Blog Archives

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.

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What do we do?

I have to admit that when it comes to the conflicts over seas I am tired.  Tired of being the “police of the world”, tired of “spreading peace” and tired of fighting for the wrong kingdom .  Yet over the last week I’ve wondered “What should we [as Christ followers] do in this world”?

Right now it seems like it is open season on our Christian brothers around the world.

  • Seventy-eight Christians were slaughtered Sunday by twin suicide bombers at a historic church in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.
  • Less than 24 hours earlier a group of militants (some allegedly from the U.S,) murdered at least 68 workers and shoppers at a mall in Kenya, allegedly shouting for Muslims to get out of the way so they could specifically kill Christians.
  • Coptic Christians in Egypt also have been targeted recently by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Christians in large numbers have left their ancient enclaves in Iraq and the West Bank after churches there were attacked or Christians were threatened.
  • In late May, International Christian Concern, an evangelical ministry to the persecuted church, released to Christianity Today an anonymous open letter from a “trusted Syrian source” that explains why many Syrian Christians support Assad’s regime.

Many Middle eastern Christians feel that the government was bad [under the former regime], but they were at least safe.  After researching what has happened in historic churches in places like Aleppo and Homs I know that we must do something but the question in my mind is what?  Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan of the Syrian Catholic church in Damascus said in May that Christians are so frustrated with Western policy, which he believes is fomenting Islamic radicalism and anti-Christian hatred, that they may give up on the West altogether.

“I believe there will be a time coming when Christians of the Middle East will no longer look to the West for support and perhaps to better strengthen their roots with the Eastern culture and civilization … [to] Russia, to India, to China,” he said.

So in light of this [and many other things] I wonder, [as Western Christians] what do we do?

I’m really looking forward to your comments and ideas.

We are fighting for the wrong kingdom!

“It frustrates me how church people discern truth using their politics instead of their Bibles, and it frustrates me that they don’t know the are doing it.”

– Reverend Dr. Derrick Lynch, Blue Valley Baptist Church

As an American and also as an evangelical Christian, I can hardly bear to watch this nightmare unfolding. It’s bad for Christianity, heck it’s bad for America. Here is my take on the sorry spectacle of Christian politics — and how to fix it.

Politicians continue to use and abuse the language and symbols of Christian faith in order to win political support. They speak of God, Jesus, Christian faith and Christian values. They bow their heads in prayer at a million chicken dinners. Then Christian voters — perhaps flattered, perhaps reassured — think that these evocations of Christian symbols and terms actually mean something. Living in the Midwest I I see and hear this kind of foolishness daily. This version of Christian politics is inherently corrupting to Christian faith, ethics and witness. It confuses the message of Christianity with that of the politician of the moment. I’m not sure about your baptism but I do not remember getting handed a card to a particular political party. This conflation damages the moral witness of Christians in culture, it makes it harder for millions to even consider the claims of historic Christian faith. It drives many away from God altogether. Don’t believe me? Let me give you an example.
The whole Obama rodeo clown debacle is repugnant. Some people at the fair see the rodeo incident in which a ringleader taunted a clown wearing a mask of President Obama, played with his lips as a bull charged after him was neither racist nor disrespectful. The hooting and hollering from the crowd that night was because of a fundamental dislike of the president. Immediately we had “Christians” on the Left and Right claiming a foul and I do not want to get into the details but there are somethings I want to point out:
  1. “… but they did it to President Bush”. Again, I don’t know about you but my kids would get into trouble for making an asinine excuse like this.
  2. “[Political Party] is just the lesser of two evils”. Just remember that you are still advocating for evil.
  3. “[Political Party] is closer to my values”. Yes, and they are trying to setup there own [Political] kingdoms that compete with God’s.
Here is a wake-up call:
  • Rush Limbaugh hates Jesus.
  • Sean Hannity hates Jesus.
  • Rachel Maddow hates Jesus.
  • Mark Levin hates Jesus.
  • Kieth Olbermann hates Jesus.
  • Piers Morgan hates Jesus.
  • Anderson Cooper hates Jesus
  • Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR and whomever else I missed all hates Jesus.
  • Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and [fill in your political party if it was not mentioned] parties are ALL antithetical to the Kingdom of God.

