Seven Ways to Biblically Empower Other Women

We live in a culture where it’s finally politically correct to empower women. But how we do it makes all the difference in the world. Neither men nor women get their power or strength from within themselves, nor from others who give them opportunities, promotions, or positions of authority.

Psalm 75:6-7 says, “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another” (KJV). Scripture makes it clear the Holy Spirit is the One who empowers (1 Corinthians 10:11). When we understand and acknowledge the true source of empowerment, we can strengthen and empower others far more effectively than training courses and positive affirmation. We can also lead them to a well of power that is constantly available to draw from themselves.

With the recognition of where true empowerment comes from, here are seven ways to empower other women, biblically.

  1. Encourage them to rely on God’s strength.
  2. Encourage their faith that with God, all things are possible.
  3. Teach them to be humble.
  4. Share your own weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
  5. Help them understand their new identity in Christ.
  6. Pray for and with them.

Ask how you can pray for a woman you’re hoping to empower – and then do it. If you’re talking on the phone or via zoom, pray for her right there. If you’re having coffee or lunch together, pray for her at that moment. Saying “I’ll pray for you” and then doing that outside her presence might rob her of the blessing of being empowered by your actual prayer. It also teaches her how to pray. Prayer is empowering in itself. Let women see it through your willingness to pray for them at the moment.

  1. Encourage them to suit up with the armor of God.

Take the concept of “power dressing” to a whole new level when you teach another woman to suit up with the armor of God. After we are instructed in Ephesians 6:10 to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might,” we are then told in verse 11 to “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”

To put on the whole armor of God (as covered in Ephesians 6:12-18) simply means to abide in Christ in every area of our lives – covering every part of our bodies with Christlikeness, so we can withstand the spiritual battle that rages around us. Scripture says, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (verse 12). There is no better way to be prepared for and empowered against the satanic realm than to literally “wear” Christ by abiding intimately with Him.

Specifically, we are told in that passage to fasten on the belt of truth and – because Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) – that means we are to be centered in the truth of Christ. Tell a woman to put on the breastplate of righteousness by explaining that the LORD is our righteousness (Jeremiah 33:6), and we are to cover our hearts with Him or make Him our first love. Encourage her to wear the helmet of salvation, covering her mind with the truth that salvation exists in no other name but Jesus (Acts 4:12), and she is to love Him with all her mind (Matthew 22:37). By encouraging her to suit up daily in the armor of God, you are giving her a whole new perspective on how to “dress for success.”

Be faithful in these seven ways to biblically empower women in your circle of influence, and you will be unleashing within them the power to change the world around them, as they glean the truth from 1 John 4:4 that greater is He who is in them than he who is in the world.

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Tests Christians Must Pass to Prepare for Your Calling

God has a call upon your life.” I hear that statement spoken so regularly, yet meet so few Christians who seem to know what their “calling” entails. In a culture that applauds vision, grit, and hustle to make it happen, how do we know when we are pursuing our calling or merely pursuing selfish ambition? Scripture offers some stunning patterns in how God issues a call upon people’s lives.

Maybe you’ve wrestled with your own calling. Life did not unfold the way you imagined and you feel forgotten or wonder if you missed it. You speculate if the stirring in your heart reflects the call of God. Or maybe you sensed a call but it feels stagnant and you deliberate how and when you might move forward. If the call feels too monumental, you doubt your ability to carry it forward. God, in His great grace, helps us to cease speculation by offering some samples of how He calls His people. An examination of these ancient Biblical patterns helps us discover God’s ways and His will for us today.

The Contrast of the Call
Most Biblical figures rarely responded with a resounding, “Now that’s what I’m talking about! I was made for this!” when God arrived announcing a call. Most experienced fear, expressed self-doubt or bewilderment, or the Bible does not offer an inkling of how they felt about it at all. I cannot think of a single scriptural instance in which the person prayed for a specific call of God upon their lives and God granted them an affirmative, “Yes.” More often than not, the assignment is one they never would have chosen for themselves. Something beyond their wildest imagination, like a virgin birth, or utterly inconceivable based upon their passion and giftedness.

