Fisher of Men

The God of All Weather

I’ve always considered myself to be a one-season girl. I only enjoyed summer with its hot sun, warm breezes, and cold popsicles. Summer is for swimming and vacationing, it’s for listening to the cicadas, sipping ice teas, and smelling the blossoms of the lilac trees. What is not to love about summer? Summer is when praising God for the weather is easy and heartfelt, at least for me. But then come the other seasons; spring and fall with their rains and winds, and winter, where everything is cold, hard, and seemingly dead. Sure, winter in the Alps is breathtaking, but winter in the Midwest is brutal. It gets so cold here that even the weatherman tells you, on bad days, to just stay inside. This is when praising God for the weather stops and complaining abounds. But I need change my thinking ...

Stop Trying to Read the Bible in a Year!

Maybe it’s because I am weak. Maybe it’s because I’ve never successfully done it. For whatever reason, anytime people start talking up or talking about reading the Bible in a year, I get queasy, like when there is a strange odor in a room. My mind also immediately wanders to the Aesop fable of the tortoise and the hare. Yes, I know reading the Bible in a year is ambitious. I know it is a huge accomplishment. I know that it’s a way to flex some sort of spiritual muscle and maybe even etch a new notch in your spiritual belt. Maybe it’s also supposed to be a bucket list item or something; it does seem awfully like running a marathon. Still, what is with our obsession to read the Bible in a year? I’ve just never understood it. Just Keep Reading the Bible Here’s the deal. This is what I think w...

Don’t Go It Alone

While visiting family in Alaska this past summer, I asked our cousins about the best places to go hiking. Then I asked my most important question: “What about the bears?” I asked. “Attacks usually happen when people go by themselves,” she responded. “That’s what happened to a woman last week. She was running alone and got caught between a cub and a momma bear.” “We don’t need to go hiking while we’re here….” I said. “We are safer if we all go together,” she said. Doing Life Alone vs. In Community We once were a society that centered around family. Multiple generations often lived together under one roof and when families did live separately, they never moved very far. These days, we are more of an individua...

Why Racial Reconciliation Should Be a Church Priority

“Pastor, why is racial reconciliation important for our church?” This is a question I often faced as a pastor, posed by sincere church members who wanted to grow and learn. Here are three reasons why I believe racial reconciliation should be a church priority. 1. Racial reconciliation is important because every single person was created in the image of God. The Bible is clear that there is no other way to look at your fellow human being other than someone sculpted by the hands of a loving God (Genesis 1-2; Psalm 139). It is this idea of the imago dei that informs our ethic. This means that there is no such thing as an “other”, only humans, image bearers of their Creator. Prejudice is fueled by sin, sin that corrupts and divides. Sin causes us to favor people who look and sound and think li...

What Christians Need to Know about This Year’s State of the Union

The statement, “Jesus is Lord!” is a declaration of faith as well as allegiance. Not only is it thoroughly biblical, it is also highly political. Though Christians have an ultimate allegiance to Christ, Paul calls Christians to “be subject to the governing authorities.” (Rom 13:1). Earthly rulers derive their authority from God, and hence Christians are called to exhibit good conduct, pay taxes, and show honor and respect to those in power (Rom 13:2-7). We are spiritual foreigners, but we do have a call to reflect on and participate in the governing processes of our earthly homeland. We must do this respectfully from a distinctly Christian point of view. Christians, out of reverence for God and respect for man, do not avoid political engagement even if it’s as simple as a conversation over...

How Gay Marriage is Pushing Christians into the Closet

Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that could do for same-sex marriage what Roe v. Wade did for abortion-on-demand.   What concerns me, besides the obvious prospect of having marriage permanently redefined in American law, is the impact of such a ruling on religious freedom. As you know from listening to BreakPoint, there is ample reason for concern on that score. Recent events have demonstrated that the clash between gay rights and religious freedom is a zero-sum game.   That’s why a recent column by Frank Bruni of the New York Times concerned me so profoundly.   From the start, Bruni, who is himself gay, demonstrates that he does not, or perhaps cannot, understand this issue. He begins by telling readers that he “chafes” at being called “a threat to your re...

Why Are Thousands of Muslims Converting to Christ?

Extraordinary stories about massive number of Muslims converting to Christ are appearing around the world. Recently at World Magazine, writer Warren Cole Smith interviewed 25-year missionary David Garrison who has documented his findings about the Muslim phenomenon. “There is a revival in the Muslim world,” Garrison says. He believes between 2 and 7 million former Muslims have converted to Christianity in the past two decades. His book, A Wind in the House of Islam, contains impressive research to back up his claim. Why is this happening? Nabeel Qureshi, a popular speaker and author, explains in his book and online testimony that the gospel is being proclaimed with greater effectiveness. Qureshi affirms that the Holy Spirit works primarily by and through Scripture. And in his own experienc...

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The Sanctity of Human Life

This week marks the 42nd Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the United States Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on January 22, 1973.  Since that time over 60 million babies have been aborted in the United States. That’s about 8 times the number of people who live in Indiana (my state) and over a sixth of the total current population in the United States. Abortion is a polarizing issue in our culture: a moral, political, and religious dividing line that separates ethicists, citizens, and even professing Christians. And while many of my readers value the sanctity of human life and believe (as I do) that abortion is the unjust murder of a human being, it’s all too easy for us to caricature people of the opposing position as monsters who lack any moral conscience whatsoever. Even ca...

January Is Family Worship Month

[Editor’s Note: Family Worship Month. observed each January, is an inter-denominational movement comprised of leading ministries and Christian leaders designed to restore the historical practice of family worship. Christian author and professor, Don Whitney, explains why family worship is so important.] Being in a healthy, Bible-teaching local church is important for Christian parenting. But is it enough? Some time ago, I was in England and heard a report on BBC radio about a government study there indicating that, as a result of TV, technology, and the like, families rarely spend time together. The study observed that conversation between family members has “degenerated into an indistinguishable series of monosyllabic grunts.” And what was the recomme...

The Sky Is Falling??

When Chuck Colson started “BreakPoint” back in the early 1990s, he wanted to inspire Christians to wrestle with the vital cultural issues of the day. He believed—and we do, too—that ideas have consequences, and that out of love for God and our neighbors, Christians are called to be fully engaged in the culture.   And while we will never sugar coat an issue, we also never want to become a chicken little. We never want to give the impression that somehow cultural decline implies that God is not sovereign over all things, or that Jesus’ resurrection and His promise to restore all things are of no account.   We feel that tension all the time, and we know how hard it is to walk that line between gospel realism and cultural despair.   All of this is why I invited my friend Ed Stet...

Pastor Defines His Identity Not in His Same-Sex Attraction, but in Christ

NPR featured a surprising story for last week’s Weekend Edition Sunday about a pastor who has same-sex attraction but married a woman. Rachel Martin of NPR interviewed Allan Edwards and his wife Leeanne, who are expecting their first baby in July. Allan pastors Kiski Valley Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania, a congregation in the conservative Presbyterian Church in Americadenomination. Allan explained how he wrestled with attraction to men in high school, but he waited until college before he opened up about it. Although he expected his friends at his small Christian liberal arts college to ostracize him, he experienced quite the opposite: “I actually was received with a lot of love, grace, charity: some confusion, but openness to dialogue.” When Rachel asked why he didn’t just join a Ch...