Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Monday, January 30, 2006
The Federal Centers for Disease Control estimate that around 1500 African-Americans babies are killed by abortion everyday. That totals to over 500,000 a year. Blacks comprise only 12 to 13% of the population, and yet are the victims of 36% of the abortions. Since 1973, the year abortion became legal, and estimated 14 million African-American babies have been aborted.
Friends, this is not political issue, as much as it is a moral question. Will we, the men and women of God, prophetically speak and act in denouncing this wrath-of-God-invoking practice of abortion? When will those so-called reverends, who have national platforms (i.e. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson) really take the moral ground and address the issue that most threatens African-Americans? Personally, I won't listen to Sharpton or Jackson until they stop seeking liberal, political cash with issues like AIDS and homophobia, and they speak with equal fervency against the sinful practice and dreadful plague of abortion. Somehow, I don't envision listening to them any time soon - more's to pity.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
There can be little doubt that what are witnessing in our day, is the furthering of the decline of the truth that Paul prophesied in his day. If you had any doubts, and I am sure you did not, you need only read the foolishness that took place recently in good old Atlanta: Black Clergy Tackle Homophobia.
What I am thankful for, however, is that at least we are finding out more and more who the wolves are, if we were not aware of them already. I just lament the fact that Atlanta is quickly becoming the favorite den for alpha wolf, Al Sharpton, and the rest of his growing pack.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Monday, January 23, 2006
Friday, January 20, 2006
By the way, the cut Maybe is pretty good too:
Maybe you're not one who trusts in God
And maybe you think that life is too hard
And maybe you think faith is what you do
Well maybe, just maybe, its not about you.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Tony: "I would say yes to someone who wanted to buy this CD. It is good for children because it tells about God. If someone wanted to know truly who God is - listen to Awesome God."
Rachel: "You should buy this CD because it is a good CD for children and if they learn the songs they will learn how to grow closer to God."
Here is a sampling of some of their opinions of individual songs:
Almighty Creator: "I like this song. It tells us of God's purpose in creating us. It also tells us that we are to worship God because he created us to worship him." - Tony
Forever God: "I like this song because it says that God is everlasting and that He goes on and on and on." - Rachel
You Are Always with Me: "I like the words because it tells us that God will never leave us, even in the dark He is there. I did not like the music." -Tony
Your Love: "This is my fav.....orite song! It has a good beat and it says God's love is like a river." -Rachel
Too often Christian Children Music is nothing more than mature testimonies sung with immature voices. You are often left wondering just how much of the song do the children really understand. Or how much of the song have the children truly experienced. Bob Kauflin and the good folks at Sovereign Grace sought to rectify that situation. And well they did. They produced a CD suitable and appropriate for children, both intellectually and experientially. Though the music has a definite cultural slant, the words are transcultural and God-exalting. Kauflin and the Gang are to be commended.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Well, I'm back! Sorry for the absence, but I had the privilege of being in Citrus County, Florida this weekend for Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend. I was hosted by the Ministerial Alliance in the county and by Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church, where I preached and where the Community Wide MLK Service was held. It was a most magnanimous time (if such time is possible). The people of Seven Rivers were awesome. Ray Cortese is the pastor. His heart for all things gospel and all things glorious, including justice, righteousness, and equality was evident from the very start. I was much impressed with him and the wonderful people of Seven Rivers. I was pleased to offer words for such an auspicious and truly bridge-building event. You can hear the message by going to our website at Cyrene Ministries or you can contact Seven Rivers to request a copy. I do pray that I was able to serve them in some way that reflected the gracious and Christ-honoring service and encouragement they gave to me. Thanks Citrus County. Thanks Seven Rivers.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
I am black; there is no mistaking that. I am reformed, and make no mistake about that. But those two distinctions have relevance only in so far as they are understood in light of the fact that I am Christian. It was Spurgeon who said, “I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist; I do not hesitate to take the name of Baptist; but if I am asked what is my creed, I reply, ‘It is Jesus Christ.’” I am proud to be an American. I am equally proud to be an African-American. I thank God that my theology is the biblically grounded, historically consistent theology of the Reformation. But if you ask me my faith, if you ask me my creed, if you want the sum of my life, “It is Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Christ.” May it be yours as well.
