Category Archives: World

Do I Have to Carve Jesus into a Pumpkin to be a Christian at Halloween?

Halloween is met with mixed reactions from Christians. Some say that participating in Halloween gives sanction to a holiday that promotes witches, divination, and other occult practices. Others participate in the drunkenness and debauchery that accompany the holiday. And still others create “hell housesjesus-pumpkin4” at their church, attempting to shock young people and scare them into becoming Christians.

We’ve all heard reasons why Christians shouldn’t celebrate Halloween, and there’s no doubt that the origin of this holiday was pagan in nature. But what if, as Christians, we used Halloween well, not celebrating its pagan roots but redeeming it for Christ’s purposes? You don’t have to carve Jesus into a pumpkin to glorify God this year (but props to you if you can do it). Here’s a few ways to think about Halloween: 

A Prayer for Election Day

vote-button-3The Bible encourages us to pray for our elected officials. First Timothy 2:1-2 urges “first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” Election day seems like a particularly good day for that kind of prayer:

Is a Child with Microcephaly Useless to Society?

Read any health section in a newspaper and you’ll find news of the Zika virus and its effects everywhere. Gaining more media attention as of late is the fact that as more babies are born with microcephaly, more countries are having to think about changing their abortion laws. One article in the New York Times made me abruptly pause while reading, surprised and shocked at the words of a major hospital director in Colombia. He was “firm that any woman whose fetuses showed signs of the condition would be offered [an abortion]. No woman, he said, should be forced to carry “a child that, in a few words, is useless to society.”’

But as I thought further, maybe I shouldn’t have been so shocked at what he said, at his view of a child with a birth defect. After all, we are a society that values the powerful, the clever, and the beautiful. We have reality TV shows that exalt the “survivor,” while the weak, vulnerable, and dispensable are mere liabilities. As we age, we do all we can to conquer the enemies of gray hair and wrinkles – advertisers play on our expectations that we can eliminate pain and imperfection. Chronic weaknesses of body, mind, or soul are to be dealt with and quickly moved past or covered up. It’s as if we are saying, to be human is to be powerful and capable and self-sufficient. 

The End of All Goodbyes

Mark 12:24-27: Jesus said to [the Sadducees, who deny the resurrection], “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the

The Cross is Worth Dying For

If you’ve seen the news this week, you likely saw that ISIS released a propaganda video Sunday showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya – “the people of the cross,” as ISIS describes them.

Many of us saw the news and felt shock, hurt, and deep sadness tangled up inside of us. There are so many questions, so much we want to ask as we mourn the lives of these men.

While there is no blog post that can do this topic justice or accurately celebrate these lives, I was reminded by these men that the cross is worth dying for. No matter what persecution or suffering awaits us, we are all better off not renouncing our faith, even if our lives here on earth will end. It is better to suffer for doing good, as 1 Peter 3 reminds us.

You Probably Won’t Change the World

After a long exile in Babylon, the Israelites finally received long awaited news: they could return to Jerusalem. They sang songs on their way, longing for God’s glorious city. Instead they found a unwalled, ruined desolation. The book of Nehemiah chronicles how they rebuilt the wall and protected the city. Today Christian leadership books/sermons often

Inverting Your Christian Geography

Do you think of Christianity as western phenomenon? Do you think of America as the quintessential leader in missions, theology, and worship? Truth be told, I often do. As an American it’s easy to think that we’re the center of Christianity’s gravity, that in some sense all movements fall in our direction. But Christianity is no

Is Child Sponsorship Effective?

This Sunday I am going to be preaching on James 1:27 and our God given responsibility to look after those in need, specifically orphans and widows. For the next two Sundays there will be an opportunity to sign up to sponsor a child through Compassion International. My family has sponsored kids over the years through

Pastor in Iranian Jail

Saeed Abedini was born in Iran but moved to the United States and eventually became a U. S. citizen in 2010 when he married his wife Nagemheh. They have two young children. Saeed is a pastor and makes frequent trips to Iran including a recent one in which he was helping to start an orphanage.

The Politico

It is no secret the political climate is heating up as we find ourselves in another election year. There has already been significant turnover within the primary season as many incumbents are finding their constituents less than impressed with their legislative efforts and voting record. One of the first major upsets of the primary season