Last Thursday was America’s annual “National Day of Prayer.” Hopefully we’re still praying for our country today. Let’s pray that we don’t turn into Great Britain.
According to a new survey, only 17 percent of adults in the U.K. believe the church has “their best interests at heart.” This “trust rating” ranks religious institutions with Google and behind supermarkets. However, young people rank Google much higher than churches, giving the search engine a trust rating of 28 percent.
Is America headed in the same direction?
LAKELAND, Fla. (BP) — Bonnie Hicks had known for years something was wrong in her marriage. At times it seemed good. At other times, although Allen was physically present, she felt he was emotionally absent. From time to time she was certain he was having an affair but she lacked proof.
In December 2010 the truth was unveiled. Allen, a youth pastor at the time, was caught in an adulterous relationship, which seemed to doom their 22-year marriage. Over time, however, the truth cleared the way for the couple to build an authentic marriage and set Allen on a new path toward freedom from a long-term sexual addiction.
LAKELAND, Fla. (BP) — “You are not alone.”
That expression of hope is often spoken by people like Allen and Bonnie Hicks, a couple now rebuilding their marriage after the brokenness caused, in large part, by Allen’s long-term sexual addiction. With the help of their church, a recovery ministry, professional counseling, the support of friends and each other and, certainly, God’s grace, Bonnie and Allen can say with authority, “You are not alone.”
When it comes to heresies and wicked perversions of the truth which distort everything, we should react as if we have been punched or stabbed in the stomach or neck. For in what does the life and well-being of the church consist, if not in the pure Word of God?
If someone came and poisoned the meat which we needed for food, would we tolerate it? No, it would make us strike out! The same reasoning applies to the gospel. We must always raise our hands to defend the purity of its doctrine, and we must not allow it to be corrupted in any way whatever.
– John Calvin
There are a dozen significant economic indicators that are warning that the U.S. economy is heading into a recession. The Dow may have soared past the 15,000 mark, but the economic fundamentals are telling an entirely different story. If historical patterns hold up, the economy is heading for a very rocky stretch. For example, the price of copper is called “Dr. Copper” by many economists because it so accurately forecasts the future direction of the U.S. economy. And so far this year the price of copper is way down. But that is not the only indicator that is worrying economists. Home renovation spending has fallen dramatically, retail spending is crashing in a way not seen since the last recession, manufacturing activity and consumer confidence are both declining, and troubling economic data continues to come pouring out of Asia and Europe. So why do U.S. stocks continue to skyrocket? Will U.S. financial markets be able to continue to be divorced from reality? Unfortunately, as we have seen so many times in the past, when stocks do catch up with reality they tend to do so very rapidly. So you better put on your seatbelts because a crash is coming at some point. (Read More….)
Public school students who’ve endured ridicule for their Christian beliefs created a newly released video, titled “The Thaw,” in which they ask, “Why can’t I pray in school? Why am I called names because I believe in marriage the way God designed it? Why can’t Tim Tebow praise God after making a touchdown without causing a national uproar?”
These questions, and many others, are posed by Christian students who’ve experienced censorship from teachers and even bullying from classmates who ostracize them for their biblical worldview on marriage and the right to life.
Multiple factors — pesticides, fungicides, parasites, viruses and malnutrition — are believed to cause the losses, which were officially announced today by a consortium of academic researchers, beekeepers and Department of Agriculture scientists.
“We’re getting closer and closer to the point where we don’t have enough bees in this country to meet pollination demands,” said entomologist Dennis vanEngelstorp of the University of Maryland, who led the survey documenting the declines.
Beekeepers lost 31 percent of their colonies in late 2012 and early 2013, roughly double what’s considered acceptable attrition through natural causes.
A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine takes a look at a host of popular American fast-food establishments to see if they’ve improved, nutritionally, in the past decade and a half. They have! Technically! Also technically: they are still way below average.
The team used the Healthy Eating Index, a tool created by the US Department of Agriculture that essentially measures how well a given diet matches up with a list of dietary guidelines, also created by the Department of Agriculture. The HEI, as it’s usually called, awards points for a diet that includes more of certain items (dark green vegetables, whole grains, seafood) and also points for less of other items (refined grains, sodium, and the vague “empty calories”). The average American diet scores in the low 50s, typically, which is, um, not good, considering that the scale is out of 100.
The HEI began in 1995, and eight key fast-food restaurants, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, KFC, and the other biggies, have HEI data starting in 1997. The study compares that score with a new score from the 2009/2010 year, and finds that over those 14 years, the scores barely rose. In 1997, those restaurants averaged a score of 45; 14 years later, they averaged 48. Still below average, and still pretty awful, despite new menu items like salads and wraps entering the menu. Maybe because those salads aren’t actually healthful at all?
