Fisher of Men

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...

3 Keys to Keeping Bible Reading Fresh

It is a new year, and no doubt many have made it their ambition to read the Bible more often this year. What nobler resolution could someone have? But many people will give up in mid-February, when they are slogging through Leviticus and are halfway through their third straight gospel tour. The passages that seem redundant and unexciting tend to drown our Bible reading goals. How can we keep our Bible reading fresh – even the parts that don’t stir us at first reading – so that we don’t give up on our resolution to read more? Allow me to share a few suggestions. 1. Remember that God’s word is alive Hebrews 4:12says, “For the word of God is living and active.” Just like God himself, his word is full of life and is always doing something. That means, to state the obvious, that God’s word is n...

Who Gets to Say What the Bible Says?

When asked about the way popular periodicals portray Christianity, Pastor Rick Warren once observed: “I think it’s disingenuous that magazines like ‘Newsweek’ know that their circulation goes up at Christmas and Easter if they put a spiritual issue on the cover, but it’s always bait and switch.” Well, this week’s cover of Newsweek is no exception. It bears the appropriate title The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin by Kurt Eichenwald. In the article, Eichenwald highlights the problem of biblical illiteracy but then proceeds to make a stunning display of his own selectively presented and—there’s no better wording I can think of—downright ignorant attacks on Christianity. Among Eichenwald’s more obvious errors are (1) overstating Bible manuscript di...

Ten Questions to Ask Yourself at the Start of 2015

Once, when the people of God had become careless in their relationship with Him, the Lord rebuked them through the prophet Haggai. “Consider your ways!” (Haggai 1:5) he declared, urging them to reflect on some of the things happening to them, and to evaluate their slipshod spirituality in light of what God had told them. Even those most faithful to God occasionally need to pause and think about the direction of their lives. It’s so easy to bump along from one busy week to another without ever stopping to ponder where we’re going and where we should be going. The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up, and get our bearings. To that end, here are some questions to ask prayerfully in the presence of God. 1. What’s one thing you could do this ye...

Do New Year’s Resolutions Really Work?

Willpower Is Weak If you’re considering making some New Year’s resolutions this year, consider this: like other exercises of raw willpower, most New Year’s resolutions fail miserably. According to research, 80 percent of those who make resolutions on January 1 have given up by Valentine’s Day. Nutrition experts say that two-thirds of dieters regain any weight lost within a year, and more than 70 percent of people who undergo coronary bypass surgery fall back into unhealthy habits within two years of their surgery. “Most of us think that we can change our lives if we just summon the willpower and try even harder this time around,” says Alan Deutschman, the former executive director of Unboundary, a firm that counsels corporations on how to navigate change. “It’s exceptionally hard to make l...

A New Year’s Plea to Pastors

“I will make them strong in the LORD, and they shall walk in his name,” declares the LORD. (Zechariah 10:12) Another year, another church budget kicks in. For many churches the creation of a budget is mostly a formality: What did we receive in offerings last year? What can we expect this year? How do we plan to spend it? It has always been a pet peeve with me that most churches run on a calendar year when it comes to their budget (January through December) while their “ministry year” runs September through June or July (not much happens in churches in August, apart from normal weekly activities). That means, among other things, that they’re planning activities for which they have not established a budget (the current budget running out in December, while the plan extends to June or July), ...

My Grown-up Christmas List

David Burchett Author and Speaker Amy Grant recorded “My Grown-up Christmas List” for her “Home For Christmas” album. The lyrics imagine an adult going back to Santa with a different perspective on what matters most in life. Instead of material things the writer now asks for good things for others. I love the sentiment of the song. No more lives torn apart That wars would never start And time would heal all hearts Everyone would have a friend And right would always win And love would never end This is my grown-up Christmas list I thought about my “grown-up” Christmas list this week.    I would love for all of the things in the lyric above to come true. But I have lived enough to know they will not. Everyday lives are torn apart. Wars start too ...

What was the Star of Bethlehem? A New Theory

The star of Bethlehem fascinated Johannes Kepler 400 years ago so much so that the great pioneer of modern astronomy published a treatise on the subject. Astronomers have tried to explain the phenomenon that attracted the Magi to the birth of Jesus ever since. Christianity Today recently featured a new theory about it proposed by Michael Molnar, a former Rutgers University astronomer. He postulates that the moon passed in front of Jupiter while in Aries (read a more detailed explanation here.)   Now comes the really important question: So what? I love Christmas. I’ve never been called a “Grinch.” But I have to admit, I get a little bugged when I read about scientists offering naturalistic explanations for biblical events that are clearly portrayed as miracles. It’s beyond the scope of...

You Are Not Your Online Avatar

I had a conversation a few weeks ago with a good friend of mine. She told me about meeting a mutual acquaintance of ours who has a rather large following online. This guy is a professed follower of Christ, but his online engagement is, shall we say, very caustic, negative, and sometimes vulgar. What struck me is what my friend said about this guy we both know: “He is such a really nice guy in person.” Her words struck me because they resonated with my own experience with this gentleman. His online persona didn’t match the face-to-face reality. I didn’t know what to make of this. Who is the real person, the one on Facebook or the one standing in front of me? I think it’s a little of both, really. There is a tendency to be more human, less caustic when you are actually in the presence of the...