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“The evangelization of the world in this generation depends first of all upon a revival of prayer.”

~Robert Speer

“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.”

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community

“Maintenance prayer meetings are short, mechanical and totally focused on physical needs inside the church or on personal needs of the people present. But frontline prayer has three basic traits: a) a request for grace to confess sins and humble ourselves, b) a compassion and zeal for the flourishing of the church, and c) a yearning to know God, to see his face, to see his glory.”

Tim Keller, “Kingdom-centered Prayer,” Redeemer Report, January 2006.

For the post…

Memorial Service for Charles W. “Chuck” Colson

at Washington National Cathedral

WHAT: A public memorial service honoring Charles W. “Chuck” Colson will be held at Washington National Cathedral

WHEN: Wednesday, May 16, at 10 a.m.

WHERE: Washington National Cathedral – Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues, NW Washington, D.C. 20016

WHO: The memorial service is open to the public and seating is limited. There will be reserved seating for individuals who RSVP to a formal invitation. Others will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis. The service will also be webcast live on the Cathedral’s website at nationalcathedral.org.

MEDIA: Washington National Cathedral will handle media credentialing. Media interested in attending must RSVP in advance to request credentials and should email Meredith MacKenzie at meredith@rabinowitz-dorf.com. Further details will be released in the coming days.

About Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral is called to be the spiritual home for the nation. It seeks to be a catalyst for spiritual harmony in our nation, renewal in the churches, reconciliation among faiths, and compassion in our world. Learn more at www.nationalcathedral.org.


Pull the Plug on Porn

By J. Lee Grady Fire In My Bones

If you or someone you love is struggling with a porn addiction, take these steps to freedom.

At a men’s conference I sponsored last weekend in Philadelphia, some of my friends took the stage and got gut-level honest about their temptations. I was so proud of their courage. Shay, a young father from Ohio, admitted that he was exposed to hard-core pornography when he was only five years old. He began modeling what he saw in X-rated videos when he was just six.

Another guy from Pennsylvania told the men in the audience that he began watching porn when he was a preteen—and this led him to sex with dozens of girls in high school. Until recently this man still battled the shame of his porn habit even though he was a lay leader in his church.

“It’s not enough to whisper a quiet prayer under your breath. To break free from a life-controlling habit as powerful as porn, you must talk to someone else. And you should do it sooner, not later.”

Jason, a youth pastor in northwestern Pennsylvania, preached to the men on Friday night about how to reclaim purity in our sex-saturated culture. Like so many of the guys in our conference, Jason had been exposed to porn at a young age. His lust could not be satisfied by masturbation or kinkier videos, so his addiction drove him to seek out multiple girls for instant gratification. That’s where porn leads.

Thankfully all these guys eventually found Christ and discovered the grace to escape the porn trap. They are happily married today, and they’ve been freed from the shame of past failures. But I meet many Christian men who are not so fortunate. A huge percentage of men in church have given up trying to resist temptation.

If you are one of those men (or women) who wears a fake smile when you go to church, pretending to be an “overcomer” when you really are a prisoner of lust, then please consider taking these radical steps. (And if you know someone who is battling this monster, please consider forwarding this message to him or her.)

1. Spill your guts. The first step toward repentance is honesty, and it must be brutal. To repent means to turn 180 degrees, so this decision cannot be half-hearted. It’s not enough to whisper a quiet prayer under your breath. To break free from a life-controlling habit as powerful as porn, you must talk to someone else. And you should do it sooner, not later.

James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed” (NASB). I have prayed with many guys about their porn addictions, and they have testified that the power of their sin broke the moment they admitted it. Sit down with someone (preferably a more mature Christian you know and trust) and put all your cards on the table. If you humble yourself, God will give you grace to change.

2. Get ruthless. Sin is deceitful. It loves to make up excuses such as, “No one knows about your habit, so it’s not hurting anyone,” “I deserve this little treat” or “I can play with fire and not get burned.” Don’t believe the lies. Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of soup, and many men today forfeit their relationship with God by compromising with porn.

You can’t break free from sexual sin by slowly backing away from it or taming it like a pet. The Bible tells us to “flee” from immorality (2 Tim. 2:22). You must lay the axe to the root of your problem. Cut off all access to porn. Say goodbye and slam the door in its face. And if you can’t stop looking at it on your phone or computer, get rid of your phone and computer.

3. Keep no secrets. Guys addicted to porn struggle with constant shame. They can’t enjoy prayer or worship because they feel condemned. They can’t share their faith with others because they feel like hypocrites. And many Christian men are so full of guilt they turn to alcohol or drugs to numb their pain.

It’s not enough to confess your sin to a brother once. You must stay in relationship with people who love you enough to confront you. Find one or two accountability partners and make a covenant with them to live transparently. And don’t wait until you fall to call for counsel. Contact them whenever you feel tempted. Send up a flare and ask for help before it’s too late.

4. Refocus your life on others. Lust is ultimately about self-gratification. When a young man gets hooked on porn, he can’t grow up emotionally. This is why some adult men in their 50s and 60s act like 13-year-olds when it comes to sex. They are stuck in perpetual puberty.

You will never break free from the bondage of sexual sin simply by gritting your teeth and trying to forget the images you saw in magazines or videos. You must totally redirect your energies toward serving others: your spouse, your children, your church and the needy people around you. Throw yourself into selfless ministry and starve your illegal urges.

5. Stay filled with the Spirit. None of these previous steps are possible without the Holy Spirit, who is our promised Helper (see John 14:16). Self-help is not the answer. Ask the Spirit to fill your life with His refining fire. He will go to the root of your unholy desires, burn up your lust and give you supernatural ability to resist temptation.

