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Robert Morris: My greatest crisis — and God’s simple answer to our busy and chaotic lives

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6118167299001_6118173585001-vs Robert Morris: My greatest crisis — and God's simple answer to our busy and chaotic lives Robert Morris fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc article a2b2dab8-c5e5-5fca-8026-69d062084823

Thirty-five minutes into the leadership team meeting, the notification popped up on my laptop. It read: “8 a.m. tomorrow: Robert, take the day off.”

Fourteen years ago, I would have dismissed this reminder, sending it to the trash where my hopes of rest and recuperation piled up.

But it wasn’t long before I hit a wall of exhaustion, and it wasn’t pretty. I pastor a church where we strive to help people. I was 45 years old with a wife of 25 years and three kids. I was working very long hours, seven days a week, and was responsible for a team of more than 350 employees.

GREG LAURIE: TRUMP STRENGTHENS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM WITH EXECUTIVE ORDER — WE NEED MORE PRAYER IN AMERICA

Somewhere along the line, I had made it my mission to say “Yes,” by all means, and “Yes” again to far too many things. These “Yeses” were for noble and worthy causes and opportunities, but they came at a cost, and one day it all came to a head. Out of love, my family and colleagues intervened with one word on my behalf: “NO.” The plan was for me to press pause for six weeks by taking a sabbatical to recuperate.

More from Opinion

This was significantly disorienting at first. I had conditioned myself to go, go, go. And now I found myself saying no, no, no. It was in this unfamiliar space that I found one of the richest treasures: rest.

Today, I truly believe our lack of respect for rest is the great silent epidemic of our time and one we must take seriously. I believe our society has what I call “Sabbath Deficiency Syndrome.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE OPINION NEWSLETTER

I come from a Christian worldview, so my perspective of rest is affirmed in the Bible — actually in the Ten Commandments. In fact, taking a day off each week is the Fourth Commandment, to be exact. You may be familiar with Charlton Heston’s portrayal of Moses in the iconic movie, “The Ten Commandments,” which has become a broadcast-staple during the Easter season.

Even through Hollywood’s portrayal, we learned God’s commands are life principles to live by. “Thou shalt not kill” and “thou shalt not steal” — no problem! But why does it seem we added another “thou shalt not” before the command to rest?

God explicitly told us that we are to take one dedicated day of rest each week. A sabbath, He called it. A sabbath is a period of rest. For some that may be time with their church community. For others, it may be time on the golf course. For me, it means turn off my phone. Step away from social media. For everyone, it means do not work.

I wrote a book some time ago about budgeting for your financial health and how you should be deliberate with managing your money. It’s the difference between knowing where your money goes and wondering where your money went. The same principle is applied to this idea of rest: budgeting rest — planning it into your schedule — is the only way you will make sure it happens each week. One day a week, whatever works best according to your calendar and existing obligations. Put it on your calendar and plan it in your weekly schedule, but don’t dismiss it!

I once heard it said, “You can’t outpace God.” Yet we try each and every day. Our jam-packed calendars and failure to plan lead us toward soul-deep rest exhaustion.

According to the Bible (Genesis 2), God himself rested after creating the universe. It was so good to relax that He later went on to include rest in the Ten Commandments — His top 10 principles to live by.

My own experience informed me that rest was not an afterthought or only for other people, but rather it’s essential for survival. My body — my life — was operating out of survival mode until I woke up to one of God’s kindest gifts He offers to each of us — sabbath rest.

At the end of my planned six-week sabbatical, I still felt drained. I wasn’t feeling any sense of the restoration and renewal I’d expected to feel at that point. Alarmed, I added two weeks of unused vacation time to my sabbatical to extend it to eight full weeks.

Then one morning in the middle of that two-week extension, I awakened, and everything was different. Suddenly I felt a wave of relief roll through me. I’m back! Out loud, I proclaimed with surprise and delight, “Hey! I’m refreshed!” I felt like the person I was before I started the church five years earlier.

That’s when I realized, the first 52 days made up for 52 Sabbath days I had ignored that year. Finally, on the 53rd day, I felt rested and refreshed.

After my time away, my soul was refreshed in a deeper way than I had ever experienced. It then became clear that my sabbatical had come to a close and a new understanding — a new behavior — of rest had become a habit, a new way of life.

We’re bombarded with opportunities (some very good ones) and tasks, information, obligations, stimulations and aggravations. And it’s taking an enormous toll on our well-being. The message “thou shalt not rest” has become a path that leads to chronic, and sometimes devastating, busy-ness and even illness.

Did you know the stress load of the average American has been rapidly increasing since the late 1970s? According to one expert on balancing work and life, “Stress is a factor in five out of the six leading causes of death — heart disease, cancer, stroke, lower respiratory disease, and accidents of the average.” This neglect of the Sabbath has created a remarkable rest deficiency — now syndrome.

I once heard it said, “You can’t outpace God.” Yet we try each and every day. Our jam-packed calendars and failure to plan lead us toward soul-deep rest exhaustion. We live in a self-care world, chasing quick fixes to take the busy away. Yet the most sustainable “fix” is to deliberately take the busy away — for one day a week — without compromise.

Don’t take my word for it. Try it out for yourself. But I must caution you, the side effects include growing healthier, happier, mentally sharper, and kinder.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

I believe this silent epidemic is the underbelly fueling our heated cultural landscape today, and interestingly, it’s one we can almost all agree on. Let this be our clue, our guidepost — our one day — toward a more sustainable life.

