Archive for April, 2008

The Sky Is Falling! That Can’t Be Good, Can It?

Now there is a report out on FoxNews that the earth’s temperature is cooling, in a quicker temperature change than at any time in recorded history.  So, what are we facing, is the world going to end in spontaneous combustion due to our fossil fuel consumption; or are we going to freeze to death?  Frankly, dead is dead so how we go is not really that important.  Other than the fact that freezing to death is longer, but probably less painful than burning to death.  So, I vote for global cooling.


The problem is that the entire agenda of the Green Earth group is to hype up global warming.  For the past decade they have been screaming that the sky is falling and we are harming the world irreversibly.  The end result of our harm is that the earth will become too warm to sustain life.  We have bought it hook, line, and sinker.  Our schools have given up on teaching some of the important subjects to indoctrinate our children on the ills of tobacco and global warming.


Now, we find out that maybe we are not going to melt from the heat.


And herein lies the problem.  Like Chicken Little, the global destruction crowd will have a hard time convincing us that they have a clue.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it is clear we are doing serious harm to the planet.  And I think we need to take a more intelligent approach to the problem.


While we have a problem, the trouble is that we will be less likely to listen this time around.  When Al Gore, wanting to distract us from the fact that he will never be President of these United States, goes on the global campaign for global cooling we won’t be able to hear him.  After all, he got the Nobel Peace Prize for convincing us the earth was close to an unstoppable heat problem.


Does he have to give back the prize and the money if the earth stops warming and starts cooling?  If I have to buy more coats to adjust to the temperature changes, do I get an apology from Prince Al?


When do we change the agenda driven curriculum in our public schools?  Do I have to continue listening to my nieces talk about global warming as if the things they are being “taught” make sense?


This is the problem.  The global warmers have worked so hard to ignore any contrary science; they have worked so hard to drown out any voices of reason that we will likely not listen to the next group—even if their science is good and we need to make some changes.


Thanks Al, as I am freezing to death my last thoughts will be of how much your narcissistic approach to life left us without help or hope.


At least in the coming Ice Age we will be able to burn the fossil fuels, while we hope and pray that global warming is sound science.


Sitting On The Sidelines

Nobody wants to be found sitting on the sidelines.  That means you are not playing, even though you are on the team.  It means that the hours of practice are not helping you.  It means that you are not making a difference in the outcome of the event.


We, Christians, have to stop sitting on the sidelines of world events.  I am not talking about getting involved in politics.  A man I worked for used to say “politics never raised anyone from the dead.”  Of course, the only movement that has ever raised anyone from the dead is the movement that was founded by Jesus—not the church, but Christianity.


How do we stop sitting on the sidelines?  It does not take big actions.  There was a movie recently that talked about changing the world through one act of random kindness at a time.  While I think that is a simplistic view of how to change the world, there is some truth in it.  We have to get back to the place where every little thing we do is done for the purpose of changing the world.


Look at the apostles, they had been with Jesus, they had seen how He moved through the world, they had seen the changes He brought to a world that was not looking for His brand of change.  They did not get bogged down in the politics of the day.  They did not get bogged down in meaningless social programs.  Everything they did came back to behaving like Jesus behaved.


That means they had to change people’s lives where they met them, on the street.


You seldom meet people who need radical change in the church on a Sunday morning.  Sure, there are always people needing help, but the apostles were not hiding in a building.  They were forced to live out in the open areas where hurting people, people with real problems were living.


In his book Churchshift, Sunday Adelaja, pastor and founder of the largest evangelical church in Europe, gives us an important look regarding what we should be doing to change the world around us:


“The Great Commission is not what many of us have understood it to be.  We have understood it to be evangelism—bringing people from the world into our church buildings.  But the Great Commission mandate is to go out and disciple nations.  The focus is not in here but out there.  This was Jesus’s [sic] goal in coming to Earth.  It is supposed to be our goal as redeemed people.  The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19 says:  Go and make disciples of all nations.  Jesus did not say, ‘Go and build great churches.’  He did not even say, ‘Go and save individuals.’  He never said, ‘May thy church come on Earth as it is in heaven.’  Neither did He say, ‘Seek ye first the church and all its righteousness.’  Rather, His heartbeat is for nations to be ruled by kingdom principles.  That is the calling of every believer and of every church.”


