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Hope for the Hurting This Christmas

Jesus was not born into a world where “all was calm and bright.” Christmas offers healing for our deepest wounds and hope for our greatest hurts.

Cultural Engagement Chapel: Experiencing the Christmas Story - Terri Moore, Darrell L. Bock, David K. Lowery, and Mikel Del Rosario

Mikel Del Rosario leads a conversation about the Christmas story with Drs. Terri Moore, David Lowery, and Darrell Bock, all professors of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary.

What the Piltdown Hoax Tells Us, 104 Years Later

Evolution News and Views (ENV) provides original reporting and analysis about the debate over intelligent design and evolution.

Chance the Rapper's Prayerful ‘SNL’ Performance: I Like When We Use Jesus’ Name on Network TV

This weekend, Chance the Rapper performed on Saturday Night Live, and during “Finish Line / Drown,” the hip-hop artist took the opportunity to wish Jesus a happy birthday. Rapper Noname joined him onstage for the prayerful performance. During a breakdown, when the choir sang “Jesus rescue me,” Chance even followed up with, “I like when you say His name on network TV like that.” You can see that song below (just a heads up, there is some somewhat strong language toward the beginning of the song).

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Top News
1
Christmas is Christmas Because Jesus is God | Cold Case Christianity

There are many important religious dates that commemorate the significant role that historic religious leaders have played (did you know, for example, that December 23 rd  is the birthday of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism?) But Jesus was more than an important leader and founder. He was more than a great thinker and teacher. Jesus taught His followers that He was God. That’s why Christmas is a celebration above and beyond other holy days celebrated by religious believers around the world.

2
Churches need to be better equipped to prevent suicide, says Christian charity - premier

A Christian counselling service has called on churches to make themselves better equipped at dealing with people at risk of committing suicide.

3
BreakPoint on Twitter

Constitutional freedoms and biological reality are under attack. And we—you and I—must take a stand. https://goo.gl/oVmU45  pic.twitter.com/4kMB4JiN0g

4 The Church Effect

This adds to a robust body of research correlating church attendance with better long-term outcomes. We can’t yet say that church keeps people alive and married, but we can put to rest the persistent myth—often spoken from pulpits—that Christians and non-Christians get divorced at the same rate. It’s not true if you consider those who actually attend services, instead of merely identifying as Christians.

5
Premier Christian on Twitter

"I would've struggled without my Bible on @bbcapprentice " // @samuelpboateng on #InspirationalBreakfast http://bit.ly/2hRNYH9  pic.twitter.com/7JT5O0pimy

6
Christian MLA bemoans public anger amid Foster scandal - premier

The leader of one of Northern Ireland's political parties, Christian Naomi Long, has told Premier the country's first minister must step aside for the good of the country.

7
The Hardest Spiritual Discipline Is the Most Important One

Memorizing a large section of Scripture can be incredibly meaningful. I have found it a comfort and delight to have Philippians “on call” at any moment. When someone asked, “What is that verse about Jesus emptying himself in service for others?” I knew the location and was able to provide the verse.

8
'I'll protect view of St Paul's', says London Mayor - premier

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has vowed to protect the view of St Paul's Cathedral from being obstructed by new skyscrapers.

9
Sometimes Your Questions Don't Need Answers to Change You

I began numbing myself to the disappointments and losses. I stopped asking and moved into auto-pilot mode, keeping busy, instead of being honest about the matters of my heart. But I began experiencing depression and anxiety for the first time. In this experience, I discovered we were never made to hide our questions, especially the ones we struggle with. It wasn't until I started asking myself the questions I long ago abandoned that I began to heal, come alive again and find my way back to intimacy with God.

10
Atheist wins bid to put up anti-Christmas banner by Nativity set - premier

An atheist has succeeded in his campaign to have a secular poster which states there is no God or angels, a few hundred metres away from a park Nativity set.

11
Bruce Springsteen: 'My childhood revolved around the Church' - premier

In his recently published memoir, Born to Run, Springsteen wrote about the strict discipline he received at a Catholic school and how it disenchanted him from his faith for many years.

12
Christian party refuses offer to be involved in Lebanese government - premier

A unity government has been formed in Lebanon ending weeks of deadlock but the main Christian party has refused an offer to take part.

