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Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

1.  Ouch, a man uses a gun to scratch his back and ends up shooting himself.  I wouldn’t know if there is a good way to explain that to friends and family.

HT: Smart Pastor

2.  The Pill kills babies, some little known information from the American Life League

3.  Web trends – a recent Barna report shows:

  • 78% who access a computer has sent an e-mail.
  • 33% have used IM in the past week.
  • 23% have a personal webpage or a profile on a social networking site (Facebook, MySpace, etc).
  • 10% have a blog, but 14% have commented on another person’s blog in the last week.
  • 38% of evangelicals have listened to a sermon via podcast in the last week.
  • Evangelicals use of Web 2.0 mirrors the trends seen across the board.

HT: Monday Morning Insight

4.  Something I need to learn to do better.

5.  One reason (of three given) to avoid using inconsistency as a mark against an idea or person.

Everybody’s inconsistent, so nobody denounces inconsistency consistently.

Source: 22 Words with Abraham Piper

6.  Stepping out if faith is hard to do, but comes with growth.

Stepping out in faith always brings clarification of God’s plan. When Ananias went to see Paul (then Saul), he received additional information (read Acts 9:10–21). As Saul submitted himself to the ministry of Ananias, he found out more about God’s plan for his life. You’re “a chosen instrument of Mine.” I’m going to use you “to bear My name” (9:15). Saul hadn’t known that before. (He had never read the book of Acts!) He knew nothing of what was in store for him until Ananias took that initial step of faith. Both men discovered that God Himself chose Saul to be His instrument and that intense suffering would mark his ministry. That’s the way God operates.

Source: Chuck Swindoll’s Blog

7.  Redefining Community?

HT: Out of Ur

8.  Effective evangelism… not so much.

You know I think it would easier to say everybody without Jesus, (Romans 3:23; 6:23; John 3:16-17).

Sports fans?  Really?  I guess since I entered a March Madness pool before the last NCAA tournament I’m in trouble.

HT: Ragamuffin Soul

9.  This made me laugh out loud.  Hillary Clinton – Unelectable.  You can download this musical gem here.  To listen to this song in a pop-up click here.

10.  Please continue to pray for Parkersburg, IA that was leveled by an EF5 tornado over Memorial Day Weekend.  My friend Eric’s wife’s grandma lives there and thankfully her house was spared.  They went up to help with clean-up and you can see some pictures of the aftermath on his blog.

11.  Understanding how metrosexual your worship leader is.  A handy guide by Prodigal Jon.

12.  I am still appalled by this video.  Pastors behaving badly in the pulpit.  Contemptuous speech has no place in the pulpit.  Fr. Michael Pfleger needs to be reeled in by the Chicago Diocese.

Edward Gilbreath has some excellent thoughts about this controversy.

13.  Bishop Harry Jackson & Tony Perkins – “The Truth in Black and White: California ‘Marriage'”

Source: Family Research Council Blog

14.  Will Smith on Marriage and Divorce

During an interview on Ellen:

Divorce just can’t be an option. It’s really that simple – if you just remove the option. Because if you have the option, one day that person’s going to make you want a divorce. You absolutely get to the point that you’re done, and the only thing that keeps you continuing is that there’s no other option.

From a Reader’s Digest interview:

RD: You and Jada have been married nine years and, by all accounts, are very happy. What’s the key?
Smith: Communication. And divorce cannot be an option.
RD: Your first marriage ended in divorce.
Smith: That is probably the most painful loss of my life. I quit. I could have fixed it. It really was not that bad.
RD: Some would say there’s no reason to stay if a marriage isn’t good.
Smith: Once you say that, you’ve lost. With Jada, I stood up in front of God and my family and friends and said, “Till death do us part.” So there are two possible outcomes: We are going to be together till death, or I am dead.

I’ve already been a fan of his movies.  I’m impressed.  This is rare, but encouraging talk coming out of Hollywood.

HT: Evangelical Outpost

15.  Evidently evangelism is a hate crime in the United Kingdom at least according to a police officer there..

A police community support officer ordered two Christian preachers to stop handing out gospel leaflets in a predominantly Muslim area of Birmingham.

The evangelists say they were threatened with arrest for committing a “hate crime” and were told they risked being beaten up if they returned. The incident will fuel fears that “no-go areas” for Christians are emerging in British towns and cities, as the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, claimed in The Sunday Telegraph this year….

The preachers, both ministers in Birmingham, were handing out leaflets on Alum Rock Road in February when they started talking to four Asian youths.

A police community support officer (PCSO) interrupted the conversation and began questioning the ministers about their beliefs.

“He said we were in a Muslim area and were not allowed to spread our Christian message. He said we were committing a hate crime by telling the youths to leave Islam and said that he was going to take us to the police station.”

The ministers claim he also advised them not to return to the area. As he walked away, the PCSO said: “You have been warned. If you come back here and get beaten up, well you have been warned”.

West Midlands Police, who refused to apologise, said the incident had been “fully investigated” and the officer would be given training in understanding hate crime and communication.

