Seek and You Shall Find….Maybe

There’s a new search engine that has started that is aimed specifically at Evangelical Christians. It’s called Seekfind.org . Seekfind front page includes the Bible verse where the creators got it’s name. If you guessed Matthew 7:7 you’re right!

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).

Seekfind’s mission statement is very simple and concise:

The mission of SeekFind.org is to provide God-honoring, biblically based, and theologically sound Christian search engine results in a highly accurate and well-organized format.

The truth is that the sites that are listed are pre-selected. So, when you search on a term like the Republican Party or Democratic Party the party listings do not come up. Rather, the number one  listing is (for both) is an organization called Probe Ministries. Instead of sending you to the appropriate site for whichever political party that you are interested in you get sent to an organization that will tell you their opinion of the parties.

What REALLY ticks me off is this is done so that you, the searcher don’t have to be offended (think) about the subject that you want to search on.  Funny, that there is a “safe-search” feature on Google that stops most offensive material. The safe search feature, however, doesn’t do your thinking for you. Too bad that so-called a Christian search engine has to edit political views to fit a rather narrow standard of what they consider to be “Biblical”. Slanting the facts does a disservice to those using the service as well as Christianity as a whole.

Published in: on 09/25/2010 at 9:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Church vs Strippers

I’ve been following the story of New Beginnings Ministry in Warsaw, OH vs. Fox Hole Club a strip club. New Beginnings has been protesting in front of the club for about 4 years to get the club to close. Recently, the ladies of the club and the owner have been sitting in front of the church during Sunday morning services.Here’s the latest on the failed meeting between the owner and the pastor.  This reminded me of a story that I heard about 12 years ago.  I understand the story to be true, it was told during a church growth seminar by the District Superintendent of the denomination which was involved.

The story takes place in a town in Southern New Jersey. This particular church had gone through a split. There were about 10 or so members that had stayed with the Assistant Pastor. They met for prayer every Monday morning. Around the same time an adult bookstore opened in town. This became a matter of concern and prayer for the small church. Some wanted to stage a boycott of the bookstore. Others wanted to petition the elected town officials to see if there was something that could be done. It was decided not to take action, but to pray for the week and seek God’s will. The week went by, and they met the next Monday for prayer. One of the members of the group said that he felt God was leading him to do something totally radical. This member had a landscaping business, he would offer to do the landscaping at the adult bookstore. He felt that this would give him contact with the owner and he would let God use that contact.

The landscaper approached the bookstore owner with a deal he sorta couldn’t resist. He offered to do his landscaping for half the price of what the other business was dong it for. The only restriction woud be that he would not enter the store to be paid, the owner would have to come outside to pay him.

Time went on, the landscaper did excellent work, the Monday morning group prayed for the owner every week without fail. Whenever the landscaper picked up his payment he would tell the owner that his church was praying for him although he never “witnessed” to him. The landscaper also invited him to the prayer meetings.

One Monday morning the adult bookstore owner showed up at the prayer meeting. When I heard this story, it was described as he burst into the meeting. He said that he couldn’t take it anymore and he became a Christian. A couple of months later, the bookstore was closed and the owner became a member of the church.

To get back to the New Beginnings story for a moment. There are times when I believe that we fail to show the love of Christ to those we want to witness to. The question that I have for Pastor Bill Dunfree of New Beginnings is this: Which is more important, getting the club closed or ministering to the owner and the employees? Ministering might just do both.

Published in: on 08/23/2010 at 9:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Should Moms Work?

Take a listen to John Piper’s view on moms working outside the home.

Okay, glad to have you back.

Point # 1 During Piper’s answer he never once quoted scripture to back up his position. I suspect that he doesn’t quote any scripture is that there really isn’t any scripture that directly supports his view. If he has a personal view that moms should stay at home, then state that as an opinion,

Point # 2 I haven’t heard stay at home moms denigrated in a long time. I believe that most contemporary men and women see running a household as a complex function that requires certain skill sets. Not all women inherently have that skill set. Contrary to what some believe, not all women are instant homemakers. Some have the skills, some may acquire them, and some never will.

Point # 3 The problems in the current Christian American Family are not solved by Stay at Home Moms (SAHMs). The most successful families have both parents intact and functioning within the family. It really doesn’t matter what “role” they play. I know of  one family where the father stays home and the mother works. There’s a stable home environment where the children are loved and nurtured  by both dad and mom. Her career has more earning power than his. He can do his job from home with occasional trips. Generally speaking his mom watches the children with a back up babysitter. The children are well adjusted and seem to be doing fine, thank you.

