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The backstory…. On April 9 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (where I was a minister for 21 years), a local Muslim man named Ehab Jaber walked into a Christian Conference where hundreds were gathered to hear speakers (including an ex-Muslim speaking on the topic:  “Sabotaging America: Islam’s March Toward Supremacy“). The local media hyped the entire event up as “anti-muslim” drawing out a sizeable protest, and in my view, we can thank them for their role in creating this incident. A Christian worldview event was spun by media as anti-Muslim and, surprise, it drew out a mad Muslim. If we want to de-escalate the tensions, maybe the media could help by not fuelling them.

What goes on in mosques, of course, is from the perspective of their worldview and what goes on in churches, of course, is from ours. These are not harmonious world views. Each believes the other is what is wrong with the world and that God is on one side, their side. I’m a Christian, and I have nothing nice to say about Islam. And of course, I don’t believe Islam to be just another way to relate to God. ((If there were other viable paths to salvation God would not have sent his only Son to die on a Cross to pay the penalty for our sin.)) Of course I think, as do all orthodox Christians in a variety of streams, that Islam is a grave deception and the antithesis of any sort of religion of peace.

So, on April 9, Mr Jaber walked into this Christian worldview event waving his Koran and made a scene until he was asked to leave by event security. In the parking lot he recorded a video and posted it on Facebook. In the video he showed off his collection of legal South Dakota firearms and kept repeating “be scared.” He has since been charged with making a Terrorist Threat, his weapons have been confiscated, and law enforcement found Meth in his home. He sits now in jail and laments bitterly how he has lost everything. The judge set a very low bail, $2500, apparently not considering Mr Jaber a threat to society. Mr Jaber told the court: “No one wants to bond me out so it doesn’t matter.”

My analysis… is twofold.

First, they have their guns and their book and we have our guns and our Book. Fellow South Dakotans will remember (lousy-)Christian US Senate Candidate, now felon, Annette Bosworth holding up our Good Book and her Big Gun during her failed 2014 Senate campaign. There are differences for sure in how Mr Jaber decided to make his video in the parking lot of an event in the heat of anger, thus the terrorist threat charges. But I think we should look more closely at the similarities. I’m not all that convinced what he did is all that different from what a lot of flag/gun waving Christians do. This meme illustrates the point.

If the book the gal on the left is holding up says don’t kill the other person, why is she holding that gun? Here’s why? Because since Constantine, the Church has embraced a grave heresy to find justifications to do the very opposite of what Jesus taught. The gal on the left believes her book gives her justifications to kill the other JUST LIKE the gal on the right believes her book gives her justifications to kill the other.

Second, I think it is high time Christians start acting like Christians and that means we start acting like Christ. That means we figure out a way to love this enemy. Missionaries do it all the time… they reach out to those who are hostile to them and who have even tried to kill them. That’s when the Gospel is most powerful. That’s when we are most like Christ. As is this guy is sitting in jail thinking hundreds of local Christians at an event hate him. I hope that is not true. He needs to know Christians love Muslims even though they take issue with Islam.

If the charges stick, a judge can sort through appropriate consequences. That’s Romans 13. Our job is Romans 12 (vss. 17-21). This guy has no prior offences, is not connected to some radicalised jihad sleeper cell, and he didn’t kill anyone– though I agree he was dangerously close to snapping in the near the future. It is GOOD that law enforcement got involved when they did. In this case, and I’m only talking about this case, I’m suggesting there is a window of opportunity for us to be Christians, for once.

So how do we love on our local (alleged) terrorist? My suggestion is that we post his $2500 bond and I’ll put forth the first $250. He needs to know there are people who care about him and that they are they very people who he views as enemies. This gesture would send this guy a message in a way that sending him a Bible wouldn’t. It would send him am important message that so far we have failed to communicate to him and others like him.

