Category Archives: News stories

Moral Dilemmas

How can/should a Christ follower vote in the upcoming presidential election? Here are three recent news articles that make it difficult to support either candidate.

Speak Truth to Trump: Evangelicals, of all people, should not be silent about Donald Trump’s blatant immorality, by Andy Crouch in Christianity Today. While the title of the article aims at Donald Trump, the author also points out Hillary Clinton’s pursuit of “unaccountable power through secrecy.”

Dear Beth Moore: Thank You For Calling Out Male Church Leaders On Donald Trump and Sexual Assault, by Jenny Rapson in

A friend posted the above article with this note, “Still… we speak. It pains me that our two presidential candidates actively engaged in the destruction of women by sexual assault. Trump by perpetrating it and Clinton by standing by while she knew it was happening and then covering it up. The sentiments in this article should apply to all people who disregard the conduct of the presidential candidates.”

WikiLeaks Dump: Top Clinton Aides Mock Catholicism, Evangelical Christianity

As Christ followers, we have a very difficult choice. Much to pray about.

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Posted by on October 12, 2016 in Culture, News stories, Politics, Prayer


Are you outraged?

Two weeks ago (or several years in terms of news cycles) NFL San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick chose to sit during the playing of the National Anthem. Since then, other sports stars such as NBA star Stephen Curry and soccer player Megan Rapinoe, and others verbally applaud and or sit/kneel along with Kaepernick. The NFL Seattle Seahawks are considering a team unity protest to show their solidarity with Kaepernick.

On the one hand, the response to the issue reminds me of Peter Finch’s “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” speech in the 1976 movie, Network. His character, Howard Beale, expresses his outrage on live TV and tells his viewers to stick their head out the window and shout along with him. The next scene shows a city block of apartment dwellers doing just that.

On the other hand, I find it both interesting and sad in how the focus of the issue has changed. Initially, Kaepernick was protesting what he deems are wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States. The uproar had to do with whether or not people thought his actions were disrespectful to the flag. Now however, the issue is on free speech and whether or not an athlete or anyone else has the right to speak their mind.

Personally, I was put off by his actions. I agree that an athlete or anyone else has the right to speak their mind. The manner in which he did it was disrespectful, at least in my opinion. As Christ followers, we are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and season our words with grace (Ephesians 4:29).

What gets lost in the media haze is: (1) Is there a problem of injustice and inequality in America? and (2) How can we deal with and fix the problem? I believe the answer to the first question is, Yes, there is injustice and inequality in America. The answer to the second question, however, will not be found through donating the proceeds of jersey sales or roundtable discussions. The answer will only be found by coming to Jesus Christ.

Ultimately, it is not a simple matter of injustice and inequality. The root of the problem is sin in the heart of each and every person. True equality is only possible when the problem of sin is addressed. It is only through Jesus Christ that we become sons and daughters of God on equal footing. Neither a social protest nor a social program will fix the problem. Only the gospel can make a man or woman new from the inside out.

“for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28).


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Posted by on September 8, 2016 in News stories, NFL, Scripture, Videos


Another non-apology apology

The exploits of Ryan Lochte have been well chronicled over the past week. Unfortunately, he became more infamous for his behavior out of the pool than famous for his accomplishments in the pool.

In reading his apology, I was more surprised by what he didn’t say than what he did say. He led off by stating,

Lochte apology 1

He apologized for “not being more careful and candid.” He didn’t apologize for vandalizing a service station, lying to cover up his actions, leaving town to avoid facing the consequences, or waiting to come forward until his teammates were able to leave the country.

His apology went on to say,

Lochte apology 2

Lochte didn’t apology for creating the traumatic situation. Instead, he shifted the blame to the security guards for stopping the vandalism and for the station attendant asking him to pay for the damages. He played the victim card and called it a “traumatic” situation “with a language barrier – and have a stranger point a gun at you and demand money to let you leave.”

He closed his apology by stating,

Lochte apology 3

His last paragraph sounds curiously like, “Stop calling attention to my sins and let’s go back to talking my athletic achievements.”

While he said, “I accept responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons,” it has the feel of when parents caught me doing something wrong and asked, “Are you sorry for what you did or just sorry you got caught?” His apology has the ring of the latter rather than the former.

