You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2013.

12/31/2013 J. LEE GRADY

From left, clockwise: Richard Twiss, Edith Schaffer, Charles Lamb, Pat Summerall
From left, clockwise: Richard Twiss, Edith Schaffer, Charles Lamb, Pat Summerall

Media outlets have published lists this week of celebrities who died in 2013—lists that include Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, novelist Tom Clancy and actors Peter O’Toole, Jean Stapleton and Paul Walker of Fast and Furiousfame.

But religious leaders often don’t make these lists, mostly because the work of the Spirit is rarely celebrated on this side of eternity. As this year comes to a close, I decided to look back at 2013 and honor the memory of church leaders who died this year. They include:

1. Samuel Lamb. This brave Chinese pastor died in August at age 88. He spent 20 years in prison for his faith because he refused to bow to his communist oppressors. He taught his flock: “The laws of God are more important that the laws of men.” Today the illegal church he planted in the city of Guangzhou has grown to 4,000 members.

2. George Beverly Shea. Perhaps the best-known gospel singer of all time, Shea performed at Billy Graham’s crusades for decades and recorded more than 70 albums. A Canadian known for his booming bass-baritone voice, he teamed up with Graham in 1947. Ever willing to stand in the shadow of the more famous evangelist, Shea prepared audiences for Graham’s message by singing trademark songs such as “I’d Rather Have Jesus” and “How Great Thou Art.” He died in April at age 104.

3. Edith Schaffer. She and her husband, Francis, both Presbyterian missionaries, established L’Abri Fellowship, a retreat center in Switzerland that became a think tank for Christian theologians and activists. Some believe Edith and her husband—through their many books and lectures—galvanized the Christian Right in the 1980s by encouraging believers to challenge culture rather than hide from it. She was 98.

4. C. Everett Koop. Hated by some members of Congress because of his personal opposition to abortion, this distinguished pediatric surgeon was tapped by President Reagan to serve as U.S. Surgeon General. When Dr. Koop took office in 1981, 33 percent of Americans smoked; when he left in 1989, the percentage had dropped to 26 percent because of his strident campaign against tobacco use. A devoted Presbyterian who wrote a book about his faith journey, Sometimes Mountains Move, he also defended the rights of the elderly and children with birth defects. He was 96.

5. Richard Twiss. Once a monthly columnist for Charisma, Twiss was a rare breed: An outspoken charismatic Christian from a Native American background. His ministry, Wiconi International, focused on promoting reconciliation between whites and Native people. Born on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, Twiss wrote the popular book One Church, Many Tribes, and used his pulpit to reach Native people for Christ. He was only 58.

6. Pat Summerall. Perhaps the best known sportscaster in the U.S., he was fondly referred to as “the voice of the NFL” because his career spanned more than 40 years—and 16 Super Bowls. But what many TV viewers did not know was that the man with the famous voice experienced a dramatic conversion to Christ in 1992 after battling alcoholism. He wrote in his autobiography: “My thirst for alcohol was being replaced by a thirst for knowledge about faith and God. … I felt ecstatic, invigorated, happier, and freer. It felt as though my soul had been washed clean.” Summerall became a Southern Baptist before he died at age 82.

7. Paul Crouch. Raised in the Assemblies of God and driven by a desire to spread the gospel through television, Crouch built his Trinity Broadcasting Network from scratch, starting in 1973 with a station in Tustin, California, using $20,000 of his own money. When Crouch died in November at age 79, TBN had more than 18,000 network affiliates. His fund-raising tactics and spending habits made him plenty of enemies, but millions of donors looked beyond his flaws to help him build the largest Christian TV ministry in the world.

8. Dallas Willard. Considered a leading authority on spiritual formation, Willard was a philosophy professor at the University of Southern California whose books included The Spirit of the DisciplinesThe Divine ConspiracyRenovation of the Heart and Hearing God. He was a passionate proponent for rigorous discipleship, and he chided the American church for thinking we can be Christians without being disciples. He wrote: “The spiritual life is a life of interaction with a personal God, and it is pure delusion to suppose that it can be carried on sloppily.” He was 77.

For the rest of the post…

Advertisements

The condition of the church may be very accurately gauged by its prayer meetings. So is the prayer meeting a grace-ometer, and from it we may judge the amount of divine working among the people. If God be near a church, it must pray. And if He be not there, one of first tokens of His absence will be slothfulness in prayer!” (Charles Spurgeon)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Alexander Melville.jpg

Robert Murray McCheyne.jpgBusy activity for Jesus can be cheap substitute for genuine intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Robert Murray M’Cheyene put it this way…

“No amount of activity in the King’s service will make up for neglect of the King Himself.”