The Fourth Commandment in my Bible, the one I study and preach from daily, turned out to hold the answer to my deficiency all along. Right there in plain sight. My overburdened mind and under-rested soul finally landed in the sustainable answer. My hope is that yours falls there too.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6118167299001_6118173585001-vs Robert Morris: My greatest crisis — and God's simple answer to our busy and chaotic lives Robert Morris fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc article a2b2dab8-c5e5-5fca-8026-69d062084823   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6118167299001_6118173585001-vs Robert Morris: My greatest crisis — and God's simple answer to our busy and chaotic lives Robert Morris fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc article a2b2dab8-c5e5-5fca-8026-69d062084823

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Robert Morris: My greatest crisis — and God’s simple answer to our busy and chaotic lives

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6118167299001_6118173585001-vs Robert Morris: My greatest crisis — and God's simple answer to our busy and chaotic lives Robert Morris fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc article a2b2dab8-c5e5-5fca-8026-69d062084823

Thirty-five minutes into the leadership team meeting, the notification popped up on my laptop. It read: “8 a.m. tomorrow: Robert, take the day off.”

Fourteen years ago, I would have dismissed this reminder, sending it to the trash where my hopes of rest and recuperation piled up.

But it wasn’t long before I hit a wall of exhaustion, and it wasn’t pretty. I pastor a church where we strive to help people. I was 45 years old with a wife of 25 years and three kids. I was working very long hours, seven days a week, and was responsible for a team of more than 350 employees.

GREG LAURIE: TRUMP STRENGTHENS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM WITH EXECUTIVE ORDER — WE NEED MORE PRAYER IN AMERICA

Somewhere along the line, I had made it my mission to say “Yes,” by all means, and “Yes” again to far too many things. These “Yeses” were for noble and worthy causes and opportunities, but they came at a cost, and one day it all came to a head. Out of love, my family and colleagues intervened with one word on my behalf: “NO.” The plan was for me to press pause for six weeks by taking a sabbatical to recuperate.

More from Opinion

This was significantly disorienting at first. I had conditioned myself to go, go, go. And now I found myself saying no, no, no. It was in this unfamiliar space that I found one of the richest treasures: rest.

Today, I truly believe our lack of respect for rest is the great silent epidemic of our time and one we must take seriously. I believe our society has what I call “Sabbath Deficiency Syndrome.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE OPINION NEWSLETTER

I come from a Christian worldview, so my perspective of rest is affirmed in the Bible — actually in the Ten Commandments. In fact, taking a day off each week is the Fourth Commandment, to be exact. You may be familiar with Charlton Heston’s portrayal of Moses in the iconic movie, “The Ten Commandments,” which has become a broadcast-staple during the Easter season.

Even through Hollywood’s portrayal, we learned God’s commands are life principles to live by. “Thou shalt not kill” and “thou shalt not steal” — no problem! But why does it seem we added another “thou shalt not” before the command to rest?

God explicitly told us that we are to take one dedicated day of rest each week. A sabbath, He called it. A sabbath is a period of rest. For some that may be time with their church community. For others, it may be time on the golf course. For me, it means turn off my phone. Step away from social media. For everyone, it means do not work.

I wrote a book some time ago about budgeting for your financial health and how you should be deliberate with managing your money. It’s the difference between knowing where your money goes and wondering where your money went. The same principle is applied to this idea of rest: budgeting rest — planning it into your schedule — is the only way you will make sure it happens each week. One day a week, whatever works best according to your calendar and existing obligations. Put it on your calendar and plan it in your weekly schedule, but don’t dismiss it!

I once heard it said, “You can’t outpace God.” Yet we try each and every day. Our jam-packed calendars and failure to plan lead us toward soul-deep rest exhaustion.

According to the Bible (Genesis 2), God himself rested after creating the universe. It was so good to relax that He later went on to include rest in the Ten Commandments — His top 10 principles to live by.

My own experience informed me that rest was not an afterthought or only for other people, but rather it’s essential for survival. My body — my life — was operating out of survival mode until I woke up to one of God’s kindest gifts He offers to each of us — sabbath rest.

At the end of my planned six-week sabbatical, I still felt drained. I wasn’t feeling any sense of the restoration and renewal I’d expected to feel at that point. Alarmed, I added two weeks of unused vacation time to my sabbatical to extend it to eight full weeks.

Then one morning in the middle of that two-week extension, I awakened, and everything was different. Suddenly I felt a wave of relief roll through me. I’m back! Out loud, I proclaimed with surprise and delight, “Hey! I’m refreshed!” I felt like the person I was before I started the church five years earlier.

That’s when I realized, the first 52 days made up for 52 Sabbath days I had ignored that year. Finally, on the 53rd day, I felt rested and refreshed.

After my time away, my soul was refreshed in a deeper way than I had ever experienced. It then became clear that my sabbatical had come to a close and a new understanding — a new behavior — of rest had become a habit, a new way of life.

We’re bombarded with opportunities (some very good ones) and tasks, information, obligations, stimulations and aggravations. And it’s taking an enormous toll on our well-being. The message “thou shalt not rest” has become a path that leads to chronic, and sometimes devastating, busy-ness and even illness.

Did you know the stress load of the average American has been rapidly increasing since the late 1970s? According to one expert on balancing work and life, “Stress is a factor in five out of the six leading causes of death — heart disease, cancer, stroke, lower respiratory disease, and accidents of the average.” This neglect of the Sabbath has created a remarkable rest deficiency — now syndrome.

