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  1. Prayer is the starting point, not the endpoint, of our journey in helping people from darkness to light.

    We are likely all familiar with Jonah, who was a prophet of the Lord.

    Jonah lived during a time of relative prosperity for the nation of Israel; however, there was, of course, some trouble brought on by a certain city: Nineveh. As the capital of the Assyrian empire, Nineveh and those residing within her walls were known throughout the ancient world for their infatuation with brutality and violence.

    Every Israelite from the tall to the small knew that the Ninevites were bad news— and so did Jonah. That’s why when God told him to go to the city to preach a prophetic message, he looked the other way.

    Many of us read this story of the legendary man who spent time in the belly of the whale and wonder how he managed to disobey God so blatantly. We pat ourselves on the back whilst enthusiastically reassuring ourselves that we could never manage to behave that badly.

    After all, if God called us to go and share his word we’d eagerly go, right?

    The Ninevite in the Mirror

    If we’re being honest, each of us has our own Ninevites— the sometimes unpleasant, occasionally disagreeable people whom God has called us to witness to. They’re our nosy next-door neighbors, unkind co-workers, and grumpy grocery store clerks.

    Like Jonah, we might not feel like loving them or feel like sharing Christ’s message of redemption with them. Nevertheless, scripture is clear: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation…” (Isa. 52:7).

    Now, maybe some of us feel that we’re doing what we can right now to share the gospel. Instead of reaching out and trying to connect with our neighbors as we should, we choose...

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  2. (UPDATED) On the first VaLENTine's Day since WWII, it appears chocolate and alcohol will be absent from many dates.

    Once again, you can follow in real time what Twitter users say they are giving up for Lent, which this year begins on Wednesday, February 14.

    Last year, food items were three times as popular to abstain from as technology items or personal habits, according to 73,334 tweets analyzed by’s Stephen Smith during the week of Ash Wednesday 2017. Alcohol ranked No. 1 for the first time since his project began in 2009.

    This year, the creator of the Twitter Lent Tracker “expected relationship-related tweets to run higher than usual” because Ash Wednesday coincides with Valentine’s Day. (Also, Easter coincides with April Fools’ Day.)

    “Social networking topped the [2018] list, followed by Twitter, alcohol, chocolate, and swearing,” wrote Smith in his final analysis, based on 29,609 tweets (excluding retweets). “It was a fairly typical year, with the top 5 the same as last year (though in a different order) except for swearing, which came in at No. 6 last year, behind chips.”

    Here is how the top 6 ideas of 2018 have trended over time:

    Smith was most curious last year about how high Donald Trump would rank among perennial favorites such as social networking, alcohol, and chocolate. The President ended up finishing No. 22 in 2017, up from No. 82 in 2016. In 2018, he finished No. 67.

    Meanwhile, LifeWay Research offered a chance to compare Twitter’s serious vs. sarcastic sharers last year via its study on what Americans who observe the Lenten season before Easter say they actually give up.

    Of note: 3 in 10 Americans with evangelical beliefs (28%) say they observe Lent; of these, 42 percent typically fast from a favorite food or beverage while 71 percent typically attend...

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  3. Following Rachael Denhollander’s Sovereign Grace claims, the former SGM president once again says he wants to avoid distracting from the biennial conference.

    C. J. Mahaney announced today that he will back out of next month’s Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference to keep the controversy over Sovereign Grace Churches (SGC) away from the event.

    “Given the recent, renewed controversy surrounding Sovereign Grace Churches and me individually, I have decided to withdraw from the 2018 T4G conference,” Mahaney wrote.

    Over the past several weeks, Rachael Denhollander, the former gymnast whose Larry Nassar testimony went viral, has used her platform to address abuse in the church, particularly years-old allegations of abuse at Covenant Life Church, where Mahaney—the former president of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM)—had served as senior pastor.

    Though the 2012 case against SGM was dismissed in court, Denhollander has repeatedly challenged the church network’s claims, most recently in a 7,800-word statement posted on Facebook last Thursday.

    Currently the pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, Mahaney has continued to state that he is innocent of the claims made against him and that the ongoing characterizations of Sovereign Grace are untrue.

    “I categorically reject the suggestion that I have ever conspired to cover up sexual abuse or other wrong-doing,” he wrote on Wednesday.

    Mahaney did not participate in the 2014 T4G conference due to the lawsuits against the ministry at that time, and he opted to once again step away from the event he has put on for over a decade with fellow Reformed leaders Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, and Albert Mohler.

    “This conference exists to serve pastors with the gospel and exalt the Lord Jesus. I want to do all I can to promote that purpose,” his statement said. “Mark, Lig, Al and the other...

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