of books including a complete commentary set and systematic theology. He has likely done more to champion expository preaching, sound doctrine and equip pastors and churches than anyone in the modern era. He has now had a full half century of faithful pastoral ministry unblemished by scandal. There are very few men of whom this can be said. There can be no doubt that he has had to put to death the temptation to be prideful. But, at least from what I have observed, John does it as well as anyone.The Apostle Paul was granted the magnanimous privilege of being caught up into the third heaven. Paul writes, "Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself" (2 Corinthians 12:7). Though Paul does not specify exactly what this "thorn" was (The Greek word σκόλοψ—skolops—is better rendered as "stake." This was no minor annoyance.), he does say that it was given to engender in him humility. It seems most likely that the skolops was a false apostle in the Corinthian church who opposed Paul and tried to turn others in the church against him.John MacArthur has certainly had his detractors and to this day has been unfairly maligned and slandered. He has had more than his share of skolops. But I have never seen him return evil for evil. I have never seen him disparage those who disparage him. As the skolops developed in the Apostle Paul genuine humility, its modern-day equivalents seem to have done the same with John MacArthur.I pray that one day April will come to be known by God (1 Corinthians 8:3). If so, she will almost certainly eventually come to know who John MacArthur is and will remember that Sunday morning he beautifully displayed to her true Christian humility.I have learned much from John MacArthur's 50 years of faithful ministry. I have learned much about how to study and preach God's word. As thankful as I am for these things, I am equally thankful for the model of genuine humility he has been to me and countless others.God gives true humility to His slaves, not to glorify them but to glorify Himself. The humility I have seen in John leaves me in awe of God for I know that this is the good fruit borne from a lifetime of study and application of the scriptures."God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:7). I am thankful for the tremendous grace God has given to John MacArthur.JustinPeters
That’s the question we posted to the Musicademy Worship Community, a 3,000+ strong Facebook Group comprised of worship musicians from multiple denominations and church size all around the world. We were immediately inundated with responses with many common stories of dwindling numbers of musicians, lack of budget, old equipment, time pressure conflicts and other demands […]The post What are the biggest issues facing worship teams right now? appeared first on Musicademy.
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