+- +-

+- User

Welcome, Guest.
Please login or register.
 
 
 
Forgot your password?

+-Stats ezBlock

Members
Total Members: 119
Latest: Bella_777
New This Month: 2
New This Week: 0
New Today: 0
Stats
Total Posts: 17093
Total Topics: 874
Most Online Today: 434
Most Online Ever: 771
(July 30, 2019, 01:13:39 am)
Users Online
Members: 0
Guests: 70
Total: 70

Author Topic: Christianity Today Magazine - April 2020  (Read 1763 times)

0 Members and 0 Guests are viewing this topic.

patrick jane

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9590
  • Karma: +1010/-0
  • Research Jesus Christ - Research Flat Earth
  • Location: Homeless in God's Flat Earth
  • Referrals: 41
    • Theology Forums
Re: Christianity Today Magazine - April 2020
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2020, 06:57:10 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/april-web-only/earth-day-creation-care-staying-home-regain-sense-of-place.html






Can Staying Home Help Us Regain a Sense of Place?







How rediscovering creation around us can deepen our connection with God.


This year’s Earth Day, unlike any other, feels at once expansive and restricted. As hundreds of millions of the earth’s citizens have been ordered to stay home for the greater good of our species, we live in isolated worlds that feel much too small. Perhaps this time of quarantine brings with it the opportunity to rediscover a sense of place and discover God’s creation anew.

The term “sense of place” has long been used by scientists and anthropologists to describe the meaningful relationship that can arise as a result of deep knowledge of and familiarity with a given place, and it applies to urban and rural settings alike. Having a sense of place can contribute toward deeper responsibility to care for creation and can motivate communities to join together in this common goal.

But acquiring a sense of place requires time and attention—something that Duke University professor Norman Wirzba says can come in short supply in contemporary life. Wirzba, who researches the intersection of ecology, theology, and philosophy, said in an interview that until the pandemic, a hurried, unsettled pace of life was a trademark of 21st-century life. “One of the ways to describe postmodernity is to say that we’re only rushing through places and not ever settling into any place.”

As a result, many of us aren’t even familiar with the everyday flora and fauna outside our front doors. Abbie Schrotenboer, professor of biology at Trinity Christian College, has noticed this same unfamiliarity in her science students. “I get a lot of people who don’t really know much about the local area, even if they’ve grown up in the Midwest.”

Part of the danger in neglecting a sense of place—and the local knowledge that comes with it—is that it becomes easier to take nature’s value for granted or deny it altogether. (Take, for instance, the Oxford Junior Dictionary’s recent removal of a host of biological terms and replacing them with words related to technology.)

There is something deeply Christian in the naming of things: It was one of God’s first commandments to Adam in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:19–20). But in neglecting a sense of place, there’s much more at stake than a dearth of plant knowledge. Identifying a sense of place is part of identifying a calling and naming the connection God asks us to have to the lands in which we dwell. Wirzba said that having a sense of place is crucial to understanding our own purposes as human beings. “If you don’t think you belong where you are, how do you sense that you still matter?”

In his book Our Only World, agrarian champion and Christian thinker Wendell Berry says a deep knowledge of a particular place is crucial to understanding how to steward it well. He uses the foresting industry as an example of what it means to belong to a place. After years spent in a particular forest, a forester comes to know the land so intimately that he can practice his trade without damaging the larger stock of trees. “It is the knowledge that tells one, in a given situation, where to look or what to expect or how much is enough. … This education is ‘observational,’ and it takes many years.” Eventually, this familiarity should lead to gratitude.

It’s key to remember that the ultimate aim of connecting with creation is connecting with the Creator; becoming more aware of our local natural surroundings can speak uniquely to us of God’s love. “Everything that exists, every creature, every place, is God’s love variously made visible, fragrant, tactile, auditory, and delicious,” Wirzba said. Being disconnected from creation, then, is not only unfortunate, but theologically dangerous. “We miss out on the larger meaning of this world in which we live.”

It’s also important to remember, especially in this time of quarantine, that connecting to nature doesn’t require field trips to exotic locales. To help her students build a better sense of place, Schrotenboer has taken both science students and nonmajors to investigate natural areas on the campus of Trinity and the surrounding neighborhood. This investigation includes everything from tallying plant species to setting up remote cameras to keep an eye on local wildlife. For Schrotenboer, even collecting water samples is a chance to wonder at the complexity of creation. “This helps us to monitor the water quality, but to also realize there are living things in there even when you don’t see them.”

Schrotenboer has noticed that for her students, paying attention to the most minute details in nature has deepened their own interests and curiosity and even inspired them to become involved in conservation efforts. “We’re kind of focused on the plants, but it turned out my students got really into finding fungi as well,” leading one student to photograph local fungi and upload the photos to the species’ Wikipedia page. Schrotenboer said the more we notice in our surroundings, the more we are in awe. “When you start to be able to identify and name things, it helps you appreciate all that is there, all the interconnections between different species and parts of the ecosystems.”

For many of us sheltering in place, this time presents an opportunity to slow down and take in our natural surroundings as never before. “It gives a great chance to get to know your own backyard,” Schrotenboer said. Though she acknowledged that not everyone has a yard to call their own, she also pointed out that even highly developed areas often offer parks or nature preserves to explore. She has found access to nature in suburban Chicago, where she currently lives. “When I first moved here, it was with a little bit of trepidation because I didn’t know what the area was like, but I’ve been really impressed by how many little nature reserves there are.”

Wirzba encourages city-dwellers to build a sense of connection with creation in any way they can. “I know it’s difficult when you’re in a city,” he said, “but you can do this even if you’re just growing a tomato plant in a window box.”

For those seeking resources to explore creation, Schrotenboer recommends the plant identification app Seek, which she uses with her students. She also noted that those unable to leave their homes at all can still deepen their sense of place through podcasts like But Why?, aimed at helping children explore the natural world.

She encourages all parents to kindle their children’s natural curiosity when taking walks. “I think a lot of it is just encouraging their natural instinct to explore and be willing to look at the little things. When they’re little, they focus on little tiny pebbles and things like that. Embrace that, whatever it is they want to explore.” Teaching our children to wonder at creation can be a chance to teach them more about God, too. And adults and children alike can be reminded through creation that God calls us to care for each other and share our resources, not to hoard them.

All of this time outdoors presents unique opportunities for Christians to take up the call to care for creation—engaging in citizen science, picking up litter on the trail, or investing in a pair of binoculars and taking up birding as a hobby. All of these things can deepen our sense of belonging to a place and impress upon us the responsibility we all carry for stewarding God’s earth.

In the same way, as we spend time in creation, we can recognize that creation is one of the ways God cares for us. A recent article in Nature shows a deep connection between spending time outdoors and having a sense of well-being. Now, more than ever, we need sources of beauty and hope, and Wirzba says creation can provide just that—if we pay attention. “The thing to do is to sit down and actually take a look at where you are,” Wirzba said. “What places are still producing beauty? It’s springtime, and things are blooming in a lot of parts of the country.”

For Schrotenboer, communing with creation is a way to draw closer to God, no matter what else is going on. “The more I appreciate creation,” she said, “the more I give glory to God as the Creator.”

Perhaps, if there is a spring rain on this Earth Day, we will even see a rainbow, the reminder of God’s faithfulness even in times of travail. “As long as the earth endures,” God instructed Noah, “seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease” (Gen. 8:22). If we pay close attention, we can see the coming spring as a song of praise, a hymn to God’s faithfulness.














Elyse Durham is a writer in Detroit. Her work appears regularly in Christianity Today and has also been featured in America Magazine , the Cincinnati Review , and elsewhere.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

patrick jane

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9590
  • Karma: +1010/-0
  • Research Jesus Christ - Research Flat Earth
  • Location: Homeless in God's Flat Earth
  • Referrals: 41
    • Theology Forums
Re: Christianity Today Magazine - April 2020
« Reply #27 on: April 27, 2020, 03:16:40 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/april/compassion-in-crisis.html






Those MAGA-Hat Protestors: Compassion, Contempt, and the Way of Christ






Often, our compassion meters are put on display when it comes to how we respond to those who seem least like us. The way of Jesus is better.


