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What Would Jesus Do?

Teaching Letter

Is the Seeker-Sensitive Church a Contemporary Concept?

{image_2}In recent years we have often heard about churches that have embraced a style that is friendlier for the uninitiated visitor. Called seeker-sensitive, the churches employing this model phased out certain worship styles or messages which could be offensive to the hearers, particularly those of the younger generations. Depending on the church, the changes could be merely cosmetic or deeper involving avoidance of church doctrines that might be offensive. Sin, judgment and holiness became off-limits subjects in many churches. Crosses were removed from the walls of some churches.

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Sinai Speaks

{image_2}Equipping Christians to clearly understand the biblical/Hebraic roots of our faith is an essential goal of Bridges for Peace. We seek to accomplish this in a variety of ways. Our monthly Teaching Letters and other printed material, presentations by BFP representatives to local church groups or other meetings, and one-on-one conversations are all avenues to increase this understanding. This month we’d like to introduce you to a new tool that has just become available: Sinai Speaks, a devotional book written by Dr. Jim Solberg, the BFP US National Director. The potential this book has to deepen our understanding of the Hebraic foundations of our Christian faith is exciting.

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Voice of the Shofar

{image_2}In an article by Jewish writer Sara Debbie Gutfreund, she describes losing her son in an Israeli amusement park one day and the ensuing, frantic search for him. She called again and again but there was no response. When she finally found him, the toddler was completely unaware that he was lost. He was happily playing with a new-found friend and didn’t realize the danger of wandering away.

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Covenant of Love—A Look at Romans 1:16

{image_1}One of the most enigmatic verses in all of Scripture appears in the Newer Testament as the Apostle Paul is writing to the fledgling church in Rome. In the book by that same name, Romans 1:16, he says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Messiah, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

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Reconciliation

The Church’s ongoing journey from anti-Semitism to a love for Israel—our Hebraic roots revealed.  

In 1945, the world was stunned to learn the extent of the murderous actions of the Nazis against their enemies, and in particular the killing of six million Jewish people. The fact that they justified their actions by referring to the writings of well-known Christian leaders, including the great reformer, {image_3}Martin Luther, was shocking. Many sincere Christians began asking questions about long-held theological stances which had deeply impacted the Jewish people in an overwhelmingly negative fashion. In the ensuing years, many individuals and denominations subsequently repented of anti-Semitism.

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The Quiet in the Quake

In the early 70s, my architect father was designing a school in a remote northern community. He occasionally had to go and inspect how the builders were progressing with its construction. {image_2}The only way to get to this community was by floatplane during the summer and fall, or by ice road in the winter. During ice-out in the spring, the community was inaccessible.

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Living Patiently in an Impatient World

For nearly 20 years, my husband and I were in full time Christian service in America. Our home became the center of our work and was a hub of activity 24 hours a day.{image_2} From infants to the retired, single moms to hurting families, we ministered the love of the Lord to all who came to us for help. We often had 20 people or more around our dinner table, many of whom lived with us for varying periods of time. One young woman with her two-year-old son became an integral part of our ministry and they lived with us for 11 years. With children around my feet and a phone to my ear, I wrote training and teaching materials for our staff while I counseled pregnant teens and led Bible studies. And through it all, I was known for my patience. Even-tempered and filled with the joy of the Lord, it was very hard to “ruffle my feathers.”

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Psalms of Ascent

During the recent days of the Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, a Bridges for Peace volunteer in Israel was able to share Psalm 121 with a woman at the grocery store who was afraid. {image_2}The lady was then so encouraged by the message, she recited the chapter loudly for everyone around her to hear. She said, “I know that it was for me that I met you. I needed this so much!”

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Judgment on the Nations?

When I travel, I am frequently asked about God’s judgment on the nations. Recently, as I was traveling in the United States, it seemed to me that many Christians believe that God is currently judging the US. {image_2}The Harbinger, a bestselling book by Jonathan Cahn, warns Americans that judgment is imminent and can only be halted by deep repentance. It has been on the New York Times Paperback Trade Fiction best sellers list for a record length of time for a Christian book (64 weeks as of this writing). Many Americans are also re-reading The Vision, written by David Wilkerson in 1973, which warned of God’s judgment on the United States. In other nations, Christians are also looking at world conditions and asking if or when God will judge their nation?

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The Human Side of the Conflict

Mark Twain said, “If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed.” This is so true for the most complex societal issue of our time, commonly called {image_2}“The Israeli–Palestinian Conflict.” We are bombarded daily with phrases like cycle of violence, occupation, two-state solution, Palestinian refugees, illegal settlements, roadblocks to peace, Palestinian territory, and apartheid wall in the mainstream news media. Without an informed context in which to interpret these terms, the average news recipient remains woefully ill informed and swayed toward an international media bias against Israel. 

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