I know you agreed with some of the list and others you disagreed but I want to ask you this, What kingdom are they fighting for? When you listen to them talk/ advocate for their position who are they talking about? A Political party, an ideology, or Christ? Better yet if someone were to listen to you talk/ advocate who would they say you are talking about? Unfortunately, we have sold out to these fiefdoms while the Kingdom of God (you know the one that Christ died in establishing) loses ground. Do not allow your voice to be co-opted by your allegiance to an earthly kingdom or party. We have prostituted ourselves out so much that the outside world does not know the difference between Christ many political parties and that is a shame.

We are fighting for the wrong kingdom, let’s start fighting for the right one because all of the other ones are just [really] ghetto idols. It’s not that much different than when my son puts on my shoes and marches around the house trying to be me. Though its cute, he is a far cry from filling the shoes he’s trying so hard to handle.

“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.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

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?

A Marathon Bombing, the Broken World, and Our Maranatha Hope

After yesterdays senseless tragedy I once again found myself trying to put into words what my heart was feeling, there seems to be a lot of that lately.  Once again, the trolls came out of the wood work to claim conspiracy, Obama, our lack of repentance, economic faculties, etc.   The truth is so much more simple than any of us want it to be, creation is broken.  While writing a friend of mine sent me this article by Ed Stetzer and instead of trying to outsmart everyone else I just commend this one to you.

Today is another sad day– another tragedy. It will likely not be the last, regrettably. On days like these, commentators will ask “where was God in this?” or “why would God let something like this happen?” There are no easy answers to those questions. And while we may not be offered answers, we are offered hope and a promise in the midst of the brokenness.

Look around. Our world is broken. I’m not talking about the “world” in terms of nature (although creation, too, bears the marks of sin’s blemish and decay). I’m talking about the “world” comprised of the people, structures, and systems that make up society– the moral patterns, beliefs, and behaviors that result in things like unfair business practices, racism, extreme poverty, dishonest government, dirty politics, family breakdown, cheating, stealing, oppression of the weak, and so many other distressors and defilers.

Of course, tragedy is daily living in much of the world. Churches are bombed regularly in Nigeria; sexual violence trafficking is real and growingand poverty is deep and pervasive. The world is broken. Sinfulness impacts everything.

Yet, we are reminded on days like this, our hope is in a new kingdom.

A kingdom reigned by a returning King.

A kingdom with no more terrorist threats or bombings. No more thoughts of death to keep us up at night.

How could there be, since there won’t be any more “night” to experience– absolutely nothing to make us think back on a life that was so regularly troubled by fear, anger, bitterness, anxiety, and lingering doubts? They’re all gone. All the time.

Keep all of this in mind.

Read about it and meditate on it often.

The Kingdom has come because the King has come, but it is not yet fully here. That is why we pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Because the kingdom is not yet fully here and complete– and the world is not yet, well, right.

So, we remember the “not yet” reality we are here to model and live. We live as agents of God’s kingdom, perhaps some ministering today in Boston, and certainly praying where we are.

The current state of life on this planet sure has a lot of brokenness. You’re right to be dissatisfied with it. But it’s not enough for Christians merely to recognize that the world isn’t what it ought to be and that people are suffering in ways they shouldn’t have to suffer. Our sorrow and indignation must lead us into action that subverts the brokenness that is real and present right now. We work to make this world more as God would intend it to be– with justice, peace, and more.

So we pray for His Kingdom to come, “on earth as it is in heaven.” Yet, it does not fully come until Jesus returns to set all things right. We pray for that day to come soon, particularly on days of tragedy.

There is just one use in the New Testament of the Aramaic word phrase, “Maranatha. Paul writes, “Maranatha that is, Lord, come!” (1 Corinthians 16:22). Most translate it as a cry for King Jesus to come soon. Yet, that one word has become a cry for Christians in pain, persecution, and much more.

This marathon tragedy drives us again to our Maranatha cry– “come quickly, Lord” and set things right.

In the meantime, may we live as agents of your kingdom– showing and sharing the love of Jesus– to a broken and lost world. But, days like these make us long for that Day, where the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of our God and King.

We pray “maranatha” today– and rightly so.

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