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2018

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Jul 18, 2018
Faith

The Big Conversation: A Q&A with Justin Brierley on a New Series that Engages Intellectual Thinkers around Issues of Faith

By modeling good conversations about faith between people on both sides of the debate, we can hopefully improve the discourse globally.
The Big Conversation: A Q&A with Justin Brierley on a New Series that Engages Intellectual Thinkers around Issues of Faith
Image: via Creative Commons

Ed: So what exactly is The Big Conversation?

Justin: The Big Conversation is a 6-episode video debate series in which I sit down with some of the biggest intellectual thinkers from the atheist and Christian world to debate some of life’s biggest questions.

It began with ...

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Jul 17, 2018
Renewal

Renewing Your Church: Growing Together to Discover Our God-Given Purpose

I asked if they were ready to see God do something new. When they affirmed that they were, I told them that we would be changing absolutely everything.
Renewing Your Church: Growing Together to Discover Our God-Given Purpose
Image: via Creative Commons

November 2014 marked the month of my 32nd birthday and my first week as Lead Pastor of what was then known as Thornville Community Nazarene, in Thornville, OH. I would take the position as bi-vocational, being on a plane three days a week for my corporate job, with the hopes ...

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Jul 16, 2018
Crisis

Helping Teenagers and Children Cope Spiritually and Emotionally after a Crisis Like the Thai Cave Rescue

Odds of being trapped in a cave like the Thai soccer boys is rare – but childhood trauma is not.
Helping Teenagers and Children Cope Spiritually and Emotionally after a Crisis Like the Thai Cave Rescue
Image: Siam Pukkato/Shutterstock

People from around the globe celebrated the heroic rescue of the Thai boys’ soccer team this week. Statistically speaking the odds of being trapped in a cave like the Thai soccer boys is rare.

But numerous national studies have shown trauma is more common in childhood than ...

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Jul 14, 2018
Conversation

How Do I Get Connected? A Conversation with a Hasidic Israeli Jewish Man

The relationship connection throughout all of the Lord’s promises was the same.
How Do I Get Connected? A Conversation with a Hasidic Israeli Jewish Man
Image: via Creative Commons

“How do I get connected?” The question was a text from an earnest Hasidic (ultra-orthodox) Israeli Jewish guy named Aviel.*

After a series of casual conversations, he made a theological comment about God and time. That was the introduction for deeper discussion. How ...

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Jul 13, 2018
Revitalization

Five Key Things About Church Revitalization That Most Leaders Miss, Part 2

We need to patiently endure as leaders. Don’t give up.
Five Key Things About Church Revitalization That Most Leaders Miss, Part 2
Image: via Creative Commons

Third, most revitalization does not actually work at first.

Another thing about church revitalization most leaders miss is that most revitalization does not actually work at first.

Church revitalization is often a process of two steps forward, one step back. Sometimes, it’s ...

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Jul 12, 2018
Revitalization

Five Key Things About Church Revitalization That Most Leaders Miss, Part 1

If you went into ministry for everyone to like you, this was a poor decision.
Five Key Things About Church Revitalization That Most Leaders Miss, Part 1
Image: via Creative Commons

Many churches are stuck and stagnant. That doesn’t mean God isn’t working in and through them, but it can be frustrating for a church to be stuck in the same place for a long time. Sometimes it can feel like no matter what the leadership or the church community does, ...

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Jul 11, 2018
Supreme Court

Brett Kavanaugh Is a Troubling Supreme Court Pick for Black Christians

I long for the days when Supreme Court judges weren’t viewed as representing a particular ideology.
Brett Kavanaugh Is a Troubling Supreme Court Pick for Black Christians
Image: Creative Commons / Wikipedia

Having worked with Ed Stetzer for the past two years, one thing I have always appreciated about him is his willingness to deal with issues many Evangelicals avoid. His strong stance on immigration issues, the #MeToo movement, and mass incarceration is refreshing. He has used ...

