The tragic murder of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin has stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy as the ugly head of racism has once again been exposed. As we mourn this senseless killing we also forced to confront issues deemed uncomfortable by come and unwelcome by others. Both sides of the political spectrum have raised their heads as liberals call for stricter gun control laws and conservatives accuse the media of bias in its coverage of the slaying. However, how should Christians respond to this case in particular and issues of race in general?
Join us for this for this live edition of the KevCast as we welcome to pastors not afraid to delve into controversial and awkward issues: Pastor Trevor Hammack of the Victory Baptist Church of Ovalo, Texas and Pastor Bob Bixby of Morning Star Church of Rockford, Illinois.
Listen to Pastor Hammack’s podcast - Shooting of Trayvon Martin
Read Pastor Bixby’s Blog Post – Whites Should be Suspicious about Trayvon Martin’s Death
Don’t miss tonight’s live KevCast at 5pm (CST) – How Should We Respond to the Slaying of Trayvon Martin?
If you want to join the conversation you can call in at (818) 431-8528 or leave your comments or questions in the live chatroom.
This blog post is humbling, unsettling, uncomfortable and hits a little too close to home. I’m thankful for a pastor willing to stick his neck out like this and take the stand that needs to be taken. While this article can be deemed “politically correct,” the truth is sometimes being “politically correct” is the correct thing to do! However, while this article may be appreciated in some circles, it will not be so appreciated in some of the conservative Christian circles I travel in. Sometimes we conservative Evangelicals like to think we are above racism, yet we make these claims while sitting in our all or mostly all white congregations not willing to understand the plight of people we have just deemed as thugs or hyper-sensitive people over-reacting to the sins of generations gone by…
Anyway, I want to urge all of my blog readers to head on over to the Pensees blog and check out – Whites Should be Suspicious about Trayvon Martin’s Death. Here’s an excerpt:
It is too easy and not honest for whites to dismiss the charges of racial profiling from Trayvon’s family as political opportunism by disgruntled blacks. While most whites are also grieved by the death of Trayvon Martin and would not be at all unhappy if his killer were incarcerated for life as soon as it can be proven that he is guilty, they still cannot sympathize with the community rage among blacks. They are almost condescending in the way they remind the grieving black community about “due process”. The assumption, of course, is that “due process” will not fail to deliver justice (an assumption not readily shared by many blacks), so with clinical and dispassionate reservation they calmly call for a thorough investigation and fail to see how biases ingrained in their psyche have bled them of sympathy.
It is unfair to the white community to think that they want a murderer to go free. And most thoughtful blacks are not prepared to accuse whites of deliberately preferring the murderer to the innocent. However, they do suspect whites of letting the murderer go free at the expense of justice because they are unable to be just. I share this suspicion. Whites are often unable to react justly in the blink of an eye because of their latent prejudices. And this is what should scandalize all of us.
Jimmy Carter publishes study Bible, discusses faith-filled life - His notes in the new study Bible pull from years of Sunday school lessons. “Like the disciples, we should not be proud, seek an ascendant position or argue about who’s the greatest among us,” he notes in reflecting on a passage from the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus’ followers are debating who among them is the greatest. – CNN
Believe it or not, I am still undecided concerning who I will vote for in the GOP Presidential race. I hate being undecided because everybody keeps asking me for my thoughts. But, I have narrowed it down to two candidates.
First, there’s Ron Paul. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I LOVE RON PAUL!!! But, let’s be real – he won’t be the nominee. While his views probably most reflect my own, I still have some serious concerns. Of course I’m talking about foreign policy. I’m all for non-interventionism. However, as must as I would love to live in an ideal world, I do live in a world where Iran is moving closer and closer to gaining nuclear capacity. In that world, I just don’t trust Ron Paul to protect me. My other concern about Paul is his extremist associations. The racism and homophobia found in those infamous newsletters I think are only the tip of the iceberg. Ron Paul Supporters run the gamut now-a-days. His common-sense, Constitutional message is finally getting mainstream acknowledgement. However, that has not always been the case. To get the Libertarian nomination for President and other Third Parties begging you to take theirs, you’ve got to make some pretty extreme friends and say some pretty extreme things. Should Paul get the nomination, I believe you will see a whole lot of ugly things come out. Also, keep in mind, Congressman Paul has never said these racist comments were wrong…
On the other hand, Ron Paul is breath of fresh air. By far, he is the most consistent candidate ever to run for this office. He means what he says. You’re not going to be able to find double talk or flip-flopping with this man. He simply stands for the Constitution. He’s not a party shill who will be pressured into going along with the talking points from HQ. He’s the only candidate serious about returning back to the dream of our Founding Fathers.