Paul’s call fits into this pattern perfectly. Talk about vision and hustle, Saul the Pharisee sought the fast track to religious success. He cites an impressive resume for us: “a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless” (Philippians 3:5-6). Then Jesus showed up and rocked his world. In a heavenly vision, Jesus issued a new call upon Saul’s life: missionary to the Gentiles (See Acts 9:1-17).

His plan to rise above the ranks in the Sanhedrin became abruptly interrupted by a blinding light with a new call. Whoa! Paul left Jerusalem and headed toward Damascus in order to persecute and arrest those who followed Jesus. Until he became a follower himself. What displeased Paul even more than Jews who followed Jesus? Gentiles. Paul disdained Gentiles, yet now he would spend the remainder of his life serving them. An inconceivable calling.

5 Tests to Carry Out the Call
While the call itself seems unexpected and unanticipated in most scriptural accounts, walking out the call presents patterns to prepare us. Unlike the world, which tells us that when we are pursuing our call and giftedness we should experience exhilaration and success when we strive consistently, Paul’s example proves otherwise. We see Paul face five specific tests as he fulfills his call as a missionary to the Gentiles.

  1. The Test of Waiting. Paul waited a minimum of ten years since Jesus first appeared to him on the road to Damascus and he began actively ministering at the church in Antioch. Other than a three–year stint where he went down to Arabia to fully grasp the gospel of grace, we are not told how he spent his time. We know at some point he returned to his hometown of Tarsus, but that is all we are told. Until Barnabas arrived from Antioch to bring Paul to the predominantly Gentile church, Paul continued to wait for his calling to be fulfilled. We see a season of waiting often in Scripture beginning with Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Elijah, Ezekiel, Nehemiah, and even Christ Himself, living thirty long years before the onset of His ministry. God knows where He is leading in the round–a­–bout wait.
  2. The Test of Spiritual Opposition. After Paul spent a year of preparation teaching at the church in Antioch alongside Barnabas, both embarked upon their first missionary journey together. God allowed these men to bond in service together in a thriving church before sending them out to face opposition on missionary soil. Once on the island of Cyprus, they faced the forces of darkness. We see this same pattern with Jesus in Luke 4. God brings us into battle with evil so we learn to trust in His victory. When walking out our calling we should expect opposition.
  3. The Test of Emotional Opposition. After leaving Cyprus, Paul and Barnabas traveled to Iconium where their motives were questioned and their character slandered. When we step into the fullness of our calling others will downplay, distract and discredit us. Some might even desecrate us emotionally. God calls His servants to lean on Him emotionally in the oftentimes lonely place of living out one’s calling. Strife erupting does not signify that we have stepped outside of His call for us. Moses and David ran for their lives. Elijah and Ezekiel hid in foreign countries. The dynamic duo Paul and Barnabas disputed over John Mark.
  4. The Test of Praise. After leaving Iconium, Paul and Barnabas traveled to Lystra where they were worshiped as gods in response to a miracle. When God begins to do the unexplainable among and through us, people will start to praise the messenger rather than the Miracle Working God. Will we pass the test and humbly point them to Jesus or begin to think we are something special? Man’s heart is tested most severely in the crucible of praise. We must be prepared to handle God working wonders through us, in spite of us.
  5. The Test of Release.When Paul and Barnabas finished their missionary journey, they returned home to Antioch. Undoubtedly, they wonder how their fledgling churches would fare in their absence. It would be tempting to stay and continue to disciple each church for longer periods, yet they both knew they were called to spread the gospel to new lands. This meant letting God go and trusting God to finish what He had started through their faithful service. Sometimes in our calling, we can fall into the trap of being needed– as if God’s kingdom plans rest solely on our ability or involvement. We cannot release the good for God to call us to what is best. We have to let go of something in order for God to place His call within our grasp.

