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Archive for February, 2011

Finishing Well: Leaving Behind a Strong Family

At the approach of death, Christians have the opportunity to leave behind something far more valuable than a piece of property or a bank account. The end of life is a time to reflect on our lives, examine our faith, and share mistakes and successes with those we love in a worshipful way. Taking time to have one-on-one conversations with people is a special way to pass along advice and encouragement. Additionally, a time of terminal illness is an opportunity to heal family wounds. A person approaching the end of life should not be afraid to gently address family rifts and guide the forgiveness process, as the impending death of a family member often creates a ready environment for healing.

Building closure with loved ones is an important part of dying well. Four simple things should be said frequently as one comes to the end of life:

  1. I love you.
  2. Thank you.
  3. Forgive me.
  4. I forgive you.

We should never assume that our actions (gift-giving, provision, etc.) are an excuse for not verbalizing these things. It is extremely important that surviving family members hear words of love, affirmation, and forgiveness from the person they will soon be parted from.

Finally, families should build some final memories in their last days together. Those approaching death should not be afraid to have fun and laugh with family members. If illness and age permit, traveling to see friends and family can spread a wider blessing in the final days. The process of dying should not be consumed with thoughts of death; after all, there is still life left between now and then. For the sake of blessing loved ones, make the most of it.

Excerpt modified from Finishing Well to the Glory of God.

February 25, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Death,Life / Doctrine,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Staff @ 6:00 am | 0 Comments »

“Church Planter” Named Among Outreach Magazine’s Resources of the Year

We are pleased to announce that Church Planter has been named one of Outreach Magazine’s Resources of the Year for Church Multiplication! Congratulations to Darrin Patrick!

To celebrate, we’d like to give away a couple copies. Let us know if you’re planting a church or have recently planted a church and where. Winners will be picked at random on Friday, February 25th. The contest is for US and Canada only.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to take a look at this book yet, you can download a sample chapter here.

[Contest closed on 2/25/11. Thanks for participating!]

February 24, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,News | Author: Angie Cheatham @ 12:14 pm | (17) Comments »

Answering End of Life Questions

Most people want to end their lives well. How exactly does one finish well? What does a “successful” end look like? John Dunlop, a physician of over thirty years, has come up with some strategies for a successful end of life answering questions and addressing fears that people may have along the journey.

  • Live Well- What purpose can my life have in old age? How can I build deeper friendships as I age? What things detract from finishing life well?
  • Let Go Graciously- How do I give up the things of this world? Does that mean I cannot enjoy God’s gifts? Is it okay to feel sad about letting go?
  • Grow through Adversity- Is it possible for suffering to accomplish good? Does our understanding of God impact our response to suffering? How should we respond when we hurt?
  • Complete Your Agenda- Can I have peace with myself when I die? What needs to be done to bring closure with loved ones? How can my family be stronger when I’m gone?
  • Rest in Jesus- What should we expect as death approaches? How do we handle death when its messy? What can loved ones do for the dying? Can we simply rest in Jesus?

Finding faith-based answers to these questions helps provide the spiritual and emotional preparation that the end-of-life requires. The approach of death does not have to be a painful, panicky battle against the inevitable. Rather, it can be a peaceful time of awaiting rest in the arms of a loving Savior.

Excerpts modified from Finishing Well.

| Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Death,Life / Doctrine,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Staff @ 8:46 am | 0 Comments »

Defending Your Beliefs

Scott Klusendorf recently spoke at a Students for Life of America conference. Klusendorf is the founder and president of Life Training Institute and is an expert on effectively communicating (and helping us to communicate) the pro-life message. Of course we highly recommend you pick up his book The Case for Life. But even if you don’t, please do check out the video below where he helps us answer the question: How do you engage (namely in the pro-life/pro-choice conversation happening around us)?

February 23, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Apologetics,Culture,Current Issues,Life / Doctrine,The Christian Life,Theology | Author: Angie Cheatham @ 6:00 am | (4) Comments »

Plan of Salvation

Our new ESV Economy Bible includes a couple of very practical articles for new believers and those interested in the Christian faith. Among them is a Plan of Salvation, an excerpt of which is published below.

From the first chapters of Genesis through the closing scenes in Revelation, the Bible is the book of God’s salvation. From start to finish, its one unifying theme is that of grace and forgiveness for sinners through God’s redeeming work in Jesus Christ. Whatever else you gain through the reading of the Bible, it would be tragic if you missed the heart of its message for you — God’s gracious provision of Jesus Christ as the atonement for sin.

In The Beginning

When God created the heavens and the earth, His work was perfect and pure. God looked upon all He had created and judged it to be “very good” (Genesis 1:31). He took great pleasure in what He made, and the culmination of His creation came with Adam and Eve. They were made in the very image of God, which made them capable of having fellowship with God and bringing glory to His name (Genesis 1:27).

In the Garden of Eden, however, through deception and disobedience adam and Eve sinned against God, causing a break in their relationship with Him. Sin is real, and sin is deadly. The guilt that resulted from their disobedience caused Adam and Eve to hide from God and to attempt to cover their personal shame. Because they had disobeyed God’s command, they were now flawed and shameful in God’s presence.

Adam deliberately chose a path of self-will and rebellion, which brought sin and death — including spiritual death — into the world. “. . . sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12) — the whole human race is affected by Adam’s sin.

To cover the shame and nakedness of adam and Eve, the lord made coats from an animal’s skin for them to wear (Genesis 3:21). God thus made the first sacrifice, and it followed the clear promise of a Redeemer when God pronounced these words of judgment upon the serpent, or Satan: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). This prophetic word speaks of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross of Calvary.

The Story of Redemption

So the story of redemption and sacrifice begins, and it is repeated throughout the Word of God, culminating in the coming of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf. We discover through the Bible that a personal relationship with God is not dependent on good works that we do, or on church membership, or even on living a highly moral life. Rather, God’s amazing grace is the fountain through which redemption flows to us.

Separated from God by sin and guilt, we all face two primary spiritual needs. First, we need to be restored to fellowship with God. We are truly guilty before God, and somehow we must find forgiveness. We must face the problem of our sin, and there is no answer to this need within ourselves. The only answer is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Second, we need power to change our lives.

You may download and read the entire article as an Adobe Acrobat PDF, or read it within the pages of the ESV Economy Bible.

February 22, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,ESV,News | Author: Crossway Staff @ 1:06 pm | (2) Comments »