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Defining Spirituality and Spiritual Diversity

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Top 5 Amazing Facts on Christianity!

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5 Biblical Reasons to Not Be Afraid if We’re in the End Times

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10 Things Real Christian Women Shouldn’t Do

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Defining Spirituality and Spiritual Diversity

Spirituality

For the last couple of years, humankind started embracing various kinds of spirituality. Along with this, the information about the same subject and its bright ideas saw enormous growth. Due to its high potential well-being, it makes it very difficult for anyone to follow the path. In simple words, when it comes to an understanding and studying your spiritual world, it is often difficult. It’s considered as one of the complex topics to attain. In the below-given article, we will see about the various kinds of spirituality and its practices. The first paragraph deals with the concept of spirituality, and the rest deals with the different types of spirituality.

Defining Spirituality

First thing first, spirituality deals with the human’s soul to find peace and inner meaning. The notion, spirituality, is entirely against the rules and various other regulations and completely revolves around the human soul. It’s more of a personal belief system that is created from personal experience. Spiritual well being stands out and doesn’t mingle and has nothing to do with the physical and the material world as such. It also means a way of connecting and dealing with everyday life and challenges to discover something bigger than yourself. Spirituality can contain a different meaning. Two of the main ideas of being spiritual is

  1. It can be religious and can hold a higher power
  2. It can be a non-religious occurrence (like connecting with nature, art, and yoga, to name a few).

Mystical Spirituality

Kinds of Practices

Mystical Spirituality

Mystical spirituality deals with the intuitional portion of the soul. People who have achieved this kind of spirituality can connect and believes there is a meaning to every experience that happens in life throughout. These people think that every experience goes beyond the concept of material as well as the physical world.

Authoritarian Spirituality

People who follow this kind of spirituality trusts the hierarchical structure of things or those in authority. The people practising Authoritarian spirituality believe and define it by following a set of rules and regulations with restrictions. This kind of spirituality is mainly related to religious beliefs.

Intellectual Spirituality

The central belief system that surrounds the intellectual spirituality is knowledge. The people who follow this kind of spirituality are in thirst of gaining knowledge about the spiritual theories, studying and analyzing the information they attain and practice it in their life.

 

Service Spirituality

Service spirituality is a prevalent type of spirituality. The followers of this path believe that they attain spiritual peace when they tend to serve others.  There are innumerable ways to chart out this spirituality method. But, the main list of the notion is to help others without expecting anything in return.

Social Spirituality

From the name itself, social spirituality deals with the attainment of spiritual nirvana while surrounded by many other people. Most of the people practising social spirituality like to be surrounded by people while searching for the greater meaning of the spiritual world. It can be mostly observed in religious groups. Besides, it can also be attained from exercising and meditation.

Top 5 Amazing Facts on Christianity!

Christianity

“In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen” Known as a Trinitarian formula, where The Father is known as the God himself, the Son, Jesus, and the Holy spirit meaning the Holy Ghost, is one of the essential prayers in Christianity. The Religion, Christianity depicts the life and teachings of Jesus of the Nazareth. No matter if you are Christian or not, it is always good to learn about other culture and its practices to live peacefully on the earth. Here we are going to portray some of the exciting facts and truth on Christianity religion. Relax back, and let’s dive in.

Christianity

Ranked First Place

Christianity is known as the world’s largest religion. Being the largest religion existed in the world to date. Religion contains approximately 2.2 billion followers. However, it is also estimated that in the coming years, Islam will overtake and will be prominent than Christianity as it is rapidly enhancing at present.

3 Division

Christianity religion consists of several sectors. However, it mainly consists of 3 divisions, namely, Catholicism, Orthodox, and Protestantism. Furthermore, it is divided again into five other areas, which are Church of the East, Protestantism, Oriental Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy. Apart from these, there are again a lot of subdivisions. Approximately 50 percent of the Christian population are Catholics and select the Pope as their leader.

