Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Bible exhibit 'innovative, family-friendly'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BP) -- At the recent opening of the Passages Bible exhibition in Charlotte, N.C., Steve Green was described as "a man of no compromise who sticks to God's Word and does everything at a level of excellence." Green is the president of Hobby Lobby and owner of the world's largest private collection of rare biblical texts and artifacts.

Passages showcases more than 400 items of great historical and biblical significance from the Green Collection. The full collection contains more than 40,000 items. The exhibit opened in Charlotte in September and continues daily through the end of February.

The 30,000-square-foot Passages exhibition provides a captivating experience that tells the dramatic story of the most debated, most banned, most read, best-selling book of all time.

The exhibit's website describes Passages as an "innovative, interactive, family-friendly exhibit that showcases both the Old and New Testaments -- arguably the world's most significant pieces of literature -- through a non-sectarian, scholarly approach that makes the history, scholarship and impact of the Bible on virtually every facet of society accessible to everyone."


Matt Chandler to Pastors: Entitlement Kills Churches

By Jeff Schapiro , Christian Post Reporter
October 23, 2012|5:27 pm

Matt Chandler addressed pastors during the Creature of the Word Simulcast on Tuesday and warned them that harboring a sense of entitlement can kill a church.

There are times in ministry, Chandler confessed, when he feels he is owed something. He sometimes wants to tell others, "Just do what I say ... Why are you asking me questions? Just do what I tell you to do."
Pastors can sometimes get caught up in their position, he said, and fail to obey Jesus Christ's teaching in Matthew 20:26, which says, "whoever would be great among you must be your servant." But they are supposed to model servitude for their congregations, and failing to do so could be to their church's detriment.
"You walk in entitlement, you will simply empower entitlement underneath you. You want to talk trickle-down effect? You got an entitled pastor, you'll have an entitled staff. That then leads to an entitled laity, that leads to the death of a church," he said.
Chandler shared a story of a friend who came to pray with him before he delivered a sermon several years ago. The friend, Josh, put dirt in Chandler's hands, poured water on the dirt and told him to rub his hands together. "Kingdom hands are dirty hands," he told Chandler.
"You want to serve the Lord, you're always going to have dirty hands," said Chandler. "You don't get to a place, you don't get to a size where your hands are clean, your heart is free from the heartbreak, loss, the celebration, the need for prayer, the desperation that comes from leading and walking with God's people."


Being a missionary in Uzbekistan can get you five years in jail

In Uzbekistan, having more than one Bible can make you a missionary, and being a missionary in Uzbekistan can get you five years in jail.

Uzbeks no longer have freedom of religion, or even speech; not only is just one Bible per household mandated by law, it must also be written in Russian, a language only 20 percent of Uzbeks understand.

Located in Central Asia, Uzbekistan was formerly the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992, Uzbekistan became a secular state after passing its first post-Soviet constitution, but that state still kept many of the centralized controls characteristic of its former Soviet Republic.


