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Love God Supremely; Love Others Deeply (What I’ve Learned in 15 Years of Pastoring, pt. 5)

In this series, I’m considering some things that I’ve learned while pastoring over the last 15 years. You can check out the previous posts and a series introduction here: Part 1: Not everybody will like you, and that’s okay. Part 2: Pray for people and let them know that you’re praying for them. Part 3: Discipleship is easy, yet hard. Part 4: Encourage your wife to serve where she feels led In this post, we’ll consider Lesson #5: Make your vision, purpose, and mission to lead people to love God ...
Tags: Church, Religion, Christianity, Faith, Jesus, God, Christian, Matthew, Gospel, Ministry, SBC, Baptist, Great Commission, Southern Baptist, Pastor, Pastors


Did Second Lady Karen Pence Work at a School That Bans LGBT Teachers and Students?

The wife of Vice President Mike Pence resumed her work as an art teacher at the Immanuel Christian School in Northern Virginia in January 2019.
Tags: News, Education, Homosexuality, Christianity, LGBT rights, Homophobia, Mike Pence, Northern Virginia, Karen Pence, Christian Conservatism, Immanuel Christian School, Karen Pence Work


Evangelical woman tells church to go F themselves after they insist she disown her queer daughter

"I realized I was being asked to choose between the two most important parts of my life: my child and my church. I chose my child."
Tags: Family, Life, Lifestyle, Christianity, Bisexual, Ad Friendly, Queerty, Evangelical, Susan Cottrell


One in three Christians face persecution in Asia, report finds

Threat levels rise in China amid crackdown and India enters top 10 for first timeThe persecution of Christians in China is the worst it has been for more than a decade, with at least 50 million people expected to experience some form of repression this year as the government tightens its controls over religious worship, according to a global monitoring body.The crackdown on religion in China is part of a pattern of increasing Christian persecution across Asia over the past five years, Open Doors...
Tags: Asia, China, India, Religion, World news, Asia Pacific, South and Central Asia, Christianity


A La Carte (January 15)

Here’s a reminder that if you prefer to listen than read, I’ve got a near-daily podcast where you’ll find many of my articles in audio format. You can find it here, subscribe to the feed here, or subscribe via iTunes. (Yesterday on the blog: Where Did All This Pentecostalism Come From?) In China They’re Closing Churches, Jailing Pastors–And Even Rewriting Scripture The Guardian covers the increasingly difficult situation for Christians in China. “Researchers say the current d...
Tags: UK, China, Social Media, Blogging, Christianity, Latin America, A La Carte, Lewis, Africa Asia, Scott Watkins


No, Heaven Does Not Have a Wall Around It

I’ve seen it posted many times on Facebook, the meme shared that reads, sometimes in varying forms: Heaven has a wall, gates, and a strict immigration policy; hell has open borders. Think about that. It’s a simple way to try to defend a certain political view on border security. The problem is, it’s both untrue and misconstrues scripture. And as if the meme weren’t enough, a politically vocal pastor stated in a nation interview recently: “The Bible says even Heaven itself is going to have a wall...
Tags: Politics, Kingdom, Religion, Bible, Social Issues, Christianity, Jesus, God, Christian, John, Christ, Gospel, Trump, Romans, American Politics, New Jerusalem


The Church Can Change the World Again

Have you ever heard someone say that if Jesus returned today, He wouldn’t recognize the Church? This sentiment seems to pop up now and then, often on social media, posted by people who revel in finding fault with the Church. It’s true that in every age of history, Christians have done things that would make Jesus cringe. But to say that He would not recognize the Church is to imply that somewhere along the way the Church went completely off track — that the Church that Jesus founded was meant to...
Tags: Featured, Church, Religion, Rome, Culture, United States, Christianity, Revolution, Jesus, Matt, Constantine, Orthodoxy, Church the Church, Sophia Excerpts, Matthew 16:18 Jesus


Justin Welby: no-deal Brexit would harm poorest people in UK

Archbishop of Canterbury says he prays every day for Theresa May and other politicians The archbishop of Canterbury has said a no-deal Brexit would hit the poorest and most vulnerable people in the UK.Justin Welby also said he was praying for Theresa May and other politicians at the start of what is expected to be one of the most tumultuous weeks in recent parliamentary history. Continue reading...
Tags: Europe, Politics, UK, Religion, European Union, UK News, World news, Poverty, Theresa May, Foreign Policy, Social exclusion, Christianity, Justin Welby, Anglicanism, Canterbury, Brexit


