America finds itself in a moment where, culturally and historically, we are having conversations about the value of human life that have serious and long reaching consequences. I spent several hours recently following the reactions to the recent events in Ferguson, MO and New York City and I was drawn to a hashtag being used on social media. It simply said #BlackLivesMatter - and the comments that it generated ranged from impassioned to angry to hopeful. Soon after, another hashtag appeared that generated even more conversation - #AllLivesMatter
As I was reading and praying for our nation at this critical moment, thinking that truly, all lives should matter, I reflected back on my own life. I just turned 42 years old. I was born in 1972 to a 15 year old girl. She had no husband or boyfriend, no job or family support, and no real hope of caring for me. But she valued human life, so she made a decision to give me away to a family that would also value my life. I was adopted by a humble, hard-working couple who couldn't have children naturally, one year before abortion was legalized in America. I count my life as a miracle because it would have been more convenient for her to have ended my life and gotten on with hers. But she chose a harder, better path. FULL POST
Posted 1/21/15 at 11:15 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
Church bullies have always been part of the ecclesiastical landscape.
They had them in the first century, as evidenced by the tiny epistle of Third John. A brute named Diotrephes was ruling his congregation with a strong hand. The Evangelist John turned the spotlight on what the man was doing, which ordinarily is sufficient to arouse the congregation to unseat the man. John ended with a promise: “If I come, I will call attention to what he is doing.”
Don’t miss the understatement of that: “I will call attention to what he is doing.”
That will be quite enough. When the Beloved Apostle (for so was John known in the early church) stands before an adoring congregation and informs the membership what their so-called leader has been doing behind their backs, they will deal with him.
That has always been the Lord’s plan: Tell the church, expose the brute, expect God’s people to do the right thing. FULL POST
Posted 1/21/15 at 10:27 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
What qualities does God want us to develop in our children? No need to guess. Scripture tells us specifically: “And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to have mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). These three requirements are a basis for evaluating our children’s character development:
1. Are my children learning to act justly? That is, to deal honestly and fairly with others, and to respect, care for and intervene on behalf of the weak, vulnerable and oppressed? (Or are they compromising in matters of morals and integrity, and passively accepting society’s mistreatment of those for whom God says we should speak up?)
2. Are my children learning to be merciful? That is, to discern with sensitivity the personal and spiritual needs of others in family, school, community, society and world, and reach out to them in love and compassion? (Or are they part of a clique that snubs the non-cool, or so absorbed in their own activities, interests and possessions that they don’t see or care about the hurting people around them?) FULL POST
Posted 1/15/15 at 3:33 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
Four years ago, my husband was told that he needed to get fit… or else.
It was a doomsday diagnosis for us, a young pastor and his homemaker wife struggling to make a difference at a very difficult church. Stress levels were high but not nearly as high as my sweet husband’s blood pressure. When his doctor discovered this problem during a routine checkup, he told Wes there were two options — get fit or go on medication.
Like most young pastors and their wives, we doubted we could afford the medication, so we decided to go with the other option and get in shape together. Neither one of us could run a quarter of a mile at that point, so it was with great faith, anticipation, and even a little bit of fear that we signed up for our first race (so that we had a looming deadline on the calendar to keep us accountable) and began training, one tiny step at a time.
What we learned in the process was that getting in shape together, as a team, would do a lot for our health and abundantly more for the health of our marriage. FULL POST
Posted 1/15/15 at 12:20 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
The way a ministry deals with the “sin issue” has to do with the kind of calling or ministry DNA the Lord has called them to operate in. One of my pastor friends has several thousand members in his “seeker friendly” church. He said about a quarter to a third of his congregation are cohabitating with someone they are not married to. He doesn’t try to convict them through sermons because he is trying to develop a trusting relationship with them so they will allow the other ministry leaders to address their moral issues later in their home groups. He’s not trying to clean the fish until he knows he really has them in the boat.
Some of my other pastor friends see that philosophy as compromising the Word of God. They clearly see it as watering down the Gospel in order to draw larger crowds. They believe it to be the main reason why the American Church has become so worldly and unable to positively affect the culture. They also believe these ministers are spineless and fear man more than they fear God. They confidently say nobody in their church of 200 is sleeping around, because they are the “real” believers. FULL POST
Posted 1/15/15 at 11:19 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
Welcome to 2015. You are half way through the first month and already it seems you have so much to do and so little time to do it. Deadlines, resolutions, schedules all intermingle to form mounds of mini freak outs and sleepless nights. Your time is taken by worry, stress, and work, and your mind races away dragging you along behind.
I know it does. While some amount of stress is unavoidable if we are to get anything done at all, MOST of our stress comes from places that are not healthy, and not godly.
What does the Bible say about worry and stress?
Philippians 4:6 – Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. FULL POST