So, here's the weather forecast for the day: It's overcast with no visible signs of relief for the forseeable future, and there'll be lots of 'thundering' activity! No I'm not talking about the actual weather silly, I'm talking about the bleak financial outlook of our nation. What with congresses rejection of the $700 billion-tax-payer-dollar-bailout-plan (phew! That was a mouthful), there seems little that can be done to avert the inevitable. Finer, more astute minds than mine, have spent sleepless nights pondering the best way to resolve the current financial climate that threatens to derail global economies. All the indeces of the major stockmarkets in the world are dropping, as fears of an imminent collapse of the US financial market become more justified. I have had numerous conversations with friends who have vested interests (to varying degrees) for wanting to keep a close eye on the situation. Sadly, many of the reasons are fear based. How will this affect my family? How much do I stand to lose if it all goes belly-up? Will all my money still be worth what it's worth today? These, among many others, are some of the questions I hear bandied about regularly. I'm blissfully unaware of the right answers to all these questions (no, I don't need you to write back and educate me. I meant it when I said I am blissfully unaware).
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
I'm in Massachussetts. It's part work part rest. I'm actually speaking this evening and twice on Sunday, so there is a fair amount of stuff I'm doing other than stuffing my face with lobster and steamers. There's so much preparation that is required before this evenings service, that I thought I should let you know that I won't be blogging today. Oops! Too late. I'm blogging right now even though nothing about this blog will add any value to your life (unless voyeurism is a favorite pastime of yours). I'll see you tomorrow (please don't judge my blog based on today's content) since today is a travel day.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Evidently I'm not the only one going through 'seasons of change'. Our world is evolving and changing daily. Heightened security awareness is marked by color coded levels of danger at our airports. Private jet ownership has never seemed more appealing when you consider the 'harassment' and 'humiliation' you have to contend with when flying commercially (hey, I can dream can't I?). Add to that our recent financial woes in the USA and our beleaguered president's conviction that, without governmental intervention using billions of dollars of tax payer's money as collateral, we are destined for destruction... well, you have the perfect recipe for panic and doomsday-prognostications.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I've been accused by some as being an inscrutable leader. Yet others swear that I am the most approachable, most transparent leader they've ever met. Still others suggest that I am a bit of both and somewhat enigmatic. So which one am I? No really, which one am I? Paul, in writing to the Corinthian Church declared:
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I want you to picture the town council meeting in your mind's eye. They're gathered around the 8' makeshift conference table discussing that one busy street that cuts right through the middle of the one-traffic-light town. The discussion is heated and animated. Some people want the street declared a one-way street so that it is safer for the townsfolk crossing over to the other side. The dissenters argue that this is the only way in and out of the town and so making it a one way street would dissuade people from visiting (not that there's much to visit anyway). Finally, the vote is tallied. the Aye's have it. The street will be made one way. Just one small problem... in the thick of the argument, they forgot to decide which way was one way. Problem solved! We'll just make it one way both ways!! What a great town to live in!!!
I've heard of 'rocks falling' but trees falling??? I guess preparing for the unexpected is a good mantra to adopt as you go through life otherwise the results can be fatal!!! Have a great weekend
Sola and I went out on a well deserved movie date last night and I even threw in a chinese dinner which we ordered take-out (Hey, I know how to show my wife a good time). We went to see Tyler Perry's The Family that Preys . I've got to tell you, it was an amazing movie. His movies are always brilliantly scripted, well cast, and beautifully executed. Okay, the secrets out... I'm a humongous Tyler Perry fan. I thought he couldn't outdo himself after Why Did I Get Married?, but I was wrong. This movie really spoke to some very real issues in both overt and subtle ways. One of the things I admire about Perry is the fact that he makes no secret of his Christian roots, as they are patently obvious in every one of his movies (even if it's just a church choir singing gospel music), yet he manages to keep his movies mainstream and not limited to a Christian audience. I'd give you my take on what was so impressive about the movie, but that would spoil it for you so... power down the computer, put on some deodorant, and head out to the movie theater now! This is a must see movie. See you when you get back, and tell me what you thought!!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Here's an intriguing story coming out of the hurricane "Ike" aftermath. The owner of a lion from a Texas zoo was trying to get his animal to safety through rising water levels. Realizing that they were in grave danger as the water continued to rise, he diverted from his planned route and happened upon a church where people were taking refuge. He somehow convinced them that he and the lion were safe, and they agreed to help him. According to the story, they actually helped him guide the full grown lion through a couple of feet of water and locked him in the sanctuary until rescuers came by the next morning. Apparently, even though the water level rose to over four feet, the lion reportedly remained calm. Here's what the lions owner had to say about the experience:
Monday, September 15, 2008
