Tuesday, November 18, 2008

China setting new standards for religious freedom...

This story from ChinaAid.org tells the story of Zhu Baoguo, a house church pastor in China. He was arrested in mid-October for the crime of being a leader of an "evil cult," namely Christianity. On October 30 he was sentenced to 1 year of "re-education through labor."

This is obviously wrong, but it doesn't look like the Chinese government is going to stop persecuting Christians anytime soon.

How can Christians affect what's going on over there? I see a few ways:
  • Pray! Pray for Pastor Zhu, who is going to be away from his friends and family for a while. He also has a heart condition, which makes matters worse. Pray for God's protection and comfort for him and his family.
  • Pray! Pray for the leaders of the Chinese government. The most powerful force for change in the world is still God's saving work in a person's heart. We are one revival away from seeing the end of persecution in China.
  • Inform U.S. government leaders that this is an important issue to you. We hold massive amounts of power over the Chinese if we choose to use it. Unfortunately, the vast majority of our politicians are more concerned with pocketing money from those who do business with China than they are with how Chinese Christians are treated. Maybe those politicians need to know how we feel.
  • Remember that all that cheap stuff we buy from China comes with a heavy price, including the blood and freedom of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Keep that in mind while your doing that Christmas shopping...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Most tolerant people on earth...

Proposition 8 was on the ballot here in California last Tuesday. It was an amendment to the state constitution, saying that marriage was to be defined as only between a man and a woman. The intent was to make homosexual marriage illegal in California. It passed.

I have some mixed feelings about it, mostly because I think Christians are overly-focused on the evils of the homosexual lifestyle, while ignoring many of the other sins of society.

Since the election, relatively small groups of homosexual activists have been protesting, demanding tolerance and acceptance of gay marriage. Only, it seems that the tolerance only goes one way. Watch what happens when an elderly lady tries to express a differing opinion:

From KPSP news, Palm Springs, CA

Veterans Day...

To everyone who served, and the families who waited, hoping they would make it back home, thank you. My family is free to work, play, and worship because of what you did.

Here's a story of one of these heroes: John Ripley

Ripley passed away recently, but we are richer because he was here.

His words at the end are profound. "When you know you're not going to make it, a wonderful thing happens. You stop being cluttered by the feeling that you're going to save your butt."

I wonder how different I would live if I really understood that I'm only here for a short time, and no one here gets out alive...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

NFTW #021--A "Kingdom of God" perspective on the election; Are you a Christian atheist?

The election is over! How do Christians put everything into the right perspective?

Also, are you a Christian atheist?

Listen here:

Or download this episode by right-clicking here.

Here’s a link to Wyman Richardson’s very thoughtful blog post.

Read 1 Peter 1:17-21.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The best perspective on the election I've seen...

From Walking Together. A lot of wisdom there...

Success is Counted Sweetest by Emily Dickinson

#67: Success is counted sweetest

by Emily Dickinson

Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne'er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple Host
Who took the Flag today
Can tell the definition
So clear of Victory

As he defeated — dying —
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Burst agonized and clear!

"Success is counted sweetest" by Emily Dickinson. Public domain.

The real election day decision...

Finally, a look at the real issues/candidates:

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

(Not every video at Funny or Die is family-friendly, so browse at your own risk!)

Monday, November 3, 2008

What matters to me--Obama vs. McCain...

I haven't talked a lot about the presidential campaign. Mostly that's because I'm pretty disgusted by the whole system. And, between the voter registration fraud that's going on all over the country, I'm afraid we're slipping ever closer to being a third-world country, politically-speaking.

I also have a firm belief that God is totally in control of what happens. He is not bound by political systems, poll results, or voting trends. And there is no doubt He is at work, no matter who's in that fancy house on Pennsylvania Avenue.

That being said, there are a few issues that are important to me as a Christian (and not just as an American). I think they should be important to people of faith. The biggest question is one that is really foundational: what value do we put on human life?

It's an important question, and there is a portion of society that seems determined to lower the value we place on human life. (Don't believe me? Look here, here, here, and here for details.) And unfortunately, the guy who is probably going to win the election believes that unborn humans have no rights, even if they are born alive after a botched abortion.

Obama's views on life issues make it impossible for me to even consider voting for him, even if he was good on every other issue (which he isn't).

We'll know for sure what happens in just a few hours. Either way, we believers need to remember where our hope lies...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

NFTW #020--Doing church vs. being the church; Becoming who you are...

One church closed last Sunday so that its attendees could “be” the church. What would it mean if we all were committed to living out a New Testament faith?

Also, are you trying to squeeze yourself into a life that doesn’t fit you anymore?

Listen to the podcast here:

Or download by right-clicking here.

Here’s the Christian Post article I read.

And, here’s 1 Peter 1:13-17 from Bible Gateway.