in the news

“In the News” brings together some of the most interesting content I’ve found online, as it pertains to the church and the people God has called us to reach. Keep in mind, I don’t endorse or agree with everything you’ll see included in the these articles but I find them interesting and worth the read or watch.  Take some time to check out the articles and let me know what you think.

Every Day in Cambodia

Our Executive Pastor recently announced that he and his wife would be moving to Cambodia in January. This came as a shock to many people but to most of us that know his heart we were not surprised what so ever.  One of the hints was when Pastor Pete asked us to watch “Every day in Cambodia”

The Freedom Project documentary, “Every Day in Cambodia”, first broadcast last year, airs again this weekend. The film, presented by actress Mira Sorvino, documents the appalling plight of children sold into sex slavery, sometimes by their own mothers, and the people fighting to stop the practice.

Obama signed Executive Order Protecting LGBT People From Employment Discrimination; No Religious Exemption

The order bars federal contractors from discriminating against their employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and protects federal employees from discrimination based on their gender identity.

Lesbian sues Kansas City Catholic Diocese

Colleen Simon was fired from her job a Catholic food pantry at St. Francis Xavier Parish by a Roman Catholic diocese in Kansas City, MO over marrying her partner in Iowa. She has filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City–St. Joseph and its bishop, the Rev. Robert Finn.

Ken Ham Slams NASA Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Creation Museum CEO Ken Ham has criticized NASA’s efforts to search for extraterrestrial life, arguing that God has not created life anywhere outside the Earth, and that the search for such life is driven by “man’s rebellion.” “I’m shocked at the countless hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent over the years in the desperate and fruitless search for extraterrestrial life,” Ham wrote in a blog post for Answers in Genesis on Sunday.

SCOTUS blocks Obama Care contraception mandate for Wheaton

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Wheaton College doesn’t have to abide by the Obamacare contraceptive coverage requirement as long as the Christian school tells the Obama administration that it has a religious objection to providing birth control to its employees and students.

Convert, Pay Tax, Or Die, Islamic State Warns Christians

Islamist insurgents have issued an ultimatum to northern Iraq’s dwindling Christian population to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy or face death, according to a statement distributed in the militant-controlled city of Mosul.

Anglican Church Accepts woman Bishops

Roman Catholic Church leaders have criticized the Church of England’s historic vote to allow women to serve as bishops earlier this week, arguing that such a move is an “obstacle” to Christian unity.

Patriotism and the Church

Having lived my life on two sides of the same [Christian] track I have seen a lot of different things, especially when it comes to views of this country.  Growing up in a historic African American context I heard much about the United States but not much around National holidays and an unintentional differentiation between.  Now that I am in a mostly Caucasian context in the Midwest there is a major ramping up towards National holidays and an unintended conflation of church and state.  A great example of this comes around every 4th of July.  I have to admit I become uncomfortable in both context for the lack of balance and [right] understanding of the day.  My wife and I have had these discussions for years and they basically come to the conclusion that the differences in our culture backgrounds let us view it differently.  I have wondered for years how to balance this tension and recently I read an article that helped me better understand my own inner angst.  In an article written by Trevin Wax 4 reasons “Why Younger Evangelicals May Feel Uneasy In A Patriotic Church Service and offers many ways forward.  Here are his reasons (which resonate so much with me):

1.      Extreme Experiences in the Past

Part of the unease may come from experiencing a sloppy melding of “church” and “nation” in the past…

2.      Decreasing Patriotism among Millennials

Part of the unease may be rooted in a decrease in patriotism…

3.      Shifting Cultural Currents

Younger Evangelicals have a different approach to political engagement, and speaking within the context of generational shifts.

“Older Southern Baptists are more likely to see the U.S. as Israel. Younger Southern Baptists are more likely to see the U.S. as Babylon.”

4.      Failure to Fully Appreciate Time and Place

Some younger evangelicals see any patriotic expression as a compromise with worldly power. Their approach is to take the flag out of the sanctuary, never sing a patriotic song, and never mention a patriotic holiday.

 

I know that I am not alone on this (or maybe I am) but I would love to know your thoughts on the church and patriotism.  Does Trevin get this wrong?  Is there something else we can do? How do we balance this out?

