Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Heart-Breaking Story of Lost Faith

"He has showed you, O man, what is good,
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8, NIV).

I debated with myself about posting a link to this story (,0,2152302.story?coll=la-tot-topstories&track=ntottext), but it's too important to overlook. It's the story of a reporter for the Los Angeles Times who lost his faith as he reported on religion. He witnessed Catholic priests who had raped children being defended by both lay members and higher clergy. He saw incredible corruption within churches. He observed the dishonesty, greed, and selfishness of TBN's prosperity preachers (and the silence of more respectable ministers who refused to speak out against those who are taking advantage of gullible viewers). In the end, the corruption within churches and ministries interfered with a young reporter's ability to connect with God. He came to some wrong conclusions about God, but after reading about his spiritual journey, I understand how he arrived there.

His story is a graphic reminder that how the people of God live has a great impact on the way that other people view him. I need to live consistently in a Christ-like manner. I do not want to make potential believers turn away from Jesus Christ.

Creation Weekend

"And God said, 'Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.' And it was so" (Genesis 1:24, NIV).

Tulsa's Incredible Pizza Company is hosting its first Creation Weekend. With dinosaur bones and a presentation about the biblical account of the creation of all animals (including dinosaurs), the company is promoting a biblical worldview of history.

Janet and I took Christopher yesterday. Of course, he loved it. What could be better to a 4 year old boy than pizza, dinosaur bones, and video games?

Our local newspaper ran a story about the exhibit, which was fairly good until the article attempted to discredit creationism near the end of the story. It may be viewed at

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Christian Adoption Movement

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (James 1:27, NIV).

Earlier this week, the Dallas Morning News ran an excellent story about a growing movement within conservative evangelical Christianity to adopt children. Several ministries like Focus on the Family and FamilyLife have joined together as allies in promoting adoption. In the story, "Fighting Abortion Issue, Christians Turn to Adoption," the newspaper went beyond reporting about the national movement; it told several individual stories about adoptive families and included an informative question-and-answer section. The article may be read at

Friday, July 27, 2007

"God---My Prayer" by Tom Faith

Earlier this week, Tom Faith (one of our janitors at my office) approached me. He shared many of his regrets about living a life without the Lord for so many years. He is about 60 years old now. Tom has recently turned to Christ for forgiveness.

Today, he gave me a copy of a poem that he wrote about his experiences. He gave me permission to let others see it on the Internet. This is his prayer and poem:

God---My Prayer
by Tom Faith

I have been in the dark searching
for peace only to find pain.
Always looking for the sunlight
only to wake up in the rain.

I have done nothing to
deserve your Son.
I turned away from his love.
It is why I never saw the sun.

I will never give up,
I never will.
Because he died for me
on that hill.

I don't know about tomorrow.
I just live for today.
Please stand beside me, Jesus,
because you know the way.

Your forgiveness
is always felt.
But please help me, Lord,
to forgive myself.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Racial Harmony in the Churches of Christ

In the current Christian Chronicle, Bobby Ross Jr. asks, "Isn't it time we showed the world that God's people are not one color, or even two, but all colors?" It's a good question and a very good opinion piece for the Chronicle. "Breaking Down Color Barriers in the Church" may be viewed at

How to Respond to Militant Atheists

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:43-44, NIV).

In The Lookout magazine this week, Tim Woodroof has a good article titled Atheist Chic which describes the growing popularity of militant atheism in American culture. Mr. Woodroof also describes some good ways to respond to the trend. The article may be read at If his article has been replaced, scroll down and you should be able to find a link to it among the previously published articles. The Lookout is among the best Christian magazines available online.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

No One on Earth Like Him

"Then the LORD said to Satan, 'Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil'" (Job 1:8, NIV).

What an awesome compliment from the only one who could know such information: God himself.

Job was a special man. He loved the Lord and his family. Although a man of great wealth and influence in his society, he never became corrupted by greed, power, or selfishness. In fact, reflecting on his past, Job said,

"Oh, for the days when I was in my prime,
when God's intimate friendship blessed my house...
When I went to the gate of the city
and took my seat in the public square,
the young men saw me and stepped aside
and the old men rose to their feet;
the chief men refrained from speaking
and covered their mouths with their hands;
the voices of the nobles were hushed,
and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.

Whoever heard me spoke well of me,
and those who saw me commended me,
because I rescued the poor who cried for help,
and the fatherless who had none to assist him.
The man who was dying blessed me;
I made the widow's heart sing.
I put on righteousness as my clothing;
justice was my robe and my turban.
I was eyes to the blind
and feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy;
I took up the case of the stranger.
I broke the fangs of the wicked
and snatched the victims from their teeth" (Job 29:4, 7-17, NIV).

