Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Making the Case for Christ

One of the great things about this time of the year is the inevitable conversations about the role of God and faith in our culture, communities and politics.

The celebration of Christmas presents a stark contrast to the values of secular humanism. Many non-believers are empty, looking for answers to life and the problems they face.

These conversations are happening around dinner tables, family gatherings, the gym and in the workplace. Without question, the harvest fields are fertile now for believers to jump in and offer a distinct world view. We need to be ready with answers to what and why we believe.

Are you ready to share Jesus Christ with your family, friends and neighbors?

Here's a great verse towards that end. The Apostle Peter wrote that we are "to be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But to do this with gentleness and respect"- 1 Peter 3:15.

Here a remarkable story about Christians cooperating the public square. Here's another one where there is work to be done...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas is the Reason for the Season

Surprise! Most Americans believe in Christmas! Despite pundits and media apologists, the vast majority of Americans still believe in the true story of Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Should "Evangelical Lesbians" Be Given A Pass?

Sunday's Denver Post featured a front page article by reporter Eric Gorski trumpeting the "progress, peace and self-fulfillment" made by Sheila Burris, local lesbian Christian. But according to the tone of the story, most Christians and churches are still obtuse when it comes to accepting homosexuals and their lifestyles.

I just have one question. Simply, all good feelings aside, what does the Bible say about sin and in particular homosexuality? We live in a time where no one wants to hear what God has to say about all sin. Here's a good article on what the Bible says about homosexuality.

Finally, every one of us has a sin problem. Mine may be different than yours. Homosexuality is a sin according to God's Word. Many today don't want to hear this. But the fact remains that God, according to His Word, will require sin to be dealt with.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Faith and Freedom-Its Hand in Glove

Last week at a Southern California symposium, Denver's Archbishop Chaput hit the nail on the head regarding the relationship of faith to freedom. He stated that "democracy does not mean putting aside our religious and moral beliefs for the sake of public policy; in fact, it demands exactly the opposite."

While some secular apologists would posit that freedom does not require faith, their rationale ignores American history. Our nation's rich liberties are the fruit of our mostly faithful predecessors. Our culture, institutions and creeds are primarily based on the common assumption that most Americans have and practice faith in God.

Several years ago, a current state legislator proudly claimed that while she was a Christian she would "check her faith at the capital door so not to be biased." For her, the highest notion was tolerance and consensus, buzz words for secularlism . In my view, she sold out unhooking faith and freedom.

Our view: faith and freedom are historically connected. Promoting secularlism does not benefit our state or nation. Secularlism only offers tolerance which offers no principles or beliefs for a successful life. Instead, let's offer faith, hope, charity and life to our dark world.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Intent of the Gay Marriage Debate

Most Coloradans are tired of the gay marriage debate. Its ski and snowboard season and the Broncos are entering the stretch run of the season.

Still ,with everything that has been said about the voters passage of Amendment 43 and similar rejection of Referendum I (civil union law), its important to remember the nexus of the issue.

The debate about gay marriage is not a debate over tolerance. Its a debate about the purpose of marriage.

Most of us dislike the idea that other Americans are being deprived of their rights. Most Americans oppose bigotry and disparagement. By and large, we are very tolerant, generous and kind towards strangers and those with other beliefs and values.

We can win the gay marriage debate if we remind our fellows Americans about the intent of marriage. But it will necessitate practice and not only words. What would be some good practices?....How about lowering the divorce rate, incentivizing premarital counseling, forming community church consortiums that promote marriage values and offering parenting and financial classes to married couples, issues that often lead to divorce.

The purpose of marriage is clear. But we need to remind Americans in word and deed.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Christian "End Game"

I spent a lot of time in this last election cycle promoting Amendment 43, the Colorado Marriage Amendment act. It was time well-spent. But I walked away with a sense of inner tension between my witness to my culture and world and my ultimate allegiance to the Kingdom of God.

So, I came away with these questions. What is the Christian "end game?" What should be our ultimate prize in view of eternity?

Scripture tells us to "set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." (1 Peter 3:15)

This verse speaks to action in the public square but it also calls us to a higher plane.

Following the November election, there has been much teeth-gnashing among Christians. I assume that many of these believers had hitched their wagon to the success or failure of Republican candidates. Now there is some merit to these sentiments, I will grant you, but true Christianity does not require a political litmus test. Jesus never required a political statement of affirmation prior to his conduction of services. The "enemy" was not Democrats or Republicans, but Satan.