How do we bring these lofty ideas down to a place where we can live them?  First, we must return to worshiping God rather than God’s creation.  The worship of creation, regardless of what the created object is, is paganism, pure and simple.


As we return to worshiping God we will naturally find ourselves doing the things He calls us to do and therein we begin to change the world around us.


It is not so much what we do, as what we worship.  For when we worship properly we will live properly.

Temporal or Eternal


            It is a worn out cliché—but we should live everyday as if it were our last.  Obviously, this is not easy to do.  So, few of us do it.  The trappings of life seem too easy to fall into.  The temporal comes—at first it is a welcome relief from the pressure of living in the eternal.  We just need to catch our breath, we tell ourselves.  If only for a moment we’ll enjoy a well-deserved break.  Next, we start to rely on the breaks.  We live from break to break only relaxing when we live in the temporal.  Slowly, but surely, we are only comfortable with life in the temporal—the eternal once again becomes foreign to us even though we believe it is home.  Eventually our entire life becomes temporal, lived for the moment, and we fail to realize that we are not living in the eternal.  Because we believe we are part of God’s chosen, we do not believe we can live outside His will.  Our lives, however, are totally outside His will.  Then the deception is complete.  The trap is shut and we are living a lie thinking we are anointed.  The lack of reality is only heightened by the eternal principal that God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike.  Living in the temporal we mistake blessing for approval, forgetting that judgment begins with the house of God (1 Peter 4:17) and those whom the Lord loves he disciplines.  (Hebrews 12:6.)  We mistake it because the Lord disciplines those He loves and He punishes everyone he accepts as a son.  (Hebrews 12:6.)  We must live life understanding the ways of the Lord.  We must hear his voice rather than try to live our lives according to signs along the way.  Signs along the way may have worked for a chosen few—but these were those who were walking so closely to God that they understood how to read the signs.  In a few other cases these are people who are so far from God that he can only minister to them through the signs.  It is not His way.  His way is to whisper in our ear—this way, turn to the right.  (Isaiah 30:21.)


            How do we get out of the trap?  As is the case in all of life’s questions or problems, the answer is found in the scriptures.  First and foremost, Jesus shows us the way.  He did not judge the value of His life against any of the standards the modern Church has established as her yard stick.  He died in the prime of His life.  He had no last will and testament, but then He did not need a last will and testament because He died a pauper.  In spite of what Dan Brown and others would like us to believe, His bloodline was not passed on.  He did not own anything that is ever accounted to us in the scriptures.  In fact, when He needed money to pay taxes it has to be raised immediately from outside sources.  Jesus needed money to pay the taxes that were due.  He did not shrink from the duty; but they did not turn to Judas and say “Go to the coffers for the cash.”   Jesus turned to Peter and told him to “Go to the sea, and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find money for the tax.  Take and give it to them for you and Me.”  (Matthew 17:24-27.)  He had no home.  (Matthew 8:20.)  at His greatest moment He arrived on a borrowed donkey—no private jet for Jesus.  (Matthew 21:6-8.)  He did not even have a way to get into town other than on His own two feet.  After He died He left nothing behind—except—eleven men equally sold out to the eternal with no further thought concerning the value of the temporal.  It had lost all hold on them; which is fortunate for them because they offered nothing of value to the temporal world.  “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you:  In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!”  (Acts 3:6-10.)  Uneducated, unemployed, unwanted by the religious leaders of their day, these followers of Jesus managed to turn the known world upside down during their own life times because they grasped hold of the eternal world and forsook the temporal world.  They did not have a mailing list, a television ministry, or a radio ministry.  This testimony should inspire us today.  It is not what we have to our name.  It is not the degrees we have behind our name.  It is not the genealogy of our name.  It is His name and what we do with it that matters.  And that is all.


