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Category Archives: News stories

What were we arguing about?

If you have been married for any length of time, you know there comes a point when you and your spouse have an argument. You disagree over an issue, perception, event, or slight. As the argument continues, you begin to move away from the original topic and start piling on other matters. Pretty soon, you look at each other and wonder, what were we arguing about to begin with?

The NFL National Anthem protest feels like one of those arguments, especially now that the White House has weighed in on the matter.

Long ago in ancient times, or so it feels even though it was only last season, Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers chose to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem as a way of protesting inequality between the races. (That is perhaps an overly simplified summary of a very complex issue.) The conversation then shifted to whether kneeling was disrespectful to the flag and to the military. Then it moved to solidarity among teammates. A report came out last week that Colin Kaepernick has supposedly reversed course and said he will stand during the anthem if he can get his job back. Then Vice President Pence left yesterday’s Colts-49ers game because several 49ers knelt during the anthem. A 49ers official said it was a P.R. stunt and at least one sportswriter was bothered because it upstaged the Colts retiring Peyton Manning’s jersey. Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys said anyone who kneels will no long play for the Cowboys. People are up in arms over the loss of free speech.

It appears the argument subtly shifted from inequality or injustice to free speech and the right to protest. The original issue has been lost amidst the rhetoric. Since the various sides cannot agree on what they are arguing about, no wonder we can’t solve the problem.

What were we arguing about?

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2017 in News stories, NFL

 

In the aftermath of Las Vegas

3 Ways to Pray for Las Vegas: It’s a Powerful (Not Political) Act for Christians” – article by Ed Stetzer

“An Act of Pure Evil” — Searching for Meaning in Las Vegas – article by Al Mohler

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2017 in News stories

 

Creation is groaning

Everywhere you turn, you read headlines about severe weather. Houston, Texas is underwater due to Hurricane Harvey. Puerto Rico and the East Coast are bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Irma. Heavy rains paralyzed India, Pakistan, and Nepal this past week killing 1,200 and shutting 1.8 million children out of school. Ash is currently falling like snow in Seattle from fires burning in Central Washington. In the past week, there were earthquakes in Portugal, Indonesia, Alaska, Iceland, Northern Mariana Islands, Idaho, Argentina, Chile, and Vanuatu.

We want to blame Mother Nature and lament these as acts of God. However, we should take a look in the mirror and own the blame ourselves. I’m not talking about global warming or climate change.

What we are experiencing in severe weather is one of the consequences of sin. Romans 8:18-25 explains the hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other natural phenomenon are expressions of the earth itself crying out to be released from the bondage of sin.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Severe weather is like the earth going through labor pains prior to the return of Christ. The increase in frequency and severity may indicate that time is growing ever shorter. Perhaps it is time to repent, seek God’s face, and shout, “Maranatha! Lord, come quickly!”

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2017 in News stories, Scripture

 

A novel from the front page

Book Review: A Time to Stand, by Robert Whitlow

An unarmed African-American teenager shot by a young, Caucasian police officer in a small town in Georgia. An African-American pastor rallying the community demanding justice. The DA determining whether or not to file charges. A young, African-American female lawyer recently fired from prestigious law firm in Atlanta asked by an older, male Caucasian lawyer to help defend the officer. Racial tensions run high and lives are at stake.

While the details sound like a news story straight off the front pages of a major newspaper, they are the plot lines of Robert Whitlow’s latest offering, A Time to Stand. Woven throughout the book is the theme of what it means to forgive while seeking justice and how to pursue reconciliation while loving others as ourselves.

The book is an entertaining, compelling, hard-to-put-down drama. The author pulls you into the story from the very first page and holds on to you until the end. He includes several discussion questions at the end if you want to take the topic to a deeper level.

While I enjoyed the book, I found it a bit too Christian and some of the characters felt stereotyped and predictable. You could anticipate the conclusion by the middle of the book. That being said, it was an enjoyable read that will make you think about a highly relevant topic.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2017 in Books, News stories

 

Racism, Supremacy, & Terrorism

The events of the past week—Charlottesville & Barcelona—should break our hearts and drive us to our knees. They should motivate us to repent of our pride and arrogance and beg God to pour out his Spirit and send revival.

