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What To Expect In Your Church
PART TWO By Tom Keeley ~ Special to The Church Guide The Place of the Rapture In the 7 Year Tribulation 
Previously in The Church Guide, we discussed the three traditional views of the rapture: pre, mid, and post tribulation and various Biblical passages that go against the teaching that it could happen at any moment (click here to read).  At this time, we will deal with the Biblical support  for a fourth view called prewrath, which places the  rapture sometime between the middle and the end of the tribulation. In other words, it will happen at some  unknown time in the last half of Daniel’s 70th week, also  known as the tribulation period.  This means that the  church will have to face the persecution of the antichrist  ( great tribulation) but will be raptured before God’s  wrath ( Day of the Lord). The key to the timing of the rapture is to correctly define the Day of the Lord from the Old Testiment and  then determine when it begins. It is critical to do this  based only on passages of the Bible and not on other  assumed ideas. The many OT passages mentioned the  Day of the Lord will be listed here ...  
UNDERSTANDING OUR CHRISTIAN FAITH 5 Things Jesus Would Say to the Gay Community
By NewSpring Church  l  Church Leaders
1. I love you. Amidst the protest signs, yelling crowds and political  referendums, the simple message of Jesus’ love for you  is often drowned out. Never doubt that Jesus loves you  more than you could ever know. Jesus doesn’t just love a future version of you; He loves  you exactly as you are right now. Jesus’ love for you has  no prerequisites or requirements. Even if you hate Him, Jesus loves you and wants what is  best for you. Love is at the core of everything Jesus taught.  Unfortunately, His message of love has been  conveniently left out by many who would rather make a  point than make a difference (John 3:16; 1 John 4:8-10;  Romans 5:8; Psalm 86:15).    2. I understand rejection. Jesus knows how it feels to be a social outcast.
God continues to perform miracles. In this video, God’s healing touch is manifested when a screw falls out of a girl’s face in Hixson, Texas
Stories You May Have Missed Earlier
BEING CHRISTIAN 3 Things Your Church Can Do to Care for the Poor
By Arlora Sutter   l   Church Leaders
More than 16 percent of  Americans, one in five children, live  in poverty in the U.S. While the  needs of children in countries like  India and Ethiopia have long been  considered in our missions  programs, it may seem more  baffling for your church to know  what to do about the poor in your  own backyard. Changing demographics and  the migration of poor people  displaced by urban gentrification  will undoubtedly present a dilemma  for your congregation soon if it has  not already.
CHRISTIAN CHURCH NEWS Lonely and Sidelined, the Plight of Older People in the Church By Carey Lodge   l   Christian Today
The Pilgrims' Friend Society has been caring for  the elderly since 1807, when a group of young  Christians in Islington became concerned that older  people were not being given the support they needed. Their passion is "the wellbeing – both practical  and spiritual, of older people", and the Pilgrims are  working to educate the nation about how we can best  support elderly citizens, both at home and within a  church context. "Every week, at least ten elderly people die  alone in their homes, which is just appalling," explains  the society's Louise Morse. Recently, statistics were released which reveal  that the percentage of over-65s who receive practical  help has fallen by a third since the period 2005 to 2006;  a situation that the charity's director has described as  "catastrophic".
The Disabled -- One of the Least Evangelized            People Groups in the Church
Why Do So Many Churches Hear So Little of the Bible
By Albert Mohler   l   My Christian Daily
"It is well and good for the preacher to base his  sermon on the Bible, but he better get to something  relevant pretty quickly, or we start mentally to check out."  That stunningly clear sentence reflects one of the most  amazing, tragic, and lamentable characteristics of  contemporary Christianity: an impatience with the Word of  God. The sentence above comes from Mark Galli, senior  managing editor of Christianity Today in an essay entitled,  "Yawning at the Word." In just a few hundred words, he  captures the tragedy of a church increasingly impatient with  and resistant to the reading and preaching of the Bible. We  may wince when we read him relate his recent experiences,  but we also recognize the ring of truth.  Galli was told to cut down on the biblical references  in his sermon. "You'll lose people," the staff member  warned. In a Bible study session on creation, the teacher  was requested to come back the next Sunday prepared to  take questions at the expense of reading the relevant  scriptural texts on the doctrine. Cutting down on the number  of Bible verses "would save time and, it was strongly  implied, would better hold people's interest."  As Galli reflected, "Anyone who's been in the  preaching and teaching business knows these are not  isolated examples but represent the larger reality."  Indeed, in many churches there is very little reading  of the Bible in worship, and sermons are marked by  attention to the congregation's concerns, not by an  adequate attention to the biblical text.
