135: Suzanne Burden, Author of “Reclaiming Eve: The Identity and Calling of Women in the Kingdom of God”

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*Originally Posted at MissioAlliance.org

sbSuzanne is a graduate of Cornerstone University and Grace Theological Seminary and serves part-time as discipleship pastor at Three Rivers Wesleyan Church. She writes and speaks on living in the Kingdom of God as a joyful, right-now reality. Suzanne co-authored “Reclaiming Eve: The Identity and Calling of Women in the Kingdom of God”.

Inferior. Second-best. Marginalized. Every daughter of Eve faces an identity crisis at some time in her life. And many wonder where they fit in on a regular basis. Authors Suzanne Burden, Carla Sunberg and Jamie Wright set out to discover what the Bible says about every woman’s identity. What they uncovered is a scriptural blueprint for both women and men that sets them free to serve Christ together as full partners in building God’s kingdom. -From the Publisher

Find Suzanne at: suzanneburden.com


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134: Jessica Kelley, Author of “Lord Willing?: Wrestling with God’s Role in My Child’s Death”

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*Originally Posted at MissioAlliance.com

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Jessica Kelley is a writer, speaker, and survivor of child loss. She has a B.S. in Psychology, a M.S. in Counseling & Human Development, and experience as a School Counselor. Born and raised in the South, Jessica now lives with her husband and five-year-old daughter in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She survives the absurdly long winters by going to the gym, dreaming about the beach, and eating copious amounts of chocolate. You can find her processing her faith journey at JessicaKelley.com.

Lord Willing?: Wrestling with God’s Role in My Child’s Death

Does God’s perfect plan really include this?

When her young son was diagnosed with brain cancer, Jessica Kelley couldn’t stomach Christian clichés. God’s will? Divine design? The Lord’s perfect plan? In Lord Willing?, Kelley boldly tackles one of the most difficult questions of the Christian life: if God is all-powerful and all-loving, why do we suffer? For Kelley, this question takes an even more painful and personal turn: did God lack the power or the desire to spare her four-year-old son?

For those dissatisfied with easy answers to why evil and tragedy occur, Lord Willing? offers a refreshing, hopeful journey straight to the heart of God. Be prepared for something more beautiful, more pure, and more healing than you can dare to imagine. -From the Publisher


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Seminary Dropout 022: Philip Yancey

Episode 132: Jonathan Martin, Author of “How to Survive a Shipwreck: Help Is on the Way and Love Is Already Here”


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133: Lisa Sharon Harper on The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right

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*Originally Posted at MissioAlliance.org
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Lisa Sharon Harper is the chief church engagement officer at Sojourners, a nonprofit organization committed to putting Christian faith into action in the pursuit of social justice, peace, and environmental stewardship. She is the author of several books, including Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican…or Democrat and coauthor of Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith. Harper has been recognized by The Huffington Post as one of “50 Powerful Women Religious Leaders” and is considered one of the nation’s most influential voices on a faith-rooted approach to advocacy. Harper speaks extensively, nationally and internationally, and lives in Washington, D.C.

 

The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right

God once declared everything in the world “very good.”
Can you imagine it?
 
A Vision of Hope for a Broken World
 
Shalom is what God declared. Shalom is what the Kingdom of God looks like.
Shalom is when all people have enough.
It’s when families are healed.
It’s when churches, schools, and public policies protect human dignity.
Shalom is when the image of God is recognized in every single human.
Shalom is our calling as followers of Jesus’s gospel. It is the vision God set forth in the Garden and the restoration God desires for every relationship.

What can we do to bring shalom to our nations, our communities, and our souls? Through a careful exploration of biblical text, particularly the first three chapters of Genesis, Lisa Sharon Harper shows us what “very good” can look like today, even after the Fall.

Because despite our anxious minds, despite division and threats of violence, God’s vision remains: Wholeness for a hurting world. Peace for a fearful soul. Shalom.


