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Lady Lee

Please Stop Telling Me I Can’t Criticize The Church

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To those who sold doves in the temple courts Jesus said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”  His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.  John 2:16-17

This week some Christian friends of mine passed around a blog post advising Millennial followers of Jesus on what they “need to stop doing”.

The piece was that delightfully condescending mix of intellectual superiority, intolerance to dissension, Truth monopolizing, and moral high-grounding that has come to typify the young Evangelical positioning himself or herself as the last bastions of true “Biblical Christianity”.

It also perfectly crystalized the very reasons so many people are leaving the Church, passing on organized religion altogether, and seeking alternative spiritual community.

Central to the writer (and like-minded folks), is the Big Idea that you simply can’t criticize (or “bash”) the Church; that it’s somehow a spiritual character flaw to question anything done in the name of Jesus, as this somehow constitutes an attack on Christ himself or on God’s very people. (Violent Christian-on-Christian crime, if you will).

Ridiculous.

Spiritually speaking, yes Scripture speaks of the Church as the “Body of Christ”, a global community composed of living, breathing sanctuaries; those flawed and failing people where God’s beautiful Spirit dwells. Get all get that.

The only problem is, it is far other things too.

In a very real and tangible way The Church also now exists as local congregations, as faith communities, as actual buildings where people gather and give and serve and learn and live life. It is a worldwide institution wielding unparalleled power and political sway. The Christian Church is a global collection of locally operated religious franchises operating under the Jesus name. For better or for worse, it is a bona-fide multi billion dollar faith-based business that impacts the lives of more people on the planet than any other entity.

The writer of this piece and so many Evangelicals like him, would have you feel guilty for everything;
for your challenges to Church practices,
for your demands of pastors and leaders,
for your differing theological positions other than the ones they consent to,
for your questions of creeds or Scriptures or doctrine,
for having a Christianity that in any way deviates from their own,
for the way the Holy Spirit of God personally moves you to push back or call-out or seek justice in the Church or in any local congregation.

I’m tired of it. Many people are. We’re smarter than that.

We know intrinsically that as members of the global community, the very treasure of our shared humanity often demands that we boldly speak truth to power;
to corrupt governments,
to maniacal political leaders,
to immoral business practices,
to human rights violations,
and to greed, inequality, and abuse of power wherever we see it.

If we stay silent in the face of these things, History teaches us that horrible stuff is allowed to fester and spread and grow stronger. We understand that silence equals participation; that the clear voices of good people can be a brilliant light streaking into the darkness and exposing all that is sick and sinister.

The Church as much as any other place, both deserves and needs this same continual, honest critique, and often from its own. As participants in the entity that visibly and practically represents Jesus in the world, it should be something we welcome and demand from one another.

So my friends of faith: you seek and pray and study and watch and listen—and then you speak when you are compelled to do so. It is as sacred an act as you can ever perform. Done in love and compassion, it is a beautiful, God honoring act of worship and it isexactly how you affirm and express your faith.

You can be the Church and love the Church and participate in the Church and still criticize the Church.

The idea that you can’t or shouldn’t, is a myth designed to ensure silence and wield control and stifle healthy confrontation—and it dishonors Jesus.

If there’s one thing Christians should stop doing altogether, it’s telling other Christians to stop criticizing the Church.

Content by www.johnpavlovitz.com

Betty Cantrell Wins Miss America Pageant

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Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell is the new Miss America, but her crowning moment was nearly overshadowed by a three-decade old pageant scandal, and a still-raw debate over whether the NFL’s reigning champions cheated on their way to a Super Bowl victory.

Cantrell rode an opera performance to the title in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall Sunday night, besting 51 other competitors in the nationally televised pageant. She won a preliminary competition earlier in the week, also with an opera performance.

“I’m still so overwhelmed, I don’t know what to say other than thank you! ” Cantrell told reporters moments after being crowned Miss America.

The pageant also marked the return of Miss America 1984 Vanessa Williams, who was back for the first time after resigning the crown following a nude photo scandal. Pageant executive chairman Sam Haskell apologized to Williams on behalf of the pageant.

“I want to apologize for anything that was said or done,” Haskell told Williams as they stood on the stage and the audience bathed her in applause. “Vanessa: Welcome back!”