As believers we will find ourselves on tricky ground if we exclusively politicized our beliefs. I fear that many believers are caught up in this pursuit. Jesus taught that true faith was ultimately lived out through godly actions towards others. When Nicodemus visited Jesus, the conversation was not about politics advancing the Kingdom of God but faith and ultimately faithful people. Jesus could have shifted the focus of his ministry and rubbed elbows with the politicians of his time. But he didn't. He equally called all-great and small- to a life-changing faith.

So what's the end game? American Christianity is drifting a bit. I understand the desire of faithful believers to live in a better world free of the sins which are so rampant today. I know too that many believers are legitimately motivated by speaking out for godly values in the public square. But this passion cannot be our first love. We need to return to the basics of faith- caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, provisioning the needy and caring for the widow and orphan. Our prize is the advancement of the Kingdom of God not a political agenda.

Few have ever been argued into the Kingdom of God. Most have been loved into it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving.

But I must admit that I fall into the traditional "American" practice of Thanksgiving more than I should. Most Americans see Thanksgiving as "the" day to give thanks-sort of. Let's be honest, for most of us its a day consumed with feasting, fellowshipping and football. As a kid my cousins would come over every year. There was always the pre-requisite football game in the street which meant dodging cars and getting your knees torn up. Afterwards, the turkey would be carved, piles of stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie would be heaped onto huge plates. Everyone cleaned their plates. And then of course, there was the post-feast nap. What a great day!

But as Thanksgiving 2006 marches closer, I am searching this year for a different meaning. I am not looking for a more sublime or esoteric sense of the day, but a deeper appreciation as to who God is and His work in my life. In this pursuit, I came across a favored Psalm, Psalm 100:4 which states that we are to "enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name."

Compared to the modern American practice of Thanksgiving, this is an unfamiliar. I think what David was trying to suggest in this Psalm is that we are to actively enter into God's presence with one goal in mind- praise. Why? Not for all that He has done for us but for all that He is. And that is a radical change of view. Its really easy to praise and thank God when the Thanksgiving table groans with food. But would I praise Him if I was destitute?

Am I going to feast, nap and play football with my kids on Thanksgiving? You bet. But beforehand, I want to savor and praise God for who He is before I thank him for all of the blessings.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Christian Clubs a Great Idea for Your Kid's School

Do you want your school to be a more godly place? For years Christians have argued for equal access for Christian bible clubs on public school campuses. For the most part, public school officials, fearful of lawsuits from the ACLU or personal bias', have rejected these requests.

You might be interested to know that in 2001, the United States Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision (Good News Bible Club vs Milford), affirmed the rights of Christian bible clubs to meet on public school campus after regular school hours. Public schools were prohibited from discriminating against these groups because of their Christian viewpoint.

Nationwide a thaw is beginning. Read more about it here

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Colorado's Bi-Polar Voters

It's E-Day plus seven, that is election day one week later. Republicans are licking their wounds while Democrats are jubilant.

Fact is, that Coloradans have never been straight party-line voters. This year was no exception. Riding a wave of blue, Democrats captured the governor's mansion, increased their legislative margins and elected record numbers of county and local officials. Its heady times to be a Democrat in Colorado.

Yet, there was good news when it comes to conservative issues such as Amendment 43, the definition of marriage. Many voters voted for Democratic candidates but agreed with conservative ideas. This was reflected in the marriage amendment, which passed overwhelmingly with 56-44 percent. Fifty-four of the state's sixty-four counties passed it. On the other hand, the liberal measure, Referendum I, granting homosexual unions equivalent, failed by a 53 to 47 percent.

It will be interesting to see if the folks elected will represent the ideas of the people.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Chicken Little-Is the Sky Falling?

You know of the story of Chicken Little?

Some are already predicting that the sky will fall under the Colorado Democratic monopoly.

Maybe. But we believe that there will be legislative action taken on a host of issues which are harmful to life, marriage and family values.

Here's our list of troublesome predictions based on the actions and words of elected Democrats in our legislature in previous years:

*Planned Parenthood will be refunded with tax payer dollars. Watch this one. We believe that a woman's "private choice" need to be paid for privately. Additionally, using public dollars to promote abortion services should be funded privately. This will be an early test of Governor Ritter's pro-life beliefs.

