Photo for Phriday – Sunset in Key West, Florida Friday, Apr 20 2007 

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Bridge to No Where – Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester, MA Thursday, Apr 19 2007 

dscn3004_2.jpg Earlier this week I headed out into the storm as the spring Nor’Easter of 2007 swept through. This is a bridge that usually leads to Good Harbor beach in Gloucester, however due to the high tide, 4′ storm surge and 20′ plus waves this became the bridge that leads to nowhere.

Rick Warren, Jon Meacham and Tim Russert: History, Christianity, and the United States Wednesday, Apr 18 2007 

Here is a great interview with Rick Warren and Jon Meacham done by Tim Russert on Meet the Press. It addresses Christianity in America, in history and in the world today.

MTP Transcript for Dec. 24
Rick Warren, Jon Meacham
Updated: 1:17 p.m. CT Dec 24, 2006
MR. TIM RUSSERT: Our issues this Christmas Eve morning: faith in America. Can religion unite the country for the greater good? And what role will God and values play in the 2008 presidential election? With us, the pastor of one of America’s largest churches and author of the best-selling hard-cover book in U.S. history, “The Purpose Driven Life,” Dr. Rick Warren; and the editor of Newsweek magazine and author of “American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers and the Making of a Nation,” Jon Meacham. Then, two MEET THE PRESS holiday traditions, our MEET THE PRESS MINUTE from Christmas Day 51 years ago with poet Robert Frost and a special performance by the U.S. Navy Band Brass Quartet.
But first, we are joined by Pastor Rick Warren and Jon Meacham. Welcome both, Merry Christmas.
DR. RICK WARREN: Thank you, Tim. Merry Christmas to you.
MR. RUSSERT: Jon Meacham, let me start with you. Ninety-five percent of Americans say they believe in God. (more…)

Newburyport Sunset Sunday, Apr 15 2007 

Newburyport Sunset

Who? The lack of recognition of Christian leaders explored Saturday, Apr 14 2007 

I was reading through the Willow Creek Association magazine the other day and found an article titled Major Christian Leaders Are Widely Unknown, Even Among Christians. Quickly running down the list of facts I found the following appalling statistics:

57% of Americans have never heard of James Dobson
67% of Americans have never heard of Joel Osteen
68% of Americans have never hears of T.D. Jakes
72% of Americans have never heard of Rick Warren
73% of Americans have never heard of Tim LaHaye

It is amazing to me that even if you are the author of the best selling non-fiction hard cover book in American history (Rick Warren) or the co-author of the best selling fiction series of all time (Time LaHaye), or pastor of a church that is larger than most athletic stadiums most people still do not even recognize your name. Even among Christians the only name that the majority of people had heard of was James Dobson. Aren’t these statistics amazing?

*The research for this was done by The Barna Group (www.barna.org). The results of much of their other research is available at their website also.

Christianity and Atheism; Rick Warren and Sam Harris in Newsweek Tuesday, Apr 10 2007 

I was sitting in class today when I noticed a Newsweek sitting on the empty chair beside me. I quickly flipped through it seeing if there was anything that caught my eye when I saw Rick Warren’s name. it seems like every time I open Newsweek they have some article on Rick Warren, his books The Purpose Driven Life / Church, or his church. This article was an interview between Rick Warren and Sam Harris, the well known atheist who has written many books on the subject. I started reading and couldn’t stop. This was a great interview that I encourage you to read, especially if you have questions about Rick Warren and his Christian faith or atheism and its worldview.

God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rick Warren
At the Summit: On a cloudy California day, the atheist Sam Harris sat down with the Christian pastor Rick Warren to hash out Life’s Biggest Question—Is God real? A NEWSWEEK exclusive.
Newsweek
April 9, 2007 issue – Rick Warren is as big as a bear, with a booming voice and easygoing charm. Sam Harris is compact, reserved and, despite the polemical tone of his books, friendly and mild. Warren, one of the best-known pastors in the world, started Saddleback in 1980; now 25,000 people attend the church each Sunday. Harris is softer-spoken; paragraphs pour out of him, complex and fact-filled—as befits a Ph.D. student in neuroscience. At NEWSWEEK’s invitation, they met in Warren’s office recently and chatted, mostly amiably, for four hours. Jon Meacham moderated. Excerpts follow.
JON MEACHAM: Rick, since you’re the home team, we’ll start with Sam. Sam, is there a God in the sense that most Americans think of him? 
SAM HARRIS: There’s no evidence for such a God (more…)

