Friday, November 9, 2012

'Mommy porn' caution underscored at seminary

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) -- In light of the increasing prevalence of pornography and erotica such as the bestselling "50 Shades of Grey," Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted a closed-door women-only panel discussion of the issue and its devastating effect on marriages and ministries.

The panel included June Hunt, founder of Hope for the Heart counseling and discipleship ministry; author and speaker Susie Hawkins; and Mindy May, a biblical counselor whose work includes victims of sex trafficking. The trio set forth candid answers to questions from moderator Terri Stovall, SWBTS dean of women's programs, and from some of the 100 female students and student wives in attendance.

Culture has changed significantly in areas dealing with sexual sin, and the change is not a positive one, the panelists said. May, a Southwestern Ph.D. student, noted, for example, that teenagers are more sexualized than ever before, accepting activities such as "sexting" as commonplace.

Pornography has infiltrated the church in alarming numbers, Hawkins said, noting, "It absolutely is impacting ministry families. … [I]t would shock all of us in knowing how many ministry people are involved with pornography."

With the exploding popularity of 50 Shades of Grey, it has become apparent that pornography is no longer just marketed to men. Hunt said the book is widely considered "mommy porn," appealing to the suburban soccer mom who can read it privately on her e-reader, imagining herself in the situations described in the book -- effectively replacing her husband with the fiction book character.

The content of the book, Hunt said, goes beyond explicit descriptions of sexual scenes into bondage, dominance and sadomasochism -- behavior that demeans females and plants irrevocable images in the brain that can never be removed. It also casts human trafficking as acceptable, Hunt said.

May, speaking of her work with teenagers who have been sexually trafficked, said, "These are girls who have been taken into literal bondage, and so there are huge implications there. If we're adopting this as 'okay' or as 'entertainment,' we are in for a world of devastation as far as the sexuality in our culture today."

Disturbingly, many women who read such books as 50 Shades of Grey consider it harmless and even helpful. "It is surprising how many Christian women will read this book and say, 'It spices up my marriage,'" Hawkins said. "That is going to put you on a road that is not going to bring fulfillment. You're introducing a third party, so to speak, into your marriage bed, and according to 1 Corinthians 6 and 7, that is to prostitute. …


Staten Island church takes long-term aim

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (BP) -- Back in the winter when New York City tried to push churches out of public schools, Crossroads Church on Staten Island didn't know God was moving them to a new location that later would be right up the block from some of the most severe devastation left by Hurricane Sandy.

"We see that as His providential hand, and we're just going with it," said Ray Parascando, pastor of the only Southern Baptist church on Staten Island.

Members of Crossroads were first on the scene in the neighborhood when morning broke after the hurricane cut a deadly path across the Northeast. Next door to the church, which meets in a theater on New Dorp Lane, is a pizza place owned by an Egyptian whom the church has been trying to lead to the Lord.

"He had some dough left over and we said, 'We'll buy you out. Make the pizzas,'" Parascando told Baptist Press. "We took 25 pizzas down and we were passing them out to folks, walking up and down the streets, handing out water."


How to share Christ with your Muslim friends

CORDOVA, Tenn. (BP) -- Muslims aren't just people "over there" in the Middle East and parts of Asia. They live in major cities across the U.S. and many smaller towns as well. More are arriving daily and the vast majority want to live quiet lives making a living for their families.

To many Southern Baptists, evangelizing Muslims in this country may seem to be a daunting task best left to professional missionaries and skilled pastors. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Jeff Brawner
Sharing Christ with people who represent some of the rapidly growing faiths in America (these include Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists) doesn't have to be scary or complicated. Most people of another faith are quite open to hearing about Christianity. Learning a few simple steps and having conversations with adherents of other faiths about Christ actually is quite simple.

Muslims throughout the world regard Christ as one of their prophets and turn to Him to save them from their sins. At the same time, the pervasiveness of Islam in the news and the seeming fervency of Muslims' beliefs unnecessarily strikes fear in the hearts of some Christians about talking to Muslims about Christ.

If we follow a few simple rules, we can find a bridge to talk with many Muslims about Christ. In my book, "How to Share Christ with Your Friends of Another Faith," I spell out steps that help build these bridges. None of the plans is complicated. Each provides a step-by-step blueprint of what to say.