*CSAP will be either eliminated or marginalized until it dies its own death. The teacher unions are gunning to gut CSAP. Yet, educational accountability is good. Aferall, it is the largest piece of our annual state budget.

*Domestic partnerships will be legalized at some point. And you thought "REF I" was dead? Governor-elect Ritter has already disavowed his support for civil unions. But, but, but...Gay activists who are part of the Democratic monopoly will demand payback for their support of Ritter's victory. Also,look for legislation requiring businesses to accept transgendered employees irregardless of their personal behavior or dress.

*Colorado government will expand services and programs with near blank checks given to social services, education, tort and transportation. More government services means higher "investments. In simple language, more taxes.

*School choice will fade. More accountability is coming for home schoolers and alternative public education alternatives. The government school system main not remain tolerant of educational efforts outside their purview.

*Colorado businesses will sag under a new government based health care effort. We are for universal quality health care for Coloradans. We have a simple question. Who will pay for it?

It's Back to the Drawing Board for Republicans

In 1994, Republicans turned over the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, capturing more than 50 seats. After almost 40 years of control, Democrats were swept away. Their sins-lack of ideas, corruption and malaise that often accompanies political power. Republicans captured the 1994 electorate hope for a better nation with their "Contract with America"...

Today that seems to be a distant memory. Good ideas will capture the minds of voters. Thus, good people with good ideas and good campaigns will win elections.

In 2006, Republicans found themselves in a similar predictment as the 1994 Democrats-lack of ideas, corruption and malaise. Granted, the media and other institutional forces conspired against Republican success, but the fact remains that Republicans need a fresh wind of ideas and leadership.

Case in point is Iraq. President Bush has not done a good job constantly telling the American people why Iraq is important. Most Americans cannot even find it on a world map. And yet, many families are sacrificing their most valuable human assets-their sons and daughters for a nebulous distant cause. Most Americans have memory-fatigue in today's information-saturated culture. The moral high ground for the War in Iraq has been seized by the anti-war proponents. This should not be the case. But, if unclear reasons for our acts in Iraq are not offered, then the effort can be easily dismissed.

Unlike 1994, Democrats did not win this election because of ideas. At this point, they seem to have few ideas as to what they want to do.

So, there's an opportunity now for Republicans to roll up their sleeves and begin to win again the battle of ideas. That's how you win elections.

How About Some Good News?

There's good news out there tonight. The nearly final numbers for Amendment 43 are in and they show it pulling away to a great 56-44 percent victory.

Sadly, the media is giving its passage very little coverage, choosing instead to spotlight gay activist Tim Gill's work.

But, God sees our work. Kudos to all of the marriage-believing Coloradans who stood tall for this effort.

The other good news is the demise of Referendum I. It's loss is good for Colorado. Fortunately, voters did not fall for its disingenuous premises. However, we are worried that its death is only temporary and that a Democratic legislative coalition will pass it shortly after the convention of the 2007 state legislature. Their rationale- that Colorado voters are misguided and this horrible injustice needs to be remedied!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Great Story-Wounded Army Chaplain Speaks for the First Time

This story speaks for itself for faith, hope and perseverance. Enjoy.

Hypocrisy Versus Grace- The Saga of Recovery

The saga of Ted Haggard continues to dominate the news. Here's what folks are saying.

Rocky Mountain News editorialist Mike Littwin weigh in too.

Some will use this issue to attempt to advance the cause of homosexual rights and the politics associated with it. For others it will be a "aha!" moment, desiring to chastise anyone who claims faith in Christ. Guess what? The issue here is not about furthering gay rights or the supposed levels of "Christian" hypocrisy.

No, the final chapter of this story will be about God's forgiveness to all of the Ted Haggard's of the world, who genuinely repent and seek him.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pastor Ted Haggard Steps Aside

On Thursday, Pastor Ted Haggard of New Life Church in Colorado Springs took a leave of absence from his church and resigned his post as President of the National Association of Evangelicals. This comes in the wake of accusations made against him by a male homosexual who charged that they had been in a gay sex relationship.

Pray for Pastor Haggard and his church. Pray that the truth will surface.