Miss Georgia’s win ended New York’s dominance at the Miss America pageant. Last year’s Miss America, Kira Kazantsev, was the third consecutive Miss New York to win the title.

Contestants from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were vying for the crown. The U.S. Virgin islands, which competed last year, could not field the required minimum number of entrants this year, pageant officials said. It is eligible for future competitions.

Creflo Dollar: Jesus Wants Me to Have This Jet

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It’s been in the news that Pastor Creflo Dollar says he has spoken to God, and God wants him to buy a $65 million private jet. His congregation, thus far, has obliged his every whim.
A while back his website unveiled Project G650, an “airplane project” that he claims has something to do with “Understanding Grace” and “Empowering Change.”
You may be wondering, What could this mysterious, holy airplane project be? Probably something related to charity, you must think, like air-dropping food into famine-ravaged countries, or flying sick children to doctors, or lifting two of every animal out of a flood.Not quite. Dollar was once the proud owner of a pretty baller private jet, but now it’s old and, naturally, he wants a new one. He also wants his followers to pay $65 million for it. As Jesus intended.
On his website, Dollar made his case: “The ministry’s current airplane was built in 1984, purchased by the ministry in 1999 and has since logged four million miles. Recently on an overseas trip to a global conference, one of the engines failed. By the grace of God, the expert pilot, who’s flown with Creflo for almost 20 years, landed the plane safely without injury or harm to any passengers.”
Dollar claims the private jet allows him to “safely and swiftly share the Good News of the Gospel worldwide” in a way that commercial aircrafts no doubt just couldn’t.

Dollar’s salary is not known, but according to The New York Times, Dollar’s New York church rakes in $4 million annually and his Atlanta operation has an $80 million annual operating budget.

The Bible says; “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”

It is the love of money, and not money itself, that is the problem. The love of money is a sin because it gets in the way of worshipping God. Jesus said it was very hard for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God. When the rich young ruler asked Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life, Jesus told him to sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor. We are to serve God, not waste our time trying to become rich.

Do you think Pastors should be rich and live an expensive lifestyle? Is it God’s desire to see us rich? Share yours thought by clicking on the banner below.

Hominin Species Homo Naledi Discovered

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Why Homo naledi is our human ancestor?

The discovery of a new hominin species, Homo naledi has puzzled researchers and scientists.

Palaeoanthropologist Lee Berger who is the leader of the Rising Star expedition which recovered the fossils, said the new human ancestor has surprised the scientific community.

“It’s a real mosaic… it’s got a tiny little head with a brain about the size of a fist. It’s got small indentation like a human’s but the teeth are shaped like something more primitive and a tall skinny body,” he said.

Fifteen individuals of the same species were discovered in 2013 in the Dinaledi chamber of the Rising Star Cave system in the Cradle of Humankind, about 50 kilometres from Johannesburg.

Where does this new species fit into the journey of humankind’s evolution?

Scientists aren’t exactly sure at this stage because they have been unable to accurately date the fossils after three different approaches failed.

“Unlike other cave deposits in the Cradle, the fossils are not found in direct association with fossils from other animals making it impossible to provide a faunal age,” said Berger, who is a Research Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand.

“There are also few flowstones that can be directly linked to the fossils, and those that exist are contaminated with clays making them hard to date, he said.

The team are still working to identify an accurate age of the fossils.

The one thing Berger’s team is certain about is that Homo naledi is a human ancestor.

Many students in schools are taught human evolution (often in the social studies class!) by teachers having little knowledge of human anatomy, to say nothing of ape anatomy. But it is useless to consider the fossil evidence for the evolution of man from apes without first understanding the basic anatomical and functional differences between human and ape skeletons.

I hear all this; but what does the Bible say about the origin of man, and what exactly is the scientific evidence that evolutionists claim for our ape ancestry?

Personally I believe we are not descended from apes. Rather, God created man as the crown of His creation on Day 6. We are a special creation of God, made in His image, to bring Him glory.

What a revolution this truth would make if our evolutionized culture truly understood it? Do you have questions about creation? Click on the banner below.

Kanye Designs For Pastor Rich Wilkerson

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Trinity Church Pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr., who gained celebrity attention last year when he married reality star Kim Kardashian and Kanye West in Italy, shared recently that the Grammy award-winning rapper designed the cover for his forthcoming book Sandcastle Kings: Meeting Jesus in a Spiritually Bankrupt World.