13
Who's Ministering in Mosul? Persecuted Christians from Burma

DE: I was asked to come and help in February 2015 by a friend, Victor Marx of ATP ministries. I was on a relief mission in Burma, and he set me an email via a satellite link and asked us to come in seven days. But the Burma army was blocking us, and it [had taken] me three weeks walking to get where we were. We prayed, and the next day all the Burma army units moved. We walked 80 miles in three days, and then were able to get to a border, cross it, and get to Kurdistan in seven days—a miracle for us and a sign God wanted us there. Once in Kurdistan, I asked God what to do and felt he said, “Give up your own way and the FBR way, and come help these [Kurdish] people.” I have three prayers: that ISIS is stopped, people are freed, and the hearts of all enemies will change to love in Jesus’ name.

14
Lord, Deliver Me from Indifference

To us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6–7)

15
Perfect Peace for Imperfect Parents

Admitting our faults is not tantamount to admitting incompetence. In fact, the opposite is generally true. The more we are willing to own our mistakes and seek forgiveness, the more our children find us to be trustworthy authorities in their lives. They already know we’ve messed up; now they need to know that we can take responsibility. Plus, if we present ourselves as being without error, when our children know definitively that it isn’t true, then what will they think when we present God’s word as being without error?

16
Jediism is ruled not to be a religion - premier

Kenneth Dibble, the Chief Legal Advisor at the Charity Commission, said: "The law relating to what is and is not a charity evolves continuously and, as in this case, can be influenced by decisions in other areas. Our role is critical in interpreting and explaining the extent of what the law considers charitable".

17
RELEVANT on Twitter

This year we launched a new podcast exploring & ranking the best pop culture releases of 2016. Check it out! http://relm.ag/XiW84gZ  pic.twitter.com/E66bO5VLGM

18
Ashers to petition Supreme Court directly for gay cake case appeal - premier

Christian bakers found to have discriminated against a gay activist by refusing to bake him a cake which featured a pro-gay marriage slogan can now ask the highest court in the land to hear their case.

19
#NeverTrumpers in the Age of Trump

There are substantial concerns raised by the #NeverTrumpers, however, that are not dissolved by his victory. The honor of the presidency will go to a thrice-married man who participated in the morally dubious Trump University and who navigated the business world with sharp elbows and the occasional bankruptcy. It’s harder than ever to argue that upright personal character is critical to the office of president. More significant still is the challenge of reconciling a thoroughgoing Christian worldview with a program centered on economic nationalism and border control. Perhaps with the immediate threats of a major shift in the nature of the Supreme Court and an increasingly adverse federal bureaucracy now muted to some degree, it will be possible for conservative evangelicals, Roman Catholics, and others to reunite in such a way as to edify American political culture.

20
Christian charity blasts UK Government's 'appalling' Syria policy as 'naive' - premier

One of the UK's leading Christian charities has called the government's policy on Syria "appalling" and "naive to the point of being totally unrealistic" in an unprecedented criticism.

21
Prince Harry: 'Do good in your local church' - premier

"If you're me, if you're your Average Joe, whoever you are, if you can't affect politics and change the big things in the world then just do whatever you can do - whether it's in your local community, your village, your local church - walking down the street, opening a door for an old lady, helping them cross the road.

22
FREE Social Media Management Dashboard | Twitter/Facebook Marketing Tool | Commun.it

I started using Commun.it to be more efficient on the way I manage out Twitter communities. My favorite features? The prioritized feed to focus on the relevant members of the community - Orange

23
WORLD on Twitter

Fake news: the bigger culprits: Some media exaggerations and lies have serious consequences https://world.wng.org/2016/12/fake_news_the_bigger_culprits … @MarvinOlasky pic.twitter.com/e8eJu21vQU

24 The TC Apologetics Daily

The latest news and thoughts for the apologetic-minded Christian. by TC Apologetics

25
If God Is Both All-Good And All-Powerful, Why Did He Allow The Star Wars Prequels? | The Babylon Bee

But this presents an enormous problem for the theist. If God is all-good and all-loving, and he has the power to accomplish anything he wills, then why did he allow George Lucas to create the Star Wars prequels?

