Peeled and Healed

I set the lady straight via e-mail—no punches pulled. Just the facts, ma’am. Others were gossiping online about her alleged unethical actions, and I thought she should know about it (after all, I would want to know). I didn’t bother with the whole tact thing. Just typed and hit “send”—grim righteousness without love, clouds without rain, surgery without anesthesia.
keyboardThe false security of my computer screen vanished as the recipient went ballistic, and the e-mail went public. No use to protest, “But she didn’t ask my permission to publish it online.” The feathers have exited the pillow, Elvis has left the building, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot put the nail back onto the horse’s shoe. My kingdom for a horse … or a bird. “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest” (Ps. 55:6).

I had to apologize to an online group of over 200 people, some of whom I have known (online and/or in person) for five years. If only I had prayed first, taken a few beats (and a few drafts), and then given it a go. Maybe my words would have been more like “apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Prov. 25:11) rather than like the “piercings of a sword” (Prov. 12:18).
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Marketing Gimmick or Means of Grace? Part 2

More on the Blessings of Small Groups

In my last article, I sought to address some of the reasons that led us to begin a small-group ministry at our church. In this offering, my initial plan was to attempt to explain what a typical midweek service (Wednesday evenings for us) looks like at Calvary. However, the plans of men are plans at best. So as I considered ordus small groupus (not real Latin), I unity1.jpgrealized that there were a few logistical questions that probably needed to be dealt with before I explain what we do in our services. To be sure, we certainly still have much to learn about in this area; however, after being involved in this ministry for a couple of years, we have by God’s grace managed to work out a few of the kinks. It is my hope that this discussion will be a help to those interested in fostering a greater sense of community in their church body through the use of small groups. Lord willing, those reading will both glean from our successes and learn from our failures (which have been many). As you read, bear in mind that this is by no means a theological treatise but simply an attempt to address some of the practical issues that may arise with those involved in a small-group ministry.
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Islamic Paradise

Note: See other articles in the Islam series: Islamic Ideology and Islamic Infrastructure.

Nearly all religions have views of some “happy hunting grounds” that lie beyond physical death. Most have but little correspondence to what Christians understand of heaven. That is particularly true of the “paradise” perceived by Muslims. Differences are great; similarities are few.
719341_suleymeniye_mosque.jpgA first distinction to recognize is that Allah is just as totally removed from paradise as he is from this earth. He is totally apart from man, totally unapproachable, totally incomprehensible. Allah is pure will. He has no attributes. Fellowship with Allah is unthinkable. A Christian, in contrast, considers that in heaven we will enjoy blessed, eternal, unhindered, direct communion with our Creator, free from any sinful tendencies or influences of the world, the flesh, or the devil.
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The Want of Worthy Worship

Note: Dr. Sam Horn is host of The Word for Life radio program.

by Dr. Sam Horn

We leave our places of worship, and no deep and inexpressible wonder sits on our faces. We can sing these lilting melodies; and when we get out into the streets our faces are one with the faces of those who have left the theaters and music halls. There is nothing about us to suggest that we’ve been looking at anything stupendous and overwhelming. Far back in my boyhood I remember an old saint telling me that after some servichorn_woods.jpges he liked to make his way back home alone by the quiet paths, so that the hush of the Almighty might remain on his awed and prostrated soul. This is the element we are missing.

J. H. Jowett

In recent years, worship has become the new topic of theological discussion in contemporary American Evangelicalism. Seminars abound to discuss new ways to “do worship.” Books and articles have exploded on the scene, articulating every conceivable variation on worship. Even secular America has tuned in and turned on to worship. Newsweek, Time magazine, and even news programming on prime-time network television have commented on American’s return to spirituality and church. And no one is paying more attention to this trend than Evangelicalism.
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The Centrality of God in Youth Discipleship

The recent New York Times article, “Evangelicals Fear the Loss of Their Teenagers,” has stirred up a great deal of conversation among fundamentalists and evangelicals alike. While the article focused on broader Evangelicalism, many fundamentalists are wrestling with the same phenomenon. Upon graduation from high school, far too many teenagers follow the call of the wild, drift away from the church, and (in some cases) repudiate their faith in Christ.
teens1.jpgThere is a sense in which this development should not be surprising at all. Since World War II, youth ministry in the United States has taken on a life of its own. Parachurch organizations were founded to focus on evangelizing and serving teenagers. Pastoral positions were created for the sole purpose of meeting the needs of high school students. And the Christian school movement has deluded some parents into thinking that their children’s academic environment will inevitably produce a disciple of Christ.
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Christian Law Association—The SharperIron Interview | Part 3—Terri Schiavo

gibbs.jpgI recently had the privilege of interviewing David Gibbs III, attorney for the Christian Law Association (Seminole, FL). I conducted four interviews with Dr. Gibbs and Matt Davis, another attorney for the Gibbs Law Firm (Seminole, FL).

We have broadcast two interviews already, and the next two will deal with Dr. Gibbs’ work on the Terri Schiavo case. This month marks the two-year anniversary of her death. I believe that it is helpful to understand the true nature of this case as it speaks to the issue of life, one of our most basic rights.

gibbs_book.jpg

Jason Janz

Listen to the interview (33:37 min., 30.78 MB).

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SI and Funding

When SI began, I wanted to create a blog and forum to discuss news and ideas. Now, after two years, the site has grown to become much more than that. It’s an online magazine, a resource for pastors, a web community, and a news outlet. What it took to run the site at the beginning and what it takes now are worlds apart. Basically, Greg Linscott and I started 712498_pig.jpgthis site out of our “garage.” Now the site has more than a dozen moderators, more than 50 writers, a tech team, an executive team, and a traffic stream of about 3,500 visits a day.

The success of SI, however, has had its downside. First, SI began to take a larger chunk out of my life and out of the lives of others who were helping to run it. This site began as a diversion for me, and I am committed to keeping it that way. The site fits into one of my life passions of helping pastors and church leaders. But running a website isn’t my passion. Blogging isn’t my passion; however, SI continues to be a blessing to many pastors and church leaders, so I continue to run the site. However, the site needs to be manageable and not infringe on my other priorities. In order to do that, I need help.
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