In Case You Missed It

At The Intersect Project, Christy Britton explained how with human trafficking, awareness is only the beginning.

January 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Human trafficking may seem like an abstract topic. But millions of vulnerable people are bought, sold and kept in captivity all over the world — even in your city. Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.

 

As image bearers of the God of justice (Isaiah 30:18), we reflect his heart for the oppressed. It’s our responsibility to be aware of the plight of captives and labor for their freedom.

 

This month social media and news outlets are sharing statistics and stories aimed at drawing your attention to the presence of human slavery in our world today. While awareness is critical, it’s just the beginning of our fight to end the global slave trade.

 

International Justice Mission (IJM) president, Gary Haugen, says, “Nothing happens just because we are aware of modern-day slavery, but nothing will ever happen until we are.”

 

At the Center for Great Commission Studies, Alvin Reid shared how to give an effective missions testimony.

I’m fresh off a couple of mission trips this past summer, one to Chicago and another to Kiev, Ukraine. Early this fall, we heard testimonies from members of our Young Pros ministry from these and several other trips. I LOVE such testimonies. I love hearing about how people are taking the gospel around the world.

 

But there’s a problem. We’ve all been there–the missionary testimony is perhaps enthusiastic, but definitely rambling. The person sharing is not a public speaker, after all (in most cases), and so he/she tends to be a bit scattered. I’ve been guilty myself. How do we stay focused and give effective testimonies briefly – to allow others to share as well – and powerfully?

 

The Intersect Project interviewed Lauren Pratt about serving the church with the written word.

Some vocations allow you to clearly see how God uses your work for his glory. A surgeon saves lives.A teacher prepares children for a lifetime of learning. A construction worker builds homes that provide shelter from the elements.

 

In other vocations, the connection seems less clear. What if your work involves typing words on a screen? What if you spend most of your working hours in an office, scribbling on a notepad or moving words around in sentences?

 

Lauren Pratt is the News and Information Specialist at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and many of her days involve such tasks. Recently, we had a chance to chat with Lauren about writing. In our conversation, you’ll see how God can use her work for his glory — and how he can use yours, too. Here’s our conversation.

 

In a recent article at his blog, Thom Rainer shared about the new normal for church security.

We recently experienced a new tipping point for church security.

 

A tipping point is the critical juncture in evolving developments that leads to a new and, often, irreversible state. We call that new state “the new normal.”

 

In church security we have witnessed two major tipping points. Though child sex abuse in churches was not new, it reached a new level of awareness and response when Pope John Paul II called an emergency meeting with the U. S. cardinals in 2002. We knew then the issue was serious and pervasive.

 

We reached a second major tipping point in November 2017 with the church shootings at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Among the 26 people killed were nine members of one family. Church leaders and members across the nation began to realize that if it can happen in Sutherland Springs, it can happen anywhere.

 

I recently conducted a social media survey to ask church leaders and members to share what their churches were doing for church security. I then went to the Church Answers community (ChurchAnswers.com) for more in-depth responses. Here are some realities of the new normal as articulated by these respondents.

 

At his personal blog, Chuck Lawless shared ten ways to spend more time with God.

I don’t know many church leaders who think they spend sufficient time with God. Our lives are busy, and it’s tough to add more responsibilities to our plate. Here, though, are some ways to spend more time with God, beginning today.

In Case You Missed It

In a recent post at The Intersect ProjectBruce Ashford published profiles of six of his heroes of cultural engagement.

At Intersect, we want to equip you to engage culture — bringing your faith to bear on every corner of your life. And to learn how to engage culture well today, we should learn from people who have engaged culture well in the past.

 

Bruce Ashford published profiles of six heroes of cultural engagement — and we’ve compiled these posts for you below.

 

At his personal blog, Danny Akin shared some thoughts about how we might be wrongly judgemental.

How can those of us who have been redeemed from all of our sins by the precious blood of Christ rightly make judgments without wrongly being judgmental? Let me share some thought for our consideration.

 

At The Intersect Project, Josh Herring shared how he went from being a socialist sympathizer to embracing free market capitalism.

In 2011, I graduated from Hillsdale College as a mild socialist sympathizer. My studies of history had convinced me that capitalism caused as much harm as good, and that the socialistic drive to distribute economic goods to care for the weak of society resonated with Christian compassion. Between 2011 and 2016, my view changed as I discovered a deeper understanding of the biblical view of economics. The 2016 election brought these competing economic visions into the national spotlight.

