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Showing posts from May, 2010

Fresno State football ranked 81st?!?

The Sporting News released its preseason Top 100 rankings for the 2010 college football season.  What are they thinking putting Fresno State at only 81st?!  Excuse me, but that seems strange for a squad that's returning 17 starters.  At least they're ranked higher than Vanderbilt.  Of course preseason polls are pure speculation and hype, so I wouldn't get too worked up about the disrespect.

What Is the "Harvest" for a North American Church? (part 1)

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In Matthew 9:35-38, Jesus looks at the great crowds following him.  He has been teaching, proclaiming good news, and healing every disease and sickness.  When he looks at the crowds, he has compassion and views them as sheep without a shepherd.  Jesus then calls his disciples and says, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth reapers into his harvest."
As time permits, I want to explore the nature of the harvest over the next few posts. Right or wrong, we used to have a clear picture of the Christian harvest. We used to talk about the need to harvest. Christians were "exhorted" to sow the seeds of the Kingdom!

I recall singing songs about planting and reaping.  They didn't mean much to me.  I never lived on a farm, never killed an animal for food, never sowed, and never really reaped.

We sang songs like this one: "Are you sowing the seeds of the kingdom, brother, in the morning bright and fair…

Update from Thailand

Here's the latest word from David Allen, a missionary in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  I know and respect David.  We definitely need to pray that the Lord might use these horrible events to further the growth of His Kingdom.
Dear friends,

We want to say thank you for your thoughts, prayers, emails, and messages since we wrote you a few days ago. While there is still a lot of tension and sadness for what has taken place in Thailand, the government has reasserted control and it is now quiet.

To be cautious, the "State of Emergency" is still in effect and there has been a curfew for Bangkok and most of the northern provinces the last few days. Many schools, banks, malls, and government offices have been closed or had shorter hours. Therefore, we have been laying low for the most part & enjoying time with the kids (they were excited about having school canceled for two days) and other friends nearby.

With government control over the press, it is hard to get a good idea on what is …

Thailand's Unrest & Our Churches

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The violence in Thailand is causing concern on many fronts.  Churches of Christ have growing churches in Thailand, especially in the north.  Some excellent work flows out of Chiang Mai, Thailand's second largest city.  While most of the rioting is in Bangkok, unrest is spreading throughout the country.

Here is an update from David Allen, one of our missionaries in Chiang Mai:

Dear Friends,


The situation in Bangkok has further deteriorated as the army has routed the protestors out from their main camp in the center of the city. As of Wednesday evening, there are scattered riots and burning buildings throughout Bangkok. The army continues to shoot at protesters, resulting in more injuries and fatalities. At least three foreign news reporters have been injured and one killed in the crossfire.

The army’s heavy hand has inflamed tensions in the northern provinces and violent protests are occurring in at least 3 northern cities this evening- including Chiang Mai. There are reports of small…

College Ministries Might Benefit from a Ban

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In a previous post I briefly talked about a Supreme Court case that may affect campus ministry.  Because public institutions frown upon any form of discrimination, they are unsure what to do with officially sanctioned religious groups.  Why?  Because many religious groups only want leaders who have a particular religious view.  Believe it or not, the Christian Legal Society only wants leaders who are Christians.  Sounds strange, I know, but this is the essence of the Supreme Court case. Why is this a problem? It's only an issue because groups like the aforementioned CLS exist as an officially sanctioned university club.  This status as a university club allows the group to meet for free in university space, advertise on campus and be listed on the university's website.  Here, for example, is the student org page for the University of California's Hastings College of Law -- this is the school that recently banned the Christian Legal Society due to "discrimination" …

A Tribute to WVU's Basketball Season

For all who are sympathetic to West Virginia University basketball (or had to put up with me), here is a video tribute to their 2009-10 season.  This was put together by Pikewood Video for the annual WVU basketball banquet.  Someone has kindly put it on YouTube in 3 parts.  The following segment is part 1 -- my favorite of the parts.  Thanks for watching!