I once heard it said, “You can’t outpace God.” Yet we try each and every day. Our jam-packed calendars and failure to plan lead us toward soul-deep rest exhaustion. We live in a self-care world, chasing quick fixes to take the busy away. Yet the most sustainable “fix” is to deliberately take the busy away — for one day a week — without compromise.

Don’t take my word for it. Try it out for yourself. But I must caution you, the side effects include growing healthier, happier, mentally sharper, and kinder.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

I believe this silent epidemic is the underbelly fueling our heated cultural landscape today, and interestingly, it’s one we can almost all agree on. Let this be our clue, our guidepost — our one day — toward a more sustainable life.

The Fourth Commandment in my Bible, the one I study and preach from daily, turned out to hold the answer to my deficiency all along. Right there in plain sight. My overburdened mind and under-rested soul finally landed in the sustainable answer. My hope is that yours falls there too.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6118167299001_6118173585001-vs Robert Morris: My greatest crisis — and God's simple answer to our busy and chaotic lives Robert Morris fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc article a2b2dab8-c5e5-5fca-8026-69d062084823   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6118167299001_6118173585001-vs Robert Morris: My greatest crisis — and God's simple answer to our busy and chaotic lives Robert Morris fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc article a2b2dab8-c5e5-5fca-8026-69d062084823

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Robert Morris: My greatest crisis — and God’s simple answer to our busy and chaotic lives

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6118167299001_6118173585001-vs Robert Morris: My greatest crisis — and God's simple answer to our busy and chaotic lives Robert Morris fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc article a2b2dab8-c5e5-5fca-8026-69d062084823

Thirty-five minutes into the leadership team meeting, the notification popped up on my laptop. It read: “8 a.m. tomorrow: Robert, take the day off.”

Fourteen years ago, I would have dismissed this reminder, sending it to the trash where my hopes of rest and recuperation piled up.

But it wasn’t long before I hit a wall of exhaustion, and it wasn’t pretty. I pastor a church where we strive to help people. I was 45 years old with a wife of 25 years and three kids. I was working very long hours, seven days a week, and was responsible for a team of more than 350 employees.

GREG LAURIE: TRUMP STRENGTHENS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM WITH EXECUTIVE ORDER — WE NEED MORE PRAYER IN AMERICA

Somewhere along the line, I had made it my mission to say “Yes,” by all means, and “Yes” again to far too many things. These “Yeses” were for noble and worthy causes and opportunities, but they came at a cost, and one day it all came to a head. Out of love, my family and colleagues intervened with one word on my behalf: “NO.” The plan was for me to press pause for six weeks by taking a sabbatical to recuperate.

More from Opinion

This was significantly disorienting at first. I had conditioned myself to go, go, go. And now I found myself saying no, no, no. It was in this unfamiliar space that I found one of the richest treasures: rest.

Today, I truly believe our lack of respect for rest is the great silent epidemic of our time and one we must take seriously. I believe our society has what I call “Sabbath Deficiency Syndrome.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE OPINION NEWSLETTER

I come from a Christian worldview, so my perspective of rest is affirmed in the Bible — actually in the Ten Commandments. In fact, taking a day off each week is the Fourth Commandment, to be exact. You may be familiar with Charlton Heston’s portrayal of Moses in the iconic movie, “The Ten Commandments,” which has become a broadcast-staple during the Easter season.

Even through Hollywood’s portrayal, we learned God’s commands are life principles to live by. “Thou shalt not kill” and “thou shalt not steal” — no problem! But why does it seem we added another “thou shalt not” before the command to rest?

God explicitly told us that we are to take one dedicated day of rest each week. A sabbath, He called it. A sabbath is a period of rest. For some that may be time with their church community. For others, it may be time on the golf course. For me, it means turn off my phone. Step away from social media. For everyone, it means do not work.

I wrote a book some time ago about budgeting for your financial health and how you should be deliberate with managing your money. It’s the difference between knowing where your money goes and wondering where your money went. The same principle is applied to this idea of rest: budgeting rest — planning it into your schedule — is the only way you will make sure it happens each week. One day a week, whatever works best according to your calendar and existing obligations. Put it on your calendar and plan it in your weekly schedule, but don’t dismiss it!

I once heard it said, “You can’t outpace God.” Yet we try each and every day. Our jam-packed calendars and failure to plan lead us toward soul-deep rest exhaustion.

According to the Bible (Genesis 2), God himself rested after creating the universe. It was so good to relax that He later went on to include rest in the Ten Commandments — His top 10 principles to live by.

My own experience informed me that rest was not an afterthought or only for other people, but rather it’s essential for survival. My body — my life — was operating out of survival mode until I woke up to one of God’s kindest gifts He offers to each of us — sabbath rest.

At the end of my planned six-week sabbatical, I still felt drained. I wasn’t feeling any sense of the restoration and renewal I’d expected to feel at that point. Alarmed, I added two weeks of unused vacation time to my sabbatical to extend it to eight full weeks.

Then one morning in the middle of that two-week extension, I awakened, and everything was different. Suddenly I felt a wave of relief roll through me. I’m back! Out loud, I proclaimed with surprise and delight, “Hey! I’m refreshed!” I felt like the person I was before I started the church five years earlier.

That’s when I realized, the first 52 days made up for 52 Sabbath days I had ignored that year. Finally, on the 53rd day, I felt rested and refreshed.

