Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Running Out Of Excuses

Tom Strode of Baptist Press has written an interesting article on new developments in stem cell research that are progressing toward making embryonic stem cell research as outdated as it is barbaric. Stem cells are important in research because they can develop into many kinds of cells throughout the body (to make it simple, its as if you have a multi-purpose cell just waiting for orders to become whatever it is ordered to be).

Adult stem cells have always shown hope and have been used in the past to treat a variety of diseases. Scientists, however, have argued that compared with adult stem cells which are said to be multi-potent (can develop into most cells), embryonic stem cells are pluripotent meaning they can develop into any of the cells of the body.

Thus far, embryonic stem cells have not created the "miracle" cures that were promised by scientists and politicians. However, recent research has developed a method for reprogramming adult stem cells to take on the pluripotent properties of embryonic stem cells, thus eliminating "the ethical issue of stem cells" without eliminating the research potential. Even cloning pioneer Ian Wilmut startled the scientific world by announcing he had abandoned research, or therapeutic, cloning in favor of the reprogramming method in November.

This new research should be significant in political policy of the United States. We wait to see if our government will embrace this new research or continue to defend the unneccessary and barbaric act of embryonic stem cell research. Let me suggest that if our government does not embrace the new methods, then their political ambitions will be laid bare for the world to see.

As I have argued elsewhere (Hopes Falsely Tied To Embryonic Stem Cell Research), the push for embryonic stem cell research in politics and the media has more to do with the abortion issue and the devaluation of human life than with any potential research breakthroughs. This has already been evident in the largely ignored Wake Forest study that showed promise for using amniotic fluid which would pose less risk to human life and yield the same cells sought after in stem cell research.

Read Strode's full article, Is Embryonic Stem Cell Research Obsolete for more information on this important issue.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Praying For Rain?

A church sign down the road has this on it:

"If you pray for rain you better be willing to deal with a little mud."
As we pray for God's blessings in the church, we need to realize that even his blessings can create a little difficulty just as a much needed rainstorm causes difficulty driving and standing water in my backyard. We do not reject the rain just because it causes us difficulty.
In the church, as God blesses and the church grows, things might get a little muddy. Classrooms get crowded, your favorite pew gets packed, and who knows when you might get into the ladies room...but these are not bad things, they are evidence of God's blessings on his church. The "mud" isn't a bad thing, but it can still be sticky.
God we pray for the rain and for the wisdom to deal with the mud it brings!

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance

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Leadership: Reagan Style

History has already made much of Ronald Reagan's presidency. One of the most amazing aspects of Reagan was his ability simultaneously to lead with sternness and confidency and yet to be loved (at least posthumously) by so many.

At the suggestion of Angela's Grandpa, I've been reading The Reagan Diaries. Though I have just begun reading, the one thing that sticks in my mind is the amount of personal correspondence that came from the office of the president during Reagan's term. He made personal calls to appoint ambassadors and sent handwritten letters to world leaders in attempts to build personal relationships and international alliances.

Early in his presidency, he writes, "I'm enjoying doing some of the things I'm then told Presidents haven't done before." Reagan was a powerful leader because he did things no one else did and he made the effort to appreciate people on an individual level (he even responded to his own mail).

If you want to lead effectively, and transformationally, take some advice from Reagan. You are never too important to appreciate others. When you value them, they will value you.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Politics of Abortion and Infanticide

I rarely speak to politics in this arena and I am rarely moved to tears. However, the following video simultaneouosly brought tears to my eyes and provoked me to bring politics to the fore in this post. I publicly support no candidate, but this video should be seen by every person in America. I do not know the group who made the video and of course all things are open to scrutiny, but we should all seek to be informed.

Mathew 25:40- "As you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." There is none smaller than the unborn child. May God have mercy upon us when we have not stood up for the "the least of these."

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Jesus For President?

We will not have Jesus as our earthly president until the consummation prophesied in Revelation, but one thing is certain, our God will determine the next president. I am tired of the political season already. Every candidate promises to be the savior of our country, but as Derek Webb sings in the video below, there's never been a Savior on Capitol Hill!

We look to another hill for our Savior, a hill called Golgotha where our Savior saved us by giving his life. Jesus is not president of the United States, but is he the leader of your life? Make sure your priorities are in order...your first allegiance is to your Savior, not to your candidate.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thoughts For The Pastorate and Lay Supporters

Owen Strachan at the consumed blog has written three good posts in recent days over at his blog. Here he gives lists of some great rescources that can be beneficial to pastors and any concerned Christian. Lay leaders, encourage your pastors to be engaged in the culture as they exegete texts from an ancient culture by offering gift subscriptions to magazines, scanning blogs for information that might be helpful, and emailing current events.

Pastors who are going to speak into this culture using texts from the biblical culture must be able to bridge the two, and a wide knowledge of current events makes that possible.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tell Stories Like Your Life Depends On It

Abraham Piper at 22words has an article on the importance of stories--especially those stories from Scripture--as a great way of passing on the faith to our children. Tell Stories Like Life Depends On It is worth your reading...pass it along to parents and grandparents as well. This article will give new life and meaning to the bedtime story.

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I Kissed A Girl...