HT: Stand to Reason

16.  I like Michelle Malkin and I read her blog when I get a chance.  But the brouhaha that erupted over Rachel Ray wearing this scarf that is thought to be a keffiyeh in a Dunkin Donuts Ad is ridiculous.  I mean come on! Dunkin Donuts ended up pulling the ad.

Looking at other keffiyehs that are pictured in a follow-up post… it doesn’t even look the same!

HT: The Point

17.  John Mark Reynolds on the Presidential Race (now confirmed to be John McCain vs. Barack Obama) – “Five Reasons Both Candidates Will Lose“.

18.  The 2008 United Methodist Church General Conference is adopting a more pro-life stance on abortion.

19.  Breaking news on Michelle Obama?

20.  The 10 Worst Movies About Jesus.  HT: Michael Spencer

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1. Would you like to improve your reading ability?  Here are seven pleasurable ways.  HT: Jake Bouma

2.  Prodigal Jon explores why society tends to picture God as angry in his post “Painting God mad” at Stuff Christians Like.

3.  Flatulence is now considered bullying.  Jr. High boys of the world… beware!  (HT: Nuke)

4.  Evidently Obama’s uncle fought for the Soviet Army so he could liberate Auschwitz.  Velvet Hammer blogs on other Obama lies – numbering now 51 in this campaign.  Do we see a pattern here?

5.  Pistol Pete on what makes a great blog.  Caffeinated Thoughts has the honor of making his blogroll.

6.  A “Christian” T-Shirt concept that hasn’t quite caught on:

Source: Naked Pastor

7.  Straight Talk Express?  See below.  I don’t want it to be said that I give GOP politicians a free pass here.  There is much to criticize about John McCain as well.

HT: Stephanie

8.  Organic Faith shared some thoughts about Dr. Tim Keller’s message to last year’s Gospel Coalition regarding how pastors are losing focus in the pulpit.

Dr. Tim Keller said last year in a teaching to the Gospel Coalition that the difference between Gospel-centered preaching and lifeless pulpit talk is a focus on Jesus. He said that his wife told him that his best sermons are those that focus on the transforming power and example of Christ. He basically hit on an issue that I have been concerned about for a while. In the effort to be relevant, it has become all too common for preachers to deliver good messages on moral teachings instead of Jesus-focused calls to divine transformation and human repentance.

That is so true.  May that never be said of my ministry in the pulpit.

9.  Anne Jackson asks, “what is something you feel you can’t say in church, or around other Christians?”  She gets some humorous and serious responses. 

Some responses that caught my eye:

  • Anne started things off – “I suck at reading my bible.”
  • I can relate to Pete who said, “That sometimes when there is a dramatic pause in my message, and I look like I’m waiting on God to give me something really powerful to say, I’m not. In reality I’m just wondering if I zipped up my zipper before I went up on stage.” (I laughed out loud at that one.)
  • “Most people I know who claim to follow God are really sucky people who don’t care about anything but themselves and their comfort. It makes me not want to follow their rules.”
  • “When I’m leading worship, I sometimes think of all 31 flavors of ice cream at Baskin Robbins.” (Huh?  Ok then.)
  • “How I feel more alone than ever, when someone gets up to the mic and talks about the deep friendships that can be found in church small/care groups . . . and that just has NOT been my experience.”
  • “That law is easier than grace … just tell me what to do and not do and I’ll give it my best shot.  Grace is too big, to wide open and scary.”
  • “I don’t like Beth Moore Studies.” (It seems like every women’s Bible study I hear of is doing one.)
  • “Stop making Christianity a scapegoat for not developing a personality. Quit being judgement, flaky, egotistical, mean, rude, fake in the name of a God who was none of those things.”

HT: Rodney Olson

10.  An interesting way to get people to church.

And it is at a BAPTIST church!!!!  They reported their largest attendance ever (just kidding).

HT: Crummy Church Signs

11.  If you haven’t already found this gem, I highly recommend the Christian Classics Ethreal Library where you can read works by some great dead people.

12.  Here at Caffeinated Thoughts I am concerned about your health.  Nintendo is coming out with the Wii Fit.  Exercise for video game junkies.  Nice.

13.  You know you spend too much time blogging and commenting when…

HT: Smart Pastor

14.  I am all about networking.  It is in the name of the ministry I serve.  I have been a member of the National Network of Youth Ministries since 1998.  I have benefited from the youth ministry networks that I have been a part of or have led in my youth ministry career.  Since moving back to Des Moines six years ago I have been disappointed by the lack of a vibrant cross-denominational network for pastors in Des Moines.  Sam Rainer (a recent Southern Seminary grad – congratulations Sam!) blogs about the benefits of pastors who get together.

15.  No kudos for Indiana Jones…. just read over on Greg Stier’s blog some harsh, but likely well deserved, criticism of Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

I was tuned in from the opening scene through the final scene. But, and I hesitate to make this declaration, I hated Indiana Jones.