            Were the eleven to arrive at our doorstep fresh from the first century, they would not be permitted to speak in our Churches, or appear on our television programs.  They would not be permitted to offer any help when it came to answering theological questions, because they were untrained and uneducated—both nearly crimes in modern America.  (Acts 4:13.)  That is okay, because I believe they would quickly lose interest in the Gospel According to America, shake the dust from their feet, and move on to the outer reaches of the earth for the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.  For Jesus’ Gospel is a gospel that improves man’s eternal life rather than increasing the profitability of man’s temporal life.  In fact, the Gospel as presented in the scriptures almost always decreased man’s profitability in the temporal world.  And when it did not it was usually detrimental to the eternal well-being of the person affected.  Solomon may be the best example of this.  He was raised in a godly home by one of the most righteous rulers in all of history. Yet, he found himself separated from God in his later years because he sold out to the temporal realm.  (See Ecclesiastes.)  God does not and cannot dwell in the temporal realm.  He is an eternal being who only knows the eternal realm.  He does not believe in the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As much as it hurts as an American to look at this truth we must.  For once we have faced this truth we will truly be prepared to present the true Gospel of Jesus the Christ to the entire world—not just our little corner of it.


            In the temporal world there is no life, because God is not there in all His glory.  God’s glory is so great that when it enters the temporal realm it cannot be fully viewed by man.  (Exodus 33:18.)  God’s life is eternal.  “I have therefore been crucified with Christ.  It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me….”  (Galatians 2:20.)  “If we have been crucified with Christ then we have been buried with Christ.”   (Romans 6:3-5.)  The moment we accept Jesus into our lives we must change.  There is no way for Jesus to be in us and for us not to change, because when He enters us we immediately go from being temporal beings to being eternal beings.  Our spirits are eternal from the moment they are created by God, however, the dedication of our life is temporal until the split second that we meet and accept Jesus the Christ.  Every person who encountered Jesus and the Apostles either rejected the eternal life they were confronted with or accepted the eternal life and were immediately changed.  Of course, it was different in those days.  Acceptance of the cult of Jesus meant immediate danger to your life.  You immediately gave up the temporal things that surrounded you because they were no longer available.  There were no superstars of the Gospel.  Of course, they did not live in a superstar society like modern America.  There was only glory for Jesus; everyone else was subservient to Him.  Christians in the first century realized that they deserved only death.  God has given them a reprieve only for the sake of spreading the good news of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.  There was only one ministry—die to your flesh daily, live for Jesus every minute.


            In the temporal world there is no liberty.  We are called upon to die to our flesh and live to our spirit.  In the temporal world there is only death.  The true life lived in the spirit is a life dead to everything this world has to offer.  We sing about it on Sunday, but do we really believe it the rest of the time?  I do not think we really do.  Why?  Because a life lived in such a manner is a life lived without concern for the things of this earth.  Treasure is made only to be stored in heaven; any earthly treasure is a distraction to us as men and women of God.  It is human nature to place our hearts with the things we treasure.  God knows that, after all, He made us.  AFor where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  (Matthew 6.21.)  That is why He commands us to store our treasures in heaven, give away all that we have, for where our treasure is, there is our heart also.  He does not command us to place our earthly treasures in the proper section of our heart.  He commands us to turn our back on our earthly treasures.  There are no blind trusts with God when it comes to our earthly treasuresBtheir very existence will destroy us because eventually they will pull us from the eternal world back into the temporal world like Solomon.


Only in the temporal world there is pursuit of happiness.  In fact, in the true gospel of Jesus the Christ there is no pursuit of happiness.  This gem is from the French Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment.  It is a far cry from anything relating to the Gospel.  The Gospel is clearly about one thing the life that I now live, I live in Jesus.  Old things have passed away.  (II Corinthians 5.17.)  There is no pursuit of happiness that is guaranteed to the Christian.  In fact, it is against the very nature of the gospel as lived and preached by Jesus and the other great saints of the Church.  It is only a part of the gospel of man, the lord of the temporal world.  The deception for us comes from the belief that America is the new Israel, God’s chosen nation.  If that is true, and we are founded by Christian men, then we do not question that the pursuit of happiness is godly.  That is our mistake because pursuit of happiness is not inherently godly.


