Halloween: Tips for Hosting a 'Fear-Not Party'

By Kim Wier & Pam McCune

The Fear-Not Halloween Party is just one creative way to help your elementary-aged children realize that our God is not the God of fear, and that no matter what comes, the "Lord will be [their] confidence."  It is a welcome message for those who belong to Christ – or for those who have never met Jesus Christ, making it a great outreach. Read more...

How Do We Know Which Old Testament Laws to Still Follow?

By Dr. Roger Barrier

Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at roger@preachitteachit.org. Read more...

5 Ways to Declare Your Life a Gossip-Free Zone

By Lisa Ross

There are few things I hate. However, snakes and gossip stand out as chief among the defiled and detestable. The two are synonymous, in my mind. Gossipers are indeed two-legged snakes: slimy, deliberate and out to inject you with venom. Experience has revealed that those who spend a lot of time talking viciously about other people, either have no other form of conversation, or get a significant rush when they criticize others. They often falsely think that by putting someone else down, they elevate themselves. Read more...

Pastors Face Jail Time, Fines for Refusing Gay Weddings

By Jim Denison

Now that same-sex marriage is legal in more states than ever, will pastors be forced to perform gay weddings? Supporters of "marriage equality" have assured us that will not happen. But now it has.
Donald and Evelyn Knapp are ordained Christian pastors who operate a wedding chapel in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. City officials say their non-discrimination ordinance requires the Knapps to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies. If they decline, they face up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines for each day they refuse. In other words, if they refuse a same-sex wedding ceremony for a week, they could go to jail for over three years and face $7,000 in fines. 
There was a day when the Church was considered central to the culture. Stores were closed on Sundays; church attendance was assumed. In the 60's, moral relativism led many to view the Bible as a diary and Christianity as just one spiritual option, relegating the church to the cultural sidelines. Now we are seen not just as irrelevant but as dangerous. Scriptural stands on moral issues such as marriage are castigated as bigoted and harmful.
How is our culture's dismissal of biblical truth working for us?
New York Times columnist Roger Cohen recently called our times "the great unraveling." From ISIS beheadings to Russian aggression to European unraveling to anti-Semitic hatred to American retreat, the world is a very different place than it was even 15 years ago. Meanwhile, animosity against Christianity is epidemic: the World Christian Encyclopedia estimates that more than 45 million believers were martyred during the 20th century. Recent studies put the number at between 160,000 and 171,000 per year, more than 400 per day who die for following Jesus.
I've seen a rise in antagonism against Christianity in my own work. A skeptic recently responded to one of my Tweets, "Why Twitter lets you post this [expletive deleted] is beyond me." Another replied, "Keep preying on the gullible." It's tempting to respond in kind. But there's a better way.
William Barclay was one of the best-known biblical scholars of the 20th century. In A Spiritual Autobiography, he tells of his 20-year-old daughter's death in a boating accident. An anonymous letter came to him: "Dear Dr. Barclay, I know now why God killed your daughter; it was to save her from being corrupted by your heresies." Barclay recounts: "If I had had that writer's address, I would have written back, not in anger—the inevitable blaze of anger was over in a flash—but in pity." And he would have pointed to the sorrow and grace in the heart of God.
More people are coming to Christ than ever before in Christian history. Movement Day in New York City is convening today, gathering thousands of Christians from around the world for prayer, worship, and collaboration. The Spirit is empowering similar movements around the world. Shouldn't we expect the enemy to figh Read more...

Missions & Motives

By Carrie Dedrick

Are you planning a mission trip? Mission trips can be incredible experiences, both for the Christians that go on them and for those that are reached through missions. But before you board your flight to a third world country, there are several questions you need to ask to make sure that this is the right opportunity for you. Read more...