If this isn’t as good a time as any to finally try out that whole love-our-enemies thing, I’m not sure there ever will be a perfect time and way to obey what Jesus told us to do every time we have opportunity. It seems we always find spiritual-sounding and common sense rationales to not obey Jesus in this regard. We need to quit being kinda-Christians and start being Christ-like. It’s easy to love those who love us back, Jesus noted even the pagans do that – what sets us apart is enemy love and until we get to that point, we are still pagan in our love.

Last night I tried to set up a gofundme.com account to collect donations but gofundme cancelled my account because such a legal plea for funds is a violation of their terms and conditions. I’ll have to figure out another way this afternoon. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Still thinking about where people can send money to send this “message” to Mr. Jaber. Maybe I’ll ask the multicultural centre to put a donation jar in their office? Don’t send anything there yet.  But I really ONLY want these donations to come from people who are “friends of Jesus” and preferably Conservative Christians only – it needs to come from us. Mr Jaber needs to think about the fact that he was bailed out by friends of Jesus.

UPDATE 2 (4/26/2017) 12:34 CST: A pastor in Sioux Falls reports to me that Mr. Jaber is no longer in the jail. And, the editor of the Argus Leader just sent me a text to take down that picture of Mr Jaber that I lifted off their website. I said, sure.

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One hundred and twenty men at Church at the Gate have committed to a year long process we are calling Tailgate Jesus!!  More on all that here, and here.  You can follow it here on Facebook, and Twitter.

The basic idea is that we are called to follow him and many guys today are having trouble following him closely – we let many things get between us. It’s not too late to jump on board, we start book one now. The next segment starts mid-July and that is another on-ramp for men wanting to join in. Every 5-6 weeks we will open the door to additional guys.

I’ve been in Greece these last three weeks and was bummed to have missed the Tailgate Jesus kickoff last Saturday. However, I did a little eleven minute video message for the guys back home. Here it is:

Bonhoeffer reminded us of the Cost of Discipleship. For a few weeks now in a series I’ve titled Martyrs Guide to Life, I’ve been talking about the Skyrocketing Cost of Discipleship. Basically I’m referring to the forecast Jesus gave us in Matthew 24:9-14.

In light of the fact that more have died for their faith in Christ in the last century than in the first twenty centuries combined, and in light of the fact that the Bible forecasts a greater age of martyrdom at the end of the age, it seems helpful to talk about the skyrocketing cost of discipleship in a latter age of (unprecedented) persecution. By unprecedented I mean to underscore how the latter age will be far more intense and global than the first two centuries which we typically consider the “Age of Persecution.”

Yesterday I posted a new chart I’ve titled Degrees of Religious Persecution to illustrate how there is a discernible continuum with persecution from mild to moderate to severe. (Actually mild is normal as persecution is an indicator all systems are normal.) Here I offer a chart to illustrate the skyrocketing cost of discipleship.

skyrocketing cost of discipleship chart

Obviously, I don’t subscribe to the Left Behind bestselling notion that we will be rescued via a Pre-Trib Rapture. Extensively in other places I’ve shown that to be a recent, extra-Biblical and dangerous error as it leaves us ill-prepared for what is coming. My chart is based on a Classical or Historic Pre-millennialism understanding that the Rapture and the Second Coming are different stages of the same event.

I like charts and when I can’t find one that fits what I’m talking about then I typically make one myself. This is for my teaching series: Martyrs Guide to Life.

Degrees of Religious PersecutionNote there isn’t a “mild persecution” category but rather a “normal persecution” category as those who live the first seven Beatitudes find themselves at odds with the world around them and the eighth Beatitude naturally becomes them.

webbanner_martyr

Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was stripped naked and hung by his neck on April 9, 1945 in Hitler’s concentration camp at Flossenbürg. In his now classic Cost of Discipleship he wrote: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”

The world is increasingly a dangerous place for Christians. Globally, in unprecedented numbers, Christians are being beaten, imprisoned and killed. Yet here in America, pastors preach “dying to ourselves” to people sitting in comfortable chairs and then they serve them jelly donuts and Starbucks after the service.