Sunday being “Holy-Day”

For the Christians, every Sundays are known as a holy day, just like Friday is for Muslims, and Saturdays reserved for Jews. It is a day where people should rest. In many Western countries, Sunday is a day off from work, and most of the businesses and stores will remain closed. Apart from this, a special mass will be held on Sundays in the church. It is also a particular day, which has to be celebrated and devoted only to God.

Holy-Day

Abrahamic Religion

Just like Judaism and Islam, Christianity also has the same God, which makes it even more interesting is that, they all root from the same ancestral origin of Abraham! Thus, it is known as the Abrahamic religions. Since these religions contain many differences, it also has the same number of similarities. For example, Jesus, the son of God, for Christians, is mentioned many times in the Quran as one of the prophets.

Everything about Heaven and Hell

Christianity, as a whole, teaches about heaven, the Promised Land and hell. Heaven is where God resides and Hell, where Satan lives. Those who do good deeds to others will end up in heaven and sinned people in hell. The place between heaven and hell, Limbo consists of the souls who are not to be punished and did not do many good deeds to celebrate the day in paradise. This part of the belief is different in each subsection of Christianity and is known as an essential part of Christan belief system.

Motivation Monday: Evolution, Creation and Ukrainian Sand Art

People can battle all they want about whether Creation came out of the ooze, ex nihilo or a combination of the two (picture God as Julia Child whipping up some planets, elements and giraffes).

Since this is Motivation Monday, The Burner’s argument for God’s involvement in some manner in Creation comes from–surely you guessed it?–24 year-old “Ukraine’s Got Talent”-winner Kseniya Simonova and her astounding ‘sand animation.’ On this clip, Simonova demonstrates her mesmerizingly beautiful gift, bringing audience members to tears and showing the power of art, story and community.

If, after you watch this, you don’t agree that Simonova’s talent did not randomly come up out of the ooze, then The Burner no longer requires your readership. This is an incredible 9-minute taste of the power, creativity and artistry the God we serve possesses. Aren’t you glad you know him?

Theodicy, the Problem of Pain and Haiti by Tim Morey

Earlier this week a friend and I were talking about the tragic earthquake in Haiti, and he asked me how God could allow suffering of this magnitude to take place.  In the face of the tremendous pain and loss we see going on there, any attempt to answer that question feels hollow.  Yet the question persists: if God is good, how can he allow such suffering and evil in the world?  My answer went something like this . . .

The world is not as God intended it to be.  When God created the world it was perfect, and suffering was not an issue.  The world was terribly stained though when we introduced sin into God’s creation.  In Adam and Eve’s choice, evil and suffering were unleashed into the world, and the world “came under the control of the evil one.”  Everything has been affected by this, from human nature to the animal kingdom to the forces of nature.  Consequently, we have to deal with the suffering inflicted on us by others (and that we inflict on others), and with the disastrous effects of nature gone bad, as we have seen this week.  I don’t know if it is possible to answer with precision the question of why this disaster happened, but I think we can say in part that the choice that brought evil into the world set in motion a chain of events that stretches through history and that led up to this particular tragedy.

Why did God make the world this way?  Couldn’t he have made a world where suffering wouldn’t occur?  In his classic The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis notes that we can imagine a world where a two-by-four would suddenly turn soft as grass if I chose to swing it as a weapon, and where the air waves would refuse to carry your words if you chose to use them for lies or insults.

But the problem with such a world, Lewis notes, is that in doing away with suffering God would also be doing away with free, authentic choice.  And that would defeat the purpose of creating humans in the first place, wouldn’t it?  We are created for relationship with him, and beings without a free will wouldn’t be capable of love – they would be glorified robots.  Lewis concludes: “Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself.”

It seems that God’s desire to have a love relationship with us is such that he chose to create us, even knowing that along with this joy we would inflict terrible suffering on one another, on this earth, and even curse the God who made us.

So why doesn’t God do something to stop it?  The truth is that often he does, and eventually he will altogether.  Often we do see God intervene.  Most of us can give testimony to God’s specific intervention in our lives.  And even in a tragedy like Haiti we hear many stories of God saving specific individuals who should not have survived.  Why are some saved from disasters and not others?  I wish I knew, but I know that God doesn’t let any tragedy go wasted – even these tragedies are used in people’s lives (if they are willing) to draw them close to Christ.

