Five babies die in Maricopa County as congenital syphilis rate skyrockets

Thirty babies in Maricopa County were born with congenital syphilis last year and five died, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health said.

      

 

 

Coast Guard officer accused of plotting terrorist attack graduated from high school in Arizona

A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant suspected of plotting to kill politicians and journalists as part of a terrorist attack appears to have Arizona ties.

      

 

 

State Route 89A reopened south of Flagstaff after storm

The road was closed earlier between milepost 387 and 398, around the Oak Creek Canyon switchbacks.

      

 

 

Grijalva unveils new attempt to ban uranium mining permanently near the Grand Canyon

The attempt to permanently ban uranium mining on 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon is likely to win greater support in the House this time.

      

 

 

Did George Whitefield Serve Two Masters?

A new biography helps us come to terms with the unsavory side of the great revivalist’s mission to America.

On the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, there sits a statue of one of the school’s co-founders: George Whitefield, the 18th-century British evangelist and hero of the Great Awakening. Underneath it, one finds a quote from Benjamin Franklin, the school’s other co-founder (and Whitefield’s longtime friend): “I knew him intimately upwards of thirty years. His integrity, disinterestedness and indefatigable zeal in prosecuting every good work I have never seen equaled and shall never see equaled.”

Peter Choi’s biography, George Whitefield: Evangelist for God and Empire, explores various ways that Whitefield’s zeal for good works not only put him on a pedestal but also entangled him in a war against Catholicism and the promotion of race-based slavery. By exposing less-than-uplifting facts about Whitefield, the book illuminates unhealthy aspects of 18th-century evangelicalism’s intimate relationship with the British Empire.

Choi, who is a pastor of spiritual theology at City Church, San Francisco, and director of academic programs at the Newbigin House of Studies, is not out to undermine Whitefield’s reputation for piety or drag his work as a revivalist down into mere politics. Instead, Choi offers a revealing case study of evangelicalism’s “entanglement” with its host culture. The book is a good example of the maturity of evangelicalism’s scholarship about itself. Although some prefer to emphasize the heavenly side of evangelicalism’s history, the truth is, as Jesus taught in the parable of the wheat and the tares, the heavenly and earthly grow together until the final harvest.

Encounters and Entanglements

Anglo-American evangelicalism was …

Continue reading…

Q&A with Dave and Ann Wilson About Vertical Marriage

“Only when we “go vertical” and connect in a relationship with God through Jesus will we find the true joy that we are looking for.”

Ed: On your 10-year wedding anniversary, you two felt very differently about your marriage. Dave, you thought your relationship couldn’t get any better, and Ann, you were hanging on for dear life and told Dave you had lost your feelings for him. Can you share a little bit about that night and how it changed your relationship?

Dave: Our 10-year anniversary was a chance to celebrate our love and life away from the kids and the pressures of ministry. I was crazy busy trying to start our new church, as well as leading the Detroit Lions ministry as the team chaplain. I was never home. Ann was leading the home all by herself and overwhelmed with raising two very busy toddlers.

When she told me that she had lost her feelings for me, I knew that I had to find out why and how. As she shared her heart about moving from bitterness to numbness, I felt a strong nudge—probably more like a shove—from the Holy Spirit, that said, “Shut up and listen.”

Ed: Dave, what made you respond with prayer rather than reaching for your planner to persuade Ann that she was wrong?

Dave: I actually was about to pull out my daily planner to prove that I was home more than Ann thought when I sensed God saying to zip my lip and just let her talk. As I listened, I heard God say one more thing: “Repent.”

I knew that God was revealing to me that my relationship with Jesus had become lukewarm. I was so busy doing ministry for God that I had left God behind. God was saying that our horizontal marriage would never be what we wanted it to be unless I put Jesus back in first place.

So I got on my knees right there in the front seat of our Honda Accord and put Jesus back in control of my life. Ann did the same, and it was the start …

Continue reading…

Arizona storm updates: State boosts resources to help impacted areas

Arizona weather: The major winter storm that moved through Arizona on Thursday was still dropping snow up north and rain in the Phoenix area Friday.

      

 

 

Winter's wallop: Snow, rain leave their mark, but next week will bring a different story

On Friday, record-setting snowfall totals in Arizona’s high country and the Valley’s northern fringes still were creating a buzz.

      

 

 

How to Jump Back In to Bible Reading

Christian leaders have their own reasons for not reading Scripture.

It’s worth remembering that Augustine was “weeping, with agonizing anguish in [his] heart” over his inability to control himself before he read Romans 13:13–14.

We tend to think that Scripture usually works the other direction. We read seeking instruction, wisdom, or intimacy and then read a challenging word like Paul’s that prompts contrition: “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” We’re convicted by Scripture, then we repent.

But in Augustine’s archetypal testimony, Confessions, that’s not what happened. First he was in anguish, then he heard a child chanting, “Pick it up! Read it! Pick it up! Read it!” He wrote (in Sarah Ruden’s 2017 translation) that when he obeyed the voice and read Paul’s words, “I didn’t want to read further, and there was no need. The instant I finished this sentence, my heart was virtually flooded with a light of relief and certitude, and all the darkness of my hesitation scattered away.” His response was not to wallow or to regret how long it took him to repent. Instead, he immediately and joyfully told his friend Alypius and his mother what had happened.

Many times the Holy Spirit really does use Scripture to illuminate our sin and to make us deeply uncomfortable. It is, after all, “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). And “no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful” (Heb. 12:11). Nevertheless, …

Continue reading…

From Mars Hill to Harvest: Hope for a Wounded Church

How Christians care for one another when their leaders fall.

Last weekend was the first time Harvest Bible Chapel gathered for worship without James MacDonald as its senior pastor.

Days after firing the church’s founder, the elders of the Chicago-area multisite congregation announced more changes. The executive committee—the top leaders on the elder board—would also be resigning within months. A task force had been formed to review church structure and processes. This week, the elder board winnowed from 30 people to 9.

At Harvest, concerns had lingered for years after the church’s dismissal of three elders in 2013, alleged mismanagement, and negative reports swirling around MacDonald. As leaders and members pray and plan for a healthier church culture, they’re also left lamenting the hurt, confusion, and discord that’s led to this point.

“We know there are many of you feeling shock and frustration—those feelings are real and understandable. We know there are many who have been grieved by these things over the past weeks, months and even years—and we share your grief,” Dave Learned, pastor of counseling ministry, told the congregation on Saturday night. “Our earnest desire is that God would, in his grace, forgive our sins, heal our wounds, and restore unity and harmony to this congregation.”

Harvest numbers around 12,000 members across seven campuses. As a result of the saga, some have already stopped attending or joined nearby congregations, including 2,000 that left around the 2013 incident. During a major transition for the congregation—and the loss of the charismatic preacher who had been its famous face and voice—more will inevitably opt to leave.

Either way, if they stay or go, the body of Christ absorbs …

Continue reading…