Compassion is an odd thing. When we think we don’t have enough of it, it can emerge from seemingly nowhere. When we are certain we are filled with it, we find we respond in ways we ought not. And often, our compassion meters are put on display when it comes to how we respond to those who seem least like us.

We are seeing a lot of scorn and anger targeted at protestors wanting to open the economy— often MAGA-hat wearing pro-Trump supporters. “They must just be ignorant hicks,” some say. “They are going to get sick—and get us sick.” “What a bunch of idiots.”

It’s important, however, that before we judge, we consider. That before we condemn, we pray. All of those who act in ways we disagree with are made in God’s image. We may believe our thoughts and opinions are the correct ones, but we must never forget that there are two sides of each story and many lenses through which to see the world.

There are a lot of frightened people out there, many of whom were already having financial strains. Now, too many of these people are unemployed or underemployed because of the impact of COVID-19.

So, if you are sitting at home, working from home because your job allows it, have a little compassion for people who are watching their future dissolve, are fearful for their children’s future, and who just want to work.

Compassion or contempt

Hard truth, friends: we have got to listen a bit more to one another right now.

A lot of people are afraid and frustrated. And, there are some groups who are being disproportionately affected. Among them, economically, are working-class white people.

Jenn Thomas, a single mother with two children, is worried about the economic impact of government restrictions on businesses. She observed in an interview, “We can’t just continue to keep closing things up and disrupting people’s lives where [COVID-19] is not affecting people like myself physically."

The story explained that Thomas moved to California to open a hair salon last September. Her business was doing well until the mandated business closures came in response to the pandemic. "I don't want to lose my house," she said. "My livelihood is in dire straits. When is this going to end?" She planned to participate in a protest at the state capital calling for state officials to reopen businesses.

Can you have compassion for her? Does that compassion not apply if she is wearing a red hat?

Like Thomas, many Americans who are currently jobless fear the long-term implications of the closures. They wonder if the restrictions are necessary in areas where the virus doesn't seem as widespread.

They are afraid. The pictures of them, sometimes protesting with political signs, makes them easy to caricature.

But don’t.

We need to feel a sense of compassion, but instead, far too many of us feel contempt.

We explore the issue of contempt at length in Christians in the Age of Outrage— it is one of the great challenges of our day. Far too many people rush to contempt when they might consider compassion.

People are afraid.

I’m not endorsing everything that everyone says. And, I get some politicians are taking advantage of the situation. But, I can’t get past the fact that there a lot of people who are afraid— for their families and their future.

I’m hurting with them.

African Americans

But, of course, working class whites are not the only ones experiencing disruption. Actually, African Americans are dying at a much higher rate.

They are experiencing both economic and disproportionate health challenges.

Jay Banks is a New Orleans City councilman. He is also chairman of one of the many Mardi Gras entities there—one which has seen six of its group die of the disease in recent days. He worries about the disproportionate number in the African American community who are dying from the disease. "You've got to get people to understand just how serious and devastating this thing [COVID-19] is," he says.

The evidence is clear that African Americans are disproportionately affected by this virus. I recently talked to Chicago African American pastor Charlie Dates, who had two members of his church lose their lives to COVID-19. The Church of God in Christ, the nation's oldest and largest African American Pentecostal denomination, reports that well over a dozen bishops and pastors have died.

The statistics are cause for concern: in Cook County, which includes Chicago, black residents make up 23 percent of the population, yet account for 58 percent of COVID-19 deaths. In Milwaukee, black residents represent 26 percent of the population, but accounted for almost half of the cases and 81 percent of its deaths.

I can’t get past the fact that there a lot of people who are afraid— for their health, for their communities, and for their families and their future.

I’m hurting with them.

Deaths, unemployment, and enough compassion for everyone

So, the statistics on unemployment are dire. In February, unemployment rates were at a multi-decade low of 3.5 percent. The U.S. was cruising along well in terms of jobs. But now, estimates are that unemployment will hit 16 percent by July, the highest since the Great Depression.

Many Americans were already vulnerable economically before the pandemic hit. The working poor, many who live in both rural and urban areas, live just above the poverty line and have no savings or recourse in times of sudden joblessness. "If they don’t show up for work, they don’t get paid. To get to their jobs, they have to take mass transit, putting themselves in closer contact with more people and, therefore, at greater risk of infection," one article noted.

And, still, people are dying. If we open up the economy too soon, more will die.

And vulnerable people are losing everything.

We can care about both

I'm of the opinion that we need to keep our businesses and non-essential services closed as long as we need to keep them closed as long as we are saving lives, and that we must slowly reopen in such a way that we do not have a rush of new cases. Doctors tell us we aren't ready to reopen; business owners are saying we should begin doing so responsibly. We can have our opinions, but during the crisis we must lean on experts to make well-informed, well-considered decisions.

And we continue to be the church. And we cannot do as the church is be blind or insensitive to people who are hurting due to pride, prejudice, or misinformation. We cannot treat urban African Americans who are seeing family and friends die as invisible. Our priority is to all. Always. Neither can we judge Trump supporters based on what we do not know of their lives.

The world does not need more contempt. It needs more compassionate Christians.

Now is the time to move past our narrow thinking, worldview, and experience, and to step into the shoes of the other, for the sake of the other. We need to listen to all who struggle in this pandemic. And the list of those who struggle is long: Trump supporters who have lost their jobs, urban minorities experiencing injustice, those who suffer from mental illness or abuse, healthcare workers unable to be with their families, children in broken homes, single parents, the homeless, the hungry, the hopeless, the elderly.

Now and in the coming days and months our first priority is not to ourselves or our churches. Our first priority is for those suffering and on the margins.

May we never forget it. Jesus didn’t. And his call is still on our lives to leave all and follow him in caring for others. All others.

So, let’s pass on the contempt and follow the way of Jesus.














Ed Stetzer is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, serves as a dean at Wheaton College, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group. The Exchange Team contributed to this article.

The Exchange is a part of CT's Blog Forum. Support the work of CT. Subscribe and get one year free.
The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

patrick jane

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9590
  • Karma: +1010/-0
  • Research Jesus Christ - Research Flat Earth
  • Location: Homeless in God's Flat Earth
  • Referrals: 41
    • Theology Forums
Re: Christianity Today Magazine - April 2020
« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2020, 03:19:44 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/april/open-letter-to-evangelicals-on-self-less-living-during-this.html






An Open Letter to Evangelicals on Self-Less Living During this Pandemic








We may be sequestered, but as we emerge and show our faces in public, the gospel is on trial.


Hidden during this pandemic is another virus, one affecting our church communities, countries, and the world. It doesn’t raise the body temperature or cause shortness of breath; it doesn’t diminish one’s ability to taste or smell. It can’t be detected by a nasal swab or discovered by taking one’s temperature. Neither can one be cured from it by therapeutic drugs, resuscitated from its takeover by a ventilator, or protected from it by a vaccine.

This virus moves stealthily through our personal and community systems, not only in times of crises, but even in the best of times. In certain conditions, it can even be considered not only as normal and natural, but as desirable.

And what is that virus? Self-interest.

Not surprisingly, in times of public fright, when we are unnerved by crisis, overwrought by fear, and frozen by anxiety, “me first” becomes our deafening mantra. Neighbors say it. Political leaders say it. And, in an understandable reflex, I say it too.

Self-interest is a potent cocktail of personal, familial, corporate, and national propensities. It’s an obvious human instinct, be it an adult hoarding toilet paper, a politician denying export of virus-related therapies and equipment, or a pastor proudly defying their government’s request to not hold public services.

“Me first” began when we were infants. Our overwhelming instinct was about self: comfort, warmth, food, attention. As we grow through childhood and then adolescence, we should come to a point in life when our personal needs, interests, and comforts are replaced by an otherness, an ability to see that life is not just about ourselves.

