Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What Baltimore Needs

HT: Russell Moore

Our television screens glow with images of criminal rioting and assault on police officers in the streets of Baltimore. This is in the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, despite the pleas from Gray’s family for calm. The horrific scene seems to bring out the worst ideological responses from divergent corners. Some, wrongly, excuse the rioting, pointing out the issues leading up to it as justifying such criminality. On the other side, some suggest, wrongly, that such rioting is part and parcel of what peaceful protesters are about, distracting from the very real systemic issues that must be addressed. But behind all of this is a question the church must ask: what does Baltimore need in a time such as this?

You can read the rest. Thoughts?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Disaster, Aid and Art in Nepal

HT: Paul Neeley

Nepal recently had a terrible earthquake, killing thousands and injuring thousands more. As you pray for this country, here are some songs and art created by Nepalese Christians. Some links to send disaster aid to Nepal are at the bottom.

You can find everything here.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Return of Tebowmania

Tim Tebow now has a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. More so than the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets, the team has a passionate and unique fan base, which includes my wife's family.

I've re-posted some good perspectives on Tim Tebow in the past, but I felt this perspective from D.G. Hart was fresh and fitting.

HT: D.G. Hart

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah, O My Soul

Hallelujah, praise Jehovah, O my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises of my God through all my days.
Put no confidence in princes, nor for help on man depend;
he shall die, to dust returning, and his purposes shall end.
Happy is the man that chooses Israel’s God to be his aid;
he is blesses whose hope of blessing on the Lord his God is stayed.
Heav’n and earth the Lord created, seas and all that they contain;
he delivers from oppression, righteousness he will maintain.
Food he daily gives the hungry, sets the mourning pris’ner free,
raises those bowed down with anguish, makes the sightless eye to see.
Well Jehovah loves the righteous, and the stranger he befriends,
helps the fatherless and widow, judgment on the wicked sends.
Hallelujah, praise Jehovah, O set my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises of my God through all my days.
Over all God reigns forever, through all ages he is King;
unto him, your God, O Zion, joyful hallelujahs sing.
You can read the background of this hymn.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Chewbacca, Calvin and Coming Home

An interesting mash-up of theology and culture.

In case you don’t know, this Christmas, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is coming to a theater near you. J. J. Abrams will direct it. The second teaser released yesterday. Click here if you haven’t seen it. (I warned you.)
“I can’t wait!” declares my minister. He speaks for a whole generation who were weaned to adulthood on the rush of pre-CGI, Star Wars-induced adrenaline. Maranatha. Come J. J. Abrams.
On Easter, he finished preaching a 22-week series on the biblical book of Revelation—my husband, not J. J. Abrams. “Revelation’s depiction of the bedazzling New Jerusalem, with its jeweled foundation and pearly gates, always reminds me,” he said, “of the Emerald City from the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz.”
Perhaps he’s had enough of apocalypse weird and, like Dorothy, just wants to go home. There is no place like home, right, Toto?
You can read the rest.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Baseball and Your Enemies

HT: Derek Rishmawy

One of the dimensions of communication I’ve wrestled with most is how to talk to people you don’t agree with, maybe dislike or even consider an ideological enemy. It’s also one of the things we Christians seem to be particularly bad at in our internet age. I don’t need to describe this in detail. We’ve all see one too many Facebook updates blow up into a rehash of the Schisms and the Crusades to doubt that this is a problem.

While there are a number of reasons this should not be so, one of the important is Jesus’ command to love our enemies, bless those who curse us, and pray for those with whom we are opposed. If we can’t do that with people with whom we share the household of God, how are we supposed to do that with those outside of it?
So, how can we love, honor, and treat with Christian dignity those with whom we disagree? How can we love someone all the while contending for a truth that is of significant moral and personal interest when they are forcibly set against you?
Sometimes I wonder if we hear this standard and are struck with this overwhelming challenge to love in its most difficult, highest form, come to the summit of the mountain, and stop because it seems all too impossible. But what if there was a simpler first step? What if we could begin with something as simple as small talk?
For instance, when was the last time you chatted baseball with your atheist cousin? Or Christopher Nolan films with your friend who watches Fox News (or MSNBC)? Or how about favorite Mexican foods with that blogger who always seems to pick the wrong opinion on every theological issue?
You can read the rest here.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Day the Lord Has Made

Here's a helpful meditation on how to really interpret the popular Psalm.

We sang this as a bouncy chorus once too often when I was a little boy and only recently have I been able to experience this truth again. This is not an injunction to ignore injustice, to pretend there are no problems, or to plaster a smiley face sticker over a gaping wound. That this is the Day of the Lord  is a truth and the Psalm where it is found gives reasons for the joy and the reasons do not deny a single fact we might be facing. We can have joy and sorrow simultaneously just as we know defeat and ultimate victory in the same moment.

Christians are constantly losing, but we never lose.

The truth of the Psalm is about Israel and Jesus. 

You can read the rest here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

About Lincoln's Assassination

Yesterday was the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination. Living in the "Land of Lincoln" myself, I found this very informational blog on his assassination very interesting.

Let me reiterate that it's very informational, with lots and lots of pictures and references. And information.