26
Jesus' Birth: How undesigned coincidences give evidence for the truth of the Gospel accounts

This verse seems extremely weird. After all, Joseph was a carpenter (well, a more accurate translation is probably “craftsman”) and yet despite Mark explicitly using that word for Jesus, as well as listing Mary and Jesus’ siblings, we still see nothing but silence regarding Jesus’ father. Well, of course! After all, when we turn to the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke, we find that Jesus was born of a virgin. Jesus had no human father. Thus, Mark, ever the concise master of words, simply omits Joseph from details about Jesus’ life. But to not mention Jesus’ father in a largely patriarchal society alongside his mother and siblings seems extremely strange. It is only explained by the fact of the virgin birth, with which Mark would have been familiar. However, Mark didn’t see the birth narrative as important in his “action Gospel.” Only by turning to Matthew and Luke do we find an explanation for the strange omission of Joseph from Mark’s Gospel.

27
What Happens when Churches Read Together

But over the last century or two, a number of sociopolitical developments have weakened our commitment to taking Scripture seriously. With the rise of the technological society—defined by increasing reliance on labor-saving devices—we are becoming averse to the slow and intensive work of studying God’s Word. With the dissolution of neighborhoods and other social groups, as Robert Putnam documented in his 2000 book Bowling Alone , we are losing the capacity to wrestle together with Scripture in our local churches. Evangelicals today also face a dire temptation to use Scripture as a tool to reinforce our political ideology, rather than a means to discern what faithfulness to Jesus looks like in the life of our local communities and beyond.

28
Instagram photo by J Warner Wallace • Dec 19, 2016 at 5:19pm UTC

29
What Does the X in Xmas Mean?

The idea of X as an abbreviation for the name of Christ came into use in our culture with no intent to show any disrespect for Jesus. The church has used the symbol of the fish historically because it is an acronym. Fish in Greek (ichthus) involved the use of the first letters for the Greek phrase “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.” So the early Christians would take the first letter of those words and put those letters together to spell the Greek word for fish. That’s how the symbol of the fish became the universal symbol of Christendom. There’s a long and sacred history of the use of X to symbolize the name of Christ, and from its origin, it has meant no disrespect.

30
Are You Bored with Christ at Christmas?

Perhaps we’re familiar with Jesus too. We never ran with him through the dusty streets of Nazareth, taught him in Sunday school, or paid him to repair a broken chair. But we grew up knowing him. We learned early that if we enthusiastically answered, “Jesus!” to every question in Sunday school, we’d be right almost every time. We cut our teeth on Veggie Tales, or (if we’re a little older) flannelgraph figures. We played with the nativity set every year. We know the words to all the main Christmas songs.

31
Is 'National Geographic' Guilty of Child Abuse?

Wouldn't it be far better to find out why this young boy, who is a biological and chromosomal male, is convinced that he is a girl, rather than put him on hormone blockers to stop the onset of puberty, then perform radical surgery on his genitalia before he is 20 (surgery that will still not allow him the full benefits of being a woman), then keep him on hormones for the rest of his life to stop his body from doing what it naturally wants to do? Is this a "hateful" question to ask?

32
No, Atheists and Skeptics: Christian Faith Is Not a Failed Epistemology - Thinking Christian

The other reason skeptics and atheists describe faith so wrongly is because they want to make it look bad. It’s a self-serving move on their part. I’m convinced this is the case for the more prominent atheist writers on “faith,” including Dawkins, Coyne, Harris, and Boghossian. They’ve found a way to make faith stupid by definition. They hammer on that definition, hoping to persuade people by mere loud repetition that their view on it carries more authority than Christians’ view — even though Christians are the ones with the intellectual heritage and experience to know.

33
Could God Have Pardoned Sin without Punishment? | Reasonable Faith

Hugo Grotius, a famed international jurist, defended penal substitution against Socinus’ criticisms but accepted the view that Christ’s substitutionary punishment was not necessary. God could have forgiven us without Christ’s bearing the punishment for our sins, but God chose penal substitution rather than pardon because of the overriding advantages of doing it that way. Appealing to the Church Fathers, Grotius argued that God had good reasons for not remitting our sins without punishing Christ, though He might have done so. God was unwilling to pass over so many and such heinous sins without testifying by some act how greatly displeased He is with sin. The act most suitable for this is punishment. Moreover, to neglect to punish sin altogether leads to a lower estimation of sin, whereas, on the other hand, the best means of preventing sin is the fear of punishment. Not only so, but in Christ’s voluntary self-sacrifice God declares in a marked way His great love for us. Thus, God in His most perfect wisdom chose that way of redemption by means of which He could manifest both His hatred of sin and His love of mankind.