“Kanye is a really good friend. We chat every week about different things: clothes, design, music, architecture, Jesus,” Wilkerson told People.com. “He’s an amazing artist and designer, and with my first book coming out, I thought it would be fun for him to design the cover. … He was really enthusiastic.”

Wilkerson leads the young adult group The Rendezvous (or The Vous) at his father’s Miami Gardens church with his wife DawnCheré. His Sandcastle Kings book encompasses “four powerful stories from the seventh chapter of Luke to explain why spiritual fulfillment cannot be found in ourselves, in other people, in material things, or even in religion,” according to its description on Amazon.com.

“It uses a passage in Luke to talk about faith and Jesus and how there are things – self, others, religion, and the world – that can get in the way of your faith,” the non-denominational church pastor explained.

While some critics have openly questioned Wilkerson’s unlikely bond with West in the past, the Miami pastor said that he considers the rapper a friend.

“I know Kanye as my friend; we talk about Jesus,” he said. “And that’s the whole point: God doesn’t care about scandals; he cares about people. So it makes sense for Kanye to design the book cover. It makes a statement.”

Wilkerson previously shared with The Christian Post some of the challenges he faces inside the church as a young Christian leader.

“I think right now with this generation, it’s always trying, in my opinion, to present Jesus, the Gospel, but then also wanting to see people walk out commitment and discipline,” he said.

He explained how family life and lack of education affects  millennials and shapes their commitment to faith.

“I think a lot of the different facts and statistics that are surrounding us, especially at home in Miami where I’m at, in our immediate neighborhood about 70 percent of the kids have grown up in a single-parent home,” he said.

“Right where we’re living at, there’s about 50 percent who don’t graduate high school. I think a lot of these challenges end up creating really a lack of commitment, a lack of discipline sometimes. So I think just the consistency that you’re trying to see happen, maybe in the years past was always there seems to sometimes be missing with this generation.

Ex-beggar Quits Job & Back On The Streets

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A Johannesburg beggar, who was helped by a good Samaritan to get a job and a place to stay, has quit and gone back to his life of homelessness and drug abuse.

Joseph Phukube was first noticed by Sandton resident Pam Green, who posted his matric certificate and curriculum vitae on Facebook.

Phukube had for months stood at a Sandton traffic light with his CV at hand begging for work. Job and bursary offers poured in and within days, Phukube had landed a job at a company called Locomute in Midrand, as well as a furnished apartment and a second chance at life.

Video footage of Phukube was posted on YouTube thanking all the people who had helped him turn his life around.

On Friday 4 September, however, Green announced on Facebook that Phukube had given it all up and returned to his life on the streets.

Below is a  Facebook status of Pamela Green titled: ‘Today the dream ended’

It is with the heaviest heart and tears in my eyes that I am writing this.

Joseph’s actions have lead him back to his previous life choice. He has left the home given to him, and he is once again homeless and unemployed. Our hearts are broken, and I sit here, still hoping that one day he will choose a healthier future for himself!

At this time, it is important to remember the other side of the last 2 months……

I left my corporate job and followed my lifelong dream to formally create ‪#‎SecondChances. In the last 2 months, with the help of the page’s followers, we have helped to successfully create second chances for over 25 people, resulting in 84 lives being changed for the better, forever!

Together with YOUR help, people are believing, people are doing, we are restoring humanity!

I will forever be grateful to Joseph for helping me to create my ‪#‎SecondChance. I might not have been able to change his life, but he has forever changed mine, and I am committed to continue striving to change the world, one life at a time!

“It’s really amazing when two strangers become the best of friends, but it’s really sad when the best of friends become two strangers.”

Hamba kahle (Farewell) Joseph……

Each and every day we do things in our daily routine that have become habits. Some habits that are good and some that are bad. Regardless of the type of habit it has become, it can always be changed. This is all up to choice and commitment. But then again, some habits are hard to die.

The Bible does not specifically speak of “habits” as such. However, much is said about the meaning of the word: “a thing done often, and hence, usually done easily; an act that is acquired and has become automatic.” We all have habits, whether good or bad. Even newborns may come into this world with the habit of already sucking their thumbs. However, for the Christian, the whole of their lives is one of being transformed by the renewing of our minds. This implies exchanging old (bad) habits for new (good) ones, in order to please the Lord. For instance, “Do all things without grumbling and complaining” (Philipians 2:14) may demand a new habit on our part.