In China, they’re closing churches, jailing pastors – and even rewriting scripture

China’s Communist party is intensifying religious persecution as Christianity’s popularity grows. A new state translation of the Bible will establish a ‘correct understanding’ of the textIn late October, the pastor of one of China’s best-known underground churches asked this of his congregation: had they successfully spread the gospel throughout their city? “If tomorrow morning the Early Rain Covenant Church suddenly disappeared from the city of Chengdu, if each of us vanished into thin air, wou...
Tags: China, Religion, World news, Asia Pacific, Christianity, Chengdu, Wang Yi, Wang, south west China, Jiang Rong


Discipleship is Easy and Hard (What I’ve Learned in 15 Years of Pastoring, pt. 3)

In this series, I’m considering some things that I’ve learned while pastoring over the last 15 years. You can check out the first lesson and a series introduction here: Part 1: Not everybody will like you, and that’s okay. Part 2: Pray for people and let them know that you’re praying for them. In this post, we’ll consider Lesson #3: Discipleship is easy yet hard because you have to constantly battle mission drift. Before I became a pastor, I had been involved in two churches. One lacked much of ...
Tags: Church, Religion, Christianity, Faith, Jesus, God, Christian, SBC, Southern Baptist, Pastor, Pastors, Discipleship, Pastoring, Finance Committees Flower Committees Ushers, VBSes Awana


Rare gemstone particles found in an 8th-century nun's mouth shatter a historical misconception

It turns out medieval religious manuscripts were not exclusively the domain of male monks. Fleck of a rare gemstone pigment in fossilized teeth prove women were involved in the making of religious manuscripts. We'll never see these exquisite books the same way again. Surviving medieval religious manuscripts can be quite beautiful, with impeccable calligraphy and adorned with intricately detailed and brightly colorful illustrations. By and large, their authors remain unknown, and they've been as...
Tags: Art, Books, Gender, History, Afghanistan, Christianity, Innovation, Faith, Salzburg, Radini, Anita Radini, Fleck, Max Planck Institute, Ancient World, Badakshan, Alison Beach


Teeth prove women helped produce 8th-century religious manuscripts

It turns out medieval religious manuscripts were not exclusively the domain of male monks. Fleck of a rare gemstone pigment in fossilized teeth prove women were involved in the making of religious manuscripts. We'll never see these exquisite books the same way again. Surviving medieval religious manuscripts can be quite beautiful, with impeccable calligraphy and adorned with intricately detailed and brightly colorful illustrations. By and large, their authors remain unknown, and they've been as...
Tags: Art, Books, Gender, History, Afghanistan, Christianity, Innovation, Faith, Salzburg, Radini, Anita Radini, Fleck, Max Planck Institute, Ancient World, Badakshan, Alison Beach


Whoa, who saw that coming?

Whoa, who saw that one coming?  Nick Saban’s teams do not catch a beatdown very often.  The Alabama fans didn’t see it coming.  They moaned and wailed every time Clemson scored, and sounded like they were on the Titanic.  (People dying from hypothermia is not funny, but the sounds emanating from my television were akin to the sounds from James Cameron’s epic) Dabo Swinney didn’t see it coming.  Did you see his face at the post game interview?  Guy looked like he just won the powerball jackpot. D...
Tags: Tim Tebow, Church, Religion, Sports, Alabama, Bible, Culture, Social Issues, Iowa, Christianity, Fca, Faith, SEC, Jesus, Truth, God


‘Brought to Jesus’: the evangelical grip on the Trump administration

The influence of evangelical Christianity is likely to become an important question as Trump finds himself dependent on them for political survival In setting out the Trump administration’s Middle East policy, one of the first things Mike Pompeo made clear to his audience in Cairo is that he had come to the region as “as an evangelical Christian”.In his speech at the American University, Pompeo said that in his state department office: “I keep a Bible open on my desk to remind me of God and his ...
Tags: Religion, US foreign policy, US news, US politics, Middle East, Christianity, Evangelical Christianity, Jesus, Donald Trump, Cairo, American University, Trump, Pompeo, Mike Pompeo, Trump Administration