In my work as an attorney working predominately in the area of international human rights I often run across American Christians who insist that the problem with America is that we are not being true to our roots.  If we could only go back to the Declaration of Independence and live the life our Christian forefathers intended.  This is very troublesome to me.  First, many of our founding fathers were not Christians.  Society, in Western Europe, however, was heavily influenced by the Church and therefore even their pagan beliefs often were based in a Christian understanding of the world around them.  Thomas Jefferson was certainly not a Christian.  Yet he said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”


It also troubles me because it shows a clear lack of understanding of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.  Jesus is not and will never be an American.  He is a citizen of the eternal world.  His allegiance does not and never will lie with rulers of the temporal world.  He is the savior of the eastern and western man and woman.


So from the beginning we must face the fact that our religion and our nationality are separate completely.  I know that you are saying to yourself, how stupid, of course we knew that already.  There is, however, a big difference between saying that we already know something and living as if the thing we already know is true.  The key to Christianity is always how it affects our lives.  Thinking is not as important as living.  We act upon what we believe.  We do the things that are important to us, regardless of what we say.  The quickest most efficient way to analyze a man’s beliefs is to look at what consumes his time.  There is only one thing in this whole world that we really control and that is our time.  We sell it in small blocks and refer to it as a career.  We buy back even smaller blocks and call it a vacation.  We turn the money we earn at our jobs into time consumers through the objects we purchase.  We purchase items to take up more of our time.  These are the places where we can see what we really believe.  Our Americanism is rampant.  We export the best and the worst of what we have created.  Our theology is no exception.  We export as much theological nonsense as material nonsense.  We export doctrines about wealth and the rapture that all show where our beliefs really lie.  God has become an American.  America has become His chosen country the new Israel.  Reality is far from this theology, however.  We are not a chosen people.  I would submit that we are barely a Christian nation and in fact have barely ever been a Christian nation.  We are a republic founded on the principles of the enlightenment Christianized to be sure, but not necessarily Christian.  The best example to prove this point is the issue of marriage and divorce.  Divorce in America is a problem that is virtually unparalleled in the rest of the world.  We as a people cannot be faithful to our wives and husbands, how can we believe that we are remaining faithful to God.  Of course, our first reply to such an accusation is that this is a problem with the secular in America rather than the Christian.  Unfortunately for that argument, Christians have a divorce rate that is slightly higher than the rest of the country.  Our lives as an example are a testimony to the lack of commitment that the world already knows.  We are no example at all.  If we cannot be faithful to that which we have seen, how can we expect to remain faithful to that which we cannot see?  If we are faithful in the little things God has promised us bigger things.  (Luke 16.10.)  America is no longer the home of the free and the land of the brave–if it ever were.  Our leaders and our heroes are all weak examples of the reality of America.  They have no character, they have no moral strength.  They are not sold out to denying themselves for the common good.  In fact, the opposite is true; they are sold out to denying the common good for the sake of themselves.  This is the gospel; however, it is not the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.  It is the gospel of the depravity of man. 


I am never upset by the sins of the world; by its very nature the world must be sinful.  I am, however, very upset by the sins of the Church.  We complacently sit back and permit men to call on the name of the Lord in vain.  We call on the name of the Lord in vain.  Rather than serve a risen God before fallen man, we serve a risen man before a fallen God.  We can never change the society we live in with that approach.  We can only change the society we live in when we find the true purpose of life and live it out at all costs before the society  we so love.  Acceptance of sin has never changed man.  Passive living in the midst of sin has never changed man.  The only thing that can change man is the power of God and that can only be shone to man in two ways.


First, God can appear before any man He chooses.  You will notice that He seldom seems to choose this manner of changing man.  Second, and more often, God changes man by letting other men be the example of God’s ability to change man.  A drug addict changed through the twelve step programs is better off in the temporal world, even though he is still an addict living one day at a time.  I do not believe that he is necessarily better of in the eternal world, however.  A drug addict changed through the power of God is no longer a drug addict; he is set free by the life changing power of the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.


