Engaging Your World

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

BENEDICT KERRY!

One of the things I harp on time and again is primary sourcing. Not taking anyone's word for something absolutely, but trying your very best to get to the original source of anything. Whether it is a quote in a book or something someone said over the airwaves. So when I heard the Senator John Kerry made a disparaging remark concerning the soldiers in Iraq I wanted to hear it myself. The beauty of the internet is that it took me all of thirty seconds to find the video. I watched as John Kerry encouraged getting a good education or else you would "end up in Iraq". To use a phrase that I find myself using over and over again, amazing.

One of the positives about the non-stop coverage of a political season is that you will find out the character of the candidates. What might be passed off as a casual remark is actually consistent with the descriptions of John Kerry the soldier. During the 20004 election critics of Kerry described him as someone with a low view of the military and our country. Those that served with Kerry, the Swift Boat Vets, called Kerry on his lack of patriotism and his opposition to our forces. They called him on how the enemy in Vietnam used Kerry to demean the US soldiers.

While Kerry denied that, here we are today hearing Sen. Kerry and his low view of the men and women of the armed forces. As he tries to spin out of this predicament, do not be deceived, his record stands for itself. He like President Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton have an elitist attitude towards the military. Those who serve according to Sen. Kerry are those who could do nothing else and were unable to achieved a real education. Contrast the real Kerry as we heard today, with the fraud who stood at the 2004 Democratic Convention, saluted and said "reporting for duty". Senator Kerry, with all due respect, you sir, should be ashamed of yourself!


blog you later
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Monday, October 30, 2006

A GOOD WARNING!

In the course of reading books blogs etc, I came across this quote at the Together for the Gospel blog http://blog.togetherforthegospel.org/. Lig Duncan uses it as his post, though it is not his quote. Here it is:

"Consider what happens to a church that is always trying to appeal to an increasingly post-Christian culture. Almost inevitably, the church itself becomes post- Christian. This is what happened to the liberal church during the twentieth century, and it is what is happening to the evangelical church right now. As James Montgomery Boice has argued, evangelicals are accepting the world's wisdom, embracing the world's theology, adopting the world's agenda, and employing the world's methods. In theology a revision of evangelical doctrine is now underway that seeks to bring Christianity more in line with postmodern thought. The obvious difficulty is that in a post-Christian culture, a church that tries too hard to be relevant may in the process lose its very identity as the church. Rather than confronting the world the church gets co-opted by. It no longer stands a city on a hill, but sinks to the level of the surrounding culture."
Philip Graham Ryken, City on a Hill: Reclaiming the Biblical Pattern for the Church in the 21st Century (Moody Press, 2003), 22.

Maybe no greater warning for the Church of our day. May we, by the grace of God keep our doctrinal integrity as we seek to be salt and light to a lost and dying world!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Friday, October 27, 2006

TRUTH UNVEILED!

Once again we begin from the wires, and this time it concerns a leading Muslim cleric;

"A Muslim cleric claim that women who do not wear the veil are like 'uncovered meat' who attract sexual predators sparked outrage around Australia yesterday.
Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, the nation's most senior Muslim cleric, compared immodestly-dressed women who do not wear the Islamic headdress with meat that is left uncovered in the street and is then eaten by cats"

And what he means is that it is a woman's fault if she is attacked and she did not have here veil on. Consider what he thinks about men. Instead of likening women to animals, he actually indirectly describes men as wild animals that are unable to control themselves in the presence of a woman who is not covered in a veil! This is the leading Muslim cleric in Australia, the most senior, which means he knows his belief system. A sad but true picture of how women in the Muslim tradition are demeaned and truly made slaves of religion. The only good news for these women is that Jesus Christ can free them from the slavery that is the Muslim religion. Through Christ they can truly know the love of God. That is not just true for Muslim women it is true for every sinner regardless of faith who would receive Jesus Christ as the forgiver of their sins and the owner of their life!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Thursday, October 26, 2006

ONCE AGAIN, HERE COMES THE JUDGE!