By Dr. Michael L. Brown    l   One News Now
As much I as I am constantly tackling controversial  subjects, I am also working for the unity of the Body, trying to  major on the majors on my radio show (which reaches quite a  diverse audience) and often interacting privately with those with  whom I differ. Yet I recognize that sometimes, division for the  sake of truth can be healthy. Now is one of those times. Wednesday, May 14, I gave a lecture at the Family  Research Council in Washington, DC, from noon-1:00 p.m. It  was also aired via live webcast and the talk focused on issues  related to my latest book Can You Be Gay and Christian?  Shortly before the lecture, I was informed that, at the  exact same time and also live online, there would be a panel  discussing Matthew Vines' new book God and the Gay  Christian, with participation from Rachel Held Evans, Tony  Jones, and Jay Bakker, all of whom highly praised the book.  What excellent timing, and what an excellent opportunity  to compare and contrast these two very different views. (For the  record, my book is not a response to Matthew's book, and the  fact they came out at roughly the same time is providential  rather than planned.)  One view says that while God deeply loves all people  and offers them redemption in Jesus, under no circumstances  would He ever bless or approve of two men (or two women)  having sex together. 
4 Ways to Minister to Older Saints
By John Pond    l    The Gospel Coalition
I thought it was just another Tuesday when I walked  into the hospital to minister to people from our church. But  that day would change my ministry forever. When I entered  his room I saw an older man in his 80s who had that once-  upon-a-time deacon look to him. I figured he had probably  been in our church for 50 years and put up with at least four  senior pastors and countless youth ministers. I expectd a full  download on why the church today is struggling and the  younger generation is to blame.  As I sat down in the chair beside his bed, he asked  me who I was, and I identified myself as the student pastor  at his church. The gentleman sat up in his bed and began to  open up his heart about his ministry days. He had been a  pastor for more than 35 years. Now retired, he had recently  become a member of our church. Rather than giving me an  hour-long lecture on the state of the church, he gladly talked  to me about what he learned about being a pastor for almost  four decades. He talked about loving Christ, loving his  family, and serving the flock that God had entrusted to him.  He was more interested in listening than talking, but when  he did talk it was like reading one of my favorite biographies  about a Christian hero.  We're tempted in ministry to take one bad situation  with an older man and apply it to the whole age group. But  just as we want to be known personally and not stereotyped  as a young hothead, older saints want to be known  indivudally and not just as the grumpy, disinterested old men  who .........
BEING THE CHURCH The Church’s Response and Responsibility on Abortion
By Marie Bowen   l   World Magazine
Thousands gatered on January 22nd in Washington,  D.C. for the 41st time as an expression of objection to the  legalization of abortion and to commemorate the tiny and  precious lives of 55 million babies aborted.The tragic loss of  life due to abortion is staggering. The 55 million babies lost to surgical abortions in  America since Roe v. Wade is just the beginning. No one  knows how many chemical abortions add to that number,  thanks to drugs such as RU-486 and the “morning-after  pill”—now available over the counter even to 11- and 12-year-  old girls. Globally, the number of babies destroyed by abortion  is estimated to be 120 million every year. No one can calculate  the loss of God’s intended blessing to the world through those  aborted babies. No one can measure losing the gifts God  planned to birth through the offspring of each of those  individual lives.
UNDERSTANDING OUR CHRISTIAN FAITH Did Jesus Say Anything About Homosexuality?
By Shane Idleman   l   The Christian Post
I have nothing but compassion for those trapped in  sexual sin. My hope is that readers will read the entire article  before drawing conclusions.  Those who strongly believe in the Bible and God's will  regarding sexual behavior also strongly believe in  unconditional love and forgiveness.  To say that authentic Christians hate or fear those  trapped in the homosexual lifestyle demonstrates a gross  misunderstanding of the Christian faith.  To "confront in love" simply comes from a desire to  honor God and to truly love and care for others. The ability to  relate to people on their level, show genuine concern, and love  them regardless of their lifestyle is the mark of true Christianity.  In case you don't continue reading, let me offer some  encouragement: if you're hopeless, depressed, and confused,  look to the One who created you. He has the answers. No  matter what you have done, you have the ability to turn to  Christ and start anew:  "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and  believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you  will be saved" (Romans 10:9).  "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has  passed away; behold, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17). 
CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW What Church Might Look Like 10 Years From Now
By Thom Schultz   l   My Christian Daily
Where will you be in 10 years? in 20 years? If you're  involved in a church, it may look quite different from what  you're accustomed to today. The church in America is currently shuddering under  unprecedented societal change. Some churches are  shuttering—closing their doors, rather than adapting to the  swirling changes around us. But some are breaking through  and finding fresh ways to share the ageless message of  Christ with a still-spiritually-open culture.  Some of the innovation we see today was actually  predicted over 10 years ago. At that time a think tank of  ministry leaders from across the country met to envision the  future. They accurately foresaw some changes we now see  emerging.  For example, whereas the modern church looks and  feels much like a theatrical presentation, the think tankers  saw a church that would begin to look and feel more like a  neighborhood place to gather around food and drink.  That model is sprouting up in divergent locations across the  country—and outside the country 
CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW Praying For Our Terrorist Enemies
By John Stonestreet   l   Christian Headlines
Anyone who’s been keeping up with international  news should see a trend developing. In Syria, Egypt, and  Libya, Muslim extremists not only seek to overthrow  established governments, they also seem to go out of their  way to target vulnerable Christian populations. In Iraq,  where the Muslim terror group ISIS is swallowing one city  after another, Christians are especially and understandably  uneasy. Our friend Stan Guthrie, author of the book Missions  in the Third Millennium, reports that a coordinated campaign  of mass executions, forced implementation of harsh Islamic  law, and frightening propaganda videos is accelerating the  exodus of Christians at a rate that may soon leave Iraq  “bereft of gospel witness.”  In Sudan, a Christian woman, Meriam Ibrahim, was  arrested and imprisoned on bogus charges of apostasy and  adultery. She was forced to give birth to her daughter in  prison with legs schackled, which reportedly has left the  baby disabled. Under great international pressure, the  government released Meriam—only to re-arrest her and her  family at the airport the next day.