J. LEE GRADY is contributing editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at·leegrady. His most recent book is·10 Lies Men Believe·(Charisma House), is a helpful resource for men’s small group Bible studies.

by Joe Carter

College to Student Group: Drop ‘Personal Commitment to Jesus’ from Your Bylaws

The Story: According to the Christian Post, a Christian student group at Vanderbilt University has been told by the school’s administration that it will lose its recognized status on campus unless the group removes its requirement that its leaders have a “personal commitment to Jesus Christ.”

The Background: The Christian Legal Society says that a recent email from the university’s administration stated the Christian group’s application to keep its recognition was deficient because the group’s constitution states the following:

Criteria for officer selection will include level and quality of past involvement, personal commitment to Jesus Christ, commitment to the organization, and demonstrated leadership ability.

In order to retain recognition, the group was told it must eliminate the sentence requiring that leaders have a “personal commitment to Jesus Christ.”

Vanderbilt has previously claimed that the issue was not about religious freedom. As Beth Fortune, vice chancellor for public affairs at the university, previously told told the Washington Post “This debate is about nondiscrimination, not religious freedom, and we stand behind our policy.”

Why It Matters: “By mandating the elimination of a Christian group’s standard of ‘personal commitment to Jesus Christ,’ Vanderbilt requires students to abandon their religious integrity and undermines their religious freedoms,” says the Christian Legal Society. “Leadership is crucial to the direction of any organization. Eliminating the requirement of a commitment to Jesus Christ in leaders takes away the group’s ability to effectively fulfill its purpose and continue its ministry.”

(Joe Carter is an editor for The Gospel Coalition and the co-author of How to Argue Like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History’s Greatest Communicator).

Thanks to My Friend and Mentor
A Tribute to Chuck Colson

April 23, 2012

As you have no doubt heard by now, Chuck Colson has gone home to be with the Lord. I urge you to keep the Colson family in your prayers during this difficult time.

By the time you hear this there will have been no shortage of commentary—mostly appreciative about the life of this extraordinary man.

Actually, “appreciative” is a huge understatement of what Chuck has meant to me, both personally and professionally.

Like so many of you, I first encountered Chuck through books “Born Again” and “Loving God.” Classics, must reading. I’m not old enough to remember Chuck as a controversial political figure during Watergate, so I have always thought of him mainly as an inspiring Christian leader.

But little did I imagine while reading his books that I would one day work with him. Needless to say I was a little in awe of him. It probably didn’t help that, initially at least, he wasn’t exactly effusive with his praise of my work.

This is neither a complaint nor a criticism. Chuck Colson has always had a huge heart for the prisoner, for the needy, for the hurting. But he was also a man from a very different time: a Depression baby, tough, driven, former Marine. He demanded and expected a lot from himself and he expected the same from the people who worked with him. By his own admission, he was “at the top of the type-A scale.”

But that’s not the end of the story: over the years I saw Chuck mellow. He acknowledged this change in the epilogue to his daughter Emily’s beautiful book, “Dancing With Max.” He wrote movingly about how his autistic grandson helped him become more patient and more understanding of others. In short, it changed him.

I benefited from that change. Over the past decade, Chuck went from being a demanding boss to being a mentor and a father figure, even a friend. He has been both supportive of my efforts and generous with his praise and his time.

His last public appearance was the quintessential example. I remember after I introduced him at the Spiral of Silence conferences, he praised my Bonhoeffer biography and said that he regarded my work as part of his legacy. Knowing Chuck and “top of the Type-A scale” temperament made me treasure his praise all the more.

If you believe in coincidences, which I did not, I just happened into the hotel lobby as Chuck was being taken out to the ambulance, I had the privilege of walking over and putting my hand on the shoulder of my friend, I cracked a small joke, to which Chuck smiled and replied “tell everyone at the conference that I’m sorry for having spoiled their evening.” That is classic Chuck Colson.

For the rest of the post…

Prayer is as natural an expression of faith as breathing is of life

WASHINGTON — Former Nixon aide Chuck Colson died Saturday at age 80. Colson, who was also an evangelical leader, author and non-profit founder, of Prison Fellowship International.

Colson was speaking at a Colson Center conference when he was overcome by dizziness. Quickly surrounded by friends and staff, Colson was sent to the Fairfax Inova Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia. On March 31, he underwent two hours of surgery to remove a pool of clotted blood on the surface of his brain. He died of complications from the surgery.

Special counsel to President Richard Nixon, Colson was involved in the Watergate scandal which led to Nixon’s resignation. Known as Nixon’s “hatchet man,” Colson also served on the president’s re-election committee, CBS said, attempted to steal information from the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate.

After pleading guilty to obstruction of justice, Colson served seven months of a one-to-three year prison sentence.

But Colson became a born-again Christian before being sentenced, and after he was released, he founded the Prison Fellowship. The non-profit organization conducts outreach to prisoners to “through the power and truth of Jesus Christ”.

Jim Liske, chief executive officer of Prison Fellowship, said that Colson met with top elected officials and leaders but “would rather be in prison embracing an inmate.”

The former prisoner wrote more than 30 books on religion and faith, and consistently advocated on behalf of conservative policies. President George W. Bush gave Colson the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2008.

In recognition of his work among prisoners, Colson received the prestigious Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion in 1993, donating the $1 million prize to Prison Fellowship.

The Colson family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Charles Colson Legacy Fund. Condolence cards may be sent to Prison Fellowship Ministries, 44180 Riverside Parkway, Lansdowne, VA 20176.

CBS said Colson is survived by his wife Patty, three children and five grandchildren.

Actually, my wife and I are in Nebraska City for the entire weekend for the Converge Heartland Annual Pastor’s Renewal Retreat. We are staying at the beautiful Lied Lodge and Conference Center.

This is one of the highlights of the year for us!

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