Celebrating July 4th as Peacemakers

America’s birthday comes at a good time this year. In the midst of escalating cultural and political tensions, the Supreme Court resignation of Justice Kennedy has thrown gasoline on an already hot fire. The anniversary of our founders love for America and their great sacrifice to establish and protect it calls us to recommit ourselves to the same love and sacrifice. How? Quite simply…

@ the Smithsonian

…every one of us can take time from our busy schedules to serve and pray.

Many of us as evangelical Christians tend to live in suburban bubbles isolated from the people who cannot afford to be our neighbors. July 4th calls us to love America by reaching out to fellow citizens who need our time and attention, our prayers and our touch.

Our normal default is to focus our service on our families and our churches. But we can’t just fiddle while Rome burns. We need to challenge ourselves to reach outside our bubble and serve the very people that the Lord Jesus loved to touch. The very people whose needs are often championed by political activists with whom we disagree. Refugees. Prisoners.

What has the Lord gifted you to do? How can you take it to people at the margins?

Here in Columbia, South Carolina I have the privilege to go into prison with a team from Columbia International University. Once a quarter we take in a meal for about 40 prisoners and eat with them. One of the guys last Wednesday said “This is so good. I haven’t eaten fried chicken in 20 years.”

3 cheers for Churchill Darkest Hour movie and a tear for the opposition

When the Christmas dust settles and it’s time for a holiday outing, Darkest Hour is that rare film that not only entertains but inspires. Yes, I laughed at the good comedic writing and delivery when my girlfriends drug me to Thor Ragnarok. But our culture offers so much cotton candy and not too many feasts of rich food.

Darkest Hour explores the life and death decision Winston Churchill faced as soon as he became prime minister: whether to negotiate for peace with Hitler and his formidable war machine or prepare to fight an enemy that was gobbling up more of Europe every day they deliberated.

Gary Oldham is the Meryl Streep of male actors–he totally disappears into his characters. Two hundred hours in the makeup chair for this movie and he IS Churchill. The campy villain of The Fifth Element has pretty much disappeared. Oldham plays Churchill with plenty of cheek and bravado, but also as the intellectually gifted statesman, Inspirer in Chief and grand master of the King’s English that he was. He may win an Academy Award for this performance.

Is It Time to Give Up Your Ordinary? Making plans that count this fall

August is traditionally a time when many of us pull out our calendars, prayer journals and Bibles – asking God to show us where to invest our time and energies this fall. To help provide clarity, today’s guest post is by Lucinda Secrest McDowell, author of 13 books including Dwelling Places which was just awarded the Christian Retailing Best Award for Devotional 2017  (voted by the bookselling/publishing industry professionals).  Like my book Faith and Culture,  Dwelling Places is rich with sturdy content for the mind (a devo with footnotes!) and deep reflections for the heart. May Cindy’s words challenge you to say yes and no wisely to the opportunities for impact in the months ahead:

She could not have been more ordinary.

Gladys, was also a poor student and had quit school by age fourteen. She grew up to be a London parlor maid with few prospects. But then God got a hold of her heart and after hearing about the needs in China, she was determined to serve Him there.

Only no mission board would accept her.

George Washington’s Original Thanksgiving Proclamation

After the election, a time to celebrate God's faithful answers and renew the requests

This Thanksgiving I am grateful that despite the most surreal and destructive election I ever remember, our founders gave us such strong institutions and laws that we can expect to see the peaceful transfer of power.  I’m also grateful that both Houses of Congress and George Washington called us this day to give thanks to God and pray for America. With his blessing may we heal and flourish.

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation

george-washington-praying

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God,

to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor–

and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer

to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God

especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States

to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be–

Trump v Hillary: The Court v Character

Caught between godly Dueling-Banjo ethics scholars

I envy my friends for whom the coming November vote is simple:
Hillary will do more harm than Trump. Therefore vote for Trump.

Trump vs Clinton

They don’t understand all the agonizing and hand wringing.

I can’t seem to break through the tension.

Last week a very respected and brilliant evangelical theologian, Wayne Grudem, wrote an article in Townhall, “Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice.”

I could feel hope rising as I read it.

6 Reasons Why Chick Fil A got Orlando right (and how many Muslims and Christians can do better)

Chick Fil A Sign+Rembrandt 2

Rembrandt’s “Return of the Prodigal”

 

As soon as reports surfaced about Sunday’s massacre in a gay nightclub, suspicious fingers began pointing to Christian haters. Even after it was reported that the shooter had dedicated his kill to the Islamic State. What grieved me even more was talking to Christians who condemned the killings, but acknowledged they didn’t feel a great sense of compassion on the gay victims because, after all, look what God did to Sodom and Gomorrah.

Thankfully, Chick-fil-A in Orlando rolled up its sleeves, fired up its grills and showed our terribly divided culture how to follow Jesus in such a tragedy. On a day when they normally close their doors and give their employees time off to go to church, they were serving their great food to first responders and  blood donors lined up to honor the victims.

Here are 6 reasons why Chick-fil-A got it right and how many Muslims and Christians can do better: