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persecuted christians

Sunday 11/4 was the international day of prayer for the persecuted church. Sunday at Hope Community was a prayer service. No sermon. Lots of prayers—spoken and whispered. Concluding with Communion.

Video clips focused our prayers on a few of the many
countries in which Christians face persecution. Pakistan—Christians are second-class citizens relegated to demeaning work. Nigeria—Boko Haram attacks Christians (remember #BringBackOurGirls). China—President Xi deems Christianity to be un-patriotic. North Korea—possessing a Bible gets you 15years in a labor camp. Read More…

murder at the tree of life

The attack Saturday upon worshipers at Tree of Life Synagogue was another broadside from evil. Mass shootings and the murder accompanying them have become horribly common. Many immunize ourselves against the deadly toll. In small yet dangerous ways we begin to resemble people living in a war zone—seeing the suffering but blind to the evil.

Jesus challenges us to not be blind. Read More…

who told you that you were naked?

Who told you that you were naked? That’s the title of a book that seeks to explain how the Bible’s teaching can help men become responsible husbands and fathers. The title is lifted from dialogue in the Bible book of Genesis. The book was written and self-published in 2013 by Kelvin Cochran, who was then the fire chief of the city of Atlanta. Read More…

culture vs. the search for truth

What if your teenage daughter suddenly declared herself transgender. Should you acquiesce with the activists’ claim that she’s mature enough for medical treatments that will permanently affect her health, fertility and future? Or, could she possibly be influenced by societal pressure?

Dr Lisa Littman (MD, Brown University) doesn’t have the answer. Transgender activists didn’t even want her to ask the question.
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what we believe, why it matters

What does it mean to be a Christian? Believers desperately need a clear, communal, global identity.

The heresy of 21stCentury Christianity is our exaggerated and distorted commitment to individual liberty. Many believers are so out-of-balance they’re indifferent towards the body of Christ. Believers who privately define Christianity and personally choose how to practice it, make the church a social club.
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timeless or temporary?

Recently, during Sunday Q&A, a couple of questioners asked how to tell the difference between what in the Bible was cultural and so temporary, and what is divine revelation and so timeless. It’s a question Christ-followers ought always be prepared to answer.

The Bible recounts practices that were cultural and so temporary: animal sacrifice, head-coverings, polygamy, religious warfare, etc. The Bible also claims to record divine revelations: creation, divine mercy via Jesus, the fatherhood of God, kingdom of heaven, etc.
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church leadership cover-up

Last week a Pennsylvania grand jury published a 900-page report detailing sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children by 300 Roman Catholic priests over a 70 year time-period. The grand jury details the victims’ horrific stories. It also documents the carefully managed coverup by the highest levels of the US Catholic Church.

Forensic accounts of priests raping the sons and daughters of Christ remind me of Judas. Not even
Dante’s Inferno imagined crimes as sacrilegiously perverse. In the majority of cases the victims were adolescent males, but boys and girls as young as 7yrs-of-age were sexually abused by men trusted as representatives of Christ.

~ Adapted from an article by Prof. Pecknold, Catholic University of America ~ Read More…

#metoo hits the church

This month, the entire leadership of Willow Creek Community Church resigned. It was sudden. It was unexpected. It was necessary.

40 years ago a twenty-something youth pastor and a bunch of creative Christ-followers launched the seeker-sensitive movement in a rented movie theater. Bill Hybels, their leader, would become a church-growth rock star.
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this is on us

North Platte, Nebraska is an isolated town of 24,000. Throughout World War 2 soldiers, sailors and aviators traveling towards combat rode troop trains through North Platte where the Union Pacific Railroad made stops to take on water.

The townspeople (1940’s population 12,000) made those stops special. Starting in December 1941, they welcomed every troop train—up to 23 a day. Volunteers greeted 3,000-5,000 soldiers a day with sandwiches and gifts, music and even dances. Every day of the war, townspeople were at the depot. They never missed a train, never missed a soldier.
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human identity & divine authority

Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, earned accolades for his marriage sermon at the royal wedding of Prince Harry to Megan Markel. We do indeed underestimate the power of love. We doubt its effectiveness. All people are precious in His sight. Read More…

We Hold These Truths

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

July 2, 1776 the thirteen British colonies in America voted unanimously (the New York delegation abstaining—awaiting instructions from their legislature) to “dissolve the connection” from the Kingdom of Great Britain—adopting a
Declaration of Independence. Read More…

Syrians at a Seder

Adapted from an article by Masada Siegel a freelance writer covering international affairs and travel:

“Germany is where I met Saqib. While working a trade show in Frankfurt with my dad in 2011, a man walked over from a nearby booth: ‘I am Saqib from Syria. It’s a country in the Middle East next to Lebanon.’
Read More…