Monthly Archives: September 2010

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How the Church Can Properly Respond to Same-Sex Practice

I have frequently suggested that the church is making huge mistakes in how it addresses the modern same-sex debate. Let me explain, albeit simply, what I mean. I want to articulate several truths that I believe we desperately need if we are to move forward with a compassionate and faithful biblical alternative to accepting everything the culture tells us about sexual practice.

s-CHURCH-large300 First a few comments of analysis.

1. The church has chosen to primarily fight same-sex thinking and practice through politics. This is a debate that we are bound to lose unless something unforeseen happens. We are sure to lose this battle in the culture and we will likely lose it inside many churches as well, given enough time. “Just say no” will not stop same-sex practice nor will it help serious Christians who do not want to surrender their bodies to unsanctified sexual inclinations.

2. Treating same-sex practice as the ultimate evil can not be supported by Scripture (if properly read and

By |September 30th, 2010|Categories: Homosexuality, Marriage & Family|

Angelina’s Jolie’s Search for Love

angelina1 Angelina Jolie’s search for love is both admirable and deeply human. I don’t usually follow the personal lives of Hollywood stars, though I am a fan of many genres of film, but Jolie’s story was featured in the Sunday Parade magazine a few weeks ago and I read it. Like most Hollywood stars she has gone through several husbands and now lives with a famous actor, Brad Pitt, who is not her husband but the father of their six children.

In the story, by Dotson Rader, Jolie says, “I always wanted a great love affair, something that feels big and full, really honest and enough. No moment should feel slight, false, or a little off. For me, it had to be everything.” She admits that finding such in a relationship is tough but adds, “[That] is what we are all looking for, isn’t it? Something authentic.”

I believe she’s right about that last statement.

By |September 29th, 2010|Categories: Current Affairs, Film, Love, Marriage & Family|

Summer Hours: A Modern Family in the Global Village

Summer Hours Summer Hours, a wonderful new French film by contemporary French director Olivier Assayas, has earned multiple awards. It is personal, at times even moving, look at family life that provides a rather wonderful amazing look into the realities of a globalized modern family in France.

The story is rather simple. Three siblings, played by Charles Berling, Jérémie Rénier and Juliette Binoche, must decide what to do with their countryside estate, an hour outside of Paris, when their mother (the last of her generation) passes away. They inherit what amounts to a fortune in art, art that can not be easily sold, and a home with a lot of childhood memories but with little relevance to their lives in the present. They also have a lot to discover about their late mother, and her relationship to their late uncle, when they discover that she really loved him more than their own father. The reason for all this family

By |September 28th, 2010|Categories: Film|

How the New Ecumenism Differs from the Old

Most Christians in the West have some kind of impression about the word ecumenism. I grew up in a context that held the word itself in suspicion. As best I can tell we thought the word represented the worst of compromise. To us ecumenism led Christians to give up the gospel at the expense of unity. As a young minister, in this context, one of the most frequent verses I heard was: “Get the truth and never sell it” (NLT, Proverbs 23:23). By this we meant the truth always trumped unity, which shows that we did not understand that unity is one of the most important truths revealed in the New Testament.

But is ecumenism really about giving up the faith in order to get along with everyone? The word itself is actually derived from the Greek word οἰκουμένη (oikoumene), which literally means "the whole inhabited world.” When it was used by the early Christians it had reference to the Roman Empire. The ecumenical vision thus comprises two elements. First, there is a commitment to an earnest search for the visible unity of the

The Son of Hamas

cover_bookinfo One of the most talked-about books I have come across in recent months is: Son of Hamas, written by Mosab Hassan Yousef. Yousef, still a young man in his early thirties, was an insider to the Hamas terrorist organization for more than a decade. Mosab, now called “Joseph,” is the eldest child of Sheikf Hassan Yousef’s, thus the title “son of Hamas.” Yousef’s account is chilling but easy to read in a few hours time. I encourage every Christian to read this book. You might get a little skittish at a few points but you will never be able to think about the Middle East and terrorism in the same way again.

Mosab assisted his father for many years while he was groomed to take over his father’s legacy and political status. The only problem was that God was working to change his heart. First, he saw things that shocked him about the brutality and violence of his own people (not his father

By |September 26th, 2010|Categories: Books|

People Matter. Things Don’t.