It is test time

Pastors, let us be under no illusion: during this time of global fear and need, we will be tested. We will be seen for our deeds and judged for our generosity. We will be interpreted not by our words but how we move among our community, how the love of Jesus is manifest as we interact with our leaders. There is no hiding today. We may be sequestered, but as we emerge and show our faces in public, the gospel is on trial.

The tough question we might ask is, “How will we pass the test?” How are we leading in helping others do what identifies that which we believe?

Our deeds will be seen. Our identity will be noticed. Like a sticker, it will be pasted across the doors of our churches once we are able to meet together again. How we handle our own needs and those of others will define our witness of Jesus. The way we live now will imprint itself on the memories of our children and grandchildren with a clear picture of what it means to follow Jesus.

Yes, a vaccine will be found for COVID-19. Therapies will mitigate its power. Distancing will tamper its infectious spread. But what will be the test for the church of Jesus Christ, both during and following this virus?

The test is how our words of faith match our care for people. It is not complicated by our view on pre- or post-millennial theology. We won’t be asked if we are closer to Calvin or Wesley in our theology. I doubt anyone will wonder if glossolalia happens at Spirit baptism or after.

Jesus spoke the test:

I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. (Matt. 25:35-36)

How the early church responded

The early church, swept up in the epidemic in the mid-3rd century, became a force in treating those sick and dying, a public narrative of the gospel. Christians were outliers in their culture, despised on many sides. But when disease claimed up to a third of the population, their testimony blazed a new era of witness.

Bishop Dionysius wrote,

Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains.”[1]

The gospel provides a thoughtful framework of human life. For the many questions of life, Jesus not only gives answers, but is in himself the answer to ultimate questions.

An Orthodox bishop in Europe during World War 2, troubled by the seducing messages of both Hitler and Stalin, was heard to remark, “When confusion reigns, help children.” What did he mean?

Regardless of confusion, misinformation, or competitive narratives, he said, “Do good.” We never have to wonder what to do, when we know the call from Jesus is simple and straightforward: “Love God and love your neighbor.”

The world is transcribing our testimony. The Acts of the Apostles will add a chapter, describing how we as Evangelicals served during the pandemic.

At our summer church camp, a banner graced the platform of our worship center with these words from Jesus: “By this shall all people know you are my disciples if you love each other.”

Let me suggest three questions to frame our daily lives:

1. On my to-dolist, what includes helping others?

2. This month, what of my personal income is designated for others?

3. In prayer, what inclusions do I have beyond family, friends, and church?

In grade school I had a paper route, and there I met a veteran of World War l. I loved to stop while delivering papers and hear his wartime stories. One I remember this way:

One day, splashed by mud and spattered by the blood of slain comrades, a Salvation Army volunteer came by offering new socks. For me, this was a gift from heaven. But with a difference. While others came by, distributing needed items, there was always a price attached. When I asked the volunteer the price, to my surprise he said it was a gift. No charge.

They passed the test, a witness to Jesus of Nazareth.














Brian C. Stiller is Global Ambassador of the World Evangelical Alliance.

[1] Rodney Stark, 1997, The Rise of Christianity, HarperCollins: Princeton NJ, see Ch. 4.

The Exchange is a part of CT's Blog Forum. Support the work of CT. Subscribe and get one year free.
The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

patrick jane

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9590
  • Karma: +1010/-0
  • Research Jesus Christ - Research Flat Earth
  • Location: Homeless in God's Flat Earth
  • Referrals: 41
    • Theology Forums
Re: Christianity Today Magazine - April 2020
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2020, 10:16:22 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/april-web-only/put-down-that-spiritual-gifts-quiz.html






Churches: Put Down That Spiritual Gifts Quiz








What the local body misses when it focuses on personality analyses and congregational surveys.


One of my favorite church events has always been the post-church potluck lunch. COVID-19 may have paused our monthly parade of 9-by-13 pans, but I dream of the day when we’ll all be back together in the church basement with our favorite recipes.

As a kid perusing the potluck banquet, I always went for the cookies. As an adult, I try to make wiser choices. I pass up the kielbasa to leave room for some salad, and I take a generous spoonful from otherwise-untouched pans so that no one feels bad. But no matter how carefully I make my selections, the offerings themselves aren’t always balanced. Some weeks, in mysterious synchronicity, everyone shows up with a pasta dish. Other weeks, we all resolve to be healthier, and vegetables take over space usually reserved for desserts.

The composition of spiritual gifts in the local church can look a lot like a meal in the fellowship hall. Sometimes, the church has an abundance of preachers and teachers. Other times, it has no one to fill in when the Bible study leader is sick. Sometimes, the church has plenty of people to cook and clean for the elderly. Other times, it struggles to find any. A church may have dozens of ministry organizers to every one person who can make the coffee, or 15 nursery volunteers to every one who wants to do evangelism. And in many churches, it can feel like a few people have all the gifts, and the rest of us barely have one.

For a generation of Christians versed in personality inventories and enneagram numbers, this environment can feel disorienting and even disappointing. Shouldn’t the gifts and graces in the church be more evenly distributed? Shouldn’t we be able to categorize the gifts in our midst? And shouldn’t our local body contain them all?

After decades of watching these questions play out in my local church and elsewhere, I think it might be time to put down the congregational surveys and spiritual gifts quizzes and learn to enjoy the feast the Spirit spreads for us.

In the New Testament, we find five different lists (Rom. 12:6–8; 1 Cor. 12:8–10, 28–30; Eph. 4:11; 1 Peter 4:7–11) that altogether name dozens of spiritual gifts. Some of the gifts are familiar—evangelism, faith, acts of mercy, teaching. Some are puzzling—what, for example, is the difference between “a message of wisdom” and “a message of knowledge” (1 Cor. 12:8)?

The interplay of the lists only adds to our head scratching. Several of the gifts are repeated in more than one list, while others appear in only one place. Even the two lists in 1 Corinthians—which we might expect to shed some clarifying light—include both repetitions and distinctions.

As I’ve spent time studying these parts of Scripture, one thing seems clear to me. Our attempts to rigidly classify and neatly identify a precise list of spiritual gifts will end in frustration. And that’s exactly the way it should be. Paul and Peter don’t encourage us to chart the gifts in our congregation or even to spend much time worrying about which ones we possess as individuals. In a sense, they want us to put down the gifts quiz—or at least to think and talk about it way less often.

That’s because an overly tidy approach to spiritual gifts misses this ultimate point: The Spirit gives precisely the right gifts in precisely the right measure at precisely the right moment to precisely the right people for the good of the local church. “All these [gifts],” writes Paul, “are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines” (1 Cor. 12:11).

We see this idea echoed once again in verse 18. Comparing the church to a body, Paul writes, “But in fact, God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”

A few verses later, Paul plainly dismisses any suggestion that some people or gifts are more essential to the body’s well-being than others: “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ and the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (1 Cor. 12: 21–22). Again, he asserts, “God has put the body together” (v. 24, emphasis added).

This simple truth shapes our theology of gifts in three distinct ways. First, it gives us confidence: Our specific gifts have an essential, God-appointed place. Second, it humbles us: Our specific gifts are only one part of the body, and we need other people with their unique gifts (Rom. 12:3).

Finally, this truth should increase our love for the local church. The gifts displayed by believers in our local body are exactly what our loving God knows we need. Their gifts are his gift to us. And however cobbled together they might seem, those people and those gifts are placed there with purpose.

Of course, the church is tasked with recognizing and utilizing congregants’ gifts, and the enneagram and other analysis tools can be useful toward that end. But ultimately, God’s desire is to see us look less toward ourselves and more toward the Spirit’s work in our gathered midst. He wants us to set aside our own ideas of what a balanced church looks like, grab a plate, and come enjoy the feast.












