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Trump as God’s Man for the Hour

Blog, General, Podcast

You don’t have to listen long to the Jesus Changes Everything podcast to know that when it comes to politics, I’m a pretty lonely fellow. There are out there these great, massive camps, these dominant political parties, that are constantly in struggle and in battle for dominance over the political scene. I often wonder why the struggle is so strong, seeing not a whole lot of difference between the two. I’ve made it clear over the years that my perspective is this: No man will receive my vote for any office, unless he is publicly committed to use every power of his office to protect every unborn child. Now, if you listen to those words carefully, then you would realize that really narrows down my options. That’s not a big field of candidates to choose from.

And It Came To Pass

Blog, The Kingdom Notes

I was not, as a kid, a particularly gifted athlete. I enjoyed sports, however, and so my hours were determined by the seasons: football, basketball, baseball. I realized early on that my gifts were limited, while my desire to compete was boundless. My solution- will. I determined to will myself to victory, to be the dog in the fight with the most fight in the dog. The Rocky movies resonated with me. I would take a punch, and come back for more. That same perspective survived my childhood, and is still with me. But it has matured. I went against Goliaths on the gridiron, faced Apollyon staring me down from the pitcher’s mound, but before the hand of God I have been humbled. My will wilts before His. As one wise theologian has been wont to say, “You have free will. God has free will. Whose will is more free?”…

Arminianism

General, Podcast

It’s time, again, for Ism Monday. It is our habit, once a week, on this podcast to take a particular ism, to explore it, compare it with the word of God, and see how it comes up. We’ve done all manner of isms already, and we’re going to be doing many many more. It doesn’t have to just be a theological ism, but today it is. Today we’re going to be talking about Arminianism. The first thing I have to tell you is Arminianism has nothing to do with a region in Turkey. So often it happens that people begin to develop an interest in theology, they learn about the different schools of thought, but they don’t learn quite enough. They end up talking about “CalVANism” which is not a thing, or they end up talking about “Armenianism” which is a thing, but it’s not Arminianism. Armenians are people from…

Dying by the Sword

General, Podcast

There is, once again, blood on our streets. Just as recent in events in Orlando had perhaps begun to fade just a bit from the headline, now comes 5 police officers being killed in Dallas, Texas. And that on the heels of some scary incidents and deaths in Louisiana and Minnesota. It’s common in our day where everybody gets to have a take, where we have our blogs and we have our posts and social media and podcasts, it’s common for us to all take our stand and make our affirmation about who’s guilty and who’s not guilty, and more often than not it usually follows political party lines. I’m convinced we don’t know who’s guilty, at least until there is a trial. And so what I’m about to say, what follows from those events is not my take on who the bad guys are. I want to talk about…

Ask RC: What Are The Most Important Qualities In A Leader?

Ask R.C., Blog

I confess that the subject of “leadership” is something of a mystery to me. I do not believe I am anything close to a natural born leader, but have found myself from time to time  in positions of leadership. I lead my family. I have lead, through my work, departments, churches, ministries, even movements. As such I tend, at least at first, to pay attention when people speak or write on leadership, looking not just for clues on how to do it, but clues to understand if, and how, I do “leadership.” I haven’t, however, read a book or attended a seminar on that theme and frankly can’t begin to understand what I might find there.  What follows then are not the 5 Ironclad Laws of Leadership. That’s a little bold for my style, at least on this theme. Instead here are a few principles I believe might help. First,…

Taking America’s Pulse

General, Podcast

If you were with us on our last podcast, I spent a fair amount of time trying to make the case that the idea of news is artificial. That, in fact, for most of human history, what people knew about what was going on in the world was limited to what they knew was going on in their world. Well not long ago, the news in the world was news in my world. My world, the world I spend my days in, was interrupted with some tragic deaths. In downtown Orlando, there is a place, a dark place, filled with sin, where people were put to death. It happened and there were police and there were news crews and there were helicopters in the air. But not at the place that I’m talking about.

Jesus Changes Almost Everything

Blog, The Kingdom Notes

I love Twitter. When I first heard about it I confess I was conflicted. The social commentator in me was appalled. My inner Neil Postman took the curmudgeon approach, bemoaning the dumbing down of our discourse to 140 characters. Has our attention span really dropped this far? The poet and the economist inside me, however, formed a strange alliance in embracing Twitter, the economist loving the streamlined nature, the poet adoring the challenge of cramming as much wonder, as many surprising moments of epiphany wrapped in beauty into 140 characters as possible. As a theologian my job is to make distinctions, often ones so subtle they are hard to see. Precision and nuance are the tools of that trade. On Twitter all of these hats I wear often clash. The use of the most potent poetic image may mean, from time to time, that qualifiers are left off. On the…

Summer Recap 2016

General, Podcast

It’s still summer as we record, and so it might be a bit premature to give already a summer recap. But there have been some stories in the news that have caught our attention in the last few weeks that I wanted to make mention of. But I wanted to do so as an opportunity to illustrate the function and the purpose of what we perceive to be our calling on Jesus Changes Everything. There are lots of wonderful resources, there are websites and podcasts and blogs that see it as their calling to take the Word of God, the true, compelling, sound, universally applicable Word of God and bring the Word of God to bear on the news of the day. But that’s not what we do. What we do is we take that good and appropriate approach that I just described and we kind of flip it on…

Ask R.C: Does God Want Me to Be Happy?

Ask R.C., Blog

The Bible is replete with warnings. Those yet outside of His grace are warned of the certainty of judgment. Those weighing life and death are warned to consider the cost before taking up the cross. And those born from above are warned of persecution, hatred, and the many troubles of this world. We all walk the via Dolorosa. Knowing these biblical doctrines, we are rightly put out by purveyors of popcorn prosperity. Whether it’s vapid promises of health and wealth or smiling faces offering you your best life now, we scorn the notion that God wants us to be happy. There is a certain charlatan appeal to the merry mongers. Who doesn’t want to believe not only that they can be happy, but that someone will provide them a map? But there’s another reason this dark distortion of God’s Word won’t die and go away- God’s Word. The same Word…

Paradise Remembered

Blog, The Kingdom Notes

Nostalgia, I have argued, has as its lightly buried foundation a longing for a place we have never been to, Eden.  Home is but an echo, a shadow of our first and final home. I understand that most were not blessed as I was, to grow up in an idyllic combination of peace and beauty, that many suffered early the curse of Cain to wander east of Eden. Others had a childhood fueled more by the fruit of the fall than that which preceded the fall. For all the hardships I have been through, a traumatic childhood was not one of them. Indeed of all the blessings I give thanks for that flowed through hands of my parents, after my assurance of their love for me, I count dearest that they raised me in the mountains of western Pennsylvania, a stone’s throw from the Mayberry-like hamlet of Ligonier, Pennsylvania. It…