 

Will the pro-life movement sink or swim? That was the question Dayton Hartman recently tackled in a post at The Intersect Project.

Learning to swim is a terrifying experience. You are thrown into a body of liquid that could fill your lungs and kill you within minutes, and you’ve got to figure out how to stay on top of that liquid or die. This fun, summertime activity really is a life and death struggle.

 

I remember when I learned to swim in a pool full of still, over-chlorinated and temperature-controlled water. I felt like I’d done it. I was a swimmer! I could doggy-paddle around the pool that was surrounded by semi-attentive teenage lifeguards who were at least mildly concerned with my safety and survival. It was a controlled environment with one task: don’t sink into the still and easily navigable waters.

 

At the Center for Great Commission Studies, Scott Hildreth discussed making 2018 a missionary year.

I am not a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions. They always seem to be good ideas that fail within a few months. On the other hand, I am a huge fan of taking advantage of the changing calendar for reassessment and re-alignment. When I was in high school, I did a little surfing on the Gulf Coast. One thing I learned was the importance of putting something (usually an ice chest) on the beach to mark where I walked in the water. You see, the pull of the current and the act of chasing the next wave always pulled me away from the starting point. This happened so subtly that I was rarely aware of how far I had drifted. To keep my bearings, or to avoid drifting too far, I had to watch the marker and adjust my position in the water. The coming of a new year gives us all a chance to evaluate our lives and make adjustments so we can keep our bearings throughout the chaos of life.

 

In a post at his personal blog, Chuck Lawless shared eight footprint tracks toward moral failure.

I love hiking and backpacking. Recently, I read an article about recognizing “critters” in an area by looking at footprint tracks in the dirt. Some tracks aren’t alarming, but others say, “Be careful. There could be trouble in the area.” Based on my knowledge of far too many moral failures among church leaders, here are some “footprint tracks” that could signal upcoming trouble.

 

In Case You Missed It

At the Center for Great Commission Studies, Jim Dell shared about ministering to military families during the holidays.

When you think about Christmas and the holiday season, certain things tend to come to mind; presents, Jesus, time with friends and family, among other things. But some families will spend this season without their loved ones, I am referring to those families who have or had a loved one in the military.

 

In a post at The Gospel Coalition, Tony Merida argues that church planters are farmers, not rock stars.

Farmers are anything but rock stars. They get up early and work. They sow, plow, toil, and protect. In all of it, they beg God for rain.

 

That’s a good description of ministry. Ministry is glorious, but it’s not glamorous. Like farming, most of our work goes unseen; it demands attention and endurance. And at the end of the day, we’re desperate for God to give the growth (1 Cor. 3:7).

 

Often God does send rain, and those are rich and joyful seasons. Is there anything greater than seeing people come to faith, grow in holiness, and be equipped and deployed for ministry? Ministry is challenging, but by God’s grace it also can be joyful and rewarding. Like elsewhere in our Christian experience, it carries both sorrow and joy, pain and pleasure, trial and triumph.

 

When we see fruit, though, we must never go around boasting about what “we did.” (I’ve never seen a farmer “bragtweet” about the number of pumpkins he harvested.) No, our boast and joy must be in the Lord, who graciously uses us in his harvest field.

 

One of the highlights of the College at Southeastern curriculum is the History of Ideas program. In a recent post at his personal blog, Dr. Bruce Ashford highlighted one of the major assignments from this program.

One of the great joys of teaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is the opportunity to teach History of Ideas at its undergraduate college, The College at Southeastern. Our college, led by noted author and philosopher James K. Dew, requires its undergraduate students to take four courses in the History of Ideas.

 

The first History of Ideas course is a lecture-style grand tour of the rise and development of “thought,” of the way certain ideas have shaped our world, especially in the West. We evaluate various ideas and ideologies in light of their logical coherence, empirical adequacy, and existential viability. But we also evaluate them from a distinctly Christian perspective, in light of Scripture and the Christian tradition.

 

At the Center for Great Commission Studies, Drs. Scott Hildreth and Greg Mathias shared some recommended reading for your holiday break.

Have a lot of extra time on your hands now that classes are complete? Looking for some last minute Christmas gifts? Want to find new resources to equip you for ministry? The Center for Great Commission Studies has shared what they’re reading currently and what is on their to-read lists. We’d like to share this with you and encourage you to check out these great resources!

 

Dr. Chuck Lawless shared ten thoughts at his personal blog to consider if your church is having a Christmas Eve service.

Just some quick thoughts to think about if your church is planning a Christmas Eve service this weekend…