Engaging Your World

Friday, March 30, 2007

COME ON JOHN!


At what point do we hold people responsible to back up what they say? As followers of Christ we do our best to represent our Savior well. The life lived is as important as the message given. If there is a disconnect then the witness is damaged. This is true for everyone and every cause. I would never be the one to advocate doing away with aspartame, as my Diet Coke intake would betray my message, and people would call me on it. I wonder these days if the only group that can say one thing and do another without consequence is the Global Warming crowd? We know that Al Gore has been shown to be a major user and abuser of energy with his lifestyle and that seems to be OK with everyone. The Godfather of the movement gets a pass.

Now we have John Travolta in Britain promoting his movie "Wild Hogs". While there he felt the need to expound beyond the limits of the movie and entertainment as all celebrities seem want to do these days. He said this about Global Warming;

"It [global warming] is a very valid issue," Travolta declared. "I'm wondering if we need to think about other planets and dome cities. Everyone can do their bit. But I don't know if it's not too late already. We have to think about alternative methods of fuel."

He then gave the requisite qualifier for his being a pilot, admitting he flew planes. He failed to mention that he actually owns five and has his own private runway. He has "clocked up at least 30,000 flying miles in the past 12 months means he has produced an estimated 800 tons of carbon emissions – nearly 100 times the average Briton's tally." This means that, over the past 12 months, he has accumulated around 800 tonnes of carbon emissions. There is more;

"According to a recent study by the government-funded Carbon Trust, this means he boasts a carbon "footprint" nearly 100 times that of the average Briton, who is responsible for 10.92 tons of Co2, from his flights alone.
One of the world's leading climate change businesses, the Carbon Neutral Company, has written to Travolta, suggesting ways he could reduce these alarming levels."

Now I do not care if he flies every hour of every day, that is his prerogative. But he should not be out on the stump lecturing people on Global Warming, nor should he even be answering questions the way he does. His lifestyle betrays his lips, but that is not unusual when Hollywood begins to try to weigh in on the issues of the day. Particularly as it relates to Global Warming. Although I do have a title for a movie Mr. Travolta could star in, "Global Warming Fiction", the title says it all as does this blogs picture of his home!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Thursday, March 29, 2007

FAITH VS. WORK


There is an interesting article in today's Washingtom Times titled, "When can clerks refuse to serve, citing religion?", written by Jen Haberkorn. In the article she deals with the growing issue of people refusing to perform parts of their job, due to religious conviction. From Muslims who will not scan pork in grocery stores, or pick up clients in their taxis if they have alcohol, to a Christian who refuses to give out contraceptives or morning after drugs. While there are certainly some stands people make that do not appear to have much thought or common sense behind them, there is a principle here worth considering.

At what point does someone draw the line at their workplace? When is the thing that you are asked to do beyond what your faith can bare? I would advocate that it is in these areas we need to tread carefully and biblically. Otherwise we will look like kooks and lose all credibility with our witness. While I am a firm believer in the idea of personal conviction, there must be a good Scriptural hermeneutic behind the conviction or it will be shown for what it really is, the behavior of a pharisee. Having said that, there are certainly time when we all must say , here I stand and I will move no further!

The other noteworthy part of the article is a passing comment from the author about the Puritans. They are the ones that closed stores on Sundays, in order to promote a wonderful Sabbath. I will not try to pretend that I do not like a store being open for me to get a paper and a Diet Coke, but there is something for us to take from the Puritan view of the day of rest. We all would do well to heed that day far better than most of us probably do!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

THE BIBLE, AS DISCUSSED ON THE VIEW?


I confess that I have never watched the View.( am I culturally irrelevant?) But there was a discussion about the Bible on the show that I read from News Busters. It is lengthy but it is worth reading to see who it is the world views the Word of God. So here it is:

ROSIE O’DONNELL: We are back and we were reading in the paper today, there is an interesting article about should Bible, the Bible be taught in school? Yeah and it's an interesting discussion. Of course, in the country we have separation of church and state. So in public school I would probably say no, because, you know, we have a separation of church and state.

JOY BEHAR: That's why we have religious schools.

BARBARA WALTERS: But the example- when I first read the headline, I thought no. But then it said that it was, I think, an optional course. And I thought I wish I'd taken it. I mean, I know nothing about the Bible, and I think most people don’t. And I think if it's an optional course, especially if it's in high school, then I think that's fine. It's one more thing that you're learning. It's not necessarily imposing a particular religion.

ELISABETH HASSELBECK: What if it's the part of like a larger study of, you know, different books?

BEHAR: The Koran.

HASSELBECK: If you did your own objective study.

WALTERS: If you do comparative religion and you have the Bible and the Koran.

