Saturday, March 27, 2010

The 3 - March 28, 2010

As students have been making their annual Spring Break pilgrimages, Christians are springing into action to share the gospel; also, the military is changing its stance toward gays in the military, and with health care reform passing Congress, now the move is on to lessen the blow.

3 - Spring break turns into spiritual breakthroughs

The time known as Spring Break has so commonly been associated with lewd behavior and wild partying on the part of college students at beachfront locations along America's coasts. But Christian have seized the opportunity presented by thousands of young people congregating at various locales and seen effectiveness in sharing the gospel and leading people to Christ.

Noted Christian organization Campus Crusade for Christ has been involved in some ministry activities during Spring Break, and The Christian Post reported recently on a successful effort on the Florida Gulf Coast. Here is that report.

2 - "Don't ask, don't tell" rollback begins

President Obama, in his State of the Union address, reaffirmed his support for reversing the "don't ask, don't tell" stance of the U.S. military with regard to homosexual behavior within its ranks. The policy was adopted during the Clinton administration, and now military leaders, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, are paving the way for open homosexuality within the military.

This week, Secretary Gates, who just a few weeks ago had authorized a year-long study on how to reverse the current policy, announced some steps that the military was going to go ahead and take regarding the issue. CitizenLink, a website and daily e-mail service from Focus on the Family Action, has been following the story, and had this report on Thursday of this week.

Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel visited with me at National Religious Broadcasters, and shared some of his thoughts on the issue during this interview:

1 -
Health care goes to court

As health care reform legislation was signed by President Obama this past Tuesday, and the House and Senate passed the reconciliation package to make adjustments to the large bill, lawsuits were filed contesting the constitutionality of the package. Attorneys general from 13 states, led by Florida AG Bill McConnell, filed a lawsuit challenging insurance mandates in the package. Here is a report from The Hill.

Notable also is a lawsuit filed by Liberty University against several Federal departments, contesting not only the employer mandates, but also issues concerning student loans. Liberty Counsel filed the suit on behalf of the University.

Recently, James Lansberry of Samaritan Ministries and head of the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries, visited with me on The Meeting House. This is an informative and intriguing conversation:

Honorable mention:

Only Billy Graham Association crusade in U.S. this year opens in Auburn, AL

Luis Palau ministers in Vietnam

AL students want prayer back on the public address system

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The 3 - March 21, 2010

It's just hours before the health care vote, and looking at CNN, there are still 10 undecided Democrats, 5 of which are needed in order to defeat the measure. Bart Stupak made an agreement with the President on an Executive Order that has disappointed and even outraged pro-life leaders, and Americans for Prosperity reported a few moments ago that they still don't have the votes. Most of the Stupak coalition had already agreed to support the bill even without the Executive Order, so that really didn't bring that many votes to the "Yes" column, contrary to what media reports are saying. The situation is fluid, but I'm overdue to release this week's edition of "The 3"...

3 - Texans tackle textbook accuracy

It's been a battle royale in the country's largest state over social studies textbook standards. A committee will recommend to the Texas Board of Education a set of standards that, after contentious debate, will affirm American Exceptionalism and religious heritage.

Liberty Institute has been on the front lines of this heated set of deliberations, and here are some blog posts from Jonathan Saenz that trace the progression of the talks and the victories for the affirmation of religious heritage that emerged from the meetings.

2 - Speculation rampant on health care ramp-up

There has been plenty to talk about on the health care front, as the House is poised at the time of this writing to vote on 2 bills - the Senate version of health care reform, and then a reconciliation that will incorporate some of the aspects of health reform that were in the House version. There was protracted speculation about how the House would acquire the 216 votes necessary for passage, and there was the possibility that the House would vote on the reconciliation bill without voting on the Senate bill, merely "deeming" it to be passed.

To give some of the flavor of the debate leading up to the announcement of the vote and the lengths that some in House leadership were willing to go in order to force a vote on this unpopular plan, here is an article from

1 - President attempts to sway "pro-life" Democrats on health care

As the U.S. House approached its Sunday night vote on health care reform, it appeared that it would be necessary to bring Bart Stupak and so-called "pro-life" Democrats over into the "yes" column. Stupak had been told by House leadership that another version of the amendment bearing his name prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion would not be offered, and in an 11th-hour move, President Obama agreed to issue an executive order that claims to uphold current policy and prevent Federal funding of abortion.

What's curious is that the pro-abortion lawmakers, who have opposed the Stupak amendment in the past, who have been outspoken in their support for taxpayer abortion funding, have gone mute. There seems to be no outrage among the "women's right to choose" crowd about this language. And, Stupak and like-minded Congressman trust the most pro-abortion President in history to deliver the goods? And, please consider that Stupak really WANTS to vote for health care reform, presumably now more than he wishes to protect the lives of unborn babies. No wonder pro-life leaders are upset!!
Here is a sampling:
Charmaine Yoest, Americans United for Life
blogger Jill Stanek
a compilation of comments from

Honorable Mention:

Methodist leaders call on NCAA to ban beer ads

Churches could be losers under new broadband plan

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The 3 - March 13, 2010

This week's edition of "The 3", my week-in-review feature, concentrates on an appeals court decisions about familiar God references in public life, as well as instances of persecution in Africa and Asia.

