AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: You've Got A Friend DATE: 4/30/2005 08:01:00 PM ----- BODY: I've finished my sermon for tomorrow -- it's based on John 14:15-21 and I have titled it "You've Got A Friend".

The premise is that the Holy Spirit is with us to help us when we need it.

Here's a portion of the sermon:

The promise that Jesus made to those first disciples is a promise to us as well.
Jesus has made it possible for us to have a parakletos
-- a helper on whom we can call in time of need – a friend – God with us – God dwelling in our hearts.
Jesus is saying – in effect –

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to se you again.

Winter – spring – summer - or fall
All you have to call
And I’ll be there –
You’ve got a friend.


Read the sermon here.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: God Hates ..... DATE: 4/30/2005 02:41:00 PM ----- BODY: Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas seems to have a mission to let the world know that God hates just about everything they hate - homosexuals, the Pope, whatever they don't like! This Church -- started by
Pastor Fred Phelps
-- seems to be intent on spreading hate and fear throughout the country. The local news today has been showing a "love crusade" they have held in Danville, VA -- which turned out to be a confrontation with those who did not agree with them. Thank God no one was hurt -- yet!

They plan to go to a Catholic Church in the area tomorrow to disrupt services -- and celebrate their belief that Pope John Paul II is in hell.

What really concerns me about this is that they are teaching children that God hates homosexuals, Catholics, and just about anyone else who believes differently than they do. These are children from that Church proudly wearing their T shirts!



It's not that I believe that homosexuality is a correct lifestyle -- because I don't -- it's just that I frimly believe several things:

1. God wants all people to repent and believe in Him (John 3:16)
2. God does not hate anyone -- but loves and wants everyone to repent of their sins and follow Him. (Matthew 18:10-14)
3. God wants us to show His love to all people -- and not judge others. (Matthew 7:1-5)


I guess the most important thing I believe is that if God can love and forgive me, God can love and forgive anybody!

Unitl next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Agree To Disagree DATE: 4/29/2005 05:47:00 AM ----- BODY: I read in this weeks Sojomail -- the e-magazine of sent out by Sojourner's -- a great article by Jim Wallis.

Wallis was writing in response to last Sunday's Justice Sunday to express his concern that some Christian leaders -- and other leaders using the name of faith -- are using their ideas about the Christian faith to try to "bully" others into agreeing with them on all matters of faith and politics. The idea he sees is the old one of

If you don't agree with me, you're not a Christian.


Wallis contends that we should never use the faith to force someone to agree with us on issues that are not really "faith" issues. It's not that he is against Christians speaking out on matters of justice and issues that concern us. As he puts it:

Of course, I have no objection to Christian leaders expressing their faith in the public arena - it's a good thing that I do all the time. The question is not whether to do so, but how. As I heard more and more about "Justice Sunday," it felt to me like it was crossing an important line - saying that a political issue was a test of faith.


There are some things that, as Chrsitians, unite us and we should agree on. Salvation by faith in Christ is one of those. However, there are other things we can disagee on -- and still be faithful followers of Christ.

So -- how do we respond to those who do not agree with us?

Wallis gives this good example:

We can get some historical perspective by looking at how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did it - and he was the church leader who did it best. Once after he was arrested, he wrote a very famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," addressed to the white clergy who were opposing him on the issues of racial segregation and violence against black people. Never once did he say that they were not people of faith.


In other words, agree to disagree. Don't let the fact that you do not agree with someone on a matter that is not vital to the faith make you think less of them as a Christian. Not everyone does this, but more of us need to.

Wallis wraps up his comments with a good obersvation:

It is now clear there are some who will fight this religious war by any means necessary. So we will fight, but not the way they do. We must never lie or misrepresent the facts or the truth. We must not demonize or vilify those who are our opponents. We must claim that those who disagree with our judgments are still real people of faith.


You can read Wallis' article here.

Agree to disagree. Hold true to your own beliefs and what you feel God calling you to do, and honor what others feel God calling them to do. It's not easy -- so let's pray for strength to do this!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Tips On Reading DATE: 4/28/2005 08:36:00 PM ----- BODY: I came across an article on how to read more -- and comprehend more of what you read. Beng an avid reader, I thought I'd share it with you.

The aritcle is: Why Settle for Merely Reading a Book When You Can Master It? How to Read Less More,and Twice as Fast
by Greg Koukl. It's a very good article on how to read more -- and understand more of what you've read.