Herding Cats

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It seems to be a popular metaphor.  The idea of "herding cats" is an idiom that seems to communicate the difficult task leading people (or groups) who don't tend to follow direction.  This is one of the major reasons why I have never liked cats.  They seem to think they rule the roost.  They're sneaky and difficult to figure.  And they always come up to me and rub against my leg.  Now what's that all about?

I found this cute commercial for some IT company.  I suppose they claim to be able to help you "herd cats" if you just purchase their expertise.



There are all kinds of books with "Herding Cats" in the title.  I recall hearing Jeff Krajeski speak at one of our campus ministry conferences.  He co-authored a book about leading a congregation in the "postmodern world."  He clearly thinks of this as "herding cats" since he titled his book accordingly.

I wonder in what sense ministry is like herding cats.  It seems a sympatheti…

Pepperdine Bible Lectures 2010: Hope Rekindled, part 2

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If I am counting correctly, this was my fifth visit to the Pepperdine Bible Lectures.  Pepperdine University truly is a flagship institution for our churches -- in every sense of the word.  They have enjoyed great leadership over the years, and Andy Benton as the 6th president is no exception.  He is a great leader for this era.

Equally important in maintaining Pepperdine's status is their director of church relations.  Dr. Jerry Rushford has cemented his place as one of the most influential people in Churches of Christ at the end of the 20th and start of the 21st century.  He does many things in addition to the Bible Lectures, but that annual gathering is clearly the most visible part of his legacy. 

It must be a massive undertaking to plan a program like that one.  Not only does one carefully have to choose what is IN the program.  One must also carefully weigh what is NOT IN the program.  These seemingly "simple" choices can have a major effect on our churches.

Jerry …

Pepperdine Bible Lectures 2010: Hope Rekindled, part 1

This was the year I've been waiting for.  You know what it's like to wait for something.  You know a change is on the horizon.  A fresh breeze will soon start blowing.  Your aching joints tell you that the barometric pressure is changing.  But you've been waiting and waiting for the change to actually break out, and it can sometimes feel as though it will never come.

This year at the Pepperdine Bible Lectures, the change finally came.  It happened Thursday night.  The San Andreas Fault might as well have shifted.  It was that big!  Randy Harris said what I've been waiting for.

It could have been said by any of several "big-name" speakers who have highlighted the Pepperdine Bible Lectures over the last several years: Mike Cope, Jeff Walling, Don McLaughlin, Rick Atchley or Randy.  But Randy was the one on this year's program.  And he said what I and others of my "generation" have been waiting for.  We've known it was needed, but we weren'…

More Car Show Pics

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As promised here are some more photos from yesterday's 12th annual Sunday Spring Classic.

College Church's Car Show, 12th edition

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Here are some pics from today's 12th annual Sunday Spring Classic.  It's the largest free car show in Fresno.  Even the food is free!  There were about 200 entries this year & well over a thousand guests.  Gene Sue does a great job of coordinating this event each year.  Many, many volunteers and donors pitch in to make this possible.  More pics tomorrow...

Theodosius Dobzhansky, Evolution & Faith

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On Wednesday of next week, I'll be teaching a couple sessions at the Pepperdine Bible Lectures.  One of these is an hour-long class on creation and the faith of pioneer scientists.  My material is a quick primer to creation theology as well as a look at four prominent people from the 17th/18th century.

As I was polishing up my material and looking through my research, I came across a name I had overlooked.  Since I won't say much about him at Pepperdine, I will talk about him now in today's post.

Theodosius Dobzhansky was an American scientist of Ukrainian origin who died in 1975. His work brought the Darwinian theory of evolution into dialogue with the field of genetics. He said, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution.”  To the casual Christian observer, you might think this guy would be an enemy of the faith, right?  Darwin himself is typically villainized as someone who purportedly tried to destroy the Christian view of creation.  So it sounds as i…