Rabu, 27 November 2013

Loving the Homeless

Loving the Homeless

One of the primary ways we can be the church in the community is by following the example of Jesus in showing love to the needy and homeless in our town. Here are some practical examples from Sam Riviera about how he loves the homeless in his city. Sam has written several posts on this blog about helping the homeless. Go check them all out!
helping the homelessJesus said that we would always have the poor with us. Thinking about that, we find it easy to conclude that the problem of the poor is too big for us to solve, so we drop a few dollars in the Salvation Army kettle at Christmas and write a check for missions and give it to our local church.
We almost become blind to the poor where we live.
When the recent census revealed that there are over ten thousand homeless people in San Diego, everyone I know thought those numbers must be incorrect. “Occasionally I see a homeless person at an intersection begging for money but surely there can’t be more than a few hundred homeless people in the entire city!”
One church group of which we were a part decided that the homeless were on the streets because of “bad decisions” they had made. The group felt that helping them would only encourage them to stay homeless. The solution – “They should get off their butts and get jobs!” Another group felt that God only “calls” certain people to help the poor and the homeless, and no one in the group felt “called.”

Going to the Homeless

Last Saturday our small group ventured to downtown San Diego to an area where several hundred homeless people live on the sidewalk, in the shadow of the ballpark. I was reminded of Jesus being born in Bethlehem, literally in the shadow of the Herodian, location of one of Herod’s palaces and a symbol of the wealth and might of the Roman Empire.
Friday had brought a soaking rain. On Saturday the homeless were trying to dry their clothes, blankets and sleeping bags. As several told us, “We’re trying to get dry before it rains tomorrow”. We shared chips and some other prepackaged food we had taken with us and talked to them. Some had been living on the streets for months or years. One man said he had lost his job, had run out of money and had just joined the ranks of the homeless that day.
About lunch time on Sunday the second storm arrived. The rain continued until the middle of the night. Several times after we went to bed the heavy rain woke me. I prayed for the people sitting in the rain on the sidewalk downtown, some without even a garbage bag to put over themselves. The temperature dipped into the upper forties and low fifties. As the homeless we have known have explained, even though the temperature is above freezing, being soaked to the skin on a chilly night can lower body temperature and is especially dangerous for those with health problems.

Are the Homeless My Problem?

I prayed while it rained. We had taken food to the homeless, but I was lying in a warm dry bed and they were sitting on a cold, wet sidewalk getting soaked. The problem is too big for me or our small group to solve. But should we do something?
We are trying to do something. Last winter during similar, but colder weather, we gathered two carloads of blankets, coats, sweaters, tarps, socks and similar supplies and delivered them to the winter homeless shelter. Once again we are gathering similar supplies for this winter. But is that enough?
Even when all of the winter shelters are open, there are still hundreds of homeless who can’t be accommodated. I think of them sitting in the rain, soaked to the skin, sometimes shivering uncontrollably. What can we do? What should we do? (Not just our group here in San Diego, but all of us, wherever we live.) What do you think?

Be the Church in Your Community

Be the ChurchWant to be the church in your community but don't know? Here are some posts which not only explain what it means to be the church in your community, but also gives concrete, practical examples of what it looks like and how to be the church whatever you do and wherever you go. Remember, you ARE the church, and wherever you go, Jesus goes with you!

Kamis, 14 November 2013

Stryper to record a live CD/DVD at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, California

Stryper to record a live CD/DVD at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, California

By Ginny McCabe
Special to ASSIST News Service
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA (ANS) -- Stryper is set to record a live CD/DVD this weekend, on Saturday, November 16 at the Whisky a Go Go, the world-famous nightclub in West Hollywood, California.

Ad for the band's appearance at the Whisky a Go Go
As long as there has been a Los Angeles rock scene, there has been the Whisky a Go Go. An anchor on the Sunset Strip since it’s opening in 1964, the Whisky A Go-Go has played host to rock ‘n’ roll’s most important bands, from the Doors, Janis Joplin, and Led Zeppelin, to today’s up and coming new artists.
The Stryper show will mark the Christian band's first live concert appearance since the release of No More Hell to Pay, and it will be documented for future release.
The project is expected to feature hits like “Calling On You,” “Free” and “Honestly.” Tickets for the show may be purchased at http://tinyurl.com/whiskytickets.

Stryper performing
No More Hell to Pay, released last week, on Tuesday, November 5, from Frontiers Records. The project marks the band's eighth studio album.
Comprised of the original line-up, which includes front man Michael Sweet (vocals/guitars), Oz Fox (guitars), Tim Gaines (bass) and Robert Sweet (drums), Stryper delivers a collection of new material that is characterized by the band's signature sound.
Produced by Michael Sweet, standouts on the project include “Revelation” “Saved By Love,” “The One,” “Legacy,” “Renewed,” and seven more.
No More Hell to Pay is available at all digital retailers and can be ordered through iTunes at http://tinyurl.com/StryperiTunes. It is also available on CD and as a deluxe digipak format featuring exclusive video content at Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/StryperAmazon and at all major retail outlets.

The world-famous nightclub
Stryper was formed in 1984, and is responsible for '80s metal classic albums, such as “Soldiers Under Command”, “To Hell With The Devil” and “In God We Trust”.
Stryper was also the first band to ever have two songs in MTV's Top 10 simultaneously with their hits “Free” and “Honestly.” As a Dove Award-winning and Grammy-nominated band, Styper has sold more than 10 million records, worldwide.
For more about Stryper, the latest news and tour dates, go to www.Stryper.com.

Share          See all ASSIST News articles at www.assistnews.net
Ginny McCabe is an author, feature and entertainment writer from Cincinnati, OH. You may email her at gmwriteon@aol.com.