HASSELBECK: Maybe.

BEHAR: Well, I think you should, you have to teach the Bible as, you can't teach it as nonfiction. You have to teach it as fiction in many ways. Because it was written. It’s written in stories.

WALTERS: Many people disagree with you. I mean people, many people believe, many people Evangelicals and, and Orthodox Jews believe that what is in the Torah, many believe was written by God and that this is not fiction. So, I mean, that's very disputable depending upon your religious beliefs.

BEHAR: I read the Bible as a kid because I was Catholic, we read the missal.

WALTERS: There are people live their lives following every word of the Bible.

BEHAR: I know, but do people really believe that Noah actually had that boat with those animals?

WALTERS: Yes.

[audience laughter]

HASSELBECK: Yes and, I mean, just from a literary stand point alone this is-

BEHAR: Yeah, literally?

O’DONNELL: Yes.

HASSELBECK: But hang on. Wait a minute. Listen to me.

BEHAR: It's a wonderful animal story about a nice man who brought the animals. Who did the pooper scooping, I don't know, but besides that it’s a great story. Why does it have to be exactly? It’s metaphorical.

HASSELBECK: Just from the literary standpoint alone. I mean, this is the best-selling book of all time, probably the most influential. If it were "The Secret"-

O’DONNELL: Bigger than "The Secret."

HASSELBECK: Yes exactly. Now they want to put this into high school studies. I'm sure people are talking about every other best-seller and those make their way into the curriculum. This would be something that probably warrants it just based on a literary perspective.

BEHAR: Well then in a literature course maybe. In college it should be taught. I don't think that it should be taught in high schools as truth.

WALTERS: But Joy, that's your opinion. To many people, everything- the virgin birth, I mean, it is faith and what is in the Bible, there are many, many people in our soci- who believe, who live their lives because it is in the Bible. You don’t happen to agree.

BEHAR: I understand that. But if I'm a Muslim, I don’t happen to believe in the virgin birth. I'm not a Muslim. But if I were. So I take the position of a Muslim right now. I don't want my kids learning –

HASSELBECK: Even if you’re a Muslim though. Don’t you want the information?

WALTERS: They don't have to. It is optional.

HASSELBECK: If you wanted to argue against the Bible on any, on any plane, wouldn't you want as much information on what you're arguing against? I think this could actually enable people into a very intellectual conversation.

BEHAR: But what I’m saying is teach it in a literature class, not a religion class, that's all.

HASSELBECK: You were a teacher right? So what if it were in the curriculum to teach the Bible and you feel as you do now? How would you handle that?

BEHAR: I would teach it as interesting stories that people wrote over many years and we can learn many morals. Some of it are incorrect. Some might be correct.

HASSELBECK: So I think the problem in terms of teaching the Bible-

WALTERS: We are still having problems --

BEHAR: Onanism's in the Bible. People masturbate anyway. [laughter] That's Onanism. That was something in the Bible. So what?

[applause]

HASSELBECK: Look at the faces out there.

O’DONNELL: Joy, I've just got to say, I’ve just got to say, that was just like my mother-in-law. You can be talking about one thing and out of nowhere -- I don't think the Bible should be in it because people masturbate. What the Hell?

BEHAR: Because if you listen to what I said, and the reason I got an applause, is because the audience understood me. I got an applause.

WALTERS: Because you were funny.

HASSELBECK: Half of them applauded and half of them passed out.

O’DONNELL: Say one thing and I have a give away, go.

WALTERS: One of the biggest discussions today in the 21st century is whether evolution is real and exists or does not and that everything was planned in seven days by God. At this point, it is still one of the most divisive subjects in this country.

O’DONNELL: And I have been studying the Old Testament for four years once a week in private study, just so you know. I have because I didn’t know anything about it. Again, Catholic, you just read the missalette.

HASSELBECK: I’m impressed you’re reading more than I am.

O’DONNELL: I know, and I could probably go on "Jeopardy" and beat you in the Bible column.

Sad but true.
Unless God opens the eyes and ears, they remain blind and deaf. Unfortunately too often the blind are leading the blind!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

WHO DOES HE REALLY HATE?


