Why millennials are ditching religion for witchcraft and astrology – MarketWatch

“When Coco Layne, a Brooklyn-based producer, meets someone new these days, the first question that comes up in conversation isn’t “Where do you live?” or “What do you do?” but “What’s your sign?”

“So many millennials read their horoscopes every day and believe them,” Layne, who is involved in a number of nonreligious spiritual practices, said. “It is a good reference point to identify and place people in the world.”

Interest in spirituality has been booming in recent years while interest in religion plummets, especially among millennials. The majority of Americans now believe it is not necessary to believe in God to have good morals, a study from Pew Research Center released Wednesday found. The percentage of people between the ages of 18 and 29 who “never doubt existence of God” fell from 81% in 2007 to 67% in 2012.

Meanwhile, more than half of young adults in the U.S. believe astrology is a science. compared to less than 8% of the Chinese public. The psychic services industry — which includes astrology, aura reading, mediumship, tarot-card reading and palmistry, among other metaphysical services — grew 2% between 2011 and 2016. It is now worth $2 billion annually, according to industry analysis firm IBIS World…”

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Is salvation by faith alone, or by faith plus works? | Got Questions?

“Question: “Is salvation by faith alone, or by faith plus works?”

Answer: This is perhaps the most important question in all of Christian theology. This question is the cause of the Reformation, the split between the Protestant churches and Catholic Church. This question is a key difference between biblical Christianity and most of the “Christian” cults. Is salvation by faith alone, or by faith plus works? Am I saved just by believing in Jesus, or do I have to believe in Jesus and do certain things?

The question of faith alone or faith plus works is made difficult by some hard-to-reconcile Bible passages. Compare Romans 3:28, 5:1 and Galatians 3:24 with James 2:24. Some see a difference between Paul (salvation is by faith alone) and James (salvation is by faith plus works). Paul dogmatically says that justification is by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), while James appears to be saying that justification is by faith plus works. This apparent problem is answered by examining what exactly James is talking about. James is refuting the belief that a person can have faith without producing any good works (James 2:17-18). James is emphasizing the point that genuine faith in Christ will produce a changed life and good works (James 2:20-26). James is not saying that justification is by faith plus works, but rather that a person who is truly justified by faith will have good works in his/her life. If a person claims to be a believer, but has no good works in his/her life, then he/she likely does not have genuine faith in Christ (James 2:14, 17, 20, 26).

Paul says the same thing in his writings. The good fruit believers should have in their lives is listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Immediately after telling us that we are saved by faith, not works (Ephesians 2:8-9), Paul informs us that we were created to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). Paul expects just as much of a changed life as James does: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). James and Paul do not disagree in their teaching regarding salvation. They approach the same subject from different perspectives. Paul simply emphasized that justification is by faith alone while James put emphasis on the fact that genuine faith in Christ produces good works.”

[Original Article HERE, posted in full under Fair Use for educational purposes]

How to Fulfill the Great Commission

Fulfilling the Great Commission = Making Disciples (declaring/teaching, baptizing, becoming like Jesus) — Matthew 28:19-20

>You don’t have to be perfect to make disciples of Jesus. So stop focusing on how sinful you are, and instead focus on how great, good and glorious Jesus is!

>You don’t have to know everything to make disciples of Jesus. So, stop focusing on how little you know or how afraid you are, and just be confident in God’s ability to work in you and through you!

Here’s what you HAVE to do to make disciples:

>BE A DISCIPLE OF JESUS YOURSELF: you need to be learning from Him, His words and His works/ways of life …from the example of a mature believers and from the Word. Embrace the changes in you that God will bring! Commit to learning the sayings of Jesus. Learn what he did in certain situations and why. Have a plan! If you need one, see a Pastor.

>BE REAL & RELATIONAL TO OTHERS: decide to build relationships and expand your life impact by:

—Pursuing your genuine interests and hobbies that involve others (ex. Groups, inviting others).

—Serving others in need within the community… not just with money donations but with time spent with others (ex. Teaching to read, tutoring; teaching a trade or life skill, lending tools and aid to those in emergency). If this requires joining a community service group, look to develop relationships with other members of that group too!

—Using your job or retirement from a career as a platform for meeting people.

—Opening your house for visitors and those in need

>AGREE TO LISTEN TO THE HOLY SPIRIT: when he prompts you or influences you to step out of your comfort zone, so that you speak the words of Jesus or do the works of Jesus, no matter the result or consequence. Living like Jesus must be mixed with speaking about Jesus. Pray to clearly recognize His promptings and influence on you. Commit ahead of time to giving into those promptings and influence.

>REALIZE DISCIPLESHIP IS NOT A PROGRAM OR SET OF FORMAL LESSONS: someone who is learning the words and works of Jesus from you is a disciple of Jesus. If the person is open to God’s influence through you, then they are a disciple.

>RECOGNIZE 2 KINDS OF DISCIPLES: there are believing disciples and not-yet believing disciples. The believing ones get baptized, and Jesus is patient with the not-yet believing disciples. (Ex. Peter, Doubting Thomas, all of the 12 Disciples; John 16:12)

Shortcut to Revival

The quickest way to renewing devoted love for Jesus (a.k.a. Revival) is to ask the Heavenly Father to show you His love.

“We love Him, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

This shortcut is true, because we cannot work up Love for God. We can only be ready to receive it. Revival is a miracle of God renewing our love for Him when we have let the world push out love for God from our hearts.

There have been many times I have all but given up hope, due to how far I stray and how apathetic my heart has become; but then I hear the Holy Spirit within, saying, “Ask Me to show you how much you are loved!”

Those, who ask God for a fresh revelation of His love and then expectantly look to notice it, will find their hearts once again fully devoted to the great goodness and the majesty of Jesus!

“…this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (Romans 5:5)

“and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19)