Job used his wealth, his influence, and his gifts in order to benefit the poor, the orphans, the widows, the disabled, the immigrants, and victims of injustice. He became a model of the kind of righteousness that comes from "God's intimate friendship" (Job 29:4, NIV). He became a source of inspiration and encouragement for the people of God who would come after him.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Million Father March

"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4, NIV).

An interesting article appeared on the editorial page of the Oklahoma Eagle, the local black newspaper, on July 19, 2007. "Million Father March: Second chance for black fathers" by Phillip Jackson informs readers about a project designed to motivate black fathers to take their children to class on the first day of school this year. I liked that idea, but I had already planned to take Christopher to his first day of pre-K next month anyway.

Here are a few quotes from the article:

"Father's Day was a severe disappointment in America's black communities this year because census figures show that 70 percent of black children are born into single-parent, female-headed households.

"Congratulations to the 30 percent of black fathers who do live in households with their children; however, this small number of fathers who maintain homes for their children is not enough. Even with fathers who live in the household, many are not spiritually, emotionally and socially connected or involved in their children's lives.

"This late summer and fall of 2007, black fathers, and fathers and men of all races, get a second chance to celebrate Father's Day. This 'Real Father's Day' is the time for fathers and men to take their children to school during the 4th Annual Million Father March, sponsored by The Black Star Project in Chicago, Illinois, and throughout this nation. In 200 cities in America and around the world on the morning of the first day of school, more than 500,000 men and women of all races are expected to take a 'short holiday' from work to march with their children to school.

"What is the value of a connected, caring father in the social and educational developmental lives of children? Data from the National Fatherhood Initiative show that girls and boys who have nurturing, caring fathers in their lives in meaningful ways earn better grades and higher test scores, and have better attendance and higher graduation rates from high school. With strong father connections, these children are less likely to be suspended or drop out of school, engage in violent behavior, or experiment with drugs, alcohol or pre-marital sex. A key solution to fixing problems in the Black community, or any community, is the constructive involvement of fathers in the lives of their children...

"You only need to visit a nearby jail or prison to see the sociological impact of father absence on the lives of young boys and young men. From 60 percent to 90 percent of the black men in a jail or prison grew up in father-absent homes...Fathers and strong positive men are the brick and mortar necessary to create viable communities. Fathers matter in the lives of our children...

"A good father is part of a good parent team, and a good father is critical to creating a strong family structure. Strong family structures produce children who are more academically proficient, socially developed and self-assured. Such children become adults who are valuable assets to their communities, to their country and to their race..."

The entire article may be found online at

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Little is Much

I heard another song on the radio this week that caught my attention. These are the lyrics of Little is Much by Downhere:

What is the measure of a life well-lived
If all I can offer seems too small to give?
This is a song for the weaker, the poorer,
And so-called failures.

Little is much when God's in it
And no one can fathom the plans He holds.
Little is much when God's in it.
He changes the world with the seeds we sow.
Little is much, little is much.

Who feels tired and under-qualified?
Who feels deserted, and hung out to dry?
This is a song for the broken, the beat-up
And so called losers.

Little is much when God's in it
And no one can fathom the plans He holds.
Little is much when God's in it.
He changes the world with the seeds we sow.
Little is much, little is much.

Consider that heaven is the smallest seed.
Consider that giants fall to stones and slings.
Consider a child in a manger.
Consider the story isn't over.
What can be done with what you still have?

Little is much when God's in it
And no one can fathom the plans He holds.
Little is much when God's in it.
He changes the world with the seeds we sow.
Little is much, little is much.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sharing the Grace of Life

"Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers" (1 Peter 3:7, NIV).

Ever since God made Eve from Adam's side, husbands and wives have shared the grace of life together. Together, our good days have been even more enjoyable...and our bad days more bearable. When God provided men and women with each other as husbands and wives, he gave us some of our greatest gifts.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Purpose Driven Life

Janet gave me a copy of Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life as a gift some time ago, but I have been slow about starting to read it. That has been a mistake. Mr. Warren writes clearly, concisely, and wisely. These are a few of my favorite quotes so far (but I'm only on day 11 of 40):

Knowing your purpose prepares you for eternity. Many people spend their lives trying to create a lasting legacy on earth. They want to be remembered when they're gone. Yet, what ultimately matters most will not be what others say about your life but what God says. (p.33)

Character is both developed and revealed by tests, and all of life is a test. You are always being tested. God constantly watches your response to people, problems, success, conflict, illness, disappointment, and even the weather! He even watches the simplest actions such as when you open a door for others, when you pick up a piece of trash, or when you're polite toward a clerk or waitress. (p. 43)

What is the glory of God? It is who God is. It is the essence of his nature, the weight of his importance, the radiance of his splendor, the demonstration of his power, and the atmosphere of his presence. God's glory is the expression of his goodness and all his other intrinsic, eternal qualities. (p. 53)

Surrendering to God is not passive resignation, fatalism, or an excuse for laziness. It is not accepting the status quo. It may mean the exact opposite: sacrificing your life or suffering in order to change what needs to be changed. God often calls surrendered people to do battle on his behalf. Surrendering is not for cowards or doormats. (p. 80)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Tears of the Saints

Yesterday, I heard an outstanding new song on KXOJ 100.9 FM. It's titled Tears of the Saints by Leeland. These are the lyrics:

There are many prodigal sons.
On our city streets they run
Searching for shelter.
There are homes broken down.
People's hopes have fallen to the ground
From failures.