For those who belong to Jesus Christ, forming new habits by being controlled by the Holy Spirit becomes a way of life.

Do you have bad habits that you struggle with and want a whole new pattern of thinking, from negative to positive? Click on the banner below.

50 Cent moving to Africa?

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50 Cent has suggested he is moving to Africa and showed off a video of his new home.

The Candy Shop hitmaker – who is currently embroiled in bankruptcy proceedings – has vowed to have the “craziest housewarming party” ever once work on constructing his new abode is completed.

Sharing a video of the two-storey property’s exterior, he wrote on Instagram: “My crib is almost finished in AFRICA. I’m gonna have the craziest House warming party ever. I’ll explain later. I got a good life Man”

The video shows the brown and white property, which is surrounded by tropical trees, being attended to by construction workers before the footage pans across to show a swimming pool and vast patio area.

It is unclear where the house is situated.

50’s claim comes after it emerged his is looking to rent out his 52-room Connecticut home, which boasts 21 bedrooms, nine kitchens and even a casino.

While it isn’t clear how much he is looking to make from renting out the property, but he is currently spending $72,000 a month just on maintenance on the place.

50 – whose real name is Curtis Jackson – isn’t the first resident of the property to hit financial difficulties, as two previous owners, former boxer Mike Tyson and a Lithuanian businessman, also went bankrupt while living there.

In his bankruptcy filings,  it emerged the rapper-and-actor has expenses of a staggering $108,000 a month, including $1,000 on grooming, $3,000 on his wardrobe, $9,000 on security and $5,000 on gardening.

The Power actor also pays $14,6000 a month in support for his sons Marquise, 17, and two-year-old Sire, and his grandfather.

Venus vs Serena Williams

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It is a rivalry that in terms of importance and longevity compares with Chris Evert-Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf-Monica Seles. Venus and Serena Williams have met 26 times,13 in Grand Slam events and eight in Grand Slam finals. The 13 Grand Slam meetings are the most of any pair save for Evert and Navratilova, who met 22 times.

The Williamses’ latest match, Tuesday night in the United States Open quarterfinals, may be the most important yet, as Serena is bidding for the first Grand Slam since Graf in 1988.

But it is also a rivalry between sisters, and that brings with it some ambiguity or even discomfort. The sisters have said they do not especially enjoy playing each other. “It definitely doesn’t get easier,” Serena said after their most recent meeting, in the round of 16 at Wimbledon this year.

Amélie Mauresmo and others suggested years ago that matches between the sisters might be fixed. Fans and tennis writers often call their matches passionless.

The sisters met for the first time professionally in the round of 64 at the 1998 Australian Open. Venus, though playing in just her fourth Grand Slam event, was already a United States Open finalist. Serena, a year younger at 16, was making her Grand Slam debut. Venus won, 7-6,6-1.“It wasn’t so fun to eliminate my little sister in the second round,” Venus said.

Venus dominated the rivalry at first, winning four of the first five meetings as well as their first Grand Slam final, the 2001 United States Open. But beginning in 2002, Serena took over.

The heyday of the rivalry was from 2002 to 2003, during the so-called Serena Slam, when Serena won four consecutive Grand Slam events. All four of the victories came over Venus in the final.

Venus beat Serena in the Wimbledon final in 2008, but has not beaten her at a Grand Slam event since. That was also Venus’s last Grand Slam title, and her performances have slipped as she struggled with an immune deficiency diagnosed in 2011.

Sister vs. Sister in Grand Slams

Venus and Serena Williams have met 26 times, 13 in Grand Slam events and eight in Grand Slam finals.

YearTournamentRoundWinner
1998Australian OpenRound of 64Venus
2000WimbledonSemifinalVenus
2001U.S. OpenFinalVenus
2002French OpenFinalSerena
2002WimbledonFinalSerena
2002U.S. OpenFinalSerena
2003Australian OpenFinalSerena
2003WimbledonFinalSerena
2005U.S. OpenRound of 16Venus
2008WimbledonFinalVenus
2008U.S. OpenQuarterfinalSerena
2009WimbledonFinalSerena
2015WimbledonRound of 16Serena

 

The most controversial match between the two came in 2001 at Indian Wells. At a news conference after losing to Venus in the quarterfinal, Elena Dementieva suggested that the sisters’ father, Richard, would decide who won the semifinal between them. A few minutes before the match, Venus pulled out, citing tendinitis.

