After writing a series of posts about the church, only one hymn seems fitting. The hymn writer shifts the focus from the church itself to the One Who established the church as His bride.
Usually, I introduce Sunday hymns with lengthy musings on them, and usually doing so has merit. In this case, however, the hymn simply provides a conclusion to my series. May we remember that the church belongs to Christ and exists for His glory.
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Don’t kid yourselves. Even if Donald Trump wins a second term in 2020, he can’t stop (or even delay) the growing persecution against Christians in the United States. He may be the most powerful man in the world, but he’s only a man. From what I’ve observed, his position on LBGTQ issues appear somewhat ambiguous, leading me to doubt his ability to preserve religious liberties. And, as you’ll see in tomorrow’s edition of Saturday Sampler, California lies under the control of Planned Parenthood in regard to its court system.
But I don’t want to debate politics right now. Rather, I want to emphasize that not even a conservative president possesses the power to Continue reading
Arguably the biggest problem with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is the insulation from face-to-face communication. It always has been easier to say things in writing rather than speaking to someone in person; I get that. Twice, I received romantic rejections from men who wrote letters because they lacked the courage to face me. Writing puts us in control by shielding us from the reactions of others.
As a complication, social media provides a layer of anonymity. We may not have ever met that person we fight with on Twitter, and we may never meet her. So we don’t feel all that bothered if we end up Continue reading
When I tell people (particularly those engaged in youth ministry) that I spent my high school years attending three Bible Studies a week in which we actually studied the Bible, they often respond by saying kids are different now. Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites have shortened their attention spans so that they have trouble sitting through a half-hour verse-by-verse exposition of God’s Word. Teens in the 21st Century need games to work off their energy and snacks to look forward to after sitting through a 15-minute topical teaching.
A few years ago, for instance, a youth group leader from another church told me Continue reading
As John and I exited Boston’s Prudential Tower Wednesday, we started down Boylston Street toward the Public Garden. Just outside the door, I noticed a saxophone player. Now, it’s not really unusual to find musicians scattered throughout the city, especially in areas that have a high amount of foot traffic. Most of the time, I pass by them enjoying the music momentarily. They’re part of Boston’s charm.
This particular saxophone player intrigued me because the first five notes he played sounded just like the first five notes of the hymn, My Hope Is In The Lord. I strained to hear whether or not he was actually playing the hymn, but I couldn’t quite tell. I rather doubt it.
Since then, I’ve been thinking about the hymn, and about where I place my hope. Certainly, this world offers little hope as it gleefully plummets toward its endorsement of sin at breakneck speeds. Christians who refuse to acquiesce to the demands of the liberal culture must expect increasing levels of pushback and eventual persecution. Even denominations that, a mere three years ago could be counted on to stand on the bedrock of Scripture have begun bowing to the world’s corrupt values.
We can’t hope in anything or anybody!
But we can hope in the Lord. And maybe our crumbling society reminds us to keep our hope fixed decidedly on Him. When we recall His sacrifice for us at Calvary, we can rest confident in His faithfulness toward us. Against the darkness, we can sing cheerfully that our hope is in the Lord.
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Last week Amazon pulled books about “conversion therapy” (therapy helping people overcome homosexuality) from its website. Last week Facebook warned one of its users that posting a meme quoting 1 Timothy 2:12 was hate speech. Last week apologist James White cautioned his readers that our ability to speak out for Christ on mainstream social media platforms is quickly coming to an end.
Admittedly, such persecution is minor compared to things Christians in other countries endure for the sake of Christ. I’ve served as a contact person for missionaries in both our previous church and our current church — a position that allows me to read about people who receive physical torture for turning from Islam to Jesus Christ. A missionary from our former church regularly writes to me chronicling the intense suffering and resolute faith of a woman she led to Christ. Believe me, nothing American Christians presently face is anything like what that lady goes through on a daily basis.
At least not Continue reading
For the first three decades of my adult life, I was involved with ex-gay ministry on some level. Readers of my Autobiography With Purpose will find some details of that involvement here and here. When I moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Greater Boston Area in 2002, I thought I’d never have to write about homosexuality again. Or even think about it.
Less than three years later, Massachusetts Continue reading