Category Archives: Current Events

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…

Train wreck

As I sat in my “Introduction to Preaching” at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Rev. Dr. Charles Briscoe asked a question I’ll never forget “Which one of you want to be a preacher?”  Honestly, it seemed innocent enough so I, along with everyone in the class, raised my hand.  Dr. Briscoe chose myself and 9 others and made these statements, “I want the 7 of you to raise your hands.”

He then said pointing at us, “you will fall in moral failure.”  “

Another one of you raise your hand, you, you will fail because of financial impropriety.”

At this point we are all nervous, “Next one, raise your hand”, he did slowly, “you will either burn out or give up on ministry.”

Then he turned to the class and dropped this bomb, “Statistically 1 out of 10 of you (that’s only 10% for those of you counting) will be in ministry after 20 years.”

We were in stunned silence until he said “Now, which one of you still want to be a preacher?”

Dr. Briscoe then began telling us about the many ministers that he had walked with as a part of a ministry called Pastor Serve

“PastorServe is both a crisis response team and a disaster prevention team for the Kingdom… We provide support, direction, coaching and consultation on navigating conflict and crisis – confidentially.  More importantly, we can help ministry leaders, their family or their Church proactively preempt the pain and suffering that often follows a crisis.”

That day has stuck with me and never so much as the day as I was called into an urgent meeting at the church I was a new staff member at.  When I walked upstairs, turned the corner and there he was.  Immediately, I knew what we were about to hear and I was crushed but I didn’t want to admit it.  My Pastor, who showed me the Gospel, baptized me, challenged me, helped identify my call to ministry, encouraged me and so much more, had admitted to being in an affair.  If you talk to my wife and me we refer to this part of our life as “the train wreck”.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time I heard this speech and I’m starting to realize that will not be my last.  My heart broke as I opened up twitter today and saw that Pastor Bob Coy had resigned because of moral failure.  My heart broke as I realized Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale was just involved in her own train wreck.

Pastor Bob was another man instrumental in my entering the ministry.  I’ll never forget telling my wife that I was not worthy to stand in the pulpit and preach God’s word.  She gave me a cassette tape and I listened to his testimony and realized that if God could use him He would have no problem using me. Pastor Bob is truly gifted, and God has truly used him and by His grace He will still use him.  I can’t imagine the heartbreak and confusion that is happening in the lives of those who are close to him. I am particularly praying for him and his family and the church.  While it will be tough and painful for all parties involved, the church and the Coys will get through it, God will reign, people will grow, and lives will continue to be transformed.

In the wake of this crisis I wanted to offer some things (some of which I’ve  learned from other pastors) that will hopefully help you if you ever find yourself in the middle of a crisis like this:

  1. Stay away from media:  Do not search the Internet and look for all the details about Bob Coy, but to scour your own life and “consider ourselves lest we also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1) We now know enough. It’s bad. We need to avoid our natural tendencies to want to know more about the situation than what the church and the Coy family chooses to release. And, hopefully that will be minimal. More information only stirs more false information and broadens the damage.
  2. Bob Coy (and your pastor) can be restored: It will depend on his brokenness, humility, willingness to be completely transparent to those who need to know, and his acceptance of the grace of God but he can be restored.  If God used Moses, David, Noah, Jacob and so many others as Biblical examples, He can again use what is sinful for eventual good.
  3. Every pastor (even yours) is susceptible:  Stand guard. If we ever believe we are above temptation we have opened the door for the enemy’s plan to be effective.  No one wakes up and thinks about destroying their personal life and ministry. It happens gradually over time. The time to build our systems of accountability, support and protection is always now.
  4. This does not negate Bob Coy’s teaching:  I remember the decision to take down my pastor’s sermons from the web and I remember hearing people wondering what it means from all the things they learned under him. Under both men there are thousands who have been positively shaped by the teaching of those men and even more so in the case of Bob Coy.  Remember this, if the person was teaching truth, God’s Spirit is the ultimate teacher and that doesn’t change with this failure.
  5. [We] Do not shoot the wounded:  I am not sure why we have to say his but In this time Christians tend to become self-righteous and look down those who sin differently than we or have been in caught in the same sin.“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” – 1 John 1:8-2:2
  6. Christ and His church will survive:  The gates of Hell shall not prevail. Jesus promised this.  When it comes to popular pastors and teachers, many of us put them on pedestals on which they should not to be. While leaders are held to a high standard (1 Timothy 3:1-7;Titus 1:7-9), they are not to be looked upon as idols or “stars”. We all have our favorite teachers, I’m as guilty as the next man, but we must look beyond any pastor and keep our eyes on Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith and leader of the church. No man went to the cross for your sin except for Jesus Christ.

“I am Black and I am Gay…”


… was the statement made by Jason Collins a gay NBA player through Sports illustrated.  The news quickly turned from Tim Tebow’s release to the impact of this and it’s implications in today’s sports. Honestly, I did not really plan to comment, but that all changed after watching Chris Broussard’s commentary for ESPN (please see the full interview above).

Yesterday, after leaving work I was made aware of ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” and their discussion between two sportswriters: the [openly gay Christian] L.Z. Granderson and [straight Christian] Chris Broussard.  The long and short of it is this, Jason Collins still claims to be a Christian even though he is openly gay. ESPN asked Broussard to comment on Collins’ claim that one can be both gay and Christian. Broussard answered the question politely and boldly, and he did so as a Christian here he is in his own words:

Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly, like premarital sex between heterosexuals. If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits. It says that, you know, that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, whatever it maybe, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the bible would characterize them as a Christian.

Depending on what side of the debate you find yourself I am sure you know what came next. After Broussard gave is his opinion (which he was asked for), there was an immediate backlash across the internet. Many in the press and on social medai called Broussard’s words “hateful”, while the President decided to call him and congratulate him for “his bravery”.  Even ESPN issued a statement saying that it regretted the distraction from Jason Collins’ announcement. I think the criticism of Broussard is completely unwarranted.  I want to clarify Broussard did not volunteer these remarks. He was asked by ESPN to comment on Jason Collins’ claim to be a Christian in the context of a [respectful] discussion on the subject and he did.  So I would like to add my “amen” to what Chris Broussard had to say. Not that he knows or even cares what I think but this is a conversation that needs to happen and he skillfully defended the faith in a forum that many would falter in, and it was a beautiful thing.

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A quick note to those who are reading this post who may not be Christian,

The Bible does NOT single-out homosexuality as the worst sin, nor does it permit mistreatment of homosexuals and I am not in anyway advocating either of those things here.  The Bible does, however, hold forth a stringent standard of sexual morality that we all  fall short of (e.g., Matt. 5:28), I being the chief among the sinners.  That means that all of us are sinners and that all of us are in desperate need of a Savior.

The good news is that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, both heterosexual and homosexual. He died on the cross and took upon Himself the punishment that we deserved. Then God raised Him from the dead three days later, and He is right now seated at the right hand of God. Now anyone can receive forgiveness and eternal life if they would but repent from their sin and believe in Christ. God’s arm is not too short to save (Isaiah 59:1), and if you would repent and believe, they would reach you as well.

 

What are your thoughts on Broussard’s comments?

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