Showing posts from January, 2011

A Christian Response to Protests in the Arab World, part 1

Over the past few days, we have seen massive protests in North Africa. The Arab countries of northern Africa have dictators and pseudo-dictators who have ruled their countries for decades. The economies of these countries have been improving in recent years, but most people still live a hardscrabble existence. Young people feel especially despondent. Even those who are fortunate enough to study often graduate to a stagnant job market that favors cronies rather than the talented and well trained. Anger against these regimes has been simmering below the surface for a long time.

A self-immolation in Tunisia started this wave of protests. A fruit vendor in Tunis, the capital city, had his goods seized by police because he did not have the proper permit to sell fruit. This man, frustrated and angry that he had no way to provide for his family, set himself on fire in protest. Remember this man's name, Mohamed Bouazizi, because he will likely be in the history books one day.

If you don…

Fresno's Renew Conference 2011

Our second annual Renew conference is February 18-20 here at the College Church building. Information is online at Registration is also online. The cost is just $25 for the whole weekend, and the includes the Saturday night banquet. You can pay with Paypal.

There are several HIGH points of this upcoming conference. One of the neatest aspects is Saturday afternoon's program. Instead of piecemeal classes we have created to high caliber tracks. Each participant can choose one track. Each track will be like an in-depth workshop lasting four hours and will provide meat for people of all walks of life.
The track for church leaders will probe questions of our church's identity in a changing world. Leaders need to discuss and think these things through. Mark Love will lead a 4-hour session to help you and your church leadership team learn about "missional churches" and how to take steps toward the world around your faith community. Mark will be sen…

European PGA golfer breaks clay pigeon with golf shot

Is this real? See for yourself.

2011 New Year's Resolution, Part 3

I'm sure I could think up random possibilities for New Year's resolutions ad nauseum. Perhaps you'd love to think up some New Year's resolutions for me! At any rate, I will offer one more idea for thinking Christians who might still be looking for an idea to implement this year.

Idea #3 -- Embrace a Bit More Suffering than Usual

The American dream has been driven by a success-driven mentality. The myths of American "individualism" and the "self-made person" reject suffering and poverty as curses to be avoided.

Funny, isn't it? The generation of my grandparents knew poverty and tended to suffer a lot -- at least in their youth. My grandmother was the next-to-youngest of 9 kids. She never had a moment of leisure. They had a farm that required all hands on deck all the time. Although they never went without, their life was anything but luxurious. My grandfather grew up in physical depravity. His father deserted them before be was born. One Christma…

2011 New Year's Resolution, Part 2

Okay, so if you're still in the market for an idea or two in 2011, perhaps you might like to try one of my suggestions. My proposed resolutions are not generic thoughts for anyone. They are for people of faith. Here's my second installment in this series.

Idea #2 -- Give up One Thing for the Kingdom

Most of us have habits, hobbies and interests that consume large amounts of our time, money and energy. We all need ways of relaxing, burning off steam and channeling our passions. If all we did was eat, work and sleep, I think we would have a miserable existence.

When do our interests consume too much of our time? How can we know if we have crossed the line from hobby into obsession? Can our habits actually inhibit our dedication to the Kingdom of God?
I'm not trying to suggest that your life is out of whack. No one thing or one person is in my sights. I'm just wondering what would happen if we briefly cut out something in order to make room for something Kingdom oriented. He…

2011 New Year's Resolution, Part 1

Need a resolution for the new year? Are you the type of person who likes to have goals each year? Perhaps you like to challenge yourself. If so, you might have already set your New Year's goals. If you're still looking for a resolution or two, I have an idea or two for you. (There's nothing better than making resolutions for others!) Over the next couple posts, I will share a few ideas.

Idea #1 -- Get Control of Your Money

Money is a deeply spiritual issue. Paul writes that "the love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Tim 6:10). Notice that money is not the root of all evil, but the LOVE of money is. Money can clearly "get into our heads" and distract us from more important priorities in life.

One doesn't need to have lots of money to be distracted. Debt can eat us up and occupy our thoughts and energy. One of the ancient proverbs reads, "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender" (Prov 22:7). Borrowing money li…