Then there’s Rick Santorum. I’ve got some serious reservations about this guy. When I look at Senator Santorum I see George W. Bush – a big spending Conservative who will explode the deficit and lead us into war. Like Ron Paul, but in the opposite way, I fear Santorum’s foreign policy. He is way too hawkish for my taste. Of course, the phrase, “Even though it was against my principles, sometimes you have to take one for the team” keeps ringing in my head.
However, Santorum is right on concerning the issues I care about most. Santorum’s stance on life is impeccable. As a social conservative, there are few people in Santorum’s league. The pro-life movement would have no greater ally in the Oval Office than Rick Santorum. He would be a champion of religious liberty. Yet, there’s one more thing I cannot ignore about Santorum. Rick Santorum is our best shot at keeping Romney away from the nomination. If it came down to Romney v. Santorum – I’ll go Santorum every time and twice on Sunday.
Ok, so there’s my dilemma. Who would you vote for (between these two) and why?
(And for those of you who were wondering, yes – the purpose of this post was mostly to show off my pictures with the candidates)
Title: From the Resurrection to His Return: Living Faithfully in the Last Days
Author: D.A. Carson
Publisher: Christian Focus
Publishing Year: 2012
Pages: 23 (According to my Nook)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book)
Well, as you guys know, I am a little bit slow on the uptake… I’ve reviewed several books from this publisher and it just dawned on me what Christian Focus’s niche is in the huge Christian book market. If you are looking for highly intellectual, complexingly philosophical, and ivory tower theological tomes that would send you to the chiropractor if you threw in your backpack, Christian Focus Publishing is not for you. But, if you are looking for bite-sized chucks of Biblical, practical wisdom from respected Bible expositors, then check these guys out! That was exactly my thought after finishing From the Resurrection to His Return by D.A. Carson.
Ok, I am one of those weird Christians that actually is not all that interested in end times speculation. With my dispensational, Thief in the Night-watching, Left Behind-reading, looking for end times events on every page of the newspaper past, I feel like just want to be done trying to figure God’s future eschatological plans. So, when I saw this book had the subtitle “Living Faithfully in the Last Days,” I was a little skeptical. But, after having seen D.A. Carson’s name attached, I immediately changed my mind.
This e-book is a short exposition of II Timothy 3:1 – 4:8. It lives up to its title perfectly. It really is some practical advice about how to live life in these last days (however long or short this time period actually may be).
Chapter one sets out to describe the characteristics that mark this time period before Christ’s return. The main focus is on false teachers the deceptions they are known by. Let me give you this quotation I found most insightful:
“The church is usually not too badly troubled by teachers who are, from the beginning, outside the framework of confessional Christianity, teachers who are saying all kinds of things that Christians view as foolish, dangerous, or simply false – because they’re bringing another set of assumptions. By contrast, if you find someone who has been a public teacher of Christianity for some time and who gradually moves away from the centre of the faith, it sometimes takes awhile to discern the nature of the drift… It is not uncommon for such people to become rash. They become impetuous in the sense that they do not think through the long-term effects of the stances that they are now adopting. They become conceited, far too impressed by their new found opinions and deeply persuaded that the people whom they have left behind are narrow-minded and bigoted. With ego the size of small planets, they become unwilling to think through things out of a confessional heritage anymore; they are too busy telling everybody else how wrong they are.” – page 9
Unfortunately as read these words names and people came to mind… These are people who merely have a form of godliness and many are deceived by this form.
Chapter two gives the flip side of the coin. While we ought to be on guard against false teachers, we ought also to commit ourselves to true teachers of the sound faith. As good disciples we follow men who follow after God. Of course this is also a reminder that we ourselves ought to be examples that others can follow as well.
Chapter three reminds us that this vile world is no friend to grace as Isaac Watts once wrote. We should not be disillusioned by the culture around us. While this is our Father’s World, it is indeed a fallen world. Paul promises as we endure these end times that evil men will grow more evil. Carson is quick to note this does not necessarily mean the world itself is getting worse as it gets older but evil men themselves will increase in their evil deeds. The application for the church is simple – don’t expect friendship or respect from the unregenerate around us. We are different at our very core and that difference ought to shine through and distinguish God’s ambassadors.