With a Muslim friend, for example, consider these four steps toward sharing your faith:

1. Befriend a Muslim. A simple act of kindness such as bringing a small gift to a new Muslim neighbor can set the stage for the process of friendship.

2. Avoid the urge to be only a friend. Look for opportunities to bring God into your conversation for the purpose of letting your Muslim friend know you are a person of faith. For example, invite a friend out for coffee and then incorporate into the conversation something about how God recently has blessed you personally.

3. Look for "spiritual clues" that your new friend is interested in God. If the person mentions any desire to know God, you will know that God must be working in his or her heart. In preparation, read John 12:32 or 16:8 for proof that only God draws individuals to Himself.

4. Take the opportunity to share your faith even if clues don't present themselves. If you have invested in several visits with your Muslim friend, you have earned the right to share Christ.


Study: Faith-Based IT Opportunities Will Be Worth $40 Billion by 2017

By Michael Gryboski , Christian Post Reporter
November 6, 2012|4:14 pm

A recent study by a technology research firm has concluded that in five years the value of information technology opportunities that are religiously based will be an estimated $40 billion.

Released in September by Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc. and authored by Asheesh Raina and David M. Coyle, the study concluded that religion would heavily influence IT developments.
"The role of religion in generating new business opportunities for the IT industry will continue to evolve and will benefit from ongoing convergence of traditional and emerging trends, with added support and findings from religion experts and sociologists," wrote Raina and Coyle.
"In the next four to five years, religion slowly but steadily will continue to drive and change the way IT is consumed today by generating a significant amount and variety of new IT opportunities and business models."
In an interview with The Economic Times, lead author Raina explained how religions would globally influence and contribute to IT developments and business.
"Religion has a great influence on high-growth regions such as Latin America, Africa, the Arab world and South Asia, thus compelling new entrants and incumbent IT providers to seek new opportunities with religious entities," said Raina.

Youth Group Hopes to Collect 20,000 Bibles to Help Pastors, Evangelists, and Missionaries

The fingerprints of those participating in a "huge" youth-led Bible drive this holiday season will travel across the globe, according to the Rev. Jason Woolford, executive director of Christian Resources International.
A youth group of SonRise Church hopes to donate 20,000 Bibles by Dec. 20 to the Fowler-ville-based nonprofit.
"We just wanted to do something to get the name of God out there," said Jordan Belanger, 14, whom the Rev. Patrick Erck credits with the idea.
Erck, a youth and student pastor of the church, said the Bibles will be distributed by the nonprofit in Africa and India. They will be used by pastors, evangalists and missionaries who don't have access to such Christian support materials.
"We're reclaiming used literature, so it helps the environment while helping to boost literacy," Erck said.


21 Ways to Celebrate Gratitude During Thanksgiving This Holiday Season

COLORADO, SPRINGS, Colo., Nov. 6, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- Thanksgiving season is soon approaching and one author is taking this opportunity to encourage a spirit of gratitude. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, Shelley Hitz encourages individuals and families to take a moment (or two) to celebrate gratitude. 

Thanksgiving in the United States is commonly traced back to a 1621 Plymouth feast of gratitude for an abundant harvest. However, this spirit of gratitude often gets lost among the turkey dinners, football games and Black Friday shopping that have become yearly traditions in our culture. This year, Shelley Hitz, the author of the book series "A Life of Gratitude," is encouraging individuals and families to celebrate gratitude this Thanksgiving season. 

She has provided 21 practical and simple ideas on her website to celebrate gratitude including sending a care package to a soldier and creating a journal of thanks. These ideas are easy to implement but can create a different atmosphere in your Thanksgiving gatherings as you focus on gratitude. Shelley states, "I have experienced first-hand the power of gratitude in my own life. This past year was difficult for me with many transitions, disappointments, losses and financial stress. But, as God led me to focus on gratitude, I noticed a change within me. And now I want to share what I have experienced with others." 