And eventually God will stop suffering altogether.  At the end of time when Christ returns, the Fall will be reversed, sin and death will be done away with, and the guilty will be judged for the suffering they caused others.  Until that time, suffering will continue, because to end it now would also put an end to people’s chance of responding to God’s grace in salvation (2 Pet. 3:9).

As C.S. Lewis put it, the author doesn’t walk onto the stage until the final curtain.  Suffering will continue until Christ returns and that final curtain falls.  Until that time, we, as Christ’s body, pray and act as healing agents of God’s good kingdom.  And all the while we pray, “Come Lord Jesus, come.”

Tim Morey (D.Min., Fuller Theological Seminary) is founding and lead pastor at Life Covenant Church in Torrance, California, and the author of Embodying Our Faith (InterVarsity Press).

Tough Questions We May Need to Ask

I absolutely love/hate tough questions.
They are more fun to give than to receive.
Jesus wasn’t afraid to use them.

Here are a few examples of questions that have the ability to peel back many layers on our leadership and the ministries we serve.
About our leadership styles, intended for those we lead: What is hardest part of following me as a leader?

About our theology, intended for those we teach: What does it some like I avoid in my teaching?
I once heard someone comment on a friends bible that was all marked up and he said “maybe you should start reading what is not highlighted“.

About our legacy, intended for those who will hire our replacement:
What is the first thing you’ll change when I leave? Or, what qualities will the next person you hire have to have?

About our teaching, intended for those we want to listen: What is something you remember me teaching and how did it impact you?
I know I can often say that verbal communication is not the most effective form of communication, but we should be able to see the fruit of our teaching at some point.

About our ministry, intended for ourselves: What students have left since I have been here and why?
I’ve never been much on seeking out an exit interview from a departing student or leader, but I know it would benefit me as a leader.

At the Willow Creek Summit, Dr. Henry Cloud talked about the characteristics of wise and foolish leaders. He drilled in the fact that wise people smile when they are challenged and they invite feedback. They not only invite feedback, they go looking for it. I want to be wise, but sometimes it hurts.

Motivation Monday: Who Can Stand Against God? Us!

The Fuller Doctor of Ministry Program had the DMin Visit Day this morning, so the place has been busy. Motivation Monday has come out late today.

There is popular worship song by Chris Tomlin with a bridge that goes:

And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?

The Burner sang this song on Sunday after learning it at Catalyst West, so it’s trendiness is legitimate. It’s a very moving song–lots of space for emotion and crescendoes and pummeling drums and raised hands. It’s a worship leader’s dream.

In the middle of singing the bridge, TB was troubled. Not that TB disputes Romans 8:31. But repeated only this part of an important section of Romans is like repeating only the money verse from Jeremiah 29:11.

Who can stop The Burner if God is for The Burner? The Burner can. The Burner can ignore the call of God, disrupt the Spirit’s work in his own life, and/or refuse the instructions of Jesus that are given to serve neighbor, church and self towards the goal of the completion of the Kingdom of God. In fact, in his own life, TB feels that he puts up considerable roadblocks to God.

It may be semantics, and maybe the songwriter intends more to point to the omnipotence of God, but how often do we say, “God’s on my side!” when we should notice the previous verses in Romans 8 instructing conformity to Christ first. To TB, it seems that we should declare less our invincibility with God on our side, and acknowledge that God’s side is something we hope we’re on whilst we tirelessly strive to attempt to draw closer to God’s side.

It makes for a much more inspiring song the way it is sung now, but maybe there is a lyrical and evocative way to insert “God’s side is something we hope we’re on whilst we tirelessly strive to attempt to draw closer to God’s side” while keeping the beat.

This week, let’s keep the beat as we march towards hoping that we’re on God’s side while tirelessly striving to draw closer to Godself (Hey, that’s already shorter!).

All-Seminary Chapel: Lloyd John Ogilvie

Chruch

As a part of the Brehm’s Center Lloyd John Oglivie Institute for Preaching sponsored Preaching with Passion event, Dr. Ogilive gave the message in today in Fuller’s weekly All-Seminary Chapel. The title of his message was “Triumph in the Tough Times” based on Ephesians 3:13-21.

