Monthly Archives: November 2009

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Building Bridges With Our Muslim Neighbors

Crescent-200 In a world where the fear of Muslims is very high most of us are not sure how to respond to the Muslims we meet from day-to-day. Increasingly Muslims live in our neighborhoods. You almost have to live in a small rural area or a remote place to not see Muslims on a daily bases. They live in many of our neighborhoods and I deal with them on a regular basis. What are we to do?

I suggest the first and most important thing we are to do is not be suspicious of our neighbors unless there is clear and obvious reason to become so. Most have the same hopes, dreams and fears that we do. And most will be good neighbors just like non-Muslims. Our job, as Christians, is to build bridges to our neighbors, not react with fear and enmity. Such bridges can foster harmonious community relationships based on mutual respect, which is always the starting point for our witness as believers. We

By |November 30th, 2009|Categories: Islam|

Christ Alone Is Without Sin

Article 15 of the 39 Articles of the Church of England says: "Christ in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things, sin only except, from which he was clearly void, both in his flesh, and in his spirit. He came to be the Lamb without spot, who, by sacrifice of himself once made, should take away the sins of the world, and sin, as Saint John saith, was not in him. But all we the rest, although baptized, and born again in Christ,yet offend in many things; and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."A modernized version says, "Christ, who truly took our human nature, was made like us in every respect except that of sin." I do not think most Christians I know actually believe this point. Or at least most do not act like they believe it. It seems that what they believe is that Christ, being divine in nature, was not really "like us in every respect."

I hear it often

By |November 29th, 2009|Categories: Christ/Christology|

Keep the BCS Out of Congress

BcsLogo There are many far more important issues for Congress to take up these days than the selection process by which college football decides who the number one football team is in America this season. With the release of the first BCS poll a few weeks ago Congress again talked about getting involved. We have two wars going on overseas, a nation still in financial crisis and a host of important things to discuss and some congressional leaders want to consider the college football bowl season. College football doesn't need any help from Congress believe me. In fact Congress would likely kill the golden goose if it got its way in this matter.

Did you know that there is a college football playoff PAC in Washington? I didn't until very recently. Now that I do I am truly amazed. Bryson Morgan, a member of the board of directors of the Playoff PAC, recently said, "All of us recognize that our nation has weightier issues to tackle. However,

By |November 28th, 2009|Categories: College Football|

How Sweet It Is: Alabama Beats Auburn in a Classic Iron Bowl

Alabama vs. Auburn is very often a classic college football game. Today was no exception. Alabama was a heavy favorite, had a perfect season and had to play Auburn on the road. Auburn had two weeks to prepare and prepare they did. They came out firing and running fast, surprising and gutsy plays. Every Auburn fan should be proud of the effort the Tigers put out this afternoon. They out played Alabama until the final 8:30 of the fourth quarter, when the Tide showed the character and determination that has made them a contender for the second year in a row to win 26-21. What can I say about two straight 12-0 regular seasons? It has never been done in Alabama's storied history. I am proud of this team. They could have lost at least three games this year but refused to lose. And to think that many people thought Nick Saban would not do this well until year four and year three is not over yet. The guy is a winner.

The Crimson Tide

By |November 27th, 2009|Categories: College Football|

The Greatest Rivalries in College Football

Readers of my blog know I am a huge Alabama football fan. By now you can guess what I will be doing this afternoon since Alabama plays its biggest rival, Auburn, on national television. Whether you are a football fan or not the Southeastern Conference (SEC) rivalries are notorious for their show and passion. And good jokes are abundant in the SEC.

Large_P10COVv13ALA_Promo Earlier this year a special edition of Sports Illustrated featured several SEC football teams on its cover and then marketed these special editions to the fans of a particular school and region. I made sure that my brother got me the special Alabama issue and I have enjoyed it immensely.