Megan Hill is the author of three books, including A Place to Belong: Learning to Love the Local Church (Crossway, May 2020). She serves as an editor for The Gospel Coalition and lives in Massachusetts where she belongs to West Springfield Covenant Community Church.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

patrick jane

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9590
  • Karma: +1010/-0
  • Research Jesus Christ - Research Flat Earth
  • Location: Homeless in God's Flat Earth
  • Referrals: 41
    • Theology Forums
Re: Christianity Today Magazine - April 2020
« Reply #30 on: April 29, 2020, 10:19:26 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2020/spring/noonday-demon-in-our-distracted-age.html






The Noonday Demon in Our Distracted Age







What to do when a Netflix binge brings you more joy than God’s calling.


The spirit of acedia drives the monk out of his cell, but the monk who possesses perseverance will ever cultivate stillness. A person afflicted with acedia proposes visiting the sick, but is fulfilling his own purpose. A monk given to acedia is quick to undertake a service, but considers his own satisfaction to be a precept.
— Evagrius Ponticus, from On the Eight Thoughts

In the first year of my PhD program, I was 21, lonely, disoriented, utterly out of my depth, and unwilling to admit it. Instead of running to my professors for help or diving in at the library, I found myself avoiding homework altogether. I told myself I wasn’t working because I didn’t care about my classes, but the truth was, the fear of failure was too much to bear. I knew God had called me to this task, but as the difficulty of the work set in, my call became a source of sadness instead of joy.

I first heard the term acedia—what Thomas Aquinas defines as “sadness at an interior or spiritual good”—as a graduate student working as a teacher’s assistant for an intro to ethics course. I didn’t think much of it at first, but over time I realized this ancient Christian concept was at the center of my daily experience.

When my PhD program ended, my fight with acedia didn’t. Instead, it shifted to a realm I never expected: my relationship with my kids. It’s impossible to describe the joy of being a parent or the love you suddenly feel toward the tiny human who has been put into your care. However, in the daily grind of early mornings, diapers, cleaning, and endless negotiations, parenthood can seem onerous instead of joyful. Even now I occasionally find myself looking for escapes from the life that’s meant to be my calling and God’s gift.

The term acedia has faded from popular use, but if you’ve been in ministry for long, there’s a good chance you recognize the feeling of dread when faced with certain tasks or the desire to distract yourself with easier or more pleasant work. Instead of feeling joy at the ministry you’ve been called to, you avoid it. And nowadays, the rivals for our attention seem endless: Podcasts fill the silence of our daily commutes, and push notifications break our concentration and keep us reaching for our phones. When God’s calling to ministry loses its luster, apps like Zillow and Indeed remind us of the homes and jobs we could have instead.

Still, the fight against acedia isn’t hopeless. Just as a physician diagnosing a disease can pave the way for treatment, naming this malady and examining its origins may help afflicted pastors tune out the distractions and return with full vigor to their ministry work.

A Failure to Care
The concept of acedia began its life in Greece. Its meaning, “a failure to care,” was applied specifically to the context of a deceased body. Acedia was at stake in Antigone, for instance, when the brave sister defied the king in order to give her brother a proper burial; and in the Iliad, when the Greeks, led by Achilles, fought fiercely to recapture and honorably bury the body of Patroclus.

Evagrius Ponticus, a fourth-century ascetic and scholar well versed in Greek philosophy and literature, chose this term to describe the distraction experienced by Egyptian monks seeking holiness and divine contemplation in the desert. The temptation of a monk to abandon his spiritual vocation was, for Evagrius, like failing to care for a deceased family member. He tied the term to the “Noonday Demon,” a personification of the pestilence described in Psalm 91:5–6: “You will not fear the terror of night … nor the plague that destroys at midday.” Acedia, according to Evagrius, described a particular demonic attack aimed at disrupting the attention and inner quietness of a devout Christian.

In Evagrius’s day (A.D. 345–399), many Christians chose a monastic life modeled on Christ’s 40 days in the wilderness. They moved to the desert to free themselves from distractions so they could do battle against the sinful tendencies of their flesh. Yet monks were sometimes drawn away by recurring thoughts of food and bodily comforts, sexual desires, anger toward others in their community, and sadness at their own failures. Evagrius systematized these thoughts into a list of eight, and, with a few changes, these became the seven deadly sins we know today.

Acedia is unusual in this list because it doesn’t appear to have a consistent focal point like the other sins. Gluttony is always about bodily pleasure, vainglory is always about how a person is perceived by others, but acedia can manifest as almost anything. Evagrius describes it as a general in an army, dispatching temptations strategically to drive its victim from the spiritual battle.

When I describe acedia in my classes, I often use the example of a student who has a major paper to write by morning. The student sits down to write but soon finds herself drifting down the hallway for a snack “to help her concentrate,” checking her email, cleaning her desk, or looking up the lyrics to that great song she just heard on Spotify.

The diverse experiences of acedia described by Evagrius are easy to recognize in contemporary settings. Acedia can begin as boredom—a long, slow day that makes the sufferer think ahead to all the long, slow days stretching endlessly in front of him. It may arise as a grass-is-greener fantasy about a different town, job, or marriage. It can also come as a one-two punch: After an experience of spiritual failure, the sufferer doubts that any of his efforts have made a difference in his spiritual life. Maybe it isn’t worth the work, he thinks. Acedia hurls thoughts like these at its victims in a strategic effort to get them to stop pursuing their spiritual vocations.

Activism Grown Weary
Acedia can be especially dangerous for those in vocational ministry because it attacks the thing that likely drew them to ministry in the first place: caring—about people, personal growth and health, and their very calling. “When life becomes too challenging and engagement with others too demanding, acedia offers a kind of spiritual morphine: you know the pain is there, yet can’t rouse yourself to [care],” writes Kathleen Norris in Acedia & Me.

That it hurts to care is borne out in etymology, for care derives from an Indo-European word meaning “to cry out,” as in a lament. Caring is not passive, but an assertion that no matter how strained and messy our relationships can be, it is worth something to be present, with others, doing our small part. Care is also required for the daily routines that acedia would have us suppress or deny as meaningless repetition or too much bother.

Acedia’s manifestations may seem innocuous next to sins like wrath or lust, but it is no less deadly, because it draws ministers away from the noble mission of communion with Christ. Evagrius wrote about monks who went to visit the sick not because they felt true compassion, but as a way of escaping their rooms and the rigors of prayer and study. “The main issue is not television or Netflix per se,” writes Adrian Boykin, lead pastor of Kearney eFree Church in Nebraska, in an article for Leadership Journal. “It’s about a stage of life in which I, as a pastor, have been tempted to exchange my calling for a paycheck.”

In most English translations of the deadly sins, acedia is translated as sloth, but the two words don't mean the same thing. Acedia can manifest as a lack of productivity, but it can also become hyperactivity. “Hyperactivity and sloth are twin sins,” writes Richard John Neuhaus in Freedom for Ministry. “They are both escapes from the daily renegotiation of our ambassadorship, from the daily resumption of the pursuit of holiness. Acedia is activism grown weary.”

I recently spoke with a veteran pastor of an Anglican congregation in Los Angeles about his experience with acedia. He told me, “For years I have thought that the sin I am most prone to is acedia, which sounds odd to most people since I tend to be so ‘productive.’ But I tend to get distracted, sometimes by social media, but often by other commitments.”

The pastor continued: “What often triggers acedia for me is a sense that those whom I pastor continue to make decisions that seem contrary to what I think would be best for them (for example, to only attend church irregularly). This causes me to feel like a failure while it also sometimes infuriates me and causes me to be judgmental about others. In either case, it tends to lead to acedia, a kind of ‘Well, if they don’t care all that much then neither do I’ attitude.”

Seminary graduate Chad Glazener, in search of his first full-time pastorate, described to me the temptation to fantasize about a future in which he is the senior pastor of a congregation—what his schedule would look like, how he would spend his salary, and more. He feels tempted to avoid the difficult call to wait patiently and actively in the Lord (Ps. 27:14), and he struggles to trust that God will make use of the discipline he develops during this season. Active waiting requires a belief that God is teaching him how to hope without falling into presumption or despair. But it can be exhausting, and it is easy to slip into a posture of forgetfulness or discontentedness in the present season.

