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Good News

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.  2 Corinthians 9:8

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Let's join in prayer for the house churches around the world. Why? Because every means must be employed to spread the Good News and serve others in our Lord's name. The hour is late!

Many Chinese brothers (and sisters) are short in stature but these are very tall in conviction and courage. 

This is an unforgettable, haunting photo.

Beautiful timeless song. Beautifully sung.

librarian sent a discussion

"Religious freedom in China has really reached to the worst level that has not been seen since the beginning of the Cultural Revolution by Chairman Mao [Zedong] in the 1960s," says Bob Fu, a former house church pastor in China. Fu came to the U.S. to found China Aid to warn of the growing persecution in China. 

The picture that is shaping up is a highly controlled society with a personality cult. The control follows the pattern of other Marxist/Socialist/Communist countries, present and past. 

President Xi Jinping is the personality behind the cult. In the last 10 years, he has systemically restructured the government to put himself in permanent charge. 

Control is escalating by using modern technology. Cameras are installed in churches to record who attends. It is now a crime not to watch state television. 

As in Russia, the excuse for the crackdown is to "eliminate extremism." Detention camps have recently been constructed holding up to a million Uyghur Muslims in the western province of Xinjiang. Since the Christians, especially members of the unregistered "house" churches, are also considered "extremists" by the communist government, they are included in the government "elimination" efforts. 

Churches are now being forced to hang pictures of Xi beside crucifixes and sing communist anthems during service. In some places, children under 18 are forbidden to attend church and Bible camps are being closed. Bibles and other "illegal promotional materials" are being confiscated and burned. 

Authorities in some provinces are taking a harder line than others but the government has passed regulations directing the nation-wide shift toward less freedom. The emphasis is on forcing everyone to submit to the Communist Party and "Chinese" culture. And all rivals must be eliminated, including Christians. "Party members who have religious belief should have [be given] strengthened thought education," according to new government regulations released in February. 

Some brave pastors have tried to resist. The persecution has become worse since new government regulations were published. At least 250 Chinese pastors have signed a public statement against the regulations. It closed with: "For the sake of the gospel, we are prepared to bear all losses, —even the loss of our freedom and our lives." 

This stand could be costly. Witness the invasion of one church in Henan province: 50 officials stormed the service, beat the worshippers and confiscated most of the church property. One grabbed the microphone from the pastor, read a document declaring the church "illegitimate" and demanded the pastor sign it. He refused and was taken away. 

Some of the women attempted to video the attack and were beaten and kicked and their cell phones confiscated before they were taken into custody. Anyone who attempted to protect them was also beaten. 

"For the first time, people throughout China are saying 'NO!' to what the Communist party wants—control. Control over what they can do, what they can believe, where they can go, what they can say. It's yet another sign something is beginning to take shape here in China, the call for democracy! The call for freedom!" says Christopher Gregory of China Missions.

Decades ago the people of China chose Communism's hollow dream instead of the Bible. Now, millions there have discovered the truth and are willing to die for it —and some may have to...

from https://www.chick.com/battle-cry/article?id=china-churches-protest-government-crackdown

Apostles: Train and then commission for ministry Prophets: Discern and confirm gifts in others. Intercede to see the plans and purposes of God. Evangelists: Win souls and turn them over to the pastors and teachers for discipleship . Pastors: Disciple and nurture the new believers. Teachers: Bring believers to maturity for the work of the ministry. Apostles: Close the circle by commissioning a new crop of believers into their place of ministry.

Besides these descriptions in simple terms the church has basically 3 functions beside worship and praising the Lord. 1. To win souls. 2. Make disciples. 3. Send out workers. Then it begins all over again with winning souls. Its simplistic but covers most of what we do. 

You can find more information in my book PASTORS MOVE OVER on amazon.com. 

Dear concerned friends. Thank you for visiting this site. I hope to have it completed in just a few more days. Yes, it looks like a simple site but actually it is not. Only simple to use.

Be thinking about what and how you might contribute. 

Take care.

   by LARRY CRABB   

Why would a man redirect his life's work at its zenith? 