A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too. None The divine is supernatural, but religion is very much of this world. The way people worship even has an impact on their physical surroundings. Here's a telltale sign that y...
Tags: Europe, Mexico, France, Germany, Nazis, Africa, Israel, Church, Religion, Americas, Jerusalem, Eu, Spain, European Union, Ukraine, Rome


A world map of Marian apparitions

For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too. None The divine is supernatural, but religion is very much of this world. The way people worship even has an impact on their physical surroundings. Here's a telltale sign that y...
Tags: Europe, Mexico, France, Germany, Nazis, Africa, Israel, Church, Religion, Americas, Jerusalem, Eu, Spain, European Union, Ukraine, Rome


High-profile French cardinal goes on trial accused of helping cover up abuse

Philippe Barbarin could face up to three years in jail if convicted of failing to report priest who abused ScoutsThe highest-profile Catholic cleric to be caught up in a paedophile scandal in France is going on trial charged with failing to report a priest who abused Scouts in the 1980s and 90s.Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, is accused along with five others from his diocese of helping cover up abuse in one of the parishes in the area. Continue reading...
Tags: Europe, Children, France, World news, Catholicism, Christianity, Lyon, Philippe Barbarin


French cardinal goes on trial accused of helping cover up abuse

Philippe Barbarin faces jail if convicted of failing to report priest who abused ScoutsThe highest-profile Catholic cleric to be embroiled in a paedophile scandal in France is going on trial charged with failing to report a priest who abused Scouts in the 1980s and 90s.Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, one of the most prominent Catholic figures in France, is accused with five others of helping to cover up abuse. Continue reading...
Tags: Europe, Children, France, Religion, World news, Catholicism, Christianity, Catholic, Lyon, Philippe Barbarin


What I’ve Learned in 15 Years of Pastoring, pt. 1

It’s a new year, yet again—2019. These things seem to keep moving faster and faster. As the calendar turns, I close in on a ministry milestone: Fifteen years being a pastor (with nearly nine of those in my current church). On the one hand, there’s still plenty of youth reflected in that number; still plenty of things to learn before I even sniff the tenure of guys who have been doing this for a long while (like Dave Miller, who purportedly learned from Paul in person). Yet, there are still convi...
Tags: Church, Religion, Christianity, Faith, Spirit, Jesus, God, Christian, Christ, PAUL, Pastor, Pastors, Dave Miller, Local Church Ministry, Pastor & His Family


Ukraine: new Orthodox church gains independence from Moscow

Newly elected head receives decree of autocephaly in elaborate ceremony in IstanbulThe biggest rift in Christianity in centuries is expected to open up after a new Orthodox church in Ukraine gained formal independence from Moscow in a move set to heighten geopolitical tensions in the region.The newly elected head of the Ukrainian Orthodox church travelled to Istanbul to receive the “tomos”, or decree of autocephaly (independence), from the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, in an elabor...
Tags: Europe, Russia, Religion, World news, Turkey, Ukraine, Christianity, Moscow, St George, Istanbul, Ukrainian Orthodox, Constantinople Bartholomew


Pope criticizes US bishops for lack of unity over sexual abuse crisis

In letter to bishops, pontiff says internal bickering must end Scandal has severely damaged credibility of American churchPope Francis has criticised US bishops for failing to show unity in the face of a sexual abuse crisis, saying internal bickering had to end over the scandal that has damaged the credibility of the American church. Related: 'Pope Francis has questions to answer': America's Catholics in crisis over abuse scandals Continue reading...
Tags: Religion, US, America, World news, US news, Catholicism, Pope Francis, Christianity, The papacy, Pope, Francis


Did Florida State Rep. Kimberly Daniels Once Say, ‘I Thank God for Slavery’?

The Jacksonville Democrat's pronouncements as a preacher came under intense scrutiny in 2018.
Tags: News, Christianity, Slavery, Homophobia, Anti-semitism, Florida State, Jacksonville, Kimberly Daniels Once Say


Archbishop of Canterbury urges openness in new year message

Justin Welby says country should try to overcome recent struggles and divisions The archbishop of Canterbury has urged the country to start 2019 in a “new spirit of openness towards each other” in an attempt to overcome the struggles and divisions of recent years.Justin Welby was delivering a new year message from Lambeth Palace, his London base. Acknowledging that the festive period can be stressful for some families – “sometimes we get on each other’s nerves” – the archbishop drew parallels wi...
Tags: London, Religion, UK News, Christianity, Justin Welby, Canterbury, Brexit, Lambeth Palace


