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American Christian Connection
Week of March 27, 2017

6 ways to read the Bible for all it's worth
The Bible is God's gift to the Church. It contains everything we know about Jesus and it's the foundational document of the Christian faith. It tells of how God dealt with the people of Israel, and of how in Jesus that long history reaches its fulfilment. Christians everywhere are encouraged to read it, daily if possible, learn it and live by it. But at the same time, it's not an easy book. Some people just aren't great readers. There are parts of the Bible we just find difficult to understand. There are others that don't seem to have much to say to us and some we struggle with for different reasons. And this isn't surprising: it was written over perhaps a thousand years by many different people, all of whom lived in a world very different from our own. So how can we get the best out of it? Here are six ideas.

The Struggle Of Being A Young Christian
In a predominantly secular society, trying to hold on to biblical perspectives can be challenging. It’s harder when Christianity is something you’re discovering alone and you have questions. What to wear? What music can I listen to? Balancing your desperate need for Jesus and the pressure of adolescence is a like a full-time job.  This is my struggle; finding God and setting those boundaries. Christianity was always a negligible part of my life. I wasn’t raised in church yet I was taught ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. My mother and I would say this prayer together every night when I was around five or six. I think she was so persistent about this one prayer because it was a simple, universal prayer for a child being introduced to Christianity. I, on the other hand, thought church and praying were more like chores, rather than anything enjoyable. But when I was 13, my interest in God was incited by stories about the ‘scary’ book of Revelations. By the time I got to year 11 I finally joined a church. At first, it was hard to accept giving up my Sunday lie-ins to stand up for ages singing and listening to a Pastor. But it has proved to be beneficial to my spiritual growth.

Should the Church be political and partisan?
General election clouds are looming. It’s that time of the half-decade again. Since 2008, it’s been too hard to find Malaysian Christians still declaring (out loud) that the Church should have nothing to do with politics. The tide has shifted way too much for that. However, Christians remain generally confused about the “level of involvement” they should jump into when it comes to the socio-political arena. One common remark, thrown out every once in awhile, is that the church cannot be apolitical yet it must remain non-partisan. But how do we understand this? What does it mean to say that the Church (see Note 1) is a political institution yet should not be “partisan”? Does that even make sense? Here are four perspectives on the Christian community’s involvement with national politics, presented in a spectrum ranging from “Let’s not bother with politics” to “Politics and us are so connected it’s messed up.” If nothing else, I hope it shows us where Christians stand in the issue of spirituality vis-a-vis politics.

This Week's Thought

By Brad Campbell

Just a thought to help start your week. I have things that should be labeled.  Not just so that I know what and where they came from, but so my children will later, too.  You probably cannot read the label in this picture, but this is an old paper label glued to the bottom of a very old clothes iron that belonged to my wife’s grandmother.  On the label, she wrote, “This iron was used for 20 years,” and she signed her name.  She wanted someone later to know this information, and we are glad she did. What if we had labels?  What if someone had marked us to identify us for the next generation and given some indication of how and for how long we were useful? Well, as a Christian, we do have a label.  And it is the name of Christ.  We belong to Him.

What Does Denying Yourself Really Mean?

By Ryan Kelly

A powerful verse in Scripture is Mathew 16:24, “Anyone who wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me daily.” Jesus tells us how to follow Him and achieve everlasting life, but what does it really mean to deny ourselves? I have struggled with this throughout my life, and still feel the pull between self-sacrifice and enjoying the blessings that God has bestowed on me. On one hand, God tells us to enjoy the world that He has created and our relationship with Him. He has created a beautiful and majestic world just for us. On the other hand, as Christians we feel compelled to spread the gospel throughout the world and to work hard for our Savior. So which is it? The answer is both. 

Preparing Young People for a Lifetime of Faith

By John Stonestreet

If you care about the next generation, and especially have one of the next generation in your life, have I got a worthwhile, long-term investment for you. If you've listened to BreakPoint even just a few times, you know I can get pretty passionate about important issues facing the Church. And there are few things, if any at all, more critical to the Church right now than discipling the next generation to handle this crazy culture. And there are few organizations I'm more passionate about and more confident in than Summit Ministries, which trains teens and college-age students in Christian worldview, and provides them a solid biblical foundation for the world they will encounter. You've heard the stats before, and they're staggering: 

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