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Seminary Dropout 128: Soong-Chan Rah, on Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times

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Episode 132: Jonathan Martin, Author of “How to Survive a Shipwreck: Help Is on the Way and Love Is Already Here”

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*Originally Posted at MissioAlliance.org

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Jonathan Martin is a writer, speaker, and dreamer currently living in Tulsa, OK, where he serves as Teaching Pastor at Sanctuary Church. He holds degrees from Gardner-Webb University, The Pentecostal Theological Seminary, and Duke Divinity School. He is the author of Prototype: What Happens When You Discover You’re More Like Jesus Than You Think? He is a product of the “Christ-haunted landscape” of the American South, sweaty revivals, and hip-hop. . He loves to talk about the beauty of God, what an extraordinary thing it is to be called God’s beloved, and finding new ways to be human. His new book is called “How to Survive a Shipwreck: Help Is on the Way and Love Is Already Here”

How to Survive a Shipwreck: Help Is on the Way and Love Is Already Here

Life is turbulent. On that, we can all agree. Disappointed dreams, broken relationships, identity crises, vocational hang-ups, wounds from the past—there are so many ways life can send us crashing up against the rocks.

In this deeply personal book, Jonathan Martin draws from his own stories of failure and loss to find the love that can only be discovered on the bottom. How to Survive a Shipwreck is an invitation to trust the goodness of God and the resilience of your soul. Jonathan’s clarion call is this: No matter how hard you’ve fallen, no matter how much you’ve been hurt, help is on the way—just when you need it most.

With visionary artistry and pastoral wisdom, Jonathan Martin reveals what we’ll need to make it through those uncharted waters, how we can use these defining experiences to live out of our depths, and why it will then become impossible to go back to the half-life we once lived. -From the Publisher


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Seminary Dropout 131: Brian Zahnd Author of “Water to Wine: Some of My Story”


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Seminary Dropout 131: Brian Zahnd Author of “Water to Wine: Some of My Story”

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*Originally Posted at MissioAlliance.org

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Brian Zahnd is the founder and lead pastor, of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri. He is a passionate reader of theology and philosophy, an avid hiker and mountain climber, and authority on all things Bob Dylan. He and his wife, Peri, have three adult sons and five grandchildren. He is the author of several other books, including Unconditional?, Beauty Will Save the World, and A Farewell To Mars. Follow his blog at www.brianzahnd.com.


Water to Wine: Some of My Story

Why would the pastor of a large and successful church risk everything in a quest to find a richer, deeper, fuller Christianity? In Water To Wine Brian Zahnd tells his story of disenchantment with pop Christianity and his search for a more substantive faith.

“I was halfway to ninety—midway through life—and I had reached a full-blown crisis. Call it garden variety mid-life crisis if you want, but it was something more. You might say it was a theological crisis, though that makes it sound too cerebral. The unease I felt came from a deeper place than a mental file labeled “theology.” I was wrestling with the uneasy feeling that the faith I had built my life around was somehow deficient. Not wrong, but lacking. It seemed watery, weak. In my most honest moments I couldn’t help but notice that the faith I knew seemed to lack the kind of robust authenticity that made Jesus so fascinating. And I had always been utterly fascinated by Jesus. What I knew was that the Jesus I believed in warranted a better Christianity than what I was familiar with. I was in Cana and the wine had run out. I needed Jesus to perform a miracle.” –Water To Wine


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Seminary Dropout 130: Makoto Fujimura, Author of Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering

Discussing Shusaku Endo's novel Silence and it's impact on his Christianity

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*Published Originally at MissioAlliance.org