There I said it.

Don’t get me wrong, Harrison Ford did a great job in reprising his role as the combative and compelling archaeologist. Shia LaBeouf did a fine job as a whippersnapper whip snapper in the making. And the villain, Cate Blanchett, was very good at being vey bad. But the real villains in this movie were not the old school Communists of Russia but the lame writers of the movie screenplay. Indy should have hunted them down instead of the Crystal Skull and given them a good shalacking.

Please don’t misinterpret. I am a HUGE Indiana Jones fan. I really wanted this movie to be great. In the first thirty minutes of the movie I thought that it could be. The next thirty minutes made me start to doubt. Doubt turned into resignation over the next 1,800 seconds. The last cringe-inducing, please-don’t-go-there segment made me want to reach through the screen, grab Spielberg by the lapel and ask him, “Why? Why? Why?” The director of E.T. should go home, sit in front of his old school typewriter (the one he typed the screenplay of Jaws with) and bring back a plot worthy of his considerable talents.

I guess I’ll wait for the DVD, LOL.

16.  Are you frustrated with no signs of spiritual growth in teens?  Tim Schmoyer gives three reasons why youth pastors (and parents too) may feel this way.

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Forgetting that growth is a process.
  • We are watching the process close up.

17.  David Innes of King’s College suggests that John McCain should tap Bret Schundler, the three-term mayor of Jersey City, NJ as his running mate.  An interesting suggestion, I’m not so sure a Mayor would be a good choice, but I do like his credentials.

18.  Gay Marriage by Judicial Decree – Stuart Taylor, Jr. on the recent California Supreme Court decision.  (HT: Mere Orthodoxy)

19.  Rick Warren – It is your skill, not preaching and prayer that will grow your church.

Ugh.  I think I just vomited in my mouth a little.

HT: Irish Calvinist

20.  Quote: Abraham Piper at 22 Words

If unapplied theology is worthless, we shouldn’t claim to believe truth with arguments, until we’ve proven we believe it with our lives.

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1.  Just incase you haven’t had enough already… another political ad asking questions about Senator Barack Obama.

HT: Nuke

2.  Because I didn’t do any political items in the last edition of Twenty Items of Interest.  I present to you… the many faces of Hillary Clinton.

HT: Kevin Stilley

I hope you enjoyed this picture as much as I did.  Ahem, moving along…

3.  I discovered, thanks to Brent Thomas, a blog called Stuff Christians Like.  It is a strange mix of the serious and the humorous.  One serious blog post is on “Lying because I love you”  He said many Christians do it, but if we are to be honest with ourselves we lie to protect ourselves not the other person involved.  The non-serious post is “turning ushers into the Secret Service” it made me laugh out loud.

4. Brooke Bouma blogged about Einstein videos – are they bad or not?  I think every once in awhile they are fine, but I swear it seems like some people raise their kids on these things.  So the end result will likely be a bunch of people with like two-second attention spans (ok I’m exaggerating).  Seriously though, have you noticed that the number of cases of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) increased with the number of children’s TV shows increasing?  Do we not think there is some correlation?

5.  it drives me nuts when people don’t use caps in e-mails and blogs.  like it is some hip, cool postmodern thing to do.  what do you think?  use caps or not?  is it really that burdensome to use caps?  are they too sexy for capitalization?  are we afraid that we will pull a pinkie to reach over and press that shift key?  the chicago tribune talks about using caps versus not using caps.

it is a pet peeve of mine along with the e-mails i get THAT ARE IN ALL CAPS LIKE THAT PERSON IS SCREAMING AT ME, but i digress.

6.  A dad has been jailed for six months for daughter (now 19) skipping school and not graduating.  A judge ordered her father to be responsible for her education when she was 17.  Apparently he will be in jail until she passes her G.E.D. which apparently she is unable to do.  Crazy… while I think parents need to be held accountable when the kids are younger –  I think a 17-year-old needs to take responsibility for her actions.  My thoughts are why are we, as taxpayers, footing the bill for a kid’s education when that kid clearly has no desire or motivation to be there?  That is why I am, in principle, against raising the compulsory age of education to 18.  (Source: Alisyn Camerota)

7.  Hey NEWS flash!!!!!!  Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons are vastly different than born-again Christians!  Duh.  Somebody actually paid to have this survey done?

8.  Bible names top the list for newborn boys.  Names like… Jacob, Michael, Joshua, and Matthew were the favorites.  I think that is awesome.  My wife and I have been kicking around having a fourth child, and I think if we do and the baby is a boy we should name him Nimrod, a great Biblical name.  We like being different.  I also think that Ham is a good name.  I am also partial to Riphatgh, Togarmah, Dodanim and Methuselah.

9.  Apparently there is a Jedi Church, and Darth Vader was spared jail time for attacking its founder.  To my readers from Great Britain… I thought the U.S. religious scene could be pretty weird, but I have to say this is one of the strangest things I’ve seen in some time.  May the force be with you!