In Vermont like style, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided by a 4-3 margin to make the state legislature decide within one hundred eighty days whether they will approve gay marriage or come up with something like civil unions. Some have said that this was the best you could hope for coming out of a state that wanted to force the Boy Scouts to accept gay leaders. I would differ, there is nothing positive about this. What was missing in this ruling was the one option that actually matters, allowing the people to vote on it for themselves. Once again we have an activist judiciary who believe that they should be creating law and setting the pace of culture instead of simply interpreting law. Understand, by one person, by one vote New Jersey will change forever.

We are moving far away from a country that represents the will of the people and the gay marriage issue is a great example. Not one state in the union that has been allowed to vote on the issue has passed gay marriage. To a state, the people have said no, we do not want gay marriage in our state. And you can be sure that would be fifty out of fifty were the people truly allowed to vote. But this is quickly becoming a very different country with very different rules, and that might demand very different measures. But for now it is important to make your vote count and support those candidates both local and national that still support the fundamentals that this great nation was founded on.

It is in times like these where our greatest comfort is the Sovereignty of God. We know that He ultimately is in control and all things will work out for His glory and the good of His people. The best and most definite answer to all of this would be for people who are trapped in the pain and suffering of the homosexual lifestyle to come to know the love of God through His Son, Jesus Christ. That is a change that even the Supreme Courts of New Jersey and Massachusetts cannot override!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

TRUTH? NOT NECESSARY, IT IS POLITICS!

With the national elections two weeks away, the ad wars have begun in earnest. The one thing that seems to never be at a premium during this time of the political season is truth. For example, Michael J. Fox is appearing in ads for the Democratic Candidate for Senate in Missouri. He is pitching Stem Cell Research. The point of his ad is that his candidate is for saving millions of Americans lives while the Republican candidate is not. There are so many facts missing from this ad it is laughable. First and foremost there is no research that says Embryonic Stem Cell works, while there is ample evidence that Adult Stem Cell works. But those in favor of killing life in the name of life do not seem to ever let the facts get in the way. And even if there were proof that Embryonic Stem Cell worked, would that make it permissible to take a life in order to have a cure for a disease? What the passing of Embryonic Stem Cell will do is what these things always do, prey on women.

Lower Class women will be paid for their eggs and will submit themselves to very difficult and dangerous surgeries for money. There will be the real risk of women dying in these surgeries as some historically have. This is junk science led by ideologist's who want nothing more than to pad their bank accounts and use people like Michael J. Fox as their foils. This is why we need to be a people of the truth. Not being satisfied with the headlines and the sound bites, but doing our own research to understand the issues of our day. And this one is easy, it takes very little time to find the data that evidences the benefit of Adult Stem Cell, and it also takes very little time to realize that Embryonic Stem Cell research is smoke and mirrors.

On another note, isn't Michael J. Fox a Canadian? And if he is, is the left so desperate that they could not find an American, or is it that they simply wanted to use Fox to showcase his illness?

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Monday, October 23, 2006

DON'T SHOOT THE COACH!

Today we start with this from the wires;

PHILADELPHIA — "A father pulled a gun on a youth football coach because his son wasn't getting enough playing time, police said.

Wayne Derkotch, 40, was arguing with the coach Sunday morning during a game of 6- and 7-year-olds in northeast Philadelphia when he pulled out the gun, police said."

Certainly this is over the top behavior from a parent, but how far from that are the rest of us? What are we teaching our children about the importance of things like sports, playing time, or their rights? What do our children learn when they come home with bad grades and we go right to the ,"it must be the teacher's fault" line? What do our children learn when we automatically take their side when it becomes a difference in their story and an adult's?

What our children learn is that they are the center of the world. They learn they are to get what they want when they want, and that makes for children who do not respect any authority, including their parents. It also produces adults who cannot deal with the disappointments of life, and end up bouncing from job to job and even marriage to marriage. While it may seem like an extreme example, the father who pulls the gun on the coach, is not that much different from the parent who makes their child the center of the universe.

We would be much better off to train our children to be God centered. To say no from time to time, and teach them respect for authority. Our children would grow up and be much more productive and Godly if we were to allow them an occasional mistreatment, or to experience unfairness every now and then. Those are the teachable moments that are missed when we are busy making sure our child does not suffer any injustice. Instead we could talk to them about Jesus and how He did not come to be served but to serve and give His life a ransom for many. We could speak about what it means to carry our cross daily and die to self. While I am sure none of the readers of this blog need to be reminded to not pull a gun on your child's coach, it might be good to be reminded to be careful not to make our kids the center of the universe. It might be good to be reminded to not elevate our children above God, thus making them idols!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Friday, October 20, 2006

HISTORY OR REVISION?

