The Parting Gift – new short outreach film for Android and Apple smartphones/tablets

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A Simple Tool For Sharing Your Faith In A Powerful Way!

  • A 6 minute short film embedded within a guided explanation of the gospel.
  • Works without the Internet and tracks your progress with helpful statistics.
  • Free training resources available now at wondergatefilms.com, easily equip yourself, your friends, or your church to share the gospel today!
Download the app for free. Search: “The Parting Gift” on the Apple App Store and Google Play store. Works on iPhone, iPad as well as Android phones and tablets.

Find out more at:www.wondergatefilms.com

My name is Chris Bailey and I work at Campus Crusade for Christ Australia’s new film making initiative Wonder Gate Films. Our goal is to make films that illustrate Christ in a way that connects with anyone, no matter what they believe.

I’m very excited to be launching The Parting Gift this year. The film was a huge undertaking and took one year to put together! We filmed entirely on a green screen soundstage, and then worked for five months to create the computer generated sets and props needed to complete the image. It was a highly involved process that has yielded a fantastic result!

The film is embedded inside of a mobile app for phones and tablets that helps you share the gospel with people one on one. Its becoming a great tool for our missionaries and student leaders here in Australia.

Please check it out and see what you think! Why not use it in your ministry? Contact me at www.wondergatefilms.com and let me know if I can help in any way to equip your team or congregation with this tool!

– Christopher Bailey, writer and director of “The Parting Gift”

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The Tower Experience

I saw the whole

I meditated night and day on those words until at last, by the mercy of God, I paid attention to their context: “The justice of God is revealed in it, as it is written: ‘The just person lives by faith.'” I began to understand that in this verse the justice of God is that by which the just person lives by a gift of God, that is by faith. I began to understand that this verse means that the justice of God is revealed through the Gospel, but it is a passive justice, i.e. that by which the merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written: “The just person lives by faith.” All at once I felt that I had been born again and entered into paradise itself through open gates. Immediately I saw the whole of Scripture in a different light. I ran through the Scriptures from memory and found that other terms had analogous meanings, e.g., the work of God, that is, what God works in us; the power of God, by which he makes us powerful; the wisdom of God, by which he makes us wise; the strength of God, the salvation of God, the glory of God.

Martin Luther, an excerpt from the Preface to the Complete Edition of Luther’s Latin Works (1545), his explanation of his ‘discovery’ of justification by grace through faith (this is referred ot as his “Tower Experience”).

Is This What We Are Going to Do? Really?

 

From what I see on social media I am very concerned about conservative Christians. Why? Well, if it is the case that what people post on social media is indicative of what they are feeling and thinking, my friends at least have gone over the edge. Obamacare, SCOTUS and the Iran Deal have taken their toll.

I am also concerned about my social media friends who embrace the progressive view. They perhaps have forgotten reading Animal Farm and Brave New World.

What was true for a few is becoming normal. I realized yesterday that I can no longer post anything to do with politics without collecting comments that are so unpleasant that I, and the ministries I work, with cannot help but be sullied.

So, what should I and people who are experiencing the same thing do?  Stop expressing opinions about politics completely? Perhaps. But I would not want to go there. That’s very much like the argument, “That’s letting the terrorists win.”

Of course, we are not talking about terrorists, but the Lizard People.

The Lizard People? Yes, The Lizard People. I was taught about The Lizard when I studied Family Systems. The major thing to know here is stress does something to families and family systems. This includes any grouping of people and churches, which is why I needed to learn it. What does stress do? Well, initially, it makes us stupid. Not everyone. Some people perform well under stress. They can ride it to victory. But too much stress makes any individual reactive. You all know this, and you are also familiar with the term “Fight or Flight.”

Many conservative Christians are choosing to fight it out on social media. Bad move. When the limbic system is in charge and we happen to be on social media, we might very well decide to straighten people out. This is a bad move because that is not what it is for. It’s called “social media” after all. Lizard People are doing what marketing people call “damaging the brand.”

Christians in America today do not need this. Sure, it is nothing new. Hollywood in general has been stereotyping us as mean-spirited hypocrites for quite a while. However, it seems we don’t need Hollywood to do that for us anymore. Why? Because we have Facebook. Judging from my timeline we are not only mean-spirited, we are also foul-mouthed and completely disrespectful of anyone who does not agree with us.

Drop the pundit routine. You are not a politician! I want to bring in an expert here to show you what I mean:

For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. (Mark 7:21-22 ESV)

Yeah. Pretty much nails it. Foolishness. Epidemic rates of foolishness. Conservatives and liberals alike, no one is going to take your opinions – much less your hard-won principles – seriously if you are always on the attack.

Isn’t it rich? Aren’t we a pair? Liberals and conservatives. Send in the clowns? They’re already here.

It really isn’t that hard. One only needs to sober up. Getting drunk on ideology many seem quite intoxicating, but in the end it ends up in addiction and believe it or not the analogy works. One can end up losing their job and family members.

Law and Gospel works for me. If Jesus places slander and foolishness in the same list as sexual immorality and adultery, that gets my attention.

For some reason I keep forgetting that foolishness is a sin. Perhaps I am so prone to it that it is a blind spot!

Maybe we all do. Maybe if we really feel called on to point out error and wrong-doing on social media, we should study our Bible first.

I am certainly not saying that one should not point out error. When we study Scripture we learn that we are to admonish fellow believers as well as build them up. But on Facebook? Really? In an epithet-laced ad hominem? Really?

If one really wants to be effective, try the essay form of writing. Sitting down and trying to collect one’s thoughts while reflecting on some key teachings that guide the way you have learned to live, somehow is much better than firing a salvo from the top of your head. In a time of great foolishness there’s a lot of stuff flying and we are getting hit in the face with it. We need good writers right now.

Why? We are perhaps at the tipping point. I am not one who thinks it is wise to predict the future, but as one who spends a lot of time online managing social media for ministries, I do see trends. One is Christians asking other Christians to be more careful in how they express their beliefs online. Yes, sort of like I am doing here.

Am I evolving? Perhaps, but maybe it is more accurate perhaps to say I am learning from Jesus. The gentle-as-doves and wise-as-serpents, live-by-the-sword, count-the-cost-before-going-to-war Jesus was not entirely a pacifist, and neither did He censor His disciples, but he taught a different way and the Holy Spirit urges us on in a different manner than the worldly one from pundits and news outlets.

So I would want us all to realize that people who are important to us are watching us and listening to us these days. Train up a child in the way he or she should go. Bequeath wisdom, not bitterness. We are in this for the long haul and we need the younger generation. If we become an embarrassment to them, and this is exactly what some forces are attempting, we certainly will diminish. Worse, the younger generation will fall away from the faith completely. Of course, it is not just the younger generation that will drop out, but all who do not want the grief of being part of the marginalized.

Now, more than ever, we shall endeavor to keep our eyes on Jesus. Our good Lord does know exactly what we are going through and He knows where it will end. Rest in Him when anxiety comes. Really.

-Rev. Eric Jonas Swensson

 

Blessed

blessed in the beloved

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

(Ephesians 1:3-14 ESV)

David’s Song of Thanks

 

Peachy

 

Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
Seek the LORD and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles and the judgments he uttered,
O offspring of Israel his servant,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones!

(1 Chronicles 16:8-13 ESV)