10.  One of our mentors, Darin Wogen, shared his testimony at our banquet last week.  He did an awesome job!

11.  My friend Eric is concerned about Evangelicals who seem to be grasping for political influence and power.  Particularly with the Evangelical Climate Initiative and their seemingly quick embrace of the global warming rhetoric.   I won’t use the word he used for these Evangelicals actions because I try to keep my blog family friendly ;).

12.  I encourage you to read Out of Ur’s commentary on the Evangelical Manifesto.  Richard Land shares why he didn’t sign it.

13.  John Edwards endorses Barack Obama… gee I’m shocked (please read sarcasm)!  You can read a first hand account of this earth-shattering news at One Mom’s blog.  Why exactly is Hillary Clinton still in this?

14.  Bob Barr announces his candidacy for President of the United States on the Libertarian ticket.  He is taking an anti-Iraq stance.  This may slow a flow of conservatives who don’t want to vote for McCain from going to him, but may garner support for Blue Dog Democrats who are against the war.

HT: Kevin Tracy

15.  Pistol Pete blogs on mysterious love letters found that could possibly be between Judas and Mary Magdalene.  It made me laugh out loud.

16.  I love this cartoon… Appreciation by David Hayward

17.  Interesting post by Velvet Hammer about the connection between Nazism and Islam.

18.  It’s official… Californians no longer live in a democracy, but an oligarchy.

19.  This commercial reminds me of when my son was born.  The nurse took him over to clean him up and while he on the table she had to jump to miss this nice arch of pee.  Yep… that’s my boy.  This kid has a great future putting out campfires.

HT: Joe Carter

20.  Brian McLaren’s non-sequitur.

McLaren answers a question about truth:

Obviously that’s a challenge. The flip side of that question is look at the Catholic Church: For all of its orthodoxy, it could have bishops covering up for molesting priests. And evangelicals, for all their claims of orthodoxy, can be barbaric to gay people and can blindly support a rush to war in Iraq and can be, as we speak, fomenting for war with Iran. … Obviously, I have a lot of critics and they often say, ‘You’re wanting to water down the Gospel to accommodate to post-modernity.’ I say, ‘No, I really don’t want to do that. But what I do want to do is acknowledge first the ways we’ve already watered down the Gospel to accommodate modernity.’ … I think the naivete of some of those critics is that they’re starting with a pure pristine understanding of the Gospel. It seems to me we’re all in danger of screwing up.

Melinda at Stand to Reason points out that a common mistake that emergent types tend to make regarding absolute truth – that it is taken to mean that we are infallible in our knowledge of the truth.  That isn’t what it means though.  Absolute defines the truth, not our knowledge.  She suggests that we should refer to absolute truth (which Josh McDowell defines as “something that is true for all people, in all places, at all times.”) as objective truth.

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Though more along the lines of what not to do… Thabiti Anyabwile looks at Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s latest controversial comments and shared some very important lessons for pastors to learn from Rev. Wright’s shameful conduct on the public stage.

It’s a cautionary tale for us younger pastors. Here’s a man that’s served the same congregation over thirty years, who has no doubt learned many things in that time. He’s perhaps forgotten more than I know. And yet, when he is supposed to be retired and out of the public light, seems so taken with himself and his view of the world that he’d beat the sheep rather than feed them and risk overturning perhaps the most significant bid for the presidency in American history.

The lessons are legion. Here are five from my perspective:

1. Feed the sheep, feed the sheep, feed the sheep. For the sake of argument, even if Obama was wrong in his Philadelphia comments where Wright was concerned, the appropriate response from the pastor isn’t a series of interviews but Galatians 6:1-2, gently pulling the erring brother aside. Insofar as Wright still regarded himself as the stronger brother and Obama’s pastor, he was obligated to bear with the weak (Rom. 14:1; 15:1-3) and to teach with all patience (2 Tim. 4:2). This, no doubt, is easier said than done when we’re feeling personally attacked. But our call to heal and lead the sheep trumps our “right” to self-defense.

2. Be willing to suffer reproach for doing good. Wright sees himself as a servant of the marginalized and oppressed, a role he asserts Jesus assumed. If he really believed that, he should willingly and joyfully suffer for doing good (1 Pet. 2:20-24; 3:13-17). To this we are called. While I think Wright’s theological and political commitments are wrong-headed, his life illustrates for me the importance of my being willing to suffer for what I think is right–the Lord, the gospel and the sheep.

3. Think carefully about a separation of church and state principle in my own ministry and public comments on public issues. This, I think, is a serious weakness in some quarters of American Christianity, with social gospels on the left and the right. Wright interprets the critical comments in response to his sermons as an attack on the black church. The comments fueling all of this were pretty clearly political comments, not gospel, Christian, or church-related comments. That he doesn’t see the distinction is quite alarming. Now he is in the public square assuming that his detractors at the least don’t understand the entire black church and at worst are anti-black church. Whenever or if ever I am called to speak on some public issue, I need to do the hard work of knowing where the Bible stops speaking, where my opinion begins, and where either state concerns are over-running more fundamental biblical concerns or vice-versa.