After my time away, my soul was refreshed in a deeper way than I had ever experienced. It then became clear that my sabbatical had come to a close and a new understanding — a new behavior — of rest had become a habit, a new way of life.

We’re bombarded with opportunities (some very good ones) and tasks, information, obligations, stimulations and aggravations. And it’s taking an enormous toll on our well-being. The message “thou shalt not rest” has become a path that leads to chronic, and sometimes devastating, busy-ness and even illness.

Did you know the stress load of the average American has been rapidly increasing since the late 1970s? According to one expert on balancing work and life, “Stress is a factor in five out of the six leading causes of death — heart disease, cancer, stroke, lower respiratory disease, and accidents of the average.” This neglect of the Sabbath has created a remarkable rest deficiency — now syndrome.

I once heard it said, “You can’t outpace God.” Yet we try each and every day. Our jam-packed calendars and failure to plan lead us toward soul-deep rest exhaustion. We live in a self-care world, chasing quick fixes to take the busy away. Yet the most sustainable “fix” is to deliberately take the busy away — for one day a week — without compromise.

Don’t take my word for it. Try it out for yourself. But I must caution you, the side effects include growing healthier, happier, mentally sharper, and kinder.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

I believe this silent epidemic is the underbelly fueling our heated cultural landscape today, and interestingly, it’s one we can almost all agree on. Let this be our clue, our guidepost — our one day — toward a more sustainable life.

The Fourth Commandment in my Bible, the one I study and preach from daily, turned out to hold the answer to my deficiency all along. Right there in plain sight. My overburdened mind and under-rested soul finally landed in the sustainable answer. My hope is that yours falls there too.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6118167299001_6118173585001-vs Robert Morris: My greatest crisis — and God's simple answer to our busy and chaotic lives Robert Morris fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc article a2b2dab8-c5e5-5fca-8026-69d062084823   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6118167299001_6118173585001-vs Robert Morris: My greatest crisis — and God's simple answer to our busy and chaotic lives Robert Morris fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc article a2b2dab8-c5e5-5fca-8026-69d062084823

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Greg Laurie: Trump strengthens religious freedom with executive order – We need more prayer in America

Westlake Legal Group 854081161001_6123021946001_6123023639001-vs Greg Laurie: Trump strengthens religious freedom with executive order – We need more prayer in America Greg Laurie fox-news/world/religion fox-news/us/religion/first-amendment fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 8eaa80a6-8fc6-5895-b234-0e97ec1a9704

President Trump’s signing of an executive order Thursday that allows students to pray in public schools is good news that should be welcomed by all Americans – whether or not they believe in God and the power of prayer.

As a pastor, I have a suspicion that the historic ruling of the Supreme Court in 1962 to remove prayer from our schools may have contributed to the litany of social ills that have plagued America since.

These ills include the breakdown of the family, the rise in violent crime, the opioid epidemic, the rising suicide rates and the general hopelessness that pervades our younger generations. The list goes on and on.

JIM DALY: TRUMP UPHOLDS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM WITH NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER, BENEFITING ALL AMERICANS

Before the Supreme Court ruling – in the days when prayer was allowed – some teachers offered their own prayers in school, while others read the Lord’s Prayer or recited the well-known Psalm 23.

New York students prayed each day: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee and beg Thy blessing over us, our parents, our teachers, and our nation.” A benign prayer, perhaps, but it still underscored our belief in God’s providence and sovereignty.

Do we not in the Pledge of Allegiance still say: “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”?

The fact of the matter is that, despite many efforts to remove prayer from our schools and the public square, we cannot remove prayer from the history of the United States.

In 1789, President George Washington made this public proclamation:

More from Opinion

“Whereas, it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor – and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me ‘to recommend to the people of the United States a Day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God’ … I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being.”

The result of that proclamation was the creation of an event we celebrated a couple of months ago called Thanksgiving. Yet what I find just as remarkable is that the proclamation was ratified by both houses of Congress.

Today our houses are divided like never before, especially with the impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Ironically, the one thing members of both parties in Congress still agree on is to begin their sessions in the House and Senate with an opening prayer.

Can you imagine if they came together and prayed for the future of America? I believe God would hear that prayer and we could have a much-needed healing in America.

Such a prayer wouldn’t be out of character for America.

For one, our Founding Fathers assumed the majority of Americans believed in Jesus, but those who didn’t weren’t treated any differently. This is because our nation was forged out of religious freedom.

And just as America had great Founding Fathers – such as George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin – we also had a spiritual Founding Father: a man named George Whitefield.

Whitefield was an evangelist from England who preached the gospel to the colonists. Historians believe that by the time his ministry was completed, 80 percent of the colonists had heard him.

Whitefield’s ministry sparked a spiritual awakening across the 13 colonies. Untold thousands believed, and it was in the soil of virtue and morality that the seeds of liberty could be planted.

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Patrick Henry, another Founding Father, is believed to have once remarked: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”

Sadly, it is the lack of this virtue and morality that is the root of so many of our current problems.

We need more prayer in America today, and not just in our schools, but in our courts, culture and in our personal lives overall. More than 50 percent of Americans pray and believe that God hears and answers those prayers. However, a recent survey revealed that Americans who believe in God or prayer hit an all-time low in 2014.

