Saturday, 30 June 2018

Romans 12:3

“[Humble Service in the Body of Christ] For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”


Just Say No

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement and the likelihood that he will be replaced with an anti-abortionist will probably lead to overthrowing Roe v. Wade, and a blizzard of state laws banning abortion. What action can a woman take if she lives in one of those states and does not want a pregnancy? Nancy Reagan […]


Friday, 29 June 2018

Zechariah 14:9

“The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.”


An Engineering Student Defends Moral Realism

Hello readers! I haven’t contributed to Johno’s blog in a while. I’ve been busy struggling through doing some important things to further my graduate school career as well as watching my country crumble into an oligarchical wasteland before my eyes. I’ll be entering my 5th year of my PhD program at the end of the summer, […]


Thursday, 28 June 2018

Space Force!

It’s a waste of money, but it’ll be cool! Yes, this is a comedy video, but the Daily Show has a history of going to Trump rallies and really getting to know the inner thoughts of those Trump supporters. Holy cow, you gotta watch the second half of this!


Interview: Q&A: Marriage App Founder Says Couples Benefit from Digital Therapy

The founder of the Lasting app aims to offer portable counseling support to married millennials—especially those with kids.

In the lives of married millennials, having kids changes everything, according to Lasting, a marriage health app that so far has over 125,000 respondents to its marital health survey. Couples without children tend to report being more satisfied with their marriages than couples with children. In response to statements like “My partner is a great listener,” only 30 percent of people with kids agreed, while 45 percent of people without kids agreed.

The company’s dataset may be the largest marriage survey sample size ever gathered. Most users are between the ages of 20 and 35 or in their first 15 years of marriage (80 percent of users were married after 2010). Regardless of their parenthood status, men and women overall reported significant differences: Nearly 67 percent of women disagreed with the statement “My partner is a good listener” while only 51 percent of men disagreed.

The data gathered, while interesting on its own, contributes to the app’s function as a marriage counseling product. When users first log in, Lasting walks them through a 27-question marriage assessment survey. Based on the results, the app identifies a couple’s weaknesses and then gives tailored recommendations derived from decades of scientific studies on marital health. There are 18 topics total (called “series”) broken up into smaller sessions. Each session begins with a podcast or TED Talk–style lesson, and each series is filled with exercises to practice what you learned.

While its users aren’t all Christians, the app creator Steven Dziedzic wants his content to pass the “gospel test” as well as the “science test.” Dziedzic—whose first start-up was acquired ...

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Eugene Cho: Why I Am Stepping Down as Pastor of Quest Church

“I don’t feel burned out, but I am realizing my limitations.”

In 2001 Eugene Cho and his wife, Minhee, founded Quest Church, an urban, multicultural, and multigenerational community in Seattle. He began his first year as a pastor without a salary, working as a janitor at Barnes & Noble. It was a hard beginning, but it proved formational for him and his congregation. In addition to fulltime ministry, Cho launched a nonprofit organization, One Day’s Wages, in 2009 to help alleviate extreme global poverty.

On June 3, 2018, after 18 years of ministry at Quest Church, Cho announced to his congregation that he would be resigning from his position as lead pastor. Kyle Rohane, editor of CT Pastors, sat down with Cho to talk about his reasons for stepping aside, the discernment process that led to this point, and his hopes and fears for Quest Church in the coming years.

Now that your resignation is public, I imagine you are experiencing a number of emotions. Can you describe what’s going through your head and heart right now?

I’m doing … okay. While my wife, Minhee, and I are at peace with the decision—it’s something we’ve been praying through for some time—there’s certainly real grieving as well. We planted Quest Church about 18 years ago, so the closest analogy I can think of is when we dropped off our eldest kid at college. Leading up to that moment, we began to ask questions like, Is she ready? Did we do enough? When that day arrived we hugged her and kissed her, gave her a few words of advice and Scripture verses. Then we turned around, got into the car, and just started bawling.

Right now we’re feeling a similar mix of emotions: gratitude for God’s faithfulness over the past 18 years, but some real grieving as well.

How ...

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Renewing Your Church: Removing Barriers for New Life

We need to remove the personal and corporate barriers that keep God from moving freely in and through us.

We live in an ever-changing world in which the church seems to be struggling to keep up. Our churches are aging and losing their relevance in our post-Christian, postmodern, and pluralistic world. Our children grow up and leave our churches. Churches are moving away from the cities because they aren’t able to connect with the new neighbors and some churches are closing their doors.

Let’s be honest. Ministry is hard. I have experienced the ups and downs of ministry.

I have been a part of a struggling church plant that eventually shut its doors. I have had to cut budgets and lay people off. I have had to shut down ministries and even campuses. I have seen marriages of people in my ministry fall apart. I have seen people walk away from their faith.

I have also been a part of starting effective new churches and effective new campuses. I have been a part of growth that included increasing budgets, hiring more staff, and seeing friends, neighbors, and family members coming to faith, getting baptized, and connecting with our local church.

Here’s the thing: after 25 years of ministry, I can now tell the difference of what leads to those seasons of ups and downs.

Looking back at these last 7 years serving in Austin at Gateway Church, I can see three distinct things we did to move from stagnant and declining to growing and thriving that might help you in your work of revitalization.

1. We need to remove the barriers we have put up between ourselves and God.

As pastors and church leaders we must acknowledge that God builds His Church. We are His servants. Unless He builds, we are laboring in vain.

At the same time, the Scriptures also reveal that we can obstruct what God wants to do in our local churches. When we ...

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Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Ebola Deaths Rise As Patients Turn to Miracles Over Medicine

African officials pled with faith healers to let doctors treat the latest fatal outbreak.