Preparing for the Tests
These tests often make us question our call as they are occurring. When the call feels so utterly foreign to our expectations we begin to believe our doubts and doubt our beliefs. Waiting exacerbates our confusion forcing us into greater faith. Opposition entices us to believe we are outside of God’s will for our lives. Praise invites us to move forward in our own strength and letting go of questions about our purpose or significance. Do you notice the one common denominator in the call? Death to self–reliance.

Whether you feel as though you are walking in your calling or waiting for it to be fulfilled, God calls us to intentionally prepare for what’s ahead. Passing these tests will never be easy. We prepare by intently examining these patterns of Scripture rather than self-analyzing or striving in our own strength. Are you walking through one of these tests? Chances are you are closer to carrying out your calling than you might think.

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What Does Baptism Symbolize?

Picture of me teaching a fellow college classmate all about Christianity! I hope she decides to give Christ a chance!

The New Testament offers great wisdom and guidance to help us understand the purpose of baptism.

Baptism is for the forgiveness of sins (See: Acts 2:38). When we are baptized, we repent by turning from our sinfulness and receive the forgiveness that Jesus provided through his death and resurrection.

Baptism is a symbol of our faith (See: Acts 8:12-13). The model we see in the New Testament is that when someone became a new believer (demonstrating faith in Jesus), they repented and were baptized. Baptism serves as a vital step for those declaring their faith in Jesus.

Baptism is a symbol of being buried and raised to life with Jesus (See: Romans 6:3-4). When we are baptized, it is the means by which we enter into the death of Jesus, and it is also how we are raised up into new life in Jesus.

When we take into consideration the scope of New Testament insight on baptism, we can conclude that Jesus did not need to be baptized for the same reasons that believers do. But, Jesus did need to be baptized, which is why he asked John to baptize him. By being baptized, Jesus began his work to take our place and to redeem humanity. He modeled baptism as something all believers need to do as a step in their faith walk. This remains true for believers today.

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Why Is Humility Seen as Weakness?

First off, I apologize for posting 2 articles today, but when a Christian woman has something in her mind she sometimes feels like sharing it 🙂

Humility is not a weakness at all. Humility can be seen as a weakness in modern-day society because our culture teaches us to be prideful, overconfident in ourselves, and seek honor for ourselves above everything else. You may have noticed that the most “popular” people are not seen as having humility.

The most “popular” or admired people normally are recognized for everything they do, own huge mansions, and drive the latest sports car. To have humility would cause them great dishonor. These individuals would rather be praised for their accomplishments instead of being overlooked.

They would never do a noble action just to do a noble action–they want fame, fortune, and glory to come along. While the world teaches humility is a sign of weakness, it actually is not. Jesus Himself embodied humility during His life here on earth. Philippians 2:1-11 is actually known as the Humility Passage of Christ.

Following Jesus’ Example
Jesus is our Savior, Lord, and Redeemer. He is literally God in the flesh (John 1:14). Since Jesus is God, He is our greatest example to follow. Jesus Himself was humble and showed extreme humility in His life (Matthew 11:29-30). Jesus was God in the flesh, which meant He humbled Himself to walk upon this earth.

More than that, Jesus humbled Himself to the measure of dying for sinful mankind in order to redeem us from our sins (Philippians 2:5-11). Since Jesus humbled Himself to serve others and die for mankind’s sin, believers should strive to do the same. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”

Humility is not a weakness, but rather, a great quality of a person. Believers should strive to always take a servant-minded approach to any task they do. Humility teaches us that we are never “above” doing a task, such as helping in daycare, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or cleaning up after a family gathering without anybody saying thank you.

Jesus practiced humility and His servant-heart by washing the feet of His disciples (John 13:1-17). Jesus did not say, “Since I am God, you should wash my feet!” Rather, Jesus told His disciples that He would wash their feet and proceeded to wash each of their feet even with Peter resisting at first (13:8-9). Likewise, believers need to practice humility and take the nature of a servant.

The Benefits of Humility
Humility is the exact opposite of pride. Pride is a sin and in fact, pride was the sin that caused Adam and Eve to fall. It is best for believers to abstain from being prideful as pride always comes before the fall. Proverbs 11:2 tells us, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

As we read in this passage of Proverbs 11:2, the writer tells us that disgrace comes after pride; whereas, wisdom comes with humility. If we practice humility in our lives, we will become wiser; however, if we take the attitude of pride, disgrace will soon follow.