Gratitude can be expressed in simple ways like sending a hand-written thank you note to someone who has impacted your life. It can also be celebrated within families through stories, prayers and songs. However you choose to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, consider adding some gratitude to your holiday season. Instead of allowing the busyness of the holiday to create additional stress, see this season as a time to celebrate...and choose to celebrate gratitude! 

You can see Shelley's entire list of 21 ways to celebrate gratitude during Thanksgiving at her website:
Christian Newswire

Eareckson Tada: God gives passion for people

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (BP) -- "No five-year plan that you embark on will be more important than the people put before you to serve," Joni Eareckson Tada told students at California Baptist University. "If you have a passion for God, you will have a passion for people."

Tada, who became a quadriplegic after a diving accident in 1967, said in a chapel message at the Riverside, Calif., campus that she wakes up with no energy 95 percent of the time and no strength to live through another day with disabilities.

"I lay in my bed and tell God, 'But I can do all things through You who strengthens me. Can I borrow your smile? Because I don't have one for today.'"

Tada, recounting the story of her accident, said life seemed without purpose.

"I could not kill myself, since I was a quadriplegic, so I tried to be dead emotionally and spiritually. But hardships are what will press you against the heart of Jesus and eventually I knew that if I would grow closer to Christ, I would grow closer to His passion."

Today Tada is involved with Joni & Friends, which encompasses the Joni and Friends International Disability Center, a weekday five-minute radio program and other ministries.

"At first, the last thing I wanted to do is hang out with other people in a wheelchair," she said. "But suddenly my wheelchair took on a different purpose when I realized that Jesus hung out with people who had disabilities. The blind man, the man with twisted limbs -- Jesus' heart was toward those with disabilities."


Buy a Book/Bless Our Troops for Veterans Day

Fellowship of Fathers Foundation Kicks Off a "Buy/Bless' Program to Benefit US Military Fathers and their Families

For every copy bought at or a free copy will be sent to a US Military Dad
HANOVER, N.H., Nov. 6, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- For every purchase of the new fatherhood bestseller Be a Better Dad Today! at the Fellowship of Fathers Foundation (501c3) will send a free copy to a US Military dad. The Foundation is partnering with to make the Buy/Bless Program possible. 

This program enables Americans everywhere to bless the US Military Fathers and their families on whom we all depend ...and to be blessed themselves by a fatherhood classic. 

Be A Better Dad Today! (Regal) has become a national bestseller. It lays out the 'Ten Tools of Fatherhood' while speaking directly to the challenges that fathers face today, including members of our military. Dozens of nationally known fathers such as Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman as well as Governors Jeb Bush and Sam Brownback have warmly praised Slayton's new bestseller, which is destined to be a fatherhood classic. 

Be A Better Dad Today! devotes a chapter to each of the Ten Tools of Fatherhood and a "Put it to Work" section following each chapter. Slayton offers specific advice for fathers raising kids on their own or in blended families and dedicates another chapter to long-distance dads -- perfect for military fathers far from their own families. 

Be a Better Dad Today! has practical tips for every kind of father, yet ONE unique message for ALL dads: It is never too late to become the best dad you can be...because being a good father is the most important role you will ever have. 

Purchase a book today for the father in your life - and bless those US Military fathers and their families on whom we all depend. www.BeABetterDadToday.comor 

Product Details: Hardcover: 268 pages Publisher: Regal (April 12, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0830732078. ISBN-13: 978-0830762071 Product 

About the Author:
The Honorable GREGORY W. SLAYTON is an American author, businessman, diplomat, philanthropist and professor, but, more importantly, a father of four great kids. Born in Ohio, he grew up without a real father and then travelled the world studying fathers and fatherhood on five continents. Gregory now resides in Hanover, New Hampshire, with his wife and four children.
Christian Newswire

Essential Leadership Principles from a Renowned Agent of Change

"The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership that Matters" by Albert Mohler
BLOOMINGTON, Minn., Nov. 7, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- Cultures and organizations do not change without strong leadership. While many leadership books focus on management or administration, the central focus of "The Conviction to Lead" is on changing minds. 

Dr. Mohler was the driving force behind the transformation of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary from a liberal institution of waning influence to a thriving evangelical seminary at the heart of the Southern Baptist Convention. Since then he has become one of the most prominent voices in evangelicalism, fighting for Christian principles and challenging secular culture. 