Once again bill H.R. 1592, from Rep. John Conyers has been introduced, the "Hate Crimes Bill". On the surface that sounds good, or does it? Upon review you will find this is a kill free speech bill that is weighted towards favoring and propagating the homosexual movement. Some snippets from the bill that you might be interested in come from the section that deals with hate groups. "Homophobia" is one of the things the bill calls for to spot a hate group, I quote;

"include apocalyptic Christianity in their ideology and believe we are in, or approaching, a period of violence and social turmoil which will precede the Second Coming of Christ"

Any person who believes that things will get worse, culminating in an Armageddon type battle, is a suspect under this bill. Under federal funding this type of person becomes a suspect and could be targeted. This will give us a country where people who stand on sidewalks to witness or hand out tracs will be arrested under hate crimes law while real criminals run rampant. The mindset is maddening. When Janet Folger of Faith2Action appeared on the Today show to discuss the Matthew Shepard murders the host told Folger that she was responsible for the murder because she held to a biblical view of homosexuality. While that is ridiculous on a number of fronts, it is the reality we all will face should this legislation ever become law. (I will fight the urge to go into the fact that Shepard's murderers confessed to killing him for drugs and not sexual identity)

What you and I can do is to contact our Reps and let them know our opposition to this bill. While in my state that will be as Luther told one of his colleagues, "like trying to add water to the ocean by spitting in it", it is still our duty to weigh in for His glory!!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Monday, March 26, 2007

HOW TO MAKE A SOLDIER REAL ANGRY!!


Here is a story that will illustrate how wrong some people can be;

"Enrique Rios, a Cholla High Magnet School graduate, is overseas with the 82nd Airborne Division of Fort Bragg, N.C. His wife and children are living in Tucson with his parents while he's at war. The couple has an 11-year-old daughter, Khalina Polanco, and an 8-year old son, Andres Rios, attending the charter school, and a 2-year-old boy at home."

Rios has been fighting for our country in Iraq for the last eight months and he is soon coming home for a visit with his family. His wife wrote to their children's school asking for makeup work as she was going to keep her children home for the week to visit with their father. Lee Griffin, principal and founder of Children Reaching for the Sky, informed the mom that the absences would not be excused and that her children would receive zeros for their missed work. The good news is the principal is reportedly rethinking his position. The bad news is that he would react in such a way that he would need to rethink it at all.

But could there be something else going on here? Is this the fallout from the liberal left anti-American drumbeat that comes from the campuses of our colleges? Consider for a moment my hypothesis. If for the last few decades colleges have been cess pools of liberal propaganda, would they produce anything but people who think like this principal? If kids at college are being indoctrinated with anti-American, anti-military peace at all costs rhetoric, then we can be sure that our society will eventually have people in prominent positions whose instinct is to act and decide in ways contrary to the values of our country. I could be very wrong about this one principal, but I know that in the years to come decisions like the one he is rethinking will be the norm.

How sad that a man serving, putting his life on the line in Iraq has to fight another war on the home front. How sad that a hero in the field has to fight for his children's right to see their dad for a very short week and not be penalized by their school. While it is sad, it is the wave of the future until or unless there is an educational reformation on the campuses of our colleges in America!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Friday, March 23, 2007

STILL RUNNING, BLOGGERS BEWARE!


Something interesting and instructive happened yesterday. Politico blogger Ben Smith was first yesterday to announce that John Edwards was suspending his campaign for President. The word spread as Matt Drudge put it at the top of his page with his familiar flashing light. Reuters followed by pushing a story about it over the wire. On TV it became "Breaking News." And then John Edwards came out with his wife to announce that her cancer was back and that he WOULD BE CONTINUING HIS RUN FOR THE WHITE HOUSE! Ben Smith had gotten it wrong which certainly reporters do from time to time, but this highlights the danger that is blogging and bloggers.

Today anyone who wants to be a reporter can become one simply by creating their own blog. While that happens every day and there are countless bloggers entering the blogosphere, for some a lack of integrity comes along as well. If you are going to blog there are some things that should be a part of what you do with each blog. There should be as much primary research as possible. By that I mean that you should not simply read someones blog and write off of their research. You should do your very best to go to the original source. If that cannot happen then there should at least be an extensive system of cross referencing sources. And for sure if you are unsure of something it should not go on the Internet.

It is amazing how many people read blogs. I am amazed and humbled by the many that read my little blog. In fact I am trying to get a handle on that, so if you do read the blog, do me a favor and email me at im4jesus4@juno.com and simply say something like I read it. But if only one person reads it, it is necessary to be as accurate as possible. Lives are affected by what is written about them and this is a great example of getting it wrong big time. It is a great reminder to all of us who blog to take this craft seriously and be responsible with it.

On a personal note we certainly wish Mrs. Edwards the best in her battle with cancer. Our prayers go out to her and her family. I pray that all of you will remember them as you pray.

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Thursday, March 22, 2007

WANT TO SEE THE BABIES PICTURE? IF YOU ARE GOING TO KILL IT IN SOUTH CAROLINA, YOU HAVE TO!!!



Good news from the wires;

"COLUMBIA, S.C. (BP)--The South Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill March 21 that would require women seeking an abortion to view an ultrasound image of their unborn baby, and, pro-lifers say, could lead many of those same women to continue the pregnancy."

