Monday, April 27, 2009

An American Hero

Here's a great story about a 19 year old American hero. Read the story here.

While some young Americans may be confused about their country and the values we cherish, many are not. And, many are willing to give their lives for something bigger than themselves.

This young man is such a hero.

Its All About Character

By now, you have likely heard about the buzzing controversy regarding Miss California, Carrie Prejean and her comments regarding homosexual marriage.

This story is not about her comments per say nor the reactions of a misguided homosexual zealot. Instead its about the moral character of a young woman who stood fast in her belief.

While certain parts of today's toxic popular culture will try to crucify her and label her a bigot, Jesus exhorts us to rise above it. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus taught his disciples to "seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness."

Standing fast for godly beliefs, particularly the definition of marriage, will always be costly. But we need to keep in mind that we serve an eternal kingdom. We serve a God who will measure and test our faith and beliefs.

Carrie Prejean passed this test with flying colors. Here's the story.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The End of Christian America?

If you haven't seen it, find Newsweek's Jon Meacham's article, The End of Christian America, here.

Before you erupt, read the whole article. This article is based on the recently released survey, the American Religious Identification Study. Its nexus conclusion: that self-identified Christians had fallen 10 percentage points since 1990 from 86 percent of all Americans to 76 percent.

Troubling, yes. Catastrophic for American Christianity, no. In the first century of the Church, Christians were very much in the minority. Persecuted, discriminated and even murdered by the state, today's culture would appear to them as a garden of eden.

Here are three conclusions to ponder:

-Our nation is shedding much of its institutional Judeo-Christian heritage for what I fear will be the worse. This trek into a social wilderness, guided by post-modern thoughts and beliefs, may lead our nation into a cultural and social train wreck. The very liberties we enjoy: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and freedom of or from religion all stem from the Judeo-Christian worldview that our culture seems so eager to ditch.

-More than ever, America is a cornucopia of religious faiths and beliefs. Every world religion has found our shores and is flourishing-and that is good news. Cultures with strong religious values tend to flourish. America's resiliency against the trends of post-Christian socialist Europe is due to our religious bulwark. Nonetheless, America is at a low point in terms of Christian influence in the public square and the societal sense that Christianity offers the best solutions to the problems of life. My concern though is not so much with the political sphere or cultural influence but with the role of evangelism for the hearts and souls of men and women who are now more than ever distant from the Gospel.

-Finally, let's not lose hope. In his article, Mr. Meacham also suggests that this new situation is perhaps healthy for the church. To this extent I agree – the church's mission clarifies any time the distinction between the church and the world is made more evident. Our witness is to lovingly show non-Christians that they are not Christians and that believers need to be reminded that what sinners need is the Gospel of Christ, not merely the lingering morality of the Christian memory.

The great news for the Church is that God is responsible for fruit of our labors. Our role is to till the fields and sow the seed.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A New Ice Age? Colorado Ski Resorts Trading in Snow for Sand...

This story makes me feel a chill.

Take note those of you who are convinced that global warming will soon make Colorado ski resorts beaches in the next decade

Front and center in today's Denver Post is a "chilling" article chronicling the demise of the coal-fired boiler at the k-12 public school in Silverton. I am not sure how many of you have ever ventured through this beautiful mountain town, nestled high in the San Juan mountains of southern Colorado. But, I have been there and I can tell you that its cold there even in the summer.

My point in all of this is not to make light of shivering kids dressed in parkas in their classrooms.

But, my point here is to shed a little reality in the midst of the global warming hysteria. This town has had record snowfall (roof-high according to several locals) this year.

Perhaps, we should put away the sun tan lotion and buy a snow shovel?

Making Ends Meet-Balancing Colorado's Budget

Hello Governor Ritter...Ritter and his Democratic allies in the legislature just do not get it.

The latest chapter in the state budget saga is a dubious effort on the part of the state legislature to fill the budget shortfall by raiding a worker's compensation fund! Read a link here about this idea. By the way, if this scheme doesn't work, then plan B will be to plug the budget holes with federal stimulus money! (By the way, I thought the purpose of the stimulus was to create jobs?)

All over Colorado, most families are cutting their spending. Yet, our legislative majority, including the Democrats, continue to spend and tax. Guess who will carry that burden: you, the Colorado taxpayer.

Stayed tuned...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Last week, we commented on the firestorm that Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church and best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life made on the CNN show Larry King Live. Here is the link to that blog-

In fairness to Pastor Warren, his folks released the following statement, clarifying what Warren said. Here it is:

Throughout his pastoral ministry spanning nearly 30 years, Dr. Warren has remained committed to the biblical definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, for life — a position held by most fellow Evangelical pastors. He has further stressed that for 5,000 years, EVERY culture and EVERY religion has maintained this worldview.

