Saturday, April 24, 2010

The 3 - April 24, 2010

This week featured a couple of high-profile Christian conferences on opposite ends of the country, plus victories over gambling in 2 states, and more developments surrounding the May 6 National Day of Prayer.

3 - Catalyst West Conference, Exponential Conference expand horizons

This was a strategic week for strengthening Christian leaders and setting the stage for the growth of the church - 2 major conferences were held on separate ends of the nation. The Exponential conference met in Orlando, as church planters gathered to be inspired and instructed on planning for the future. You can get the flavor of the event by going to the Exponential website and reading some of the tweets and blogs.

Also, this week, the leadership-oriented event known as Catalyst West took place. Catalyst has been going strong in Atlanta for a number of years, and has expanded to include a West Coast event, as well, which took place this year in Irvine, California. You might learn quite a bit from visiting the Facebook page for the event.

2 - AL & NH victories over gambling while FL expands tribal gaming

Looking across the landscape of America, state governments are strapped for cash, and some are looking to the uncertain source of revenue known as gambling in order to fill their coffers. The gambling industry in Alabama appealed to the Legislature to legalize casino-style "electronic bingo", or slot machines, and was successful in getting a bill through the Senate, only to die in the House this week. CitizenLink offered this summary.

Unfortunately, in Florida, the lure of new revenue from gambling was appealing to Governor Crist, who negotiated a new compact with the Seminole tribe, resulting in gambling expansion. I found a website, "Casino Watch", that is designed to expose the negative effects of gambling, and it published a story on this most recent Florida development.

1 - Franklin Graham dropped from National Day of Prayer at Pentagon, Obama to appeal NDP court decision

This year, the annual observance of the National Day of Prayer is receiving quite a bit of attention, perhaps more than in past years...and the day has not been cancelled, and it is no less constitutional on a national basis than it has been, despite the ruling of a Federal judge saying that Congress did not have the constitutional right to declare such a Day.

Now, comes the news that Franklin Graham, the Honorary Chair of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, headed by Shirley Dobson, has been dropped from a planned prayer service at the Pentagon, as the result of the efforts of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which has a long history of challenging the expression of the Christian faith by members of the military, protested Graham's appearance because of comments he had made regarding the religion of Islam. Graham responded swiftly, eloquently, and with the grace you would expect - after all, he has a son in the military and ministers through Samaritan's Purse in a number of predominantly Muslim countries. The Christian Post has an excellent report of the latest developments.

Good news - the Obama administration announced its decision on Thursday to appeal the ruling by the Federal judge. For information on events surrounding the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 6, go to

Honorable Mention:

Francis Chan steps away from pastorate

Preparation underway for April 25 Internet Evangelism Day

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The 3 - April 18, 2010

This week's edition of "The 3" includes a landmark bill passed by the Nebraska legislature concerning fetal pain, a nationwide effort to start conversation regarding Biblical truth on the topic of homosexuality, and a perplexing court ruling on the constitutionality of the National Day of Prayer.

3 - Nebraska passes fetal pain bill

The state of Nebraska, in a bold pro-life move, has passed a bill that recognizes that babies in the womb feel pain, and abortions of pre-born children of 20 weeks or greater will be outlawed under the new law. National Right to Life has an excellent analysis on its website concerning the law and its potential implications on the Supreme Court view of abortion.

Pro-life blogger Jill Stanek gives some background on the overall atmosphere into which the legislation is introduced in a column for WorldNetDaily.

Any legislation that places limits on abortion becomes another potential court challenge, which could result in the weakening or outright overturning of the Supreme Court's decision, Roe vs. Wade, in which the high court invented a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy and therefore eliminate a human life. It is encouraging when state legislatures place well-reasoned limits on abortion, since the Federal government is too firmly entrenched in trying to find ways to allow more abortions. Perhaps the passage of this Nebraska law can be yet another step in reducing the number of babies who lose their lives in the abortion clinics of America - it's another piece of good news, combined with the continued exposure of the abortion industry, plus surveys that show the population as a whole is more pro-life. Those of us who are pro-life can still find plenty to rejoice over these days, despite the passage of health care legislation that included taxpayer funding of abortion, promoted by the most pro-abortion Administration in history.