Introducing Children to God’s Greatest Gift

Introducing Children to God’s Greatest Gift


November 14, 2013
Re-enactments of Jesus’ birth, a holiday meal, and gift-giving are just a few of the activities planned when indigenous ministries hold Christmas parties next month as an outreach to their communities.
The Christmas season is just around the corner, and dozens of ministries assisted by Christian Aid are organizing celebrations to bring joy and the good news of the Savior to thousands of hurting children.
Ministry leaders say they look forward to this time of year when they have opportunities to openly share the gospel message. Their non-Christian neighbors may not know who Jesus is, but they have heard about Christmas.
From Southeast Asia to South America, holiday events geared for the local community have been hugely successful in attracting families who typically do not attend church. These festive programs include a dramatic presentation of Jesus’ birth, a meal, and Christmas gifts for children. As a result, many people come to understand the true reason for the season and commit their hearts to the Lord.
“This year we plan to organize Christmas celebrations in three locations,” said the leader of an indigenous ministry in Myanmar. “We estimate over 1,000 children will be exposed to the gospel.”
A nine-year-old boy named Maung was one of the children who attended the ministry’s Christmas program in 2011. Try as she might, his older sister could not persuade him to go with her to the weekly Bible club meetings at an evangelical church in their village. But when Maung heard about a birthday party, he could hardly wait for the big day.
Singing Christmas songs is a fun way to convey the gospel message.
Maung and his sister had never attended a birthday gathering quite like this one. The church sanctuary was packed with over 100 kids who were just as excited as Maung. Many parents had come too. His sister told him they were celebrating the birthday of someone called Jesus. Maung didn’t know who Jesus was, but he figured he must be a really important person.
Learning the lyrics to Christmas songs was a new experience for Maung. However, he did not understand the message behind the words. It wasn’t until a group of youth performed a dramatic skit about God’s gift of love to the world that the name Jesus took on special meaning for him.
After the program, Maung wanted to know more about Jesus. He asked his sister to explain why Jesus was crucified. She directed him to a Sunday school teacher in the church, who explained that Jesus died and rose again so people could be saved from their sins and join Jesus in heaven. Even though he was just a little boy, Maung knew that he had committed sins. He was touched that Jesus loved children like him. The teacher led him in prayer to receive Jesus as his personal Savior.
Maung’s story does not end there. The following week the Sunday school teacher went to visit his home. Even though the family was Buddhist, Maung’s parents were open to hearing the gospel and welcomed the teacher. Soon Maung, his sister, and his mother began attending church together. His mother eventually gave her heart to the Lord, and now they are praying for his father to receive Christ, too.
As part of their Christmas activities, the churches planted by the Myanmar ministry will hand out presents to about 300 children who attend their weekend Bible clubs. This year the ministry will supply them with gift packages that include items such as a blanket, a sweater, shoes, a pack of candles, toothbrush and toothpaste, notebooks and other school materials, and a backpack.
“The purpose of our gift is to thank the children for their exemplary life and conduct throughout the year,” explained the ministry’s leader. “We also want to thank their parents and encourage them. Please pray for the children and their parents to see the real reason for the season.”
Middle East churches will host special events for Syrian refugee children and their families.
Perhaps no place is more in need of a little holiday cheer than the subdued hearts of Syrian refugees. Children in particular have endured a lot of trauma and upheaval as a result of the brutal civil war. What better time of year than Christmas to bring them renewed hope and, at least for a few hours, help them reclaim the innocence of childhood.
Through ministries assisted by Christian Aid in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, and Greece, gospel workers are inviting thousands of refugee children to Christmas parties that will be held in area churches next month. The events are free and include meals and simple Christmas gifts. Muslim moms and dads are blessed to see smiles return to the faces of their children, and they, too, hear the message of the true meaning of Christmas.
After the celebrations, Christians visit with families in their homes. They offer Bibles and gospel tracts to anyone who is interested.
One Jordanian ministry is planning a kids’ event called “Warm Christmas.” Their goal is to give blankets and children’s Bibles to 2,000 refugee youngsters.
“Jordan is a cold country in the winter, and a blanket will act as a warm and practical gift of love from God to those living in utter poverty,” said that ministry’s director. “We also want to encourage these kids and their parents to read the Bible, realize its importance in their lives, and feel the warmth it brings to their souls.”
“This outreach will help the church bring the good news of Christmas to as many families as possible by reaching their children first,” he said.
Similar outreaches will be held in India and Nepal, where 12 native ministries are planning to invite children, widows, and poor families from the community to their Christmas activities.
Last year about 800 people came to a Christmas Day event hosted by a ministry based in northern India. Most of the attendees were non-believers who were hearing the story of the Savior’s birth for the very first time. After the service, 20 people joined the fellowship.
In one region more than 350 residents, including Christians from all of the surrounding villages, gathered for a holiday program at a church. The youth of the congregation performed skits and played music.
Teams of missionaries in one Indian city distributed New Testaments and some small gifts to those who attended their open air worship services.
“It was a blessed time to make the whole city aware of the meaning of Christmas,” the ministry commented.
Without a doubt, Christmas is the best season for native missionaries to share their faith more freely and more publicly. While there are occasional incidents of opposition, for the most part people—whether a Buddhist in Myanmar, a Muslim in Lebanon, or an animist in India—are curious to learn why so much excitement is associated with Christmas.
These Peruvian girls received dolls at a Christmas celebration in their village.
The celebrations have a particularly lasting effect on the boys and girls who hear the gospel presentations, share the Christmas story with their families and friends, and become ambassadors for the Lord Jesus in their own communities.
That’s what happened to Tatiana, an 11-year-old Peruvian girl who was invited by a friend to a Christmas event held by New Life Evangelistic Ministry.
“On that day I heard for the first time that Jesus died for me and that He cares for me and my family, so I received Jesus in my heart,” she said. “Now I am studying the Bible in church and soon I want to get baptized.”
Use the form below to contribute online to help indigenous ministries host Christmas outreaches in their communities. Or call 434-977-5650 to contribute by phone. If you prefer to mail your gift, please mail to Christian Aid, P.O. Box 9037, Charlottesville, VA 22906. Please use Gift Code: 095CMAS. Thank you!

Selasa, 12 November 2013

Prodigal Pastor Kids: Fact or Fiction?

Prodigal Pastor Kids: Fact or Fiction?

November 12, 2013 — Katy Perry. Rick Warren. Anne Graham Lotz. Franklin Graham. The Jonas Brothers. Frank Schaeffer. Jessica Simpson. All of these names, disparate though they may seem, have something in common: They are all pastors kids.