In addition to humility causing a person to have wisdom, humility also causes a person to have a closer relationship with God. James 4:10 states, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” If we are prideful, we cannot come before the Lord with a pure heart. If we humble ourselves before God, he will lift us up.

What this means is that we have to take up humility in our lives. We have to be willing to be vulnerable to God, tell Him that we need His help, and that we are incomplete without Him. We have to depend on God because on our own, we are inadequate. Humility causes us to know that we need God and that we are not self-dependent.

Every person in the world is alive right now because of God. This should cause humility to swell inside of a person and recognize the truth of their dependence on God.

In the second half of this passage of James 4:10, James tells us that if we humble ourselves, God will lift us up. This means that if we go to God in reverent prayer and pray in humility, God will answer our prayers according to His Will.

Thirdly, a great benefit of humility is that by practicing humility, you are obeying God. We are given many instructions to practice humility in the Bible. Paul tells the Church in Colossae, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

This command is not only for the Colossians, but rather, for all believers. Since we are God’s people, we should be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient. These qualities will shine Christ to the lost world. As believers, it is our responsibility to help the lost to know Christ and a great testimony is by our actions.

Likewise in the book of Romans, Paul urges the Roman Church, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited” (Romans 12:16).

Therefore, simply because the world does not equate humility with strength does not mean it is a weakness. The world views humility as a weakness because the culture is very much caught up in pride, self-honor, and fame. Instead of taking this attitude, believers need to practice humility.

This is a counter-cultural teaching; however, humility is a quality all believers need to cultivate and possess in their daily life. When you practice humility, it shows your great love for God, and it makes Him very happy. God has chosen you to be a light for the gospel.

1 Corinthians 1:28-29 helps shed light on humility: “God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” Humility is not a weakness, but a great strength.

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What Does the Bible Say about the End of the World?

The End of the World has been a hot topic for a long time. Many people are obsessed with the idea of the apocalypse. Some people are even preparing for the End of the World with safe houses and food storage shelters.

Popular culture depicts the End of the World differently than what the Bible tells us. There have been many films created about the End of the World with different reasons as to why the world is ending and how. The truth is that the Bible does tell us how the world will end and describes the End of the World within its pages.

  1. Doom Days
    The End of the World will not come right away. The Bible tells us the End of the World will not come until the end of the 1,000-year reign of Christ known as the Millennial Reign of Christ.

The literal 1,000-year reign of Christ will come after the Rapture of the church and the Tribulation. After the end of the 1,000-year reign of Christ, God will destroy the earth with fire and create a New Heaven and a New Earth (2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 21:1).

  1. The Rapture
    The Rapture is prior to the End of the World. The rapture is when Jesus takes His children up to be with Him in Heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Only believers will be taken up in the rapture as unbelievers will be left on the earth to undergo the seven-year Tribulation. The rapture will happen unexpectedly and will not have anything to precipitate it.

It will happen quickly, suddenly, and swiftly. Paul tells us the rapture will happen quicker than a twinkling of the eye (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). When believers are taken up in the rapture, they will be alive and will be transformed into their heavenly bodies.

Believers who are taken up in the rapture will not die. The rapture can happen at any time, meaning it could happen today, tomorrow, or a thousand years from now. Only God knows when the rapture will occur, and He has not given us that information in the Bible. Believers should continue to do good, live for Christ, and share the gospel with others until this time.

  1. The Tribulation
    The seven-year Tribulation occurs after the rapture of the church. The church will not have to undergo this wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9). The seven-year Tribulation is the major event of God completing His work of judging the nations.

The Tribulation is the last opportunity for unbelievers to accept Jesus. Israel is the focus of the Tribulation; however, God is calling all unbelievers to accept Him during this period. Sadly, there will be people who reject Jesus during the Tribulation and refuse to submit to His Lordship.