Though there is this uniquely American deception among Christians that Jesus suffered so we don’t have to, or that we will escape it—the Bible actually says the opposite: “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12) It’s time to revisit the central Christian message of suffering for Christ. Even in free nations religious liberties are being taken away.

This season of Lent through Easter as Christians worldwide remember Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection, Pastor Steve will underscore how the LIFE of Jesus is revealed in ridicule and mistreatment, mockery and martyrdom. You won’t leave forlorn, fearful or depressed.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-10

Messages are free for downloading or streaming here.

Here are some of the highlights of the first three messages in the series:

– This aversion to Christian suffering and persecution is extra-Biblical and uniquely American.

– There is a grace for suffering and persecution; martyrdom is a spiritual grace/gift. How could it be a gift? Certainly that would be a gift no one would want?! Spiritual gifts aren’t toys to play with they are graces for spiritual breakthrough. There is a grace to give up your life for Christ. Martyrdom is the one spiritual gift you aren’t sure you have until you need it and it’s the only spiritual gift that you can only use once.

– The propellant behind the grace of martyrdom is love. Martyrs are sustained by grace and propelled by love. (1 Cor 13:3, John 15:13)

– Martyrdom is simultaneously a holy detachment and a holy attachment as we love Jesus not so much our lives. (Revelation 12:11)

– You can’t even be a disciple without taking up your cross and following him. (Mt. 16:24)

– Martyrdom was the expectation of the early Christian Church, not the exception.

– The cost of following Jesus is about to skyrocket. There have been 45,400,000 twentieth century Christian martyrs – more in the last century than in the previous twenty centuries combined. We typically refer to the first century as the Age of Persecution or martyrdom. However, the Bible teaches the latter age of martyrdom will be far worse and we are in that latter age of martyrdom. (Matthew 24: 9-14)

– Lots of wasted human life these days. Yet there is no such thing as a martyr dying in vain.

– If grace is what sustains a martyr and love is what propels him, loyalty is what describes him. The epitome of love and loyalty is martyrdom.

– If grace sustains martyrdom and love propels it, loyalty is what describes it and willingness is what allow it. Martyrdom isn’t accidental or unavoidable, it’s a choice. It’s choosing to follow Jesus down the path he took. Hebrews 11:25 says “Moses chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.”

– Fear of death is not a Christian concern. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said “do not worry about your life…  who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” He was saying don’t worry about preserving or prolonging your life.

– When the martyr dies, who wins and who really loses? Tertullian said: the death of the martyr is the seed of the church. Something greater comes forth. But we think of death as a horrible defeat. That’s not how God sees it. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Ps 116:15).

– This confidence in facing death comes from good theology. This fear of death among Christians is evidence of a shallow theology. Many have ungodly beliefs about death and dying.We have this ‘fraidy cat view of death, that it is this travesty. We see it as final, as the worst thing that could happen. God views it very differently. Jesus took the sting out of death for the believer and the believer doesn’t have to face the dreaded second death (Rev. 2:11).

– Self-preservation is not a Christian virtue. It certainly is a human instinct but it is not a Christian virtue. A Christian virtue is… greater love has no one than this, that he lay his life down for others…

– Letting go comes natural for the martyr as they lived a life of faithful giving in the little things.

-If you can’t give your stuff, you won’t give your life. If you can’t give your money, what makes you thing you’d be willing to pay the skyrocketing cost of discipleship?

– Giving your life to Christ means giving your life up for Christ.

Today I’ll relate Proverbs 30:15 to the spirit of entitlement in so many today… “The leech has two daughters named Gimme and Gimme More” (The Message).

A leech lives off the lifeblood of another and according to this verse the mentality is generational —meaning you pass it on to your kids. We need to apply this first to ourselves in the church before we relate it to the 50% of our nation not paying taxes.

More from me in the days ahead on how God is shifting ministers and missionaries off support letters and fundraisers and endless offerings. My contention is that “the paid guy” is in the way of the fulfillment of the Great Commission because what happens is everyone shows up week after week and watches him do the work. A doctor recently told me he has many ministers in our town as patients and they are all on anti-depressants.  And I’d add they are all broke and struggling. How can broke people be a blessing to people in hard times? They can’t.

A couple weeks ago in Greece I put forth some thoughts on the various mentalities to avoid in an economic crisis. One was this entitlement mentality. Others have to do with coveting and envying what others have (class warfare), the poverty mentality, and the victim mentality. I’ll probably say more on this matter this weekend.

Last year I spoke some on the importance of having a Great Depression mentality. God spoke to me on this last year… that we need a Great Depression mentality right now…. meaning that like our grandparents who lived through the years following 1929 that we also would have a willingness and mindset to do whatever it takes to put food on the table for our family, regardless of the effort or STIGMA. Also we need the Faith of a Sower mentality. People have no harvest because they don’t plant seeds – and I’m NOT just talking about over and above giving and more offerings. I’m talking about literal WORK in fields (the marketplace) that will produce a return.

So much to say. This weekend I’m developing the matter of having a mentality that not only allows for, but a mentality that produces miracles and supernatural supply. Comments are always welcome.

My sense is the story of Shaun King is just in it’s earliest chapters but already it’s worth telling. I first met him four years ago when he came to us to be assessed for church planting. His dream was to plant in inner city Atlanta where he grew up. The first thing that set him apart was that he had a powerful death to life testimony. Our assessment team unanimously recommended him but I think it’s fair to say we wondered if he was a right fit for our system. No doubt in our minds that he’d succeed but perhaps there was the thought that our system would stifle him. Months later, via his magic with social media and the grace of God, he became our largest launch to date, over 600 on his first Sunday at Courageous Church.

Those of us who played even a small part in that beemed with pride. His success gave him leaway to buck the system a bit… I remember he riled our feathers when he noted publicly our meetings were too white and the speakers on our platforms were all white. A few years after that smoke cleared I can report our meetings are less white.

Shaun is a social media specialist and he raised massive amount of money for Haiti and got thousands of tents sent there. In the earliest days he somehow directed search and rescue efforts via Twitter from his home in Atlanta – no kidding, U.S. relief ships were following his leads to hurting people, doctors in the US were being directed to specific people in specific places. Shaun appeared on many national news and morning shows. There is a similar story to tell about his work helping the Atlanta Flood Victims. Those of us who’ve been following him on Facebook and Twitter grew to look forward to his updates loving how he just said what needed to be said. Things like; “Note to Donors: Please do not donate your dirty draws & bras. I will have a scientist from GA Tech run a DNA scan & twitter your name.”

In March of this year he felt led to make a radical shift in his church. He announced in a few weeks he’d preach his last sermon at the church. It wasn’t because he was leaving the church. It was because he was changing his church and focusing on three causes instead of church just being about pulling off Sunday morning services.  I’ll repost his comments here because they are worth reading.

Currently, the overwhelming percentage of our time, energy, skills, budget, and creativity are spent preparing for Sunday morning services, getting people to our Sunday services, and getting them to volunteer for our Sunday morning services.  I love what we do on Sunday morning. I love preaching and it is one of my primary gifts.  I love our worship team, our breakfast, our volunteers.  Our church is growing.

However, 5 things have convinced me that this extreme emphasis on Sunday morning is not the will of God for our church.

1. Our city is falling apart in painful ways that break God’s heart.  Atlanta is now the nation’s hub for child sex trafficking.  We have one of the highest teen incarceration rates in the nation.  Our education system in Atlanta is beyond broken.  In the face of these things, the church continues to preach and sing, but kids keep getting sold to perverts for sex.