When it comes to the children of the clergy, stereotypes abound. First, there's the model child, who lives by the rulebook and follows in the footsteps of his or her minister parent. In many churches, this is an expectation as much as it is a stereotype. Yet perhaps the dominant stereotype of the pastor's kid is the prodigal—the wayward child, the rebel who has fallen away from the faith, the backslidden who'd rather strike out on their own than live in the shadow of the steeple.
The underlying assumption of this stereotype, however, is that Christians believe those who've grown up closest to the church are the quickest to leave it. And as with any stereotype, it's worth closer examination to see if any of these perceptions are really true.
After all, those named above have chosen different routes. Some have willingly taken up the ministry as their own calling, while others have disassociated with the Christian faith entirely, and others still have gone through a period of rebellion only to return with a renewed sense of spiritual purpose.
So where does this stereotype of the prodigal pastor kid come from? Are those who grow up as the children of faith workers really more inclined to "grow out" of church later in life? And is it as big of a trend as it is often perceived? The latest Barna study put these questions to the test, with surprising results.
The Faith of Pastors' Kids
Certainly those who have spent their childhood in the front row seat of the sanctuary are given a unique vantage point of church—for better or for worse. If it's for the worse, one might understand how this could contribute to a rejection of the faith later in life.
Two out of every five pastors (40%) say their child, age 15 or older, went through a period where they significantly doubted their faith. One–fifth of pastors say this is "very" accurate of their children and another 22% say it is "somewhat" true. This is about the same rate as today's Millennials, about 38% of those with a Christian background say they have experienced a similar season of doubt. In other words, pastors' kids are pretty normal—about as likely as other kids raised in the Church to experience significant spiritual doubts.
When broken down into types of congregations, the pastors most likely to agree their children have faced significant doubt are pastors serving white congregations (43%) or mainline churches (51%). In contrast, the pastors least likely to say this describes their children are pastors serving non–white congregations (25%) or non–mainline churches (37%).
Overall, one–third of pastors (33%) say their child is no longer actively involved in church. Yet when it comes to the rejection of Christian identity altogether, the occurrences are even less.
When pastors were asked if their children no longer consider themselves to be Christians, only 7% said this was "accurate" of their kids—that's less than one in 10. This compares to the nationwide prodigal rate of about 9% among Millennials. The parent–pastors who are most likely to say this is not at all accurate of their kids are non–mainline pastors (98%) or Southern Baptist pastors (97%).

Top 7 Reasons Pastors Believe their Kids Struggle with Faith
Yet even if pastors' kids are more spiritually grounded than many might give them credit for, it's hard to argue that they don't face distinct social and spiritual challenges.
First of all, pastors' kids are raised in a unique culture of expectation. They share the name of the one in charge, and as such, they often live in the awareness that their words, attitudes and actions are a reflection of the family's spiritual position. But while their parent may have been called to ministry, the social expectations placed upon them can leave some pastors' kids thinking, "I didn't sign up for this."
The survey results show pastors are not oblivious to this heightened scrutiny of their family. In fact, pastors (28%) name unrealistic expectations of their kids as the number one reason pastors' kids struggle in the development of their own faith. The second reason listed by pastors (18%) is exposure to the negative aspects of church.
But next, the reasons for stunted spiritual growth hits closer to home. Nearly two out of 10 (17%) pastors link their own preoccupation as too–busy parents with the frustrated faith of their children. And about one–sixth of pastors trace the prodigal tendencies of their children back to the lack of faith modeled consistently at home (14%). Other reasons given by pastors include the influence of peers and culture (9%), the child's free will (7%), and their never making faith their own (6%).

The Parenting Successes and Regrets of Pastors
Like all parents, pastors are only human. And their self–confessed failures and successes in parenting provide an intriguing study in contrast. Overall, the research reveals pastors feel they've parented successfully in teaching their children right principles to live by—in terms of faith, values and moral choices. Yet when asked about their parenting regrets, pastors' answers reflect primarily relational deficiencies.
When asked what they feel they've done best in raising their kids, pastors (37%) overwhelmingly answered that they introduced their children to Christ and maintained a Bible—focused home. Only 5% wish they had done better in this area, by giving their children more biblical instruction.
Overall, a startling 19% say they wouldn't change anything in their parenting methods, even if they could turn back time. Yet for those who do admit parenting regrets, things get a little more personal.
While 21% of pastors believe they were good parents in terms of supporting and spending time with their children, twice that amount have regrets in this area—42% say they wish they had spent more time with their kids. Perhaps in reference to the unrealistic expectations pastors agree are placed upon their children, 8% of pastors also said they wish they had been more understanding with their kids.

What the Research Means
David Kinnaman, author of You Lost Me, directed the research on pastors' kids. He comments, "The numbers show that pastors' kids—at least as reported through the eyes of their parents—are about average when it comes to their struggles with Christianity and with the Church. This is perhaps to be expected, yet also disappointing. The children of pastors are not destined to become prodigals, but more than one out of 14 seem to have left their faith behind. And nearly two-fifths of these church-raised kids go through a period of significant doubt—we call this the spiritual journey of nomads, those who still call themselves Christians yet are no longer connected to a local church.
A pastor's kid himself, Kinnaman stresses the importance of pastors and churchgoers maintaining realistic expectations for the children of clergy. "Pastors are feeling the pressure. Their children are living in a moral and spiritual fishbowl; their actions are evaluated by all sides in the church. This constant evaluation is only compounded with the rise of social media and always-on leadership. In fact, it is telling that the most common improvement pastors would make to their parenting, looking back, is to have spent more time with their children. It is a haunting question: Are faith leaders sacrificing their best hours for the sake of other people instead of their own children?"
"On the one hand, a pastor's family should aspire to be a great example of what a healthy, functioning and grace-filled family looks like. It's natural to look to our leaders as examples of how we should live. And in the face of cultural disillusionment with fallen leaders, it's hard not to expect something more from faith leaders. Still, it's a problem when heightened expectations are piled on families that are typical in every way. After all, even faith leaders and their families are in need of spiritual renewal and transformation."
Comment on this research and follow our work:
Twitter: @davidkinnaman | @barnagroup
Facebook: Barna Group

ABOUT THE RESEARCH
This report is based upon a nationwide, random sample of 603 senior pastors of Protestant churches throughout the continental United States. Questions related to parenting were asked of the 456 pastors in the study who have children 15 years of age or older. The study was conducted via telephone interviews from April 20, 2012 to May 1, 2012. The maximum margin of sampling error associated with a sample size of 456 is ±4.5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. Minimal statistical weighting was used to calibrate the aggregate sample to known population percentages in relation to regional and denominational variables.