My hope is that we will remember America was a nation born out of prayer.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The Lord makes a remarkable promise to us if we will pray: “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV)

Whatever we are facing individually or as a nation, we can rest assured that God hears and answers prayers, even today.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY GREG LAURIE

Westlake Legal Group 854081161001_6123021946001_6123023639001-vs Greg Laurie: Trump strengthens religious freedom with executive order – We need more prayer in America Greg Laurie fox-news/world/religion fox-news/us/religion/first-amendment fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 8eaa80a6-8fc6-5895-b234-0e97ec1a9704   Westlake Legal Group 854081161001_6123021946001_6123023639001-vs Greg Laurie: Trump strengthens religious freedom with executive order – We need more prayer in America Greg Laurie fox-news/world/religion fox-news/us/religion/first-amendment fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 8eaa80a6-8fc6-5895-b234-0e97ec1a9704

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Influential evangelical leader on why Trump will get more Christian support in 2020

President Trump is set to mark Religious Freedom Day by signing an executive order expanding “Constitutional prayer” in public schools— just one of the reasons why his re-election is so important to Christians, Stephen Strang, the founder and CEO of Charisma News, told Fox News.

The author of “God, Trump, and the 2020 Election: Why He Must Win and What’s at Stake for Christians if He Loses” said Trump is pushing back against an anti-Christian culture with his new action.

CHRISTIANS SEE ‘ALARMING’ TREND WORLDWIDE AS CHINA BUILDS ‘BLUEPRINT OF PERSECUTION’

“The joke is as long as there’s exams, there’ll be prayer in schools,” Strang told “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy, adding, “It’s their constitutional right. We have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and there’s been a hostile view of religion in our culture and evangelical Christians have felt this and Donald Trump is doing some things to reverse that and we appreciate it.”

Westlake Legal Group Trump720 Influential evangelical leader on why Trump will get more Christian support in 2020 fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/us/education fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/politics/elections/campaigning/trump-2020-campaign fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/faith-values/faith fox news fnc/faith-values fnc Caleb Parke article 5286158b-4314-5844-b23d-0f2e1b2412db

Faith leaders pray over President Donald Trump during an “Evangelicals for Trump Coalition Launch” at King Jesus International Ministry, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

The self-described “Christian journalist” imparts the “spiritual point of view” about Trump, as opposed to the political or cultural one that is often discussed in the media.

MORE ON FAITH

“I think that the hatred against Donald Trump can only be explained in spiritual terms,” he said. “Christians call it spiritual warfare.”

He explains Christians said “enough is enough” and were praying for a leader, and Trump is the “very unlikely person” who “has become a champion of religious liberty.”

Strang added, “Who would’ve thought that a New York billionaire that is a TV celebrity would become a champion of religious rights or become president of the United States?… I think he’s been a great leader but he doesn’t get much credit for it.”

After the now-retired Christianity Today editor-in-chief, Mark Galli, called for the removal of Trump from office, the Trump 2020 campaign launched Evangelicals for Trump at a Latino megachurch in Miami.

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Trump won white evangelicals by more than 81 percent in the 2016 presidential election, according to exit polls, and Strang predicts he “absolutely” will earn their support again in November.

“I think his evangelical percentage is going to go up,” Strang said.

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Christen Limbaugh Bloom: Let God give you a new focus

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5713475241001_5713481626001-vs Christen Limbaugh Bloom: Let God give you a new focus fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc Christen Limbaugh Bloom article 77608a85-53b7-5d07-81c2-93da8d31c536

Countless churches across the country have embraced a 21-days-of-prayer-and-fasting program to refocus goals and connect with God on a deeper level at the beginning of every new year. I’ve read and heard a lot of people’s singular “word” they’ve each deemed as their individual themes for 2020.

I caught a virus after Christmas and wasn’t in any mood to think about my personal goals or a “theme” leading up to this year; I felt pretty discouraged. But just a couple days after the new year began, God gave me an encouraging, reminder.

While skimming an online article, I noticed a link to an older article, titled, “Matthew McConaughey reveals biblical inspiration for son Levi’s name.” He explained his favorite Bible verse is Matthew 6:22: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light” (KJV).

McConaughey went on to reveal his son Levi was born at 6:22, which he and his wife took as a sign from God to name his son after his favorite Bible verse — clarifying that Levi is actually another name for Matthew in the Bible. I was amazed hearing this story not only for its own novelty, but because this specific verse has profound meaning in my own life.

2020 IS THE ‘YEAR OF THE BIBLE’ FOR MANY CHRISTIANS

More than five years ago, I felt a nudge from God to create a faith-based network around a specific thought: keep the message simple, and keep it all about Jesus.

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When I first had the idea, I started looking for unique ways to brand the word “simple” and Googled “words for simple in other languages.” The first search result was a definition from Strong’s Greek Lexicon, a dictionary used to translate New Testament verses from their original Greek meanings.

My search for the word “simple” yielded the Greek word “haplous.” It was a word spoken by Jesus in (can you believe it?) Matthew 6:22. “Haplous” was the word He used to describe the eye.

As Strong’s Concordance defines it, the literal meaning is “without folds,” referring to “a single, undivided focus without a (secret) ‘double agenda’ which prevents an over-complicated life.”

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Watching McConaughey’s interview reminded me of a timeless lesson that is, sadly, easily forgotten: when you keep your eyes fixed solely on Jesus, He will direct your paths and take care of the rest.

Just a couple of days later, my church played a video trailer to debut their first sermon series of the year. I let out an audible gasp as the voiceover played saying, “The eye is the lamp of the whole body. When your eye is clear, and not duplicitous, it brings light to your whole life.”

