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    Persecuted but Growing

    There are few events of greater historical significance in the 20th century than China’s Cultural Revolution. The Communist Party instituted changes at every level of society to enforce its ideology. These included the persecution of the nation’s Christians, with many sent to labor camps. It’s estimated that the Cultural Revolution resulted in the death of 30 million Chinese people and forced the church underground. But decades later, it turns out that the efforts to wipe out Christianity had the opposite effect. Experts believe that there are more Christians worshiping in underground churches in China than there are total believers in…

    You’re Needed

    In 2015, Derrick Rose, an All-Star guard in the National Basketball Association (NBA), faced another surgery after he tore the medial meniscus in his right knee for the second time in 15 months. The meniscus is a relatively obscure part of the human body, yet this essential piece of cartilage not only threatened Rose’s career, but also hurt his team’s chances of a championship and dashed the hopes of the city where he plays. What a large impact from such a small thing!

    Let Us

    While standing in line for a popular attraction at Disneyland, I noticed that most people were talking and smiling instead of complaining about the long wait. It made me ponder what made waiting in that line an enjoyable experience. The key seemed to be that very few people were there by themselves. Instead, friends, families, groups, and couples were sharing the experience, which was far different than standing in line alone.

                The Christian life is meant to be lived in company with others, not alone. Hebrews 10:19–25 urges us to live in community with other followers of Jesus. “Let us…

    True Fellowship

    The word fellowship conjures up some rather strange associations in my mind. When I hear it spoken, I immediately think of coffee and donuts, along with the basement meeting spaces in churches where those coffee and donuts are served. Most strangely, I also think about the 2001 movie The Fellowship of the Ring. So somehow my concept of Christian community has become inextricably tied to a tale of men, dwarves, and elves dealing with “one ring to rule them all.”

    Gather Together

    Whether breaking bread around a table or coming together around the Word of God, it’s good to be with other believers. We find common ground, encouragement, and happy hearts. Fellowship is one of God’s greatest gifts to His children.

    Simple Tables

    I have a friend who has spent most of his life with people who live on society’s margins: People experiencing poverty or homelessness, those who wrestle with addictions or simply exist outside the mainstream, anyone who might be considered an outcast. “That’s where I seem to fit,” my friend says. “On the edges.” He helps believers in Jesus learn how to be in true friendship with those who are different. “This kind of friendship isn’t as complicated as we like to make it,” my friend insists. “Often it’s as simple as knowing someone’s name and how they like their coffee.”

    Chameleon Crawl

    When we think of the chameleon, we probably think of its ability to change color according to its surroundings. But this lizard has another interesting characteristic. On several occasions I’ve watched a chameleon walk along a pathway and wondered how it ever reached its destination. Reluctantly, the chameleon stretches out one leg, seems to change its mind, attempts again, and then carefully plants a hesitant foot, as if afraid the ground will collapse under it. That was why I couldn’t help laughing when I heard someone say, “Do not be a chameleon church member who says, ‘Let me go to…

    No Lone Rangers

    My country esteems “rugged individualism”—the idea that truly strong people do things on their own. The icon of this peculiar value was the Lone Ranger, a famous fictional cowboy of radio and the silver screen, and a solitary masked hero that protected others from harm. But it’s interesting to note that the Lone Ranger was hardly alone. He had a trusty horse named Silver and a constant companion named Tonto. Because of this, the supposedly “Lone” Ranger had more friends than many people do!

    After you say “I do…”

    The idea of “cutting your losses and moving on” may work in the business world but it’s
    an unhealthy mindset in a marriage. Shane and Tricia were on the brink of divorce when
    they changed their minds, deciding to give their marriage another try. Then, after their
    second child was born, an even bigger decision would change Shane’s life forever and
    soon after, Tricia’s life as well. Discover the power of God to transform lives and a marriage.

    Ultimate Leadership I

    Based on spiritual principles of leadership and character development, this four-lesson course offers studies on Character and Leadership, Knowing God’s Will, Building Trust and more. The Ultimate Leadership course will give you practical skills that will increase your success in every area of life.

    The Ultimate Leadership Series is offered in two separate courses, to take Ultimate Leadership II click here.

    Don’t miss the Ultimate Leadership Workshops with Dr. Cloud & Dr. Townsend (Click here to learn more).

    Living out our faith with other believers

    In our individualistic culture, it’s sometimes hard to ask for help even when we need it the most. Let’s talk about why Christianity is not a faith to be lived out all by our lonesome. The “fellowship of believers” is not a social club—it’s an “us” versus “I” living organism, designed by God, to bring healing and grace even in hopeless situations.

    First

    Seemingly unaware of leaflets littering the sidewalk and placards dotting the corners of the intersection, the pedestrians around me continued their normal pace of life on this national election weekend. As a foreigner, I saw a distinct similarity between the smiling faces of the candidates staring from their two-dimensional advertisements and those from my home country. All promised change and hope.

    first love

    Growing communities, rooted in God’s love and story, reaching out and restoring lives.

    two things we need

    Fire requires oxygen and fuel in tandem to keep burning—something that’s important to know in my part of the world when winter snowstorms come calling! If you don’t have enough oxygen flowing to the logs you’ve set ablaze, the fire will die down. And if you run out of wood, you’ll soon be trying to warm your hands over cooling ashes!

    teaching lines

    I overheard my 11-year-old son telling his grandmother about one of his classes at school. “On our first day of Studio Art,” he said, “our teacher told us to draw self-portraits. Mine was bad. Everyone’s was bad. The next day she taught us how to use lines, and everyone’s self-portraits improved.”


    September 2019: Christian Living

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