This is an emergency!

There are tears from the saints
For the lost and unsaved.
We're crying for them, "Come back home."
We're crying for them, "Come back home."
And all your children will stretch out their hands
And pick up the crippled man.
Father, we will lead them home.
Father, we will lead them home.

There are schools full of hatred.
Even churches have forsaken
Love and mercy.
May we see this generation,
In its state of desperation,
For your glory.

This is an emergency!

Sinner, reach out your hands!
Children, in Christ you stand!
Sinner, reach out your hands!
Children, in Christ you stand!

And all your children will stretch out their hands
And pick up the crippled man.
Father, we will lead them home.
Father, we will lead them home.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Convicting Thoughts

"Then he said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels'" (Luke 9:23-26, NIV).

"Should the Church in politically or socially trying circumstances remain covert to avoid potential eradication by forces hostile to Christianity? Or would more open confrontation with prevailing spiritual ignorance and deprivation---even if it produced Christian martyrs---be more likely to lead to evangelistic breakthroughs?...Is it conceivable that Christianity's failure to thrive in the Muslim world is due to the notable absence of Christian martyrs? And can the Muslim community take seriously the claims of a Church in hiding?" (George Otis Jr.,The Last of the Giants, quoted by John Piper in Desiring God, p. 273).

Those quotes are haunting. Have we, the American church, become an unloving church? Do we not care about the souls of Muslims, gang members, and other hostile people? Have we become a cowardly church, not willing to take risks to reach such people? Have we become a distracted church, not realizing that we are wasting our efforts on relatively trivial matters?

Those are convicting thoughts, but I must wrestle with them. In order to honor my Savior, I am convinced that I must be a caring, courageous, and focused disciple of Christ. He deserves nothing less.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

What's Really Important?

Anne Cetas has a good devotional article in Our Daily Bread today titled "No More Mowing." It helps us to shape our lives around the truly important things. It may be viewed online at

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A Prayer Campaign

"Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops" (James 5:17-18, NIV).

Within the city of Tulsa, two abortion clinics operate, indicating that sufficient demand exists for abortions that two clinics are able to make money by focusing on providing them to the people. I find that to be deeply troubling. Young lives are being taken by the thousands each year. Other lives are being scarred by guilt and remorse by multiple thousands each year.

I would like to see a significant change. Therefore, I am committing to pray daily for...

1. Tulsa's abortion providers to turn to Christ. The doctors and staff of Reproductive Services and Hope Inc. need God's forgiveness and grace. When they turn to Christ, they will turn away from shedding innocent blood and begin to find ways to truly help people.

2. The demand for abortion in Tulsa to dry up. I want to see the demand for abortion become so small that people cannot make money by providing them in our area. This will require a massive change of heart among the people.

I am not seeking to intimidate the abortion providers into closing their businesses. I am not calling for protests or any such thing. I am asking God for something that looks impossible. In a couple of years, I would like see an abortion-free Tulsa and be able to point out that God did the impossible when he answered our prayers.

Will you join me in asking God for an abortion-free Tulsa?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge" (Psalm 19:1-2, NIV).

For illustrations of these verses, see

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Joy in God's Presence

"You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand" (Psalm 16:11, NIV).

Christians have much to anticipate. Someday, maybe today, we will see our Lord face-to-face. We will see the one who died for us, who returned to life, who ascended to his Father in order to prepare a home for us, who sent the Holy Spirit to live with us, and who filled us with hope when he promised to return for us.

When that day comes, everything will change. The new heavens and new earth will come into existence. Evil will be eliminated. Satan and his agents will be gone. The fight will be over.

Christians will join with the saints of the past to enjoy the presence of God forever. "Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day---and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8, NIV).

While we wait for his appearing, we experience a taste of the joy that will go on for eternity. We live in gratitude for the one who walked the "path of life" ahead of us, the one who embodied life, Jesus Christ. We receive encouragement from the Holy Spirit's presence and from the words that he inspired in the Bible. We enjoy the company of fellow believers who share our hope that a great day is coming.

But we know that the blessings of this life are just small tastes of what is to come, the eternal pleasures of being with God our Savior.