Thursday, December 29, 2005

Top 5 for 2005

Top 5 blog-posts of 2005...

Again this year, Bob Carlton (The Corner) is collecting Top-5's around the blogosphere. Makes for best-in-class reading here at year-end.

And maybe it's a good exercise for all of us -- whether it's a family newsletter at Christmas or blog-posts -- what were some of this year's items worth reconsidering?

#5 "Why Blog? Top 50 Reasons"
"Truth at the speed of light will prevail at the speed of Light."

#4 "What Keeps YOU Awake At Night?"
The devil's scheme: 'Pride & Divide'.

#3 "An Open Letter to our City Councillors"
'Human Rights Ordinance 622'

#2 "The Ultimate Win"
By one of Jesus' closest Jewish friends

#1 "Transforming the Evangelical Meme"
Debunking the Barna Divorce-rate Myth.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Job Description

A friend emailed me today...

"I am really waiting to see what God is going to do next! I am really pressing Him for direction --- it would be nice to have a JOB DESCRIPTION! haha. A Blue print please Lord."

So I sent them one. LOL...


  • Go.
  • Make disciples.
  • Baptize them.*
  • Teach them to obey everything I've shared with you.
  • Love me with all your everything.
  • Love your neighbors as yourself.
  • Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly.
  • Keep in mind I'm with you all the way.
  • Other duties as assigned. LOL.
  • Remember: I'll be back.

* Connect them to the family of professing believers.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

'Human Rights' Ordinance 622

Generally I prefer to work toward positive change... especially within the Church itself... and spend little time with 'issues'... and especially not civil-governance issues. I'd much prefer accentuating and encouraging those who are in the trenches everyday, joyfully serving their Lord and our neighbors, and sharing the gift of eternal life with whomever would like to have it.

Occasionally though, if we really love our neighbors as ourselves, and want the best for them as we want for ourselves -- including a great community to live in -- we have to stop and speak to societal issues... sharing what God clearly says in His scriptures. He loves us and wants the very best for us. So we share His Word not from a platform of personal piety or our perfection in living it out. Often we share it from a platform of personal experience... that 'flying in the face of God' never works out well. And the fact remains, that although the Bible is the world's most used book (despite the claims of SBC Yellow Pages, LOL), way too few have ever read it cover-to-cover... much less studied it over-and-over.

Recently, two pastors stepped to the microphone at the Indianapolis City Council chambers, and advocated on behalf of this bill which extends beyond the constitutionally-protected classifications, and now would specially confer 'non-discrimination status' to others based on sexual-orientation and gender-identity.

I've corresponded with one of those pastors, and much of the following was developed from that email-conversation. [Btw, many, many other pastors of course spoke out against such special legislation.]

I offer the following as food for thought for all of us -- or perhaps to challenge everyone to prayerfully reconsider just how faithful we're being to the Church's historic position of looking to scripture as the rule for faith & practice.

Btw, none of us can in this lifetime fully live out what we know to be true from scripture -- for example, the Apostle Paul exclaiming 'what a wretched man I am'. So please do not take this as being anything other than a challenge from one sinful-but-professing believer to another, to pursue the higher standard, God's standard.... and encourage others to do the same.

And yes, it probably does very much come down to "how we understand the message of God which comes to us through the Bible". I'm not 'the last word' on how to do this. But it seems at face-value... that we should be able to take God at face-value.

Easy to say, but is it easy to do?

At the very least we might agree to take Jesus at his word and prioritize what He prioritized... "Love the Lord with all your everything and love your neighbor as yourself." Or follow the OT prescription to "Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly." Again, these perhaps are easy to say, but how should we live them out?

Walk humbly? Not easy to do for those of us born in sin, with propensities to pride. Nonetheless, through the power of the Holy Spirit, I must seek to be conformed to His will. So I need to try to take the accusatory tone out of the issue at hand -- we're not the judge of others. [But neither are we entitled to re-judge and find as innocent those behaviors which God has judged as sinful.]
Love mercy? You bet. We're called to be imitators of God. He's self-sacrificing by nature, and exudes love and patience.

Act justly? God's sense of justice is equally called for. He's made perfectly clear what He finds as honorable and glorifying, and conversely, what He finds abhorrent. And there are enough examples in the Bible to make us all blush -- thus our personal need for the Savior.

Love our neighbors as ourselves? If we've found peace with God through redemption and forgiveness of our sins, then similarly we should hope & pray for our neighbors to likewise enjoy that availability. If we enjoy housing and job opportunities, we should hope for that for our neighbors as well.

Love the Lord our God with all our everything? The highest command of all. We need to prioritize His standards, not our own. Let us not consider evil what God calls as good. Or vice versa. God has clearly laid out his decrees and design for the world. Few disagree about which behaviors God calls 'sinful'.... including all sorts of sexual sin.

I suspect to this point, we agree on all the above. So how do we then apply it to the issue at hand? May I suggest for consideration...

* Leaders preaching the Word of God faithfully -- including clearly condemning immoral sexual practices. Let people clearly know God's standards, and thus, where our churches stand on the standards. And thus delineate the chasm which calls for a Savior.

* Admitting we're ALL sinners. We were ALL born in sin. John says we were all born-liars, for instance. We all have a propensity to offend God. Yet we've no 'right' to simply say to God or to each other, "Get used to it." We're called to a higher standard, and are greatly in need of a perfect redeemer... and the power of the Holy Spirit to help us overcome some of our propensities.

* Extending mercy -- including offering the gift of eternal life, and the peace & joy of life that accompanies it. Rescue the perishing. Jesus quickly came to the defense of the adulterous woman being confronted by religious leaders who did not have the legal authority to stone her. Yet his mercy did not exceed his perfect sense of justice -- he required her to 'go and sin no more'.