3 - 9th Circuit upholds Pledge, "In God We Trust"

This past Thursday, a 3-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has generally been regarded as a launchpad for judicial activism and controversial decisions, released a decision regarding two cases filed by noted atheist Michael Newdow. Newdow's last attempt to try to remove the words, "Under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance was disallowed by the U.S. Supreme Court, saying he lacked standing because he no longer had custody of his daughter, for whom he claimed to be filing the lawsuit. He rounded up a group of parents to file another suit, which was ruled upon this week by the 9th Circuit.

Saying that the phrase did not violate the Establishment Clause, the court ruled against Newdow and the plaintiffs. Also at stake was a claim that the national motto, "In God We Trust", violated the Constitution - this was also turned back. Newdow said that he would appeal to the full appellate court and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Here are some comments from various Christian organizations, beginning with Concerned Women for America. Liberty Counsel was involved in the motto case, and had a unique historical perspective.

2 - Christians become victims in Egypt and Nigeria

Events this week highlighted the continued tension between fundamentalist Muslims and those of other religions, especially Christianity, as high-profile acts of religious violence were seen in several areas of the world.

One was in Egypt, where a group of Coptic Christians was attacked while at a church community center. Some 2 dozen people were said to be injured in the skirmish, which is the latest in a series of instances where apparent persecution of Copts has been seen in that nation. The Christian Post had this report.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Christians lost their lives in the nation of Nigeria, where two predominantly Christian villages near the city of Jos were the sites of attacks by Muslims who were armed with machetes. Compass Direct News had this report.

These are just two of the seemingly increasing numbers of violent instances upon Christians at the hands of Muslim attackers. In both these examples, there is the thought that law enforcement did not do enough or needs to do more in protecting the Christians in these areas. We are reminded that believers in Christ are being persecuted in great numbers, and many of the countries in which the persecution is the greatest are those where Islam is the dominant religion. Check out Open Doors' World Watch List to learn which countries are the greatest persecutors and learn how you can be in prayer for Christians who live in daily danger.

1 - World Vision workers slain in Pakistan

While it has not been established as of this writing who carried out an attack on a World Vision center in Pakistan, there is suspicion that it was motivated by fundamentalist Islam. We recognize that the Christian relief agency is ministering in an extremely tense section of the world. Six people, all Pakistani, lost their lives, and some 8 others were injured. Multiple gunmen carried out the attack. Here is the report from World Vision's website. had this news story.

Moroccan authorities expel foreign Christians

California math teacher can still hang "God" banners, school board disagrees

Arizona city bans home Bible study

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

NRB Reflections

It's been a week now since the final interview at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in the Faith Radio/Meeting House booth in the exhibit hall, and I wanted to take some time to report to you about what I experienced. Perhaps you've already heard some of the fabulous conversations that took place at the booth - I will continue to feature those on the radio show.

I think that one of the dominant themes of the convention was adherence to Biblical truth. From the opening strains of Del Tackett of the Truth Project and Jim Garlow of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, there were words of encouragement to be rooted and grounded in the Scriptures, and to be available to share spiritual truth, and as Pastor Garlow highlighted, to even be willing to reach out to those with whom you vehemently disagree, so that you can build a bridge to them, with the hope that you will be able to share your convictions based on God's truth. In my discussions with such public policy experts as Garlow, Tony Perkins, Matt Barber, and Penny Nance, I came to realize that it's important that we are willing to share these principles in the public square, and seek to not only influence the political process, but strive to be used of the Holy Spirit in the process of changing hearts. Absorption of truth brings heart change, and that will result in the change of attitudes and behavior - "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God". Changed hearts contribute to a change in the culture.

Another thread I observed at NRB was the challenge to use social media more effectively. Numerous educational sessions dealt with media ministries effectively using tools such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate their messages. I followed the NRB Convention staff's Twitter feed, joined NRB Facebook pages, and searched the hashtag #NRB2010. I even joined in on a "Tweetup" consisting of some of the people who were sending "tweets" from the convention, and it turned out to be a great time of fellowship and putting names and faces with the various sources of messages from NRB. Certainly, this type of emphasis on social media has provided some encouragement for me to seek new and more effective ways to interact with my listeners.

Finally, there was a distinct thread of concentration on Middle East events. I hosted Jimmy DeYoung of "Prophecy Today" and John Ankerberg of "The John Ankerberg Show" at my booth for a few moments, and they shared what they learned from writing the book, Israel Under Fire, and compiling footage for the TV show and their accompanying DVD series. Joel Rosenberg was on hand during the convention, as was Mosab Hasson Yousef, the son of the founder of the Hamas terrorist movement, who has become a Christian and details his experiences in the book, Son of Hamas.

Members of the Faith Radio team had the chance to meet representatives of Zion Oil and Gas, who are in the midst of drilling for oil in Israel, following Scriptural clues to unlock the potential for discovering petroleum in this region, which could have geopolitical and prophetic implications. Their activities were mentioned by David Jeremiah in one of his books, and Rosenberg highlighted the act of drilling in Israel in one of his fiction books - Zion representatives provided some fascinating conversations during the course of the convention.