Christmas and the Incarnation

As we celebrate Christmas, let’s tune into this classic Chuck Colson BreakPoint commentary on the manger, and how we often forget the staggering implications of Christmas.

Chuck Colson
What image does the mention of Christmas typically conjure up? For most of us, it’s a babe lying in a manger while Mary and Joseph, angels, and assorted animals look on.

Heartwarming picture, but Christmas is about far more than a Child’s birth—even the Savior’s birth. It’s about the Incarnation: God Himself, Creator of heaven and earth, invading planet Earth, becoming flesh and dwelling among us.

It’s a staggering thought. Think of it: The Word—that is, Logos in the Greek, which meant all  knowledge that could be known, the plan of creation—that is, ultimate reality, becomes mere man? And that He was not born of an earthly king and queen, but of a virgin of a backwater village named Nazareth? Certainly God delights in confounding worldly wisdom and human expectations.

Thirty years after His humble birth, Jesus increased the Jews’ befuddlement when He read from the prophet Isaiah in the synagogue at Nazareth: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor…to proclaim release to the captives…to set free those who are downtrodden…” Jesus then turned the scroll back and announced, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

In effect, the carpenter’s son had just announced He was the King.

So yes, the birth of Jesus is a glorious moment, and the manger scene brings comfort and joy and Christmas cheer. But it should also inspire a holy terror in us—that this baby is God incarnate, the King who came to set captives free, through His violent, bloody death on the cross as atonement for us, His unworthy subjects.

It’s through the Incarnation God sets His grand plan in motion. He invades planet Earth, establishing His reign through Christ’s earthly ministry. And then Christ leaves behind an occupying force, His Church, which is to carry on the work of redemption until His return and the kingdom’s final triumph.

For the rest of the post…

The culture wars will always be with us. Most recently, Phil Robertson, the godly patriarch of the Robertson clan on the very popular Duck Dynasty show on A & E, was suspended by the network because of his anti-gay comments.  Soon after, the Robertson family issued statement indicating the show probably could not continue without Phil. I would hate to see the show end because it really quacks me up. I also love the show because of its focus on Christian values and family. Plus, I have guns and am a hunter!

This will not be the last battle in the culture wars in our country.  Thus, it is important that those who claim to follow Jesus need to act like Jesus especially in the heat of the battle. I have been a Baptist pastor for 30 years, and I am dedicated to the Word of God which is the Bible. If the Bible is not true, then I have wasted my life, along with thirteen years of higher education.

There are Biblical principles that the followers of Jesus need to remember when it comes to the culture wars…

  • We are to love all people! Jesus made this crystal clear in Matthew 22:37-38: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Our “neighbor” is everyone around us. It does not matter how different our neighbor is from us, we are to love that person. We are even to love those people who hate us: “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Jesus in Matthew 5:44).
  • We are to honor everyone! 1 Peter 2:17 commands us this: “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” As Christians we are honor and respect our political leaders and everyone else. It does not matter if the person disagrees with us when it comes to politics, favorite sport’s team (Go Huskers, Red Sox, Steelers and Blue Jays Basketball!), religion (or lack of it), sexual orientation or anything else. We are to honor and respect and love all people. This is the way of Jesus.
  • We are to exhibit the character of Jesus. Our country needs to see authentic Christians in action. When people think of an “evangelical Christian”, they often think of someone who is angry and is against stuff. Most Christians that I know are not angry and busy signing petitions. But there are just enough angry followers of Jesus out there to give the impression that the mission of the church is to protest and fight for the rights of Christians.

That is why I am against boycotts. How many people have turned to Jesus for salvation because of a boycott that originated with Christians? I doubt any have. What should the Christian look like? Well, according to Galatians 5:22-23, Christians are to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”  In other words, we are to be like Jesus.

Now, Jesus, the most loving and joyful person who ever lived, was against sin. That is why, as the eternal son of God, he came into our world nearly 200o years ago. His God-ordained mission in life was to go to the cross as the perfect Lamb of God to die for our sins and to absorb the wrath of God on our behalf. His death and resurrection broke the power of sin and death and Satan.

Yet, Jesus loved all people. Let us do the same!   

How the West was lost by the selfie president

By Michael Goodwin December 15, 2013

My bookshelves sag with encyclopedic volumes arguing that America and the West are in decline. But proving that a picture is worth a thousand books, the “selfie” seen ’round the world ends the argument.