Don’t ‘Flee the Stadium’
The ancient temptation of acedia has renewed relevance for us today because the habits it seeks to undermine—sustained attention and interior quiet—are severely challenged in our contemporary context. While a monk may have strained at his window in hopes that someone might visit him, I have a whole internet’s worth of distractions available to me whenever I choose. Not only that, but many of us work in ministry spaces that glorify busyness, rewarding the acedious person and quietly disparaging someone who “wastes” too much time in prayerful meditation. How can we respond to these temptations to be busy without reason and to escape the difficult call of God for something easier?

The desert fathers offer sage advice. Their first recommendation was that the monk suffering from acedia stay put. “Eat all the food you want,” they counseled. “Don’t worry about studying or memorizing Scripture or working. Just don’t leave.” As Gabriel Bunge observes in Despondency: The Spiritual Teaching of Evagrius ofPontus, “The first and most powerful remedy is therefore sheer endurance.” Because acedia tries to move a Christian to “flee the stadium,” or walk away from spiritual effort, the simplest way to respond is simply not to leave.

The sufferer can say, “It may be that this work is accomplishing nothing or that, in another context, my work would be effective and appreciated. Nevertheless, I’m going to stay here and keep doing it.” This method of addressing these attacks through the use of Scripture and short phrases is another strategy Evagrius recommended, and he devoted an entire book of short responses to the eight thoughts (translated by David Brakke as Talking Back). For example, to combat “the soul’s thoughts that have been set in motion by listlessness and want to abandon the holy path of the illustrious ones and its dwelling place,” Evagrius recommends saying Hebrews 10:36–38.

Finally, Evagrius reminds us that this temptation, oddly enough, can be a friend. Acedia, he says, searches out our weaknesses. Yet as Paul wrote in Romans 8:28, God can co-opt even this temptation for our benefit and his glory. When we have learned to resist acedia, we enter into a new kind of spiritual stability. It is like a rigorous training ground that breeds in us greater discipline and devotion if we can learn to not succumb to it.

Fighting acedia reminds us to hope in God, who brings fruit from our labor, even if we struggle to see it. Trusting in his providence helps us hold the course, and after the struggle, Evagrius says, comes “a state of peace and ineffable joy.”














J. L. Aijian is an associate professor of the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University in La Mirada, California.

This article is from our special issue on 9 Time-Tested Mantras for Ministry: Sage Advice for Pastors, from the Early Church to the Modern Age.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

patrick jane

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9590
  • Karma: +1010/-0
  • Research Jesus Christ - Research Flat Earth
  • Location: Homeless in God's Flat Earth
  • Referrals: 41
    • Theology Forums
Re: Christianity Today Magazine - April 2020
« Reply #31 on: April 30, 2020, 03:44:23 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/april/three-ways-to-reach-out-in-this-unique-moment-in-time.html






Three Ways to Reach Out in This Unique Moment in Time






In this moment, we need to reach people where they are, connect with them online or virtually, and be intentional to bring Jesus to people in creative ways.


Our world is changing rapidly. COVID-19 has brought uncertainty, economic turmoil, fear of sickness, and new realities like "sheltering at home." Six weeks ago, most of us had never heard terms like "flattening the curve.” Our world was a different place.

With this in mind, it is helpful to reflect on some practical and effective ways to continue the work of the Great Commission in the midst of a new reality that none of us asked for or saw coming.

Churches seeking to do effective Organic Outreach (evangelism) often seek to draw people onto their campus and invite the world to come to them. An invitation to a great church event will be an effective approach someday, but not this day.

In this moment, we need to reach people where they are, connect with them online or virtually, and be intentional to bring Jesus to people in creative ways.

This means we need to adapt as we share our faith and live as God’s missionary people.

For this to happen, putting on great events at a church will not be enough. The role of leaders in the church is to equip all of God’s people for works of ministry (Eph. 4: 11-13). Here are three simple and familiar ways to do outreach in this unique moment in time.

Pray with People

We should all call, text, or video chat with friends and family members who are not yet followers of Jesus. When we connect with them, we should ask the profound theological question, "How are you doing?" Then, listen. Listen well.

I have asked non-believers that question countless times over the past 30 years and have only had four people say no. And, they said, “No thank you.” They were not angry and I did not experience persecution.

But hundreds and hundreds of non-Christians have been glad to have me pray for them. In many cases, they have tears in their eyes after being prayed for. There is often a powerful sense of the Holy Spirit’s presence after these moments of prayer. And, in many cases, it leads to spiritual conversations and questions.

In a time when there is so much uncertainty and fear, prayer is needed and often gladly received. Get in the habit of asking, "Can I pray for you?" When you do pray, don't turn this moment into a sermon or gospel presentation wrapped in the facade of prayer. Just pray. Cry out to God for help. Use normal language. And pray in Jesus’ name.

Community Service with Gospel Engagement

There are unique ways to reach our community in this moment. Although most parts of the United States and world are asking people to stay home, there are still many needs that we can help meet.

If any church takes time to call their local police, fire, and political leaders, they will discover that there are needs that they could use volunteers to help with. Food donations are needed for local programs, shut-in people need someone to shop for them, etc.

Of course, we need to follow the guidelines given for our community, but people who are healthy and able can still offer help. As a church engages in serving the vulnerable and at-risk people in their community, the door opens for a Christian witness.

Our church has a food pantry year-round. Our local authorities are thrilled that we are still offering this service and the need has increased the deeper we go into the COVID-19 epidemic.

As the economy struggles, more people need this service. Our team members (mostly volunteers) wear gloves, face masks, follow the prescribed guidelines, and they also offer prayer and words of encouragement. Of course, this is offered, not forced.

In addition, each bag of groceries includes a little booklet with a month of devotional reflections.

One key is that we need to train everyone to engage naturally in spiritual conversations when the door is open. Even with social distancing, people can talk on the phone, chat from six feet away, and share their stories of God’s presence and power in their life today.

What better time than now to equip follower of Jesus to articulate the life-changing good news of how Jesus gave his life for our sins and how we can receive his amazing grace by faith in his name.

As we to serve our community in this unique time, we need to be ready to give bread for them to eat, and also offer the living bread of Jesus. We can give a cup of water, but need to point people to the Living Water of the Savior. We can give clothes to keep people warm, but they also need to be clothed in the righteousness of Jesus.

We can share our kindness and companionship, but a relationship with the Savior is what every heart is truly longing for. What we give is temporary; what Jesus offers is eternal!

Learn to ask good questions and listen

Many families are spending more time together now than they have in years (or ever). Rather than retreat to separate rooms and binge watch season after season of streaming shows, why not recapture the art of conversation?

Also, friends are looking each other up and reconnecting online and on the phone. What an ideal time to ask good question and listen. We can ask simple questions like, “How are you doing?” “What are you feeling these days?” and “Are there ways I can help you through this time?” We can also go a bit deeper.

Why not spend time asking questions like: What are your beliefs about God? What is your perspective on Christians? What do you think about my faith? Did you grow up in a religious home…what was that like for you? Could you share your personal journey of faith (or lack thereof)? What do you think about Jesus?

Another way to walk with others is learning to hear their stories, listen to their hearts, and discern where they are on their spiritual journeys. Too many Christians are worried they don’t have all the answers.

As you ask questions and let people share their perspectives and experiences, you will learn more about where they are in terms of faith. It might even lead to them asking you to share your answers to the same kinds of questions. It will certainly create spaces for the Holy Spirit to enter in and move in ways we never could.

Down the road, we will reengage people in church events and outreach programs. That’s fine! But today, we need to continue engaging in the Great Commission in some familiar but tailored ways. Then, when COVID-19 and sheltering at home are less central in our lives, let’s remember this moment and add these outreach practices to the flow of our lives going forward.