The most likely way for that change to occur is for a man to set aside the glory of the temporal world and live in the eternal.  This means giving up time and personal satisfaction to bring about painstaking change often in resistant changers.  That is what this life is supposed to be about, lest we forget.









The Coming Persecution

            Persecution is a word I have always been reluctant to use.  Even now, we do not experience persecution in America.  We have been faced with discrimination.  Do not get me wrong, discrimination is bad enough.  It is wrong.  And it harms those who experience it.  It disrupts faith.  It often comes with public embarrassment.  None of this adds up to persecution however.


            There are several shifts in the spiritual winds.  In Europe there have been changes in the past couple of decades.  In America these changes are coming even now.  They have begun with the war on terror.  The war on terror might be the most important fight in the physical realm we have ever experienced as a people.  We must, however, be careful that we do not—in the name of freedom from terror—give up our freedoms as Christians.


            In the 80s Europe began to experience fear of what they originally called “new religious movements.”  These movements were often from America.  Scientology was one of them.  In the wake of these movements European governments believed they had a right and an obligation to step in to protect their people from overzealous religious beliefs.  The interesting thing is that the zeal was defined by the government.


            Remember, these are socialist democracies and the people are not as prone to believe they have a right to disagree with their governments.  These governments have much more control over the people than Americans are used to.  So, when their governments began to move to “protect” the people from these religious groups there was not a lot of uproar.  After all, religion is okay as long as it does not affect your life.


            Out of this panic came the concept that what the Europeans refer to as “secte” are not just cults in the way we all define cults.  Out of this movement came the widespread belief that these “secte” were dangerous cults.  Because they were dangerous they deserved whatever they got from the government.  If they were banned from public life so be it. If they lost their tax exempt status or official recognition, so be it.  After all, the government’s real job is to protect the helpless from those who would prey on them.  Who preys on people more than religious people who are holding onto the superstitions of the past?  This is especially true in the age of science when the mysteries of the world have been solved.


            Quietly the entire Continent began to change how it viewed any religious group that was not part of the State Church system.  In some countries that was the Catholic Church, in others it was the Lutheran Church, in others it was the Anglican Church, and in others still it was the Eastern Orthodox Church.  The only thing that mattered was that if the religious group was not the State church, or Jewish, or Muslim, it should be treated with suspicion.


            This was reinforced in countries like France, Belgium, and Germany with Secte Reports.  These reports were not official acts of Parliaments, but they had the force of official acts with the public.  Newspapers published the lists.  In France over 170 organizations were on the list.  Of these, most were what we would consider cults.  Some of them would even be properly classified as dangerous cults.  Then, sprinkled in the list are a few groups that are considered mainstream Christian groups throughout the entire world.  At first glance it might be a simple mistake.  At closer look it is a clever plan.  They start with a list that includes groups few of us would argue to protect.  To that they add a couple of mainstream groups that are not part of the State system.  Then they sit and wait.


            In one instance in France the courts actually ruled that a Pentecostal church on the list was not a “secte” and restored their tax exempt status.  When the Parliament was given a copy of the court decision and asked to remove the Church from the list they replied that because it was not an official act of Parliament they could do nothing.  After all, what harm was a simple list?


            The Belgians added a couple of mainstream American mission organizations to their “Secte” List.  Youth With A Mission and Operation Mobilization are listed as dangerous cults in Belgium.  Additionally, they consider the Assemblies of God to be a dangerous cult.  Finally, the Belgians consider the Young Women’s Christian Association a dangerous cult.  Ironically, few Christians in America even think of the YWCA as a religious organization.  They are a great place to work out, swim, and play football (I’m sorry, soccer.)