It’s official — the government of the United States of Obama consists of boobs and bores and is led by a narcissist. It is no consolation that Great Britain joins us in racing to the bottom.

President Obama’s flirting with Denmark’s prime minister would be shameful on any occasion. That it happened at the memorial for Nelson Mandela only adds to the embarrassment.

But the “selfie” episode also symbolizes the greater global calamity of Western decline. With British prime minister David Cameron playing the role of Obama’s giggling wingman, the “look at me” moment confirms we have unserious leaders in a dangerously serious time.

Iran marches toward nuclear weapons and already there is talk in military circles that a nuclear-armed Iran could mean mushroom clouds in the Mideast within five years.

China is flexing its muscles throughout Asia, its ships brazenly confronting ours on the high seas. Russia is expanding its writ in the Arab lands and in Eastern Europe while making casual threats about bombing America. Syria’s Assad uses chemical weapons and Obama and Cameron rattle little sabers before meekly agreeing to become his partner.

The sign-language interpreter wasn’t the only fake at the Mandela funeral. Obama and Cameron were posing as world leaders.

They will never be confused with FDR and Churchill. The fratboys stand in stark contrast to the days when the “special relationship” meant two great leaders uniting two great countries in the fight for freedom. Those leaders understood the consequences if evil prevailed and were committed to victory.

(British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt carried a more somber tone during their 1945 meeting in Yalta.Photo: AP)

Churchill coined the term “special relationship” during World War II and used it again in his “Iron Curtain Speech” in 1946 that marked the unofficial start of the Cold War. Fearful the West would disarm again, as it did after World War I, he wanted to combat communism by maintaining the “special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States.”

For the rest of the article…

As Christians, we are commanded by God to pray for President Obama. Let’s us continue to do so.

Ted Dekker

“Prayer may just be the most powerful tool mankind has.”

― Ted Dekker

Rick Warren

“The more you pray, the less you’ll panic. The more you worship, the less you worry. You’ll feel more patient and less pressured.”
― Rick WarrenThe Purpose of Christmas

Prayer is our opportunity to build a passionate relationship with God, to know him well!

(Dr. Larry CrabbThe Papa Prayer, 77). 

Catholic Bishop Slams Nelson Mandela’s Legalizing Unlimited Abortion as “Shameful”

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 12/9/13 7:09 PM

A Catholic bishop in the United States is taking exception to the unrestricted praise the world is heaping on deceased South African president and civil rights leader Nelson Mandela, calling his signing a bill to legalize unlimited abortions “shameful.”

The bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, Bishop Thomas Tobin, criticized “Mandela’s “shameful promotion of abortion in South Africa.”

“Many people around the world and in our own nation are mourning the loss of former South African President Nelson Mandela,” Bishop Tobin commented in a statement. “Indeed there is much to admire in Mandela’s long life and public service, particularly his personal courage and his stalwart defense of human rights.

“There is part of President Mandela’s legacy, however, that is not at all praiseworthy, namely his shameful promotion of abortion in South Africa. In 1996 Mandela promoted and signed into law the ‘Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Bill’ that, according to the New York Times, ‘replaced one of the world’s toughest abortion laws with one of the most liberal.’”

Tobin continues: “While we pray for the peaceful repose of President Mandela’s immortal soul and the forgiveness of his sins, we can only regret that his noble defense of human dignity did not include the youngest members of our human family, unborn children.”

In their statement at the time of his death, the bishops of South Africa also pointed out that not all of Mandela’s legacy is positive.

“As with all people he made mistakes and had shortcomings — we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (cf. Romans 3:23),” wrote Archbishop Stephen Brislin, president of the country’s episcopal conference. “Thus, we commend him to the Lord and pray that he will rest in peace. May perpetual light shine on him.”

John Smeaton, of the British pro-life group SPUC, offers this documentation about Mandela’s pro-abortion views. He writes as a Catholic but the comments are instructive of all pro-lifers to praise the good things Mandela did but to keep in mind he did not respect human life before birth.

For the rest of the post…

December 2013
M T W T F S S
« Nov   Jan »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Categories

Pages

Recent Comments

Helen Williamson on Revival Can Come When Everythi…
Moses Kingsley asuer… on C.S. Lewis on Answered Pr…
Dr. Bryan E. Gallowa… on J. Edwin Orr on Prayer and…
richard on Classic Billy Graham Book (I L…
Lin Phillips on J. Edwin Orr on Prayer and…