Using his own experiences and examples from history, Dr. Mohler demonstrates that real leadership is a transferring of conviction to others, affecting their actions, motivations, intuition, and commitment. This practical guide walks the reader through what a leader needs to know, do, and be in order to effect change. 

Dr. Mohler covers important aspects of leadership, including:
  • The role of passion

  • The role of character and credibility

  • The stewardship of power

  • Bringing a simple structure to decision-making

  • How to effectively deliver messages to the media

  • Keys to leading in the rapidly changing digital world These valuable insights will benefit church, business, and institutional leaders, as well as aspiring leaders.
"You can be part of a generation that is simultaneously leading with conviction and driven by the conviction to lead. The generation that accomplishes this will set the world on fire." -- Albert Mohler 

"Dr. Al Mohler has written a book that shakes us up and challenges our thinking. The Conviction to Lead is poised to become one of the all-time classic works on Christian leadership." -- Jim Daly, President, Focus on the Family 

"A solid resource for the Christian leader looking to hone the skills required to motivate and inspire others or for those questioning their ability to get the job done." -- Publishers Weekly 

"Having rarely thought about leadership, I was hooked from the first chapter -- to my complete surprise. This is a powerful book and gracefully written." -- Fred Barnes, Executive Editor, The Weekly Standard 

About the Author:
Albert Mohler is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the Southern Baptist Convention's flagship school. Dr. Mohler is a radio personality, blogger, and sought-after commentator. He has been quoted in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today and has been hailed by Time as "the reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S." He has also appeared on such national news programs as Larry King Live, NBC's Today Show, Dateline NBC, Good Morning America, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and The O'Reilly Factor. Dr. Mohler lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, Mary. Learn more at 

The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler
Available NOVEMBER 2012
ISBN 978-0-7642-1004-4 ● Hardcover ● $22.99
ISBN 978-1-4412-6056-7 ● Ebook ● $22.99
Christian Newswire

Hundreds of Volunteers to Prepare, Deliver & Serve #SandyThanksgiving Meals to Jersey Shore Victims Led by Liquid Church of NJ

MORRISTOWN, N.J., Nov. 7, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- While the northern New Jersey communities of Liquid Church members are just getting back on their feet after Superstorm Sandy, plans are in full motion at the church to prepare, deliver and host #SandyThanksgiving meals to thousands of families still significantly hurt by the storm. The impact of Hurricane Sandy was catastrophic in New Jersey, with up to $6 Billion in damages according to the catastrophe modeler group Eqecat Inc. Thousands still remain powerless, homeless and distraught in the Long Beach Island -- Atlantic City, region alone. Truckloads of relief supplies are being collected at all three campus locations of Liquid Church to transport and distribute along with the #SandyThanksgiving meals November 22 and 23. Volunteer teams will also be cleaning out houses devastated by the storm that weekend. 

Tim Lucas, Lead Pastor at Liquid Church said, "Amidst all of the devastation and challenges Sandy has brought, we want to be there physically with the families of the Jersey shore this Thanksgiving in order to bring hope to those that need it most right now." 

Jugs of water and canned goods are being collected at all three campuses during Sunday worship services in Morristown, New Brunswick, and Nutley. Distribution of supplies are being carried out in partnership with Shore Fellowship Church, local to the Atlantic City and Long Beach Island, NJ affected areas. Individuals can also donate to the relief efforts at 

The Morristown-based Christian church is also coordinating support from communities and organizations outside of NJ for the #SandyThanksgiving project. The outreach coordination leaders are asking churches across the country to consider taking up a special offering for the Hurricane Sandy victims on the upcoming Sundays - November 11, 18 or 25. 