The Tribulation will be a time of pain, terror, and wrath. Noteworthy to mention is that the Tribulation is the work of God — not of Satan. The wrath being poured out on the world will be God’s wrath. The Tribulation is known also by the title of “The Day of the Lord” (Joel 1:15).

Daniel 9:24-27 gives a detailed description of the events of the Tribulation including God’s wrath, the antichrist, and the length of the Tribulation. The first half of the Tribulation will be intense; however, the second half of the Tribulation will be even more severe (Matthew 24:21; Zephaniah 1:15).

The Tribulation will end after the seven years that is declared in Daniel. After these seven years, Jesus will return with believers to destroy all unbelievers in the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16).

  1. The Millennial Reign of Christ
    After the Tribulation, the Millennial reign will be ushered in by Jesus. The Millennial reign of Christ will last for a literal 1,000 years and Jesus will be the literal, physical King (Revelation 20:2-7). During this time, Satan is locked away and will not be released until the end of the 1,000 years to test the nations.

The Millennial reign of Christ will be amazing as Jesus will literally walk with mankind again. Despite Jesus being physically ruling as King, people will still reject Him and choose to follow Satan. There will still be death in the Millennial Kingdom as well as life with new babies born.

However, after the Millennial, no more babies will be born, and nobody will die. After the Millennial Kingdom ends, there will be the Great White Throne Judgment, in which all unbelievers will be thrown into the lake of fire for eternity (Revelation 20:11-15).

All believers will enter the Eternal State, in which the Bible tells us this will be the home of righteousness (2 Peter 3:13).

  1. The End of the World
    2 Peter 3:10-12 gives us the best description of the End of the World. In 2 Peter 3:10-12, the Bible tells us the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. This means the End of the World will happen suddenly and quickly. 2 Peter 3:10 says, “The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.”

When Peter says, “The heavens,” he is not referring to the physical heaven above where God is located. Rather, “the heavens” refer to everyone in the solar system, including the stars, the moon, and all the planets. Everything in the solar system will be destroyed by fire.

As you can imagine, there will be a lot of noise associated with this event. The destruction of the solar system will not be a silent event as this destruction will be louder than a crack of thunder. After the destruction of the heavens and everything in the world, the entire earth will be bare (2 Peter 3:10). Nothing living will be on the face of the earth. This will officially be the End of the World.

  1. After the End
    The Bible tells us after everything is destroyed, God is going to create a new Heaven and a New Earth (Revelation 21:1). This New Heaven and New Earth will last forever. The Eternal State is what theologians call the New Heaven and the New Earth.

God will never destroy the New Heaven and New Earth because it’s going to be completely perfect, without sin, and holy (2 Peter 3:18). Only those who are in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be able to live in the New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 13:8).

In order to be in the Lamb’s Book of Life, you have to have accepted Christ during your life by placing faith in His death, burial, and resurrection. For individuals who did not place faith in Jesus, they will be cast into the Lake of Fire along with Satan, the antichrist, and the beast after the Millennial reign of Christ (Revelation 20:10).

The End of the World is a future event, but it is best for all people to be prepared. The best way to prepare for the End of the World is not to store up food, water, or resources. Rather, the best way to prepare for the End of the World is by placing faith in Jesus and accepting Him as your Lord and Savior.

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A Call to Urgency for Christians to Reach People for Christ

Most of us are familiar with the concept of urgency. It has to do with something that needs immediate attention because of its gravity. One of the challenges facing evangelical Christianity is that we do not seem to feel it is urgent to reach people for Christ. This despite an explicit effort from Jesus to generate such urgency:

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’” (Luke 16:19-28)

Either Heaven or Hell
When we die, we face either heaven or hell. While the great and final judgment was yet to come for both men in Jesus’ story, it’s clear that immediately upon our death, the fate of our lives is not only sealed but the verdict of that inevitable judgment is set in motion.

The beggar Lazarus was by Abraham’s side which, along with the concept of paradise, is mentioned in the Talmud as the home of the righteous—the place where the righteous dead go to await their future redemption and vindication. The rich man was in hell (in the original Greek, hades) the place where the wicked dead go to await their final judgment.

