Monday, August 24, 2009

The Greenback Effect

Warren Buffet, in an op-ed at the New York Times, shares some staggering facts. "Congress is now spending 185% of what it takes in; the deficit is a post WWII record of 13% of GDP; the debt is growing by 1% a month; the US is borrowing $1.8 trillion a year."

Wearing the Disguise of Faithfulness

Al Mohler writes in response to the recent vote of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:

"Meeting barely a month after the Episcopal Church voted to end its ban on the consecration of openly homosexual bishops and the blessing of same-sex unions, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA] has taken similar steps. Meeting last week in Minneapolis, the Lutherans voted first to adopt a comprehensive statement on human sexuality that [...]

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The World of this Year's College Freshmen

This is the 12th year that Beloit College has assembled observations that help to identify the experiences that have shaped the lives—and formed the mindset—of students starting their post-secondary education this fall.

The Mindset List is not a chronological listing of things that happened in 1991, the year they were born. It is instead an effort to identify the worldview of 18 year-olds in the fall of 2009. Of course, our students come from many backgrounds and different traditions and these generalizations may not apply to all. The list identifies the experiences and event horizons of students and is not meant to reflect on their preparatory education.

It is also not deliberately designed to make readers feel really old!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fantasy Church League

Thanks to Trent for passing on this site...evidence of creative minds at work. There are fantasy leagues for everything else...

The site begins: "Churches have lost legions of men this year to the Football season. Your church numbers are down, you want to find a way to bring them back. Now you can! Offer the same level of excitement with Fantasy Church League. No longer will your congregants stay at home to watch the game to see how their players are doing. They'll be at your service, front and center, to make sure they get every amen and altar call stat they need for a winning season!"

Friday, August 14, 2009

Questions/Answers on Reading the Bible

The newest Bible Study Magazine features an interview with John Piper. It might be helpful and encouraging to you in reading the Bible.

They ask him...
How do you keep from growing indifferent to the Bible when you're so familiar with it?
How do you approach the Bible?
How can we make time for the Bible?
How do you memorize Scripture?
Is the Bible easier for you to understand than for other people?
What would you say to someone who hasn't read their Bible in a long time?
Download the article to read his answers.

A Hymn for Ordinary Christians

Bob Kauflin writes about "Great Is Thy Faithfulness." "The story behind Great is Thy Faithfulness should encourage every Christian who thinks of their life as ordinary. There's no tragic story (think "It Is Well" by Horatio Spafford) associated with this hymn. It's just the fruit of a faithful man with a simple faith in a faithful God."

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Hole in our Gospel

I just finished reading one of the most difficult books I've ever taken on. It is not for the "faint of heart." The author is Richard Stearns, president of World Vision U.S. since 1998. The title is The Hole in our Gospel. The idea behind the book is that American Christians must get beyond their insulated, isolated church buildings and Bible studies. They must get beyond themselves and genuinely, tangibly care for the rest of the world in Jesus' name.

Having spent time in the third world again earlier this year, I found that his descriptions are all too true. The issues of disease, famine, poverty, lack of education and spiritual darkness are all too real. The book challenges readers to step beyond feeling bad for the poor or simply changing the channel when the images come on the television screen. We must give and we can go and we all can pray. Let me share a few paragraphs from a concluding chapter. I challenge you to pick up a copy of the book and prayerfully read it.

Stearns challenges, "When historians look back in one hundred years, what will they write about this nation of 340,000 churches? What will they say of the Church's response to the great challenges of our time--AIDS, poverty, hunger, terrorism, war? Will they say that these authentic Christians rose up courageously and responded to the tide of human suffering, that they rushed to the front lines to comfort the afflicted and to douse the flames of hatred? Will they write of an unprecedented outpouring of generosity to meet the urgent needs of the world's poor? Will they speak of the moral leadership and compelling vision of our leaders? Will they write that this, the beginning of the twenty-first century, was the Church's finest hour?

Or will they look back and see a Church too comfortable, insulated from the pain of the rest of the world, empty of compassion, and devoid of deeds? Will they write about people who stood by and watched while a hundred million died of AIDS and fifty million children were orphaned, of Christians who lived in luxury and self-indulgence while millions died for lack of food and water? Will school children read in disgust about a Church that had the wealth to build great sanctuaries but lacked the will to build schools, hospitals, and clinics? In short, will we be remembered as the Church with a gaping hole in it's gospel?..." (p. 238-239).

Nine Things I Learned About God From Planet Earth

This is an insightful article summing up insights gained from the nature series Planet Earth. This summer, I hope you have opportunity to celebrate the beauty of God's creation. It is the Bible of His handiwork. The article begins:

"Planet Earth is widely regarded as the greatest nature or wildlife series ever produced. Says David Attenborough in the opening moments, “A hundred years ago, there were one and a half billion people on Earth. Now, over six billion crowd our fragile planet. But even so, there are still places barely touched by humanity. This series will take you to the last wildernesses and show you the planet and its wildlife as you have never seen them before.” And it proceeds to do just that, finding and filming some of the most exquisitely beautiful locations on the planet. The scenery, the panoramas, the creatures are absolutely breathtaking.
While the producers of the series are not Christians (or do not claim to be Christians) and while the films were not meant to draw attention to God, as I watched them I was continually drawn to marvel in the greatness of the Lord. As the films provided a tour of so many beautiful locations and as they gave close-up shots of such incredible creatures, I saw the hand of a Creator. I saw it everywhere.
I’ve since often reflected on what I saw in the series and eventually wrote down a list of some of the things I learned about God through Planet Earth. And today I’ll share that list with you.
I learned that our God is…"