This is wisdom in the cultural war. It is fighting smart, which is not always easy to maintain. It can become very tempting to not think through things and simply go in guns blasting, but this has not been the case, fortunately, in South Carolina. No one would debate the reality that when an abortion minded mom (intentional use of the term) shows up desiring to end her pregnancy, the ultrasound is a life saver, literally. Far fewer abortions are performed when the results of the ultrasound are seen. It is common sense that if you show the woman the picture of that "thing" in her stomach and are able to point out that it is actually a child, they will reconsider. Most of them must reconsider as they are not believing they are about to kill their living child. When that point can be made via the ultrasound , that child's chances of living just went up dramatically.

Kudos to the wise pols in South Carolina. Now it will be interesting to see if other states begin to follow suit. While without a doubt this will be challenged in court, who can be against someone simply being made to take a quick look at the child they are about to kill?

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

NEEDED, ONE MORE REFORMATION!


Today on my radio show I interviewed Dr. Stephen Nichols, who has written a very user friendly book on the Reformation. In the interview we discussed the power that was the Reformation and some of the key as well as lesser known figures of this movement of God. How it is that God brought His Church back to His Word. It was a very rewarding interview for one that loves the history of the Church, as I do. I would highly recommend the website for the book, www.monkandamallet.com.

A portion of the discussion on the air today was about the lack of knowledge of history in general and of the church in particular. A society that ignores history is destined to repeat it. A church that ignores history is destined to wander and stray. We have a rich history of God working through His people to effect His glory throughout the world. It is a history of the good the bad and the ugly. We have a church history full of warts and foibles and that is the beauty of the Church. The beauty of the Church is that God works wonderfully through it and it is full of weak and fallible sinners. This is why He works through the Church, so that when anything good and glorifying comes from it, all who see know it is to Gods glory and credit, as apart from Him nothing good could come from such a group.

Ours is history full of great writings, wonderful books, rich traditions that all point to Him. To piggy back on yesterdays blog, as you encourage and train you children to read, be sure to have a regular portion of historical writings from the Church. All of us have at our disposal the wonderful Word of God, and in His sovereign kindness He has gifted His people to create and leave behind, writings and songs that fill the soul. Do not be shortchanged, learn of the history of the Church. Read great books that challenge your mind. There is no better time for such activity as it would seem to me we are in need of and about due for another Reformation!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Monday, March 19, 2007

READING, ON THE ENDANGERED LIST!


There are striking results being reported from a study by the State Education Agency, "a quasi-governmental office created by the U.S Department of Education to distribute federal funds for literacy services, was ordered by Mayor Anthony A. Williams in 2003 as part of his four-year, $4 million adult literacy initiative". The study finds that about one third of the people living in the nations capital are functionally illiterate. "Adults are considered functionally illiterate if they have trouble doing such things as comprehending bus schedules, reading maps and filling out job applications." This is an amazing statistic and just as amazing and troubling is, the national rate of illiteracy, which is one fifth of the population. So what happens to a society that does not read any longer? It is the beginning of the end. There will an incredible division of the classes and the literate will rule over the illiterate. There might not be a worse sign for country.

The answer to this problem lies with parents, you, mom and dad, making sure your children become readers. While we cannot change a nations problem, we can be sure to equip our children to be able to function and thrive regardless of conditions. Reading is the key that opens up that door. It is worth the energy it will take to train your children to read, regardless of their age.

This problem does not even begin to take into consideration the spiritual damage that happens when people do not read. That is an excuse and rationalization people will use time and time again for not feasting on the Word of God, to the detriment of their souls. There is a lot at stake and much to be gained here and eternally by raising up a generation of readers. You might not get the generation, but you can get your children to develop into solid, mature literate readers, to the Glory of God!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Friday, March 16, 2007

FROM THE LIGONIER CONFERENCE

Here is the summary of two of the most important messages I heard this morning. First John Piper, who in my mind is the Edawards of our day. He dealt with the issue of relativism and truth. He made the outstanding point that those professors who teach teach relativism to their students are hypocrites when they go home. The example he gave was one of a prof going home and saying to his wife "lets sleep together tonight". Piper made the case that the professor not only had a definite meaning to the statement , but that he also would expect his wife to understand the meaning, and he would even get mad if she did not get the meaning of that statement! He also did a great job with the passage in Matthew 21:23-27, where he made the point that the chief priests and pharisees would not answer Jesus question concerning Johns baptism because they did not want to be ashamed by the hypocrisy that would be pointed out if they said from Heaven, nor did they want to have physical harm come to them should they answer from man. So they answered that the truth was that they did not know the truth, an incredible likeness to the post modern of our day, particularly the Emergent church. The truth is we do not know the truth. Piper pointed out that Jesus would not even speak to them, as their answer was an abomination to Him, and then he asked, who would Jesus talk to today? It was a most powerful handling of the problem of those who would want to keep "asking questions" in order to be "authentic". Piper also said that those who are advocating this movement like to cloak themselves in humilitiy and even dress that way. But as he stated they are anything but humble in fact they are full of pride seeking to be the determiners of their own lives.