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Jul 9, 2018
Supreme Court

Brett Kavanaugh Is a Good Supreme Court Pick and the Reason Many Voted for Trump

A more conservative court is good for America in many ways.
Brett Kavanaugh Is a Good Supreme Court Pick and the Reason Many Voted for Trump
Image: via Creative Commons

I am glad that President Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Of course, once you say such a thing, half the country flies into a rage.

Last night, I tweeted, “I am glad @RealDonaldTrump will be nominating the next Supreme Court Justice, rather than ...

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Jul 9, 2018
Meritocracy

The Implications of Meritocracy on the Church: Grace Erased for Incarcerated Individuals

Punishment devoid of grace is not justice, but vengeance.
The Implications of Meritocracy on the Church: Grace Erased for Incarcerated Individuals
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We gather weekly to worship God, giving honor, praise, and glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We declare the goodness of God through prayers, songs, and sermons. We thank God for the unceasing love, mercy, and grace that’s been extended to us, singing hymns of ...

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Jul 7, 2018
Singing

One-on-One with Keith Getty on Congregational Singing in the Global Church

The very act of congregational worship is a symbol of unity

Ed: Where do your ideas come from when you write?

Keith Getty: What a wonderful question. Two things, and both are related to my Irish upbringing. First, my musical childhood was church music, classical music, and whatever influences of Irish “folk” music I imbibed. ...

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Jul 6, 2018
Churchgoers

New Research: Churchgoers Stick Around for Theology, Not Music or Preachers

Don’t mess with a church’s beliefs or there may be an exodus, according to a new study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.
New Research: Churchgoers Stick Around for Theology, Not Music or Preachers
Image: via LifeWay Research
I used to lead, and now work with, LifeWay Research. Here’s an interesting piece of research they just released. It’s a bit counterintuitive in ways, so it caught my interest and I decided to share the story with you!

Most churchgoers will put up with a change in ...

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Jul 5, 2018
Preferences

Four Ways to Put Preferences in Their Proper Place, Part 2

Giving up your preferences and reminding your congregation to do the same is not an easy road, but it is worth it for the sake of the gospel.
Four Ways to Put Preferences in Their Proper Place, Part 2
Image: via Creative Commons

Third, exegete the culture.

If you are going to take the steps to walk through what it looks like to engage a culture wisely, then you need to exegete the culture. Exegeting a culture helps keep your preferences at bay. You need to step back and consider, “What is the culture ...

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Jul 4, 2018
preferences

Four Ways to Put Preferences in Their Proper Place, Part 1

If we are really considering others as more significant than ourselves, then we will not insist on our own preferences.
Four Ways to Put Preferences in Their Proper Place, Part 1
Image: via Creative Commons

Everyone has their own personal preferences.

I am an 80’s guy. In fact, I like 80’s music so much so that a worship leader at a church I planted in Tennessee called me “80’s Ed.” But some people prefer music from the 90’s, or music that has ...

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Jul 3, 2018
Revitalization

Renewing Your Church: Church Revitalization as a Humbling Experience

God works through people and churches who depend on him.
Renewing Your Church: Church Revitalization as a Humbling Experience
Image: via Creative Commons

I accepted my first pastorate in 2004 at First Baptist Church in Castroville, TX as a 25-year-old recent seminary graduate. I had not given much thought to leading revitalization throughout my studies, but I found myself leading a church that was still in the process of healing ...

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Jul 2, 2018
humor

#StuffChurchpeopleSay: The Funniest Sermon Responses

Let's get a laugh or two, or even a raised eyebrow, from our fellow well-intentioned congregants.
#StuffChurchpeopleSay: The Funniest Sermon Responses
Image: By Artur Szczybylo via shutterstock

EAP @eadampeek: “You told too many circumcision jokes, so we are leaving the church. If we wanted to hear a comedy routine, we would have just watched a Will Ferrell movie.”

Jeremiah Clements @JremiahClements: “Early in my first pastorate I had a guy stop me ...

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