Mainline Protestant denominations include American Baptist Churches in the USA; the Episcopal Church; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; the Presbyterian Church (USA); the United Church of Christ; and the United Methodist Church. Non–mainline Protestant denominations are Protestant churches other than those included in the mainline category described above.
ABOUT BARNA GROUP
Barna Group (which includes its research division, the Barna Research Group) is a private, non–partisan, for–profit organization under the umbrella of the Issachar Companies. Located in Ventura, California, Barna Group has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984.
If you would like to receive free e–mail notification of the release of each update on the latest research findings from Barna Group, you may subscribe to this free service at the Barna website (www.barna.org). Additional research–based resources are also available through this website.
© Barna Group, 2013

Rabu, 06 November 2013

Reaching Youth for Christ in Pakistan


Reaching Youth for Christ in Pakistan

A Christian Aid-assisted ministry in Pakistan has planted a church in most major cities in the nation and has established over 250 outreaches in towns and villages. In July they hosted the second annual leadership training camp for Christians who are interested in ministering to teenagers. The 54 men and women who attended the weeklong event participated in workshops to strengthen their personal spiritual lives and to develop skills to work more effectively with youth. In addition to the training sessions, they enjoyed a wonderful time of worshiping the Lord and fellowshipping with one another

Kamis, 24 Oktober 2013

The Lost Boys – Epidemic Fatherlessness Creating Deadly Consequences

The Lost Boys – Epidemic Fatherlessness Creating Deadly Consequences

Lonely Boy
photo credit: HAMED MASOUMI
Bored, unsupervised, fatherless boys are to policemen what “unaccounted for” uranium represents to counter-terrorism worldwide—a threat to peace, to innocent people, and a major problem that demands attention  Among boys all it takes to “weaponize” the plentiful supply of youthranium in our country today is a really bad idea offered in vacuum of moral convictions.  Deep within the brain of one our nation’s fatherless at the center of the latest “boys gone evil” news story, a spark was felt, a neuron fired, and words were expressed.  “I got it!” he says. “Wouldn’t it be cool if… we killed someone?”    The idea is welcomed and executed without filters or objection.  This is gonna be fun.
Meet the Lost Boys.
They have been on their own since they were little and have remained on their own as boys hoping to become men.  Raised by single mothers, they have been unsupervised and un-mentored by any male figure as long they can remember.  The macabre and toxic excitement rising from this deadly brainstorm is not just about a lazy summer, it’s about becoming men in a cesspool of broken male culture, character, and conduct that becomes the norm for lost boys.  This broken culture produces beliefs (about self and others) and behaviors shaped by peer angst and self loathing instead offatherly concern and modeling.   The result:  broken male culture that trains young men to act selfishly and separate their hearts from their heads when a decision they make impacts others negatively.  It’s called alexithymia.  Look it up.  The root words that form the word mean to “repel” (alexo) and “the soul” (thumos).  It is a picture of being emotionally dead.
Fatherlessness is creating these types of boys by the millions with multiplied billions of their social interactions creating a titanic wave of injustice for innocent people.     Emotionally unaware and socially detached, these boys cannot connect their actions with the feelings of others. This emotional compartmentalization provides the inner freedom and sanction necessary to kill, make others suffer, and then talk about it objectively like the young men in this case.  The police interviews with these boys are surreal.   They talk about killing a man the way a person would describe building a roast beef sandwich.  It’s on the level of “We were hungry so we ate.”
Totally removed from all this and living with plenty of purpose was another young man who was unaware that his time on planet earth was drawing to a tragic and senseless close. Christopher Lane’s life was anything but boring.  He was a college athlete and leader who met a wonderful girl living in Duncan Oklahoma.  Visiting his girlfriend and deciding to go for a jog in this small town of 24,000 was a sign of who he was and where he was going in life—forward.   Running forward by a home filled with the lost boys was his only mistake on the day which he could not have possibly envisioned.  One saw Christopher jog by and said the others, “There’s our target.”  They proceeded to follow Lane in a car and shot him in the back before driving off.   He staggered for a few feet and collapsed.
The same boy told police, “We were bored and didn’t have anything to do so we decided to kill somebody.”  The motive? For the fun of it.  Young boys can only think like this in a vacuum of moral beliefs that is not being supplied by the one person in society responsible for the shaping of boys—a father.  Boys who experience healthy doses of acceptance, affirmation, authority, and accountability from a father are less likely to develop in such a compartmentalized way emotionally.  Good old time, talk, and healthy touch from dads goes a long way to form souls of young boys who grow into emotionally healthy men—ones able to consider others first.
Everybody gets that.
On the local level, the guys who really get it are law enforcement officers.  If you don’t believe me, talk to them. They see broken families, no fathers, lost boys, no models, no mentors, and the detached pain-makers making news and being arrested daily.  They see boys being weaponized into heartless destroyers at multiple levels in the home and community.  If they had one wish it would be for leadership development among dads (young and old) raising the next generation.  These men and this movement are waiting out there to be awakened.  It’s the Sleeping Giant and it must rise or else promising young men like Christopher Lane and countless others will fall victim to the Lost Boys looking to have some fun.

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Every Man Ministries, founded by president Kenny Luck, gives men the tools they need to walk with God and navigate the difficulties of life. As the men’s pastor at Saddleback Church, Kenny Luck created a program for men to start and lead their own men’s ministries, the Sleeping Giant program. Watch Kenny’s teachings atEveryManMinistries.com.
Follow Every Man Ministries now onFacebookTwitter (@everymm,) and YouTube.