He in no sense advocated on behalf of her sinful lifestyle.

Likewise He's forgiven me of much, but in no sense advocates for licensing it.

Our watershed question in the issue at hand is, are we rescuing the perishing or are we giving the impression of advocating for legal recognition and acceptance of a sinful lifestyle?

My hope and prayer is that everyone will take a careful, prayerful look, at which we're doing the most loudly.

And if the latter, where does it end? Who will go to bat for special protection of 'oppressed' born-liars because they lied on job-apps? Oppressed born-thieves because they stole from previous employers? Oppressed born-murderers because they have a hard time finding a place to live? The list goes on & on, and could easily include all of us -- shall we all obtain special rights to live out a sinful lifestyle without sanction?

Pastors, I'm sure that you prefer to speak God's joyous positive message from the pulpit and encourage your flocks with the good news of Jesus Christ. But do you occasionally condemn unhealthy habits such as smoking? Or how about biblically condemned actions such as excessive drinking? How about speeding? Prostitution?

Certainly secular society effectively does speak their sense of morality into such issues... and then even legislates their sense of morality into law because such things negatively impact society. But by no means have they (yet) developed a smokers bill of rights or special protections for prostitutes in their pursuit of happiness.... and then imposed it on the rest of us.

Whether choice-based or intrinsically a part of a person's human propensities toward these actions, society does not specially protect them in matters of jobs or housing. So why singularly yield to a line of thinking that equates homosexuality as entitled to "civil rights"?

One might conclude simply that indeed there exists a homosexual agenda that some very well-intentioned people are falling prey to. Even inside the Church.

Again, I challenge you to reconsider what it is you're leading your flock toward, not to mention what you would lead our city toward.

That being said, there is Christ-like love and advocacy for 'the oppressed' -- just visit Wheeler Mission and you'll see Christians housing homeless murderers, thieves, and other human beings who have lost homes & jobs -- often due to all sorts of immoral behaviors. Job training occurs. Christian employers take on folks based on mercy, not merit. But at no time does Wheeler advocate for changing society's rules toward godliness. Instead they help people recognize sin and its consequences. They help lives get truly transformed by preaching the Word carefully, and practicing it lovingly.

To love our neighbors as ourselves, is to want a godly set of rules to live by that will tend toward godliness and great opportunities to know a personal redeemer & friend... forever.

To do otherwise, is to want something less for our neighbors than for ourselves.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Pastors, leaders... as networkers

"Christian Community Development sees the church must be involved in every aspect of a person's life. It is important to network with other churches and organizations in communities. In order to accomplish the wholistic aspect of ministry, pastors and leaders must be networkers."

From the foundational article... "Theology of Community Development Ministry", by Wayne Gordon, Co-Founder of CCDA.

"10 Rules for Life"

I don't often pass along cute emails, but this was too good to pass by...

"Ten Rules for Life"

1. Tell the truth -- there's less to remember.
2. Speak softly and wear a loud shirt.
3. Goals are deceptive -- the unaimed arrow never misses.
4. He who dies with the most toys -- still dies.
5. Age is relative -- when you are over-the-hill, you pick up speed.
6. There are two ways to be rich -- make more or desire less.
7. Beauty is internal -- looks mean nothing.
8. No rain -- no rainbows.
9. Never judge a day by the weather.
10. The best things in life aren't things.

[Apparently Kimo Krogfoss, a philosophy professor living in Hawaii, came up with these rules for living. The inserted link is my doing.]

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Just wrote another section of our U.B.bloggin' curriculum online for our new friends who are publishing... free & easy. Especially this section helps bloggers with 'connecting code'. [continued at]

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

"Grassroots Growth"

I thought I'd blog a few notes (LIVE!) from a presentation at the Unleavened Bread Cafe by a set of Butler students in an honors course called "Grassroots Growth". [continued at]

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A day at the cafe...

The cafe was hopping, Saturday. A job-wage group was meeting in the back room. So several of us just used the front part of the cafe for "Surfing Saturday" -- a regular time each week that the neighborhood can count on opportunities to learn a few computer skills, or how to get onto the internet. [But don't tell anyone -- the biggest value for any of us is meeting new friends... often NOT like ourselves. It takes us all outside the box a bit.]

[continued at U B]

Target Missed...

As you contribute to the various relief agencies, perhaps you'd be interested in the stark contrasts between what some of them pay their top executives. Here's a special report that has even drawn White House attention... [continued]

All this simply reminds me, it's time again to send surfers to...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Been There, Done That

[The article below, "Been There, Done That", is a helpful set of observations by Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner a former board member of CCDA. I came across the article after re-reading "Black and Free", the classic by her late husband, evangelist Tom Skinner. If you've never read it, let me highly commend it to you.]

"Tom Skinner’s book, Black and Free was both timely and powerful. It shows the power of the gospel to transform ones life, and it came at an important time in our struggle to be black and free. I believe that same message is needed today..." --Dr. John M. Perkins

"Been There, Done That" -- Why many African American Christians have trouble getting excited about reconciliation.
Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner

"These days, white Christians getting inspired to do reconciliation often wonder, "How come black folks aren't showing up?" I believe there are four main reasons why many African American Christians don't get excited about racial reconciliation today. And while there are no excuses for any Christian, black or white, to ignore God's call to reconciliation, there are real obstacles. If true, biblical reconciliation is going to happen, both Blacks and Whites are going to have to understand these obstacles and work to overcome them." [continued at Skinner Leadership Institute]