You can track the latest on this story here.

Thanks for the "Compliment" Senator Kerry

At RMFC and with the posts in this blog, we try to focus on our mission-promoting God's design for the family.

However, every once in a while, something comes along which is outrageous and deserves a comment. This is such a time.

As many of you may know, I have been a naval officer, chaplain and veteran of Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, for nearly 20 years.

I am outraged by Senator John Kerry's comments several days ago. Bad joke or not, this type of juvenile "humor" is egregious on the part of a United States senator.

We are at war. Every day, young Americans of all ethnicities, age and educational levels (yes, we have Ph.d's in Iraq) are putting their flesh and blood on the line. To be insulted like this is not only a morale-buster but undermines our war effort.

Senator Kerry, wake up. I am stunned that such an obtuse statement would be made. This is not Vietnam. Despite your comments and voting record, our nation's military is made up of some of our brightest and smartest young people.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Freedom is Never Free-Why We Must Win in Iraq

Abraham Lincoln stated that, "Our defense is in the spirit which prized liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism at your own doors."

Lincoln is right! Freedom is never free. But many Americans seem to believe that our cherished freedoms and rights fell from the sky or evolved out of the mud. Some think that they come from a government. Others, including myself, believe they are bestowed from a benevolent Creator. The maintenance of these rights has been a steep price, procured for us by the invaluable blood of Americans.

Iraqis have the right to freedom and many are paying the ultimate price right now. Right now its an away game. If we pull out prematurely and lose it, the game will be played on our home turf. This struggle won't be easy. It will require more sacrifice. And, if we lose, we lose a piece of our nation's soul, as Lincoln warned. Freedom is a cherished idea but it can perish as a national concept if we fail at the hard task in front of us. Every generation of Americans has had to decide if freedom is worth the price.

Vietnam took away a piece of our national soul. Let's not do it again.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Imagio Deo and the New Jersey Supreme Court

Imagio Deo. Somewhere in our past dusty public school education, this term was taught. Not in today's public schools. We barely teach English. Imagio deo is Latin for the image of God. Whether your realize it or not, scripture tells us that every human being has got it. You cannot put your hand on it or comb your hair over it, but its there, buried in your soul.

Every human being is branded by God. Its your mark. Its tells creation who built you. And, you were built to be in a relationship with Him. But you are not coerced to be in that relationship but the potential of it is there within you.

This imagio deo concept is pretty important when we talk about marriage. When God put things together in His creation, He created two distinct genders-male and female and stamped them with His imagio deo. David writes in Psalm 139 that, "you created my inmost being; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Sounds like a pretty heavy dose of imagio deo.

A big part of God's plan was to join these two distinct genders together in a lifelong covenant. Its called marriage and within the operative scope of God's imagio deo were distinct roles each gender would play. These roles would be brought together in perfect harmony within the boundaries of marriage. There is no other option or acceptable union in God's creation.

It troubles me then when enlightened courts decide that centuries of human practice are now void in 2006. The New Jersey state supreme court is leaning into the wind of God's creation, and doing so foolishly. Their decision is not enlightened but dark.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Choosing a Great College

Its that time of the year when the pursuit of a college for "junior" begins. Parents begin to add grey hair and their pre-college bound kid starts thinking of where they want to go next year (their thinking may go like this-warm beaches, attractive members of the opposite sex, few classes, etc; contrast this thought process with their parents-rigorous academic pursuits, 8 pm bedtimes, no members of the opposite sex, etc).

Like everything else today, the selection of a good college is no easy chore. There's the huge price tag, potential distance and the never-ending worry of your child's decision-making abilities. And there is the valid concern about the ideology of the school and the ideas your child will encounter. Plus, we have all heard the horror stories of good kids being warped by values and ideas counter to our beliefs.

From our view, the college experience should be a partnership between parents, kids and the college. While we want our kids to explore new ideas and meet new people, today's academia climate demands a thorough review of every school's agenda.

We have come across a good resource for you to use. If you are looking for some input, here's a good tool.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Its the Economy "Stupid!"

Columnist George Will hits the nail on the head with his Washington Post op-ed piece.

"Its the economy stupid," as the old saying goes. But, few in the media are talking about it because it breaks the current election template-that our nation's roaring economy only benefits the rich.