4. Seek counsel before speaking. That hardly needs any elaboration, except to say that on stages as large as this, and on a thousand smaller ones, we either help the cause of Christ by speaking well or hinder it by speaking poorly. “No man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). Surely we should count the costs before waging war, seek counsel before advancing plans. And beyond seeking counsel, heeding it. I can’t imagine that any godly persons advised Wright to make these appearances, or they did that Wright kept their counsel. A good rule of thumb I learned in a different context: if you seek someone’s counsel and you decide to do something other than what they counsel, at least make yourself accountable to the counselor and the counsel by advising the counselor that (a) you’re going to do something different than what was counseled, (b) the reasons why, and (b) before you act.

5. Pray and war against pride. I don’t want to judge Wright. I don’t know the man’s heart or motives in all of this. But it looks like the same kind of pride that lurks in my heart, seeking to control the assessments I make of myself, my own importance and influence, and my reaction to situations and people who don’t think more highly of me than they do themselves. It’s been said a lot. And most of us have read or heard C.J. and others on the dangers of pride. But is it not ever with us? Does it not always threaten us, our relationships, and even our ministries? Had Wright never said a word in his own defense, many people would have judged his life of ministry on a wider set of factors, some favorable and some not. But now, it seems pride may have ruined a reputation after the public ministry was completed. It can do as much and more damage in all of our lives.

Be sure to read the whole post.  I appreciate the wisdom and humility shared in his post.

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1.  Barack Obama is now a pop culture icon.  Presenting Barocky the Movie.

Oh yeah, I’m inspired.  I’m actually enjoying watching Clinton and Obama bludgeon each other.

HT: Amanda Carpenter

For a must see video on Obama (with serious content) go here.  HT: Eric via e-mail.

2.  What a waste of tuition – Randolph College in Virginia made a class trip to a Nevada brothel.  Exactly what are they supposed to learn?

HT: Kevin McCullough

3.  Oh yes, a pick on Obama post…. David C. Innes, Assistant Professor of Politics at King’s College in New York City blogged – “Obama, All Too Human

Several things were striking about Wednesday night’s debate in Pennsylvania. The two candidates drove home the point that we have either known for a long time (Hillary) or are coming increasingly to see (Obama) that they are both liars, i.e. ordinary politicians. At one point Obama was saying something disingenuous, and the viewers could hear Hillary burst out with a laugh off screen. That was all she needed to say.

Read the rest.

4.  Want to get Nancy Pelosi out of Congress?  Then support Cindy Sheehan.  I understand Kevin’s logic, but the thought of supporting Sheehan made me vomit in my mouth a little.

5. More Obama pile on…. sorry, I. CAN’T. HELP. MYSELF.  My favorite cartoon is below.

 

6.  Random cute puppy picture

I had to break up the political thing somehow.  He kind of looks like a big rat doesn’t he?

HT: Way Cool Pictures

7.  Steve has an interesting take on the FLDS ranch raid in Texas.  We need to think about the slippery slope this raid may have legally

FYI: I am glad the raid occurred (because I do believe abuse was going on), but I think Steve brings up a very good point.   What about due process?  Where is the person who made the phone call?

8.  Why being a “follower of Jesus” is not enough.  Stephen Murray thinks so.

When I probe behind the phrase on so many blogs…I discover something that is rather disturbing. It is disturbing by its omissions rather than by what it affirms. Usually these posts speak about Christ’s calls to uplift the poor, look after the marginalized, love one’s enemies, turn the other cheek etc. etc. And at this point I’m loving it and rejoicing in the supreme moral vision of our Lord Jesus that extends to so many of our current issues in this broken world… 

But step back and take a closer look – what’s missing? When I step back what I don’t often see is a cross, I don’t see nail pierced hands, I don’t see a thorn scraped brow. Ultimately I don’t see the glorious substitution of Christ in my place whereby I can truly call myself a follower of Jesus – because he has purchased me with his very own blood. Rather I see an ethical Jesus, a Jesus who knows right from wrong but has no way to deal with a problem that stretches so much deeper than right or wrong behaviour. I see a moral first century Rabbi inspiring people to be more moral – and it’s deeply disturbing.

9.  This is a conference I wish I was able to attend.  Good news though!  All of the main sessions of Together for the Gospel 2008 can be downloaded for free.  You can go here to hear sessions by Ligon Duncan, Thabiti Anyabwile, John MacArthur, Mark Dever, R.C. Sproul, Albert Mohler, John Piper, and C.J. Mahaney.

The message (right click link and choose “save target as”) by Thabiti Anyabwile, the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman on “Bearing the Image: Identity, Work of Christ and the Church” was especially powerful.

10.  Douglas Neiswonger reconciles 2 Peter 3:3-9 with the doctrine of election.

11.  Britain’s Got Talent had a 13-year old sing who had an amazing voice.

His voice won’t stay like that for long… my voice started cracking when I was in 7th grade, but it should still very, very good.

