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Daily Devotions - Recognizing God's Blessings (Oct. 8, 2021) Philippians4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
The Carpenter - Bible-believing, Fundamental KJV Independent Baptist Preaching An emphasis on the Lord's title as The Carpenter, with notes on His Previous Construction; His Projects Today; and His Partners in the Work, this message was ...
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How a quiet, bookish kid came to faith while living among rageaholics.Some days are like a hot iron, searing their events into your memory. This was one of them­—sun shining, birds chirping, and me playing on the front porch of our cracker-box rental house in North Denver.To my five-year-old self, it was a perfect afternoon. No gunshots, no gang-filled cars creeping by looking for trouble as they often did in our neighborhood, where my family was no stranger to violence. (We were often at the center of it.)Everything was good that day—at least until a shiny, new car pulled up and the driver began staring in my direction. It was Paul, one of the men my Ma had married. He had up and left us without warning, and we hadn’t heard from him in months.Ma caught sight of him out the kitchen window. Cursing like a sailor, she hunted down our baseball bat. Charging out of the house, cigarette hanging from her lips, she dared Paul to get out of the car. As he considered her offer, she started swinging at the headlights and the windshield.Paul made the tactical mistake of getting out. Not missing a beat, Ma stopped smashing the car and started smashing him instead. When he finally limped back to the driver’s seat and peeled off, I knew we’d never see him again.Instantly, I realized two things: One, I would never disobey Ma again. And two, something had ignited a rage in her that consistently led to incidents like this. Years later, my grandma told me what that something was.All the rageMa was a partier, and I was a result of one of the parties, where she had met a guy named Toney. She got pregnant. He got transferred (he was in the Army). Instead of facing her conservative Baptist parents, Ma drove from Denver to Boston, under the pretense of visiting my uncle Tommy and ...Continue reading...
Christian health workers and pastors navigate stigma at Apostolic, evangelical, and Methodist congregations.Yvonne Binda stands in front of the congregation, all dressed in pristine white robes, and tells them not to believe what they’ve heard about COVID-19 vaccines.“The vaccine is not linked to Satanism,” she says. The worshipers, members of a Christian Apostolic church in Zimbabwe, are unmoved. But when Binda, a vaccine campaigner and member of an Apostolic church herself, promises them soap, buckets, and masks, there are enthusiastic shouts of “Amen!”Apostolic groups that infuse traditional beliefs into Pentecostal doctrine are among the most skeptical in the southern African nation when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, with an already strong mistrust of modern medicine. Many followers put faith in prayer, holy water, and anointed stones to ward off disease or cure illnesses.The worshipers Binda addressed in the rural area of Seke sang about being protected by the Holy Spirit, but have at least acknowledged soap and masks as a defense against the coronavirus. Binda is trying to convince them to also get vaccinated—and that’s a tough sell.Congregation leader Kudzanayi Mudzoki had to work hard to persuade his flock just to stay and listen to Binda speak about vaccines.“They usually run away,” he said. “Some would hide in the bushes.”There has been little detailed research on Apostolic churches in Zimbabwe, but UNICEF studies estimate it is the largest religious denomination with around 2.5 million followers in a country of 15 million. The conservative groups adhere to a doctrine demanding that followers avoid medicines and medical care and instead seek healing through their faith.Integrated into the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHCD) in 1993, the Apostolic ...Continue reading...
Plus, regular attendees trust their pastor's vaccine advice more than almost any other source.A year and a half into the coronavirus pandemic, most churchgoers think it’s finally safe to be back in the pews.And despite prominent clashes over COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine exemptions, regular attendees largely agree with their congregations’ reopening plans and trust their church leaders’ advice on whether to get the shot, according to a survey released today by the Pew Research Center.Those who go to church at least once a month were as likely to trust their church’s guidance as they were public health officials, the survey found. The only group they deemed more trustworthy was their own doctor.“Overall, more Americans who attend religious services at least monthly express trust in their clergy and religious leaders to provide vaccine guidance than say the same about their state elected officials, their local elected officials or the news media,” the researchers wrote.The findings back up the strategies of faith-based vaccine campaigns, which continue to urge leaders to share resources or speak about their decision to get the shot, whether from the pulpit or in one-on-one conversations with congregants.Across traditions, US churchgoers were far more likely to say their pastors encouraged (39%) rather than discouraged the vaccine (5%). But the majority said their pastors didn’t say much either way.Black Protestants were most likely to hear pro-vaccine messages from church leaders; about two thirds say their church promoted vaccination. The topic came up the least among evangelical Protestants, with around three-quarters saying their pastors didn’t really weigh in about vaccination.A previous report from Pew found that 83 percent of US congregations heard their pastor ...Continue reading...
The EC president and CEO says he “will not and cannot” lead after its vote to waive attorney-client privilege. Ronnie Floyd is the latest to leave the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee (EC) over its decision to hand over privileged documents in an upcoming abuse investigation.Floyd, the president and CEO of the EC, announced in an email Thursday night that he could no longer serve in the role, which he has held for two years. His resignation is effective October 31.In the past couple weeks, more than ten members of the EC left around the much-debated vote on attorney-client privilege, and the EC’s longtime attorneys, James Guenther and James Jordan, withdrew their legal services.In his resignation letter, Floyd repeated his commitment to the outside review of the EC, but continued to emphasize the potential risks and liability of waiving privilege.“The decisions made on Tuesday afternoon, October 5, in response to the 2021 Convention now place our missionary enterprise as Southern Baptists into uncertain, unknown, unprecedented and uncharted waters,” he wrote.“Due to my personal integrity and the leadership responsibility entrusted to me, I will not and cannot any longer fulfill the duties placed upon me as the leader of the executive, fiscal, and fiduciary entity of the SBC. In the midst of deep disappointment and discouragement, we have to make this decision by our own choice and do so willingly, because there is no other decision for me to make.”Rolland Slade, EC chairman, told Baptist Press, “I am saddened by his resignation. He’s had a tremendous ministry for years and years. I know he loves Southern Baptists. I know it was his intention to come to Nashville to serve Southern Baptists well and I believe he’s fulfilled that to the best of his ability. However, ...Continue reading...
The third-party inquiry, though, critiques lack of transparency by pastor John Ortberg, who resigned last year.A third-party investigation at one of northern California’s most prominent megachurches that consumed its congregation and former pastor’s fractious family ended this week with a report that found no evidence the pastor’s adult child had acted on his confessed attraction to minors.“After interviewing 104 witnesses and reviewing or analyzing more than 500,000 documents, Zero Abuse Project did not find any disclosure or other direct evidence the volunteer in question sexually abused a child,” said the report by the firm hired by Menlo Church near San Francisco to study its handling of the confession.In 2018, one of Pastor John Ortberg’s offspring, referred to only as “Individual A” in the report, but identified in earlier news reports as Johnny Ortberg, confessed to having long been sexually attracted to children.John Ortberg, a bestselling author who played a role in exposing misconduct by former Willow Creek pastor Bill Hybels, did not report the confession to church staff or other leaders. Nor did he remove Individual A from volunteering with children at the church or insist the volunteer stop coaching as a youth sports team.The matter remained secret until another Ortberg family member, Daniel Lavery, informed church leaders. The pastor was suspended in late 2019 and was allowed to return, but the congregation was not told about the family connection between Individual A and their pastor.“… Zero Abuse concludes that the decision of the Senior Pastor not to disclose to church leaders or others the conversation he had with the volunteer, as well as the decision of the church Elders not to be fully transparent about this situation, caused significant damage to the ...Continue reading...
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