Monthly Archives: January 2008

The Waterboarding Debate

A controversial interrograiton procedure, known as "waterboarding," is often in the news over the last year or two. Most people have no idea about what this term actually means or what happens when a person is waterboarded. P1ak364_water_20080130200037_2 I have several former-military friends who assure me that it is a horrible experience that makes you actually feel like you will die and in some cases it will cause death. Two articles appeared in today’s Wall Street Journal about waterboarding. They are interesting for entirely different reasons.

Three young men decided to try out waterboarding and then write about it. If you want to see how horrific this practice really is then read their account.

Democrats have made a great deal politically out of this practice in their reaction to the confirmation, and now the service, of Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

By |January 31st, 2008|Categories: Current Affairs|

Florida: The Day After

There seems to be very little doubt now that Senator John McCain is in the driver’s seat, if not almost assured of the Republican nomination for president. Thdave_mccain_2
With Giuliani about to drop out, before Super Tuesday, and with only Governor Romney left as a serious challenger the conclusion does seem clear. But in politics, as they say, anything can happen and often does. To quote old Yogi Berra, "It ain’t over until it’s over." And since Governor Huckabee plans to stay in the race through next Tuesday he will likely take more votes from Romney than from McCain.

The two debates this week, one tonight and the other Thursday evening, will obviously be crucial to the Super Tuesday voting. This is the one window of opportunity that both Obama and Romney
Romney have to create new momentum. (Obama already has considerable momentum, the

By |January 30th, 2008|Categories: Politics|

The Case for Christ: The Film

Former journalist and legal editor Lee Strobel (Chicago Tribune) has done perhaps more than any single modern writer to popularize the case for the Jesus of the Holy Scriptures. His book, The Case for Christ, is an award-winning, best-seller and his story is fairly widely known by this point in time. Book
Lee was an atheist whose wife became a Christian and then she began to witness to him, sometimes ineffectively. (It is noteworthy that in the real story a group of people were praying for Lee during his search!)
Lee decided to use his skills as an investigative reporter to search out the claims of Christ. He studied the historical accuracy of the Gospels, the personal claims of Jesus and his resurrection from the dead. After nearly a two year struggle to come to grips with the evidence he then became a Christian. The rest

By |January 30th, 2008|Categories: Apologetics|

The New Reformation: Finding and Equipping Transformational Leadership

One example of the present missional moment struck me as worthy of real consideration by missionally thoughtful leaders this past week. I refer to the way younger people are responding to two of the presidential candidates—Barack ObamaObamachampion_2
and John McCain. Mccaannc1
One is the youngest and the other is the oldest in the current primary contests. This demonstrates powerfully that age is not a major factor with this emerging generation. What is at stake with this younger generation is authenticity. (You may think these two men are the least authentic candidates or the worst possible choices but this is not my point here at all.) This generation, which will soon become the dominant force in American life and culture, is hungry for vision. They want change but they want change that will create new forces for new conversation and new solutions. They simply do not think

By |January 29th, 2008|Categories: Uncategorized|

God, Grace and Globalization

George Melloan, writing in the Wall Street Journal (January 11, 2008), noted that when Jesus warned his disciples (Matthew 6) against trying to serve two masters, God and mammon, that "An overly strict interpretation of his words seems to leave economics outside the realm of Christian theological inquiry." I concur, as readers of mine who frequent this blog site well know. We have misunderstood mammon and this warning on both sides, either by saying nothing at all or by saying many wrong things.