mfMakoto Fujimura is an internationally renowned artist, writer and speaker who serves as the director of Fuller Theological Seminary’s Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts. He is also the founder of the International Arts Movement and served as a presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts from 2003 to 2009. His books include Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art and Culture and Culture Care. Recognized worldwide as a cultural shaper, Fujimura’s work has been exhibited at galleries including Dillon Gallery in New York, Sato Museum in Tokyo, The Contemporary Museum of Tokyo, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts Museum, Bentley Gallery in Arizona, Taikoo Place in Hong Kong and Vienna’s Belvedere Museum. In 2011 the Fujimura Institute was established and launched the Qu4rtets, a collaboration between Fujimura, painter Bruce Herman, Duke theologian/pianist Jeremy Begbie and Yale composer Christopher Theofanidis, based on T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. A popular speaker, Fujimura has lectured at numerous conferences, universities and museums, including the Aspen Institute, Yale and Princeton Universities, Sato Museum and the Phoenix Art Museum. Among many awards and recognitions, Bucknell University honored him with the Outstanding Alumni Award in 2012, and the American Academy of Religion named him as its 2014 Religion and the Arts award recipient. He has received honorary doctorates from Belhaven University, Biola University, Cairn University and Roanoke College.
Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering

Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence, first published in 1966, endures as one of the greatest works of twentieth-century Japanese literature. Its narrative of the persecution of Christians in seventeenth-century Japan raises uncomfortable questions about God and the ambiguity of faith in the midst of suffering and hostility. Endo’s Silence took internationally renowned visual artist Makoto Fujimura on a pilgrimage of grappling with the nature of art, the significance of pain and his own cultural heritage. His artistic faith journey overlaps with Endo’s as he uncovers deep layers of meaning in Japanese history and literature, expressed in art both past and present. He finds connections to how faith is lived in contemporary contexts of trauma and glimpses of how the gospel is conveyed in Christ-hidden cultures. In this world of pain and suffering, God often seems silent. Fujimura’s reflections show that light is yet present in darkness, and that silence speaks with hidden beauty and truth. -From the Publisher


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Seminary Dropout 128: Soong-Chan Rah, on Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times

Seminary Dropout 112: Sara Groves on Depression, and Her New Album FLOODPLAIN


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Seminary Dropout 129: Christine Caine on Shame, Immigration, and Freedom

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*Originally Posted at MissioAlliance.org

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Christine Caine is a recognized teacher, preacher, author, and activist. As a founder of The A21 Campaign, Christine leads one of the largest non-profit organizations in the world dedicated to rescuing victims of human trafficking in  twelve countries. Additionally, through her personal ministry, Christine shares messages of hope, encouragement, and freedom in churches across the globe and frequently addresses leaders of some of the world’s largest organizations. Christine and her husband, Nick, spend their time in both Sydney, Australia, and the United States, and they adore their daughters Catie and Sophie.

 Unashamed: Drop the Baggage, Pick up Your Freedom, Fulfill Your Destiny

Shame can take on many forms. It hides in the shadows of the most successful, confident and high-achieving woman who struggles with balancing her work and children, as well as in the heart of the broken, abused and downtrodden woman who has been told that she will never amount to anything. Shame hides in plain sight and can hold us back in ways we do not realize. But Christine Caine wants readers to know something: we can all be free.

“I know. I’ve been there,” writes Christine. “I was schooled in shame. It has been my constant companion from my very earliest memories. I see shame everywhere I look in the world, including in the church. It creeps from heart to heart, growing in shadowy places, feeding on itself so that those struggling with it are too shamed to seek help from shame itself.”

In Unashamed, Christine reveals the often-hidden consequences of shame—in her own life and the lives of so many Christian women—and invites you to join her in moving from a shame-filled to a shame-free life.

In her passionate and candid style, Christine leads you into God’s Word where you will see for yourself how to believe that God is bigger than your mistakes, your inadequacies, your past, and your limitations. He is not only more powerful than anything you’ve done but also stronger than anything ever done to you. You can deal with your yesterday today, so that you can move on to what God has in store for you tomorrow—a powerful purpose and destiny he wants you to fulfill.