John MacArthur, first was speaking about the Bible and science, a message that displayed the glorious truth that what has been and is being discovered by science has been written in the Word of God long before the discoveries. He did a magnificent job os discussing irreducible complexity and showing how things were needed to be made instantaneous! But the second message he gave was on the problem of evil. He did not pull any punches in discussing those in the evangelical world who would feel the need to apologize for God or create a new God so to avoid the question of evil. His thesis was the Word shows us that God willed evil while not being evil Himself and it was and is willed to and for His glory!

Great stuff, wish you all could be hear to hear, but you can get the messages at a variety of places, and thus far they all are worthy of your time and financial investment!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Thursday, March 15, 2007

NO PARENTS ALLOWED!

I hate to keep beating the drum and having to be the bearer of bad news but here were go, as it is being reported that;

"Administrators at North Newton High School in Newton, Mass., have held a seminar for students that explained how to know they are homosexual, but banned parents from attending."

Brian Camenker of Mass Resistance, a man I have had the pleasure to work with in the past, has contacted the schools principal and asked about parents being allowed to come. The principal Jen Price said that no parents were allowed, and if they were to come it would be by invitation only. This is another remarkable display of the effort by the public school system to seperate children from their parents. It is further proof of the agenda of indoctrination that is a reality in our public schools. The belief is if you believe anything other than homosexuality is a normal lifestyle to be celebrated, then you are a homophobe and in need of help.

I did not plan to blog on this again, as I am in Orlando Florida, at the RC Sproul conference where I will have the pleasure to hear Sproul, Piper, MacArthur, Mohler and Zacharias. But this is so outrageous it warranted notifying all of you that read this blog! From hear on for the rest of the week I will endeavor to comment on this conference.
blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

HOW LONG UNTIL THEY ARE MADE TO PLEDGE TO THIS FLAG EACH DAY?


This goes beyond the pale of anything anyone might try to explain as reasonable, from the wires;

"Officials at Deerfield High School in Deerfield, Ill., have ordered their 14-year-old freshman class into a "gay" indoctrination seminar, after having them sign a confidentiality agreement promising not to tell their parents"

Understand what has happened here. Officials from a school,generally looked up to and proported to be authority figures in the life of the students, have ordered them, ordered them to sit through a seminar on the homosexual lifestyle. The first point of understanding is the force of the decree. The students were not given any options here, and therefore under great pressure from not only their authority figures, but most likely their peers as well, they were made to sit through this propaganda. Also as powerful and more dangerous, the students were made to agree to not to inform their parents, pitting their loyalties to family against school.

We cannot imagine the damage this has done in the lives of some of these young people as they sit conflicted in their classes each day. Those young people who love mom and dad, and have a great home and family life. Made to be disloyal to the family unit. Make no mistake about this, it is not only an indoctrination of homosexuality, it is a blatant attack on the family. If we needed a blatant reminder of the attack we are under, here it is.

The call goes out to parents everywhere to be extremely pro active when it comes to your children and their life in the public school system. You can no longer assume they are telling you all that went on in school, even when you ask. In fact it very well could be that they have signed a school document promising and committing not to inform you of the events of their school day! These are dangerous time we are living in and the ante just went up!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Monday, March 12, 2007

JUSTICE FOR ALL?


Jeff Renner and his wife paid $175 for an ad in the yearbook, in which they wanted to tell their son: "May God bless your life," as he graduated from a high school in the Liberty Union school district in California. The editor of the yearbook in an attempt to not offend, changed the word "God" to "He"! In the past the school has kept such things as references to violence, gangs, drugs and alcohol. This year they attempted to include God in that group,so as not to create any discontent in anyone who would read the yearbook. Fortunately the school has changed their mind and at the cost of $8000.00 had to reprint the yearbooks with the correct wording of the Renners ad for their son. While it is good and noteworthy that the school did the right thing, it was not without the Pacific Justice Institute having to send a letter explaining the rights of people like the Renners. What makes this even more egregious is the fact that the Renners were purchasing a private ad. This begs the question, how far will political correctness go? What is the mindset, and how did people become so brainwashed to believe that a parent wishing a son Gods blessing on his life at graduation would be material in need of editing?

