Friday, March 21, 2008

Easter Is About Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the heart of the Easter message. Through his death on a Roman cross, Christ made it possible to forgive us. In turn, we are to forgive others. Jesus taught that "if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your father will not forgive your sins" (Matt. 6:14-15).

Many of us need forgiveness this day or we need to forgive someone who has transgressed us. A lack of forgiveness is the root cause for so much of the human "heart break" in our world today.

Here's a great story penned by Jean Torkelson in today's Rocky Mountain News which hits this nail on the head.

Forgiveness is not only an act of spirit and will but an act of the heart. This Easter, who do you need to forgive or ask for forgiveness?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Abortion Bad for Women's Health

A badly needed debate is underway in Great Britain. New research shows a causal link between abortion and psychological problems for women.

A recently released report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Great Britain sounded the alarm. The report recommends that women should not be allowed an abortion until they have been informed of the possible risks to their mental health.

Find out more at this link.

We need this debate in America.

Monday, March 10, 2008

California Challenges Homeschoolers

California homeschoolers were slapped in the face by a recent court ruling of the state's second district court of appeals. The court said all children ages 6 to 18 must attend public or private school full time until they graduate from high school or must be tutored by a credentialed teacher.

On Saturday, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger weighed in vowing to reverse the court's decision. ""Every California child deserves a quality education, and parents should have the right to decide what's best for their children. Parents should not be penalized for acting in the best interests of their children's education. This outrageous ruling must be overturned by the courts, and if the courts don't protect parents' rights then, as elected officials, we will."

There is no provision in the California Education Code or elsewhere in state law that addresses the issue of homeschooling. Homeschool advocates want to keep it that way, despite the governor's support for a new law to help them. They believe current code supports their practices and that new laws would include regulations and possibly restrictions on homeschooling. "We just want to leave it alone because it's good the way it is," said Loren Mavromati, who homeschools her two children and volunteers with the California Homeschool Network, an advocacy organization made up mostly of homeschooling parents. "The law as it stands is working well in California."

A legislative remedy is unlikely despite Schwarzenegger's stance. The California State Assembly is controlled by Democrats who have little support or sympathy for homeschooling.

Read the full story here.

The Potter's Wheel

In the Hands of the Potter

For most of us, the idea of being clay is not real appealing. We live in a time in which we are told to be the masters of our own lives, the captain’s of our destiny. The idea that we would willingly surrender our fame, fortune and future for some unseen master or world seems ludicrous to most. But, the bible teaches us this way.

Eternal shaping is God’s main business for each of us. Scripture witnesses to this fact over and over again. The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah had this notion that we are all on the potter’s wheel (Jeremiah 18), being shaped for eternity. Jeremiah saw the potter as God, molding His followers into beautiful eternal vessels. Jesus taught that we are to pursue the Kingdom of Heaven and the work of the potter (Matthew 6) above everything else, irregardless of the cost. His bottom-line: we are to place our lives, fame and fortune into God’s formative hands. Being soft and moldable clay is one of the great secrets of a successful Christian life.

The question of that time, and one which is still very applicable today, is whether or not you will allow God to shape you for eternity. To do so will require you to swim against the popular currents of our culture. How moldable are you? Take a visit to the Potter’s house soon. The bottom-line: take your hands off the wheel and get onto the potter’s wheel.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Pulpit and the Culture Intersection

More and more, pastors are asked or are pressured to preach "on the culture." For some pastors, this is dangerous turf fraught with landmines. For others, it is as natural as breathing.

From my view, there is a balance point.

At issue for most pastors who preach regularly is a reasonable balance. Many pastors do not see themselves as political advocates or operatives. More often than not, they see their ministry as being above the political fray.

In 2008, politics are front and center for many parishioners. Pastors are in a unique position to influence the hearts and minds of voters towards Kingdom perspectives.

While Scripture is not an inherently political document, there are verses that guide believers and their interactions with rulers and the government. For example-Romans 13:1-7 and Luke 20:25 to name a few.

These need to be preached on.