Capitol Ministries: Christian Nationalism by Another Name is Still Christian Nationalism

Head of Capitol Ministries Ralph Drollinger recently told James Dobson that 11 of President Trump’s cabinet members attend his meetings. In describing his rationale for the studies, Drollinger’s reasons sounded similar to those who espouse Christian nationalism. Christian nationalists believe that leaders in a society need to be Christian so that the laws and policies will reflect Christianity. In his interview with Dobson, Drollinger asserted: Right actions begin with right thinking and right t...
Tags: Health, Washington, Israel, Church, Arkansas, Christianity, Christian, Times, Infertility, Trump, Peter, State, James Dobson, Drollinger, Dominionism, Christ Himself


Channel crossings: 'Every day you look for the smuggler and take a chance'

One man who fled Iran to escape persecution after becoming a Christian tells his storyAli, 27 years oldI arrived in Calais, France more than four months ago. I walked through many countries including Bosnia, and Croatia. I came alone. Continue reading...
Tags: Europe, France, Religion, UK News, World news, Iran, Immigration and asylum, Middle East and North Africa, Migration, Christianity, Islam, Refugees, Croatia, Calais, Bosnia, Calais France


Who would have thought the history of a monastic hairstyle could be so interesting?

For close to two thousand years, holy men from across the wide spectrum of the Christianity have rocked a completely or entirely shaved head--a hairstyle called a tonsure. A tonsure marked those that wore it as adherents to various monastic and priestly orders and, in some cases, were a symbol of controversy in the early Catholic church as opposing factions within it fought for legitimacy. This brief video from Vox outlines the history of the haircut, what it means and why it survived in a ra...
Tags: Post, Video, News, Religion, Christianity, Faith, Vox, A little off the top please, Monastic Tradition, Tonsure


"Augustine’s ally Saint Jerome abused Pelagius intemperately as a 'huge, bloated Alpine dog, weighed down with Scottish oats.'"

"In 418, after Emperor Honorius demanded action when people calling themselves Pelagians rioted in Rome, Pope Zosimus declared Pelagianism heretical. For those in power, a doctrine that persuaded the mass of ordinary Christians that they were unworthy, powerless supplicants, both temporally and spiritually, was useful.... But Pelagius has had the last laugh, in the liberal, humanist culture of western Europe today. Generally, we believe in free will, in the perfectibility of mankind, in the abil...
Tags: Europe, Law, Rome, Fat, Christianity, Philosophy, Jerome, Augustine, St. Augustine, Ann Althouse, Honorius, Pelagius, Zosimus, New Statesman America


UK faith leaders warn against division in Christmas messages

Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster address ‘uncertainty’ in the country as pope decries consumerismFaith leaders in the UK are warning in their Christmas messages about uncertainty and division in the country.Introducing a Christmas morning service broadcast on BBC Radio 4, Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, said people may be feeling “unsettled” and wondering what the next 12 months would bring. Continue reading...
Tags: UK, Iraq, Religion, World news, Middle East and North Africa, Catholicism, Pope Francis, Christianity, Vatican, The papacy, Justin Welby, Canterbury, Brexit, BBC Radio


Pope uses Christmas homily to decry modern consumerism

Pontiff tells pilgrims at mass in Vatican City that mankind has become ‘greedy and voracious’Pope Francis has attacked the “insatiable greed” of today’s consumerism, using his Christmas homily to urge people to make “sharing and giving” more a part of their lives.“Mankind became greedy and voracious,” the leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics said in an address to thousands of followers in St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City on Christmas Eve. Continue reading...
Tags: Iraq, Religion, World news, Catholicism, Pope Francis, Christianity, Vatican, The papacy, Pope, Vatican City, St Peter


Church welcomes its special Muslim visitors on Christmas Eve

Every year worshippers from the nearby mosque attend service at St Alban’s in LondonOn Christmas Eve, churches all over the country will welcome into their midnight mass services people who rarely take part in acts of Christian worship but find candlelit carols irresistible.In the pews of St Alban’s in North Harrow there will be a special group of visitors: about three dozen Muslims from a nearby mosque. Continue reading...
Tags: London, Religion, Christmas, UK News, Christianity, Islam, St Alban, North Harrow