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Rick Warren: Church Family a Lab for Love

Rick-Warren-health-small“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” (1 Cor. 12:27, NLT)

A church family moves you out of self-centered isolation. The local church is the classroom for learning how to get along in God’s family. It is a lab for practicing unselfish love.

As a participating member, you learn to care about others and share the experiences of others: “If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it. Or if one part of our body is honored, all the other parts share its honor” (1 Cor. 12:26 NCV).

Only in regular contact with ordinary, imperfect believers can we learn real fellowship and experience the New Testament truth of being connected with and dependent on each other.

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Relationship Health: What To Do When You Mess Up

Kim Martinez 2Yep, it happened again. You are in the doghouse, and this time, you really messed up.

The worst part is that you were trying! There are days (and sometimes weeks) when we seem to offend people with surprising regularity. Sometimes, it is because we didn’t have enough information or the skills to handle a situation.

Sometimes we mess up because we genuinely sinned. Sometimes, our “mess-up” is really someone else’s sensitivity. Relationships are important to us, and when we mess up, it is important to deal with it properly.

Remember high school science? Even in the most controlled environment, every scientific experiment result must take into account a plus or minus three percent for human error. This means that, even in the most controlled environment, you are going to mess up at least three percent of the time. Since life isn’t controlled, that number is sure to be much higher.

So, given the fact that you can’t get through life without making a mistake, what do you do when you really mess up?

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Joey Bonifacio: Behold God’s Colorful Majesty

Rainbow -photo-JoeyWhenever I officiate at weddings I make sure I come early. With traffic unpredictable in Manila, it’s just not worth the stress of being stuck not knowing if you will be late. That’s why I came one hour early for a recent wedding ceremony.

The banquet hall was empty except for one table where a few early guests sat. At the table, our friends Junjun and Mae Perez were excitedly recounting a recent sighting of brightly colored rainbow. Junjun posted the picture shown here in Facebook. As Christians, we believe that a rainbow is a sign of promise from God, a promise that He will never harm us or destroy us as it was in the days of Noah.

As Mae and Junjun spoke, I was reminded of the number of times these colorful appearances have been a source of encouragement for me. One in particular stood out.

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James Robison: The Solution to a Fatherless Generation

Column-RobisonStatistics show that 34 percent of American children live apart from their fathers, and half of all children will be fatherless at some point during childhood.

I grew up without a father figure, but at a young age God took me under His wing. By His power, I escaped many negative effects of fatherlessness but still bore some scars. I never heard, “That’s good, son. Nice catch. Nice throw. Nice anything.”

God created us in His image to be His children. In the garden, Adam and Eve enjoyed intimate fellowship with their Father and lived under His care. Then the deceiver enticed them. The children bought the lie and forfeited the relationship. They were suddenly afraid of their Father and foolishly tried to cover their shame with mere fig leaves. This was the first futile attempt on the part of fallen man to deal with the sinful, adverse effect of being deceived by the father of lies.

God the Father immediately put a plan in motion to restore mankind to intimate fellowship with Himself. He set out to establish a family of faith through whom He could bless the nations of the world. These chosen children of God would reveal the heavenly Father to fallen humanity.

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Sam Rodriguez: Hispanic Evangelicals 2.0

samuel-rodriguez-HispanicsIn the historical narrative of the global Hispanic community, the Latino church has just recently experienced its own Protestant Reformation.

Although the Roman Catholic Church had prevented for centuries any significant penetration of the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther in the 1500s, the first serious Protestant impact in Latino America has come via the evangelical wing of the church—particularly the Pentecostal movement. But the trajectory of this new reformation is anything but predictable, and, as Dallas pastor David Sandoval predicts, its effects will reverberate within the walls of the church at large.

“Hispanic Evangelicals 1.0, or the first century of Latino evangelicalism, was focused on personal piety and experiential Christianity,” he notes. “Hispanic Evangelicals 2.0 will continue to do such, however they will expand their reach to include corporate piety and holiness. We focused for too long on the length of a dress, jewelry, hairstyles and physical appearance—all while our teens were getting pregnant, dropping out of school and totally disconnected from the church.

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Make Truth a Priority in Your Worship

worship dsci0150Does having a ‘tight’ worship team really matter to God?

All of us have had moments when one person’s simple, passionate worship touched us at the core of our being. Likewise, we’ve all been in services when the best musicians and the most polished worship team didn’t even begin to bring us into worship. I believe that blending anointing with musical excellence should always be our quest. In the everyday world, however, passionate and skillful worship leaders are not always in abundance, and at times we find ourselves having to choose between one and the other.  

Most pastors agree that powerful worship should be high on the priority list of any service. Moreover, I believe every leader desires the atmosphere that pure worship creates. We’ve all experienced those moments during a meeting when no one knows what to do because God has made Himself known and you hear the whispers of His people responding to Him.

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