Monday, January 09, 2006
Friday, January 06, 2006
Tuesday, January 3, 2006
Dear Bethlehem Family,
I hope this letter will encourage your prayer, strengthen your hope, and minister peace. I am writing with the blessing of the other elders to help you receive the news about my prostate cancer.
At my annual urological exam on Wednesday, December 21, the doctor felt an abnormality in the prostate and suggested a biopsy. He called the next day with the following facts: 1) cancer cells were found in two of the ten samples and the estimate is that perhaps 5% of the gland is affected; 2) my PSA count was 1.6, which is good (below 4 is normal); 3) the Gleason score is 6 (signaling that the cancer is not aggressive). These three facts incline the doctor to think that it is unlikely that the cancer has spread beyond the prostate, and that it is possible with successful treatment to be cancer-free.
Before going with Noël to consult in person with the doctor on December 29 about treatment options, I shared this news with the Bethlehem staff on Tuesday morning, December 27, and with the elders that evening. Both groups prayed over me for healing and for wisdom in the treatment choices that lie before us. These were sweet times before the throne of grace with much-loved colleagues.
All things considered, Noël and I believe that I should pursue the treatment called radical prostatectomy, which means the surgical removal of the prostate. We would ask you to pray that the surgery be completely successful in the removal of all cancer and freedom from possible side effects.
With the approval of the executive staff and elder leadership, we are planning surgery in early February. The recovery time is about three weeks before returning to a slow work pace, and six weeks to be back to all normal activities.
This news has, of course, been good for me. The most dangerous thing in the world is the sin of self-reliance and the stupor of worldliness. The news of cancer has a wonderfully blasting effect on both. I thank God for that. The times with Christ in these days have been unusually sweet.
For example, is there anything greater to hear and believe in the bottom of your heart than this: “God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)?
God has designed this trial for my good and for your good. You can see this in 2 Corinthians 1:9, “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” And in 2 Corinthians 1:4-6, “He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God . . . If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation.”
So I am praying: “Lord, for your great glory, 1) don’t let me miss any of the sanctifying blessings that you have for me in this experience; 2) don’t let the church miss any of the sanctifying blessings that you have for us in this; 3) grant that the surgery be successful in removing cancer and sparing important nerves; 4) grant that this light and momentary trial would work to spread a passion for your supremacy for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ; 5) may Noël and all close to me be given great peace—and all of this through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.” I hope God will lead you to pray in a similar way.
With deep confidence that
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting.
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 15:54-57
With Sam Crabtree, Lead Pastor for Life Training
Kenny Stokes, Lead Pastor for Spreading
Tim Johnson, Chairman of the Council of Elders
Ross Anderson, MD, Bethlehem Elder
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Being Black. It means that I have a distinct, indeed unique, if at times bitter experience. It means that I have drunk of the waters of Marah in a land that has flowed with milk and honey. It means my fore parents felt the lash of the whip and witnessed the horror of babies and loved ones cast down to the depths of unknown and untold graves in an angry deep. It means their sweat and blood were fertilizer for a land upon which they could only see but never own. It means being African-American. It means having a face but often no name. It means having a home, but no country. It means having a voice to cry with, but not a voice to vote with. It means having to learn to sing a joyous song in a strange, foreign land. It means learning to live upon a God who is invisible and trusting his purposes though they seemingly ripen slowly. (to be continued)
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
It appears that Lynn Swann is going to throw his hat, or rather his helmet, into the political arena. Reports are out that an announcement could be coming real soon stating that Lynn Swann is officially a candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor of the state of Pennsylvania. Swanny make some rather acrobatic moves during his Hall of Fame playing days with the Pittsburgh Steelers. But this may be his most profound and challenging move yet. By the way, did I mention that he is a republican. I guess you probably gathered that from the picture. I was never a Steeler fan growing up. But I must admit, I am impressed with Swann's proposed move here. Go Swanny!
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.