Here are some highlights:

Overview

Get a sense of the book in 5-10 minutes.
Read jacket copy, contents, skim preface & introduction, read conclusion (last 3 pages) and skim the index. Note publisher and date of publication.
Quickly page through the entire book at the rate of 2-3 seconds per page.

Determine if you want to read the book more thoroughly, give it away, or file it for future reference.

Preview
Skim entire book at a slower rate (4-10 seconds per page), breaking the book in as you go.
Look for structure, outline, key facts and concepts.
Write a quick summary for the book in pencil on title page.

Read
Preview each chapter again before you read it to get the structure (4-10 seconds per page).
Read every word at fastest comfortable speed using a pointer so you won’t wander, hesitate, regress, or lose your place. Mark the margin, but don’t underline the text.
Write a 1-4 sentence summary in pencil at the beginning of the chapter.
Sketch a quick outline or recall pattern.

Postview Immediately
Re-read the chapter quickly, focusing on marked sections, interacting with the text.
Refine your 1-4 sentence summary at the beginning of the chapter.
Review at regular intervals, looking over recall patterns and summary material.


Read the entire article here.

I learned about this article from Stacey at Mind And Media

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: A - ? No Way! DATE: 4/27/2005 07:45:00 PM ----- BODY: While reading about my nephew's visit with Rev. Mike -- who I just found out is also a graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary (which explains why his blog is so insightful :) ) I came across a personality inventory Rev. Mike posted about. I took it -- figuring it would be fun.

Well -- this is what I scored:

You Have A Type A- Personality
A-

You are one of the most balanced people around
Motivated and focused, you are good at getting what you want
You rule at success, but success doesn't rule you.

When it's playtime, you really know how to kick back
Whether it's hanging out with friends or doing something you love!
You live life to the fullest - encorporating the best of both worlds


OK -- I like the ballanced -- motivated -- focused -- rule at success -- know how to kick back -- live life to the fullest parts -- but --

A -?

You must be kidding!

A - ?


There must be some mistake here!

I'll never admit to being an A -!

Anyway -- take the personality test and see what type you are -- but be careful! The people who score it don't know what they are doing!

A - ! Ha!


:)


Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: John Paul II and the Evangelicals DATE: 4/26/2005 07:03:00 AM ----- BODY: You might think that Protestant Evangelical Chriistians and the head of the Catholic Church could never see eye to eye on anything.

But you would be wrong.

John Paul II actually worked with and helped Preotestant Evangelical Christian groups in every way he could. His opinion was that all Christians should work together to proclaim the Gospel -- putting aside theological issues to focus on the more important issues of doing God's work in the world.

I read an article in Christianity Today -- then found it on their web site -- that tells part of the story of how Pope John Paul II worked with Protestant Evangelical Christians to further the cause of the church.

Here's a part of the article:

When Karol Wojtyla stepped out on the Vatican balcony on October 16, 1978, as the new Pope John Paul II, waving to the crowds in St. Peter's Square on the first day of his auspicious papacy, the person preaching for him in his home pulpit back in Krakow, Poland, was none other than Billy Graham. Behind that fact is a surprising story of the late pope's personal involvement with American evangelicals. With his passing, it is time to tell that story.


Click here to read more about how he worked with Billy Graham and other groups -- including Campus Crusade for Christ -- for the Kingdom of God!

Let's pray that Benedict XVI will continue the ecumenical spirit and work of John Paul II.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: RLP: Going Down WIth The Ship DATE: 4/25/2005 08:52:00 PM ----- BODY: Gordon Atkinson -- the Real Live Preacher -- has had another of his articles published on the Christian Century web site.

This one is a reflection on faith -- keeping faith -- and staying true to your faith throughout your life -- even in the hard times. It is one of the most poignant -- and yet strong esays I have read in a long time.

Here is part of the essay:

I intend to take my ship straight to the horizon, full steam ahead with my eyes on the setting sun. Don’t speak to me of danger or choices or what might have been. Don’t tell me that I might take on water.... I intend to sail straight and true until the water covers my deck and I can go no further. Then my friends will slow their ships, and come alongside to give me a final salute. And when I go under I will still be facing the horizon with both hands on the wheel.


Read the entire essay here.

May we all sail our "ship of faith" with dignity -- courage -- and commitment to the One who has called us to set sail!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Not Only Internet Evangelism Day DATE: 4/24/2005 04:49:00 PM ----- BODY:


This morning I blogged about Internet Evangelism Day -- but it seems there is something else going on today also -- o yea -- it's the NFL Draft!