If James 1:27 is true and “Authentic faith in the eyes of God is caring for widows and orphans” then I declare that our church will have authentic faith and have hands and feet that address these issues.  Right now, our church, like most American churches, as Rick Warren said “Is one big mouth”.

2. As I read the Gospels and see Jesus, I am increasingly stumped how we determined sermons and songs are what makes us most like Him.   I am not saying we do away with them, but we preach and sing too much and serve and love in radical ways far too little.  The answer is not to add love on top of the sermons and songs, but to decrease the sermons and songs and increase the service and love to create a balance that looks like the life of Jesus.

3. This week I was able to meet with a personal hero of mine and he said something to me that was shocking.  One of the best preachers in the world, he leads one of the largest churches in the country.  He told me, “At this point in my life I have preached thousands of sermons and I am not even sure what they mean to God, but nothing makes me feel more alive and like I am nailing God’s will like caring for foster children.  I can point my finger in the Bible and say yes – this is what God wants.”

For me, I do not want to wait another twenty years to come to this conclusion.  I do not want to wait until our entire church is built around my sermons (as it is becoming) and then conclude that it may or may not be what most honors God.  I’d rather go for it now.

4. Anybody that ever heard the vision of Courageous Church before we launched in January of 2009, knows that our vision was to never become a Sunday morning machine, but this is what we have become and we do it well.  A real temptation exists to keep chugging along, do it like other churches do it, and try to forget the original vision of Courageous Church to take bold leaps of faith to bring about real change in peoples lives, in our city and in the world.

Most of our time is now spent thinking about the arrangement of chairs, the execution of payroll, the brightness of the lights, the printing of the announcements, the lyrics on the screens, the pitch from the mics, and in the midst of all of this – I confess that people have been hurt in the process.  We created a church to love God and love people and in the busy-ness of it all – people that we cared about were neglected and forgotten. I won’t do it this way another day.

5. I feel like this is what God wants for Courageous Church.

Rather than meet weekly on Sunday mornings, Shaun broke things down into three discipleship groups that met around three causes; child trafficking, education and caring for widows. The Cause Groups would meet twice a month, the entire church would re-gather once a month for a Festival.

In all my years of church planting and training church planters I have said a thousand times, we don’t build churches on or around a cause – we build a church on Jesus. For sure this is what Shaun was seeking to do. Even so, Shaun is spot on when it comes to pointing out (what I’ve been calling) the theotainment model of the mega-church today is probably not what Jesus wanted us to build. I’ve long maintained that the church is a community and that causes are the domain of the parachurch. Shaun makes me rethink that.

In case you are wondering, Shaun’s experiment didn’t work. He faced perhaps the roughest summer of his life as his church sought to transition into these uncharted waters. Last month Shaun announced that since the bulk of the families in the church wanted to return to the traditional model, he would transition himself out of leadership. Here’s part of what he had to say in his announcement:

I thank God that I am not stepping down in shame or scandal, but it is clear that God is calling Rai and I to take our family in a direction that is just significantly different than what most in the church are asking for.  Over the past 6 months I have taken Courageous Church down a difficult, counter-cultural road in an earnest attempt at building true disciples.  It’s been rough.  All but a few families are now yearning to go back to a traditional Sunday focused system and I am sure that I am not the person to lead you there.

Those of us who assess church planters know it’s often more insightful to talk to the guys wife if you want the real scoop. Here’s what Shaun’s wife Rai had to say about leaving Courageous Church. You’ll have a hard time finding anything more honest about being a pastors/church planters wife. My o my o my o my, it’s the perfect thing to read here on this last day of “Pastor Appreciation Month.” Made me wonder what my wife would write if someone asked her honest feelings about the state of the church.