Finally, I would like to suggest that there is no ideal Christian family. The motive to create such a family has more to do with how we perceive the culture around us with its failings than it does with any Biblical view. In short, there are those who want to create a template marriage that can be pointed to as sermon illustrations. Like  2,000 years ago or even 150 years ago our family structure has adapted to the needs of the day. It is both unfair and disingenuous to state that what may have been  good 50 years ago will work today. Women are better educated and the economic conditions are such that what happened during the 1950’s cannot be duplicated. Husbands and wives are often working not to keep up a high standard of living, but to simply survive. The economic conditions cannot be easily swept away because they don’t fit the narrative that Piper would like to keep. God leads each of us with our talents and gifts. It may be more important for us to understand how God leads than to lay down a template that was created for another time and condition.

There are two other discussions on Piper’s video

Here at Jesus Needs New PR

Here at The Wardrobe and the White Tree

Published in: on 06/27/2010 at 6:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Believing Your Own PR

Recently, I came across this picture at Jesus Need New PR

I found it a little humorous. I don’t like Thomas Kinkade’s work. I find it to be formulaic and a little too commercial for my taste. Although, there are many people who really like his work (including my mother). Kinkade has cultivated a distinctly Christian audience. An audience who wants nice pictures to hang in their house. An audience who would not be caught dead in any type of modern art gallery.

Kinkade’s world started to unravel a few years ago. His business practices were brought into question by those  who bought gallery franchises to sell his work. There were other stories about drinking and some rather rude behavior.and ultimately bankruptcy for part of his operations.

Although there is a part of me who would like to gloat about his failure and fall. I really dislike his work intensely. I think there is a real lesson to be learned. Thomas Kinkade believed his own PR. He lacked humility. For all of us who are in some type of creative work. Whether it’s writing, painting, photography, or even creating sermons , we need to keep our perspective and stay humble. The slightly modified Kinkade image is an excellent reminder of what can happen if we don’t keep our gaze where it belongs…on Jesus.

Published in: on 06/19/2010 at 3:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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This Is How Adults Act

For those who have been living in an alternative universe, there was a story this week in sports that shows how adults should act on a daily basis. The short version is this:Armando Galarraga a pitcher with the Detroit Tigers was one out from pitching a perfect game (27 batters up, 27 batters out with no hits, errors).  The last out was at the plate and hit the ball to be thrown out at first, everyone thought the batter was out except for Jim Joyce, the first base umpire. Joyce calls him safe, thus ruining Galaraga’s perfect game. Despite protestations from the Tiger’s management Joyce stands by his call until after the game when he sees the replay. Joyce realizes that he blew the call, promptly admits to the press that he blew the call and apologizes.

Now, you would assume that Armando Galarraga is screaming about how his rights have been trampled and how the umpire is an idiot. However, that not what he does. He forgives the umpire saying that we all make mistakes. Politicians, preachers, and common folk take notice he forgives him.

I am somewhat late to the list of commenters on this. I would however, like to point something out. Here are two men who deserve to be pointed out as role models at least for this act. Here are two men who act the way we’re supposed to act, who deserve to be role models. All too often we elevate people to “role model” status simply because they are  proficient at a sport, they can sing or act well, or because they’ve become popular. When these so-called role models fail, we deride them for not being a good role model. Kinda silly isn’t it? Simply because an athlete excels at their sport doesn’t and should not correlate with being a role model. What we should be doing is looking for people who have the personal character to become role models.

So, this week we found 2 bona fide role models. Their role model status being built not on their perfections, rather their imperfections.

Published in: on 06/06/2010 at 5:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Life Verses

Here’s a trick question:

Who invented the idea of a personal mission statement?

  • A) Peter Drucker
  • B) Tom Peters
  • C) An Obscure Evangelical Christian

If you guessed C, you’re correct!

Evangelical Christians love the idea of Life Verses. Life Verses are just like personal mission statements on they are Bible verses that reflect God’s Will for the individual.  Usually not long after conversion fellow Christians will ask the new convert if God has given them a life verse yet. Life verses are usually given after periods of reflection, struggle, or intense recruiting by a missions board.  The normal time to receive your life verse is during your daily quiet time with God. During this time God will direct you to a particular verse and inform you that’s your life’s verse. It’s important that you make note of your life’s verse, it will become part of your testimony. More on testimonies in another post.

You’ll notice that God will sometimes lead you to a commonly known verse. Say for a missionary candidate He might lead you to the Great Commission verses in Matthew:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Some, going off to higher education take on a verse like Proverbs 4:7

Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding

The second part of that verse could be a temporary life verse for the parents of the person going for higher education. Yes, you can have temporary life verses. God will supply them as they are needed, particularly during stressful times.

