Tuesday, April 29, 2008

An Introduction for Christ

If you do not know Him like this, you just need to get to know Him!

Essentials for Christian Service

A member of the church where I serve told me about 5 C’s that he tries to live by

1. Christ Centered
2. Committed
3. Courageous
4. Coaching Others
5. Character

In no way do I think this is a complete list, but it is definitely a great start. I would add Called and Qualified, although I might write it as “Cualified” to fit wit the C list. If anyone reads this, which I do not think they do, what would you add? It is my hope to fulfill these 5 + 2 C’s for Christian service.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Confidence vs. Cowardice

A buddy of mine recently talked about 4 things that make him more qualified than anyone else in his church to be pastor and set the direction for the church. Having served in a church where my bosses always, ALWAYS, pulled the spiritual authority/submission card, I have been hesitant to even think about this topic… there is just something about an insecure pastor pulling this card that makes me sick…

Anyway, my buddy was talking about why he should be confident as senior pastor of his church to set the direction and I could not help but see the merit in his reasoning. If nothing else it added credibility to the calling of God on a man, and the benefits of being faithful to that which God has called us to do. His four reasons to be confident were:

1. Education – if one has never invested in an education, there is an obvious lack of credibility. However, God has used many uneducated men for His glory. It does truly bother me when people are dogmatic towards pursuing or having an education, because most of the time preachers who do not feel it is needed are really to lazy to go out and get one.

2. Experience – Being able to look at your congregation and say, I’ve seen God come through before, let’s watch Him do it again not only inspires, it motivates a church to try big things for God.

3. Call of God – Before you cling to this reason to be bold, make sure you have a list of people who follow you who agree with what you see as God’s call upon your life. It is difficult to look at a young minister who chose to study instead of server during seminary and believe the have the call of God on their life as well. In other words, prove the call by serving God (like a James approach).

4. Call of your church – Every single person in the church should agree that only the pastor is called by the church to do that job. If someone wants to look over your shoulder and tell you have to properly fulfill your task, ask them who commissioned them to be the pastor… they should get the point although many never seem to understand.[

Hopefully, we pastors can humbly look at these four reasons to be bold and not lord it over the places we serve, but act confidently in the tasks God has called us to!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Is the Culture War really over?

This morning I was catching up on work and reading Brian Jones’ website (http://www.brianjones.com). He made a very interesting post about the culture war. He stated that the culture war is over and we lost. In his blog he said he went to go see a movie, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall (knowing absolutely nothing about the movie). Dumb idea. Within 2 minutes we were staring at a guy’s penis. A few minutes after that we in line to get a refund for our tickets. Listen, I’ve been to a few rated R movies and have NEVER seen anything like that. What the heck is going on? I’m with Jud Wilhite at Central Christian in Las Vegas. There is no “culture war” going on any longer. There may have been a war at one time, but we lost. Do you hear that? The culture war is over. We lost.”

Unfortunately, I totally agree. Not only have we lost, it was no contest. We have laid down and accepted the fate that we cannot compete or have a voice with the world. You would think Christians would have the sense to learn from our mistakes (i.e. Roe v. Wade) and use the voice God has given us, but we remain silent. Why?

Recently, Fox 23 here in Tulsa aired a Degrassi show at 9:00AM during Fox Kids where a boy was hiding that he was gay. Not only is the gay thing wrong, why have any sexuality matters discussed during Kids programming. Many people from our church sent letters and emails to the station director at my request, and she came back calling the show educational and informative… educational and informative! Part of me was unsure whether or not we should take a stand, but I feel like we cannot act like the Christians did during the holocaust and sing a little louder as people are getting murdered. We must use our voices to take a stand.

If we continue with our current strategy of being silent and taking it on the chin, we will find that it is over and that which was once unimaginable is now on Saturday mornings for our little ones to see. That is pathetic, and we can do better!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Give Ewing Jr. His Due

Everyonce in a while there is a dunk that deserves special attention. Patrick Ewing Jr. deserves props for this one!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Vaccine - Autism Link Afterall?

Further adding to the controversy:

Officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have agreed that vaccines administered to a 9-year old girl contributed to her condition. Hannah Poling of Athens, GA, and her family may be receiving compensation from the federal vaccine fund, although the exact amount of the award is not yet known. The girl began presenting with signs of autism three months after receiving series of routine shots administered to her at the age of 19 months. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the document provided by the government does not suggest a clear-cut link between vaccines and autism, but rather admits that childhood immunizations further aggravated the girl’s underlying mitochondrial disorder, which evolved in a condition “with features of autism spectrum disorder.” Autism and other autism spectrum disorders are permanent neurological disorders characterized by altered social interaction and communication. It is estimated that 1 in 150 children may be affected by autism or related disorders.

The case of Hannah Poling will likely reignite the debate over possible link between vaccines and autism. While the exact cause of autism is not known to science, some argue that a mercury-based vaccine preservative, thimerosal (also known as thiomersal), may be responsible for the development of autism in some children. Since 2001, thimerosal has been removed from most vaccines in the U.S. and the European Union. Some of the vaccines which may still contain thimerosal, include inactivated influenza vaccine, tetanus toxoid, diphtheria and tetanus (DT) and tetanus and diphtheria (Td). Of these, only inactivated influenza vaccine is commonly recommended for use in children. Thiomersal is still being used in vaccines in countries around the world, most likely due to the fact that the World Health Organization has stated that there is no evidence of any link between thiomersal and the development of autism.While some public figures and celebrities advocate the link between vaccines and autism, pediatricians worry that some children may not receive valuable shots, because of parental concerns over vaccine-autism link. The final decision about vaccinating their children belongs to the parents, it only seems responsible that they discuss their concerns with their physicians and weigh the risks and benefits of either action.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Autism, Quack theories, & My Son

For most of my life I have had the fear that my children would be born with the same defect I was born with, a cleft lip and pallet. What makes this scary is that it is mostly genetic, with nothing to prevent it. Now there is a new hot topic with regards to children, autism. Hollywood, Jenny McCarthy in particular, have been pushing a link between autism and vaccines. Vaccines containing thimerosal are said to increase the likelihood of autism greatly. However, scientists have long been discrediting any link between the two.

What we do know is that Autism is a debilitating disorder, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is suffered by 1 in 150 kids, making it more common than childhood cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. For me this is huge, because at any moment my wife will give birth to our second child, Coleman Britton. If there is a link between the two, is it not my obligation as a parent to protect him by not giving him the vaccines? Am I falling into the quack theories? Does it even matter?

I cannot say that I have the answers to any of these theories. However, I do know the FDA did acknowledge that there could be a connection (according to a quote read on Oprah), but they are not saying that is definite. With all these conspiracy theories, we are planning on significantly delaying the vaccines containing thimerosal, which are the MMR & seasonal influenza vaccine. We do not feel led to go without these two, simply to delay them. Not that anyone reads this blog, but if someone does please let me know your thoughts.