The fact is is that a good economy is a critical family issue. Electing politicians who know how to keep the economic engines going is key. We need folks in public office who embrace public policies which build families, lower taxes and create jobs. Most Americans like having disposable income- money in their pockets!

Homosexual Groups Gather in Big Bucks

No surprises here. Big-time gay activists are busting the bank right now to push their efforts over the top- its a torrent...

Today's Rocky Mountain News reports a huge cash infusion into gay activist groups which are pushing forward Referendum I and the defeat of Amendment 43.

The recipients are Coloradans for Fairness and Equality, a gay activist group, which has been in Colorado for five years. It is the main advocate for Referendum I. A new group, "Don't Mess with Marriage," is another lefty gay rights group specifically targeting the marriage amendment effort.

Both groups go hand in glove with each other and their efforts are underwritten by gay and liberal benefactors such as Tim Gill and Patricia Stryker, who are dumping huge sums of money into these issues.

What's new is not the determination or existence of these anti-marriage groups, but the match up with big buck donors...These donations underscore the determination of homosexual activists to foist their definition of marriage upon Colorado and to secure special rights for gays.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Welcome 300th Million American!

Somewhere in our nation in the last couple of days, the 300th million American was born. This is great news!

Unlike our European counterparts, America is flourishing with new children guaranteeing our nation's future. This future generation promises to be very diverse and much different than their predecessors. High technology, longer livespans and an uncertain world will greet them. Hopefully, like their predecessors, they will see themselves as "Americans" despite their ethnicites, embodying the great American dream. Here's a great link to the national story.

Here at home in Colorado, our state posts a current population of more than 4.8 million- and we are growing fast. Demographers expect Colorado to surpass 5 million residents by 2008 and more than 6 million by 2018. The hub of the growth will continue to be centered in the Front Range but growth is occurring all over the state. Most of our state's growth is in the Hispanic community. The Hispanic birth rate is nearly double than that of non-Hispanic whites and more than double of other ethnic groups. Check out the story here.

Forgiveness Works

Often, in the midst of tragedy, God shows up in ways you least expect. In the wake of the school shooting in the heart of Amish country in Pennsylvania, God is healing a broken community. I am not that surprised by it but this story has a divine message to it...It is hard to forgive someone particularly when they commit a premeditated egregious crime. The Amish families who had been victimized by this heinous crime had every human right to be angry, demand huge punitive reparations and even a few pounds of flesh.

Yet, they took a different course.

They extended an olive branch of forgiveness to the family of Charles Roberts. And it sounds as though their decision to do this was quick. It didn't take months and it wasn't issued through their attorneys. Somewhat stunned, the gunmen's wife poignantly thanked her Amish neighbors, "your love for our family has helped to provide he healing we so desperately need."

The power of forgiveness is God's spigot for human healing. In no way are we diminishing the pain and loss of the victim's families, but in the aftermath of this tragedy, healing is flowing into this community. Check out this remarkable story

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Where's God When Tragedy Hits?

Where is God in the midst of human tragedy?

Gunman kills high school student and then himself in a Colorado mountain high school. Many wonder where God is…

For many Coloradans, this recent high school tragedy felt like a Columbine replay. A gunman enters a Colorado high school and takes hostages. Police storm the school and in the process, a 16 year old student, Emily Keyes loses her life.

In the midst of the storm, many questions are being asked about life. One of those inevitable questions which many are asking -where is God? Which fronts the real question: does God really exist? Some will sarcastically ask this question in an attempt to discount claims that God doesn’t care or love us. Others will ask it out of a broken heart. Some because they don’t understand how God could permit such evil.

No one knows why God allows evil acts. Human tragedy and the evil acts have always been a part of the human saga.

But, when God created humanity he built all of us with the ability to make moral choices-right or wrong. Every human would have freedom of choice. But that freedom of choice would also create the potential for human evil. Obvioulsy, God knew of this potential but the higher choice for Him was to give his creatures the ability to freely choose him- not robots. When these evil events occur because of the volitional choice of someone, we are offended and want choice eliminated. And we ask that inevitable question about God's care for us and his existence. Yet none of us would ever surrender our ability to choose. We can't have it both ways.

If you are facing this question from a friend or you are thinking about it, remember that God loves us. Evil always allows God to do his best work in ways which would have been impossible before. God will redeem all things even evil events.