34
Christ's Supremacy Before the Manger

By affirming its features and character, the writer of Hebrews shows that the Old Testament is the preparation for Christ, because he also knew that its theme was Jesus Christ. From Genesis 3:15 (the first allusion to Christ and the gospel) to Malachi 4:1–3 (a reference to Christ’s returning in judgment against the ungodly), the Lord Jesus is the subject all the way through the Old Testament. He’s the One pictured in the sacrifices and ceremonies detailed in the five books of Moses. He’s the great Prophet and King who’s promised time and again (Numbers 24:17; Deuteronomy 18:15, 18; Psalm 2:6; 24:7–10; 45:6; 89:27; Isaiah 9:7; 32:1; 42:1–2; 52:7; 61:1; Jeremiah 23:5; Daniel 7:14; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9).

35 .@Ichthus77 #Apologetics Daily

Daily Christian apologetics and news fresh to your desktop, courtesy Ichthus77.com. by Maryann Spikes

36
12/17/16

A must listen one hour interview with Tim Keller. What I really like about “Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical” is that it’s not a typical apologetics book that brings facts from the outside—facts from science, philosophy, and history—it does that but much more. “Making Sense of God” brings facts from the inside. It awakens the sense of transcendence most of us have latent in our intuitions and desires. Tim Keller identifies those transcendent desires—which are things we really can’t live without—as meaning, satisfaction, freedom, hope, justice (or a moral compass) and an identity grounded in something stable, something eternal. And he makes the case that only Christianity delivers those things.

37
Renewing Your Mind | Hail Mary? | Dec 19, 2016

Does Rome really teach that we should worship Mary, the mother of Jesus? Does Rome teach that she is God's mother? When is it proper for Protestants to hail Mary? In this message, Dr. Sproul considers these questions and explains why Protestants, as well as Roman Catholics, need to be involved in Mariology.

38
Editor’s Choice: The Best of 2016

This list reflects my choices as editorial director for our best resources from 2016. It’s not exhaustive, but it reflects our exhausting efforts in this drama-filled year to serve church leaders in shaping their life, doctrine, and teaching. As explained in  The Gospel Coalition’s foundation documents , we pray that God would work in and through us “to renew the contemporary church in the ancient gospel of Christ so that we truly speak and live for him in a way that clearly communicates to our age.” In that spirit I hope you’ll read, watch, listen, and share these cherished mementos from the last year.  

39
Why Kids Need a Biblical Worldview and Where to Start - Jonathan Morrow

I know life is crazy busy and some days its all about survival mode. And we need to apologize quickly when we blow it. But every little conversation or bedtime story in the context of a loving secure relationship with Mom and Dad makes an eternal impact. Here’s a place to start. I’ve created a pdf that has my top 5 biblical worldview resources for kids. Order one of these resources today, and start reading it together. You can do this!

40 Yes to Freedom, No to SOGI Laws

There’s another problem with this approach: it assumes the good graces of the champions of sexual identity rights—that they’ll embrace compromise now and in the future. And that, my friends, is alas, wishful thinking. Already we’ve seen legislators try to label churches as “places of public accommodation” (and therefore not protected from SOGI laws) if they have pot-luck dinners; we’ve seen them try to distinguish between Christians colleges that train people specifically for ministry as opposed to those Christian colleges that train people to be accountants or English teachers.

41
The Persistence of Christmas: A Conversation with Historian Gerry Bowler - AlbertMohler.com

Delivered daily to your inbox, this is one of the best ways to stay on top of current events from a Christian worldview perspective.

42
Why Millions Watched this Church Christmas Video

“We get comments all the time saying, ‘I’m not even religious, and this warmed my heart,’ and we love that,” said Wahlbrink, who plays Mary in the video. “The simple message of Christ, through the mouths of kids, is reaching people in a way we never expected.”

43
Why I Changed My Mind on Nativity Scenes

My point is that it’s not only non-Christians who trivialize Christmas. It’s us. The claims the Bible makes about the first Christmas are either fact or fiction, so they’re either awesome or offensive. They should move us to worship or to resistance. But so often Christians seem to be pursuing a pristine Christmas experience that more reflects the store-bought nativity scene than the costly and messy account of the Bible.