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Posted by on August 20, 2016 in Culture, News stories, Quotes, Sports


Religion in the news

Three news stories about religious issues caught my eye this week. The first two are ones I’ve followed with great interest. The third one struck me as amusing because of the reasons given for the decision.

Preserve Faith-Based Higher Education – “Yesterday, the presidents of California’s faith-based higher education institutions received news from Kristen F. Soares, president of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU), about Senator Lara’s intent to amend SB 1146 to only include disclosure requirements and add a new item requiring institutions to disclose reasons for student expulsions to the California Student Aid Commission. He intends to inform the Assembly Appropriations Committee of these amendments later today. Pending review of this new language, Biola will change its position on this legislation from “oppose unless amended” to “support.” Biola has long held to the importance of transparency in explaining their policies and the reasons for them.” If you’ve been following the story, this is very good news and cause to praise and thank God.

First Russian Charged Under Controversial Anti-Missionary Law – “A Krishnaite in southern Russia’s Cherkessk has been charged under the “Yarovaya Law” for handing out religious books on the street, the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis reported Thursday. This is the first time that charges have been pressed under the anti-missionary part of the controversial law.” And so it begins …

Cannes Mayor David Lisnard Bans Burkinis on City’s Beaches – The seaside French city of Cannes has banned burkinis, full-body swimsuits worn by some Muslim women, from its beaches. Mayor David Lisnard cited the recent tragedy in Nice and a subsequent attack on a church in Northwest France in an ordinance forbidding swimwear that doesn’t respect “good morals and secularism.” While I’m sensitive to the concern about terrorism, I found it amusing that swimsuits and beaches are places for “good morals and secularism.” With logic like that, France is on its way towards a similar law like Russia prohibiting beach evangelism.

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Posted by on August 12, 2016 in Culture, News stories


Packing so much into a short time

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”  Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Jon, thanks for posting this quote. It sums up the news over the past few weeks.

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Posted by on July 16, 2016 in News stories, Quotes


Pray for our brothers & sisters in Russia, part 2

Last week, I learned that the Russian Duma was considering legislation on anti-terrorism that would severely curtail religious activity. The organization, Barnabas Aid reported that President Putin signed the law on July 3.

Last week we reported that President Vladimir Putin had until 20 July to decide whether to enact an anti-terror bill into law – which, despite protests from churches, includes many clauses that are strongly anti-Christian. In fact the bill, which is primarily aimed at anti-terrorist activities, was signed into law by President Putin on Sunday 3 July. Protestant Christians in Russia fear that the new law will be chiefly enforced as a weapon against them and not used against the Orthodox Church, which Mr Putin has favoured in the past.

The new law will require any sharing of the Christian faith – even a casual conversation – to have prior authorisation from the state. This includes something as basic as an emailed invitation for a friend to attend church. Even in a private home, worship and prayer will only be allowed if there are no unbelievers present. Churches will also be held accountable for the activities of their members. So if, for example, a church member mentions their faith in conversation with a work colleague, not only the church member but also the church itself could be punished, with individuals facing fines of up to 50,000 roubles (£580; USD770; €700). There are also restrictions on the extent to which churches can have contact with foreigners; for example, any non-Russian citizen attending a church service would be required to have a work visa or face a fine and expulsion from Russia.

Christianity Today reported the news in this article, “Russia’s Newest Law: No Evangelizing Outside of Church.” Mission Network News offered their view in an article, “Big Brother passes bill in Russia.”

How will this affect the pastors I know in Russia–Vanya, Sasha, Sandzhik? How will this affect the missionaries our church supports in Russia? How will this affect my missionary friends who invest, train, and mentor Russian pastors? How will this affect my future ministry in the country? How will this affect the Christ followers in Russia? Will the church be stamped out? Or will it flourish and grow even though it is driven underground?

I admit that I have more questions than I have answers right now. As several articles explain, a lot depends on how the law is enforced. If nothing else, we need to pray even more fervently for the Christ followers and global servants in Russia.

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Posted by on July 8, 2016 in News stories, Russia


Stop Dying!

Another article from The Moscow Times for the OIR file (Only In Russia) – “Russian Health Ministry Bans Patients from Dying to ‘Not Ruin Stats'”

Who knew that too many deaths spoiled the health statistics?

Thanks go to Norm Eddy and John Musgrave for posting the original article. It certainly gave me a reason to chuckle and roll my eyes.



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Posted by on June 23, 2016 in News stories, Russia