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Christians organize prayer campaign ahead of climate change conference in Glasgow.

Christians in Asia, Europe, and North America will gather monthly from spring to fall to offer intercessory prayers ahead of the United Nations climate change conference scheduled for Glasgow, Scotland, in November.

The prayer campaign is organized by former Baptist missionary Lowell Bliss and includes leaders from the Lausanne/World Evangelical Alliance Creation Care Network, A Rocha International, Youth With A Mission England, Christian Missionary Fellowship International, Tearfund, and Young Evangelicals for Climate Action.

“A group of us are feeling called into a type of prayer commensurate to the urgency of the climate crisis,” Bliss said, “to appeal to the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer of all creation that God might intervene in this hour of great threat and profound injustice.”

Bliss is hoping thousands—evangelicals and charismatics as well as mainline Protestant and Catholics—will come together in intercessory prayer, “praying authentically while stepping outside our comfort zone … in a united appeal to God, ‘Lord, have mercy.’”

The Glasgow conference, known as COP26, will hear reports from the 190 nations that signed the Paris Agreement to reduce the carbon emissions that scientific consensus says are causing global climate change. The Paris Agreement, signed in 2015, included a “ratchet mechanism,” with nations agreeing to accelerate the reduction of carbon emissions every five years. The fifth-year meeting was delayed by COVID-19.

The meeting is considered crucial because some scientists say that the window to make a change to avoid the worst global impacts of climate change—rising sea levels, deadly heat waves, and increased natural ...

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I urge Christians to pray for Muslims, for their salvation, for their blessing in Jesus Christ

I recently had the privilege of delivering the sermon at my local church. I took the opportunity to share from Acts 17:26-27,

“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”

As the author of a recent global survey revealing unprecedented turnings of thousands of Muslims to faith in Jesus Christ, I used the opportunity to point out that it is God who determines the times and boundaries of the world’s peoples. I shared with the congregation that it is no accident that God has allowed more than 3 million Muslims to find their new homes here in the United States.

The reason for this relocation, I said, was so that “perhaps Muslim immigrants in America might reach out for him and find him.” For this divine appointment to be realized, though, requires us to acknowledge that God has also placed us here in proximity to more than 3 million Muslims, so that we would share with them the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.

During the invitation, I invited the congregation to pray for Muslims, and for themselves, that God would use us to bring them to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

One man, shoulders slumped, walked down the aisle to the altar where I was standing. As he took my hand, it was evident to me that he was weeping. “I lost my son in Afghanistan,” he said, “And I’ve hated those people ever since. But I know that I can’t follow Jesus and hate Muslims. I want to leave that hatred here today.”

Prayer changes things. It changes ...

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Two authors encourage Christians to rededicate themselves to attentive, artful reading.

Among many evangelical literature-lovers (and likely many CT readers), Leland Ryken is a familiar name. Longtime (now emeritus) professor of English at Wheaton College, he is the author of numerous books, including The Christian Imagination and How to Read the Bible as Literature. In his latest offering, Recovering the Lost Art of Reading, he teams up with professional writer Glenda Faye Mathes to take on one of the ecclesial crises of our time (though not one that tends to make the headlines): By and large, Christians aren’t engaged in serious reading.

Ryken and Mathes set out to provide Christians with the reasons and tools they need to start reading again. Their overriding hope is that readers will find it easier to pick up a book and responsibly—indeed, artfully—lose themselves in it. (In this, their intentions overlap somewhat with those of Karen Swallow Prior in her 2018 work On Reading Well, although Recovering the Lost Art of Reading is a very different book.)

Ryken and Mathes describe their project as addressing “first the concept of reading as a lost art, then distinctive features of various types of literature and tips for reading them, and finally, ideas for ways to recover reading.” To put it more plainly, the book asks and responds to three questions: What is literature? Why should Christians read it? And what do they need to know (either about literature or about why they’re not reading it) before they can read it well?

While Recovering the Lost Art of Readingisn’t exactly literary criticism, it brings aspects of a literary-critical engagement to would-be readers and provides insight into things like the difference between literary and nonliterary uses of language, the ...

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Why Your Children’s Ministry Leader Needs More Education and Training.

As both a professor and ministry coach, pastors and search committees often ask me, “How much education is really necessary for a children’s ministry pastor or director?” On the surface, that can be an easy query to answer by asking a few questions: Is the position full-time or part-time? What are the responsibilities? Does this position require the person to administer the sacraments, (such as baptism), which might require ordination? But the question can also be a complicated one, because behind it is an attitude of value toward ministry with children.