When Dr. Warren told Larry King that he never campaigned for California’s Proposition 8, he was referring to not participating in the official two-year organized advocacy effort specific to the ballot initiative in that state, based on his focus and leadership on other compassion issues. Because he’s a pastor, not an activist, in response to inquiries from church members, he issued an email and video message to his congregation days before the election confirming where he and Saddleback Church stood on this issue.

During the King interview, Dr. Warren also referenced a letter of apology that he sent to gay leaders whom he knew personally. However, that mea culpa was not with respect to his statements or position on Proposition 8 nor the biblical worldview on marriage. Rather, he apologized for his comments in an earlier Beliefnet interview expressing his concern about expanding or redefining the definition of marriage beyond a husband-wife relationship, during which he unintentionally and regrettably gave the impression that consensual adult same sex relationships were equivalent to incest or pedophilia.

Okay. I say that in light of this information, Pastor Warren needs to be exonerated. We need to take his word that his apology to gay leaders was not a mea culpa for traditional marriage. However, engaging the secular media can be a quagmire and I think that's what happened here. All of us who have done this kind of work with the secular media can relate to Warren's experience.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Rick Warren Needs to Resign

Monday night's edition of Larry King Live was a black-eye event for the marriage movement.

Larry King's guest was mega-church Pastor Rick Warren, invocator at the Obama inauguration.

During his interview, Warren committed an embarrassing mea culpa, renouncing his support for Proposition 8, the voter approved California constitutional amendment banning homosexual marriage.

If you flip the pages back to last fall though, Warren was an ardent supporter. Here's the link for the whole ugly story.

Wow. This one blind-sided me. It saddens me that a pastor of such national prominence commits an embarassing mea culpa on a national show like Larry King. I am hopeful that Pastor Warren had a "deer in the headlights" moment and misspoke.

If he has truly recanted his support for biblical marriage, he needs to resign from his church.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Respect the "King"

You know that its going to be an interesting day when God hits you between the eyes on one of your shortcomings. One of the things that I know is that when God wants my attention, His Word leaps off the page at me. Today was such a case...

I have struggled greatly with the election of President Obama. I have written here and have spoken elsewhere of my convictions towards this end. I still believe that he is unfit and unqualified to lead our nation.

However, today's scripture in my personal devotions steered me to 1 Peter 2:13-17. In particular, verse 13 and 17 jumped at me. These verses are not opaque, and I quote: "submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among proper respect to everyone. Honor the king."

Ouch! For whatever eternal purposes, God has ordained Barack Obama as our nation's president and top ruling authority for now. The recipients of Peter's letter had similiar yet more severe struggles in the first century with their ruling authorities. It was common place for Christians then to be brutally executed, denied economic benefits and in general, marginalized from the society at large.

Peter's point here hits the nail on the head. Subjecting myself and respecting the ruling authority of President Obama is not just an exercise in futile servitude or blind obedience. We do it for the Lord's sake (verse 13). God wants me to respect the governing authorities he has placed in power. Its a matter of obedience and witness.

We live in a time where its sheik to diss our political leaders. The blogs, the internet and the cable news networks pump this poision 24/7. But, Scripture tells us to take a different tact. Respect and honor the king just as we would respect and honor the King of Heaven. We don't need to agree with Obama's policies but we need to avoid disrespect and dishonorable acts.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Passing Out Condoms in Church? Give Me A Break...

What do you think about the latest idea in "church growth?" One denomination believes that condoms should be available to churchgoers in the United Church of Christ denomination.

Here's the link.

Recently, the HIV and AIDS Network of the United Church of Christ (UCC) said condoms should be handed out at places of worship. The statement was issued during a presentation to the denomination's Wider Church Ministries Board and also advocated making condoms available at faith-based educational settings...What they forget is that condom distribution is akin to fuel on a fire. By giving folks condoms you give them society's tacit permission to engage in illicit sexual relationships.

Calling it the denomination's "moral responsibility" to make condoms available, the UCC's executive for health and wellness advocacy said "people of faith make condoms available because we have chosen life so that we and our children may live...Another little ugly fact is that condoms often fail in preventing sexually transmitted diseases.

I guess I just live in a different universe. Besides the obvious "bad message" that will be sent to the youth of these churches, its the low regard these churches have for the capacity of folks to chose abstinence or marriage.

The sad fact remains that the United Church of Christ has completely broken away now its historic Puritan roots. The forefathers of this historic denomination must be rolling over in their graves.