Kevin Harney is the lead pastor of Shoreline Community Church in Monterey, California, the founder and visionary leader of Organic Outreach Ministries International, and the author of the Organic Outreach trilogy of books and many other books, studies, and articles. He is also a regular contributor to Outreach Magazine.

The Exchange is a part of CT's Blog Forum. Support the work of CT. Subscribe and get one year free.
The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

patrick jane

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9590
  • Karma: +1010/-0
  • Research Jesus Christ - Research Flat Earth
  • Location: Homeless in God's Flat Earth
  • Referrals: 41
    • Theology Forums
Re: Christianity Today Magazine - April 2020
« Reply #32 on: April 30, 2020, 03:47:44 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/april/how-to-talk-with-high-school-senior-who-is-reconsidering-fa.html






How to Talk with a High School Senior Who Is Reconsidering Fall Plans





Encouraging students to accept that they do not need to know how the future will unfold will give them the freedom to live in the present and learn to make decisions from a place of freedom, not control.


Every April, I see an uptick in students and parents who reach out to a gap year. Parents and students alike share the uncertainties about their fall plans—most of which involve college—and are looking to pivot. That’s the norm.

I would not consider this spring normal by any measure.

As initial research by the Art and Science Survey of high school seniors is showing, there are more students who are questioning their college plans.

My experience supports this study. For five years I’ve fielded more calls in April than any other month. This year? It’s spiked. This means more people—parents, youth pastors, mentors—are finding themselves in conversations around this topic.

Here are a few ways to engage a high school senior who is in the throes of the “what’s next” decision.

Throw away the “one right path” idea

As I’ve worked with college students over the past decade, it’s become obvious that somehow many Christian students enter their twenties with this perception that “God’s will” is a tightrope. It’s this narrow, singularly correct path they must follow through life—they’re either on it, or off.

Thus, every fork (read: decision) in the path is a chance to fall out of God’s will. Gripped by fear of disappointing God, decisions have an unwarranted weight of significance.

Jerry Sittser, in his book The Will of God as a Way of Life, offers this perspective,

“...the Bible has very little to say about the will of God as a future pathway. Instead, the Bible warns us about anxiety, and presumption concerning the future, assures us that God is in control, and commands us to do the will of God we already know in the present.”

Jesus is much more concerned about our daily posture and actions than our future plans. Once they embrace this idea, students may find a newfound freedom to live out their faith day by day and be a little less anxious about how their lives may or may not unfold.

Encouraging students to accept that they do not need to know how the future will unfold will give them the freedom to live in the present and learn to make decisions from a place of freedom, not control.

Help your student see the falsehood of the narrow path by sharing, or re-sharing, your story of how you navigated post-high school life. Share the “plan” that you had laid out for post-high school and share how it actually unfolded. Make sure to highlight how your life has turned out differently than you originally anticipated and emphasize how you’ve seen God work through it.

In daily faithfulness to Christ, students will find they have an incredible amount of freedom in the choices they do face like where they are heading after high school.

Second guessing the college decision is okay

Encourage the questions that are being asked to make space for the second-guessing and honest conversation.

COVID-19 has introduced incredible changes into the lives of our high school seniors. Completing final last college visits, finalizing applications, and waiting to hear back on financial aid decisions are just a few of the aspects of senior year that are now already inherently different.

However, one of the hidden benefits from this season is time. Our seniors, who were once maxing out their schedules, now have more time than they can fill.

Instead of surrendering time to endless video games and streaming services, encourage seniors to set aside time to determine what is truly important to them in the next stage of life.

Given the circumstances, it would be valuable for students to consider what is truly important to them and take the time to re-think how their next step after high school will help prepare them for the future.

To get the conversation started, I’ve included a few questions I would ask a senior who’s second-guessing his or her fall plans.

What’s prompting you to rethink your post-high school plans?
How has the pandemic influenced how you’re seeing next fall?
What are you feeling uneasy about?
When you think about life after high school, what matters most to you?
How do your current fall plans reflect those values?
If they do not, what options out there do reflect those values?
Are there doors that are opening in your life now that were not there 3 months ago?
What are the benefits/negatives of these new options?
What steps can you take to explore the new opportunities?
Explore new options

For the student who may decide that he or she would rather wait a year to college, he or she has a surprising (and growing!) amount of options.

A gap year is a time of experiential learning taken after high school that is used to build professional skills, expand practical experience, and grow personal awareness. There are so many gap year options—to jump start your exploration, I’ve grouped them into three main categories:

Volunteering/Internship – Students gain valuable life experience and perspective as they volunteer or intern at a ministry or non-profit. Often, there is a cross-cultural component as they incorporate travel or are based in overseas and/or developing areas. The volunteering and internship type of gap years can really expand practical experience and build service mindset.

Build Your Own – The more adventurous students out there may opt to design their own experience. This usually includes a mix of travel, volunteer work, and short-term work. It’s takes a highly motivated individual to pull this option off. Not only that, but the price tag can get steep quickly. The benefit? Highly tailored to the student’s interests, passion, and strengths.

Programmed – This is probably the most common type of gap year. Often, the program has a main focus: service, academic preparation, faith formation, leadership development, travel. Participants benefit from the expertise of the organization, a set plan and purpose to the year, and the community that forms as a result of the shared experience.

For those who want to deepen their faith before college or whatever else follows high school, a Christ-centered gap year will help a student build a practiced faith, discover their purpose, and discern their callings.

Final Thought

If your senior is in the boat and feeling anxious about next year, they are certainly not alone. As seniors are forced to slow down, confront the uncertainty of the future, and reconsider their options, we have a great opportunity as parents and mentors to speak Truth into their lives and be a part of the conversation as they transition to adulthood and beyond. This could produce untold fruit in their lives as they make decisions in future seasons of life and weigh what really matters.














Charlie Goeke is the director of Vanguard, the gap year of Wheaton College.

The Exchange is a part of CT's Blog Forum. Support the work of CT. Subscribe and get one year free.
The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

patrick jane

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9590
  • Karma: +1010/-0
  • Research Jesus Christ - Research Flat Earth
  • Location: Homeless in God's Flat Earth
  • Referrals: 41
    • Theology Forums
Re: Christianity Today Magazine - April 2020
« Reply #33 on: April 30, 2020, 03:52:02 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/april-web-only/coronavirus-christian-doctors-and-scientists-faith-covid-19.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+christianitytoday%2Fctmag+%28CT+Magazine%29






How Doctors and Scientists Apply Faith on the Front Lines










Six medical professionals share their spiritual practices in the midst of a pandemic.


In the past few months, scientists and doctors across the globe became public figures as people have sought the latest knowledge gained in the fight against COVID-19, and many of them are Christians. In the US, this is particularly true of those in the medical field. Sociologists Elaine Howard Ecklund and Christopher Scheitle reported in a 2017 book that when you look at those working at scientific jobs in the United States, such as doctors or nurses (and others), 65 percent identify as Christians, and 24 percent as evangelicals. While the percentage of Christian scientists at elite research institutions is smaller, they are an active bunch and many apply their research out of a sense of service.

CT reached out to a handful of these scientists and doctors to ask them how they’re staying grounded. We contacted people doing research on treatments or vaccines, improving patient care, or contributing to public health responses, some of whom are also working in hospital wards. While we could not include all of the responses we received, we talked to scientists in the US, the UK, Italy, Singapore, and Australia. We asked them how they’re coping and how they’re praying amid this crisis. Many shared anecdotes, Scripture, or prayer requests. They practice faith in a variety of ways, and though they practice medicine in labs and hospitals against different geographic and cultural landscapes, they’re united both in purpose and in spirit.

Francis Collins


Career field: physician and geneticist

Works in: Washington, DC, as director of the US National Institutes of Health.

Focused on: Collins oversees biomedical research in the United States, which is now aiming to develop treatments and a vaccine to control the coronavirus. He receives probably four or five interesting ideas every day, he said, which makes it a challenge to figure out which ones to prioritize. The NIH also manages a hospital that runs clinical trials, now including COVID-19 research. Prior to his NIH appointment, Collins led the team that first mapped the human genome.