HT: Justin Taylor

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Apostle Paul Movie

More Bible stories continue to find their way onto the big screen. This time it's the Apostle Paul, played by Hugh Jackman.

Jackman is a student of transcendental meditation rather than Christianity, having previously attended the international School of Practical Philosophy. But he told Parade magazine in 2009 that he was raised by his father, a devout, born-again Christian who took his young son to Billy Graham crusades whenever the famed evangelist came to Australia. “He takes his religion very seriously and would prefer I go to church,” Jackman revealed. “We’ve had discussions about our separate beliefs. I just find the evangelical church too, well, restrictive. But the School of Practical Philosophy is non-confrontational. We believe there are many forms of scripture. What is true is true and will never change, whether it’s in the Bible or in Shakespeare. It’s about oneness. Its basic philosophy is that if the Buddha and Krishna and Jesus were all at a dinner table together, they wouldn’t be arguing. There is an essential truth. And we are limitless.”

You can read more about it here.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Why You Need to Sing Loudly in Church

HT: Keith Getty and Ed Stetzer

1. We are commanded to sing.

2. Singing together completes our joy.

3. Singing is an expression of brotherhood and unites generations.

4. We are what we sing.

5. Singing bears testimony to our faith.

You can read the explanations here.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday Fun: Bach on Boomwhackers

HT: Les Objets Volants

Five men have a choreographed routine where they use boomwhackers to perform a Bach prelude. It must have taken a lot of practice to get all the arpeggios and timing correct.


Have a good weekend!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Religious Freedom and the Common Good

I was present for this session on religious freedom and the common good in Nashville last year, and I'm so happy to see it available online. Some convicting things for any point of view.

It's definitely worth 20 minutes of your time.

You can watch it here.

HT: Andy Crouch

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Christian America of the '50s

I found this article to be concise and helpful.

My newsfeed has two kinds of common historically inaccurate stories. Members of my own Faith often exaggerate the Christian nature of the American Founding and experience while secularists keep writing that America was never a Christian nation. Lately the secularists have taken to arguing that America became particularly “Christian” in a civil religion sense during the Cold War. American did indeed add “under God” to the pledge of Allegiance during that period and Dwight D. Eisenhower was given to clumsy religious statements in public.

In fact, I shall present evidence that the fifties saw common civil religious expressions (indeed mostly Christian ones). Of course, by this I mean the 1850s.

You can read the rest here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

FAQ's: Terrorist Attack in Kenya Targets Christians

I'm late in posting about this. Pray for all those involved and their families.
What just happened in Kenya?

[Thursday, April 2] in Garissa, Kenya, gunmen associated with the Islamic militant group al-Shabaab targeted Christians in an attack on Garissa University College. Reports confirm 147 people have been killed and more than 80 others injured.
The terrorists entered the college grounds and killed two guards before attacking students during early morning prayer services.
You can read the rest here.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Keeping Easter Going

HT: Gene Veith

It’s still Easter, that season lasting for the 40 days in which Christ was with His disciples again, culminating in His Ascension, and then adding the next 10 days that take us to Pentecost.  So we should keep  Easter going, by continuing to contemplate Christ’s resurrection and what it means for each of us.

You can read the rest of this brief but pointed devotional here.

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Shadow of Uriah

HT: Austin Fischer

 . . . as we approach Good Friday, we are reminded that the news is even better than that. For on Friday, we remember that the universe is not tilted in favor of the just so much as embracing of the unjust; that is, we remember that God desires to embrace the unjust in the arms of love. There are holes in his hands to prove it.

And if the shadow of Uriah falls upon David, the shadow of Jesus falls upon us all.

So if we want to take refuge in the shadow of the almighty, let us first remember: it’s a refuge for sinners. After all, the good news is not that we are good, but that we are loved.

You can read the rest here.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Four Reasons for the Empty Tomb

HT: Paul Rezkalla

1. The belief in the empty tomb predates the Gospels and even the writings of Paul.
2. Jesus's body was buried in Jerusalem.
3. Jesus's tomb was first discovered empty by women. 
4. The Jews were claiming that the disciples had stolen the body.
You can read the explanations here

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Biblical Fool

HT: Ben Witherington

“The fool says in his heart, there is no god……”. Whether we are aware of it or not ‘the fool’, like ‘the sluggard’ or ‘the sage/wise man’ are stock characters in early Jewish wisdom literature. They occur for instance in Proverbs, sometimes in personified form (see Prov. 9– Lady Folly), but more often just as a type of person, and some would say a stereotype. It occurred to me that it might be well to rehearse what the Bible says about ‘the fool’, because of course we have lots of modern notions about folly, most of which don’t match up with what the Bible means by a foolish person. For example, we might think today that a fool is a person who has no common sense about the nature of life and ‘how things work in this world’. We might think they are not practical, or ‘good with money’ (‘a fool and his money are soon parted’). In short, we might think it is a person who is not wise in the ways of the world, a person who gets into fights he cannot win, buys things he cannot use, eats foods that are not good for him, drives cars in ways that don’t pay attention to the road and weather conditions and so on. But again, those are all modern notions about folly and foolishness. What does the Bible say about fools?

You can read the rest here.