Preparation Is Key When Sharing Christ with Muslims 
Adam Simpson of i2 Ministries tells us that Islam is  growing quickly around the world, with Muslims now  representing 25 percent of the population. Simpson  attributes some of that to conversion, but he says it is  mainly from biological growth exceeding that of  Christians. "Our burden as a ministry is to try to equip the  Church to understand Islam, understand Muslims in  general, and then try to remove the fear that we have so  that we can engage them in discussion and a relationship  and change the course of history in a sense," he poses.  Simpson admits that he has wondered what would  have happened on 9/11 if the hijackers had been "loved  to death by Christian families" between the time they  arrived in the U.S. and the morning of September 11,  2001.  "Maybe there was no way to change their hearts at  that point, but I just wonder what if we had done from the  beginning, if the Church had been able to really engage  them and potentially change some of their hearts," the  ministry spokesman shares. "I don't know, but I do know  this: Muslims are probably the one people group in the  world that the gospel is spreading among rapidly. There is  a lot of conversion to Christ, to true Christianity out of  Islam, and they're probably one of the most responsive to  the gospel whenever a Christian is prepared to  communicate."
The Church and Violence Against Women
By Russell Moore     l     Christianity
Male violence against women is a real problem in  our culture, one the church must address. Our  responsibility here is not simply at the level of social justice  but at the level of ecclesical justice as well. We must teach from our pulpits, our Sunday school  classes, and our Vacation Bible Schools that women are to  be cherished, honored, and protected by men. This means  we teach men to reject American playboy consumerism in  light of a Judgment Seat at which they will give account for  their care for their families. It means we explicitly tell the  women in our congregations, “A man who hits you has  surrendered his headship, and that is the business both of  the civil state in enacting public justice and of this church in  enacting church discipline.”  Church discipline against wife-beaters must be clear  and consistent. We must stand with women against  predatory men in all areas of abandonment, divorce, and  neglect. We must .....

5 Keys to Share Faith Without Being a Jerk

By Thom Schultz
The men surrounded Candace after the community meeting.  They knew Candace was a Christian. They had some serious  questions for her.  This scene played out a couple of weeks ago. Actually, I  see—and participate in—scenes like this every week.  This is the texture of the new evangelism. This is the true heart  of being "missional." This is how today's spiritually hungry people are  finding a real relationship with Jesus.  The men who circled Candace included Jim, a university  professor and researcher; Don, a widower; and Rich, an airline pilot.  They had just experienced a community Lifetree Café program entitled  "The Bible: Real? Relevant? Reliable?"  Since they had become regular Lifetree attendees, they knew,  respected, and liked Candace, who is another regular attendee. They  wanted her response to their major questions and doubts about the  Bible. "For the next 75 minutes," Candace said, "we talked about the  purpose of the Bible, life after death, what it means to be saved—you  name it. "All of them kept asking me questions. And the really amazing  thing was, I had a biblical answer to every question they asked," she  said. "I had always been so reluctant to enter into discussions about  Christian doctrine, afraid that I'd let Jesus down by saying the wrong  thing or coming across as judgmental. But in that environment, with  those people, whom I've gotten to know, trust and like over the past  year, sharing my faith was completely natural and easy."
Why It Is OK For You To Go Back To Church This Sunday
Is It Wrong for the Church to Entertain People?
By Rob Buckingham
A couple of weeks ago someone from our church  posted a John Wimber quote on my Facebook page.  Wimber wrote, "I'm concerned the Church has become  more of a theatre experience, rather than a meeting place  for people to encounter & interact with God. People don't  need more entertainment; they need to encounter the  King." It's a great quote, and I certainly agree with the  sentiment of it, but I felt there was a reason this man  posted the quote – a reason that was more than it being  just a great quote. I asked him and I was right. He said he  came across the quote when I was promoting our recent  Good Friday service and it appeared to him that the  service could perhaps contain entertainment.  All of this got me thinking about the question "Is it  wrong for the church to entertain people?" Before I give  my thoughts on this let me say that I agree with John  Wimber in that entertainment is not the church's purpose  or goal. He was observing a phenomena that was rising in  his day when the church was becoming increasingly a  "theatre" experience that was more seeker-sensitive than  Spirit-sensitive. I believe the main reasons we are to  gather are to encounter God, grow deeper in our  relationship with Him as well as to strengthen our  relationships with each other.