The annual NRB Convention provides an opportunity to learn more about how God is at work through broadcast media, to tap into trends, to meet others in the Christian radio and broadcast industry, and from our booth, to gather material to be used on The Meeting House radio program. It was quite an informative and encouraging event!!

Billy Irvin, Faith Radio's Director of Ministry Relations, put together this video of highlights of our NRB experience.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The 3 - March 6, 2010

This week's edition of "The 3", my week-in-review feature, concentrates on the Christian response to the earthquake in Chile, the gathering of religious broadcasters in Nashville, health care reform legislation, and a setback for legalizing gambling in Alabama.

3 - Christians respond to massive Chilean earthquake

Last weekend, viewers across America and around the world watched as the after-effects of the 8.8-magnitude quake in the Pacific off the coast of Chile caused concern about tsunamis across the Pacific basin. Fortunately, areas such as Hawaii dodged the bullet, but nevertheless the magnanimity of this occurrence was no doubt breathtaking.

And there was plenty of damage in Chile, and Christian groups were mobilizing to help the victims of the powerful quake. World Vision shared this report on its efforts to bring much-needed relief. Continue to pray for organizations who are helping not only in Chile, but also in Haiti, reaching out to the afflicted in the name of Christ.

2 - Religious broadcasters gather in Nashville

This past week, thousands of media members, representing radio, television, church media, new media, and other media-related organizations gathered in Nashville for National Religious Broadcasters. The annual convention draws attendees from across the nation and around the world, and provided a host of educational sessions, as well as large, inspiring events, such as the opening session with Del Tackett of The Truth Project and Jim Garlow of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, with music provided by Steve Green. Other speakers at events throughout the convention included Al Mohler, Tony Perkins, Harry Jackson, Joel Rosenberg, and Chuck Colson.

Faith Radio and The Meeting House had a booth on the exhibit hall floor, and you can get a flavor of the convention by checking out this video at this link. Also, check out this week's program schedules for audio and photos from NRB 2010 here.

1a - Christian and pro-family groups re-fight health care battles

With President Obama's introduction of a health care proposal last week, followed by the so-called "summit" where ideas were exchanged, and this week's call for an "up or down" vote on health care, there is a definite move to try to get health care reform legislation through Congress someway, somehow. The process of reconciliation may result in the passage of legislation through the Senate by 51 votes, rather than the 60 votes that is needed under normal circumstances.

And, House members who may be called upon to vote on the Senate's bill, face some tough choices, including the dilemma that pro-life lawmakers are encountering, perhaps being asked to vote on a bill that includes taxpayer funding of abortion. Here is CitizenLink's report on the health care progression.

1 - Gambling legislation fails to get needed votes in Alabama

When 2 bills dealing with gambling made it to the calendar of the Alabama Senate this week, it appeared supporters of legalized electronic bingo in Alabama may have had the required 21 votes to bring the bills to the floor on Wednesday - one bill would provide for a referendum vote on legalizing casino-style slot machines at 10 locations in the state and the other provided for immunity for casino operators until such a vote could be held. But, when the procedural vote was taken in the Senate, there were not enough votes to bring these bills up for debate, in effect defeating those bills - for now. Opponents of gambling caution that pro-gambling legislation could come to the floor any time, and that Christians who recognize the potential of gambling to do harm to individuals, families, and communities will stand strong and encourage their legislators to do the same.

Senator Hank Erwin of Alabama's District 14, came on The Meeting House on Thursday, and recounted the remarkable events of Wednesday.

Also, the Alabama Policy Institute posted this video of the February 23rd Anti-Gambling rally at the State House in Montgomery. This gives an idea of the rude behavior of gambling supporters who attempted to deny the speakers, including Governor and Mrs. Bob Riley, their right to speak out on the issue.

The Alabama gambling controversy continued on Friday, with the reopening of the electronic bingo hall in Macon County - a nearby judge issued a temporary restraining order shielding the facility from a potential raid by the Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling, and Task Force Commander John Tyson promised to appeal the order to the Alabama Supreme Court, which overturned the same judge's order to prevent action against the same facility a few weeks ago.

Action in the state Senate could turn to a bill that would provide a straight up-or-down vote on gambling in the state, which may have support from gambling proponents and opponents. Eagle Forum Executive Director Brooklyn Roberts points out that this could result in snatching "defeat from the jaws of victory". Read her blog post here.

ANY statewide vote could result in millions of gambling dollars flooding the state of Alabama in an attempt to sway voters to support the spread of casino-style gambling in the state. A vote in support of gambling would embolden the casino operators and perhaps usher in a new era of increased gambling in the state.

My preference would be to continue to let the courts provide clarity in the matter, and to allow law enforcement to do its job in enforcing the decisions of the courts. The Alabama Supreme Court, in recent rulings, indicates that these so-called "electronic bingo" machines are illegal. This is a critical issue, and prayer is so very important in protecting our state from this detrimental activity.

Conference Updates:

Exodus International

Shepherds' Conference (John MacArthur)