There are many great themes people have proposed for 2017, and numerous Bible verses that brothers or sisters in the Lord could select as wise, focused sources of Divine Light for the new year, 2017.
By any measure, "2016 has been incredible" is a huge understatement. And now as we are about to move swiftly into 2017, there is at least one more incredible moment: the rare convergence of the first evening of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve.
What a Divine gift to live in such transformative times! There has been plenty of memorable excitement around us all this year 2016 — both before and after our disruptive election.
The closer we all approach voting in the November 8 elections, the more evident the sincere anxiety of many people. Understood! Both of the major candidates are deeply flawed, and yet we each need to vote because we do not want the crucial selection of the "least bad" candidates left up to everybody else!
I am writing these reflections on September 11, 2016, just 15 years after what many call the most tragic day in American history — the day in which more than 3,000 innocent civilians died at the hands of young murderous, suicidal devotees of an oppressive religion.
This Sunday, September 11, is the 15th remembrance of the awful terror attacks on the World Trade Center. In each of our lives much has happened in these past fifteen years since that terrible morning, but it is good to go back to recall some of what we learned at that time.
We now live in a very eerie, disorienting, disheartening time. Just when America needs trusted leadership, after two high profile conventions we have two major candidates who are generally not liked and distrusted.
When it comes to creating vibrant personal livelihood and economic vitality, economic historian Gerald Sirkin believed that there is one very dependable but depletable resource that most of us have seriously ignored.
Commitment to even a good cause is absurdly difficult to achieve in our highly partisan national and local politics. However, I know that it is profoundly within our reach.
Our National Day of Prayer is the first Thursday of May: May 5 in this year AD 2016. There is so much in our national life that needs prayer — where do we begin?
Can we draw attention again to the tragic brokenness of American college education? Many of us are wondering this year how Washington DC became so broken. Perhaps some of the deeper moral problems of our national leadership are pathologies that affect much of the whole country.
In both Biblical teaching and in personal experience, there is much to learn from crises of the "establishments." Godly change is a constant staple of Biblical teaching, and also continuing change is central to Spirit-led living.
"Surely, Christians and Muslims pray to the same God," we are told often.
Students' scores for reading reveal a lot about America and American families.
Will We Reform Our Stupid, Evil Penitentiaries? A South Korean Prison, Aptly-Named 'Hope,' Points the Way
Of the many American crises, one of the most horrific concerns our increasing mass incarceration. This escalating tragedy is beginning to catch the attention of many in the media and in Congress.
The long-standing CMSI is a place where curiosity is fed well, where learning is intensely enjoyable, and where practical imagination is released and emboldened. Similarly, I am confident that the developing Museum of the Bible (MOTB) being built in Washington, DC – three blocks from the Capitol – will fulfill similar purposes. It will be a place of meaningful adventure, discovery, and serious fun in learning for everyone who visits!
To teach or preach a Bible text well is to discover at least one great principle in the text and to help people apply it. This is my mode of teaching and preaching—and how I teach others to teach and preach. Before a good sermon is over, all the people in the congregation should have some principled action in mind that can help guide them to honor and please the Lord more by their lives, by God's grace.
The Bible is an awesome adventure, introducing precious eternal teachings within specific historical contexts. Through its pages readers find universal principles dramatically revealed in extraordinary human persons. God's eternal principles always matter, and so do specific timely moments of Divine action within people's lives.
Wise parents, grandparents and educators nurture "higher-order thinking skills" (HOTS) in children, youth and one another for many good reasons. Most importantly, HOTS vividly celebrates that we humans are not merely creatures of nature; we are not now limited to the sensory world, or the world of time and space. Because of the HOTS potential that the Lord already built into our first ancestors, we can rise above our temptations, reflect on our behavior, navigate dilemmas, develop character, and even become Godly people by grace.
The history of the splendid human activity of reading especially centers around the Bible. Besides its divine inspiration, there are several reasons that make it the Best Book ever: millions of people have learned to read in order to read the Bible; the Bible text is supported by the greatest documentation; the Bible sets the records for manuscript copies and books written about it; movable type was invented to help propagate the Bible. Even in the very secular New York City, my town, the largest library – the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue with the iconic giant sculptures of lions in the front – features the Bible in three of its four murals in the lobby near the main reading room.
While the wonderful surface linguistic details of the Biblical stories and teachings help carry their power, post-modern Biblical hermeneutical study helps uncover deeper linguistic reserves of linguistic power that the Holy Spirit then magnifies. One of these reserves involves the amazing and subtle linguistic patterns utilized by the skilled, Spirit-led, Biblical authors.
The increasing failures of our schools are not primarily the fault of the education establishment or the teachers. The problem is that we dismantled the prize-winning, God-ordained architecture of education that made our country great. It is time to restore the successful education architecture, at least wherever you and I have influence.
Can we rediscover the joy of deep reading and engagement with Bible texts? Can the "A.D. The Bible Continues" epic series draw our attention back to the best Book for another look? Can we experience again the richness of the grace of Divine revelation?
The annual Purim date is fixed at about one month before Passover, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday. It is seen by some as a strictly Jewish holiday, but since we Christians are fully "grafted into" God's special relationships, it makes sense for us to celebrate Purim as well.
On February 12, 2015 – exactly 150 years after Abraham Lincoln's final birthday – Federal Bureau of Investigations Director James B. Comey gave one of the most wise and relevant perspectives on the racial issues of 2015 in a 23 minute speech at the Jesuit Georgetown University. Even through the media sound-bites, the timeliness and truth of Director's comments were cogent, clear, and widely praised. I