Archive for the ‘In The News’ Category

Myth: There Isn’t Much We Can Do

So maybe you have been hearing and seeing of the news now 2 weeks after the earthquake in Haiti and you’ve thought “I should do something.  I should send money.  I should donate something.”  Maybe you have spoken about it with someone close to you about the best way you could help.  But then maybe life got busy again for you.  Maybe your desire to think-through the best way to help has led you to do nothing because you’re just not sure if it will do any good.  Afterall, you can’t give enough to make the pain all go away – so then why do anything at all?

Here’s why that is problematic – I know someone who can give $100 to help people in Haiti and I know 20 people who can give $5 to help people in Haiti.  The one who has $100 really believes that their gift can help – so they give.  The 20 people with $5 don’t think that their gift can make a dent in the huge number of need – so they don’t give.  So rather than $200 going to help from 21 people giving, only $100 gets sent and 20 people buy a Venti Carmel Machiato at Starbucks that’s gone in 30mins.

I’ll be honest with you – I don’t know the best place for you to give.  Perhaps some Christian organizations help in relief efforts and do so with a heart of Christ – some governmental or non-profit organizations have more resources to get to where the greatest needs are.  I just wanted to highlight the fact that many of us have thought about doing something but then done nothing because the little we could do we thought wouldn’t help.  Below are a few articles that might help ease your concerns and enlighten us to what is going on in light of people helping:

Disaster Relief Myths: Busted

7 Myths of Disaster Relief

Christianity Today’s Haiti Help Blog

7 year old raises $200,000

Why not take some time today and pray about what you can and should do to help – rather than almost giving, which is actually not giving. And take some time today to pray for the people who live in Haiti – many of them devoted to the Christ – who have lost loved ones, lost homes that they would turn their eyes to the One who seeks the lost.  How wonderful it would be if Christians would be known as the most generous and compassionate people on earth.

James 1:27 – Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

For those of you who have encouragment on how to help, please leave a comment below.

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Evangelists Target Unreligious New England

CBS News: Evangelists Target Unreligious New England

In New England, we battle the hard hearts of skeptics while enjoy the open-mindedness of those searching.  Engaging our neighbors and communities is important – and there is a way to do it right.  Forget the marketing strategies or membership drives, get into conversations with the people you’re around.  I think that the challenge facing New England in regards to evangelism and outreach is not in the people who need the gospel, its found in the people who supposedly don’t.

Best line of the article – “That means outreach must be deliberate and personal.” And those reaching out need to move out of the comfort of our church building’s four walls and away from the safety have having our pastors teach those who don’t know the gospel.

Maybe if we stop the excuses – fear, busy-ness, selfishness, ignorance, newness, etc – and seek the LORD’s help, there can be some change.  I don’t know if there is going to be a revival in New England widespread (that’d be nice), but I know that there are people hurting and broken and self-deceived and searching and praying right in this city.  God is waiting for some willing hands and hearts.

There is no one like our God.  He’ll help us.

Letterman & The Cross & Being Exposed

Thanks to The Resurgence (Mark Driscoll’s blog) for this video.

I never thought about this point – but it is a great one.  I heard all of the news about the scandal & extortion Letterman was involved in, but I never though about how he must have felt to deal with all of this and then to deal with it publicly as he did.  First he had to deal with the shame of people finding out who were closest to him, his wife, son, family, co-workers.  Then it was going to spread to the entire nation.  I know he disclosed the situation in a very public and straight forward way, but in that I lost the fact that what was secret (and intended to be that) was now disclosed.

That’s something that everyone will do at some point – did you realize that?  We get to choose when that will be though.  We either come clean now before the LORD and allow Him to forgive us, cleanse us and remove our sin from us, or it is brought to light on judgment day.

Daniel 12:2 – Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

Romans 2:16 – “…according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.”

Luke 8:17 – For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.

“No, Mr. President”

John Piper speaks candidly.  What do you think?

Election Day Thoughts

So here we are.  After a two year election season in the United States, it all comes down to today as millions across the US head to the polls to vote for their choice for President and Vice-President.  It has been a fascinating and historic campaign on all sides.  People on all sides have been passionate and interested like no other election in my lifetime.  So as the day begins, here are some thoughts:

1 – No matter who wins, Christians should pray.

When George W. Bush was elected President, Christians rallied around him.  He professed Christianity and said he prayed and looked to God for direction.  Presidential prayer teams were formed to pray daily for the President.  Frequently in churches across the nation prayers were made for President Bush and his family – that God would bless him, help him, and guide him.  In light of this I have been thinking lately – had Al Gore won in 2000, would all of this had happened still?  It should have – perhaps even more.  But it should have nonetheless.  So whether Obama or McCain wins this year – Christians must pray.

I Timothy 2:1-3 – First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior

2 – No matter who wins, the Church is united.

Something that is unique about no other group in the world is found in the Church of God.  From Pentecost until now, people from all races, nations, and faces have united under the Lordship of Jesus.  While partisanship exists outside in the world, it should not and cannot exist within the body of Christ.  Historically we know that the church Jesus began brought together people once divided – Jews and Gentiles, men and women, freeman and slaves, young and old, and black and white.  To have division based on republican and democratic ideas would be breaking the unity that Jesus was determined to establish.  Sure we have differing opinions on various things currently going on in the world, but those things must become secondary to our unification under Christ.  The church should be the place in this world where outsiders can look in and see people from all backgrounds, races, and political leanings coming together united as citizens of something entirely different and new – the coming Kingdom of God.