What Jesus clearly attacked in Matthew 6 was the worship of money, or stuff; i.e., mammon. But the pursuit of a livelihood is essential to human existence and thus a prerequisite of spiritual development. Jesus very plainly did not attack the necessity of all material stuff; food, clothing and shelter. These things are necessary for human sustenance. Money and wealth production is merely the way we provide for them. This means that economics, which is the study of how to best create wealth and to use it efficiently for human advancement, is not a "gloomy science" intended only for

By |January 28th, 2008|Categories: Economy/Economics|

The Anglican Mission in the Americas and My Five Days in Dallas

I just returned home from a five-day preaching and teaching ministry in Dallas, Texas. Sandy_millar_wcspeaker_web_2
My first stop was to minister at the annual Winter Conference of the Anglican Mission in the Americas, held at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in downtown Dallas, January 23-26.
There were a number of moving sessions for me but Sandy Millar, from the United Kingdom, was refreshing, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom and ministered deeply to me in his plenary sessions.

I also preached at a plenary session, from Acts 3 on the ministry of the Holy Spirit and Church renewal, did a seminar on the anointing of the Holy Spirit on preaching and led a discussion with my dear friend J. I. PackerPacker
for a large number of

By |January 27th, 2008|Categories: Missional Church|

The Life and Legend of Bear Bryant

The history of college football is preserved not only in words and numbers, but in images and notable symbols. One of the most enduring images is Bear Bryant, houndstooth hat Bear_in_hat_2
on his head, leaning against a goalpost prior to an Alabama game. The first time I saw Bear Bryant in person was in 1957 when the Bear had just arrived to rebuild a decimated Alabama football program. My dad said to me, as we sat at Venderbilt Stadium in Nashville on a Saturday evening, "Son, see that men there" as he pointed at the Bear on the sideline, "Someday he will make this team truly great again." Bryant_on_gal_post
My dad added that he had grown up in the some Arkansas county and was born the same year as Bryant and thus he knew him before he became a legend. An impression was made on me

By |January 26th, 2008|Categories: College Football|

Evangelization in Haiti

No place I know has been evangelized, again and again, and yet without the lasting fruit of real discipleship, quite like the country of Haiti. Americans have dumped all kinds of money and effort into Haiti and few of these ministries have done truly lasting work for the kingdom. (There are marvelous exceptions but this generalization is sadly too true!)

My former Wheaton_9
Wheaton College Graduate student, Yreille Belizaire (who was the first graduate in our new M. A. program in evangelism),
sends me her prayer letters from Haiti regularly. Today’s email brought a new one, telling of her various  with my readers since it brings some perspective, and encouragement, from the world outside of the United States, yet a world so very close to us on the map. It also reveals how this godly woman is using her several gifts of preaching and evangelism to fulfill her calling as a minister of the gospel in making Christ known in a powerful and

By |January 26th, 2008|Categories: Evangelism|

The Box Office Rarely Lines Up with the Quality of Modern Films

Rarely are popular films a great success with critics. Some of this is snobbery and some of it is perspective on what makes a "great film" and what people simply enjoy watching. This has been generally true this year, as in the past. Presently the greatest box office films are Legend
I Am Legend and National Treasure: Book of Secrets. Treasure
I have seen both films and enjoyed them both. I Am Legend is actually more than just a good box office draw. It is a pretty well done re-creation of several earlier versions of the same story. Will Smith is superb and the modern ending, done just for the screen and this edition, provides all kinds of messianic and redemptive themes, including blood being given as sacrifice to save the human race. The movie includes a prayer scene that is well-done as well as subtle

By |January 25th, 2008|Categories: Film|

How to Handle the Political Debates in the Local Church

The Vault, a unique Web site, has recently provided data that says that in an election year 35 per cent of bosses will openly share their political views in the work place with employees and 66 percent of respondents said co-workers will candidly discuss politics with them.Democrat
The same site also provides four tips for handling opinions and advocacy in the work place. Rnc_2008_mensroom
When I read these four tips today in The Dallas News I thought about the local church and the coming months. The wisdom that these four tips provide for Christians, as we navigate the next nine months leading up to election day in November, is self-evident in some ways. The tips are:

1.    Don’t feel pressured into sharing your views.
2.    If you do want to share your opinions, don’t bash those you disagree with.
3.    Don’t

By |January 24th, 2008|Categories: Unity of the Church|

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