So, in this fallen world, we must cling to the Scriptures our Lord inspired for us. The message behind chapter four is simple – let the Scriptures be our authority and stay out of their way! Scripture is our authority, not our starting point. Too often preachers and evangelists like to use the Bible to fit their message or agenda, whether it is actually in the next or not. This is not to say that the agenda of the speaker is immoral. In fact it may be a very moral message, but just not the message of the text. Whatever, it sure sounds good and it sure makes for good preachin’! While the intent may be good we have just turned the Word of God into a pile of clay that we are molding into our own image. While a good morality lesson may have been taught, the gospel is hidden under a cloak of good behavior.
Carson writes, “Some who go by the name ‘Evangelical’ view the Bible in such scrappy atomistic bits that they can find moralistic lessons here and there, but cannot see how the Bible gives us the gospel of Jesus Christ. But the Bible is not a magic book, as in: ‘A verse a day keeps the devil away’. It is a book that points us to Jesus, and this Jesus saves and transforms.” – page 19
The book concludes with a challenge to take this Scripture we hold so dearly and give to others. As we witness these last days around us and wait with growing anticipation for Christ’s return, the message of Scripture is the only message that will allow others to understand the hope that lies within us.
This book is a short read that is well worth your time. If you are like me, you need a reminder every now and again that this world is not our home. I find it so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day drama and ritual that is my life. Jesus is returning! That thought should jar us from our slumber and awake to the reality of what we ought to be looking for in these last days.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2012
Contact Person: Kevin Thompson – firstname.lastname@example.org, 608-365-7378
ROCK COUNTY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL RAISES MONEY AND SUPPLIES FOR TORNADO VICTIMS
BELOIT, WI: The Rock County Christian School class of 2013 is joining with Impact Missions (www.impactmissions.com) in seeking to bring aid and supplies those hit hard by a group of destructive tornados that devastated parts of East Kentucky including West Liberty, Hazel Green and Wolf County.
“Baby clothes and baby supplies, that would be the greatest need.” According to Dave Fackler, the head of Impact Missions who for several years has lead various missions teams in serving the Hazel Green and West Liberty communities. So in accordance with this request, RCCS students will be collecting such items (including baby bottles, diapers, formula, toys and baby blankets) till Thursday, March 29. On April 2 the supplies will be delivered to the Bear Pen Community Church in Hazel Green, Kentucky. This church has served as a focal point for relief efforts in this area. Impact Missions is also looking to raise $2000 for repairs and updates to this building as it expects to house even more teams next month.
Those willing to provide these needed items are encouraged to drop off their donation at either one of Rock County Christian School’s two locations: the elementary campus located at 5122 Driftwood Drive in Janesville or the middle school/high school campus located at 916 Bushnell Street in Beloit. Those looking to give a monetary donation should address their check to Rock County Christian School and write Kentucky Tornado Relief in the memo line.
“I believe that helping the people of Kentucky is very important because we’ve been called to help those in need.” said Junior Class President Timothy Grindle. Echoing this sentiment, fellow classmate Elizabeth Irving remarked, “We [RCCS] went on a missions trip to this area [April, 2011] and when I heard what just happened to them I felt like we needed to do something for them.”
Rock County Christian School urges each of their students to be actively involved in their community. Community service projects are performed on a regular basis by each class. Such projects also include volunteering at local homeless shelters, packing food for third world countries, sending supplies to natural disaster victims and writing our service men and women serving abroad.
To learn more about Rock County Christian School, please call (608) 365-7378 or log on to http://www.rccs.us.
Keep up-to-date at our RCCS Missions Blog.
Normally if I find an interesting article I will post a link to it in my weekly This and That post usually on Saturday. But, normally I do not make any comments on these links. These are just things I find interesting and I may or may not actually agree with the point of the link.
However, this morning, I came across a link I did want to make a few comments on. As many of you know Rick Warren has once again found himself in the center of controversy. A week or so ago the Orange County Register reported that Rick Warren had agreed not to evangelize Muslims and acknowledged that both Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Social media outlets blew up. My twitter feed was filled with comments about it and several blogs I read mentioned it. However, among those irate about such a heretical move (and had it been true it would certainly have been heretical and worthy of wide criticism and outrage) were some who were skeptical and thought such a move would have contradicted the Rick Warren they knew.