Rabu, 23 Oktober 2013

TOKOH MISI: THE CAMBRIDGE SEVEN

TOKOH MISI: THE CAMBRIDGE SEVEN

Saya pernah berkhotbah dalam sebuah ibadah dengan menggunakan The Cambridge Seven sebagai teladan iman. Pria-pria ini telah melayani generasi mereka, dan kini giliran kita untuk melayani generasi kita. Alkitab dengan jelas menyatakan bahwa Tuhan menjaga hidup orang-orang yang melayani generasinya. Daud adalah contoh yang sangat baik dalam hal ini. "Sebab Daud melakukan kehendak Allah pada zamannya, lalu ia mangkat dan dibaringkan di samping nenek moyangnya, dan ia memang diserahkan kepada kebinasaan." (Kisah Para Rasul 13:36)

Daud melayani generasinya dan ia dikenal sebagai seseorang yang berkenan kepada Allah (Kisah Para Rasul 13:22). Pada ayat yang sama, Alkitab menyatakan bahwa "[Daud adalah orang] yang melakukan segala kehendak-Ku". Meskipun Daud juga melakukan banyak kesalahan, ia tetaplah seorang hamba Allah yang setia.

Memandang ke tahun 1800-an, jarang sekali ada kisah kepahlawanan yang berasal dari hamba-hamba Tuhan. Namun, pada tahun 1881, Harold Schofield, seorang dokter muda sekaligus seorang misionaris yang melayani di bagian utara provinsi Shansi sedang terbaring lemah karena menderita sakit tifus. Dalam pembaringannya, ia tetap tidak berhenti berdoa. Ia memohon kepada Allah untuk memberinya seorang pengganti karena ia tahu bahwa ia tidak akan sembuh dari penyakitnya ini. Ia berdoa agar Tuhan mau mengirim lulusan dari universitas terbaik di Inggris untuk menginjili China. Pada tanggal 1 Agustus 1883, Harold Schofield berpulang ke rumah Bapa, saat itu saudara kita yang terkasih ini baru berumur 31 tahun.

Apakah Tuhan menjawab doanya? Ya! Pada bulan Februari 1885, doa Schofield terjawab ketika tujuh mahasiswa dari Universitas Cambridge memutuskan untuk meninggalkan kekayaan dan segala kebanggaan mereka dan melayani Tuhan ke mana pun Ia akan memimpin mereka. Ketujuh mahasiswa yang di kemudian hari dikenal sebagai "The Cambridge Seven" ini terdiri atas Charles Thomas Studd, Montagu Harry Proctor Beauchamp, Stanley P. Smith, Arthur T. Polhill-Turner, Dixon Edward Hoste, Cecil H. Polhill-Turner, dan William Wharton Cassels.

Pada ibadah pengutusan, mereka berkata, "Berdoalah supaya Tuhan menolong kami untuk tetap setia."

Ketujuh orang ini menjadi inspirasi bagi ribuan orang lainnya untuk memikirkan pelayanan misionaris secara lebih serius. Salah seorang dari tujuh orang ini adalah C.T. Studd, seorang kapten tim kriket Inggris yang terbaik pada masanya -- jika ia saja sanggup menyerahkan segala-galanya, orang lain pun dapat melakukannya! Mereka menginspirasi banyak orang untuk melayani Tuhan. Pada tahun 1890, jumlah mereka berlipat ganda, dan pada tahun 1900 terdapat 800 orang misionaris yang aktif melayani di China bersama-sama dengan China Inland Mission. Jumlah tersebut mewakili sepertiga dari total kekuatan misi yang melayani dunia pada saat itu.

Di bawah ini adalah sekelumit detail atas apa yang terjadi pada anggota The Cambridge Seven.

William Wharton Cassels (1858 -- 1925)
William melayani di China selama sepuluh tahun, kemudian ia kembali ke Inggris pada tahun 1885. Di Inggris, ia ditahbiskan sebagai uskup atas keuskupan baru untuk China Barat. Setelah ditahbiskan, ia kembali ke China Barat dan melayani di sana sampai ia meninggal pada tahun 1925.

Stanley Peregrine Smith (1861 -- 1931)
Stanley diutus untuk melayani di China Utara. Ia mempelajari bahasa China dan segera menjadi seorang pengkhotbah yang sangat fasih dalam bahasa asing tersebut. Ia meninggal di China pada 31 Januari 1931.

Charles Thomas Studd (1860 -- 1931)
Atlet kriket ini dipulangkan pada tahun 1894 karena kesehatannya yang semakin menurun. Di kemudian hari, ia melayani di India dan Afrika; ia juga mendirikan badan misi WEC. Ia meninggal di Ibambi, Kongo Belgia pada tahun 1931.

C. T. Studd adalah seseorang yang menulis kutipan terkenal berikut ini, "Beberapa orang ingin tinggal di tempat-tempat mereka dapat mendengar suara lonceng gereja; sedangkan aku ingin sekali membuka pos keselamatan sedekat mungkin dengan neraka." Pada masa tuanya, orang-orang yang mengkritiknya mengatakan bahwa ia harus pulang dan pensiun. Menanggapi hal itu, Studd menolak dan berkata, "Tuhan telah memanggilku untuk pergi melayani karena itu aku akan pergi. Aku akan membuka jalan menuju kuburanku dengan menjadi batu loncatan supaya orang-orang muda dapat mengikuti teladanku."

Cecil Polhill-Turner (1860 -- 1938)
Cecil melayani tuhan di Barat Laut China dan juga Tibet. Ia dan istrinya hampir terbunuh dalam kerusuhan pada tahun 1892. Pada tahun 1900, kesehatannya memburuk sehingga ia harus dipulangkan ke Inggris. Ia melakukan tujuh kunjungan misi yang panjang. Pada tahun 1908, ia menjadi pemimpin bagi Pentecostal Missionary Union di Sunderland dan berkarya secara luar biasa dalam pembentukan Pentecostal Movement di Inggris Raya.

Arthur Polhill-Turner (1862 -- 1935)
Arthur ditahbiskan menjadi pendeta pada tahun 1888. Ia pindah ke sebuah daerah padat penduduk supaya dapat bertemu dengan sebanyak mungkin orang. Ia tetap tinggal di China sekalipun muncul gerakan untuk mengusir orang-orang asing dan tetap di sana sampai tahun 1928, saat ia pensiun dan kembali ke Inggris. Ia meninggal pada tahun 1935.