And the chasm between the two cannot be crossed.

We do not often let our thoughts travel to such realities. It is uncomfortable. Even chilling. But one person in Jesus’ story had it envelop every fiber of his being: the man in hell.

To such a degree that he experienced a remarkable change in priorities. As I once heard someone observe, five minutes in hell made the rich man a flaming evangelist. Why? Because suddenly he knew it was all for real.

And once he knew this, nothing mattered more than warning those he cared about. He knew that hell was not a figment of someone’s imagination. It was real, and real people go there for eternity. And the man in hell knew that it would take someone going to them, talking to them, making it clear to them.

Hell has a way of making that clear.

Meeting Needs, and Realizing What Produced Them
We must realize that our friends, our family members, that person in our neighborhood, the person we work with who does not know Christ is in real trouble. We must not see the needs of the world solely in terms of food and clothing, justice and mercy, shelter and companionship.

We must see those needs, to be sure, and meet them—but we must see beyond them to the fallen nature of a world and humanity that produced those needs. We must see eternity waiting to be written in their hearts.

I know of a ministry to young male prostitutes working the streets of Chicago that offers food, shelter, counseling, and an array of other social services to help men move out of that degrading lifestyle. Most of us would think that is more than enough, that the greatest issue had been addressed. But not John Green, the founder of Emmaus Ministries, who said, “We do violence to the poor if we don’t share Christ with them.”

And he’s right.

Live with Urgency, Not Passivity
It is difficult to imagine passivity regarding those who have yet to embrace the Christian faith. The Scriptures do not simply speak; they thunder:

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

“Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” (Mark 16:15)

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

“I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22)

Passivity was not the model of Jesus.

He went into the world. He spent time with those who were far apart from God. He reached out relationally, built friendships, went into their homes, attended their parties, broke bread at their tables.

His was a life of urgency.

Is There An Error In The Bible?

Is There An Error In The Bible?

According to Pastor Andrew, the answer is YES.

And in his short video, he provides very strong
evidence to support this controversial
(but rapidly growing) theory.

At first, we were quite skeptical, and I even
asked the pastor point blank…

“Are you saying that God made a mistake?”

The pastor was quick to respond, and said –

“God doesn’t make mistakes.
But 1800 years ago, we believe a
biblical translator DID.”

The pastor then went on to explain his theory…

“It is our belief that ONE, single, mistranslated word in the bible –
which occurred about 200 years after the death of Jesus –
is responsible for an incredible amount of needless suffering.”

I felt that the pastor truly believed what he was claiming…

So I decided to watch his video.

And frankly, it was as shocking to me as it was eye-opening.

But you be the judge for yourself.

Click here to watch this video for yourself!

Trump Administration Will Spare Bibles from Tariffs on Chinese Goods

The Trump administration has decided to give Bibles a free pass amid an escalating tariff war between the U.S. and China.

In May, Christian publishers began to panic as bibles and other religious texts printed in China, together totaling some 65 percent of the 2018 U.S. brochures and leaflet imports, were set to be slapped with tariffs of up to 25 percent.

On Tuesday, however, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) published two lists of items that will be subjected to a 10% hike in tariff charge starting in September and December respectively — the Bible, USTR said, will be spared from both.

“Bibles and other religious literature are among the items removed from the tariff list and will not face additional tariffs of 10 percent,” USTR confirmed to Christianity Today in a statement.

Christian publishers and Bible translators were becoming increasingly concerned by the Trump administration’s refusal to back down from a trade war with China and repeatedly warned that financial restrictions on the printing of the good book would restrict its proliferation across the globe.

“For the past several months, there has been great concern among the Christian publishing community that our important work would be threatened by proposed tariff schedules,” the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, Ben Mandrell, told CT. “Today’s announcement by [USTR] has given us hope that the administration has heard our concern.”

Mandrell did, however, express concern at the word of God being “taken hostage in an international trade dispute.”