2 - Day of Truth offered as alternative to Day of Silence

Each year, the national Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network sponsors an event called the Day of Silence, in which gay young people are encouraged to remain silent in order to, as the Day of Silence website says, "bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying, and harassment in their schools." According to the Christian Post, the existence of this day has produced some challenges for Christian parents, who have to decide whether or not to send their kids to school on this day of blatant promotion of the gay agenda.

And while no student should be subject to "bullying", unfortunately GLSEN and its like-minded cohorts use this day to call attention to the gay lifestyle and it becomes a day when homosexuality gets an inordinate amount of attention.

Christian students have been encouraged to participate in the Day of Truth, which was originally started by the Alliance Defense Fund, and is now organized by Exodus International. With the purpose of building bridges, starting conversations, and engaging students in discussions around the Biblical truth about homosexuality, the Day of Truth becomes a potentially powerful tool in order to present solid, Scripturally-based information coated in the love of Christ. You can check out for more information.

1 - Federal judge rules National Day of Prayer unconstitutional

A Federal district judge in Wisconsin, ruling in a lawsuit filed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, has found the declaration of Congress establishing a National Day of Prayer to be unconstitutional. Here is the summary from Focus on the Family's CitizenLink website.

Stuart Shepard of FOF Action joined me on The Meeting House on Faith Radio and discussed the ruling:

There are several points to note about the ruling and its implications:
- The judge did not cancel the National Day of Prayer, even if she could have.
- The National Day of Prayer is established by Congress, who has directed the President to proclaim the First Thursday of May as the National Day of Prayer, and the indications are that he intends to do so, just as he did last year.
- While President Obama did not hold White House services last year on the National Day of Prayer, as President Bush had done, he still made a NDP proclamation.
- Generally, all 50 governors make National Day of Prayer proclamations.
- Private NDP events would still allowed under this ruling.
- This ruling was by a Federal district judge in Wisconsin. Perhaps this does not have jurisdiction over other districts or circuits?

So, participate in and enjoy the National Day of Prayer, and check out for information on an event in your area.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The 3 - April 10, 2010

This week's installment of "The 3", my week-in-review blog post, includes a new faith-based movie in theaters, and the promise of new public officials - the process of replacing a Representative from Michigan and a Supreme Court Justice.

3 - "Letters to God" delivered to theaters

This weekend, moviegoers are being invited to view a film that presents a message of hope in the midst of trial, a movie that has at its core a strong Christian worldview perspective. It's called "Letters to God", and it features the directorial skills of David Nixon, who was producer of "Fireproof" with Sherwood Pictures.

I had a chance to talk with producer and Co-Manager of Possibility Pictures, the movie company responsible for "Letters to God", and the balance of the conversation will air on "The Meeting House" ( the week of April 12.

Dr. Marc Newman of Movie Ministry joined me on April 9 to discuss the film and some of the messages it communicates.

The movie was anticpated to release on over 900 screens, making it the widest opening for a Christian, faith-based film since "The Passion of the Christ". To learn more about the film, go to

2 - Stupak's re-election campaign halted

Bart Stupak, up until the day of the U.S. House vote on health care reform legislation, was hailed as a pro-life champion, a defender of the rights of the unborn and of the rights of taxpayers who do not wish to pay for the termination of human life. But that all changed when Stupak was promised an Executive Order by President Obama, which in fact does not have the power to alter the pro-abortion language in the bill itself. Stupak came under fire from pro-life advocates as well as those in the Tea Party movement for his reversal in course.