I'm ticked! I know, I know, it seems as if I've been ticked for a while now, right? Any way, this time I'm waxing philosophical on a completely different issue than politics or faith. One of the drawbacks of living in a country where everyone gets to excercise their 'free-will' freely, is that you have to deal with stupid people who display a measure of lunacy by putting others in harms way because, in the excercising of their free-will they've chosen unwisely. The recent hurricanes in Louisiana and Texas are perfect examples. Read the following excerpt from the Associated Press reports:
Friday, September 12, 2008
Somehow today doesn't quite feel like a "Frivolous Friday" so I think I'm going to skip the funny signs and just share with you from my heart. This has been a really busy week for me. I mentioned in an earlier post that I had to fly out to Texas after church on Sunday so that I could help deal with an emergency that called for my intervention. I returned on Monday night, only to head out to the doctors office on Tuesday morning with my son. He was having his finger checked since it was still swollen and didn't look like the surgery had managed to solve the problem. We ended up having another surgery scheduled for yesterday morning. We were at the surgery center from 10.00am until 3.30pm and it turns out his little finger is broken. They fixed it and want him to lay off football for at least three weeks and possibly more. So here I am... exhausted, dealing with a frustrated teenager, thinking that I am so not ready for my Lead Team meeting on Thursday evening (not to talk about service on Sunday!), and all this is just the tip of the iceberg. Have you ever had one of those weeks? One of those weeks when you want to crawl back into bed, pull the covers up over your head and just let life make it without you? If you have, you'll know exactly what I'm going through. If you have, then you won't mind me asking you to spare a prayer for me today will you? Have a great weekend. I'm really working hard on ensuring that I do too!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
They say that art imitates life! If that's true, then I've seen a fair amount of great 'artwork' lately, much of it on the football field. Since my son's football recruiting took off on an entirely unexpected plane (pun intended), I've found loads of amazing spiritual life lessons from the 'art' of football. At the beginning of spring practice Demi decided he wanted to wear Jersey #9 for his senior year (admittedly a strange number for a defensive end, but... oh well!) Any way, when the jerseys came in he discovered that his was a medium (if you know my son you'll be laughing hysterically about now). He managed to squeeze into it for a photo shoot with the Orlando Sentinel, but decided that it was way too tight for him to be comfortable playing in it. Let me digress for a moment and tell you that he had surgery on the 'pinkie' finger on his left hand a few weeks ago, because he'd had an accident while going one-on-one with their biggest offensive line-man during practice.
Monday, September 8, 2008
I'm people watching again as I sit in Houston's Lobby Airport waiting for my return flight to Orlando. Don't ask, but I made an emergency trip to South Texas yesterday after church and am on the way back home. I thought I was done with traveling for a while, but as it turns out, not only did I have to make this emergency trip to Texas, but I will be making a trip to New England toward the end of the month. I am working on some major things right now and will let you all know about them once the decisions have been made. I watched Notre Dame play on Saturday, and barely eek out a win against San Diego State. What!?! Notre Dame used to be a perennial powerhouse but they have, it would appear, lost their edge. It's a good thing my son's college choice will offer me a new team to support without seeming to shift loyalties from a bad team to a good one. Seriously though, I've been a loyal ND fan for years and they've been bad for quite a few of them now. I'll see you tomorrow after I watch the Broncos pound the Raiders (fingers crossed).
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
For this post to make much sense I suggest you read parts 1 and 2 first.
So let me see if I've got this right. According to the gist of my preceding two posts, if we are to follow popular opinion:
- We (Christians) are bigots because we believe homosexuality to be a sin according to the Scriptures.
- A black man elected to the office of President of the U.S.A. is the highest calling and duty of every black American, and indeed black person around the globe, irrespective of what compromise that might be to our faith.
- Protesting the ordination of gay ministers and of non-believers in the Deity of Jesus is “problematic,” illegitimate and troublesome.
- Adhering to the Scriptures as the true source of deliverance for humanity is “obscure,” arcane, outdated, and irrelevant
And we wonder why our culture is regressing, while we become increasingly self-absorbed and arrogant? Meanwhile, as all of this is going on in our ‘developed’ nations, as we battle to figure out what true Christianity looks like in this generation, here’s what’s happening on the other side of the globe. A little known country named Rwanda is torn apart at the seams through genocide, as nearly one million ethnic Tutsi’s are slaughtered in the space of 91-days. Helpless young women, are raped, tortured and beheaded with near blunt axes. Eight of the more fortunate survivors, in an attempt to save their lives, are holed up in a 3’ X 5’ bathroom for 91-days (Immaculee Ilibagiza, Left To Tell).
Here’s one more excerpt from an article in September 2008’s Charisma magazine that I think you might find interesting.
“Two Christians in the Algerian town of Tissemsilt were sentenced to six months in jail and fined 100,000 dinars ($1,617) in July for preaching the gospel. Rachid Muhammad Essaghir, 37, and Djallal Dhamani, were handed suspended jail terms and fined for violating a February 2006 law that forbids “proselytism and the illegal practice of a non-Muslim religion.” The law prescribes up to five years in jail and fines of between $8000 and $16,000 for anyone who “incites, constrains or seduces a Muslim to join another religion.””
