Archives For August 2015

“Much of Christianity’s retreat from the truth or tempering of our witness in the West has been motivated by good intentions—not to offend or be judgmental, the desire to feel more personally connected to God and to make Christianity more relevant and culturally acceptable.

“The history of Christianity…shows the reverse to be the case. While we always want to be sensitive to other cultures, we cannot be co-opted by them.”  Charles Colson

One of the most amazing aspects of the Gospel is its universal appeal. It tears down the walls of culture. It is for people of all races and from all nations. Rather than being exclusive, it is inclusive. All may come.

Churches need to guard against the perception that they are closed communities, that minorities need not participate.

One thing the Gospel cannot do is deny truth. And coming to Christ means commitment to truth and striving in obedience toward holiness. Continue Reading…

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“I believe[ ] . . . that violent urges cannot be completely quashed, but they can be channeled into virtuous expression.” Mona Charen

In her column this week, Mona Charen celebrates three heroes, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, and Anthony Sadler, who stopped a heavily armed man from carrying out a lone wolf terrorist attack on a French train last weekend. The three have been friends since age 7 when they played war together in an otherwise peaceful suburban neighborhood.

The three men, two trained by the U.S. military, tackled the terrorist who “kept pulling more weapons” out of his stash. According to the Washington Post, the gunman had been on a terror watch list but was allowed to board the train anyway.

After that, so much went right, when it could have gone so wrong. Continue Reading…

The Church is community. We follow Christ. That means we worship with a group of people who believe as we do. It also means we are part of a larger group of believers, the Church throughout the world, comprised of people whose basic beliefs about God are the same as ours. The ways they worship don’t always match ours, but their trust is in the same Savior.

Being part of the Church means that we need to seek out companions for our Christian walk.

Men frequently form their friendships around activities. They befriend guys they play golf, basketball, or fantasy football with. Women form their friendships around conversation. Continue Reading…

“You weren’t made to fit in. You were born to stand out.” Jim Caviezel

A reader recently asked me, “What do you mean by Christian unity?”

Let’s start with what it does not mean.

Christian unity does not mean that we adopt a coexist mentality that blends us into other worldviews. Our call is to shine light into darkness and encourage others to walk with us in the light. Some will come with us. Others will throw stones at us if we don’t dance in darkness with them.

But God didn’t call us to fit in.

We are pulled in two directions. As the world of darkness calls us to fit in with them, we are tempted to remain in our small group of believers who agree with us in nearly every way conceivable. Life is tidy there. We all agree with each other.

But God didn’t call us to fit in. Continue Reading…

I was going through the college cafeteria line to buy a chocolate chip cookie and a cup of tea after my morning class. Looking forward to a few quiet moments before I headed to my job, I had a magazine in hand opened to an article about creation. Behind me in line was a professor. As I set the magazine down to retrieve my cookie, a sentence about God having formed the world caught his eye.

No quiet moment now. He asked me about the article, then followed me to my table. He stood as I sat. Continue Reading…

Be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

Yesterday I watched an online news report via CBN about refugees flooding into Europe from North Africa.* Men, women, and children, fleeing ISIS. Some have walked (walked!) across multiple countries to get to escape the terror. Many die in the journey.

The reactions of Europeans is mixed. Some responses mirror early civil rights protests in the 1960s in the American South in their violence toward the refugees. Hungary is building a wall on its border with Serbia to keep refugees out. Italy has built camps to accommodate the influx. Right wing parties hoping to stop the influx are growing all over Europe.

There is another reaction. There is admiration for the heroic quests of pregnant women. Envision another women “great with child” on a long journey.  There are mothers of newborns. Imagine giving birth during an escape and continuing onward. There are men with their wives and little children. Imagine trying to protect those you love the most. Continue Reading…

Advocating Christian Unity

Advocating Christian Unity

My friend Tanya is a potter. Tanya doesn’t just make pottery. She also talks about making pottery and how we are clay and God is our Potter. He shapes us.

Like all of us, Tanya has faced some difficult times. She’s had troubles she didn’t understand. Her heart has broken. But God, the Great Potter, has never left her side. He continues to shape her.

In the course of writing a book on Christian interaction, I had a conversation with a Catholic nun. During that conversation, I mentioned Tanya’s presentation about God and pottery. A few weeks later, my new friend emailed me for Tanya’s contact information.

To date, Tanya has done four presentations for Catholic retreats. Her message has helped others outside her own Christian tradition find healing through Christ. Continue Reading…

Advocating Christian Unity

Advocating Christian Unity

When my husband Paul and I set out for Asia in 2005, our dream was to carry the Gospel to a dark country, shine the Light of Jesus in that darkness, and encourage those we would meet to become believers in Christ. By believers we meant followers—Christ’s followers.

No one on our team embraced the goal of helping others become Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, or any other denominational label. We would have all called ourselves Evangelical—some even Fundamental. But the brevity of a short term mission required that we present the Gospel in its basic form—reliance on Christ for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life and faithfully following Him.  Continue Reading…

BLOGPOST: Broken Lives, Cracked Hearts, and Restoration

Advocating Christian Unity

Advocating Christian Unity

Broken

We grow from broken toys to broken hearts.

Broken is usually not a happy word.

Broken:  Damaged.

Inadequate. Alone.

But Broken Bread fixes hearts.

It feeds and fills.

Broken Bread makes us new.

“So that the world may know”

 

Broken people, broken families, broken communities. Where can we find healing?

We see the broken communities on internet and television news feeds. And this brokenness isn’t always far away. It is right where we live. If we look around ourselves, we can see it up close.

Broken communities are made up of broken people. Many come from broken families.  Only a few know the restorative touch of an unbroken church. Continue Reading…