Sir Montagu Harry Proctor Beauchamp (1860 -- 1939)
Pada tahun 1900, Montagu dievakuasi dari China karena adanya pemberontakan, tetapi ia kembali lagi ke China pada tahun 1902. Pada tahun 1911, ia kembali ke Inggris dan melayani sebagai pendeta bagi Angkatan Darat Inggris. Putranya menjadi misionaris generasi kedua di China. Karena itu, ia kembali lagi ke China pada tahun 1935. Montagu meninggal di pos misi puteranya pada tahun 1939.

Dixon Hoste (1861 -- 1946)
Dixon menjadi pengganti Hudson Taylor sebagai direktur bagi China Inland Mission dan selama 30 tahun, ia memimpin badan misi tersebut. Ia pensiun pada tahun 1935, tetapi tetap tinggal di China sampai tahun 1945 saat diasingkan oleh pasukan Jepang. Ia meninggal di London pada bulan Mei 1946, dan menjadi orang terakhir dari The Cambridge Seven yang meninggal.

Dixon pernah berkata, "Seseorang yang tidak belajar untuk menanti-nantikan Tuhan dan menyerahkan pikirannya untuk Dia bentuk, tidak akan pernah memiliki tujuan hidup yang mantap dan kepercayaan yang tenang kepada-Nya. Padahal, kedua hal itu sangat penting untuk dapat memberi pengaruh yang bijaksana terhadap orang lain pada masa-masa yang genting dan sulit."

Orang-orang yang setia ini telah melayani Tuhan bagi generasi mereka. Kesaksian mereka membuktikan bahwa kehidupan yang diserahkan sepenuhnya kepada Allah akan memampukan mereka untuk memberi dampak yang besar terhadap generasi mereka bagi Kerajaan Allah. Kiranya Tuhan membangkitkan orang-orang yang setia untuk melayani generasi kita saat ini. (t/Yudo)

Diterjemahkan dan disunting dari:
Nama situs: Faith Walk in the 2nd Half
Alamat URL: http://faith2ndhalf.blogspot.com/2010/08/cambridge-seven.html
Judul asli artikel: The Cambridge Seven
Penulis: Albert Kang
Tanggal akses: 20 Oktober 2013

Selasa, 01 Oktober 2013

Host a Halloween Party

Host a Halloween Party

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If you want to love your neighbors like Jesus, it often doesn’t take great acts of kindness or huge sacrifices on your part, but simply being open to seeing what their needs are, and willing to help out where you can. Sam Riviera gives some practical examples of how this has looked in his own life.

Every year on Halloween, rather than go down to a local church for a “Hallelujah Party” or hide out in our house with our lights turned off, we host a big Halloween party for our entire neighborhood. This is another practical way we have shared the love of Jesus with our neighbors.
The day before Halloween we hand out quarter sheets of orange paper in the neighborhood, inviting neighbors to join us at dusk.
Here are some of the things we do:

Build A Fire In The Driveway

On Halloween night, we take our iron chiminea and put it on the driveway. Then we build a fire, put a circle of chairs around it, and hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters on the driveway.
We have also started to invite the neighbors to join us.
Last year, we put out a big pot of chili. And of course, chili needs cornbread to go with it. And since the night can be chilly, we put out hot cider and hot chocolate. While we’re at it, we make a few batches of our Secret Recipe Cookies.

Pumpkins, Cats, and Candy

halloweenWe fill a large bowl with candy bars. Sometimes there is a neighbor who will not get home from work until later in the evening, and she gives us a package of candy to hand out for her. In addition to the circle of chairs, we set up tables to hold the food and carved pumpkins, fiber-optic pumpkin heads, and cats.
People start showing up just after dusk. We light the fire and people gravitate to the food tables and the chairs around the fire. Several neighbors bring their bowls of candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters on our driveway instead of at their houses. A few also bring food and drinks to share.
Some people stay all evening. Some only stay for a short while, eating a bowl of chili, and chatting with friends and neighbors. Others came by with their children, greet a neighbor or two, grab a cookie or cup of hot cider, and continue accompanying their children on their trick-or-treating rounds.

Tricking Our Neighbors?

Did we do this so we could invite people to a Bible study, church service, or give them Christian literature? – Never!
We do this so we can get to know our neighbors better, and so they can get to know each other better. We’re learning to love our neighbors like Jesus, and before we can do that, we have to get to know them.
halloweenAnd we do! Simply by spending time with, eating with them, and sharing life with them, we get to know them. Inevitably, we have conversations about life – including the meaning of life and its problems and where God is in all of that, hopes, needs and a variety of other issues. These all take place before, during, and after these events.

What A Great Neighborhood!

Do people want community? In our experience most people definitely do.
After last year’s Halloween party, several people at the Halloween party commented that their friends and relatives have said they wish they lived in our neighborhood, a neighborhood where people know each other and have neighborhood parties. One of our friends who does not live in the neighborhood commented this week “What a great neighborhood!”
People often say, “You need to go to church to be in community.” I say, “We are the church, in our community!”
We are the church as we get to know our neighbors, live in community with them, and show them the love of Jesus.
We are the church as we get to know our neighbors, live in community with them, and show them the love of Jesus.
We’re learning to love our neighbors and help them in places where they need help, in places where we are able to help. We’re helping build community, a community where people know each other and care about each other, a community where people talk about inconsequential things as well as about really important things, including Jesus.

get to know neighborsThis "Getting to Know Our Neighbors" series is by Sam Riviera, a frequent blog contributor. This series provides concrete, practical suggestions for loving others like Jesus. If you have a question or comment about how Sam shows the love of Jesus to his neighbors, let him know in the comment section below. Maybe he will even write another post in the series!

Can Christians be Tree Huggers?

Can Christians be Tree Huggers?