How he’s praying: Collins views his calling as a public servant to be a Christian one, where he can wield the tools of science to alleviate suffering. “I pray every morning that I will find a path forward to do that with God’s help. I’m fond of Joshua and the verse in the first chapter: ‘Be strong and courageous.’ I need that. Sometimes I get discouraged and down,” he said. Collins described the grief he’s been feeling, saying, “I’m trying to figure out how to turn that into something, increased self-knowledge as well as actions.”

Collins prays for health workers, who are afraid to go home, and for researchers, who are working night and day to come up with solutions.

Emanuele Negri
Career field: physician

Works in: Reggio Emilia, a city in northern Italy, as director of a semi-intensive care unit at a local hospital.

Focused on: Negri cares for COVID-19 patients on noninvasive ventilation. His semi-intensive care unit will be adaptable to care needs as the pandemic plays out, he said. His colleagues assume coronavirus infections will go on for several months, though they plan to reorganize the hospital for the next phase as case numbers slope downward following the peak. As a team, they are exploring the hypothesis that patients experiencing lung inflammation may suffer from an amplified immune response called a “cytokine storm,” which they with are targeting in trials with several clinical drugs.

How he’s sharing his faith: Because of all the protective gear worn by medical professionals, Negri’s COVID-19 patients cannot necessarily hear him speak, but they don’t have to in order to experience the gospel. “It’s not a time of witness by word,” he said. “People around me will observe my behavior.”

He shared a letter from one of his hospital’s first patients: “I personally felt a miracle in the sense that the Lord put me in the hands of these professionals who can do their job well and which, in the end, allowed me to embrace my loved ones. I will never forget those sweet eyes hidden behind those plastic barriers. When I can get out of the house again I will meet many people, maybe even some of those who saved my life, but unfortunately I will never be able to recognize these people. I will not know who they are, but my thoughts will go to them forever. To them I will owe the most precious good: life. And to all of them I say THANK YOU.”

“Jesus had ‘sweet eyes’” (Matt. 9:37), said Negri. “It’s almost impossible speak to my patients now, but they need our sweet eyes. We need to pray to show empathy.”

Julia Wattacheril
Expertise: physician scientist

Works in: New York City at a university hospital as director of the Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Program.

Focused on: In addition to maintaining outpatient care via telemedicine, Wattacheril was “redeployed” to work ICU triage overnight, helping make decisions about patients who worsen and need a higher level of care. Within her specialty, she and her group are collecting data to better understand how COVID-19 affects transplant patients, as well as the effects of therapeutics currently being tried. She’s hoping to repurpose an algorithm that might help identify at-risk patients so providers can suitably prioritize needs for recovery.

How she’s holding onto hope: Wattacheril described how she became discouraged recently, as she hoped for changes in leadership—such as a new tone of messaging, more emotional intelligence, and a readiness to comfort others in pain. “I prayed my anger and yelled at God on my roof. Later that day I was reminded—through John 15 about Jesus as the vine and we as the branches—that my job was to abide in Christ. I was too concerned with the fruit and anxious and distrustful of what God was doing.” That reminder helped her remember her purpose, and “hope came online quickly after that,” she said.

Wattacheril also talked about processing grief, saying she uses practices she developed several years ago after experiencing grief. She stays “anchored in prayer,” either by herself or with others. She meditates, seated or on walks, and listens to music or sermons. Also, “I have a beautiful community aligned to help and rally and remind me of what I tend to forget about myself as well as my well-worn Scripture verses with decades of history,” she said.

Lionel Tarassenko
Career field: electrical engineer

Works in: the UK at the University of Oxford’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering.

Focused on: Tarassenko works with colleagues on developing new patient monitoring techniques, from sensors to machine learning for data analysis. Now, he’s shifted these tools toward the fight against COVID-19. He described three ways the technology has been adapted: (1) the remote management of high-risk pregnant women, with the aim of preventing infection; (2) the triage of suspected COVID-19 patients in “primary care hubs” using video camera technology and (3) real-time monitoring, using wearables, of patients with COVID-19 being treated in isolation wards.

How he applies faith at work: “I am very mindful of the parable of talents and the need to put these talents to the use that God would want me to,” he said.

“I am also very conscious that our world is not limited to what we can see or perceive with our scientific instruments,” he said, quoting Hebrews 11:3: “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”

Justin Denholm
Career field: infectious diseases physician, epidemiologist

Works in: Melbourne, Australia, as medical director of the Victorian Tuberculosis Program at a research hospital.

Focused on: At his hospital, Denholm runs a screening clinic for people suspected of having COVID-19. He also manages patients over the phone so that they can avoid coming into the hospital and calls people to give them coronavirus test results. While he’s very busy with these tasks, he’s also conducting a clinical trial, which is testing a range of drugs for a planned 2,500 patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

How he’s feeling: “To be honest, at this point I’m pretty tired and find it hard to pray. I take some comfort in thinking that God is with us in everything, whether in illness or in working hard to relieve it,” he said. Denholm hopes that Christians around the world will support each other while physically distanced. “The support of communities is critical for all of us right now, and I’m grateful for all the ways that groups are finding to care for each other, and especially the most vulnerable,” he said.

Lim Poh Lian
Career field: infectious disease physician, also specializing in public health

Works in: Singapore at the National Center for Infectious Diseases.

Focused on: Lim moved to Singapore from Seattle, Washington, out of a sense of calling to serve Christ in Asia, ironically arriving months before SARS hit the country in 2003. Ever since, she’s been involved with outbreaks in WHO and UN advisory groups and task forces.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s been working on the front lines with patients. “I love direct patient care,” she said. “I also help develop clinical, public health, and research protocols.” Her role at WHO focuses on mass gatherings risk assessment.

How her faith impacts her work: “I see my outbreak work as ministry,” said Lim, explaining how her work fulfills the greatest commandment to love God (Matt. 22:37)—by thinking clearly and strategically in outbreak control issues, caring compassionately for patients, and pointing people to trust in God. “Faith in Christ gives me courage and an anchor of rationality,” she said. “God has given us, not a spirit of fear but of love, power, and a sound mind—which he expects us to use!”

Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

patrick jane

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9590
  • Karma: +1010/-0
  • Research Jesus Christ - Research Flat Earth
  • Location: Homeless in God's Flat Earth
  • Referrals: 41
    • Theology Forums
Re: Christianity Today Magazine - April 2020
« Reply #34 on: May 01, 2020, 12:12:38 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/april-web-only/coronavirus-pandemic-pentecostal-prayer-love-revival.html






Coronavirus Calls for Revival of Real Pentecostalism








Despite errors, Spirit-filled theology can show us how to respond to the pandemic.


It’s not exactly a secret: Many Pentecostals have responded to the current pandemic in ways that are both bizarre and troubling. These responses have overshadowed the sanity and generosity of many faithful, Spirit-filled Christians and reinforced the idea that Pentecostal theology is cheap and silly.

This is unfortunate because Pentecostalism has many gifts to give. At its best, it is mystical and prophetic and teaches us to live deeply prayerful lives. Pentecostal theology teaches us that ministry must begin and end in prayer. It teaches us we must hold high expectations for God to work in the world, along with a deep sense of personal and communal responsibility. It teaches us not to fear the new or idolize the familiar, and that the divine power of Pentecost is the love revealed in the Cross. These are all truths the church needs in this current crisis.

Pray like jazz


If you know anything about Pentecostalism, you know about the prayer. Harvard theologian Harvey Cox compared it to jazz because of its playful extemporization and collaborative enthusiasm. Pentecostals believe this improvisation is a way of keeping rhythm with the Holy Spirit. This is why our prayers often have the spirit of an old-time revival tent—open on all sides and thrown up anywhere, anytime, as God leads. Pentecostal prayer, at its heart, is about radical openness to God, and it is marked by a readiness to be surprised and to be changed.