Other items that evaded the tariff charge included child safety seats, cranes used in ports and construction, shipping containers and certain types of fish, according to Reuters. Interestingly, rosaries, which are a staple in Catholic religious practice, remain on the earlier tariff list — they will fall victim to a 10% tax when the new charges come into effect September 1.

Still, the decision to axe tariffs on the importing of Bibles has been widely celebrated by Christian leaders. “I am pleased to see today that US tariffs on China will now exempt the Bibles printed in China,” tweeted Russell Moore, President of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention. The announcement is “welcome news” for many publishers and ministries, he added.

The ERLC also clarified why such an overwhelming proportion of American Bibles are printed in China as opposed to at home in the United States.

“Like encyclopedias and textbooks, Bibles contain a large amount of text that must be formatted to a bound book on thin paper. China has been specializing in this printing technology for decades and is home to the world’s largest Bible-printing company, printing at least 150 million Bibles in 2016,” the ERLC explained. “To import Bibles from a country other than China would require time, extensive quality tests, and higher prices incompatible with the high and consistent demand for Bibles in the United States.”

Source:
https://www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/will-maule/trump-administration-spares-bibles-from-tariffs-on-chinese-goods.html

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Meet the Christian Tech Executive Who Wants to Save Silicon Valley’s Soul

Of all the rituals of modern life that Silicon Valley technologists have burrowed their way into — eating, exercising, communicating, doing the laundry — one ritual that’s stayed largely undisrupted is religion. Despite its other advances, Silicon Valley remains one of the least religious parts of the country.

Vincent “Skip” Vaccarello is trying to change that. A 30-year veteran of the tech industry, Vaccarello was an executive at VisiCorp, an early PC-software-maker, and has been the CEO of Applied Weather Technology and Communications Solutions Inc., as well as a division manager for 3Com. He’s also a Christian, and has spent the last two decades trying to spread the gospel to Silicon Valley’s masses. He’s the chair of the Silicon Valley Prayer Breakfast, and the author of “Finding God in Silicon Valley,” a blog containing interviews with prominent Silicon Valley Christians that he is hoping to turn into a book.

I spoke to Vaccarello about his blog, his efforts to evangelize Silicon Valley, and what makes it hard to convert the tech-savvy. Here’s a condensed and edited version of our conversation.

Tech workers in Silicon Valley tend to be young, progressive, and very secular. Is this the hardest community in America to convert?

It is. George Barna [the evangelical pollster] did a survey and indicated that on any given Sunday, less than 5 percent of the people in Silicon Valley go to church. Silicon Valley people are smart skeptics. They also tend to live isolated lives. There are many transplants from other countries and states. Many of those people have not developed deep relationships. They desire to be successful. They want to change the world.

But at the same time, people are very skeptical of Christianity. Among the more successful, there’s a complacency. They think, Life seems great, I’ve got my stock options.

The guiding principle of Silicon Valley seems to be that the world can be perfected through technology. That hope seems to substitute for religious purpose in a lot of the tech people I know. Is that something you’ve seen?

I’d agree with that. I have a friend who did a book called Soul in Silicon, and his conclusion was that Silicon Valley is actually a very spiritual place, but that some of it is what you mentioned — people are, in a way, worshiping technology and success.

What I’ve found is that God is at work in Silicon Valley in the lives of many people. There really is a very committed group of people who have the desire to help others in their faith, who are committed to charity, who want to make the world a better place.

For a lot of people in Silicon Valley, though, the attitude seems to be that doing the work of technological advancement itself is a form of charity — that the world is better because they’re succeeding.

I’ve had many people say that. But people go through setbacks. It might be a divorce. It might be that stock options that were worth millions are now worth nothing. Or maybe they get fired from a job. When that happens, there are opportunities to talk about something that’s more important.

You’re saying there’s a counter-cyclical thing going on? When the tech bubble bursts and things are really bad for Silicon Valley companies, it will be good for Silicon Valley churches?

I do think there are absolutely those opportunities. I remember back in 1989, when the earthquake happened, Silicon Valley churches were packed with people. People were shaken up by it. People were saying, “There has to be something else.”