            The German’s, true to their nature, kept their committee establishing what new religious movements were “secte” a secret.  After all, it might scare us if we knew there were so many dangerous cults in our midst.  Equally secret the Germans never released their list.  There were, nonetheless, rumors of groups that were listed that became public knowledge.  One such group was a Christian Church in Cologne, Germany.  This Church experienced true persecution.  They were harassed in the local and national press.  They were vilified on television.  Eventually, their tax exempt status was revoked.  The Senior Pastor’s wife suffered a fatal heart attack.  Church members children were mocked at school by friends—and by school officials.  After a five year battle the tax exempt status was restored.


            All of this occurred because of a secret commission and its “secret” report.  All of this passed unnoticed by the majority of Europeans.  After all, religion was for children and old people.  Enlightened, educated people did not need the crutch of religion to lead a fulfilled life.


            During this time fewer still in America paid attention.  We were having enough troubles of our own with Bible Clubs and prayer in public places.  Of course, this was the carefree days when we never thought we would have to face something like same-sex marriage.


            This first change in public opinion was necessary to bring Europe to the place where everything that follows can follow.  Without people putting their own discernment on the shelf and leaving the spiritual decision to government officials Europeans would never have been ready for the Post Christian sentiment to come forward.


            This movement was the continuation of a centuries long battle to eradicate religion from the public life of Europe.  Some might not be willing to go that far, but this is merely the next stage in the revolutions sparked by the Age of Enlightenment when man was determined to be the only truly intelligent being in the universe and therefore master of the universe.  The American Revolution was sparked by the Age of Enlightenment.


            Out of the “Secte” Reports came a French law known as the anti-cult law.  This law was designed to reinforce the idea that religion truly was the opiate of the people.  The old mores were passing.  The new world was full of promise and needed a new moral code to guide it.


            The French Anti-Cult Law is scary in its own right.  It is even scarier because it has lead to the same debate in Italy, Belgium, and believe it or not China.  The Chinese have even sent a delegation to Paris to learn how to enact such a law.  Imagine a communist government prohibiting religion and doing it under the excuse that they are merely following the lead of the Christian French.  The law was originally called the Law Against mental Manipulation.  The language regarding mental manipulation was taken out, but the same prejudice remained.  The prejudice that religion served no valid purpose in the public discourse and, therefore, should be restricted in public lead French law makers to criminalize evangelistic activities.  The law criminalizes an activity as simple as literature distribution if the person receiving the literature is a minor, a senior citizen, or a pregnant lady.  All these groups are considered easily influenced and therefore should not be given religious literature.


            Under the French law a person convicted on a second offense of distributing literature to children, the aged, or pregnant ladies can be imprisoned for up to five years and fined up to $75,000.  If the person is an elder or leader in a Church the entire Church property and finances can be confiscated by the Government.


            This is the persecution.  This is going on now in Europe.  If we do not think it could happen here, then let’s continue to ignore the growth of secularism.  Let’s continue to ignore the growth of politically correct speech.  Let’s continue to ignore the winds that are already blowing through America that say some topics are off limits in public because they are offensive.  Topics like, there is a hell, homosexuality is wrong, and there are moral absolutes and truths that transcend the will of man or man’s governments.


            If it can happen on the Continent where the Reformation was born and swept the world, it can happen here.


            To believe otherwise is arrogance, plain and simple.

Europe In Crisis

Morally adrift, Europe is waiting for someone, or something to come and take her.  Unfortunately for those of us who come from a Christian worldview, there are many ready to step up and redirect Europe.  Brussels is applying pressure throughout the European Union to accept modern views of tolerance and secularized views on matters that were once considered religious views.


Using its economic power the European Union is setting the tone for the entire continent.  The EU is demanding tolerance for everything except Christianity.  All things homosexual are being protected.  An example, when the Pride Parade hit the pedestrian areas of Oslo, Norway the only voices that were not allowed on the streets was the voice of one lone Christian preacher.  Petar Keseljevic was arrested for refusing to go away when he was preaching along the parade route about thirty minutes before the parade.


Petar’s case is now awaiting a decision by the European Court of Human Rights.  The International Human Rights Group has applied for the court to hear the case after it was lost at all levels in Norway.


