What I've been thinking and what I've been reading for you to compare notes.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Faith in Act!on

Pathway Church is currently involved in a Faith in Act!on campaign. This intensified month-long emphasis is not just about going to church, but about "being" the church. It will culminate on October 14 with our observance of "Faith in Act!on Sunday."

On this day we're asking everyone in the church family to be involved in at least one act of community service. In fact we're going to take what seems like a radical step to some and cancel the morning worship gathering on that day in order to perform these acts of serving others.

I've noticed down through the years that a lot of people who have followed Jesus have been fearful of doing something radically different from what they've always done.

But my thinking is the opposite. I'm afraid of always doing the same thing. I'm afraid of apathy and complacency setting in, about Christ followers becoming cold and indifferent to being the "salt" and the "light" that Jesus left us here to be. I'm afraid we might become too inwardly focused that we forget that there are those outside the church family who are in dire need of the love of Christ.

So in our daily devotions and small groups and in my weekly messages to the church we have been piling on the teachings of Jesus about putting our faith in action. Already I've noticed a rumbling underneath the surface of things that I hope will turn into a full fledged earthquake of caring for others that Jesus intended the church to experience.

It's time to not do church as usual. It's time to put our faith in act!on!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Last Jihad

"The Last Jihad" is the first novel in Joel C. Rosenberg's unravelling of end time scenarios that are eerily close to actual events in the world as relating to the middle east and prophecy. (See my blog entry immediately previous to this one.) I read this one quickly so that I can move on to books 2 and 3.

This was interesting - reading the first book that develops the author's main characters - after having read the fourth book in a progression of ideas that fit together as a whole. "The Last Jihad" was published in 2002 and I first read "The Copper Scroll" by the same author, published in 2006. Actually, Rosenberg wrote "Jihad" before 2002 - and before 9-11! The book begins with middle eastern terrorists in the cockpit of a plane headed to do harm in America. It also depicts the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein being toppled. Hmmm...pretty prescient stuff!

His political slant is conservative but, like his emphasis on Christianity, not blatantly aggressive. I like that. It's smart and it gives room for people who differ with the author's evangelical Christianity and right leaning ways to discover different views through a riveting story line.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Scroll This

Part end-times fiction, part archeological intrigue, and part fast paced page turner, "The Copper Scroll" by Joel C. Rosenberg, published in 2006, kept me up past midnight last night. That's not an easy task on Saturday night because I usually like to get plenty of rest before Sunday's pastoral duties.

There actually is a copper scroll. It was found along with the rest of the Dead Sea Scrolls and has been studied by archeologists, historians, linguists and religionists for the past 50 years. Rosenberg's book suggests a possible futuristic scenario of how the scroll fits into the building of the third Jewish Temple. That's all I'm going to say about the plot. If you liked "Raiders of the Lost Ark" or the "Left Behind" series by Lahaye and Jenkins you should love this best-seller.

Rosenberg is an evangelical Christian Jew and his belief in biblical prophecy clearly shines through in this, his fourth work of fiction. His desire to spread the Good News about Jesus is also evident, but not with any type of "in your face" evangelistic style.

Having previously been a communications strategist for the likes of guys like Rush Limbaugh, Steve Forbes and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Rosenberg began his best selling fiction trend with "The Last Jihad" in 2002.

I've been meaning to read his books for some time but my interest in end-times fiction reading goes in cycles. I'm in one of those cycles now. I am sure I will backtrack and read his first three novels and also his work of non-fiction, "Epicenter: Why Current Rumblings in the Middle East Will Change Your Future," published a year ago.

I am not one of those preachers who tries to sensationalize the Second Coming of Christ and related end time events. By that I mean that I don't try to act like I have inside information that indicates that I know the precise time that Jesus is coming back and so, "you'd better listen to me and follow me," as if I were some kind of cult guru.

That's exagerating it a bit but I just don't want folks to get the idea that Bible prophecy is self-serving or incredulous because of the way I teach it. My desire is for the people to whom I minister to be able to see that when the Bible deals with the end of time it is reliable and part of God's overall plan that is quite practical.

I don't want to neglect the teaching of Scriptures that deal with apocalyptic themes either. It is entirely fascinating the way many Bible prophecies have already been fulfilled. No doubt, one of best evidences for believing the Bible is God's Word is the way God's prophets of the past have had their predictions come true so accurately.

So I need to be aware of what God wants me to know about the future. And I need to spread the Word, even if others scoff.

Truth is, not everyone is poking fun of what the Bible has to say about the end of time. There are actually a lot of people interested in hearing what the Bible has to say about the future. Maybe it's because of terrorism and the uncertainty of world stability. I don't know.

One thing that's quite interesting - Christian fiction has proven to be an effective way of communicating God's message in turbulent times - perhaps even the "end" times.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Roll Tide!

Grandson Andrew is going to be a BAMA football fan from Spain but I have a feeling that soccer will become a more familiar sport to him there. At least we got to show our colors when he was here.

I look forward to being able to throw the football or kick the soccer ball with him now and then in the future.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


The first week of the NFL season is over and I have to say I'll be watching more this year than usual due to the fantasy league of our church.

I usually watch the games while simultaneously surfing the web. When a commercial comes on I often turn my back to the tube and check my email or chat with the other league members.

One of the times I turned away from the TV screen and back to the computer screen for a commercial my attention was arrested because I heard music from the soundtrack to one of my all-time favorite movies - "The Last of the Mohicans," starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

The song Nike uses for their new ad is a Celtic sounding tune that plays in the movie when Chingachgook is running to fight Magua. My heart races and emotions soar everytime I hear that score and see those mountains and know that good is going to prevail over evil! (If you've seen the movie you know what I'm talking about, and I wont get sidetracked into the movie right now or I would write several pages.)

I believe the commerical, directed by Michael Mann, has NFL players like Shawne Merriman and Steven Jackson in it but I'm not sure. But at the end of the commercial after these guys have run up and down the football field, braving their opponents AND the elements, two words flash on the screen...


WOW! I do not normally respond positively to TV commercials but this one was an exception.

This is one of the good things about sports. I know there is a lot of garbage with Michael Vick and dogfights, Barry Bonds and steroids, Bill Belichick and cheating, etc. But athletic competition represents quite a few principles about life that really matter.

And this is one of them.

I want it to be said when my soul leaves this planet that I left nothing! I may have been tackled for losses, intercepted, injured and even lost a lot of games. But at least I can say I gave it my all.

If that sounds sappy to you and you don't understand the paralell between sports and life then find the atmosphere that helps you breathe and go live in it. I'm going to keep enjoying sports like the Apostle Paul did.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Long time no blog

Our oldest daughter Brooke, son-in-law Matthew, and grandson Andrew have been with us this past month and we have been spending all the free time we could with them since they minister in Spain.

Labor Day weekend our son Brandon and his wife Keshia, our youngest daughter Bethany and her husband David were also here.

Deb and I are trying to get back to our regular schedule now, which, for me, will include blogging more.