Praise God for those who serve in the mission field of law today. That's right, the mission field of law. I believe that is one of the greatest ministries you could work in today. Organizations such as the Pacific Justice Institute, the Alliance Defense Fund, and others do battle every day in the arena of the culture war. It is a worthy calling to work on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves. Law and teaching should be considered as mission fields in my opinion. Churches might want to consider supporting those who would choose to spend their lives in those professions. What happens in the classroom and the courts determines the context of the lives our children and grandchildren. It is good to know that God has His people working and serving in all areas of life, continuing to prove the truth that what man would intend for evil, God will use for our good and His glory!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Thursday, March 08, 2007

WANTED: ANOTHER WILBERFORCE!


It has to be more than ironic the month that the movie "Amazing Grace" comes out to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in England, we read this from the wires;

"Women are being sold into prostitution in modern day "slave auctions" at Britain's airports, it emerged yesterday.
The illegal immigrants are sold to the highest bidder for up to £8,000 a time. They are then forced to work in brothels where they can earn up to £800 a day for their "owner".
The chilling reality of human trafficking was spelled out yesterday by senior police officers at Scotland Yard"

Although the stealing of people from their homelands in Africa has come to an end, we realize today that slavery is alive and well. While not legal in the sense it was when William Wilberforce spent his life fighting it, it is still a reality of the days in which we live. The sex trade is rampant with slavery. Can you imagine a girl being sold in the open at a coffee shop? The good news is that the creators of the movie "Amazing Grace" have not just made a movie, they have recognized our present day problem of slavery. They have begun a campaign called "Amazing Change" to deal with the issue. The website is http://www.theamazingchange.com/.

There you can see how to help and are able to read the horrific stories of those in our present day culture who are still held in slavery, like James;

"An abducted child kept as a slave in the Lord's Resistance Army, James was forced to brutally kill his own brother who had been abducted with him. He was rescued from captivity, but demonstrates the fragile psyche of a child victim forced to kill or be killed."

As we celebrate William Wilberforce and the 200th anniversary of his life's work and accomplishment, it would be foolish of us to believe his work is done. Maybe the greatest tribute to him would be to educate ourselves on modern day slavery and spend a life working to see it gone!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

WELL DONE GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT!


One of the greatest most telling moments in life comes at death. It is then that we go to be with our Savior. It is then we receive the reward of our faith, where our faith becomes sight. But it is also very telling how someone dies. There have been many opportunities in my life to be with families when they gather around a loved one who is heading into eternity. Often there is a mixed bag of emotion, regret, joy, depending upon the person and his or her relationship with the one dying. But there is nothing greater than when a faithful servant of the Lord Jesus Christ is called home. This is the case with Dr. John Piper's dad, who has gone home to be with the Lord. I am sure he is well known in many circles, but these days it is his son who is the one with the noterierty in the Church. His son is the one speaking to thousands and even millions with his books and appearances. I want you to take the time to read the following from John Piper as he recounts his fathers death. In this telling moment of life we see the fruit of a faithful life lived for Christ;


Hello, My Father Just Died

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By John Piper
"Tuesday, March 6, 2007. 2 a.m.
The big hospital clock in room 4326 of Greenville Memorial Hospital said, with both hands straight up, midnight. Daddy had just taken his last breath. My watch said 12:01, March 6, 2007.

I had slept a little since his last morphine shot at ten. One ear sleeping, one on the breathing. At 11:45, I awoke. The breaths were coming more frequently and were very shallow. I will not sleep again, I thought. For ten minutes, I prayed aloud into his left ear with Bible texts and pleadings to Jesus to come and take him. I had made this case before, and this time felt an unusual sense of partnership with Daddy as I pressed on the Lord to relieve this warrior of his burden.

I finished and lay down. Good. Thank you, Lord. It will not be long. And, grace upon grace, hundreds of prayers are being answered: He is not choking. The gurgling that threatened to spill over and drown him in the afternoon had sunk deep, and now there was simple clear air, shorter and shorter. I listened from where I lay next to him on a foldout chair.

That’s it. I rose and waited. Will he breathe again? Nothing. Fifteen or twenty seconds, and then a gasp. I was told to expect these false endings. But it was not false. The gasp was the first of two. But no more breaths. I waited, watching. No facial expressions. His face had frozen in place hours before. One more jerk. That was all. Perhaps an eyebrow twitch a moment later. Nothing more.

I stroked his forehead and sang,

My gracious Master and My God
Assist me to proclaim
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of thy name.

Daddy, how many thousands awaited you because of your proclamation of the great gospel. You were faithful. You kept the faith, finished the race, fought the fight. “Make friends for yourselves with unrighteous mammon that they might receive you into eternal habitations.”