This openness in prayer leads Pentecostals to be improvisational in other ministries as well. When we are faithful to our calling, we are ready to abandon familiar ways of doing ministry and make ourselves at home in the company of those we are called to serve.

We consider the church neither a means to an end nor an end in itself. Therefore, we are ready to forget familiar ways of speaking and to learn new languages, both literally and figuratively, because we expect to hear God speak in ways we never could have anticipated. This is what it really means to “speak in tongues.”

It is always hard to know what to say in times of pain and loss. But when we are faithful to the wisdom we have received, we know that what we say to others must be shaped first of all by what we say to God on others’ behalf. Faithful ministry, in other words, always begins and ends in intercessory prayer.

Even as we try to give good answers to the many difficult theological questions arising at this time, we should never forget that if those answers are to be helpful, they must be rooted in prayer. This is not polite, self-assured prayer, but raw, unsparing prayer, prayer that laments and protests, demands and interrogates, begs and invokes—prayer that is radically and confidently open to God in front of others and to others in front of God.

I believe the church needs this kind of openness in the midst of this crisis. We need a “holy boldness,” one that has nothing to do with living as if we are protected from harm, claiming secret knowledge about God’s will or asserting power over disasters and sicknesses, but has everything to do with following the Spirit into the darkness, coming alongside those who are suffering, and being Christ to them.

Love like God
Pentecostalism, at its best, is deeply communal and missional. It knows that love for God cannot be separated from love for neighbor and that prayer cannot be separated from action. As theologian Lucy Peppiatt recently observed, Pentecostals not only believe strongly in God’s involvement in every aspect of life but also believe—just as strongly—in the call for God’s people to participate in what God is doing in the world.

In spite of what some might think, this is a constant theme in Pentecostal theology. Daniel Castelo, professor of theology at Seattle Pacific University, argues, for example, that Pentecostal spirituality is a form of mysticism. This is not a mysticism of withdrawal, but of mediation and intermediation. In her recent book, The Spirit and the Common Good, Daniela Augustine, professor of theology at the University of Birmingham, makes the same point: “The Spirit uplifts the Christified human life as the visible means of invisible grace. … Indeed, the healing of the entire cosmos starts from within hallowed, Spirit-saturated humanity.”

All that to say, Pentecostal ministries are moved by this twofold desire: to commune deeply with God and to see everyone and everything else drawn into the same communion. This mysticism is a source of renewal for the church.

Dale Coulter, professor of historical theology at Regent University, has shown how something like that has happened before, in the aftermath of the black death in the Middle Ages. He argues that in this pandemic, once again, “pastors and priests need to become spiritual directors, guiding their flocks as they turn within and find the crucified God.”

Pentecostal theology teaches us to long for the age when all God’s people will be prophets. But we do not think of prophecy as a form of magic. We believe true prophecy is not so much about predicting the future as it is about seeing how God helps us to care for our neighbors in ways they most desperately need.

True prophecy gives us insight into what has happened and is happening, what is truly right and truly wrong in the world, and thus enables us to see into and call forth a better, more faithful future.

Coming into communion with Christ’s passion in prayer, we will find ourselves moved with compassion for others into action. The same Spirit who leads us to turn within, mystically, toward the crucified Christ, will lead us to turn out, prophetically, toward those for whom Christ offered and offers himself. Following the Spirit, we will enter the darkness instead of denying it, trusting that the light of God is already breaking forth from its depths. This is what it means to be prophetic, speaking life into dry bones.

Bless the poor
As a Pentecostal, and a Pentecostal theologian, I feel the need to be honest about our failures, past and present. I know there are hard questions to ask about the integrity and effects of our teachings and practices. And I know this is not a time for nostalgia or idealism.

But I am convinced that it is a time to return to the faithful ways that led to the rise of Pentecostal spirituality and theology in the first place. We need to retune ourselves to the God who tell us it is a commandment—not a compromise—to love our neighbors as ourselves, especially when those neighbors are not like us.

Sadly, many Pentecostals have forgotten the wisdom of their own tradition. In its beginnings, Pentecostalism was a movement of the poor and for the poor. The poor always suffer worst in crises like the one facing us now, so Pentecostals found themselves at the center of the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918. A century later, Pentecostalism remains a movement of the poor in most parts of the world.

But in the US, much has changed. Many of us now work at a remove from the poor, both geographically and spiritually, and we are largely out of touch with the material and spiritual needs of those we are called to serve first. Now is the time to make that right. And that begins with a return to the deepest, truest convictions of our mothers and fathers in the faith.

At the revival on Azusa Street, at the very beginning of the Pentecostal movement, pastor William Seymour put it this way: “The Pentecostal power, when you sum it all up, is just more of God’s love. If it does not bring more love, it is simply a counterfeit. … Pentecost makes us love Jesus more and love our brothers more. It brings us all into one common family.”

Article continues below
I know there are more than a few counterfeits available today. I know there is much that Pentecostals have said that is ridiculous and much that they should have said but haven’t. But there is another Pentecostalism, a mystical and prophetic Pentecostalism, which is a gift of the Spirit. And like many of the Spirit’s gifts, it is offered just as we need it and in ways we never could have imagined. That is precisely the Pentecostalism this crisis calls for.
















Chris Green is a professor of theology at Southeastern University and a pastor at Sanctuary Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His most recent book is Surprised by God.

Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

patrick jane

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9590
  • Karma: +1010/-0
  • Research Jesus Christ - Research Flat Earth
  • Location: Homeless in God's Flat Earth
  • Referrals: 41
    • Theology Forums
Re: Christianity Today Magazine - April 2020
« Reply #35 on: September 25, 2020, 10:51:48 am »
Virus
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
13 Replies
1951 Views
Last post September 25, 2020, 10:45:17 am
by patrick jane
21 Replies
2135 Views
Last post September 25, 2020, 10:50:33 am
by patrick jane
18 Replies
1453 Views
Last post September 25, 2020, 10:51:06 am
by patrick jane
21 Replies
2733 Views
Last post September 25, 2020, 10:51:24 am
by patrick jane
33 Replies
1335 Views
Last post September 25, 2020, 10:52:48 am
by patrick jane

+-Recent Topics

Tiny Houses, Affordable Living and More by patrick jane
Today at 06:29:35 am

Trump 2020 - Winning !!! by patrick jane
September 26, 2020, 11:51:40 pm

Politics Today by patrick jane
September 26, 2020, 11:51:31 pm

Re: Trump 2020 - Winning !!! by patrick jane
September 26, 2020, 11:51:14 pm

Re: Politics Today by patrick jane
September 26, 2020, 11:50:59 pm

What is the evidence of the HS? by patrick jane
September 26, 2020, 10:51:30 pm

Ministry On Video by Lion Of Judah by patrick jane
September 26, 2020, 10:49:09 pm

The kingdom of heaven by patrick jane
September 26, 2020, 09:45:08 pm

Being saved... by patrick jane
September 26, 2020, 01:09:25 pm

CORONAVIRUS - THE PALE HORSE by Bladerunner
September 26, 2020, 09:27:26 am

Black Spring With Autumn Political Commentary by patrick jane
September 26, 2020, 12:56:27 am

Freemasons, Jesuits, Illuminati & Lucifer Worship by patrick jane
September 26, 2020, 12:17:12 am

End Times - Tracking The Signs by patrick jane
September 26, 2020, 12:17:01 am

Revelation - Last Days by patrick jane
September 26, 2020, 12:16:16 am

NEW WORLD ORDER SYMBOLS & MEANINGS by ODD TV by patrick jane
September 26, 2020, 12:15:44 am

Hollywood Occult Symbolism and Conspiracy by patrick jane
September 26, 2020, 12:15:32 am

Aethereal - Battle for Heaven and Earth by patrick jane
September 26, 2020, 12:14:50 am

Conspiracy - NWO, NASA and More by patrick jane
September 26, 2020, 12:14:36 am