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…)

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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.

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…)

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.”

Time Magazine’s cover story on the Bible Thursday, Mar 29 2007 

20070402_107.jpgThis weeks Time Magazine features a cover story on teaching the Bible in schools. After all of the controversy and court cases over the past fifty years is the United States going to change it’s mind and put Bibles back into the schools? That is the question Time asked saying, “Should the Holy Book be taught in public schools? Yes. It’s the bedrock of Western culture. And when taught right, it’s even constitutional.” In a well written and fair article David Van Biema makes the case that the Bible should be taught in American schools. He writes:

SIMPLY PUT, THE BIBLE IS THE MOST influential book ever written. Not only is the Bible the best-selling book of all time, it is the best-selling book of the year every year. (more…)

post modern evangelism with Ed Stetzer Wednesday, Mar 28 2007 

if_i_were_to_die1.jpgEd Stetzer, Missiologist and Research Team Director at the North American Mission Board, has just posted an article on The Resurgence about the interplay between evangelism and postmodern culture. As someone with a heart for evangelism and exploring how to best present the Gospel to people in our postmodern culture this article has been very insightful. Ed Stetzer does the research and presents the facts, even the surprising ones, behind culture today then tracks back to how we can use the facts to reach people there they are at. I remember seeing Dr. Stetzer speak at the Reform and Resurge Conference last year where he said something to the effect of, “As Christians we need to seek out the questions that our culture is asking to which Jesus is the correct answer.” What he meant by this is that by examining culture we can gain insight into where people’s hearts and minds are. Then, once we find out what people care about we can show them how Jesus answers their deepest and most important questions. One example of this are the results of the surveys he has done (which are presented in his article) which show that while people do wonder about eternity, even more people wonder about meaning and purpose. As a result we can do street evangelism by asking people, “Do you long for a deeper purpose in life?” rather than, “If you were to die today…” This is not to say that asking about death and eternity is wrong but that it is not as important to people as finding more meaning.

Mansions for the homeless. Saturday, Mar 24 2007 

Honor widows who are truly widows. -1 Timothy 5:3

In an amazing act of charity Kawamoto, one of Japan’s richest men, gave away eight of his multi-million dollar homes in Kahala, Hawaii. These homes were given to low-income Native Hawaiian families. All of the home have been given away rent free with the only expense for the families being utilities. In picking the 8 families out of 3,000 applicants Kawamoto said “he tried picking working, single mothers.” One of these families is Dorie-Ann Kahale and her five daughters who recently moved into a home work around $5 million dollars. The amazing act of kindness comes after years of being criticized for his actions as a landlord, hopefully this more recent action is a true portrayal of his heart as he seeks to give a home to the homeless, especially loving the widows was we are commanded throughout the Bible, especially in 1 Timothy 5.

Church, Technology and Goodmanson Friday, Mar 23 2007 

I met Drew Goodmanson last spring at the Reform and Resurge Conference at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. He is a great guy with an awesome heart for missions and the furthering of the Gospel. Drew went to Mars Hill Church years ago when it was just a small church. Since then he has moved to San Diego to help plant Kaleo Church, a growing movement where he is now is a pastor and elder. Drew’s specialty is with technology, especially the Internet. He has done a huge amount of work for churches through leading a company called Monk Development. This company has created “several church apps such as Ekklesia 360, a web-based Church CMS and Sermon Cloud a web 2.0 sermon site,” as well as creating websites for numerous churches. For anyone interested in the church, technology, and how to use one (technology) to serve the other (the church) check out Drew’s blog where there is enough information to keep you busy for weeks (at least.) And if your church needs a website, give him a call and I am sure he will be helpful in creating a site far beyond what you could imagine.

“The Big Debate” James Dobson and Jim Wallis Tuesday, Mar 20 2007 

In a response to James Dobson’s (along with others) letter to the National Association of Evangelicals addressing the issue of NAE vice president Richard Cizik’s “relentless campaign” on global warming Jim Wallis has “invited Dobson to a debate on the question, ‘What are the great moral issues of our time for evangelical Christians?’ and suggested that a major evangelical Christian university should host it.”

I heard Richard Cizik speak at Gordon College on February 16, 2007. He showed a video called The Great Warming, a film about global warming, its effects, and our need to act to stop it. While I think that he did a fair job of talking about the need for stewardship and creation care, Richard went over the top when he said that there has been no evidence to the contrary of global warming. He did not mention that many respected scientists do not believe in global warming. I believe that we should live responsible lives of stewardship, but telling people lies in order to convince them of your opinion is a terrible way to make your point. I look forward to seeing this debate between Dr. Dobson and Jim Wallis and would love to see it take place at Gordon College.

Indoctrinate U Tuesday, Mar 20 2007 

This is an interview done on Fox News with Evan Coyne Maloney, the creator of a new documentary done on the state of American universities called Indoctrinate U. Here is what they say about themselves on their website:

Speech codes. Censorship. Enforced political conformity. Hostility to diversity of opinion. Sensitivity training. We usually associate such things with the worst excesses of fascism and communism, not with the American universities that nurtured the free speech movement. But American higher education bears a disturbing resemblance to the totalitarian societies that are anathema to our nation’s ideal of liberty. Evan Coyne Maloney’s documentary film, Indoctrinate U, reveals the breathtaking institutional intolerance you won’t read about in the glossy marketing brochures of Harvard, Berkeley, Michigan, Yale, and hundreds of other American colleges and universities.

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