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Category Archives: News stories

Can you get to heaven the old fashioned way?

Actor John Houseman was known for his catchphrase in commercials for the brokerage firm, Smith Barney. In his distinctive Mid-Atlantic English accent, he stated, “We make money the old-fashioned way. We earned it.”

Apparently, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg believes one can get into heaven through the same way–by earning it. In an interview with the NY Times, Bloomberg predicted his crusades against guns, smoking, and obesity would serve him well in the afterlife.

“I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close,” Bloomberg said.

What a contrast to the thief on the cross who was crucified with Jesus Christ on Good Friday. Recognizing the desperation of his situation, he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he (Jesus) said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43).

Praise God for grace that saves us from having to earn our way into heaven. His grace is enough!

Ephesians 2:8–9 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

 

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2014 in Good Friday, Heaven, News stories, Scripture

 

How do people view the Bible?

Do people still read the Bible? Do people still believe the Bible? These questions and others are answered in the latest research from the Barna Group in “The State of the Bible: 6 Trends for 2014.” This year’s research reveals six trends in Bible engagement: from the Bible’s continued role as a cultural icon, to increased digital Bible reading, to a rise in skepticism toward Scripture, particularly among Millennials. Regardless of whether you are discouraged or encouraged, the results help to define the attitudes and trends of the society in which we live and are called to minister.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2014 in Culture, News stories

 

Reversing a decision; Restoring convictions

After facing heavy backlash for their original decision, “World Vision Reverses Decision To Hire Christians in Same-Sex Marriages.” Their letter of announcement opened with this paragraph.

Today, the World Vision U.S. board publicly reversed its recent decision to change our employment conduct policy. The board acknowledged they made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.

Good for them. Their letter shows humility and brokenness. But you have to wonder what they were thinking when they made the decision in the first place. Did they think the evangelical community would not object? Now the question is, will they hold to this conviction once the gay community starts pushing back for reversing the decision. I’m guessing the story isn’t over yet.

 

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2014 in Culture, News stories

 

What to do with World Vision?

Now that World Vision has decided to allow employees to engage in same sex marriages, how should Christians respond? Should we continue to support the organization financially? Should we cancel our support and move it to Compassion International or Food for the Hungry? What is a thinking Christian to do? These are the questions addressed in Matthew Lee Anderson’s thoughtful post, “On whether Christians should keep supporting World Vision.” He examines the issues from several angles and proposes some solutions. Thanks go to Tim Challies for posting the links. Well worth reading and considering prayerfully.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2014 in Culture, News stories

 

When the pursuit of unity might lead to compromise

“World Vision: Why We’re Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages” -

World Vision’s American branch will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman.

Abstinence outside of marriage remains a rule. But a policy change announced Monday [March 24] will now permit gay Christians in legal same-sex marriages to be employed at one of America’s largest Christian Charities.

Click on the link above to read the five page article in Christianity Today.

“Franklin Graham Statement on World Vision” -

“I was shocked today to hear of World Vision’s decision to hire employees in same-sex marriages. The Bible is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Click on the link above to read the full statement

“On World Vision and the Gospel” -

World Vision, an evangelical relief organization, announced today that they would now hire persons who are in same-sex marriages. The organization said, further, that this was no capitulation, just a recognition that some groups supporting World Vision have differing views on sex and marriage.

This is no surprise, on one level. The constellation of parachurch evangelical ministries founded after World War II have been running headlong, with some notable exceptions, toward the very mainline liberalism to which they were founded as alternatives. Some think if we can just barter away Christian orthodoxy fast enough we can catch the wave of that Presbyterian Church (USA) church growth boom.

But here’s what’s at stake. This isn’t, as the World Vision statement (incredibly!) puts it, the equivalent of a big tent on baptism, church polity, and so forth.

Click on the link above to read the full explanation from Russell D. Moore

WOW! On a personal level, I find World Vision’s announcement surprising, shocking, and saddening. I wonder what my friends who work there think of the decision. Time will tell what impact this decision will have on their ministry and on the Christian community at large.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2014 in Culture, News stories

 

How parents can help their children feel secure

“Why Divorce Isn’t In Our Vocabulary (Or Our Dictionary)” is an article written by the daughter of a good friend. It tells the story of what one husband did to help demonstrate his commitment to his wife and the impact his actions had on his children. Encouraging story and a great example to follow.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2014 in Marriage, News stories

 

Can evangelicals and Mormons unite in dangerous times?

Can evangelical Christians and Mormons become co-belligerents against a common enemy? Can Southern Baptists and Mormons work together to combat a secular worldview?