I guess there is hope for Christianity after all. This House cannot fall because Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16: 18). So while others may be building puny, un-enduring empires, and squabbling over what the ‘politically correct’ terminology of the day is, Jesus is slowly but surely building His Church around the world, and those who are willing, are privileged to sacrifice their personal comfort and even their lives for the sake of the Gospel. There is an ominous reminder in Scripture, to those of us who would seek to protect our lives at all costs, even if it means the compromise of our faith.
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16: 24-25)
My prayer for you and me today is that we be found willing if such a demand is ever placed on us.
If you haven't already done so, I suggest that you read yesterday's post here first before continuing with this article.
“I am deeply troubled by the pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, tax-and-spend policies of the Democrats. And a lot of people in our community feel as I do. Consequently, there is a new dynamic in our midst: a new surge of African American political activism with strong conservative roots—a movement that is drawing its energy from the conservative moral values of the new black church.”
D. L. Foster also added his voice to the conversation when he stated in his Charisma magazine article;
“Equally alarming is the way black churches have opened their pulpits to Obama despite his embrace of homosexuality…. While delivering a speech at a church event honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Obama chided the black community for not embracing homosexuals. He later called Romans 1 an “obscure passage” that had no bearing on Christian beliefs concerning same –sex relationships….Granted, Obama is at the center of an unprecedented moment in U.S. history. But do we as black Christians put our beliefs on the back burner just to get an African-American in the Oval Office? In the last several years we’ve seen the advance of gay rights lead to the suppression of religious liberty. Increasingly, believing that homosexuality is a sin is being equated with bigotry.”
Foster precedes his summation with the story of a United Methodist pastor in Houston who, having endorsed Obama, faced criticism from homosexual activists for having an “overcoming ministry” listed on his church’s website. The pastor informed the gay activists that “he didn’t know his church operated such an outreach.” He later told a political website “[name of ministry] is not a ministry of the church. It is not supported financially by the church. It is not located at the church. That is pretty much where I am with it.” According to the article, the ministry has since been “scrubbed” from the church’s website. I'll conclude this series tomorrow. Meanwhile, remember that we have an enemy that isn't flesh and blood, and the means of our warfare is spiritual not physical.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Christianity is under attack!!! There is a seemingly unwitting, malicious, and spurious plot to undermine the very values that define Christianity, while kowtowing to the secular values of our post-Christian, ‘politically-correct,’ western societies. What makes this attack even more dangerous is the fact that it comes, not from the secular culture which we have foolishly deemed to be the enemy, but from elements of our own, who purportedly profess the same faith that we do. Sadly, much of this ‘distancing’ from Biblical values is done under the guise of being culturally relevant and accommodating of others that don’t believe the way we do.
I have spent the last couple of days ‘devouring’ my copy of the September 2008 edition of Charisma and Christian Life magazine. As I read one story after another, I cannot tell you how truly disheartened I am at the extent of our insensate approach to what is ostensibly our well intentioned attempt to ‘love’ and accept people, no matter what that looks like or how it impacts the true witness of the Gospel message. Our message has become the epitome of the maxim, “The end justifies the means.” Let me unequivocally state: I’m convinced that this continued watering down of the Gospel will only serve to enervate and weaken our already unflattering image among non-Christians who are searching for truth.
Before you begin to rebuke me for going on a seemingly pointless diatribe, let me show you a few examples of what I’m talking about. There has been a tremendous amount of vituperation directed towards the Anglican Church in recent years, following their wide acceptance and ordination of homosexual clergy in North America. Here are some excerpts from an article by Nicole Schiavi in the September issue of Charisma magazine.
“Conservative Anglicans gathered in Jerusalem to formulate a declaration that drew a clear line between conservative and liberal camps in the Anglican body while opting not to break away from the traditional church. The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) was held in response to deep dissent in the Anglican Communion over the ordination of gay clergy in North America and the denial by some of the divinity of Jesus… “What we have here today is not just Africa and the global South, but truly a global coming together of Anglicans from around the world…” said the Most Rev. Peter Akinola of Nigeria, a primate and chairman of GAFCON…. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who did not sanction the Jerusalem gathering, called GAFCON’s proposals “problematic” and illegitimate. “Any claim to be free to operate across provincial boundaries is fraught with difficulties, both theological and practical,” the archbishop said.”
Excuse me!?! Did I read the archbishop right? Operating across provincial boundaries poses theological difficulties? Is there a ‘relevant’ gospel that is specific for each culture? Shouldn’t the so-called head of the Anglican Church be concerned that the very essence of his faith is being plundered and marginalized? Or is it suddenly okay to have a group of Anglican ministers believing that Jesus is not Deity, all in the name of being tolerant? When’s the last time he read the Bible, and when he did, could he have missed the verse which says, “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.” (I John 2: 22 ESV) Trust me folks, you want to come back tomorrow for more of this, it gets better!