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Some Christians are wary of efforts to protect and preserve nature. I think that part of their concern is that some environmental efforts seem to make an idol out of nature, or even make nature more important than humans.
Here is an example of what I am talking about:
http://youtu.be/HaxLpjPZTbU
I believe there Christians are called to protect and tend the plants, trees, animals, water, and other elements of nature in this world, but you will never find me asking a tree if I can hug it or share my energy with it.
tree huggersBut here is the thing… just because we don’t want to go off the deep end and idolize nature or damage and destroy human lives for the sake of nature, this does not mean that we can ignore the environmental needs of the world or just consume and destroy the natural resources of this plant in any way we want.
One of the first instructions of God to humanity was that we would tend to the plants and animals of creation (Genesis 2:15f). Our fall into sin has not done away with this responsibility.
In fact, since the world and everything in it is God’s good creation, should not people who follow God be the greatest champions of the environment?
since the world and everything in it is God’s good creation, should not people who follow God be the greatest champions of the environment?
Yet all too often, we adopt the mentality that “it’s all going to burn away” so we might as well rape the land, kill the animals, and destroy the environment. (And by the way, I don’t think it all going to burn anyway… God will purify creation, but we are still going to be living in creation.  But that’s a subject for a future post.)
I am NOT saying that we need to worship the earth, treat animals as more important than humans, or pray to the sun and trees. No, this is idolatry. But there is a vast difference between idolatry and ignoring our God-given responsibility to tend for the earth, care for the animals, and do what we can to protect the earth and its resources for future generations.
So Christians can be tree huggers in the sense that we want to protect the environment God made. But first and foremost, we will be God lovers and people huggers who recognize that tending creation is one way to love both God and other people.
What are your thoughts on the subject? 

This post is part of the September Synchroblog. Here is a list of other contributors:

Minggu, 29 September 2013

RAPE FOR PROFIT

Rape for Profit

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Rape for ProfitDid you know that men all over our country are paying money to rape young girls?
Worse yet, if these men get caught, they won’t go away to prison. They might get a slap on the wrist and spend a night in jail. The young girl will probably get arrested as well.
You haven’t heard about this? It sounds bizarre?
That’s because you know about it under a different name: prostitution. Or as we like to call it here in the United States: “Hiring an escort.” Essentially, prostitution is rape for profit.
Most people seem to think that prostitution is not so bad because the girls are willing. But the tragic truth is that the vast majority of them are not willing.
These young girls are out on the streets because they are in bondage and in chains. They are there against their will. They are being coerced, forced, and threatened. Sometimes, a guy they thought was their boyfriend got them hooked on drugs so that they have to go “turn tricks” for him just to get more drugs.
No matter what, prostitution is a form of rape. But since people are selling these girls, it is rape for profit. It is allowing other men to rape girls in exchange for money.
Some people seem to think the girls want to do these things, but no girl wants to be a prostitute. (See some others posts on the topic of human trafficking here.)
My wife and I have been trying to champion the needs of these poor girls for several years now, and have been trying to raise awareness of their plight in our own small ways, but we watched a documentary last week week which reiterated our need to stand up and raise the call once again.

Rape for Profit

The movie is called Rape for Profit Here is a preview:
http://vimeo.com/rapeforprofitfilm
If you are unaware about this dire issue in our own country (and around the world), I strongly recommend you watch this movie. You can watch it on iTunes here: Rape for Profit.
Rape for Profit on iTunes
The stories you hear and the things you hear in this documentary will break your heart for these poor young girls who are caught into the darkest and most evil web on earth. They truly are trapped in hell.
I strongly encourage you to watch the movie.
Also, think about getting involved with some of the organizations and ministries around the country that are seeking to help rescue these young girls and show them how precious and valuable they truly are. Two groups we support are Children’s Hope Chest in Colorado Springs, and The International Justice Mission in Washington D.C. I see that Jamie (the very worst missionary) recommends a few resources as well.
And hey! As I was just visiting the website of the International Justice Mission to get the link above, I noticed that if you donate to them in the month of September (ONLY THREE DAYS LEFT), your donation gets doubled!
How aware are you of this great problem in our country (and around the world)? How did you hear about it, and what do you think can be done about it? Let us know in the comment section.
To learn more about Human Trafficking and sex slavery, check out some of these posts:

Human Trafficking Posts

  1. Sex Slaves
  2. Would You Fight Slavery?
  3. Rescue Russian Sex Slaves
  4. Rescue Russian Girls from Sex Slavery
  5. Stop Her Nightmare
  6. Another Girl Rescued Today
  7. Girls for Sale
  8. Goal Reached!
  9. I Want to be a Prostitute
  10. $52,000 raised!
  11. 31 Million Sex Slaves
  12. Renting Lacy
  13. More Than Rice
  14. Human Trafficking Ring Busted
  15. The Other Big Game
  16. Sex Slavery, Planned Parenthood, and Your Tax Dollars
  17. How to Minister to Prostitutes
  18. Wisconsin Woman Held as Sex Slave in Brooklyn
  19. Coked-Up Whore
  20. Human Trafficking has Many Faces
  21. Into an India Brothel
  22. You Need a Girl?
  23. Human Trafficking Media
  24. The Son of God is Selling Children
  25. My Girls Raised $300 to help stop Human Trafficking
  26. Rape for Profit

Selasa, 10 September 2013

Strip Church Training


We started a ministry a few years ago called Strip Church, in which we train women on how to reach those working in the sex industry in their city. Since 2011, we have held six different training conferences in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Sydney, and Dallas. This year, we’re coming to San Diego and Miami, and we want you to join us! When you attend a Strip Church Training, you will gain insights and experiences from leaders who have been doing effective ministry in the sex industry for years. The three-day training will include presentation and discussion, training manuals, a chance to meet other women committed to reaching this industry, hands-on experience during our gift bag assembly, and strip club outreach (outreach for one person per ministry only), and an invitation into our International Network.

Whether you’re a leader in your church, a former stripper, or a stay-at-home mom, you can make an impact in the lives of women in the industry. If you have a true sense that God loves these women, and you’re passionate about this type of ministry, we want to invite you to join us in San Diego or Miami. Click one of the dates below for more information or to sign up!