Since I’ve mentioned meeting with several new friends over the last few days I will write about one more such friend today. This is a brother I met many years ago but in God’s providence we did not get “connected” until a few days ago.

The title I have on this post is taken from the web site of the church my friend serves: Resurrection Anglican Church in West Chicago, Illinois. The pastor of Resurrection Church is Rev. Dr. George Koch. Dr Koch in Mbarara The church’s tag line might jar you at first but I believe it is not only catchy but contextually right. If what Jesus says is rightly understood, and applied to our time and place, then I think this catchy slogan makes perfect sense. Here is how Resurrection Anglican Church puts it:

“People matter. Things don’t.” is not so simple-minded as to mean things are all utterly irrelevant. Obviously things can bring great joy – sunsets, music,

How Can We Equip Marketplace Leaders for Christ’s Kingdom?

I mentioned yesterday my recent trip to southern California and my lunch with Paul Cedar of Mission America Coalition. On this same trip I also had a great lunch with Bob Shank. I had heard of Bob but knew little about him until this trip.

img-port-Shank Bob is a native and lifetime resident of Southern California. He spent 14 years as a businessman/entrepreneur in the construction industry. At 31, he transitioned from business to ministry and founded Priority Living, a faith-based organization serving business men and women in the marketplace. In 1997, he launched The Master’s Program, a leadership mentoring program that has helped thousands of leaders across North America to expose and exploit their unique kingdom calling. While the CEO of Priority Living since 1984, Bob was also the Senior Pastor of an Orange County mega-church for four years in the early ‘90’s. He is a frequent speaker for churches, conferences, retreats and leadership training events across the country.

As you will discover

By |September 24th, 2010|Categories: Leadership, Personal|

Pope Benedict’s Visit to Great Britain

pope_britain I have followed the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom this week with prayerful interest. This is a momentous time for all Christians in the UK. When you consider the history of the Christian church in Britain, the division and bloodshed that followed the reign of Henry VIII and the bitter religious conflict for the centuries that followed, as well as the recent secularization of Great Britain, then you have to pray for the whole church in this island nation. Bitter divisions from the age of Henry VIII simply do not work in the modern context.

A Catholic reader of this blog, Joe Heschmeyer, posted one of the finest responses to the pope’s visit to the U.K. that I have read. I encourage you to check out Joe’s fine response posted on September 22 on his blog site. This is well worth your time, especially if you pray for the catholic church in the world and especially if you care

By |September 23rd, 2010|Categories: Roman Catholicism, Unity of the Church|

Wanted: Leaders Who Understand the Times & Know What to Do

home_banner_2010 In 1 Chronicles 12:32 we have a mention of one of the tribes of Israel that was called to be David’s warriors. The text says of these men of Issachar that they were “all men [who] understood the times and prepared for battle.”

Doug Birdsall, the executive chairman of the Lausanne Movement, writes: “These last two decades have been like no others in history. We truly need people like the men of Issachar.” Birdsall writes of this need in his formal invitation to pray and support the Cape Town 2010 gathering for world evangelization, October 16-25. Though specially invited leaders will attend this great gathering it is possible for you and me to participate in a number of ways. There will be Cape Town GlobaLink sites in many countries. Schools and churches can register as official sites and participate. Look for one in your area or check this out.

One of the unique things about the Third Lausanne Congress will be the diversity of participants. A large percentage of those

Whose Gospel? An Argument for Progressive Christianity

Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. is the founder and president of the Healing of the Nations Foundation and the senior minister emeritus of the famous Riverside Church in New York City. He was also a professor at Union Theological Seminary and has hosted The Time Is Now on Air America Radio. Forbes is a social and political liberal who preaches faith in Jesus with great passion. I have never heard him speak in person but I have heard CDs of his preaching. I can testify to his incredible story-telling ability. I happen to like Forbes and would happily sit down with him for a cup of coffee or a meal. We would have some interesting disagreements but on much we would find common ground. Newsweek calls Forbes “one of the twelve most effective preachers in the English-speaking world.”

James Forbes has long been a strong voice for civil rights. He even gave a stirring address to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He served as pastor of the well-known Riverside Church for eighteen years. His insights about pastoral ministry, teaching and mentoring are often brilliant and his

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