I truly could not believe my eyes or ears. The very verse God led me to years ago and reminded me of just a few days before is now the theme of my church’s first sermon series to kick off the new year. If I had any doubt whatsoever about God’s intended goals for me this year, there was no denying it now.

I share this story because while I do feel a deeply intimate connection to this verse for my own reasons, it can be applied to every human being’s life in a personal way. As a Christian I believe it is a universal truth that all people were created to focus on Jesus on a daily basis — to worship Him, thank Him for His sacrifice and provision, ask Him about His plans for us as individuals, and offer Him ourselves to be catalysts of change for His Kingdom.

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As Matthew 6:22-23 points out, it’s so easy for us to become distracted and to over-complicate our lives. Jesus knew this about us, which is why He broke it down to something as simple as our vision. He explained when we have a clear view of our end-goal (which for all of us, should be to become as much like Jesus as we can), our lives will unfold naturally, producing the best possible results.

While making goals for ourselves is admirable, the best pursuit is to live our lives imitating Jesus. We should all embrace Jesus’ instruction and keep our eyes fixed on Him every day, one day at a time, this year and every year of our lives. It really is that simple.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY CHRISTEN LIMBAUGH BLOOM

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5713475241001_5713481626001-vs Christen Limbaugh Bloom: Let God give you a new focus fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc Christen Limbaugh Bloom article 77608a85-53b7-5d07-81c2-93da8d31c536   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5713475241001_5713481626001-vs Christen Limbaugh Bloom: Let God give you a new focus fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc Christen Limbaugh Bloom article 77608a85-53b7-5d07-81c2-93da8d31c536

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Christen Limbaugh Bloom: In the decade ahead, become part of a legacy that matters

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The air buzzed with hype as the decade came to an end. Post after post revealed people’s fondest memories over the past 10 years and the goals they hope to achieve in the next 10. While every New Year comes with fresh ambitions, a new decade makes one think about goals on a larger scale; whereas New Year’s resolutions are mainly minor improvements, a decade-long dream is typically something a person hopes will become part of his or her lifelong legacy.

Modern culture’s focus on self has spilled over into our perception of legacy — it’s depicted in movies, ads and other forms of media as the personal success and lifetime achievements of individuals.

But the Bible’s depiction of legacy reaches far beyond any one person. As I re-read the story of Abraham this past week, I realized God’s design for human legacy totally shatters our small view of this world — and we should be setting our sights much higher.

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God chose Abraham — an elderly man with no children — to be the patriarch of His people. Though Abraham (then Abram) was in his late 80s at the time, God promised His descendants would be as numerous as the stars. But, most importantly, God promised that the entire earth would be blessed through Abraham’s descendants (Genesis 12).

RAVI ZACHARIAS, CHRISTIAN SCHOLAR, ON THE ‘TOUGHEST’ QUESTION FOR FAITH TODAY

Abraham and his wife Sarah had no idea how God’s plan would come to fruition, but they decided to put their trust in His promise. Because of their faith and willingness to be used by God, He made them part of the greatest legacy in history. Though it would take thousands of years, their family line would produce Jesus, who would die and save all of mankind from sin and death, fulfilling God’s promise to bless the entire earth through Abraham.

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I think many of us read stories like Abraham’s in the Bible and find them somewhat un-relatable. It’s hard to imagine God speaking to us the way He spoke to Abraham and other Old Testament figures.  But we have to keep in mind that God NEVER changes (Hebrews 13:8). The same God who spoke to Abraham in the desert thousands of years ago is the God who created you and me — and His work isn’t finished. He is still calling on His people to become part of His grand legacy.

Until Jesus comes back, we all have an opportunity to play a role in God’s greater plan. He created every human being with a unique purpose in mind for His plan. What you have is special, and using your talents and experiences to benefit God’s kingdom is the greatest calling there is.

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This life is but a vapor (James 4:14). Let’s kick off this new decade by dedicating ourselves to a legacy that will withstand the ultimate test of time. Let’s not just have our names written in the Book of Life, but let’s make ourselves available tools to keep the story moving forward.

It is never too late in life to become part of God’s story — Abraham is proof of that. Ask God how He would like to use you, and make yourself available and willing for His call.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY CHRISTEN LIMBAUGH BLOOM

Westlake Legal Group prayer-hands Christen Limbaugh Bloom: In the decade ahead, become part of a legacy that matters fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world/religion fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values/faith fox news fnc/opinion fnc Christen Limbaugh Bloom article 80f350d7-c23a-5674-8982-ba4d52b8f633   Westlake Legal Group prayer-hands Christen Limbaugh Bloom: In the decade ahead, become part of a legacy that matters fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world/religion fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values/faith fox news fnc/opinion fnc Christen Limbaugh Bloom article 80f350d7-c23a-5674-8982-ba4d52b8f633

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United Methodist Church announces proposal to split over LGBTQ rights

Leaders from the United Methodist Church reportedly announced a tentative plan Friday to split the church over differences on same-sex marriage and the inclusion of gay clergy.

The new conservative “Traditionalist Methodist” denomination wouldn’t allow gay marriage or gay clergy members, The New York Times reported.

The proposal was first signed in December after the “fundamental differences” within the church became irreconcilable.

“I’m actually really sad that we couldn’t build a bridge that could have provided a witness to the world of what unity amid diversity and disagreement could look like,” Methodist Bishop Karen Oliveto, the denomination’s first openly gay bishop, said.