Galatians 3:28-29 – There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

3 – No matter who wins, God is sovereign

Finally, we cannot forget who is ultimately the king of the universe.  God is in charge.  Though nations and rulers will rise and fall, the LORD rules from the heavens.  Perhaps you will find out that “your choice” for ruler of the United States does not win when the results finally come in, you must trust that the LORD is still on the throne.  And if you hear that “your choice” is elected tomorrow, you must not look to them as your savior or the one who will be your help.  Those characteristics belong to God alone.  Though we live in the United States, the UK, or elsewhere, we long for the city whose builder and maker is God, our true home.  Its important for that not to be confused amidst the whirlwind of this latest election.  We are in need of Jesus to be our President and King as much today as we will tomorrow.

Daniel 7:13-14, 27 – I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven one like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him.  And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed…Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.

So, in light of all of this, perhaps we can use today and the next few months of transition until the inauguration and into the next administration to tell the world who it is we really want to rule and lead the world – Jesus the Messiah!  Use this election as an opportunity to preach the gospel about God’s coming rule and reign in righteousness and peace.  May that day come quickly!

Christians Around The World And In The United States

The following stories caught my attention this past week – 

Christians face growing attacks in eastern India

U.N. rushes aid to Iraqi Christian refugees

Taliban kill Christian aid worker in Kabul

We have three sobering articles about Christians living in dangerous situations and living under the threat of death simply for wanting to live for Christ amidst others who don’t want this.  They are faced daily with the decision to choose to follow their Lord and risk their lives or compromise and live another day.  I recently have been speaking with a sister in India who is afraid of the attacks reported on in the first article knowing that the terror could strike in the park, in the market, or other places that she goes every day.  Hearing these stories makes me really think about the life I live now and the things I do with my time.

In light of that, lets look at the final related news story that caught my eye, back in the United States –

Christian right intensifies attacks on Obama.

I don’t know, I guess it was sobering to read those headlines in the rest of the world and then come back to the place I live and see that what is reported of Christians here is their involvement in partisan politics.  Now certainly arguments can be made for the significance of the current election, which candidate is better or worse, how Christians should be involved in this process or not, but that’s not my intention.

My desire is to get us to consider what we all are doing with the freedom we have here and now.  I imagine some of our brothers and sisters would do great things if they lived in the time we currently do.  How would Paul use the Internet to spread the gospel?  How would Phillip use the telephone to speak to people around the world?  How would Peter use a car to travel and speak to encourage the churches?  What would Michael Servetus do with the Xerox machine?  What would the missionaries around the world risking their lives to spread the word do in a nation where their desire to speak the gospel is protected by that nation’s laws?

These thoughts turn my attention to my own life, choices, and routine.  American Christians have an opportunity to get the gospel out like few of our brothers and sisters have had in history.  What am I doing with that chance?  

The day is coming where it will be harder to do the things we are commanded by our Lord in freedom and without persecution – why am I waiting for that day?  Perhaps it will be too late by then.  As a soldier does not wait for wartime to train for war, but uses the time of peace to prepare for war, we too must take advantage of the time and place we live in now to do the things of God.  

Perhaps with the nation’s thoughts and attention turned towards the presidential election, we could turn our thoughts to what it is we as a church can do for the Lord in the next year that we have not done in the last.  Are there promises we have made that are not yet fulfilled?  Is there a need for change in our own lives, families, churches, and communities that no politician can make?  Let’s take advantage of the time and place we live – afterall, God is worthy of the sacrifice of our lives now and forever more.  Whether in freedom or under persecution, in the free land of the United States or in most difficult place on the earth may the people of God live for His glorification.

I Peter 5:8-20 – Be of sober spirit, be on the alert Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

The Green Bible

The Green Bible

Here is a description:

From greenletterbible.comThe Green Bible will equip and encourage people to see God’s vision for creation and help them engage in the work of healing and sustaining it. With over 1,000 references to the earth in the Bible, compared to 490 references to heaven and 530 references to love, the Bible carries a powerful message for the earth.

The Green Bible is the definitive movement Bible that shows that God is green and how we can care for and protect God’s creation.

Featuring:

Green-Letter Edition: Verses and passages that speak to God’s care for creation highlighted in green

  • Foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  • Essays by Brian McLaren, Cal DeWitt, Barbara Brown Taylor, Pope John Paul II, Ellen Davis, N. T. Wright, Ellen Bernstein, Matthew Sleeth, James Jones, and Gordon Aeschliman
  • Inspirational quotes from Christian teachings throughout the ages
  • A green Bible topical index
  • A personal green Bible trail study guide
  • An appendix with information on further reading, how to get involved, and practical steps to take
  • Recycled paper, using soy-based ink with a cotton/linen cover

From Amazon.comThe Green Biblewill equip and encourage you to see God’s vision for creation and help you engage in the work of healing and sustaining it. This first Bible of its kind includes inspirational essays from key leaders such as N. T. Wright, Barbara Brown Taylor, Brian McLaren, Matthew Sleeth, Pope John Paul II, and Wendell Berry. As you read the scriptures anew, The Green Bible will help you see that caring for the earth is not only a calling, but a lifestyle.

And for a look inside, click here.

So, what do you think of that?