The hook-up culture in America is not a new phenomenon, but it is growing in popularity. Predominate especially on college campuses, the no-commitment sexual and semi-sexual encounter is increasingly the norm rather than the exception to the rule. Of course, just because it is becoming normalized does not make it right or even totally acceptable. On college campuses, the walk from a boy's dorm is still referred to as "the walk of shame," even though many can be found doing it on any given weekend.

The popularization of this culture is beginning to blur the lines even between homosexuality and heterosexuality. Because these hook-ups (loosely defined, a hook-up can be anything from making out to full out sex) are perceived to carry no baggage and there is no preconception of commitment, even girl-on-girl experimentation (and percievably guy-on-guy) is being seen as soemthing much less than lesbianism. This is shown explicitly in the raving popularity of Katy Perry's I Kissed a Girl. The video is wrought with sexually provocative images and young women dancing in lingerie, but without the video, the song is explicit of the culture it promotes.

See for yourself. The song is written as a narrative walking through the process of the encounter. The chorus says,

I kissed a girl and I liked it
The taste of her cherry chap stick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don't mind it
It felt so wrongIt felt so right
Don't mean I'm in love tonight
I kissed a girl and I liked it I liked it

As disturbing as that may be, possibly the most disturbing part of the song is the following verse,

No, I don't even know your name
It doesn't matter,
You're my experimental game
Just human nature,
It's not what, Good girls do
Not how they should behave
My head gets so confused
Hard to obey

Though we can all agree that it is human nature to sin, we should all be appalled that experiementation is being condoned and encouraged. As one young girl told her mom related to this song, "it's ok mom, she's not really gay because she has a boyfriend." Experimentation is being seen increasingly as a good thing for teenagers and young adults to engage in. Further, the exploitation of women in our culture is increased through the hook-up fad. Women are sex-objects, and as we see in this song, even other women are objectifying members of their own sex.

Perry sings that this Ain't no big deal, it's innocent, but as Christians we must stand firm that this is a big deal and it is not innocent. It is sin, according to Paul, of the most grevious kind (Romans 1). Parents, talk with your teenagers about what they listen to and about the hook-up culture. Sexual relationships without commitments lead to unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and damaged self-esteem. Even more imporantly, these "hook-ups" do not glorify God in any way.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Abortion Rates Decline

The Between Two Worlds blog is reporting that Abortion rates have declined and are continuing to do so. This is reason to rejoice for all Christians. Read about the decline here.

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Why Churches Die

Read my review for Why Churches Die, here.

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Bulimic Believers

I spoke yesterday in my sermon about anorexic believers, those who refused to eat from God’s word. I was talking about this last night and the concept of bulimic believers came up. Indeed it is a terrible thing to not be in the word of God, but how much worse to know the word and to reject it.

Bulimic believers may eat heartily from God’s word in personal study and active church participation, and yet spit it out of their mouths when the time comes for obedience. Bulimic’s get the taste of food and the joy of eating, but they never experience the nutritional value because they regurgitate it shortly after eating it.

Bulimic believers never experience Spiritual nourishment from the word of God because they vomit it back out. Heaven forbid that any of us would ever look to the word of God to satisfy our taste buds without accepting it’s full measure of spiritual nutrition.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Elected Office and Extra-Marital Affairs

It should be devestating to all of us to see yet another elected official fail morally. Regardless of one's political views, anytime a marriage is on the verge of destruction, it should cause Christians to mourn the situation. However, the latest situation regarding Senator John Edwards underscores the conclusion of a Christianity Today article that I cited in June (click here) showing why virtue trumps policy in choosing men and women to lead us in public office.

The news media always acts surprised when these affairs are reported and they receive tons of coverage, but should we be shocked when people of weak moral character fail morally. We place elected officials on a platform and glamorize them without ever calling into question their own convicitions and values that make them qualified to lead. The personal life of a politician is definitely bearing on their public policy because it reflects their moral character and great leaders need to be men and women of strong moral character.

As Christians, we must continue to hold fast to character as a necessary qualification for holding public office. I was saddened once to hear a Christian man defend Bill Clinton's infidelity. We should never allow our political allegiance to override our allegiance to the word of God. Democrat, Republican, or independant, we are Christians first and we must allow our Christian worldview to play a major part in our selection of political candidates.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Earn Free Books

Westminster Book Store has a great program to earn gift certificates with them by partering with them for advertisements. Just follow the link below.

Click here.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

New Book and Experiment

I do not yet have Albert Mohler's new book AtheismRemix but I hope to acquire it soon. I am confident, however, that it is a book worth the time of any informed Christian.

I hope that you will forward this blog along to others for two reasons.

1. I believe that Atheism Remix is worth your time and others need to be informed about it.

2. I'm tracking some information (only numerical stats, not names) and I'd like to see how many people I can get linked to this one entry (which is why it is short and I included something very worth while).

Link to the book here.
All you need to do is pass the info along. Thanks for reading and helping!

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Steven Curtis Chapman on Grief

Denny Burk has posted a blog reporting that Steven Curtis Chapman will be discussing grief in a couple of high profile interviews. Click here to read Denny's post and make sure to follow his links to the interview segments.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

New Adventure

I have no intention of doing away with this blog right now, but I have started another site called passion for preaching. I'm excited about this new site, take some time and let me know what you think as it develops. One thing that I am already excited about is the public access to my personal illustrations file (thanks in large part to my secretary, Debbie, who has typed much of it) which can be accessed at Or, you can just go to and click on the link from there.

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