Category: Articles

Equipping the Front Lines

Serving in the military comes with the potential of being deployed to the front lines of battle where you can expect to come face-to-face with the enemy. For this reason, the military invests billions of dollars every year into training, equipment and technology designed to adequately equip and prepare personnel for the task of executing military action whenever it becomes necessary. Military leaders recognize the need to prepare for when military force is necessary, not if it will be necessary. Equipping and training happens before engagement with the enemy, not after the first strike.

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Stop Making Women Inferior

There is an increasing trend within the evangelical community to equate the instructions set forth by Paul in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 to male chauvinism and sexism; as if to hold this position results in women being classified as inferior. It is sometimes claimed that Paul was merely attempting to remain within a culturally established boundary in order to “become all things to all people” (1 Cor 9:22). Based on what we know about the Apostle Paul, it seems unlikely he would back down on this issue in the face of societal pressures, but not in other areas.

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Prioritizing Our Distractions

The phrase “being on the right side of history” has become increasingly popular today. Often it is used as a tactic for persuading people to align with a popular opinion on controversial topics. Western civilization as a whole seems increasingly consumed by this idea of ensuring history judges them rightly, so they are willing to adopt an ideology of acceptance for nearly any type of behavior, idea or decision with the only condition being it does not cause harm to anyone. In essence, no harm, no problem. Given this, it often seems as though this age will be known as the Age of Acceptance, but in reality, it will probably be best know as the Age of Distraction. 

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Preacher, Don’t Leave Jesus in the Tomb on Good Friday

Since my youth, history has always been of particular interest to me. Individuals or organizations who provide a daily listing of historic events in the form of a “on this day in history” typically receive my attention. With the burning of the Notre Dame Cathedral in France this particular week will no doubt result in 2019 being added to those future lists of historic events. Yet, from a liturgical perspective, this week on the calendar will always be one of significance, since the week prior to Easter has long been associated as a week focusing attention on the specific activities associated with each day of the week leading up to the actual death and resurrection of Christ. Many churches emphasize a sort of “on this day in history” approach to observing the events leading up Christ’s death and resurrection. Good Friday and Easter morning are filled with the gathering of the local church for corporate worship, with some churches still including a Thursday evening service, intended to focus on the upper room activities, particularly the institution of the Lord’s Table.

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Marriage is Not a Sidecar

How do you define marriage? In a world surrounded by so many different voices telling you what to believe, it wouldn’t be a surprise if that question generated fifty different answers, even among Christians. Is it just two people living together and having children or does it involve something more profound? Let’s be honest, even if you did have a good answer to that question, is that how you are living out your own marriage anyway?

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The Church Who Forgot Why it Was

We are living in a time when confusion about the church is greater than it has ever been. New models of church ministry seem to form every week with people intent on staying in step with every new fad which comes along within the culture. There is nothing wrong with integrating cultural forms into church practice, in fact this is a necessity for missionaries bringing the gospel to new people groups around the world. What matters is not the model, but the biblical foundation on which the model is built. What a local church believes about what the church is (and is not) will determine what the church looks like. It will drive what the church prioritizes and how it structures itself.

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Don’t Forget These People on Sept 12th

It is right that we should memorialize September 11th because it will forever be remembered as perhaps the greatest tragedy in our lifetime. On September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people died in less than 120 minutes as part of a single, yet complex act of terrorism. The memories of that fateful day are still burned into our minds. Jumbo jet airliners crashing into two icons of the New York skyline, the Pentagon in flames from a third airliner impact and a smoldering crater in Pennsylvania instead of a building because of the brave actions of Americans onboard. A day which witnessed people jumping from the World Trade Center towers to escape the flames, first responders rushing in to save lives with no thought of their own and the eventual disappearance of two massive towers which once overshadowed the NYC skyline. Memories which will not and should not be forgotten. Memories which tell a story of how morally depraved mankind really is when such evil is even possible.

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When the Church is the First Man

A flurry of debate has surrounded the recent announcement by actor Ryan Gosling that a new movie portraying the Apollo 11 lunar landing would not feature the planting of the American flag on the moon. The reaction to this decision by an American filmmaker set many Americans into a righteous fit of indignation; declaring the decision as yet another example of Hollywood’s attempt to sway the culture away from the idea of American exceptionalism. In removing such an important part of one of the most historic events in modern history, “The First Man,” is now being considered persona non grata by many Americans, who perceive this as an attack on what has always been viewed as an American achievement. Adding insult to injury, Gosling stated “I think this [lunar landing] was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that’s how we chose to view it.” Such a statement has never accurately represented the public’s perception of the event and even as news of this achievement spread across the world in 1969, it was nearly always associated with the word America.

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The Problem Is Reading

The vast attention this week on Senator John McCain is a reminder that despite one’s political views, his death marks the passing of a political giant. McCain served America as a high decorated naval aviator, an uncompromising prisoner of war during captivity in Vietnam and most notably as a U.S. Senator. James Baker recently wrote that John McCain was one who “understood the importance of compromise” in politics, especially in a nation more intent on “wagging political battles than finding ways to advance the common good.” He rightly points to the fact that our social media frenzy culture is partially to blame because of the continuous attempts to use these platforms as a means by which to hold national debates on political issues which are deeply rooted in sometimes complex philosophical issues. Considering the cultural context of the statement, it is a strange dynamic to perceive of a society which places such a high value on education, but yet simultaneously considers it possible to debate such complex issues through 280 character tweets and Facebook emojis. This is really the point of James Baker, Americans are largely more interested in the battle than in discussing the ideas which determine the battle lines.

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When Voting Isn’t a Compromise

Elections in the U.S. are never about voting for a person who believes entirely the same way we do and will focus on accomplishing everything we consider to be urgent or important. If this were the case we would be voting for ourselves. Instead, upon entering the voting booth we are handed a list of names from which to choose. Unless we are voting for an office in local government, we rarely have a personal relationship with the individual for which we are handing power to conduct government affairs on our behalf. Despite this scenarios even if we agree with the individual on most issues, rarely will we agree with all their decisions.

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MLK50: Matt Chandler Missed the Mark

The Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission (ERLC) and The Gospel Coalition (TGC) recently sponsored an event in Memphis known as the MLK50 conference. According to their website the purpose of the event was to “reflect on the state of racial unity within the church.” Although I was unable to attend, after listening to several of the videos there is a need to conduct a postmortem of what was said, especially since this topic is becoming highly emphasized and debated within the Southern Baptist Convention.

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The Good, the Bad and the Numbers

As the first day of the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting came to a close in Dallas, Texas, the SBC had voted on a new president with J.D. Greear receiving 68.62% of the votes. The need for a new president of the SBC was the result of Frank Page stepping down several weeks ago after confessing to an inappropriate relationship with a woman. In the weeks leading up to the annual meeting two names emerged as potential candidates to fill this role, J.D. Greear and Ken Hemphill. The election of the individual to hold this position is not based on the vote of an executive committee or a board, but the decision of representatives from SBC churches around U.S.

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One Thing: Press Forward

One of the benefits of documenting and reading history is the ability to learn from the mistakes of the past with the goal of achieving a better future. Avoiding the failures of the past encourages us to create a world which is more enjoyable, less painful and more satisfying than the past. Not only is this true at the macro level, when we view the entire history of the world, but even at the micro level of our individual lives.

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