Then, Warren began releasing interview clarifying his commitment to evangelizing all people and clearly declaring his belief that Muslims worship a false God. Well, the truth is the newspaper got it wrong, and so did the bloggers and twitter geeks. Warren’s name was slandered with false accusations under the guise of “internet evangelists” and “social media apologists” who care more about defaming those they disagree with than actually representing the truth they claim to love. Worst of all, I have found myself guilty of this very sin so many times…
Warren wrote a letter to his church describing what happened and the Orange County Register published it as well. Here is just a short excerpt I found both helpful and incredibly convicting:
Let me be clear: This entire misunderstanding is neither the fault of Saddleback members nor our Muslim friends who accepted the invitation to study the Bible together. It’s the result of poor reporting and the willingness of irresponsible bloggers who hate us to automatically believe anything negative about our church. They shoot first, publish a report, then ask for clarification after they’ve done the damage, and finally, they never retract anything when proven wrong. When a national news agency contacted us this week, their conclusion was “There’s no real story here.” Duh!
This incident also highlights the gullibility of people who believe everything negative on the Internet without fact-checking and the willingness of Christians to pass on bad reports about others that they can’t confirm. When people WANT to believe the worst about you, they always pass on negative reports without validating them first. It’s a motivation issue.
“Only a fool believes everything he’s told! A prudent man understands the need for proof.” (Proverbs 14:15)
That’s the rest of the story. We will continue to ignore the irresponsible bloggers who just want to fight, but we will keep you informed when blatant lies are told about our church family. I love you all!
Read the whole letter here - http://www.ocregister.com/articles/rev-344073-rick-saddleback.html
While there is much of Warren’s ministry I have issues with, there is no excuse for spreading false rumors. So, for the record, let me apologize to you, my internet/social media friends and followers for any misleading statements I may have said about this. Let me apologize to Rick Warren if I posted anything to further this false impression.
(Note – this post has been edited. Some of the original content has been deleted in order to further evaluate and expand the missing thoughts in a future post).
This week we have an interesting panel discussion I was privileged to moderate about month or so back at Rock Country Christian School where I teach. The panel discussed some questions submitted by our students but I believe these are questions many Christians find themselves asking. Topics bantered around include salvation, sanctification, homosexuality and free will. Our discussions were lively and edifying so I thought I would share it with all of you, my internet followers and groupies.
This distinguished panel featured Pastor Tim Johnson (Rock Valley Chapel - Beloit, WI), Youth Pastor Cory Williams (Central Christian Church - Beloit, WI) and Phil Schomber – editor of Virtual Clarity Magazine.
Update – just finished the program, due to a new time limit, the last minute and closing theme music were cut off from the mp3 recording, but trust me – its still worth the download!
Harold Camping Admits Sin, Announces End to Doomsday Predictions - “But we now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible’s statement that ‘of that day and hour knoweth no man’ (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32), were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong. Whether God will ever give us any indication of the date of His return is hidden in God’s divine plan.” – Family Radio
Kony 2012 - Added to the need for speed is our own ignorance. I have trouble enough keeping up with politics here in Canada. When it comes to politics in Uganda and nearby countries I really have no knowledge at all beyond a very few bits and pieces gleaned from videos like Invisible Children. The same is probably true of you. This is not to say that Joseph Kony is actually a good person who has been misunderstood, but simply that you and I know almost nothing of what is really going on over there. Still, we tend to react by clicking first and thinking later. – Tim Challies
Rick Warren Interview on Muslims, Evangelism & Missions (Responding to Recent News Reports) - Furthermore, it is important to note that secular newspapers do not get the nuance we often use in evangelical Christianity. However, when we read well-known Christian leaders quoted as saying something in a local paper that seems out of character or contrary to their views over many decades, perhaps we might give that person the benefit of the doubt. – Ed Stetzer
Sapphira – When Standing by Your Man Will Kill You - The tragedy is that because Christians don’t view submission in lesser unions as subservient to the ultimate union, the Church today is afflicted with child abuse, extortion, prideful division, and immorality. The same apostle who said, “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution” (1 Peter 2:13) also said, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). I think that Peter would say to wives today, “Yes, be subject, but didn’t you read what I said? For the Lord’s sake.” This precludes meekly standing by with knowledge about your husband that no one else has when he is lying against the Holy Spirit in the face of the Church. Be the Church, lady, and expose the lie. – Bob
9 Things You Need to Know about Your Pastor - 7. You get on his nerves sometimes. Don’t take this personally, but you can be annoying sometimes. You probably don’t realize how fickle, or temperamental you are, but when you want to meet to talk about something “really important” and you tell him that you’re frustrated because your daughter didn’t get a solo in the Christmas play, it’s annoying. Sometimes it can feel like the loudest people are the least involved, and that’s even worse. Which leads us to the next thing you need to know… – Jason Isaacs