In a feature on SEC rivalries the writer says: “SEC rivalries divide families, strain marriages, test lifelong friendships and inspire bloodless insults—many of which involve illumination.” He goes on to provide a series of light-bulb jokes about SEC schools. Here they are:

How many

By |November 27th, 2009|Categories: College Football|

Happy Thanksgiving 2009

250px-The_First_Thanksgiving_Jean_Louis_Gerome_Ferris Thanksgiving Day clearly has its roots in the idea of a fall harvest festival. It was traditionally, and still is, a time to give thanks for both the harvest and for life in general. In the United States it still remains the most unencumbered of all our special holidays. Little commercialization has tainted it and most of us look forward to it, unless we have painful memories of family or loss that we associate with the day. The day had religious association in American history but much of this has now been lost to secular forces of change. Still in all it retains a charm and a simplicity that most Christians can and do appreciate.

Most of us associate this day with the fall celebration of thanksgiving at Plymouth in 1621. The connection of this event with our modern celebration is as much myth as fact but the link remains in most of our minds.

Alexander Hamilton proclaimed

By |November 26th, 2009|Categories: America and Americanism|

Praying for the Acts of God to Continue in Our Time

The Book of Acts is very often misunderstood, like so much of the Bible. It is a unique book. It is actually a sequel to the Gospel of Luke and continues the narrative of the early church, from the ascension of Jesus to the coming of the Holy Spirit and the early accounts of the spread of the gospel "to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). It ends with Paul's imprisonment in Rome. There is a marked parallelism between Luke's Gospel and Acts.

Image360 Christians sometimes debate how to title the book. It is rightly called "The Acts of the Apostles" though it is clearly a record of how the Holy Spirit worked through these first followers of Jesus who were the foundation of the Christian Church. The Holy Spirit is poured out in the second chapter, reversing the movement of the ascension. He becomes the major player in the drama called the church providing energy, courage and power for the mission of Jesus.

By |November 25th, 2009|Categories: Evangelism|

Further Ecumenical-Missional Insight from My Friend Dr. Joe Schafer

Ubf_logo Yesterday, I told you about my very good friend Dr. Joe Schafer, a frequent commenter on this blog spot. I also told you a bit about his ministry with University Bible Fellowship (UBF) at Penn State University. Joe continues to encourage me as he responds to me as a friend, and to the kingdom vision of ACT 3. He is working hard to create a missional-ecumenical kingdom focused context for mission and unity in State College. I hope to somehow help in this process at the right time. For now I pray for Joe specifically, and in general for the body of Christ in this great university town.

One of Joe’s recent efforts has been to create a Web presence to foster this missional-ecumenism. I will tell you more about this in a moment but here is the remainder of Joe’s reflections upon our time this summer in a UBF conference at James Madison University:

As you have pointed

By |November 24th, 2009|Categories: Unity of the Church|

Dr. Joe Schafer: A Friend Who Seeks to Model the Ecumenical-Missional Vision

IMG_3701 Long-time readers of my blog know of my deep friendship with leaders and members of University Bible Fellowship. In July of this year I spoke to a regional UBF conference at James Madison University in Virginia. My host, and dear friend, was Dr. Joe Schafer, the leader of the UBF ministry at Penn State University where he is a professor (see photo with me at left). Joe has been reading, and commenting, on my blogs for a long time so regular readers will recognize his name. When Joe invited me to speak on worship at this gathering I jumped at the opportunity because of our friendship (one of my highest values is friendship) and because of the warm reception I have received from UBF folks in Chicago. After this event in July I asked Joe to write to my board and tell them about the time we shared. With his permission I now share some of that letter with you my blog friends. There is so much here

By |November 23rd, 2009|Categories: Unity of the Church|

What's With the Mini-Dachshunds?

Closeup I am frequently asked, "What's with the miniature dachshunds in your personal photos?" The short answer is that the adorable pooch (on right in photo above) is our eight and half year-old dog Neo. (She was named Neo since she was "new" and we wanted an easy, cute name. I tell friends that she is also named Neo because she reminds me of "neo-ortho-doxy.") She is our fourth mini-dachshund in nearly 39 years of marriage. The doxie on the left is Latte, our daughter's 18 month old mini-dachshund. They have become friends after a period of adjustment for our much older Neo, who now seems to be a bit more lively with "the little pest" around quite often. Latte is a sweet dog too but so different and she sometimes drives Neo to moderate distraction.

Anita was the real dog-lover when we first met. She had German Shepherds as a child. When I married her she had a special pal named Duchess.

By |November 22nd, 2009|Categories: Personal|
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