On April 9, Stupak announced that he was heading back to the house, his home, that is, rather than face what promised to be a tough re-election fight. One of the organizations that had actually awarded Stupak for his devotion to life, the Susan B. Anthony List, withdrew the award and actively began to start campaigning against him. Here is an update from the blog on its website,

1 - Stevens decides to retire from bench

One of the justices that is commonly associated with the liberal wing of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Paul Stevens, announced his retirement for later this year. This puts President Obama in a position of appointing another justice to the court, following his naming Sonia Sotomayor to replace retiring justice David Souter. Senate confirmation is not guaranteed, now that the Democrats essentially have 59 votes, but there has been resistance by some Republicans to filibuster judicial nominations. Nevertheless, there will be close scrutiny of the nominee and his or her judicial philosophy and record.

Baptist Press has an excellent analysis of some of the 90-year-old Stevens' decisions, including those affecting the issue of abortion, where he did not side with the rights of the unborn.

Faith community responds to mine explosion

TN school board mulls removing language describing creation as "myth"

Saturday, April 03, 2010

The 3 - April 3, 2010

This Easter weekend edition of "The 3" illuminates some trying times for Pope Benedict XVI in light of past controversies within the Catholic Church, recess appointments by the President of individuals who have brought concern among pro-life and pro-family leaders, and the celebration of Easter in a variety of ways by churches.

3 - Pope criticized by some, defended by noted Catholic leaders

Because of charges about his handing of child abuse allegations in the 1990's prior to his becoming pope, Pope Benedict XVI has received some strong criticism from some circles within the church, and in response, a number of church leaders are coming to the Pope's defense. In his traditional public appearances at the Vatican to commemorate Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, the pontiff did not address the renewed allegations directly, but, according to The Christian Post, stressed how Jesus did not retaliate when he was reviled.

The Catholic Church has taken great steps to address the instances of sexual indiscretions within its ranks, and as recently as 2 weeks ago, the Pope was apologetic for the way the Church had handled scandals in its past. It is hoped that the moves taken to put sinful instances behind it would result in the church, Catholic, Protestant, or otherwise, being a safe place for its young people.

2 -
Obama make recess appointments raising concern from pro-life, pro-family community

For months, Christian leaders have been watching the possibility of appointees by President Obama being installed into influential positions. 2 of those who have been most watched, were placed into office in so-called "recess appointments". One of those, lesbian activist Chai Feldblum, despite bi-partisan opposition resulting in her confirmation being stalled out, now moves into a high-ranking position with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She is noted as an author of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which could have harmful implications on faith-based organizations and their hiring practices.

The other controversial appointee is Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. Becker is a proponent of "card check", which would force workers to vote publicly on whether or not to join a union. It is thought that the abolition of a secret ballot in this process could result in retaliatory action against those who vote against unionizing. Some of the larger unions have embraced a liberal social agenda, and the authorization of "card check" could enlarge their influence across the workplaces of America. CitizenLink has been following these nominees closely, and this is its latest report.

1 - Christians celebrate Easter in a variety of ways

With a recent Barna survey showing that less than half of Americans associate Easter with the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I believe there is a greater responsibility of churches to be intentional with respect to inviting people into their houses of worship on Easter Sunday and share a strong salvation message.

Churches across America have been looking for ways to reach out in creative ways. Saddleback Church, pastored by Rick Warren, is having special services Saturday night and Sunday at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. The nationally-known pastor, in fact, is inviting pastors from across Southern California to come and be prayed for during their Saturday night service. Easter services will be headlined musically by not only Christian worship leader Kari Jobe and Marcos Witt, but also a special appearance by 3 pop superstars whose father is a pastor - the Jonas Brothers.

Another large church, Mars Hill Church in Seattle, pastored by Mark Driscoll, debuted a new film called, "Good Friday", depicting the suffering of Christ. A number of communities hosted Good Friday dramatizations of the walk of Christ to Calvary. A Florida church offered to reach out to its community by paying the light bills for needy people.

Then, you have the "over the top" Easter lure - giving away prizes to people for coming to church on Easter Sunday...can you believe it? Read more from The Christian Post.

May God create in his people a sense of urgency for the hearts of people to come to know our Savior and give us opportunities during this Easter season to testify to the risen Lord!

Million Dollar Bill tracts perfectly legal, according to judge

Iowa city puts Good Friday back on municipal calendar