UNITED METHODISTS EDGE TOWARD BREAKUP OVER LGBT POLICIES

In 2017, the Judicial Council, the church’s highest court, declared Oliveto’s consecration “was incompatible with church law.” She was, however, allowed to remain as the resident bishop of the Mountain Sky Conference, which covers churches in Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming and part of Idaho.

There are roughly 13 million church members around the world and about half of them are in the United States, according to The Times.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-91e70aae69f5433681773df374ed3e27 United Methodist Church announces proposal to split over LGBTQ rights fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 3ad80a86-5741-5606-b304-378b3f917039

In this April 19, 2019 file photo, a gay pride rainbow flag flies along with the U.S. flag in front of the Asbury United Methodist Church in Prairie Village, Kan. A new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll shows age, education level and religious affiliation matter greatly when it comes to Americans’ opinions on a prospective clergy member’s sexual orientation, gender, marital status or views on issues such as same-sex marriage or abortion  (AP)

UNITED METHODIST DELEGATES REJECT RECOGNIZING GAY MARRIAGE, THREATENING SPLIT IN CHURCH

The division, which has been brewing for years, came to an impasse last May when delegates in St. Louis voted 438-384 to ban gay marriage and the inclusion of gay clergy.

A majority of U.S.-based churches opposed the “Traditional Plan” but were outvoted by conservatives in the U.S., Africa and the Philippines.

Soon after, 16 church representatives determined breaking up the church was “the best means to resolve our differences, allowing each part of the church to remain true to its theological understanding,” Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of Louisiana said, according to the Times.

“There is a degree of heartbreak within me because I never thought we would reach this point,” New York Bishop Thomas Bickerton said. “However, we are at this point. The differences are irreconcilable. This is inevitable.”

Texas Bishop Scott J. Jones said the proposal has not yet been adopted.

“The Protocol itself says it was developed in service to the General Conference delegates who will decide on its adoption or amendment,” he said. “Other plans may well be considered as alternatives. Significant questions remain to be answered about the Protocol’s implementation. The Judicial Council will need to rule on its constitutionality.”

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He added that financial feasibility will also need to be considered before any split.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-b3111444492a49b4b1330a3fe4926748 United Methodist Church announces proposal to split over LGBTQ rights fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 3ad80a86-5741-5606-b304-378b3f917039   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-b3111444492a49b4b1330a3fe4926748 United Methodist Church announces proposal to split over LGBTQ rights fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 3ad80a86-5741-5606-b304-378b3f917039

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Trump tells evangelicals, ‘We have God on our side’ for 2020 election; hails end of Soleimani’s ‘bloody rampage’

President Trump told thousands of cheering evangelical Christians in Florida on Friday that he believes “we have God on our side” as he kicks off what he plans will be his re-election year.

The rally at a “megachurch” outside Miami came a day after the Pentagon confirmed Trump had ordered an airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, described as the Muslim country’s “shadow leader” who is responsible for the deaths of some 500 U.S. and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.

TRUMP NAME-CHECKS ‘SQUAD’ AT EVANGELICAL RALLY: ‘THEY HATE JEWISH PEOPLE’

“Let this be a warning to terrorists,” Trump told supporters at the King Jesus International Ministry church in West Kendall. “If you value your own life, you will not threaten the lives of our citizens.”

“Qassem Soleimani has been killed and his bloody rampage is now, forever gone,” he continued. “He was plotting attacks against Americans, but now we’ve ensured his atrocities have been stopped for good.”

Trump recounted how he ordered the “flawless” airstrike from his private Mar-a-Lago club and residence in Palm Beach to “terminate” the “depraved butcher,” who Trump claimed had been planning a “very major attack” in the region. Soleimani, as the top commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, orchestrated a New Year’s Eve siege carried out by Iranian-backed militias at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the State Department confirmed.

Westlake Legal Group Trump720 Trump tells evangelicals, 'We have God on our side' for 2020 election; hails end of Soleimani’s 'bloody rampage' fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc Danielle Wallace article 73031422-d50d-5ff3-9264-4b3e890a3b07

Faith leaders pray over President Donald Trump during an “Evangelicals for Trump Coalition Launch” at King Jesus International Ministry, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in Florida. (Associated Press)

The president’s speech came amid threats of retribution from Iran for the attack. Trump addressed a crowd of about 7,000 supporters who flooded into the megachurch — home to one of the largest majority-Hispanic congregations in the country, according to The Miami Herald.

Trump heads back Sunday to Washington, where he’ll soon face an impeachment trial in the Senate and double down on his re-election campaign. According to a recent exit poll by CNN/SSRS, eight out of every 10 white evangelical voters supported Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

“I really do believe we have God on our side … or there would have been no way that we could have won,” Trump told the crowd. “People say, ‘How do you win?’ You don’t have the media. You have so many things against you’ — and we win. So there has to be something.”

“I really do believe we have God on our side. … People say, ‘How do you win?’ You don’t have the media. You have so many things against you’ — and we win. So there has to be something.”

— President Trump

The president is courting Christian voters following a scathing December editorial in Christianity Today, the publication founded by the late Rev. Billy Graham. It questioned whether evangelicals could justify supporting Trump given his “immoral” shortcomings, including what the piece described as his use of presidential powers to persuade Ukraine to launch an investigation into his potential 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Graham’s son, the Rev. Franklin Graham, said on Twitter that his father would have been “disappointed” by the editorial. The late Graham’s granddaughter, Cissie Graham Lynch, spoke at Friday’s rally.