Skip, what made you decide to take up this cause?

I grew up in the Boston area – loving family, attended a Catholic church. But I was also a child of the late sixties and early seventies. And during college at Harvard, I kind of walked away from faith. Then, about twenty years later, a few people came into my life, and I began to think about faith. During that time, I was mostly building a career and a family. But the birth of our first child, I felt, was a miracle. And then our neighbors invited my wife to church. I was in Paris on business at the time, but she dragged me along when I got back. That was in the mid-eighties.

So I listened to what the pastor had to say, and over the next several months, I investigated the evidence for Christianity and really came to faith. And from that point forward, I really had a desire to live out my faith. So I got together a group of Silicon Valley executives, to say, “Well, how do we live out our faith day-to-day?”

And when did the blog come into play?

I went back to a Harvard reunion in 2008. There was a group of Christians who got together for a discussion, and right after that meeting, we got a book called Finding God at Harvard by Kelly Monroe. That planted a seed in my own mind to do something similar for Silicon Valley. One of [Monroe’s] purposes in writing that book was to show that you can be intelligent and still have faith. In Silicon Valley, a lot of people put material things and their career first, but I found it was really only God who could fill that space.

As a Christian in tech, what do you make of this issue, which seems to be a very contentious one, about start-ups and the homeless? Some tech workers have been publicly disparaging the homeless, saying that they need to get out of the “respectable” communities of Silicon Valley and go somewhere else.

I would hope that someone who is a follower of Christ would approach it differently. We’re to take care of the poor and the homeless.

Say you have a 22-year-old Google employee who is not religious, who is making a lot of money and living in Silicon Valley. How would you approach them and convince them to find Jesus?

There’s probably nothing I could do to convince such a person. It may sound odd, but it’s up to God. My hope is that some of the things I’m doing here will help. Service is one of the important ways to do it. Young people, whether they’re a Christian or not, have a desire to serve other people. That person might have his or her eyes opened if they were to go to a homeless shelter, to CityTeam or Freedom House, and in the process, they say, “Why are you doing this?” And we say, “Well, I’m a follower of Christ, and this is what I’m supposed to do.”

We also live in a little bit of a celebrity culture. I’m hoping that people might see someone like Pat Gelsinger, the CEO of VMWare, and a very committed follower of Christ, that someone might look at him and say, “Well, he’s different.” But if you’re talking about someone that’s happy, with lot of stock options and a cushy job at Google, it’s going to be difficult.

Who would be the ultimate convert? Mark Zuckerberg? Jack Dorsey?

Well, yeah, those are the current heroes. If any of those people were to say, “Okay, I’ve found the key to life,” that’d be great.

But some of it is going to come through service. The deficit that many Christians face is that people look at followers of Christ more for what they’re against than what they’re for.

That’s a big thing, I think. If you ask people in Silicon Valley why they’re not evangelicals, a lot would say, “Because I support gay marriage,” or “Because I support a woman’s right to choose.” How do you get around that?

There are people on the right and the left that are followers of Christ. But it’s unfortunate in some ways that Christianity has been identified exclusively as a right-wing group. When I have discussions with people, I don’t get into politics. To me, it’s not about politics. If someone’s gay, they’re gay, and that’s their lifestyle. I would talk more about the person of Christ.

Part of what’s interesting to me, about all of this, is that Silicon Valley is actually a place with a ton of faith. It’s just not faith in God. It’s faith in technology, in the future, in the power of innovation to shape society. Is there any way in which Silicon Valley might actually be well-suited to a religious revival?

People here live isolated lives. Christianity is about relationships and community. Yesterday, I was interviewing a guy, he’s a biotech guy, he’s brilliant. God has given him the mission in life of helping make the world a better place through biotechnology. He’s been doing stuff that is saving millions of lives with the product his company made.

Other people feel they’re on a mission to change the world in other ways. And maybe they make a billion dollars. But my hope is that when people go through a tough time, they’ll look at the site or read the book, find out more about what it is, and say, “Maybe these people aren’t as crazy as I thought they were.”