San Diego: September 20-22nd

Miami: October 11-13th

Kamis, 05 September 2013

3 Ways Christian Youth Challenge the Church


3 Ways Christian Youth Challenge the Church

 
3 Ways Christian Youth Challenge the Church
Today’s Christian teenagers embody a number of encouraging values. But those same values tend to chafe today’s church.
Thom Schultz Today’s Christian teenagers embody a number of encouraging values. But those same values tend to chafe today’s church.
Since launching Group Magazine almost 40 years ago, I’ve been an avid observer of adolescent values, beliefs and behaviors. Much has changed over the years. I reflected on some of these changes after spending time with hundreds of kids in recent weeks at Group’s mission trips around the country.
I saw three values on display that have also been reported recently in national media accounts of the Millennial mind. These three values represent a sea change from previous generations.
1. Shared Participation. This generation wants to get out and make a difference. And they want to do it cooperatively together with others. Their teamwork and eager servanthood while putting a roof on an elderly woman’s house in hundred-degree heat illustrate their appetite for putting their faith into action.
And, in things that really matter, they want to be a part of the conversation. They want to participate, rather than sit passively while an authority “communicates.” Today’s young people have grown up with interactive media. They prefer the web and mobile apps over television—because of the ability to actively participate.
These past weeks, I saw how the workcampers resonated and responded to opportunities to actively participate in the large group gatherings. Rather than simply listen to a talking head, they wanted to join the conversation, and step into active worship experiences that allowed them to explore and express their faith with all their senses.
2. Gray Comfort. Today’s kids have determined our world is not all black and white. Some things are gray. Mysterious. Unresolved. And they’re comfortable with that.
They reject a religion that presents itself as a mere list of rules. They’re tired of the war between science and Christianity. They’re suspicious of adult talkers who overconfidently exude pat answers for everything.
This year’s mission trip theme focused on questions—questions that Jesus asked. The kids ate it up. They loved the format that welcomed their questions and their doubts.
3. Full Acceptance. This generation is so past the concept of erecting barriers based on race, national origin, clothing choice, gender or sexual preference.
They embrace the notion of unconditional acceptance. That doesn’t mean they necessarily endorse a person’s every behavior. But they accept the person.
At one camp, I watched as an openly gay boy strode to the microphone to participate in an evening program. After he finished speaking, the crowd of teenagers cheered enthusiastically—just as they did with every other young speaker that night. While the older adults in the room may have caught themselves first reacting with thoughts of, “Wait a minute, I think that kid is gay,” the young people looked right past the veneer to love and respect the individual.
There’s a lot I admire about this generation. I believe they offer a bountiful hope for the future, for the future of the church. But much of the church will need to adjust to make a safe place for these young people. Is the church ready?
Are church leaders ready ...
  • to share the microphone, to encourage give-and-take, to allow God’s Spirit to work through a variety of worship experiences?
  • to resist spewing pat answers, to make a truly safe place for questions and doubts, to authentically admit that none of us has all the answers to life’s toughest questions?
  • to create a real welcoming environment, to remove the unspoken barriers, to understand and demonstrate the difference between acceptance and endorsement?  
Thom Schultz is an eclectic author and the founder of Group Publishing and Lifetree CafĂ©. Holy Soup offers innovative approaches to ministry, and challenges the status quo of today’s church. More from Thom Schultz or visit Thom at holysoup.com/

Free Youth Lesson: "When the Shine Wears Off" by Kurt Johnston


Free Youth Lesson: "When the Shine Wears Off" by Kurt Johnston

 
Free Youth Lesson: "When the Shine Wears Off" by Kurt Johnston
"Want to help your teenagers keep moving forward when reality hits after a spiritual high?"


Free Youth Lesson

Download and share this lesson with your youth ministry.
From YouthMinistry.com, "We've all seen our students experience the let down after a big spiritual event like a camp, retreat, or missions trip. Want to help your teenagers keep moving forward when reality hits after a spiritual high? In this simple lesson, Kurt Johnston uses Moses as a launching pad for a great discussion on what to do when the 'Shine' wears off."


Get Download Now

Resource provided by YouthMinistry.com

10 Things I Do to Amp Up My Creativity


10 Things I Do to Amp Up My Creativity

 
10 Things I Do to Amp Up My Creativity
When working with teenagers, creativity is a must.
Greg Stier When working with teenagers, creativity is a must. If you’re not somewhat creative, then your sermon, talk or lesson can be responded to with rolled eyes, heavy sighs and texting fingers.
I’ve seen this first-hand as the leader of Dare 2 Share. We travel the nation and equip tens of thousands of teenagers to share their faith. Creativity at our conferences and in our curriculum is a non-negotiable. If the content is not communicated in a creative enough way, then teens will tune out (and sometimes walk out!).
I thank God that he has surrounded me with creative people at Dare 2 Share. They work hard to market and produce captivating events and curriculum that are theologically sound, culturally relevant and wonderfully creative.
If all of this talk of creativity sounds a little unspiritual, just realize that the first defining characteristic of God is his creativity: “In the beginning God created ... ” So when we are creative, we reflect our Creator in a very elemental way.
With all this as a backdrop, here are 10 quick things I do to amp up my creativity:
1. Prayer walks. I get some of my best ideas at the tail end of my prayer walks.
2. Writing retreats. Just finished two days in the mountains brainstorming and writing dramas for our conferences.
3. Watching movies. A good movie can spur some creative juices and trigger great ideas.
4. Working out. If I feel in a creative funk, a round of Insanity or P90X can help shake it … or just taking a long walk!
5. Drinking coffee. And all God’s children said?
6. Arguing. Yes, brainstorming and arguing over ideas (in a good way) can help trigger creativity.
7. Taking a long shower. I don’t know why, but this works for me.
8. Surrounding myself with creative people. I thank God for my team at Dare 2 Share!
9. Engaging points of view that differ from mine. This means that evangelism can sharpen your creativity!
10. Creating stuff consistently. I’m always creating stuff (new book, new conference tour, new curriculum, new blogpost, etc.). The more you create the more creative you get.
What are some of the things you do to amp up your creativity? 

Used with permission from Dare 2 Share Ministries. Dare 2 Share Ministries is committed to mobilizing teenagers to relationally and relentlessly reach their generation for Christ. Dare 2 Share’s youth evangelism training conferences, curriculum and books motivate and equip teenagers to share the gospel with their friends. More from Greg Stier or visit Greg at www.dare2share.org