The last couple months Shaun’s been writing about giving away everything he owns, 1000 books, his new ipad, his bed…. everything. This is the first time I’ve ever voiced this but I’ll say it here, every serious follower of Jesus would do well to walk away from everything they own at least once to follow Jesus. I’ve given away my retirement three times and gobs of other things and dollars and certainly there was a time when I had nothing that wouldn’t fit in my car, but never have I walked away from everything. I do believe these are days to live a wartime lifestyle – living only on what we need and giving the rest where it’s most needed.

Shaun wrote a fascinating article on when a leader loses his mojo. He likens himself to Obama in that regard – at the top of his game just a couple years ago, now a fog has set in and it’s better to pull over if you can’t see where you are going.

Don’t think for a moment Shaun now lacks vision. After living his entire life in inner city Atlanta, this week he drove his family to California where they will live for an undetermined period of time before he and a team move to Africa – the suffering in Somalia has gripped his heart. And he’s climbing the worlds seven great mountains of need. Check that out here TellTheMountainToMove. You can read his next steps here.

I’ve posted here numerous times how brutal it was only 5-7 years ago to be an evangelical who uttered the notion that there are “apostles” today. Though there is just as much (or more) Scriptural justification to capitalize “Apostle” today as there is to capitalize “Pastor,” I’ve always been careful to use the term in the lower case so as to not exasperate the controversy.  However, people always seemed to miss that little detail.

Regarding my commentary on the “Pastoral Epistles” (Obtainable Destiny, Creation House, 2004), Dr. C. Peter Wagner mentioned me on page 78 of his book “Apostles Today” saying: “To my knowledge, the first biblical commentary that treats these epistles as apostolic rather than pastoral is Obtainable Destiny by Steve Hickey.”  While I thanked Peter for the plug, I also ducked.

But today I delight to see example after example of major evangelical church planting and mission organizations talking openly about apostolic work, apostolic teams, apostolic networks, the apostolic gifts, sending (aka apostolos), our apostolic mission, apostolic church planting.  This pic is from my recent copy of Mission Frontiers which some of you know is THE main (and strategic) evangelical missiological publication which comes from the U.S. Center for World Mission in Pasadena, CA.

You may have to squint, but the text at the bottom says: “Apostolos is a conference for apostolic young people who have already committed to expanding God’s Kingdom at the frontiers…

There is no more fitting, or Biblical, term for this frontline work of establishing kingdom outposts where there previously were none. We are all comfortable with the terms “home missionary” and “church planter” though you won’t find “missionary” or “church planter” in your concordance, or “theologian“! ((Ha! Got to love my friend Peter Wagner for his “Goodbye Theologians” article.))

The peaceable part of me wants to say let’s just do the work and stop straining gnats regarding what it’s called. However, I do think it’s critical frontline workers again recapture their identity/role/function with regard to their apostolic gifting. I’ve written elsewhere how three “apostles” entering a region must send icy chills up the spine of our fiery Adversary. I can’t imagine news of three new “pastors” in the area would be much of a threat or cause much trembling in the realms of darkness.

This weekend, on Mother’s Day, I start a new message series, a three-week mini-series that I’m calling “Small World.”

 

Small World is about having a global perspective and concern – it’s about the big things our big God wants to do through little ol’ you and me. 

Small World is a missions series where I’ll explore the mandate of God on the Church to reach the world – no one is exempt from this call. I’ll talk about the unprecedented connectedness of the world and globalization and how historical and geographical divisions are becoming increasingly irrelevant. I’ll talk about what the Bible says about the immigration issue presently facing our nation. I’ll address the fact that global problems are here in our backyard and that yes, we are to be our brother’s keeper.  It’s a series on being a World Christian, not a worldly Christian, but rather someone who has not only a passport but has a passion for the justice issues facing the hurting in our world.  This isn’t a series about how bad the world is…. it’s a Good News series…. He’s got the whole world in His hands!