Details of how churches and other organizations can support the relief efforts are available at: Church leaders are able to download multimedia materials such as video clips, bulletin inserts, slide graphics, and music to help conduct special offerings during church services.
ABOUT LIQUID CHURCHLiquid Church is one of NJ's fastest-growing Christian churches.  Founded in 2001 by Lead Pastor Tim Lucas, the church's vision is to "take church to the people" with campuses in Morristown, New Brunswick, and Nutley. Nearly 2,500 people experience Liquid's worship services each weekend in New Jersey and around the globe through Church Online. As a part of its global outreach Liquid provides clean drinking water to the poorest of the poor with dozens of completed projects in Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Haiti and El Salvador.  More details are available at:

Christian Newswire

Mission America Coalition Launches LOVE2020 Initiative -- New Evangelism Effort Aims to 'Love Every Person in America'

PALM DESERT, Calif., Nov. 8, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Mission America Coalition / U.S. Lausanne Committee has launched a national campaign to draw ministries, churches, whole denominations, and individual Christians to show the love of Christ to every person in America by the end of the decade. 

"We pray that by year-end 2020, every person in America would be authentically loved by at least one Christian," says Paul Cedar, chairman of the Mission America Coalition (MAC). 

LOVE2020 was announced at the MAC annual leadership consultation in Denver last week. The response of partner churches, ministries, and whole denominations was overwhelming, Cedar reports. 

"I'm amazed at how many leaders have caught the vision for prayer-care-share," he said, "and have expressed their desire to be involved in LOVE2020." 

He describes Love2020 as a grass-roots movement of Christians adopting a "prayer-care-share lifestyle." 

This lifestyle involves praying for those who do not know Jesus, to show them love in tangible ways through acts of kindness and meeting needs, and to share the gospel with them. Sharing the gospel can be as simple as inviting someone into a context to hear the message of Jesus - to attend an event or watch a movie or read a book in which the gospel is shared. 

"The Holy Spirit works in a heart that has been prayed for, cared for, and shared with," said Susan Brill, MAC's director of communications. 

Cedar points out, "If only 10% of professing Christians in the U.S. would adopt and put in practice the simple, yet powerful, prayer-care-share lifestyle, this vision and mission could be fulfilled." 

"We are not asking you to become involved in another short-term program," Cedar emphasized. "We believe it is time for us to change our long-term lifestyles by becoming praying, caring, and sharing followers of Jesus." 

MAC has created a new website to support the initiative,, which launches Nov. 15. 

The initiative is unprecedented for the Coalition, whose 500 partners and members come from 85 denominations, every size of ministry and church, and many individuals. 

"This movement will not belong to us or any other single ministry," Cedar clarifies. "But we will serve it and will help facilitate the hundreds of specific outreaches that will be part of the movement."

Contact: Noel Foutz, 
Mission America Coalition, 
            760-861-0909      ,

Christian Newswire

Churches Mobilize to Help Hurricane Sandy Victims

Children's Hunger Fund sends aid and relief to hurricane victims
SYLMAR, Calif., Nov. 8, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- Children's Hunger Fund (CHF) is urgently routing food and other aid to help victims of Superstorm Sandy in the Eastern United States. 

As the winds and rains battered cities and towns up and down the east coast and deep into New England states, community churches and ministries are rapidly organizing to help displaced families. CHF has sent a truckload of supplies and is gathering resources from corporate and ministry partners across the country. The aid CHF sends will supply ministries with the resources to respond to the need. 

"As with all disasters," said CHF President Dave Phillips, "the poor will suffer the most. Disasters are a time for the church to show the compassionate love of Jesus Christ and to proclaim the Gospel." 

Ministries in the Caribbean are also suffering from the initial hit of this same storm. CHF is working with ministry partners in Haiti to send a container of shoes, Food Paks, granola bars, and vitamin fortified rice mix meals. 

Children's Hunger Fund is asking the public to make cash donations toward this effort to help U.S. and Caribbean storm victims via their website ( A special fund has been opened to receive donations toward this work. 

About Children's Hunger Fund: Children's Hunger Fund (CHF) is a Christian 501(c)3 nonprofit. CHF has been committed to Gospel-centered mercy ministry for over twenty years, using food as a catalyst to nourish the bodies and feed the souls of children in desperate need. All in all, CHF has distributed more than 1 billion dollars in food and other resources, serving the needs of more than 20 million children throughout the U.S. and in seventy-two countries worldwide. Since 1991, 99% of CHF's total revenue has been used for programs helping kids.

Contact: Janea Beakley, 
Children's Hunger Fund, 
            818-399-1228      ,

Christian Newswire