Join the journey. Lay ahold of the power of Jesus Christ today and step into the future—his future for you—a beautiful, full, life-giving future, where you can even become a shame-lifter to others. Live unashamed! –From the Publisher


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Seminary Dropout 128: Soong-Chan Rah, on Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times

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*Published originally at MissioAlliance.orgscr

Soong-Chan Rah is the Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. He is the author of The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity and Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church, as well as coauthor of Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith and contributing author for Growing Healthy Asian American Churches. In addition to serving as founding senior pastor of the multiethnic, urban ministry-focused Cambridge Community Fellowship Church (CCFC), Rah has been a part of four different church-planting efforts and served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Boston. He is a founding member of the Boston Fellowship of Asian-American Ministers. An experienced cross cultural preacher and conference speaker, Rah has addressed thousands around the country at gathering like the 2003 Urbana Student Missions Conference, 2006 Congress on Urban Ministry, 2007 Urban Youth Workers Institute Conference, 2008 CCDA National Conference, 2010 Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS) National Preaching Conference and the 2011 Disciples of Christ General Assembly. He and his wife Sue have two children and live in Chicago.

When Soong-Chan Rah planted an urban church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, his first full sermon series was a six-week exposition of the book of Lamentations. Preaching on an obscure, depressing Old Testament book was probably not the most seeker-sensitive way to launch a church. But it shaped their community with a radically countercultural perspective. The American church avoids lament. But lament is a missing, essential component of Christian faith. Lament recognizes struggles and suffering, that the world is not as it ought to be. Lament challenges the status quo and cries out for justice against existing injustices. Soong-Chan Rah’s prophetic exposition of the book of Lamentations provides a biblical and theological lens for examining the church’s relationship with a suffering world. It critiques our success-centered triumphalism and calls us to repent of our hubris. And it opens up new ways to encounter the other. Hear the prophet’s lament as the necessary corrective for Christianity’s future. A Resonate exposition of the book of Lamentations. –From the Publisher


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Seminary Dropout 127: Rethinking Hell with Chris Date & Graham Ware

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*Originally posted at MissioAlliance.org

Graham and Chris

Graham Ware is currently Pastor of Centre Street Baptist Church in St. Thomas, Ontario. He holds a BA in History, minoring in Biblical Studies from Atlantic Baptist University (now Crandall University) and an M.Div. from McMaster Divinity College. His blog and sermon podcast can be found on the church’s website and he can be found on Twitter (@deo_favente1). His other passions include football (actual football, not the American version) supporting Chelsea FC, as well as reading, coffee, craft beer, and being a husband and dad to three daughters.

Chris Date is the host of the Theopologetics podcast and co-editor ofRethinking Hell: Readings in Evangelical Conditionalism (Cascade, 2014) and A Consuming Passion (Pickwick, 2015). A software engineer by trade, he believes theology and apologetics are for every average Joe in the pews, and not just for pastors, philosophers, PhD’s and the erudite in ivory towers. Formerly a traditionalist, he became convinced of the biblical view of final punishment over the course of a process which began when he interviewed Edward Fudge, and he has since defended the view in several debates and on Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable? radio program on Premier Christian Radio UK. Chris is also a steward of the Rethinking Hell project.

 

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Rethinking Hell explores a perspective on Hell called ‘Evangelical Conditionalism,’ which refers to Conditional Immortality/Annihilationism in forms compatible with Evangelicalism.

 


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More Than “If you were to die tonight, do you know if you would go to Heaven or Hell?”


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Seminary Dropout 126: Nijay Gupta on Bridging the Gap Between Seminary and the Church Pew

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Nijay K. Gupta (Ph.D, University of Durham) serves as Assistant Professor of New Testament at George Fox Evangelical Seminary. He is the author of several articles and books including a commentary on Colossians (Smyth & Helwys, 2013). You can learn more about Dr. Gupta at his personal blog www.cruxsolablog.com.

In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, the reader is introduced to a supreme Christ who created earth and vanquished the power of death. However, this same Christ chose to bear the shame of death on a Roman cross in order to bring restoration and reconciliation to humans and all of creation affected by the chaos caused by sin. The enduring message of Colossians is uniquely challenging and instructive precisely because it testifies to the church’s cruciform life in obedience to this crucified cosmic Lord, Jesus Christ. -From the Publisher


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