12.  Video of a Hamas leader saying,  “President Carter’s visit gives us increased legitimacy…”  Yeah, that is exactly what we want a terrorist group to feel.  Thanks Jimmy!

13.  The Book of Hope is a charity that helps bring the Gospel to people throughout the world.  When I was a youth pastor we did this for a Jr./Sr. High School down the street – every kid in that school received a booklet of the Life of Christ.

A second video featuring their ministry in Poland.

We should also be involved in compassion projects as well like Blood Water Mission, World Vision, Compassion International, etc.  I would think this would be a great project for Vacation Bible Schools though.

HT: Compassion in Politics

14.  You know we all need to learn to say what we mean.  I am still learning this lesson with my kids.  HT: High Calling Blogs

15.  What were they thinking?

I don’t think they really gave this much thought.  While I don’t care for IRS rules on the type of speech that comes out of churches.  I must say out of all the crummy church signs that I’ve seen.  This takes the cake.

HT: Kevin Tracy and Crummy Church Signs.

16.  CNN hires a conservative as a political contributor.  I’m looking out the window for the flying pigs.  I live in Iowa after all.  You never know.

HT: Jenn Sierra

17.  Seth Barnes & I had e-mailed a couple times back and forth.  He shared a story of mine in a post about fathers exasperating their children… something I’ve been known to do.  He also has a great post on “how to repent to your children.”

18.  Dan Kimball blogs about how we need to be engaged in social justice concerns… our good works, but we can not forget eternity and our commission to share the Gospel in words, which he says is often where the emerging church goes wrong.

What I am wondering about, is how do we avoid patterns of the past when the church jumps strongly in the realm of focusing on the gospel’s impact for this earth and in this life – but slowly neglects teaching and reminding people of the gospel’s impact about the reality of eternal heaven and eternal hell in the life to come after we die?

19.  Sign me up!  Oh wait… too late.  The Archdiocese of New York has launched a marketing campaign (“The World Needs Heroes”) to address the decreasing number of young men who enter priesthood. They have also advertised during Knicks games too. 

FYI: The above ad is fake, but hey it could be effective.  HT: Mike Anderson

20.  Is there a connection between the movie Cloverfield and the Emergent Church?  Craig Detweiler seems to think so.

If you hate Cloverfield (or don’t even know what it is), then you probably loathe emerging Christians. If you like Cloverfield, you’re likely to dig the emergent conversation. Both deliver on their grand promises in a novel way (that is decidedly not for everybody). But why does the film (and the emergent folks) inspire such antipathy? Why can’t we appreciate the next generation’s re-imagination of tired clichés?

Read the rest.

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Over the weekend there was a “Compassion Forum” held at Messiah College in Grantham, PA.  Both Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were there to address people of faith in Pennsylvania before the upcoming April 22 primary in that state.

The forum covered several topics including abortion.

Clinton was asked whether life begins at conception — which opponents of abortion contend is a reality that makes any termination of a pregnancy the ending of a life.

“I believe the potential for life begins at conception,” Clinton said. “For me, it is also not only about a potential life. It is about the other lives involved. … I have concluded, after great, you know, concern and searching my own mind and heart over many years, … that individuals must be entrusted to make this profound decision, because the alternative would be such an intrusion of government authority that it would be very difficult to sustain in our kind of open society.”

The New York senator added that abortion should remain legal, safe and rare.

The two candidates appeared separately at Messiah College near Harrisburg, Pa., and briefly met as Clinton left the stage and Obama took her place. The moment of pleasantries and handshakes belied days of angry accusations between the two over Obama’s comments about bitter voters in small towns.

Asked whether life begins at conception, Obama said he didn’t know the answer.

“This is something that I have not, I think, come to a firm resolution on. I think it’s very hard to know what that means, when life begins. Is it when a cell separates? Is it when the soul stirs? … What I know, as I’ve said before, is that there is something extraordinarily powerful about potential life and that that has a moral weight to it that we take into consideration when we’re having these debates.”

Clinton is a Methodist. Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ.

Source: Fox News

Senator Clinton when come to her position on the issue of when life begins “after great, you know, concern and searching my own mind and heart over many years.”  Senator Obama still hasn’t come to a resolution.

The problem with Senator Clinton position lies in where she is going, as a “person of faith”, for answers to her questions.  You won’t find the answer in your own heart and mind. 

For both of the candidates the Bible is pretty clear regarding our personhood and provides a direct answer as to when life begins.  There shouldn’t be mass confusion over this for people who claim to follow Jesus Christ.  Life begins at conception, and our personhood is a reality before conception when one reads Psalm 139.

Plainly put, a position that holds that life does not begin at conception quite frankly is not scriptural and is an inconsistent view for a follower of Christ.

A question that I would have for Senator Obama, if he is unclear as to when life begins would he have a policy that is so anti-life when it comes to preborn children; even so far as voting against Illinois’ Born Alive Infant Protection Act that would protect children who survived an abortion?  That seems inconsistent with the answer he gives us during this forum.  His votes seem to say his mind is made up regarding this matter.

