John McCain's seat in Senate will stay empty until after burial, Gov. Doug Ducey says

Gov. Doug Ducey is required by law to name John McCain’s replacement. An announcement will not be made until after McCain is buried.




On a quiet creek in a peaceful valley, John McCain made Cornville, Arizona, home

John McCain had no steady home as a military child, a prisoner of war, a Washington politician. But Cornville was different.




Talking Stick enters third week of closure after storm damage, no date to reopen

The resort will remain closed indefinitely after a monsoon storm caused a major power outage Aug. 11.




Can Christians Trust Muslim Hospitality?

Arab theologians counsel Americans fearful of “taqiyya,” Islam’s alleged permission to lie, around Eid al-Adha and Ramadan holidays.

The holiest of Islam’s two yearly holidays is Eid al-Adha; in Arabic, “the feast of the sacrifice.” This week, on August 21, Muslims worldwide slaughtered sheep, remembering how God saved Abraham from sacrificing his son Ishmael.

Wait, Ishmael? Not Isaac?

Though the Qur‘an doesn’t name the son, Muslims believe it was the ancestor of the Arabs that God used to test Abraham’s faith. Should Christians understand this as a theological error? Or an outright lie?

The identification matters, because Isaac is a prefiguration of Jesus, whose sacrifice saved man from his sins. Religions often have differing traditions; and for Christians, Muhammad’s conscience in founding Islam is unknown. But some Christians today are comfortable delving into the conscience of everyday, ordinary Muslims, finding deception at every turn.

The idea is called taqiyya: that Muslims are permitted by their faith to lie if it will advance the cause of their religion.

Tharwat Wahba, professor of mission at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, cited a tradition of Muhammad that allows Muslims three exceptions to lie for a greater cause: War, reconciliation, and to keep a wife happy.

Might some Muslims extrapolate two of these for their experience in the West? Does the first exception imply there is a secret jihad? In the second exception, a religion of peace?

“Accept kindness and friendship, but be alert and awake,” Wahba said. “Don’t be naïve. Some have agendas.”

So what if a Muslim invites you to a celebration? The lamb might be tasty, but should Christians be wary?

Statistics show they already are.

The 2018 American Muslim Poll from the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding …

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One-on-One with João Mordomo on Brazil, the Gospel, and Business as Mission

“It is not uncommon to find Brazilian missionaries in far-flung places, including among unreached people groups.”

Ed: How long have you been involved in Lausanne International and what is your current role?

João: In 2003, Mats Tunehag invited me to participate in the brand new “Business as Mission” issue group leading up to the 2004 Lausanne Forum in Thailand. One of the main outcomes of that process and Forum was the Lausanne Occasional Paper on Business as Mission.

The issue network itself began to gain significant traction after the Forum, and Mats served as the Senior Associate (now called Catalyst) for BAM for many years. In 2011, Mats invited me to join the leadership and planning team for a global BAM Congress in 2013, also in Thailand. The damage was done (i.e. BAM had me whether it wanted me or not!) and I was invited by Lausanne to join Mats as a co-Catalyst, a role I assumed officially in 2016. Jo Plummer had been instrumental in the growing BAM movement since the early 2000s and also joined as co-Catalyst in 2016. She and I continue in these roles today.

Ed: Tell me about your current roll and what you do.

João: As a co-catalyst for BAM, I have the great joy and privilege of providing service and leadership to a growing global BAM movement that gathers, encourages, and trains BAM practitioners through thematic, regional, and global events.

Additionally, we seek to discover BAM best practices through research and reporting, as well as develop and share new resources. We now have nearly 30 reports on themes related to BAM (e.g. “BAM Incubation,” “BAM In and From China,” “BAM and Mission Agencies,” etc.) and wealth creation for holistic transformation (e.g., “Wealth Creation and the Poor,” “Wealth Creation and the Stewardship of Creation,” “Wealth …

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Is Arizona junior college football dead after this season?

Maricopa and Pima community colleges are ending junior college football after the 2018 season, leaving only two Arizona colleges to offer the sport.




Outsider candidates flood Arizona's primary election, seeking to rattle the system

This year there are 310 candidates, or roughly a quarter more than a typical year, according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s office.




Do All Plants Go to Heaven?

Where there may be room for GMOs and other modern agriculture in the New Jerusalem.

Ross Smith grew up knowing he would farm. Born to a fifth-generation farmer in northern Indiana, Smith in his younger years worked alongside his dad and grandfather. He studied agricultural economics at Purdue University and learned about the technological advancements in agriculture that defined the 20th century and boosted crop efficiency.

But Smith and his wife also began a small vegetable and hog farm in Hendricks County, Indiana, that sold directly to consumers through on-farm purchases and farmers’ markets. Schooled in modern agriculture, Smith felt the tension of operating an old-fashioned (if currently in vogue) business, “caught between a love of a capitalistic economic system that awards efficiency and an intense love of God’s created world that I believe to be often damaged by ‘efficiency,’ ” he says.

Smith has navigated two competing visions of how we are to subdue the earth and its every seed-bearing plant in the 21st century. One approach maximizes production and crop yields through the power of human innovation, arguing that genetic seed modification and GPS-guided harvesters are God’s provision to feed a growing population in a complex world. The other approach sees organic production and the local food movement as guardians of true flourishing, warning us not to overindulge human creativity at the expense of God’s original creation: our bodies and the land.

Unsurprisingly, disagreements between proponents of each view—whether farmers or home cooks—have often become polarized. Watchdog documentarians infiltrate the shocking “factory farm” that nourishes a paycheck-stretching Walmart shopper, while a farm-share member packs $7 cartons of …

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Rural Matters: A Conference for Those Serving in Rural Settings

On September 18-19, the Billy Graham Center will be hosting our second annual Rural Matters conference at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois.

Last year, our team here at the Billy Graham Center launched our Rural Matters Institute. Sensing a need to equip rural church planters with tools and resources to best serve their communities, the Institute’s goal is to convene, network, and resource those are doing gospel work in the rural context.

There are 60 million people in rural America. But rural America is often overlooked when it comes to ministry resources. In September last year, we hosted our first Rural Matters Conference in Sasche, Texas. The conference was largely successful and we got great feedback from attendees, who expressed a desire for more networking opportunities.

As a result, we have created an online community through our various networks and launched the Rural Matters website. You have also probably noticed that we have featured more articles on rural ministry here on The Exchange. This increased visibility for rural ministry is all part of our concerted efforts to help foster a community among rural pastors and leaders.

On September 18-19, the Billy Graham Center will be hosting our second annual Rural Matters conference at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. The conference will both resource and equip rural church pastors and leaders with some tools for effective rural ministry.

The conference provides a unique networking opportunity for rural pastors who often labor alone in their gospel work. Our gathering is designed to build community around the importance of rural ministry and offer pastors an opportunity to recharge.

Over the course of the conference, attendees will:

  • Rural Matters Conference attendees get a free course from Ed Stetzer’s Mission Group. More information coming at the conference.
  • Have an opportunity to network with other rural pastors at our networking luncheon.

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Scottsdale mall turning department store into shared office space

A co-working space is moving in to the former Barneys location at Scottsdale Fashion Square, occupying two stories and 33,000 square feet of space.