Revisionist History is one of the most dangerous weapons that can be used to move people in their thinking. For example the following is being reported today about a show that is to be shown this month in the Middle East, from the wires;

"Jews have no historical connection to the Western Wall, which is actually the "Al-Buraq Wall," is part of the Al Aqsa Mosque and served as a tying post for Muhammad's horse, according to messages broadcast this month on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' state-run television. "

The existence of the Jewish Temple is obvious and supported by irrefutable historical and archeological evidence, but that does not stop revisionist historians. The drumbeat from the Muslim world has always been to deny the existence of the Temple, while some will even deny the existence of Israel! The danger with such propaganda and revision is that time gives credibility to the lie. As years go by and the same lie is told over and over it begins to become legitimate, ever hear of the "big lie"?

So while you and I can see through the absurdity of the denial of the Temples existence, millions of Muslims cannot, and in fact believe the revisionist history that is fed them. An even more striking example is the President of Iran's contention that the Holocuast never happened. Again we know that is lunacy on display, but millions of school children are being taught that history, and will grow up believing the Holocuast was a hoax. When people are able to rewrite history for their own agenda they have taken the place of God, and it is never a good thing when totally depraved sinners aspire to be God. It did not work for Satan nor will it work for those who follow in his path!

blog youlater,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN!

If history teaches us anything it is that the more things change the more they stay the same. This is what I was reminded of today while talking to author, speaker, and professor Michael Haykin. He spoke of the individualism that is prevalent in the church today and the dangers it brings. One of the great points he made was that this is not new, in fact you can look to the 1800's and see the beginning of what we see today. An interesting observation he made was that you also see many of the false religions we have to deal with today having their genesis in that same time frame. Periods of individualism lead to a questioning of everything including the Church and it place or need. Also at stake in these times is truth. Individualists will question truth and see truth as subjective to the individual and certainly not absolute.

Enter the emergent church movement. This is the manifestation of individualism we see today. A movement that has at its core the devaluing of Scripture as authoritative and a valuing of relationships above and over Scripture. As we have seen in history new religions begin from such things, and as Michael put it today, in twenty or thirty years we will see the emergent church movement morphing into classic liberalism. It matters that we maintain a jealous faithfulness to the Word of God , as without that we too will fall down the slippery slope to liberal theology. And that matters supremely as what will be lost then is the integrity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So as we look ahead to the future of the Church, let us look back and understand the pitfalls and dangers of those who went before us. That will better enable us to minister to those who are all about "the story" and "the conversation". There will be a great need to give truth to those who have heard many "stories" and had a lot of "conversations", but are bound for the fury of Hell. And though some of them would question the existence of Hell , history also tells us that this is not new either!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A BILL FINALLY SIGNED!

Today President Bush signed a bill into law that will have far reaching ramifications, from the wires:

"The law protects detainees from blatant abuses during questioning - such as rape, torture and "cruel and inhuman" treatment - but does not require that any of them be granted legal counsel. Also, it specifically bars detainees from filing habeas corpus petitions challenging their detentions in federal courts. Bush said the process is "fair, lawful and necessary."

While giving prisoners of war and suspected terrorists basic human rights, this law gives interrogators the ability to gain vital information that could protect your family. The question becomes, is this a good law? Is it right to sacrifice the few to protect the masses? Or to put it simply, if your child was in the hands of terrorists and the government had captured someone who was involved and could get your child back, where would you want the line drawn? At what point would you say this is beyond humane in getting answers that would save your child's life, or would there be any line?

These are the tough questions that are considered and dealt with by our President and those in power. It can be easy for us to sit on the sidelines and pontificate about what would be a better way to do things, but the reality is that these are hard issues. I applaud our President for doing what he believes is best to protect our country. Say what you will about him, and disagree with him where you will, as I do on a number of issues, but you have to give him credit here. President Bush consistently acts in what he believes is the best interests for the safety of our kids and grandkids, and for that we should all be thankful!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Monday, October 16, 2006

MORE FROM THE "RELIGION OF PEACE!"