44
Instagram photo by MaryJo Sharp • Dec 19, 2016 at 4:31pm UTC

45 Roger Penrose and Cosmology

Famous Cosmologist Roger Penrose is known for the Conformal Cyclic Cosmology model. Dr. Craig defines it and interacts.

46 https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2016/12/19/the-new-york-times-plays-a-timely-visit-to-the-ancient-home-of-the-real-st-nicholas

47
God’s Fingerprints in Nature with Dr. Cynthia Cheung

God’s Fingerprints in Nature with Dr. Cynthia Cheung

48
Why Christians Need to Renew Their Commitment to Share the Gospel

But given the pressing issues of the world around us, I am convinced that Christians (and of course all apologists), need to make the Gospel the center of everything. In other words, proclaim it, share it, and please don’t be ashamed of it. Why do say this? If you haven’t noticed, the evidence for fallen humanity is all around us. Just turn on the news for an hour or so. Hence, the world hasn’t changed much since the days of Jesus.

49
Why It's Essential

Inerrancy is not a popular term in the world of biblical studies today. For many, it is viewed asananti-intellectual, fear-motivated invention of nineteenth-and twentieth-century American fundamentalists who were tryingto protect the Bible’s authority from the rising tide of Enlightenment rationalism. A.E. Harvey, in his recent book Is Scripture Still Holy? captures the modern academic sentiment quite well: “Inerrancy…is both theologically and philosophically indefensible and rightly rejected by the majority voice of a generation which has, in this respect, genuinely ‘come of age.’”

50
Berlin truck driver was refugee from Pakistan: report

German authorities began early Tuesday to sketch a politically explosive portrait of the man arrested in the Berlin Christmas-market attack.

51 Crossway on Twitter
52 Harvard Law Professor Examines the Evidence of Jesus' Resurrection
53 Contradictions: Root of All Evil?
54 The Definition That Will Not Die!
55 Frank Turek on Twitter
56 Kindle 4 Christ on Twitter
57 AP on religious liberty: Those bigots down in Mississippi are still up to no good
58 Why Evolutionary Ethics Fails to Account for Objective Morality
59 Did Darwin Promote Racism?
60 Crossway on Twitter
61 School Christmas Carols Banned in Santa’s Homeland
62 YEAR IN REVIEW: Sorry, But We Won't Rewrite the Bible for Gays and Lesbians
63 Nick Jones on Twitter
64 Say Hard Things
65 Verifiability Is A Christian Distinctive
66 5 Reasons You Should Get Apologetics Training
67 No, the Crackdown on Fake News Isn’t Censorship
68 Reaching the Next Generation
69 6. Can We Prove the Resurrection?
70 RELEVANT on Twitter
71 Every Idea Has Consequences
72 Christians Need to End the Stigma Around Mental Illness and Seasonal Depression
73 Love and Loss in Syria’s Refugee Crisis
74 The most pressing need.
75 Equipped Radio on Twitter
76 Pagan priest wins right to wear goat horns in license photo, saying they are ‘religious attire’
77 Christian Quotes on Twitter
78 Fun Islamic Facts 15: Scrubbing Muhammad's Semen Stains (David Wood)
79 "Most scientists are atheists!" A reply
80 Stand to Reason on Twitter
81 This What the 'Christmas' Display at a Florida Park Looks Like
82 Tonya Gerhart on Twitter
83 Obama Heads to Golf Course After Receiving Reports on Berlin Attack and Russian Ambassador Death
84 Getting American Religion: A Conversation with Former Newsweek Religion Editor Kenneth L. Woodward - AlbertMohler.com
85 WORLD on Twitter
86 Talbot Seminary on Twitter
87 When Church Discipline Goes Really Public
88 Christianity Today on Twitter
89 Worth Every Second
90 Fun Islamic Facts 15: Scrubbing Muhammad's Semen Stains (David Wood)
91 Obama’s hypocrisy on intelligence briefings
92 Dr. Michael L. Brown on Twitter
93 Atheism is the Burger King of Worldviews
94 Mutemath and 21 Pilots Are Collaborating on Mash-Up Project That Releases Tonight
95 Daily Deals - Hope's Reason