Another thing that Senator Clinton said that I feel needs to be addressed.

“For me, it is also not only about a potential life. It is about the other lives involved.”

The compassion argument, after all this is the “Compassion Forum”.  Often times those on the left when appealing to Christian voters will point out Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  For instance:

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy,” (Matthew 5:7, ESV).

The noun, mercy, in the Greek is eleos, this word when used in the Bible always deals with what we see of pain, misery, and distress.  The results of sin.  It doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to sin, but does mean extending relief, healing and help to those broken by sin.  Why?  Because we are broken by sin, as the very first beatitude states, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall receive the Kingdom of God,” (Matthew 5:4, ESV).  (To hear recent sermons I’ve preached on the Beatitudes you can go here for part one and here for part two).

Jesus showed great mercy and compassion for the woman caught in adultery, but even told her to “sin no more,” (John 8:11).  When looked upon the crowds and had compassion on them because they were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd,” (Matthew 9:36).

I guess the question to ask is are we really being compassionate to those who are facing an unexpected pregnancy by allowing abortion?  I don’t think so, mercy doesn’t mean allowance for sin and compassion shouldn’t create victims which abortion does.

If mercy is relieving pain, misery and distress how is it merciful to add to that pain, misery and distress?  Which is exactly what abortion does when you look at the potential complications and risks involved in an abortion, when you look at what it could possibly do to the mother’s chances to become pregnant again after having an abortion, and looking at the mental health of those who have abortions.

No it seems to be that if Senator Clinton is looking at the other lives involved she would advocate: less red tape involving adoption and federal aid to help those wanting to adopt, less money to abortion providers and more to crisis pregnancy centers and maternity homes, and abstinence-based sex education to help prevent unexpected pregnancies (which actually works unlike “comprehensive” sex education).

Also Senator Clinton uses the phrase tossed around during her husband’s administration that abortion should be safe, legal and rare.  I think a good case has been made that abortion is not safe for mothers (and definitely not safe for the pre-born children).  It is legal, but the the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion is bad constitutional law and should be overturned.  Regarding rare… 50 million since 1973 would hardly count as being rare.

I guess people of faith in Pennsylvania need to ask themselves if Clinton and Obama’s position on abortion matches up with their values.  I would say not.

(If you want to read more on a Biblical framework for the pro-life position, check out my Against Abortion series of posts.)

Cross-posted at Red Blue Christian and From Their Own Mouths.

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Sorry for the lapse in posting.  With my new responsibility of being interim pastor at Grace Evangelical Free Church in Indianola, IA, my work with Serve Our Youth Network and just being a dad and husband I’ve been behind in reading my blog subscriptions and news feeds, so that is why I missed a week.

1.  Jeremy Taylor, a teacher at Sioux City North High School, is running against incumbent Democrat Represenative Wes Whitead to represent Sioux City in House District 1.  He recently gave a great speech at the Woodbury County Republican Convention.  Watch below.

Part I: 7 minutes, 32 seconds

Part II: 6 minutes, 1 second

I hope that he wins, and more people like him win to stop the craziness that is going on in the Iowa House before our state goes completely bankrupt both morally and fiscally.

HT: Matt Riesetter

2.  The Barna Research Group has a new study out on Marriage and Divorce that finds marriage is norm among adults with only 22% having never been married.  They also found, however, that divorce is widespread and has lost most of its stigma.

3.  Wayne Larson on Worldview, Antithesis and Where We Get It All Wrong.  He brings up some interesting points.

4.  Great April Fool’s prank from Neil Cavuto.  HT: Matt Proctor

5.  Condy Rice – McCain’s VP pick?  That would be interesting.  I think it would be a strong pick for him, but would rather see somebody with more domestic experience.

6.  The picture below made me laugh out loud.  Anybody else feel the same?

 

HT: Jeff @ Smart Pastor 

7.  Also a good link I found from Jeff @ Smart Pastor.  Ten Worst Ever Life Verses.  Dang, I’m going to have to change mine.  Guys, perhaps reciting #7 to your wife wouldn’t be such a bad thing.  I mean it is scripture after all!

10. Hezekiah 13:7
“Ye that dwelleth in his name, observe the news of the Lord.”

9. Hosea 4:14
“I will not punish your daughters when they turn to prostitution, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery, because the men themselves consort with harlots and sacrifice with shrine prostitutes—a people without understanding will come to ruin!”

8. Judges 4:21
“But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.”

7. Song of Songs 7:7-8a
“Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.'”

6. Psalm 137:8-9
“O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us—he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.”

5. 1 Samuel 4:18
“When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backwards from his seat by the side of the gate; and his neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man, and heavy.”

4. Matthew 1:9
“And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias”

3. Acts 5:9
“How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

2. Leviticus 18:19
“Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.”

1. Ezekiel 23:20
“There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.”

8.  Having been a spectator (and sometimes victim) of congregationalism run-amuck as a form of church governance, I appreciated this post by Greg Gilbert over at the 9 Marks blog.