Two years ago, in an interview with Christianity Today, Larry Crabb, a Christian psychologist and best-selling author, announced, "In the end, all counseling—intentionally or not—deals with issues of sanctification. The primary context for healing, then, should be the Christian community, not the antiseptic world of a private-practice therapist." 

Put simply, Crabb has had a conversion experience, and his new thinking has direct implications for pastoral work. 

Crabb coined the term eldering to describe what he believes ought to go on in the local church between older, wiser members and younger, struggling men and women. He believes this interaction can often be more redemptive and healing than traditional psychotherapy. 

Leadership wanted to know what eldering looks like in the local church and how it affects the way pastors care for believers.

You've called for new ways that the church can help people change. What's wrong with the current approach?

Larry Crabb: Much of the church for too long has had a limited approach to helping people change. I would simply describe it, "Do what's right." 

The counseling community then came along and said, "No, there's something beneath people's outward problems that's all messed up." They came up with a model that perhaps simplistically I dub, "Fix what's wrong."

My understanding is that beneath all the damage, because of the New Covenant, there is something good that God has placed within us-his Spirit and a new heart. Rather than fixing what's wrong or doing what's right, we need to release what's good. 

A connection between elders and friends awakens within them what is powerful and good.

Are you really advocating that "eldering" can replace private-practice counseling?

There will always be a place for good therapists. But what they are doing is closer to what the Bible calls "shepherding" than what our culture calls "therapy." And that has implications. I envision a community of shepherds and friends with the power to address the underlying issues beneath most of what we call "psychological problems." But I now use the word "shepherding" more than "eldering." People thought I was talking about the business people of the church. They said, "I wouldn't go to the elders in my church." 

Can "shepherding" be programmed? 

I'm loathe to introduce programming too soon. In a Sunday school class I was teaching, I used an illustration from one of Henri Nouwen's books where he discusses one of his dark nights of the soul, what a psychologist might diagnose as "clinical depression." Nouwen talks about an older priest who would take Nouwen's head and pull it to his chest. The priest would hold it there in silent prayer for a length of time. That particular act, said Nouwen, expelled the demons of despair and would let him rise up with new vitality. 

A week or two later at church, an older gentleman was listening to a younger fellow tell about several miscarriages he and his wife had suffered. He was sharing emotionally about the pain of that. After class the older gentleman went up and took the young man's head and pulled it into his chest for a while. 

He meant well, and the younger man told me he was encouraged. But it's too easy to reduce a wonderful idea to a technique and expect it to work every time. In this case it was a good thing, but I don't want to reduce this mysterious work of the Spirit to "Here's what you do the next time this happens."

If shepherding can't be programmed, what's the first step in moving a church toward your model?

What's lacking most is belief that ordinary relationships have power that has not been released. There needs to be teaching that shepherding and friendship can reach deeply into people's souls. I'd love to see church mission statements include this. 

We can also ask the question, "What is the major message that somebody who visits our church for three months would get?"

Is this a church where the preacher is popular? Is this a church where you have a bunch of programs? Or, is this a church that believes the power of the Spirit can move quietly and deeply and profoundly between ordinary Christians as they relate?

from https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/1997/spring/7l2037.html

Exciting news!

Today, the creators of this platform announced that they finally had a working product:

"Yesterday Alex T briefly announced the final release of the UNA 9. Indeed, after more than 3 years since of active development and testing; over 3 MILLION code additions in over 4000 commits; 1300 closed issues and 17 pre-release versions, we finally have the stable UNA 9."

Still, there are a number of fixes which must occur... Hang on. I believe it will be worth the wait.

Hey guys, I thought I might share something I have been thinking about lately. Genesis begins with God's blessing to humanity to be fruitful and multiply in the earth. Matthew's Gospel ends with Christ's command to go in His authority and teach all nations to obey His commands. His message message was one of Good News of great joy which would be to all people! His Kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit has come and we can enter into it today!

Yes there was an original sin, but also an original blessing! Christ ensured that we can still enjoy that blessing!