The tight restrictions put in place to stop the latest flare-up of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) go against the typical rhythms of church life, where Christians regularly gather together, partake in sacraments, and lay hands on one another to pray for healing.

Before the World Health Organization declared the six-week-long outbreak largely contained last week, Christian patients and church leaders numbered among the dozens infected by the deadly disease that most violently erupted around West Africa between 2013 and 2016, killing more than 11,000 people.

Two Ebola patients died last month after fleeing a hospital isolation ward so they could be taken to a prayer meeting, where they exposed up to 50 others. Hospital efforts to contain the violent ailment were not enough to prevent two infected patients from being swept out of the hospital to pray.

“The escape was organized by the families, with six motorcycles as the patients were very ill and couldn’t walk,” said Dr. Jean-Clement Carbol, an emergency medical coordinator with Doctors Without Borders, according to Reuters. “They were taken to a prayer room with 50 people to pray. They were found at two in the morning, one of them dead and one was dying. So that’s 50–60 contacts right there.”

(Another Doctors Without Borders coordinator, Henry Gray, said the patients left of their own accord, despite pleas from hospital staff.)

A brutal virus with a mortality rate around 50 percent (and sometimes much higher, depending on the strain), Ebola was first recorded in the DRC, where nine outbreaks have occurred over the last 50 years. The current epidemic, which began in early May, has resulted in at least 38 confirmed cases, ...

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One-on-One with Nick Hall on Faith in the Next Generation, Part 2

The more we can mobilize our young people, the better.

Ed:Tell us more about Together 2018. What is it, and how can people get involved?

Nick: We believe there's a generation, with 18-20-year-olds at its center, that is experiencing a new movement of Jesus. So, we started to call Together the “Together Generation.”

Together ’16 was around the national mall. Together 2018 will be down in Dallas/Ft. Worth, and in 2020 it’s likely we’ll be back on the national mall. In and around these big events, there are these waves that happen. We believe the events are propelling this ongoing movement, bringing in voices and resources and tools, pushing it forwards until Together 2018. We expect Together 2018 to be a historic partnership with Cru, InterVarsity, YWAM, and other organizations.

The big emphasis of the event is evangelism and discipleship, and trying to equip a generation to move closer to Jesus. We’re trying to reinforce the idea that when I move closer to Jesus, it's always a step closer to people who need Jesus. They're not two different steps. God is always inviting us to take the next step towards him, and every step towards him is a step closer to our neighbor, because that's where Jesus is.

We're trying to get a generation to see that their lives are influenced by the gospel, and to encourage them be influencers for the gospel. So Together 2018 will be very focused on putting influencers and different versions and expressions of the Christian walk on the platform – business leaders, creative evangelists, missionaries, church planters, pastors – so that people can see themselves on the platforms.

We will also have digital resources. We're building out a discipleship platform for the purpose of trying to equip ...

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Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Stopping Government Overreach: SCOTUS Rules Against California and for the Free Speech of Pro-Life Alternatives

One of the central rights of the constitution is freedom of expression, particularly as it relates to religion.

Today the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) in a case likely to have significant impact in debates on abortion and free speech. The Court agreed with NIFLA that a California law requiring license pro-life pregnancy centers post information on where women can obtain low-cost abortion services violated the First Amendment rights of those operating the centers. Such a case seems so obvious it is almost surprising that this case had to go to the Supreme Court. Indeed, foreshadowing of today’s ruling, the majority of the Justices expressed their skepticism of the law during oral arguments in March.

Christianity Today explained:

Pro-life clinics offering pregnant women alternatives to abortion won a major free speech victory today.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to block a California law requiring pregnancy centers post referrals to state-funded abortion providers and birth control resources, forcing them to promote services that violate their beliefs.

So what makes this case so important? Why should Christians care about what pro-life pregnancy centers in California are or are not required to say? A little background might be helpful.

The Freedom to Dissent

Since 1993, NIFLA has supported pro-life centers and medical clinics across the United States. This ranges from education and training to what they are most widely known for — offering legal counsel and defending pro-life centers from becoming abortion referral agencies. These centers provide pregnant women with free or low-cost services while encouraging them to not have abortions.

The current conflict began in October 2015, when the state of California passed the Reproductive FACT Act. This law requires every crisis ...

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Supreme Court: California Can’t Force Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers to Promote Abortion

Clinics’ free speech rights trump an “unduly burdensome” state disclosure requirement.

Pro-life clinics offering pregnant women alternatives to abortion won a major free speech victory today.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to block a California law requiring pregnancy centers post referrals to state-funded abortion providers and birth control resources, forcing them to promote services that violate their beliefs.

In National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra, the court ruled that the state’s 2015 Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency (FACT) Act “targets speakers, not speech, and imposes an unduly burdensome disclosure requirement that will chill their protected speech.”

Christian and pro-life groups celebrated the decision, which follows several similar local and state-level reversals across the country in recent years.

“We applaud the US Supreme Court for sending a clear statement today that pro-life Americans cannot be discriminated against and targeted by government,” stated Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America.

“To be clear, this case was not about abortion. Malicious abortion politics definitely were the motivation behind it, but the case centered on the inappropriate mandate of the state compelling pro-life clinics to promote abortion in violation of their consciences. The case was about forced speech.”

Most of the 3,000 pregnancy clinics (also called “crisis pregnancy centers”) in the US are run by evangelicals who oppose abortion due to their religious convictions. These centers outnumber abortion clinics three to four times over.

The NIFLA network at the center of this case represents 137 of California’s roughly 200 pregnancy centers. Under the FACT Act, all facilities ...

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