These are the questions addressed by Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in an address given yesterday at Brigham Young University. His address is entitled, “Strengthen the things that remain: Human dignity, human rights, and human flourishing in a dangerous age.”  At the heart of his address is the central truth, “Men have forgotten God.” As a result, we have developed a secular worldview that relativizes morality and “actually undermines the very values that the prophets of the secular age claim to cherish and preserve — human dignity, human rights, and human flourishing.”

In his conclusion, Dr. Mohler makes the following statement.

In the Book of Revelation [3:2] we find the letter from the Lord Jesus Christ to the Church at Sardis. He commands that church to “strengthen the things that remain,” and those words certainly fit the challenges of our own culture and our own times. Without hesitation, we do our best to strengthen the things that allow and provide for human flourishing, that bear witness to human dignity, and that undergird human rights. We bear witness to the truth that these good things are not our own achievement or the result of our social experimentation, but are instead gifts of a sovereign and loving God, who brings himself glory and blesses his human creatures with these good gifts.

The task of those now living is to defend these truths in a time of danger — and defend them we must and we will. But we are not called merely to defend them, but to fulfill them and to receive them and to find our joy in them. This means that our task is not only to defend marriage, but to live that commitment before the watching world. Our task is not only to point to the dignity due every member of the human family at every stage of development, but to defend the defenseless and to work for the affirmation of this dignity in everyone — from the elderly to the infirm to the child with Down syndrome. We are not only called to defend human rights but to contend for them, and to insist that these rights are non-negotiable only because our Creator endowed us with these rights, and allows no negotiation.

When I was with you last October, I said something that got picked up by media around the world. I said that I believe that we will not go to heaven together, but we might well go to jail together. That was last October. That was four months and a few days ago. Since then, federal courts in your own state have ruled that your legal prohibitions of both same-sex marriage and polygamy are unconstitutional. Since that time, the President of your church has been summoned to appear in a secular court in London. Since that time, just over one hundred days ago, so much has changed.

Civil and criminal penalties have recently been leveled against bakers, photographers, and florists who could not in good conscience participate in a same-sex wedding ceremony. Erotic liberty is in the ascent and religious liberty is in peril.

We may go to jail sooner even than we thought.

This is why our conversation is really important, and why we need to stand together on so many urgent concerns. Most importantly, we are now called to defend religious liberty for each other, so that when they come for you, we are there, and so that when they come for us, you are there. We are learning anew what the affirmation of religious liberty will demand of us in this dangerous age.

Whether or not you agree with his conclusions, Dr. Mohler will make you think.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Culture, News stories, Theology

 

A sign of the times?

A recent headline helps explain how we have gotten off track. Go Figure: Facebook Read Daily More Than Bible gives a statistical view of the popularity of the internet versus Scripture.

Facebook’s numbers are epic. More Americans check Facebook daily than read the Bible and it has more monthly users worldwide than most continents have people.

Facebook, which celebrates its 10th anniversary Tuesday, says worldwide it has 757 million daily active users. Of those 19 percent are in the U.S. and Canada, so that’s more than 143 million people checking Facebook daily.

The Bible used to be the go-to for statistics about reading, pre-digital age. A 2006 CBS News poll found 15 percent of U.S. adults read the Bible or other religious texts daily. There are about 267 million adults in the U.S. and Canada. That means about 40 million people reading the Bible daily.

40 million people in the USA and Canada read the Bible every day as opposed to 143 million people in the USA and Canada checking Facebook. Our values are more influenced by friends and culture than by God’s Word. Is it any wonder we struggle with the problems we face?

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2014 in Culture, Facebook, News stories

 

Turn your resolutions into habits

How do you turn a New Years resolution into a life-changing habit? That is the question posed by the folks at the Disney Institute in a helpful article entitled, “Habits, Not Resolutions: How to Break the New Year Cycle.”

Every year, Americans resolve to do something new, different, better in the upcoming year. Yet, only 8% succeed. Why? Maybe we tend to treat our resolution as another item on an already full to-do list.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with to-do lists, lets try something different this year. Lets turn just one New Year’s resolution into a habit.

The focus of the article is on how to make creativity a daily habit. But it got me to thinking, “What if we adapted the approach to spiritual growth? How could we use the principles to promote Bible study and prayer, giving, service, sharing our faith, or any other spiritual discipline?”

It is a good question to ponder, and hopefully will prompt some life changing thoughts and habits.

 

 

Defending the CLink

Love the graphic in The Seattle Times about the Seahawks and home field advantage, “Seahawks secret weapon: the home field advantage at CenturyLink.”

Kings of their castle

Let’s hope they live up to it.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2014 in News stories, NFL, Seattle Seahawks

 
 
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