Life verses are supposed to be guiding and uplifting at the same time. Hence, The Ten Commandments are rarely used as a life verse. Although some people SHOULD use this verse as a life verse, they never do:

If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

So, what do you do with your life verse. As I said before it becomes part of your personal testimony.Memorize your life verse so that you can bring it up often in conversations and during Bible study or small group meetings.Quoting your life verse often will remind fellow Christians that God has been leading you through your verse. You can also write your verse on a file card or two. One for your bathroom mirror, the other for your refrigerator. You can also use your life verse as a basis for your personal mission statement.


Published in: on 05/18/2010 at 9:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Between a Rock…

There’s an article by the Associated Press via MSNBC about an abortion that took place late last year in Phoenix, AZ. The article recounts the story of a woman in St Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center who had pulmonary hypertension and was 11 weeks pregnant. The woman’s life was in danger and would most likely have died without the abortion. The ethics board of the hospital includes doctors, administrators, and a nun , Sister Margaret McBride who was vice president of mission integration at the hospital. Sister McBride has been excommunicated by the Bishop of the Diocese , Thomas J Olmsted.  From the article:

“I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this diocese,” Olmsted said in a statement sent to The Arizona Republic. “I am further concerned by the hospital’s statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother’s underlying medical condition.

“An unborn child is not a disease. While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother’s life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means.”

First, let me state that I am pro-life, however, I find the Bishop’s statement to be an example of issues that some in the Pro-Life movement have. That is that the unborn takes precedence over the life of the mother.  To state it another way, Pro-Life is concerned only with life at the beginning or the end. Everything in between is not their concern.

Without a doubt, this is a tragic case. One in which there were no easy answers, only hard choices. I have a couple of friends who are in the medical field. from private discussions that I’ve had, these types of decisions are well discussed and deeply thought out. In other words, they are not taken lightly.I doubt that anyone on the ethics panel felt that the unborn child was “a disease”. If anything, they were probably deeply distraught over having to make a decision between two lives. Actually, the real decision was between losing both or just the child. The unfortunate fact is that the child was not going to survive either way. At 11 weeks, the unborn child was not developed enough to even try to survive outside of its mother.It’s mother could no longer survive with the child. The Bishop,  doesn’t seem to grasp that fact.

One of the problems with dogmatic teaching is that there are always situations that break the rule. Without a doubt, tragic situations like this occur with a little more regularity than we would like to admit. Truth is, to me being Pro-Life is not reserved for embryos and fetuses.  The Pro-Life movement needs to be consistent. I understand that in the eyes of the movement,unborn children are especially vulnerable. However, there is no sense in sacrificing two lives when one could be saved. If the tables were turned, and the mother’s life had to be sacrificed for the child, there would be a demand that the child should live.

I’ve had a problem with calling myself Pro-Life because of incidents such as this. Situations where there are no easy black and white answers and the predominant color is gray.  It’s troubling to me to see that so little thought is given to the mother and so much to the unborn child. I believe that it is time for the Pro-Life movement to start looking at their inconsistencies and become truly Pro-Life.

Some other links:

Arizona Republic article

The American Catholic

Beliefnet The Deacon’s Bench

God Bless America

In an excellent post at Christians In Context, Andrew Faris discusses his feelings about attending the graduation ceremony for his wife from Loyola Marymount University. In particular, Faris muses on using the song the national anthem and  “God Bless America” for the opening and closing of the ceremony.

I think the best quote from the post is:

Which brings us all back to the basic problem with American patriotism: when we choose a nation as our Sovereign, we’re really choosing ourselves.

An interesting quote considering how many conservative Evangelicals associate patriotism with Christianity. In this one sentence Faris sums up the biggest problem that the Conservative Evangelical movement has had since the beginning of the Moral Majority and that is the marriage of God and Country. God is not a nationalist, He is an internationalist, no respecter of  man made boundaries. To believe that God, since the New Testament era, has favored one nation over another is making the supposedly favored nation into an idol.

Dr. Gregory Boyd has written an excellent book expanding  with more thoughts on this subject, The Myth of a Christian Nation:

Sunday Night At The Movies

Here’s a short (16 minutes) video that I found called Validation starring T.J.Thyne (of Bones fame) It’s quirky, but has a strong message of how 1 person can change many people.

Post your thoughts.

Published in: on 05/09/2010 at 8:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Self Sacrifice

In Christianity we talk a lot about love and self sacrifice. Every once in a while, there’s a real example of someone who shows us what that looks like. Short version of the story is hat a mayor in Connecticut donated her kidney to someone she only met on Facebook.  Here’s the complete story.

Published in: on 04/21/2010 at 12:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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