Easter, the suffering of Jesus, and Victory Sunday, Apr 8 2007 

This past Wednesday my friend Michael Ingram shared on the Stations of the Curse during Chapel at Gordon College. His words were deep and effectual, glorifying the name of Jesus while calling all to marvel at his selfless and humble life. Michael graphically portrayed the suffering of Jesus blended with Christ’s ultimate victory at the cross in a way that could do nothing but leave one knowing the greatness of our Lord. I was deeply moved by his speech and know that you will be too. This Easter I encourage you to read and receive the words of Michael Ingram.

John Donne: Holy Sonnet XI
“Spit in my face you Jews, and pierce my side,
Buffet, and scoff, scourge, and crucify me,
For I have sinned, and sinned, and only he
Who could do no iniquity hath died:
But by my death can not be satisfied
My sins, which pass the Jews’ impiety:
They killed once an inglorious man, but I
Crucify him daily, being now glorified.
Oh let me, then, his strange love still admire:
Kings pardon, but he bore our punishment.
And Jacob came clothed in vile harsh attire
But to supplant, and with gainful intent:
God clothed himself in vile man’s flesh, that so
He might be weak enough to suffer woe.”

Few poets whet our appetite for Christ quite like John Donne… (more…)

A Church Service Like None Other Wednesday, Apr 4 2007 

Well maybe not “like none other” but on Sunday I attended a church service that was unlike anything I had ever been to. Pastor Bryan Wilkerson, of Grace Chapel, came out onto the stage, clothed in old Roman dress as the character of Pontius Pilate. He proceded to share the personal testimony of Pontius Pilate, telling of his life from his military leadership to his appointment to governor of Judea from a first person perspective. Then from the text of Matthew 27:17-26, Pastor Bryan continued to share a monologue from Pilate of how that one day had changed his life forever, the day he met Jesus. Pilate knew that Jesus did not break any law and he did not deserve death, but the people wanted him dead so badly. He knew it was wrong and tried to offer up another option, even putting Jesus through intense and completely undeserved torture, but the crowd only got more rowdy. They wanted Jesus, and they wanted him crucified. Rather than let the riot grow, Pilate decided to give Jesus over to the crowd and let him be crucified. When said this, Pilate washed his hands and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.” Pilate knew Jesus was not a normal man, he wasn’t even a great man, Jesus was more. Although the history is not known, it is widely believed that Pilate spent much of the rest of his life in the desert, alone. This is the perspective that Pastor Bryan shared from and it was very powerful. After sharing the testimony of Pilate and the day that changed his life forever Pastor Bryan walked off stage. The worship leader, Peter Dupre, came on and shared that just as Pilate met Jesus and had to make a decision as to who he was, we, too, have to make that same decision. The same Jesus who stood literally in front of Pilate stands in front of us today waiting for our decision to be made. Will we honor him as God or will we reject him and miss the opportunity to receive our Savior?

Australia stands up against radical Muslims Monday, Apr 2 2007 

A recently received the following in an email and found it confirmed at Snopes.com :

Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.

A day after a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to Australia and her Queen at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard, he and his Ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown. Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state, and its laws were made by parliament. “If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia& lt; /st1:country-region> is not for you”, he said on National Television.

“I’d be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia: one the Australian law and another Islamic law that is false. If you can’t agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country, which practices it, perhaps, then, that’s a better option”, Costello said.

Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he said those with dual citizenship could possibly be asked to move to the other country. Education Minister Brendan Nelson later told reporters that Muslims who did not want to accept local values should “clear off. Basically people who don’t want to be Australians, and who don’t want, to live by Australian values and understand them, well then, they can basically clear off”, he said.

Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation’s mosques.

Quote: “IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.”

“However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the ‘politically correct’ crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Australia.” “However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand.” “This idea of Australia being a multi-cultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. And as Australians, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own life style.”

“This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom”

“We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society .. Learn the language!”

“Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.”

“We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.”

“If the Southern Cross offends you, or you don’t like “A Fair Go”, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don’t care how you did things where you came from. By all means, keep your culture, but do not force it on others.

“This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom,

‘THE RIGHT TO LEAVE’.”

“If you aren’t happy here then LEAVE. We didn’t force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.”