9.  The unchurched prefer cathedrals over contemporary church designs according to a LifeWay survey.  Interesting, exactly the opposite of what I would have thought.  HT: Sam Rainer

10.  Greg Stier on the James 2 faith-works dilemma.  My take is that works don’t save, but saving faith will have works as fruit or the evidence so to speak of legitimate faith.  That is a rather simplified summary of my interpretation of James 2.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!  Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.  You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?  For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead, (James 2:14-26, ESV).

11. MTV survey on teens and social activism.  Pretty interesting.  HT: Kurt Johnston

12.  Adopt a Terrorist for Jesus

That’s what the new Web-based ministry Adopt a Terrorist for Prayer (ATFP) is urging Christians to do. Though ATFP agrees the government must fight terrorism militarily, it also believes the real war will be won in the spiritual realm. “Visitors can find a terrorist to pray for, as well as see how many others are praying for them,” said ATFP founder Thomas Bruce. “ It’s all about connecting these prayer warriors to each other to see how others are praying, to encourage each other, to spread the word, and fight this War on Terrorism in a powerful and spiritual way.” (From the Ministry Report Newsletter).

HT: Monday Morning Insight

13.  Also the first ever Amish emerging church – Solomon’s Barn.  I kid you not.

14.  Randy Alcorn does a monthly book giveaway, this month it is his book, Heaven.

15.  Christopher Wesley has a series of blog posts over at the Purpose Driven Youth Ministry Community Blog entitled “Good to Great Youth Ministry” based on learnings from Jim Collins book, Good to Great.  Here is a link to the first post.

16.  Andrew Jackson on how Christians can engage in politics without losing their soul.  He offers 10 biblical guidelines for how to do this.

17.  Senator Barack Obama’s outreach efforts to evangelicals has been sabotaged by his former pastor (and I would also say a number of his policy positions).  But it would seem his belief in liberation theology is hurting him.

Barack Obama’s church, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, is dedicated to Black Liberation Theology and income redistribution. This liberal theology goes hand-in-hand with the liberal politics which Obama espouses. Obama’s faith is heavily based in the social gospel, meaning an emphasis is placed on the humanitarian example of Jesus. Humanity’s need for a savior to pay the debt due because of sin, which is satisfied by Christ’s death and resurrection, is relegated to the sidelines.

HT: Politics and Christianity

18.  Foxfier on the death of Charleton Heston.  Not only do two of his movies rank as some of my all time favorites (Ben Hur and the Ten Commandments), but also his work in conservative circles.  Foxfier included a quote from “Winning the Culture War” in her blog that I’ll share here as well.

Who will defend the core value of academia, if you supposed soldiers of free thought and expression lay down your arms and plead, “Don’t shoot me.”

If you talk about race, it does not make you a racist.

If you see distinctions between the genders, it does not make you sexist.

If you think critically about a denomination, it does not make you anti-religion.

If you accept but don’t celebrate homosexuality, it does not make you a homophobe.

Don’t let America’s universities continue to serve as incubators for this rampant epidemic of new McCarthyism.

But what can you do? How can anyone prevail against such pervasive social subjugation? The answer’s been here all along.

I learned it 36 years ago, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., standing with Dr. Martin Luther King and two hundred thousand people.

You simply … disobey.

Peaceably, yes. Respectfully, of course. Nonviolently, absolutely.

But when told how to think or what to say or how to behave, we don’t. We disobey social protocol that stifles and stigmatizes personal freedom.

I learned the awesome power of disobedience from Dr. King . . . who learned it from Gandhi, and Thoreau, and Jesus, and every other great man who led those in the right against those with the might.

Disobedience is in our DNA. We feel innate kinship with that disobedient spirit that tossed tea into Boston Harbor, that sent Thoreau to jail, that refused to sit in the back of the bus, that protested a war in Vietnam.

In that same spirit, I am asking you to disavow cultural correctness with massive disobedience of rogue authority, social directives and onerous laws that weaken personal freedom.

But be careful … it hurts. Disobedience demands that you put yourself at risk. Dr. King stood on lots of balconies.

19.  Awesome quote.  When I first watched Amazing Grace I didn’t catch this, but Jemila Kwon over at Quirky Grace highlighted a quote given by Barbara, who is the woman who encourages William Wilberforce not to give up on his dream of seeing slavery abolished in Great Britain.

When they stop being afraid, their compassion will return.

20.  Something that leaders don’t often like to do, but I think is vital in order to listen to a variety of viewpoints and have a plurality of feedback: encourage disagreement.  Listen to opposing viewpoints.  This isn’t saying that we should promote disunity.  We need to be charitable toward one another, but I have far too often see a “group think” mentality occur when everybody thinks alike.  Poor decisions are made when we lapse into that.  We should seek to gather not “yes people” around us, but also those who will also challenge our thinking and push us beyond our comfort zone.

HT: High Calling Blogs

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