If you’re a big LJO fan, you can download the audio from Fuller’s iTunes U account. If you’re familiar with iTunes, you access it through the music store. If you’re not familiar with iTunes, comment or email and The Burner will send you the file when it becomes available.

 

Motivation Monday: Hold On, Help is on the Way

The Burner likes to listen to gospel choirs. While this is an outlier in TB’s musical catalog of preference, there is something uplifting about the chorus of voices singing in harmony that screeching guitars and pounding drums can’t quite replicate.

This Motivation Monday comes from the most logical place in the world: Whitney Houston and the Georgia Mass Choir on The Preacher’s Wife Soundtrack. What? Of course it does. You can listen to the link below from iLike.com and hopefully receive encouragement if you’re facing a tough week ahead.

Motivation Monday: Peculiar Prayer Habits by Kim Zovak

I recently received an encouraging, and also vexing, email from a Christian friend sharing the joy of her pregnancy after years of infertility. It was titled “Prayer Works!” Of course, I am thrilled to share in my friend’s good news. At the same time, her email reminds me that the language of churchianity sometimes promotes a faulty—or at the very least—simplistic, theology.

I think the email might have been better titled, “God Works.” Yes, those of us who had prayed with her got to be part of things through our support and prayers. But, ultimately the miracle of a new life is God’s divine handiwork. I certainly know I can’t take credit for praying diligently or long enough to obligate God to bless her with a child!

Similarly, I was reminded of how often we equate prayer “working” to God answering our prayers in the way we hoped. If this is true, then the unspoken corollary is that if we don’t get the answer we want, then our prayer doesn’t work. While God delights to give us, his children, good things (Matthew 7:11), we need to remind each other that God is just as present and good even when things don’t seem to go our way. Sometimes, God’s goodness is actually demonstrated far better through a negative response to our requests (e.g. think of the eternal significance of God saying “no” to Jesus’ Gethsemane request to avoid the cross).

My friend’s email also reminds me how we can be tempted to value God’s provision more than God the Provider. When we err this way, our prayers are just a means to an end, and God becomes a force we’re trying to manipulate rather than love and depend upon. I believe there is an important difference between bringing our requests to God and trying to persuade God to do our will. Of course it sounds silly when we think about it, but often our prayer habits are like this, aren’t they?

For example, in my church and small group we often spend considerable time “sharing prayer requests” and then repeat them back to God with our eyes closed (in prayer). Did God not hear us the first time? I wonder if sometimes we are a bit like those disciples that Jesus told, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” (Matthew 6:6, NIV)

I like how Eugene Peterson translates Jesus’ teaching on prayer: “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply.” (Matthew 6:6-9, The Message)

For reflection:

1. What does it look like for you to “shift from you to God” and to “pray very simply”?

2.  Compare your prayer form and style with how you have conversations with your closest friends. How are they similar? How are they different? Why are they different? How would your prayer change if Jesus were literally sitting in chair across from you?

3. As leaders, what can we do to respectfully help others grow/improve in prayer their habits? How can we model intimacy with God?

Kim is a trainer, coach and leadership consultant with Church Resource Ministry in Melbourne, Australia. She is an ordained pastor, ICF certified coach, and has an MDiv and DMin from Fuller Seminary. Her passions include travel, getting a good deal, running, and helping leaders multiply their impact by reproducing more effective leaders.

Inspiring Change in the Local Church by Mindy Coates Smith

Inspiring change in the local church can be a bit like trying to navigate the Titanic to go in a different direction. And many times the changes we are trying to make end up feeling like we are just straightening the deck chairs as our inevitable demise lurks in the distance. This can be overwhelming and discouraging to say the least.