Social worker bans religious conversation

A social worker has taken the idea of “qualifying” for federal benefits to a new level by telling a resident of a HUD-subsidized building that she no longer had the right to free speech because of the government’s contributions to the building’s operations.
The attack on religious freedom came in a Minneapolis suburb, where Ruth Sweats told WND that she was told she has “no freedom of speech.”
Sweats told WND that she and a friend were sitting in a corner of the common area at the Osborne Apartments in Spring Lake Park, Minn., when she says the building social worker, Rachelle Henkle, “dramatically approached her with a raised voice” and said, “You can’t talk like that here!”
Since Sweats was having a private conversation with a friend and simply had read the introduction paragraph from her Bible describing the Book of Revelation, she was shocked. She said her friend had asked her about Revelation, and she opened her Bible and began reading the introduction that precedes the book.
Sweats, a member of a Messianic church congregation, said she frequently reads the Bible, studies it with friends, prays, and even hosts Bible studies in that very room, yet for some reason the social worker’s ire was triggered when she read, “These that bear the mark of the monster and are not registered in the Lambs Book of Life.”
Sweats told WND she informed Henkle that she was entitled to have a private conversation with a friend, and in fact had done so many times, saying, “I have freedom of speech, you know.”
But she says the social worker claimed that free speech doesn’t exist when it’s in a HUD-funded building, and that in order to talk about the Bible it had to be in an apartment, not the common area.
Sweats said the tenant handbook outlines fair housing regulations but she wasn’t shown where any regulation would allow someone to silence her private conversation about her religion with a friend.
Matt Sharp, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, says that his organization now represents Sweats and that he has sent a letter to the building’s management company, Ebenezer, informing them of their discriminatory actions.
“In their apparent effort not to discriminate, it’s possible they may be discriminating against Sweats,” Sharp told WND.
Sharp said the building management’s position is simply incorrect and that HUD has repeatedly made statements announcing that funding is not in jeopardy because of private religious expression.
“Simply because the government provides a benefit with public funds does not mean that all ‘mention of religion or prayer’ must be whitewashed from the use of the benefit,” Sharp wrote in the letter to Ebenezer.
ADF would like to see Ebenezer “do the right thing,” Sharp said.


Adventures in Missions' 100,000th Volunteer is Serving Others and Changing Lives, Including Her Own

GAINESVILLE, Ga., Oct. 25, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- What began as a dream in one man's garage has morphed into a global movement, sending over 100,000 volunteers around the world. Annually, Adventures in Missions sends over 6,000 adults, students, and families on mission trips to more than 70 locations on several continents, with their trips ranging from a few days to a few years.

"It's counter-cultural, but it's not new. Our methods are Jesus' own," said Seth Barnes, Adventures' founder. "They aren't based on a curriculum or a program. We believe in impacting the world one relationship at a time."

Adventures hasn't always been the global organization it is today. This nonprofit originated in Seth Barnes' Wellington, Fla. home 23 years ago. The tiny operation quickly outgrew the kitchen, so it moved to the garage. In both places, the Barnes children were the organization's hardest workers, doing odd jobs like licking stamps and folding newsletters. As the ministry grew, so did the challenges, including enduring the skepticism of others.

"Life on the home front was difficult. We were pregnant with our fifth child, had no insurance, and nobody to pay me a salary," Barnes said. "But it was better to abandon everything and trust in God than to trust in my own competence."

Today, nearly a quarter century later, Barnes is still trusting God to guide and provide for his family, which now includes dozens of full-time staff members who train, support, and work alongside thousands of volunteers annually.

What makes Adventures different from other nonprofit organizations is the way in which its staff invites participants to purposely choose things that are eternal over temporary. Instead of striving for the American Dream, they challenge people to reach for God's dream -- for themselves, their families and their community, Barnes said, and others agree.

"I see how Adventures impacts not just the world, but is changing generations," said Selena Day of the Georgia-based Present Day Truth Ministries, an Adventures' ministry partner.

Adventures' 100,000th participant, Shelley Manning, launched her trip in July.

"Sometimes I feel very inadequate, but God is completely trustworthy and this is in my heart to do." Manning said. Although she left her job as a pediatric nurse, Manning believes she is still taking care of people, only in different ways.

She's part of the World Race, Adventures' fastest growing program taking participants to eleven countries in eleven months. This is Manning's first mission trip, and she's excited about both the adventure and the way God will develop her character along the way.

As Adventures begins a new chapter, World Race participant Lydia Shaw is the first of the next 100,000 volunteers.

"God impressed on me that now is the time. So I go," Shaw said of her decision to be a short-term missionary. "A missionary is someone who listens and follows."

In addition to Adventures' variety of trips, it also encourages and facilitates partnerships between North American churches and those in host countries. Its newest program, the Center for Global Action, provides opportunities for Adventures' alumni to dive deeper into discovering their call from God.

For more about Adventures in Missions and to watch an exclusive video, visit Adventures' 100K website.

Christian Newswire