In Australia last week there was a brutal murder. Neighbors could hear the blood curdling screams as a husband stabbed his wife to death. What could drive a man to do that to his wife? His seventeen year old daughter converting to Christianity! That is correct, this is the motivation for the murder. In Muslim faith if something goes wrong in the family it is taken out on the mother. So when this girl came home to announce she had embraced Christianity, her father murdered her mother for it. It is also a tenet of the Muslim faith that if someone leaves the faith they are to be killed. While some in the public arena would want to deny the reality of that for obvious reasons, it happens all of the time. In the same news cycle there were reports of a fifteen year old Egyptian girl who escaped from those who had kidnapped her. The story is reported that the kidnappers threatened to rape and beat her if she did not convert to the Muslim faith.

The good news in all of this is that Muslims are reportedly coming to faith in Christ in record numbers. The best thing to tell someone in that belief system is that they can be loved by God through Jesus Christ. They are not taught that nor do they believe that God could ever love them for sure. We have the good news that will change their lives forever and stop these wretched acts of depravity. The question becomes, will we share this good news?

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Saturday, October 14, 2006

READ "THINK WORM"

There might not be a greater need for people than to think. There is a devastating lack of thinking in the world today. Tragically, people have become headline readers and soundbite listeners who have not a clue how to primary source anything. The more problematic issue is that this is true in the Church. The Church has become a place of weak or absent theological depth. Believers in Christ ebb and flow with their favorite authors latest release, not bothering to think critically. This has spawned many weak if not heretical movements all in the name of Jesus. In the years to come I believe we will see the wreckage of such "movements" of God.

All of this is good reason to read important works, including blogs. With this blog I try to inform and challenge people to think, and I am happy to recommend another blog that a friend of mine has started. It is called "Think Worm" and can be accessed at http://hollandsopus.blogspot.com/. Pat Lacaire is the author, and he is a good critical thinker that will help us all to think. Although I read and appreciate many blogs, I have never recommended any, but this will be the first. I want to encourage the many, and growing audience of this blog to give Pats blog a look, you will be glad you did.

blog you later,
pastor tom

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

INTERESTING TIMES!

Yesterday I was interviewed on the XXX Church podcast. This is the same group that I had on my radio show, where they characterized the interview I conducted as "beating up JR", who was the guest. While that was never my intention, it was taken that way due to my characterization of their being in porn conventions with a booth to hand out Bibles as a "foolish method". I was glad for the opportunity to go on their show and deal with their questions and concerns. If you have followed this at all , I want to encourage you to go to their website xxxchurch.com or their podcast and listen to the interview. I think the interview speaks for itself and reveals all that needs to be shown so I will not comment any further on it.

What is intriguing to me is the whole discussion of, if there is ever a line to be drawn when trying to reach people with the Gospel. Do the ends justify the means? Or is there a need for wisdom and discernment as we seek to share Christ with others? These are good questions for us to wrestle with as we seek to live for the Glory of God whatever we do, according to the Scriptural mandate of 1 Corinthians 10:31!
blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"WE HAD ABORTIONS AND ARE PROUD OF IT?"

Today is the day that the new edition of Ms. magazine comes out. The cover story is about women who have had abortions. But it is not the story you would expect. It is not about the tragedy that is womens lives post abortion, as they struggle with the emotional trauma that abortion brings. It is not about the horror of the procedure, nor is it about the numerous times women are mis-informed and led to the abortion rooms unaware. No, this article takes a different look at abortion, from the view of those who are proud of and celebrate their abortions! It is the "We had Abortions" campaign, designed by the publishers of Ms. magazine to promote abortion. This is no random act. In fact it is, in my opinion, an intentional marketing effort designed to win hearts and minds, as we head into a new Supreme Court session that will deal with abortion on a number of fronts.

The problem with the article and more specifically the survey of women is that they did not include the many women who weighed in on the other side of abortion. From the wires;

"Women affiliated with the post-abortion organizations Silent No More and Operation Outcry submitted their names and comments to the Ms. petition effort but were either ignored or rejected.
Georgette Forney, cofounder of Silent No More, told LifeNews.com that members of the organization sought to be included in the “We had abortions” campaign, but “the magazine did not even extend the courtesy of a response.”

