Before recording my sixth album, "No Turning Back," I needed restoring. I was a bit tired, working a lot, feeling kind of uninspired. I prayed from Psalm 51 "Restore unto me the joy of my salvation." The more I prayed that prayer, the more I thought about where my journey began — at camp. I started thinking about where I was at that time in my life, 16 years old, struggling with tough circumstances. Then I met Jesus, learned to forgive, found joy. I pray you will find Him too.
As a high school student, I'd heard stories from friends about camp — staying up late, eating s'mores around a fire, zip lining through the trees. So when the leaders of a club I'd been attending suggested I spend a week at camp the following summer, I wasn't sure what camp was exactly, but it sounded fun — and I was in.
At the time, I didn't realize the camp was over 2,000 miles away. Born in Nashville, I'd never been west of the Mississippi River, but soon I found myself on a plane to Vancouver, British Columbia, followed by a boat ride from the city out to the middle of a Canadian inlet, to Young Life's Malibu Club summer camp. more >>
It is tempting to neglect incarcerated Christians in America. Labeled as lost causes, we justify our lack of attention to the needs of these brothers and sisters in Christ because of the public punishment they serve for their past wrongdoings. Thank goodness this is not the attitude of Jesus Christ.
In a letter to his parents from his prison cell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, "I wish I could be doing useful service somewhere or other, but at present that 'somewhere' must be in the prison cell, and what I can do here makes its contribution to the unseen world, a sphere where the word 'do' is quit unsuitable." Bonhoeffer spent two years in prison, yet he published wedding sermons, gave Sunday sermons and shared the Gospel with his prison mates and prison guards.
An imprisoned Christian does not lead a static spiritual life. There is much work to be done for the glory of God behind those high-security walls. Of course, ministry within a prison that is led by a prisoner is far from easy. The daily challenges of prison life are too well known to require further mention. The challenges that do go unheard are the emotional and spiritual struggles endured by incarcerated Christians, such as feeling abandoned and forgotten. more >>
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He…who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead—his eyes are closed. The insight into the mystery of life…has also given rise to religion." No biblical prophet uttered those words. Instead they come from the greatest scientific genius of the 20th century, Albert Einstein. His words capture the continuing public fascination with the Shroud of Jesus at Turin, Italy. His words also demonstrate that deep down; no conflict exists between science and religion—despite what atheists contend.
As a professor, I can attest that despite the miraculous benefits technology affords researchers, educators, and students alike—most of us in higher education are, by Einstein's definition, the walking dead: we "no longer wonder and stand wrapped in awe." Awe fails to constitute a measurable learning outcome required by a university-accrediting agency. Neither is it easily explicable to parents paying significant tuition and looking for return on their investment. Yet, sometimes a picture truly is worth a thousand words.
Last week arguably the greatest living expert on the Shroud of Turin, the official photographer of the NASA scientists' investigation (STRP), Barrie Schwortz, visited my university. He arrived just days before CNN launched its six-part series: "Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery." The premiere episode highlighted the mysterious linen. Schwortz began as skeptical as a hardnosed journalist in 1978, equipped with specialized lenses and expecting to find a medieval forger's brushstrokes. Trouble was, no brushstrokes. And after five straight days and nights of unfettered access to the Shroud and scores of empirical analyses later—no scientific explanation emerged for how the forensically accurate image of a scourged and crucified man got on the Shroud. It wasn't a painting—there was no paint; it wasn't a photograph—no trace of silver left behind; and it wasn't a scorch—ultraviolet fluorescence proved that. What was it then? For lack of a better word, a mystery. more >>
The Rev. Franklin Graham has warned in an interview that President Barack Obama is "very sympathetic to Islam" and that America's foreign policy is influenced by Muslims. He added that this influence could lead to Christians and Jewish people being persecuted in the United States.
"There are Muslims that have access to him in the White House. Our foreign policy has a lot of influence now, from Muslims. We see the prime minister of Israel being snubbed by the president and by the White House and by the Democrats and it's because of the influence of Islam. They hate Israel and they hate Christians, and so the storm is coming, I believe," Graham told Gordon Robertson, host of CBN's "The 700 Club" interactive program.
Graham further pointed out that Obama had a Muslim father, and that as a child the president went to school in Indonesia, which has the largest Islamic population in the world. more >>
An Indiana bakery, 111 Cakery, that drew protests last year after the business' Christian owners declined a request from a gay man to make a cake for his same-sex wedding, has decided to close shop for good.
"We have decided not to renew our lease so we are now closed. We want to thank everyone for your patronage, support and friendship. It has been a true pleasure to serve you. Eph 2:8," notes a message on the bakery's website.
Randy McGath, 48, who co-own's the bakery, told USA Today that the business was still profitable but his wife, Trish, 45, who did most of the baking, wanted to spend more time with their four grandchildren. more >>
A new spring kid's sports season is almost here. Soon the local sports fields will be filled with beehives of red-cheeked kids chasing soccer balls. Players will be rounding bases in baseball games. The sound of aluminum bats will be pinging the air. And there will be the welcome smell of fresh cut, dewy grass on Saturday mornings at sporting complexes across America.
And I, for one, love it. Well, most of the time.
Over the last 30 years, kid's sports have changed from having 12 games in the summer for little league ; to having kids play 50 to 70 and up to 90 games a season in competitive sports such as baseball and soccer. What are Christian parents to do when these activites interfere with Church and family life? more >>