Over the past two weeks, several stories have surfaced regarding the appearance of religious persecution within the United States Armed Forces. For the most part these have been false alarms, and I have addressed them here and here. While these individual incidents were often inaccurately reported, there is a pervasive sense of increased scrutiny remain for many Christian members of …
May 6 Monday – http://www.edstetzer.com/2013/05/breaking-sbc-officials-release.html
James MacDonald has a new conference planned for the Fall of 2013:
The website for this conference does not yet offer any specific details regarding the schedule of the multi-city event, but we are hopeful that the following two breakout sessions will be offered:
- “How to Build Your Own Catapult” with James MacDonald:
- “Bus Driving 101” with Mark Driscoll:
As I survey the contemporary church, one of my gravest concerns is the power and prevalence of mysticism. It appears in pulpits, books, and conversation. It is at the heart of Sarah Young’s bestselling Jesus Calling, it is in all the much-loved books by John Eldredge, it fills the pages of so many books on spiritual disciplines or spiritual formation, it is almost everywhere you look. Language that was once considered the distinguishing language of mysticism is now commonly used by Evangelicals.
Mysticism was once regarded as an alternative to Evangelical Christianity. You were Evangelical or you were a mystic, you heeded the doctrine of the Reformation and understood it to faithfully describe the doctrine laid out in Scripture or you heeded the doctrine of mysticism. Today, though, mysticism has wormed its way inside Evangelicalism so that the two have become integrated and almost inseparable. In an age of syncretism we fail to spot the contradiction and opposition.
Several years ago Donald Whitney attempted to define the boundaries of Evangelical spirituality–the boundaries of how we may rightly live out our Christian faith. His paper has been very helpful to me as I’ve thought this through.
Before we proceed, we need some definitions, and I will turn to Whitney: Evangelical theology is “the theology and practice considered orthodox by a consensus of the heirs of the Reformation.” These are the five solas of the Reformation, the divinity of Jesus Christ, the necessity of his atoning work, and so on–the core doctrines of historic Protestantism. Mysticism refers “those forms of Christian spirituality which attempt direct or unmediated access to God.” Mystics are those who expect to experience “a direct inner realization of the Divine” and an “unmediated link to an absolute.”
I want to track with Whitney as he expresses his concerns and challenges us to think carefully.
Aren’t you glad you’re not like David,
Such blazoned sin, how could he?
Aren’t you glad you’re not like Saul,
Making up his own rules, what was he thinking?
Aren’t you glad you’re not like Cain,
Violence against his own brother?
Aren’t you glad you’re not like Rebekah,
Such planned deceit?
Aren’t you glad you’re not like the Israelites,
So easily seduced by idols?
Aren’t you glad you’re not like Absalom,
How could he be so jealous?
Aren’t you glad you’re not like Elijah,
How could he forget God, be so depressed?
Aren’t you glad you’re not like Nebuchadnezzar,
How could he be so obsessed with power?
Aren’t you glad you’re not like Samson,
How could he be so easily deceived?
Aren’t you glad you’re not like Jonah,
How could he run from the Father’s call?
Aren’t you glad you’re not like the Pharisees,
So religiously right, yet spiritually wrong?
Aren’t you glad you’re not like Judas,
Selling the Messiah for a little bit of silver?
Aren’t you glad you’re not like the Corinthians,
So much better at division than at serving the Lord?
You are like them, and so am I.
There’s simply no denying it.
Their stories are a mirror into which we see ourselves.
We too are jealous and easily deceived.
We too are proud and obsessed with power.
We are better at division while we run from God.
We too get angry and get seduced by idols.
In sorrow we must say,
We stand with David,
And the rest.
These stories are for us to look into and see ourselves,
so that we aren’t able
to buy into
the lie of our own righteousness.
Run to His mercy,
Hold onto His unfailing love,
and finally rest,
In His great compassion.
Aren’t you glad you can step out of the darkness of self-deceit,
and admit who you are?
Paul David Tripp
Do you compare your sins and weaknesses to fellow believers? What’s your motivation?
Do you compare your accomplishments and strengths to fellow believers? What’s your motivation?
What should we be using instead? (HINT: James 1:22-25) Why should this be the standard?
What struggles are you unwilling to confess to others? What are you afraid of?
The Pentagon’s recent vow to punish Christian evangelism among military members, along with an activist’s assertion that such behavior is treasonous, has prompted a legal team to offer to defend any member of the armed services persecuted for expressions of faith.
Read more at http://mobile.wnd.com/2013/05/team-steps-up-to-defend-christians-in-armed-forces/