Comment below…

Leading from burden

One of my fears in life and ministry is that I don’t want to be bothered by God; I want things to come easy for me, for the dots to always connect and for the story to always have a happy ending.  Am I alone in this?

The problem I have is as I read the Scriptures the more I see that the visions that resulted in the biggest impact were the ones that were the most disturbing to the people who received them.  They pushed them WAY outside of their comfort zones, placed them in situations that were not favorable, asked much more than they could have imagined…

  • Moses was shown that a nation was enslaved and for 40 years he dedicated himself to God’s vision.
  • Nehemiah was broken that the walls had been torn down in Jerusalem and he established a plan and relentlessly followed through on all that God had put in his heart.
  • Esther was burdened that her people were going to be destroyed and she placed personal preference and comfort aside and risked her life in order to do what was right.
  • The prophets in the OT were crushed that people were living in rebellion against the voice of the Lord and were willing to be unpopular so that His truth could be proclaimed.
  • Paul was troubled that religion was trumping a relationship with God…and ultimately gave his life for the spreading of the message that Jesus, not religion, saves.

Great servant-leaders are the ones who are willing to allow God to break them, to bother them to make His vision so personal that they don’t just think about it, they live it and feel it.  We are not called to seek comfort, affirmation from others, convenience, popularity, personal preferences or safety.  I am beginning to praying that God will help me to continue to shepherd out of a burden the He places rather than boredom or obligation.  I’m called to be broken over the things that break HIS heart and I wonder how much I actually am.  What about you?

How’s Your Physical Health—REALLY?

A lot of pastors are fat, including ME.  The other day I stepped on the scales and was promptly mortified with round mass of man I have become.  This is sad because a pastor that refuses to address his weight is hypocritical.  I will often tell people to have “self control” when it comes to sex before marriage or have “self control” when it comes to smoking…but I can’t seem to practice “self control” in a buffet line.  In Baptist world, the one I am most familiar with, many of the pastors have a problem with people drinking alcohol but they would NEVER speak against someone eating too many biscuits.  There is even a inside joke of “Baptist Butts” to refer to the oversized nature of our posteriors in our churches.  Statistics prove that way more people die every year due to obesity or obesity related (and preventable disorders) than alcohol yet the SBC remains silent on the subject and it’s literally killing us.

Here’s the deal, I am not comfortable telling you how much I currently weight but please know it is embarrassing and reflects my lack of discipline in this area of my life and no matter how hard I pray the fat would not go away (trust me I’ve tried).  I have realized my weight was a spiritual issue and I have to do something about it so I am letting the world know that I’m doing the following and you have permission to keep me accountable:

  • I am beginning to exercise at least 30 minutes at least 6 days a week.  I don not have the income to purchase a gym membership but last year I found the time and space to run 3 times a week and I know how to add 3 more workouts, I just need to do it.
  • I am cutting out ALL soft drinks those things (which I don’t drink all that often) alone were responsible for hundreds of extra calories a day that I did not need.
  • I will quit ALL snacking after 6:00 at night.
  • I will begin eating healthier.  This will be hard as I am always out eating and hosting people but I have to learn that if I “eat clean” most of the time then I can eat whatever I want some of the time.  I love salads salads and veggies and I can cut way back on the carbohydrates.

Our bodies are supposed to be a temple fro the Holy Spirit to reside and I an verging on a mega church and  need to downsize. If you think I am being tough on this one it is because I am.  I know how hard it is to take control back of this area, I know how if feels to struggle with this and I know what it is like to overcome, I have done it before.

So how’s your physical health?  Would you want to join me on this journey?  Let me know your thoughts below

landing the plane

Almost 2 years ago I announced that our family would be leaving the great city of Kansas City and moving 2 hours east to Jefferson City.  Quickly my time hear is coming to a close as the residency has moved into the dreaded interviewing stage.  Recently, I was invited to step into a process with the Rock Church’s Soulard campus.  Overall, our time there was great and as we continue to pray through this process I wanted to share the sermon that I preached.  This is not the quality of video or audio but hopefully you are able to enjoy God’s word.  The title of this sermon is “Sign or Savior” and was based out of John 4:43 – 54.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did proclaiming it.

Video streaming by Ustream

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