Rather than turning to God, however, we spout rhetoric and criticize “the other side.” We use human logic, saying that black and white athletes should stand together. We denounce political leaders when they don’t denounce the ones we think they should. We spout slogans, call for hearings and debate, and ridicule those who don’t agree with our viewpoint.

Racism, Supremacy, and Terrorism are complex issues without easy answers. Or so we tell ourselves and those who will listen to us. Like any problem great or small, complex or simple, there is a two-fold solution—Identify the problem and Fix it.

The core issue at the heart of racism, supremacy, and terrorism is SIN. It goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). When Adam and Eve chose to do what they wanted rather than obey God, sin entered the world. The first casualty was their son, Abel, who was murdered by his brother, Cain, who thought he was superior to his brother (Genesis 4:1-16). By the time the book of Genesis closes and the book of Exodus opens, the Israelites have been oppressed and enslaved by the Egyptians for over 400 years (Exodus 1:8-14). Not only does the Egyptian Pharaoh enslave the Israelites, he also issues a decree to kill all the male children under the age of two years old, practicing genocide (Exodus 1:15-22). Racism, supremacy, and terrorism are running rampant.

Racism, supremacy, and terrorism are ultimately an assault on God’s creative activities. Rather than acknowledging that all races and genders are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27; 9:6), we allow pride to rear its head and shout, “I’m better than you are.” We echo the pigs who control the government in George Orwell’s novel, Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Since sin lies at the heart of racism, supremacy, and terrorism, the only answer is the gospel. It is in Christ that there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female (Galatians 3:28). It is in Christ that men and women are joint heirs of the grace of God (1 Peter 3:7). Heaven will be populated by “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb!’” (Revelation 7:9-10).

True equality will not come through political debate, athletes standing together, protest marches, Facebook posts, or social engineering. True equality only comes when we acknowledge our sin, ask Jesus for forgiveness, and become part of the family of God. Far too often, we focus on the symptoms rather than addressing the root cause.

If you want to bring an end to racism, supremacy, and terrorism, denounce evil and call sin, sin. But don’t stop there. Take the next step and share the message that Jesus Christ can forgive sin and change hearts. Hope and healing is only found in Jesus Christ.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2017 in Bible Study, News stories, Scripture, Theology

 

Fun with Photoshop

Our youngest daughter lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, which has recently experienced quite a bit of rain and flooding. She sent us a link of a photographer who decided to have some fun in the rain. Christchurch photographer Sarah Webber’s photoshopped flood pictures are very creative and fun.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2017 in New Zealand, News stories, Photos

 

A Royal Commitment

Would that more of us approached contracts, commitments, and marriage vows like the Queen of England.

Prince Philip Is Retiring but Queen Elizabeth II Won’t Abdicate: Experts – At the age of 96, Prince Phillip, the husband and confidante of Queen Elizabeth II is retiring. The Queen, however, will continue on and has no plans to retire and hand over the reins to her son, Prince Charles.

The reason? Elizabeth, 91, places the responsibilities of her role above self. And the monarch regards vows she made two days after her father’s death in 1952 — and reiterated at her coronation — as paramount.

Gordon Rayner, who spent 7 years as royal correspondent for Britain’s Daily Telegraph, said: “The queen made a promise to the people of the Commonwealth before she even became queen that she would devote her whole life, whether it be long or short to the duty that she would be taking on. For her it is a duty you carry for your whole life and to her that means literally.”

“Abdication is a dirty word in her language. She would never step down.”

He added: “She is not somebody that would take a vow and not see it through. It has never been in her thoughts at any point in her life.”

You choose to honor a contract, commitment, marriage vow, pledge, or promise when you view your responsibility as more important than your self. A good example for us all.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2017 in News stories, Quotes