My friend, and fellow ARC pastor, Shaun King of Courageous Church is leading the way in Atlanta flood relief efforts. Way to go Shaun. Here’s where you can go to help. Shaun is the master of connecting with people online for Kingdom advance. You can follow his very popular blog or his bazillion Facebook updates and twitter updates. I love Shaun because he tells it how it is, like in his most recent Facebook update: “Note to Donors: Please do not donate your dirty draws & bras. I will have a scientist from GA Tech run a DNA scan & twitter your name.”

HOPEATL

Shaun needs a 1000 volunteers tomorrow morning (Saturday 9/26) – if you are near there, load up a church van with people and supplies and get there! Or send a check!

I recently got in a little spat about whether churches should be tax-exempt – a guy referred to what we do as “taxpayer funded” churches. I had to remind him his taxes would be far higher if churches pulled out of the social support system. People have no idea. Thank God for guys like Shaun who know that government and insurance companies are not our HOPE!

UPDATE: He’s now got the Atlanta Braves on board to help – how cool is that? And he adds this line… “MOMENT OF TRUTH: We have spent every dime in our church account and every dime that has been donated to hopeATL.com for flood victims.” How many of you know this guy is on God’s radar!

UPDATE 2: Now he’s saying “Twitter/Social Media is the #1 reason why the Atlanta Flood recovery is working.”  Let’s throw some gas on this relief effort and tweet and retweet!

Today I woke up and decided to send out a little tweet (which quickly goes to my Facebook page) and I’m told this little tweet was a bit cryptic. So, since I’m not limited here to 140 characters, I thought I’d explain myself. But first, here’s the tweet:

WAS thinkin Urbana w/caleb insteada Onething cause KH/I, KHs dad went 80s/60s. Not goin aftr seein religusleft influence

And, here’s my explanation which I also dropped on my Facebook:

Urbana is the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship sponsored missions conference for college students that has been held every three years since 1946. It’s held in Urbana IL, thus the name. Kristen/I went there in 1984 and 1987 (Billy Graham spoke) and we were powerfully impacted. Kristen’s dad, now a retired pastor, went as a college student in 1962ish. So I thought to break from our norm (going to OneThing in KC) and take Caleb (age 19) to Urbana – figured it would be a three generation family tradition and a good way to add fuel to his fire to reach the world.

Urbana has always been about reaching the lost, aka evangelism, and the call to go into all the world with the Gospel. And I can see from the materials that is still the central thrust of Urbana. But now there is a mixture in the message. Now the gospel includes “the Mission of Healthcare” both domestic and international. And, “environmental stewardship.” Shane Claiborne is speaking.

Don’t misunderstand, creation care is vital and Biblical. And medical missions is too. But I’m not dumb, this is a chance to further hype the global warming hoax. And domestic health care? You can be sure the religious-left friends of Jim Wallis will be waxing eloquent about our “moral duty” to pass Obamacare and there will be no tolerance (or platform time) for anyone who points out the evil “details” of letting the elderly die and funding the unbridled slaughter of the unborn.

A missionary to mother nature is more welcome at Urbana now than a missionary to the unborn.

The hand of God is on OneThing. I’m not sure what has gotten hold of Urbana.

This is fresh off twitpics. I couldn’t resist sharing it. My friend Pastor Dino Rizzo of Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge is rolling out his new health care plan!! What do you think??? I love the Healing Place church logo and colors!

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I love Dino’s heart to serve – it’s fully contagious – he’s such a blessing to the poor all over the Baton Rouge and new Orleans area. God used him mightily to bless tens of thousands during and after Katrina. It’s such an inspiration for me to be around him. I can see some Church at the Gate medical trucks rolling around to the needy in our state in the future. You know don’t you that God never told the government to take care of the poor. He put that mandate on those who are called by his name! God has a heart for the poor and hurting. I remember Keith Green telling it like it is twenty years ago… “if the church did it’s job we wouldn’t need a welfare system!

On a related note, if you haven’t already seen it, check out what my friend Pastor Chris Hodges just opened up in Birmingham. Here’s the link – be sure to read the story and watch the video. These guys are knocking it out of the park!

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