29-Year-Old Brittany Maynard and 'Death with Dignity'

By Jim Denison

Brittany Maynard learned on New Year's Day that she had brain cancer.  She had been married for just over a year.  In April, she was given six months to live.
Facing weeks or months of suffering for herself and her family, she decided to move from California to Oregon, where she could choose euthanasia, an option supporters call "death with dignity."  She has filled a prescription she can take to end her life.  After her husband's birthday on October 26, unless her condition improves dramatically, she says "I will look to pass soon thereafter."
Brittany is now telling her story to advocate for euthanasia or "access for death with dignity" nationwide.  The resulting media coverage has sparked a significant discussion about death and life.  I have written a paper dealing with types of euthanasia, ways to choose it, medical issues, and Scripture.  For today, let's focus on biblical options.  Then we'll hear from someone who is dying but has found amazing courage in the love of Jesus.
Here's my theological position on this very difficult subject.  Humans are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:28; 9:6: 1 Corinthians 11:7; James 3:9).  So long as we have the ability or potential to relate to ourselves, others, our environment, and God, we retain this "image."  We should not choose medical approaches that are intended to cause or hasten death, believing that it is God who gives us life (Job 33:4), numbers our days (Job 14:5), and appoints our time to die (Hebrews 9:27).  However, we can choose to die naturally, and even choose medical treatments that enhance our quality of life while shortening it, so long as death is not our intention.
Now to someone who has far more right to speak on this issue than I do.  Kara Tippetts is dying of breast cancer that has metastasized.  She and her family had moved to Colorado Springs to plant a church when she was first diagnosed.  She tells her story in The Hardest Peace: Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life's Hard.  In a letter to Brittany Maynard, Kara writes, "Suffering is not the absence of goodness, it is not the absence of beauty, but perhaps it can be the place where true beauty can be known."
Kara notes that doctors who prescribe medications which cause death violate their Hippocratic oath to "first, do no harm."  She tells Brittany, "That last kiss, that last warm touch, that last breath, matters—but it was never intended for us to decide when that last breath is breathed."  In words that brought tears to my eyes when I read them, she testifies: "Knowing Jesus, knowing that He understands my hard goodbye, He walks with me in my dying.  My heart longs for you to know Him in your dying.  Because in His dying, He protected my living.  My living beyond this place" (her italics).
Brittany says, "When my suffering becomes too great, I can say to all those I love, 'I love you; come be by my side, and come say goodbye as I pass into whatever's next.'"  Kara wants Brittany to know "whatever's next" for those who trust in Jesus: "He overcame the death you and I are facing in our cancer.  He longs to know you, to shepherd you in your dying, and to give you life abundant—eternal life."
I'm praying for Brittany and Kara to be healed miraculously.  I'm praying for Kara's amazing ministry as she shares God's grace Read more...

Kicked Off Campus

By Ryan Duncan

Great changes are taking place in the halls of college education, and it’s uncertain if they are for the better. In a recent article for World Magazine, writer Josh Good examined how numerous Christian clubs are being derecognized by the state’s public university system for their instance on adhering to traditional, Biblical guidelines. These actions have been centered on one ideal: diversity. Diversity helps bring about new ideas, broaden horizons, and build understanding between students. But does the virtue of diversity trump all others?       Read more...

"David's Tent" Offers 24/7 Praise and Worship Outside White House for 50 Days

By Carrie Dedrick

Christians from all 50 states will gather in Washington D.C. throughout the next month as the third annual “David’s Tent” event stretches for 50 days of music and worship.  
David’s Tent is based off of the book of Chronicles when King David sent up a tent outside his palace to house the ark of the covenant. The event, held at the White House Ellipse began Sept. 15 and will conclude Nov. 4. Bands from across the country come to lead worship around the clock for 50 days.  
Jason Hershey founded the event in 2012. He said, "David's Tent is a love song to the heart of the Father, lasting 1,200 hours total this year. The issue at stake here is valuing Jesus as He should be valued—this is a 24/7 worship service for 50 days, simply because Jesus is worthy of it. David, even as a young shepherd boy, understood that God was the most important thing to his life!"
In addition to music, there is also prayer and scripture reading. 
"What we have introduced this year at David's Tent is Ezra's Platform, an area where people can come and read aloud from God's Word. Within our first 10 days, we proclaimed all the way through from Genesis to Revelation; now we're reading it again day and night, alongside songs of worship,” Hershey said. 
The organizers of the event obtained the proper licenses to hold event, which Hershey said is a miracle itself in today’s time of religious oppression.

What Do Americans Pray For?

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey

(RNS) When Americans aren’t busy praying for themselves or their own needs — and most of them are — many are seeking divine intervention on behalf of a favorite sports team or the golden ticket in the lottery, according to a new survey. Read more...

I Married the Wrong Person!

By Alex Crain

According to Scripture, Christians should never marry non-Christians. First Corinthians 7:39 is clear that we are “…free to be married to whom [we] wish, only in the Lord.” Read more...