Another blatant example of propaganda being given to the public, but this propaganda is of the most serious kind. This propaganda is not simply looking to get you to buy a certain product or vote for a certain candidate, this propaganda is designed to get you to agree with and consent to murder!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Saturday, October 07, 2006

NO GREATER LOVE!

They do not irrigate their fields, they simply plant and wait for God to bring the rain. They do not believe in the modern conveniences of the world. They are a people of forgiveness and incredible faith. I have left the last post up for a few days due to the worthiness of the subject, and as a tribute to the Amish people who in spite of some other errors, display an incredible example of Christ. I write today only because something has been found out that reaches the same level.

Marian Fisher was in that schoolhouse that day. At thirteen she was of the oldest of the group and according to others in that schoolhouse who survived, Marian spoke to her captor these words, 'Shoot me first'! Her desire was to sacrifice her life for the others there, hoping her death would save the others. No greater love shown than a young girl lay down her life for her friends. So powerful were the examples of Marian and then her twelve year old asking to be shot first, the captor is reported to at one point have asked the girls to pray for him.

What did he see that brought him to request prayer in such a horrific situation? Through those young girls he saw Christ at work, laying His life down and bringing those girls home!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

NO GREATER LOVE!

They do not irrigate their fields, they simply plant and wait for God to bring the rain. They do not believe in the modern conveniences of the world. They are a people of forgiveness and incredible faith. I have left the last post up for a few days due to the worthiness of the subject, and as a tribute to the Amish people who in spite of some other errors, display an incredible example of Christ. I write today only because something has been found out that reaches the same level.

Marian Fisher was in that schoolhouse that day. At thirteen she was of the oldest of the group and according to others in that schoolhouse who survived, Marian spoke to her captor these words, 'Shoot me first'! Her desire was to sacrifice her life for the others there, hoping her death would save the others. No greater love shown than a young girl lay down her life for her friends. So powerful were the examples of Marian and then her twelve year old asking to be shot first, the captor is reported to at one point have asked the girls to pray for him.

What did he see that brought him to request prayer in such a horrific situation? Through those young girls he saw Christ at work, laying His life down and bringing those girls home!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

AMAZING GRACE!

"We think it was God's plan and we're going to have to pick up the pieces and keep going. A funeral to us is a much more important thing than the day of birth because we believe in the hereafter. The children are better off than their survivors."

These amazing words come from someone from within the Amish community that is dealing with the tragedy that has visited them. This is a group that is displaying forgiveness in Christ-like fashion. While we pray for all the families involved, let us also pray that people are drawn to the Lord Jesus Christ through all of this. May the world see the incredible depth of the depravity of man, overpowered by the power of the forgiveness that only Christ can give!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A FEW THOUGHTS FOR YOU!

It is good from time to time to be reminded that when we are weak He is strong, His mercies are new everyday, He will never leave us or forsake us, we are not condemned because of Him, He is our Abba Father and we His children. Just some thoughts to carry you through the day!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Monday, October 02, 2006

NO, REALLY, ITS A RELIGION OF PEACE!!

French philosophy teacher Robert Redeker had an article published in the leading French newspaper where he wrote an attack on Islam on Sept. 19, in which he called the Koran "a book of incredible violence" and Islam's prophet Muhammad "a merciless warlord, a looter, a butcher of Jews and a polygamist." Islam, Mr. Redeker said, "exalts violence and hate." He felt the need to give his thoughts on Islam based on his research. The real news is not the writing or publishing of the article, but rather the fact that now Mr. Redeker has had to go underground, due to threats to his life. He moves from safehouse to safehouse under police protection. This is another among too many examples of the reality that is Islam today. You cannot disagree, criticize or even quote historical sources, if it is going to go against Islam or Mohammed.

It seems that we have just accepted that this is the way that it is. It seems that we accept that if Islam is offended some of their followers will take to violence. You rarely hear of any repercussions on those who create the violence. And it does not matter if it is a French philosopher or the Pope, whomever criticizes Islam, better put, whomever states the facts of Islam, they are at risk. If this is a religion of peace, I would hate to see a religion of violence!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com