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Archive for the 'In the News' Category

(Article by Denny Burk and orginally found at his blog.)

The head of Venezuela’s presidential guard was with Hugo Chávez during his final moments. His report on Chávez’s last words paints a picture of a man desperately clinging to life. According to this report, Chávez said:

I don’t want to die. Please don’t let me die.

As a rule, I’m no fan of socialist dictators—particularly those of Chávez’s ilk. But this strikes me as one of the saddest things I’ve ever read. I grieve to think about what the horror of his final moments must have been like. Death is no respecter of persons—not even of billionaire Presidents who command a cult-like following among their countrymen. Not even of you. As the old hymn has it, “Time like an ever-flowing stream bears all its sons away.” None of us will escape this great equalizer.

Attention Living Faith & Living Hope!  Many of the people in our church know the Bible fairly well and are able to place themselves in the narrative when we share something…but this is not the case for our region.  According to the most recent Barna Survey for the “Bible-mindedness” of cities in America – Providence is ranked last and Albany is second to last.

Here is a link to the report.  This study speaks to the number of people who:

report reading the Bible in a typical week and who strongly assert the Bible is accurate in the principles it teaches are considered to be Bible-minded. This definition captures action and attitude—those who both engage and esteem the Christian scriptures. The rankings thus reflect an overall openness or resistance to the Bible in the country’s largest markets.

So new folks that come into our church may not know what we mean when we say certain terms, reference certain things, etc.  I don’t think we need to change our Bible focus to accommodate people who don’t have this, but we need to be mindful of the world around us.  We certainly need to make sure do not talk down the spirit-inspired and God-preserved Scripture.  It should be our go-to guide for teaching people about our great God and helping them know and observe all that Jesus commanded.  And we want to ensure that people hear the gospel and receive the spirit so this sacred text may come alive to them.

The fields are white.

Today is election day in the United States.  I am not writing this post to get into the debate of whether or not Christians should vote, as I know there are many opinions on that.  I’m writing this instead to hopefully stir our minds up to consider how we will be late tonight, or tomorrow when the final tallies are made.

This current political season has been one of the most divisive and polarizing in this nation’s history.  I have seen Christians vocal in support of their candidate.  And I have seen Christians vocal in supporting their candidate, who just happens to be the other guy.  So now I ask, O followers of the Messiah:

John Piper has some brief but powerful words to us to consider in this world of constant stimulation and amazement at what’s “new.”

Most of these things are aimed directly at our minds and thoughts.  As followers of Jesus, we must be mindful of what we are exposed to and allow into our lives.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 ESV)

For any of you who know Pastor David Burge of New Zealand, he has just taken a turn for the worse and the chemotherapy is no longer working. They estimate two weeks. Please pray for him. This is the last update from his wife, Tarnya.

We saw the consultant yesterday. The chemo is no longer working. He estimates that Dave has about 2 weeks left.

We have been blessed by many comments on the blog; by the assurance of your prayers and thoughts; and by some very thoughtful and practical gifts. Thank you.

Thank you to those who have written beautiful letters of tribute. Dave has appreciated these.

So maybe you have been hearing and seeing of the news now 2 weeks after the earthquake in Haiti and you’ve thought “I should do something.  I should send money.  I should donate something.”  Maybe you have spoken about it with someone close to you about the best way you could help.  But then maybe life got busy again for you.  Maybe your desire to think-through the best way to help has led you to do nothing because you’re just not sure if it will do any good.  Afterall, you can’t give enough to make the pain all go away – so then why do anything at all?

CBS News: Evangelists Target Unreligious New England

In New England, we battle the hard hearts of skeptics while enjoy the open-mindedness of those searching. Engaging our neighbors and communities is important – and there is a way to do it right. Forget the marketing strategies or membership drives, get into conversations with the people you’re around. I think that the challenge facing New England in regards to evangelism and outreach is not in the people who need the gospel, its found in the people who supposedly don’t.

I recently received a link to a video (see it here) in which a “Reverend” spouted off about how evil President Obama is, and saying that “white folks are going to rise up” the way black folks did in reaction to the Rodney King incident – and this was from a black minister. Moreover, this man practically foamed at the mouth with his hatred for Obama, repeatedly calling him a “long-legged Mac-daddy” (whatever that means) and worse. No matter what you may think of the president’s politics and policies, we are told to honor and pray for our governmental leaders, not spout off such strife-gendering rhetoric.

The student body at Notre Dame has written and will demonstrate against the choice of the University to have President Obama speak at their commencement.  They are doing this out of fidelity to the Church and her position on abortion.  It is incredibly well written:

STUDENT COALITION STATEMENT ON THE 2009 UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME COMMENCEMENT CEREMONIES

In defense of the unborn, we wish to express our deepest opposition to Reverend John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.’s invitation of President Barack Obama to be the University of Notre Dame’s principal commencement speaker and the recipient of an honorary degree. Our objection is not a matter of political partisanship, but of President Obama’s hostility to the Catholic Church’s teachings on the sanctity of human life at its earliest stages. His recent dedication of federal funds to overseas abortions and to embryonic stem cell research will directly result in the deaths of thousands of innocent human beings.

I thought the following article was very thought provoking and sobering.  I have bolded a few key points below.  What do you think?

ONEIDA, KY. – We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the “Protestant” 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.  

This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good.

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