Last week I had the opportunity to hear a lecture from Dr. Scott Cormode, the Hugh De Pree Professor of Leadership Development at Fuller. I found his insights to be particularly helpful since I am the type that actually likes change (and to be honest might get a little impatient waiting for the change-haters to get on board). A few of the compelling highlights:

Mental Models – These are the images that we have in our head that represent our understanding of things and help us make sense of our world. For example, if a group of people were asked to imagine a bird sitting in a tree, one person might have the mental model of a blue jay in an oak tree, another could be thinking of an eagle perched on the highest branch, while still another might think of a humming bird buzzing around a shrub. These are all legitimate understandings, however they are very different from one another. We must recognize that mental models are the stories we inhabit from previous experiences. The best way to inspire change within a mental model is to invite people into a new story.

Small Wins – These are momentum shifters captured in a small story that encapsulates the whole of what you are trying to accomplish. Sort of like an elevator pitch but instead of selling something, you are hoping to inspire and invite people into the story. Find little stories of things that are already happening towards the greater goal and tell these stories over and over. Top-down programming doesn’t work because people don’t have a story to place themselves into. Allow people to imagine what could be and how they could play a part. Then connect these stories to the overall mission of the church.

Technical Problems and Adaptive Change – Technical problems can typically be solved by a program or technique (up to a point). A program can only do so much; at some point people need to make changes that you cannot make for them (a doctor can perform surgery but cannot quit smoking for a patient). The program can cultivate an environment that promotes growth and change. Adaptive change, on the other hand, is when something happens in which things will never be the same again, so you have to adapt. This is painful because it creates a loss, and with loss comes a grief process. Adaptive change can be especially difficult when the things that have been successful in the past are being questioned.

Maintain Disciplined Attention – This is where the hard work of change comes into play. We must create a process to focus on the change including specific time set aside for this (my favorite quote from the lecture: “The tyranny of the urgent will get in the way unless you set aside time to work on it.”) Find ways to share the story and pace the change to fail people’s expectations at a rate they can stand. Ultimately vision is a shared story of future hope.
Mindy Coates Smith currently serves as the Co-Director of Youth Discipleship at Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles with her husband of eight years, RO Smith. She is close to finishing a Doctor of Ministry degree in Theology with an emphasis on Youth, Family and Culture. In her spare time, she enjoys vanilla lattes and is a fan of Project Runway. Together RO & Mindy love to travel, watch movies and take long walks on the beach.

Motivation Monday: The Sabbath was Made for People

Sabbath

Darryl Dash is pastor of Richview Baptist Church and host of dashhouse.com. Rev. Dash posted a great article on the importance and freedom of the Sabbath. What can sometimes be a “bonus workday” or “the day where we sit and pray” can really be a special time set apart for your own rest, thoughts and liberation from the stress of the week. In fact, God enjoys you enjoying your rest!

In America, rest is all too often thought as something only for the weak or lazy. Well, God is not American. Take a breather. Take a nap. Take a day to rest and rejoice in the day that the Lord has made.

In 20 Years, Who Will Be Leading Your Church?

church

Juan Martínez is Fuller’s associate provost, professor, and expert in areas of culture, social trends, and ministry leadership. Recently, Dr. Martínez contributed an article to USC’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture in which he discusses the changing nature of seminary education.

Two important trends he highlights in the article:

• Enrollment is dropping in seminaries across the country.
• Despite this general decreasing trend, enrollment amongst non-white seminary students is rising.

Dr. Martínez writes:

What role will a non-white-led Christianity play in an increasingly secularized white society?

This raises important questions about what Christianity will look like in Southern California–and the U.S.–in the future. Will these vibrant churches and leaders bring new spiritual vitality to existing white majority churches? Will the pull of secularization sap the vibrancy of minority churches? What role will a non-white-led Christianity play in an increasingly secularized white society?

The rest of the article is fascinating as it unpacks recent research and trends in seminary education. Check it out.

Seminaries are growing increasingly non-white, increasingly pentecostal, and increasingly global; your church is next!

How are you responding to changing demographics in your ministry context?

Is seminary enrollment dropping because fewer are choosing ministry leadership in general, or because fewer see formal education as a necessary step to ministry leadership?

What must change in your church to support and encourage a new and rising generation of ministry leadership?

In 20 years, who will be leading your church?