Christians “have never had a greater champion — not even close — than you have in the White House right now. Look at the record,” Trump told the crowd, referring to himself. “We’ve done things that nobody thought was possible. We’re not only defending our constitutional rights, we’re also defending religion itself, which is under siege.”

“In America, we don’t worship government. We worship God,” he continued. “Very soon, I’ll be taking action to safeguard students’ and teachers’ First Amendment rights to pray in our schools.”

“In America, we don’t worship government. We worship God. Very soon, I’ll be taking action to safeguard students’ and teachers’ First rights to pray in our schools.”

— President Trump

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But Trump’s efforts to woo Florida’s evangelical and Latino voters drew criticism from the Biden campaign, which accused the president of stoking “fear in Hispanics and immigrants in Florida, including many King Jesus International Ministry churchgoers.”

“Donald Trump is ringing in the new year with a desperate bid to cling to his base and a viable path to re-election,” Jackie Lee, a Biden campaign spokeswoman, said in a prepared statement.

The rally coincided with the launch of the “Evangelicals for Trump” group going into the 2020 election.  Also during his speech, Trump said his administration defends Christians and Jews from the radical left Democrats and condemns the socialism that he claims has ravaged Venezuela.

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Christianity Today editor who called for Trump’s removal is retiring Friday

Mark Galli, the editor-in-chief of Christianity Today who infuriated nearly 200 evangelical leaders by writing a December editorial calling for President Trump’s removal from office and describing the president as being “profoundly immoral,” is stepping down at the end of this week.

Galli confirmed his departure in a Twitter message on New Year’s Eve.

“Well, my retirement is a couple of days away,” Galli wrote. “Will be posting here more often now that I have more time on my hands. Well, given last week, maybe not.”

CHRISTIANITY TODAY CALLS FOR TRUMP’S REMOVAL FROM OFFICE FOLLOWING IMPEACHMENT

On Wednesday night, the magazine’s Twitter account also confirmed that Galli will be leaving, and wrote that his future plans include continuing a weekly newsletter.

“Our editor in chief for two more days,” the magazine posted, followed by a crying emoji.

“If you’re wanting to keep up with Mark after he retires, he will still be sending out his weekly newsletter each Friday,” CT added in a second message.

Galli’s Dec. 19 editorial, titled “Trump Should Be Removed From Office,” came one day after the House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against President Trump, making the nation’s 45th president the third in history to be impeached – behind Samuel Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. (Richard Nixon resigned in 1974, before the House could vote to impeach him.)

JIM DALY: CHRISTIANITY TODAY IS WRONG TO WANT TRUMP REMOVED — HERE’S THE EVANGELICAL ARGUMENT IN HIS FAVOR

Westlake Legal Group 7ac2ca2e-Galli Christianity Today editor who called for Trump’s removal is retiring Friday fox-news/us/religion/evangelical fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics fox news fnc/media fnc Dom Calicchio article a7f2894c-1d80-58e4-8627-479da55245af

Mark Galli is stepping down Friday as editor-in-chief of Christianity Today. (Facebook)

The Galli editorial, in a leading publication for the nation’s evangelical Christian community – and one that was founded by the late Rev. Billy Graham in 1956 – sparked an intense reaction, including from Graham’s son, the Rev. Franklin Graham.

“My father knew Donald Trump, believed in Donald Trump, and in this last election, he voted for Donald Trump,” the son of the late pastor – and president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association – told Fox News in December. “And if he were here today, I’m sure he would tell you that himself.”

“My father knew Donald Trump, believed in Donald Trump, and in this last election, he voted for Donald Trump. And if he were here today, I’m sure he would tell you that himself.”

— The Rev. Franklin Graham, son of the late Rev. Billy Graham

While many liberals hailed Galli, saying his decision to oppose Trump showed “courage,” nearly 200 evangelical leaders condemned what he had written, saying the anti-Trump editorial had “offensively questioned the spiritual integrity and Christian witness of tens-of-millions of believers who take seriously their civic and moral obligations.”

CHRISTIAN POST EDITOR RESIGNS OVER ‘TEAM TRUMP’ EDITORIAL

In his editorial, Galli invoked the mission of Billy Graham, to “help evangelical Christians interpret the news in a manner that reflects their faith.”

“We want CT to be a place that welcomes Christians from across the political spectrum, and reminds everyone that politics is not the end and purpose of our being,” Galli wrote. “That said, we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear — always, as Graham encouraged us, doing so with both conviction and love. We love and pray for our president, as we love and pray for leaders (as well as ordinary citizens) on both sides of the political aisle.”

Galli acknowledged that Democrats “have had it out for [Trump] from day one” and that the president “did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story” during the impeachment process.

However, Galli added, “the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”

Galli, 67, a native of California, had previously announced his departure plans in October.

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“I’ve been EIC for about seven years now,” he wrote in CT at the time, “and as it goes with many jobs, I think I finally understand what I should have been doing all along! It has been quite a ride for the ministry, economically and journalistically. Some definite lows, to be sure, and some wonderful highs. Aside from a strong sense of God’s call, what’s given me most joy is the people I have worked with — men and women who are passionate about their faith and dedicated to their work, and have a sense of humor to boot.”

Christianity Today CEO Dr. Timothy Dalrymple announced at the time that Galli’s successor will be Dr. Daniel Harrell, a longtime minister and author.

Fox News’ Caleb Parke, Frank Miles and Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this story.

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