Content by www.nytimes.com

Choosing A Career Over Your Kids

You don’t have to have children. There is no biblical mandate to procreate, and God won’t be smiting you for a lack of progeny. And while I’m not denying that kids are great and certainly gifts from God—they aren’t the gift or the goal in life.

The goals in life, and the actions that are mandated of us as followers of Jesus have very little to do with what we make, the work we do or even the children we have. What’s required of us is to lean into the work of justice, mercy and humility. And what should order our steps is a deep concern for our neighbors and a palpable love of God our Father. Those are the things that matter, and those are things God has asked us to concern ourselves with. Everything else—like the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the children we may or may not have, the jobs we love and everything else—is all in God’s control, timing and purview.

So if you’re pursuing God and doing all you can to put one foot in front of the other and walk toward Him, then the “when/if I should have kids” question is out of your hands. Your job is obedience, God’s job is babies (and everything else). If you’re genuinely feeling like God isn’t calling you to parenthood right now, then trust that—and don’t overthink it. If God knows the face of your (possible future) child, then trusting in His sovereignty means you’ll know it, as well.

That being said, there’s more to consider than this truth. Allow me to share two thoughts that I think may prove helpful for you:

People Are Not Going to Understand You

There is almost nothing as intense as a parent with an opinion, much less a parent with an opinion and without a mental filter. If you want to have some fun, the next time you’re around a group of parents, ask them where their kids are going to school (home, public, private, co-op, etc.). The opinions will fly and some of them will be less than tactful. It should be an entertaining dog-fight to watch.

Parents care—or should I say, we care—because we are deeply invested in our children. The decisions we make on their behalf matter a great deal, and we feel the pressure to get it right and to make sure others do as well. And sometimes, some of us have a hard time keeping to ourselves that which we feel so passionate about.

What you’re starting to hear are the early whispers of parents who think you’re getting it wrong by not being a parent. Are you wrong? No, you aren’t. But for some, that’s just not a reality they can see. I see it, because for a long time I couldn’t imagine being a parent.

Revisit Your Decision

As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t always jazzed about being a parent. I certainly didn’t grow up wanting kids, and as I got older that feeling didn’t change. I can remember saying during my early years of marriage that I thought “kids would kind of wreck my life.” And, you know what, they may have back then—in a way. Because then—like you—I just wasn’t called to be a parent. I wasn’t particularly anti-kid, and I loved my sweet nieces, but for me, parenthood just wasn’t something God had on my radar.

Over time, that changed. And what was at one point a hesitation about having children because I didn’t have God’s clarity, shifted gradually to a fear of having kids because I was afraid I’d be a terrible dad.

Do you see the shift? I was trepidatious the whole time, but at some point in the dance with God, the fear shifted from having children at all, to actually figuring out how to have children and love them well. With kids, and with many other things in my life, God’s clarity didn’t come in the form of a “no” turing into a “yes.” But rather a “no” turning into a fear that I needed to overcome and discover was a “yes.”

I’m not saying this will be your story, and I’m certainly not meaning to imply that the road to parenting is always a fearful one. But I am saying that for now, with the clarity you seem to have, I’d drop the conversation and trust God with what you know to be true.

Would you like to make it a habit to revisit the idea with God every once in a while to confirm that what you’re thinking still aligns with what God’s planning?  Why don’t you click on the banner below.

Content by www.relevantmagazine.com

Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty for Dylann Roof

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Dylann Roof  may be executed for his crimes. The openly racist gunman, who killed nine people attending a Bible study at a historic black church this summer, will face the death penalty for the murders. In documents filed this week, prosecutors indicated that they have evidence that Roof has shown a lack of remorse for the murders at South Carolina’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The 21-year-old, who wrote about his own racist ideology online, also faces federal hate crime charges as well as charges of obstruction of the practice of religion. In addition to the murder counts, some of the federal charges also carry with them the possibility of the death penalty.

What do you think?  Should prosecutors seek death penalty for Dylann Roof or should he be given a second chance at life?

Credit: Edited// Relevant Magazine

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