In Germany there is great tolerance for those of the Islamic faith.  There is very little tolerance for all things Christian that are not part of the state church system.  The German government has, in the past, labeled many new religious groups—groups that are not within the narrow mainstream of the state church system—as cults or dangerous sects.  These groups, once labeled, are then discriminated against by the public and government officials.


Home school is illegal in Germany, primarily because a majority of home school families are Christian in their worldview.  Though it is not said out loud, Christianity is considered an antiquated religion that is for backwards bigots.  After all, the Church does not believe in modern science, she does not believe in tolerance for all worldviews.  Weren’t the Crusades started by Christians?  If that is true, then Christianity must be irrelevant.


The French have a law that makes it illegal to present religious views to weak people if the attempt is made to convert the person who is considered weak by the law.  You can end up in jail for violating the law.


Who are weak people?  Weak people include the elderly, the young (anyone not of majority age), handicapped people, and pregnant women.


Just handing literature to one of these people causes you to violate the law.


We have to begin bringing a resurgence of Christian faith to Europe.  It is critical to the future of western civilization.


Or we can simply let the trends continue and write Europe off as a lost Continent.

Has Anyone Seen Jesus?

It might be time to put out a missing persons report.    Here in the land of big churches and big ministries we should see evidence of Jesus everywhere.  Marriages and families should be healthy.  Crime should be low.  Drug abuse and sex abuse should be things of the past. 


With all the books on Jesus you would think we could see Him everywhere.  Yet, He is hard to find.  He is our own religious Waldo.  Somewhere out there, in the crowd, there has to be a Jesus, but can you find Him.


It is getting more and more difficult to find Christians living like Christians.  The Scriptures must have known we would end up here when they declared that the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil.  Money drives everything we do.  It even drives the church and ministries.  Instead of acting with integrity we push the truth too far in order to make money.


We justify salaries that would feed hundreds if not thousands in third world countries.  We justify lifestyles that the Bible clearly warns us against.  We value the rich more than the poor.  We favor those who can advance our careers or our bank accounts over those with a pure heart and no money.


Everything we do revolves around self.  Instead of dying to our self, we let others die so that our self might be glorified.


The idea that we are called to take up our cross and die to ourselves is so foreign to us that we do not even think about it any more. 


Maybe just maybe we can back up and find Jesus—right here in the land of religious freedom.

China Anyone?

The past days have shown us just what freedom looks like behind the Bamboo Curtain.  As the Olympic Torch has fought its way around the world we have watched the Chinese refuse to act intelligently.  Like the Catholic Church ignoring pedophile priest, the Chinese seem to think that they can control the public media around the world the way they control the media within their own country.  It is funny how old men often fail to believe that the changes in communication they hear about are real.


Okay, so some people want to protest your harsh approach to freedom—an approach which in generations past was known as slavery.  In our more enlightened world we have to show tolerance so we call it economic freedom and we give out most favored nation trade status.


One thing we should be learning is that freedom cannot exist in a place that dedicates itself to repressing all forms of freedom known to man.  For decades China has hidden behind her borders. 


Now, with the Olympic Games in Beijing, we get the chance to look behind the Bamboo Curtain.  The first peek we have been given by the Torch Relay is that what lies behind the Curtain is worse than we had imagined.


Missionaries are being deported.  Local Christians are being imprisoned, put into slave labor, and in some instance threatened with death.  Pogroms continue.


Unfortunately for those who suffer, Chinese products are a lot cheaper than anyone else’s, so we are willing to overlook a few problems for the sake of a cheaper life of luxury.


The only question left is whether we will do anything with the knowledge we are gaining with our look into China or merely continue on our merry way—living our blessed lives without a care.


My guess is that we will continue on our merry way.  After all, tomorrow there will probably be a car chase on the television and that should be enough to distract us.

Books Worth Reading

C.S. LEWIS--Mere Christianity; CLAIRE BERLINSKI--Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis is America's Crisis, Too; BRUCE BAWER--While Europe Slept: How Radical islam is Destroying the West from Within; DAVID LEVERING LEWIS--God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215; THOMAS SCHIRRMACHER--The Persecution of Christians Concerns Us All; PHILIP JENKINS--God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis

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