I watched, wondering if there could be other reflexes. I combed his hair. He always wore a tie. The indignities of death are many, but we tried to minimize them. Keep the covers straight. Pull the gown up around his neck so it looks like a sharp turtleneck. Tuck the gappy shoulder slits down behind so they don’t show. Use a wet washcloth to keep the secretions from crusting in the eyelashes. And by all means, keep his hair combed. So now I straightened his bedding and combed his hair and wiped his eyes and put the mouth moisturizer on his lips and tried to close his mouth. His mouth would not stay closed. It had been set in that position from hours and hours of strained breathing. But he was neat. A strong, dignified face.

I called my sister Beverly first, then Noël. Tearfully we gave thanks. Get a good night’s rest. I will take care of things here with the doctor and the nurses and the mortuary arrangements. I will gather all our things and take them back to the motel. “I wish I had been there,” Beverly lamented. Yes. That is good. But don’t let that feeling dominate now. In the days to come, you will look back with enormous gratitude for the hundreds of hours you gave serving Daddy. It is my turn to be blessed.

The nurse came to give him his scheduled morphine shot. As she walked toward me I said, “He won’t need that any more.” “Is he gone?” “Yes. And thank you so much for your ministry to him.” “I will notify the doctor so he can come and verify. I will leave you alone.” “Yes, thank you.”

The doctor in his green frock came at 12:40 and listened with his stethoscope to four different places on Daddy’s chest. Then he pulled back the sheet and said, “I must apply some pain stimuli to his nail base to see if he reacts. Then he used his flashlight to test Daddy’s eyes. “The nurse supervisor will come and get the information we need about the mortuary.” Thank you.

Alone again, I felt his cheeks. Finally cool after the fevered and flushed fight. I felt his nose, as though I were blind. Then I felt mine. I thought, very soon my nose will be like your nose. It is already like your nose.

The nurse came. No thank you, an autopsy will not be necessary. Mackey Mortuary on Century Drive. My name is John, his son. My cell phone is . . . . “You may stay as long as you like.” Thank you. I will be leaving soon.

Now I just look at him. Nothing has changed in his face here in the darkness of this dim light. Just no movement. But I have watched his chest so long—even now, was that a slight rise and fall? No, surely not. It’s like sailing on the sea for days. On the land the waves still roll.

He has four-day’s beard and dark eyes. I lift an eyelid to see him eye to eye. They are dilated.

Thank you, Daddy. Thank you for sixty-one years of faithfulness to me. I am simply looking into his face now. Thank you. You were a good father. You never put me down. Discipline, yes. Spankings, yes. But you never scorned me. You never treated me with contempt. You never spoke of my future with hopelessness in your voice. You believed God’s hand was on me. You approved of my ministry. You prayed for me. Everyday. That may be the biggest change in these new days: Daddy is no longer praying for me.

I look you in the face and promise you with all my heart: Never will I forsake your gospel. O how you believed in hell and heaven and Christ and cross and blood and righteousness and faith and salvation and the Holy Spirit and the life of holiness and love. I rededicate myself, Daddy, to serve your great and glorious Lord Jesus with all my heart and with all my strength. You have not lived in vain. Your life goes on in thousands. I am glad to be one.

I kissed him on his cold cheek and on his forehead. I love you, Daddy. Thank you.

It was 12:55 as I walked out of room 4326. Just before the elevators on the fourth floor in the lounge, a young man in his twenties was sitting alone listening to his iPod with headphones. I paused. Then I walked toward him. He stopped his music. Hello, my father just died. One of the greatest tributes I could pay to him is to ask you, Are you ready to meet God? “Yes, Sir.” That would make my father very happy. You know Jesus is the only way? “Yes, Sir.” Good. Thank you for letting me talk to you.

As I drove out of the parking lot, I stopped. The moon was a day past full. It was cold—for Greenville. I looked at this great hospital. Thank you, Lord, for this hospital. I will probably never lay eyes on it again. "

Thank you Dr. Piper for sharing your heart and reminding us all to live a life worthy of dying for. And praise God for your dad and his faithfulness to our Father and His call on his life! We all are praying for you during this time of grief and celebration!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

ARREST THESE MEN, THEY ARE BOOING?


This takes the cake for how far the politically correct police will go. In Washington state the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association is discussing ways to cut down on negative behavior at high school athletic competitions. Before you ask what is wrong with that, understand the first thing they are considering going after is the wretched, evil, heinous act of....booing? That is right, do not adjust your computer screens, it is booing! They are thinking about banning booing. Here is a quote that tells it all;

"I don't know why people think it's acceptable to boo in the first place," WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese said. "It's a pretty novel concept to me."