A few months ago, Ed Stetzer tweeted a question asking if church leaders should pursue a PhD. A colleague of mine at Wheaton College, Dan Trier, wrote an eloquent response regarding the importance and joy of further biblical and theological studies. But let’s be honest—it’s rare that people ask that question in reference to children’s ministry leaders.

In every discussion I have had, churches affirm that ministry with children is important and valued. Why else would the church pursue hiring someone to lead the ministry? But often, leadership in children’s ministry isn’t viewed the same way as leadership in other ministries. Children’s ministry leaders are hired for their administrative skills: ministry organization, volunteer recruitment, curriculum and supply ordering.

These needs are real, but, as I pointed out in a recent journal article that surveyed the past 40 years of trends in children’s ministry, we’ve assigned “backseat” status to children and their spiritual development in the church. While churches say they affirm ministry with children, they are more likely to be ambivalent about ...

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President of the Assyrian Aid Society–Iraq (AASI) passes away from COVID-19 complications.

Ashur Sargon Eskrya, president of the Assyrian Aid Society–Iraq (AASI), passed away today from COVID-19 complications.

A champion of the Assyrian Christian minority, he was also a central figure in US efforts to shelter refugees from ISIS and later rebuild the Nineveh Plains.

AASI was honored for its work with a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2016.

“Ashur has played a prominent role in being a voice for our people in international forums, speaking on behalf of us all especially on the subject of indigenous rights,” stated the official account of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM), of which Eskrya was a senior member.

“He will always be remembered for his leadership.”

Fellow ADM member Jessi Arabou called him one of the Assyrian nation’s “biggest assets.”

Born in 1974, Eskrya was a civil engineer and graduate of Baghdad University. He became a member in AASI in 2003, and assumed the presidency in 2010. Founded in 1991 to respond to the humanitarian crisis following the first Gulf War, the nonprofit is funded through branches of the Assyrian diaspora in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Sweden.

“Ashur did much to make [AAS] what it is today. His energy and passion fueled and propelled the work on a daily basis,” stated the Assyrian Aid Society of America.

“[His] tireless efforts in bringing international attention to the plight and struggle of Assyrians is commendable and will be remembered and honored for generations to come.”

Under Eskrya’s leadership, AASI administered projects for refugee relief, reconstruction, irrigation, and medical clinics. Over 2,600 students in 27 schools were provided with K-12 education, including ...

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Thursday Night Bible Teaching - 04/15/2021 - 7:30 pm
VTM Morning Ministry - 04/18/2021 - 9:15 am
Pastoral Sunday - 04/18/2021 - 10:30 am

Thursday Night Bible Teaching - 04/22/2021 - 7:30 pm
Women of Vision Sunday - 04/25/2021 - 10:30 am

Thursday Night Bible Teaching - 04/29/2021 - 7:30 pm
Men of Vision Sunday - 05/2/2021 - 10:30 am

Thursday Night Bible Teaching - 05/6/2021 - 7:30 pm
Youth Sunday - 05/9/2021 - 10:30 am

Thursday Night Bible Teaching - 05/13/2021 - 7:30 pm
VTM Morning Ministry - 05/16/2021 - 9:15 am
Pastoral Sunday - 05/16/2021 - 10:30 am

Thursday Night Bible Teaching - 05/20/2021 - 7:30 pm
Women of Vision Sunday - 05/23/2021 - 10:30 am

Thursday Night Bible Teaching - 05/27/2021 - 7:30 pm
Thursday Night Bible Teaching - 06/3/2021 - 7:30 pm
Men of Vision Sunday - 06/6/2021 - 10:30 am

Thursday Night Bible Teaching - 06/10/2021 - 7:30 pm
Youth Sunday - 06/13/2021 - 10:30 am

Thursday Night Bible Teaching - 06/17/2021 - 7:30 pm
VTM Morning Ministry - 06/20/2021 - 9:15 am
Pastoral Sunday - 06/20/2021 - 10:30 am

Thursday Night Bible Teaching - 06/24/2021 - 7:30 pm
Women of Vision Sunday - 06/27/2021 - 10:30 am

Thursday Night Bible Teaching - 07/1/2021 - 7:30 pm
Men of Vision Sunday - 07/4/2021 - 10:30 am

Thursday Night Bible Teaching - 07/8/2021 - 7:30 pm
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