It is probably a "pretty novel concept" for Mr.Colbrese because he never played competitive sports at a high level. But it says more about our culture. It is right in line with the no winners and no losers theory when the kids are young. More than that it fits in with the political underpinnings of all of this, which is socialism. Everyone treated the same, no classes, no rich, no poor. Wealth re-distributed, health care for all, universal education etc. etc..

It is a failed system that many of the up and coming candidates for the highest office in our land subscribe to, and no booing is right in line with it all. The problem for those who like this idea is that there is not a competitive athlete alive who will tell you he likes the idea of doing away with booing. In fact they will tell you the opposite, that it motivates them to play harder to quiet the crowd. So the negative coming at them, motivates them? Exactly, which is why things like booing are good for athletes and even fun. And so is losing, as it teaches them to work harder and accept that everything in life will not go the way they want.

After booing what comes next, cheers, signs, clapping? Sounds like fun, we can all go to games and sit quietly while we watch two teams do their very best to make sure the final score is a tie and everyone is happy!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Monday, March 05, 2007

WERE THEY ALL DOGS?


Over the weekend I had the opportunity to watch a political activist convention for the Republicans. It was a gathering where the speakers were expected to give "red meat" to their adoring constituents. Here are some thoughts on the people I saw speak;

Mitt Romney - personable, connected with the crowd, seemed very comfortable and had the obvious look of a candidate.


Mike Huckabee - nice guy, true born again believer, but had a message where he almost admitted he had no chance,which, while realistic, was not very appealing.

Rudy Gulianni - the obvious star of the event, according to the response he received, but maybe the most boring message I heard, although he was good on defense.

Ann Coulter - she is receiving a lot of attention for her using the f word, the one used to demean homosexuals, and applying it to John Edwards. While the media only plays a clip that makes it appear worse than it was, in context, she does shoot herself in the foot, in my opinion, as far as credibility. Her writings display her to be thoughtful and intelligent, while her public appearances can at times take away from her. Although she was the most entertaining of the group.

The point is, all of the candidates will have to step it up if they believe they will be in a position to win their parties nomination, let alone the Presidency. I have to admit to not being overly enthused about any of them, but it is also early in the process. Two reasons it really matters who is the next President, first the war we will still be in, and second, the nomination of the next Supreme Court Justice, who could swing the whole court. So, please pay attention, even when you are tempted not to, as the next Commander in Chief may do more harm or good then any of the predecessors, due to the times in which they will assume office!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Friday, March 02, 2007

JESUS CAME FROM GORRILLAS? HOW EMERGENT!


Here it is, the perfect "bible" for the post modern movement. One that satisfies the need of the emergent community to be all things to all people, seeing the best in every teaching. From the wires;

"According to Ruth Rimm, Bronx school teacher and book artist, her version of the Scriptures – titled "Lost Spiritual World" – "explores the emergence of a new global spirituality that mixes the best of each wisdom tradition with the latest findings in psychology, quantum physics, neuroscience, and linguistics.It is a Bible for skeptics, seekers, and people of different faiths"

She has started with the gospel of Mark, and intends to present Torah, Bhagavad Gita, Buddhist sutras, and Sufi mysticism in future volumes. But in this current volume she "includes parables not found in Mark, such as the Parable of the Dolphin, the Parable of the Snow Leopard and the Parable of the Gorilla, which are illustrated in a series of irreverent videos to be made available on YouTube as part of the book's marketing campaign."

Also as a part of the marketing plan it is described by its marketer as a "postmodern" edition of the Bible – takes Darwin's theory of evolution as gospel and presents Jesus as being born, "not to a virgin, but to a gorilla."

So here you have the natural consequence of a lack of absolute truth. In a very emergent sounding quote the creator of this mess states, "Most Americans would rather discover the spiritual truths behind the religious metaphors, especially given how fundamentalism is impacting public life with a narrow view of religion."
Where you do you stop? When is enough enough? At what point does it matter what is being taught? I believe this book is a good representation of where emergent type thinking will lead you. And if the emergents of the world would say not true, I would wonder why and with what authority they would use to protest. If we cannot be sure of the Word of God and its authority then why could Jesus not have come from gorillas? Why would the emergents not want to take a look at these presentations and glean from them what they could?

The sad truth is that there are probably some who would actually subscribe to such folly. This work by Ruth Rimm is a good picture of where the lack of absolute truth leads. It is the road to heretical teaching being accepted, embraced and even lived out. And there is where we will see the carnage, in the ruined lives and even more tragically in the forever Hell that all who are deceived will be sent to. Jesus came from gorillas, or was born of a virgin, which one makes more sense to you?

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com