This is a day of light in the midst of darkness that exists from the end of the NCAA Basketball Tournament until the start of the NFL pre season. No offense to you baseball lovers out there -- I do enjoy baseball -- but football and college basketball are my passions! I gusess it runs in the family!

Anyway -- the picture above is of Alex Smith, the former Quarterback from Utah, who was the first pick in the draft this year. He was chosen by San Francisco -- a 2-14 team last season, who could probably use a good QB!

Then there is this handsome "man in black"


He's Troy Williamson from the University of South Carolina. He was chosen 7th and will be playing Wide Receiver for the Minnesota Vikings. Don't expect him to be as good as Randy Moss -- yet -- but he will do well!

Then -- in the 3rd round -- Denver chose Maurice Clarrett. He has finally made it into the pros! You may remember that Clarrett has played 1 college season -- and has been trying to get into the pros for a couple of years. All I can say is "Come on and show us what you've got!"

You can track the NFL Draft here.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Internet Evangelism Day DATE: 4/24/2005 05:40:00 AM ----- BODY:
Today is Internet Evangelism Day -- a day for celebrating what is being done to spread the good news of God's love over the internet -- and for rededicating our efforts to use the World Wide Web to spread the news of God's love.

My nephew, Rob,is on the planning team for Internet Evangelism Day -- and has some great things to say about it on his blog. This is one of the comments he has posted:

Dear (name deleted), I'm not Christian yet, I'm reading a lot in the bible recently, to tell you the truth, he changed me, a lot a lot a lot…is my prays acceptable? I can't go to church, my religion is very conservative they would kill me if they have seen me there…I love him so much…Thank you." ~ someone in Jordan



Internet Evanglism is making a differnece!

To read more about what Rob has to say, click here.


To learn more about Internet Evangelism Day, click here.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Columbia Theological Seminary: Colloquium 2005 DATE: 4/23/2005 08:30:00 PM ----- BODY: I spent two days this week at Colloquium 2005 at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur GA. The theme this year was: Evangelism: From Crusade to Coffee Shop.

This was a wonderful two day conference on a vital subject. Statistics show that the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination is losing thousands of members every year. Certainly there is a need to take another look at what we are doing to bring people to Christ.

I have blogged about several of the presentations -- but wanted to have one post with links to the others in one place.

Monday night we looked at who is an Evangelist
Tuesday morning we heard about The Evangelist As An Artist
We then heard the question asked: Are You An Evangelical
We then heard about A New Great Commission In A Post Modern World

I have also written a sermon to summarize for my congregation what I learned.

The conference was wonderful and filled with great ideas -- now on to putting them into practice!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: An Evangelism Sermon DATE: 4/23/2005 08:00:00 PM ----- BODY: I have finished -- and posted -- my sermon for tomorrow. It is my attempt to put into a sermon some the main ideas I got from the conference I attended this week.

CLick here to read the sermon.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: A New Great Commission For A Post Modern World DATE: 4/22/2005 09:45:00 PM ----- BODY: As I posted have been posting this week,(Wednesday night, Thursday morning, and Thursday night, I have been at an Evangelism Conference at Columbia Theological Seminary this week.

One of the workshops I attended was about evangelism in a post modernist age, lead by Dr. Steve Hayner, Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth at Columbia Seminary. Dr. Hayner had a lot of great information about what is being called "post modernism" and a lot of charts that described different characteristics of today's culture -- but the main point he made was that there are 3 ways we can respond to the changing culture we see around us --

we can fight it
we can change with it
or
we can realise the God is at work in it -- identify where God is at work -- and be a part of God's work


(I believe Niebuhr would consider "Christ In Culture "Christ in culture".)

Hayner's point was that the Church must try to identify -- and be a part of -- God's work in today's culture.

There has been a lot of talk lately about "the emergent church." For Hayner, an emergent church is one where the members are comfortable going out to and relating to those who are "outside" the Church -- instead of making them come "inside" before they will have anything to do with them. He remarked that if people are not willing to tell the good news of God's love in their day to day contacts the good news will never permeate the culture.

Hayner made the comment that maybe we need to look at other verses of scripture to be our Great Commission in this post modern age.
For centuris Christians have considered Matthew 28:19-20 to be "The Great Commission" -- our orders from Christ to go -- teach -- and baptise. He feels that we might benefit from seeing John 17:18 This is a picture of God sending Jesus into the world -- and Jesus sending His followers into the world -- not making the world come to them.

In this post modern sulture, the idea of being sent into the world -- going into the world -- and being a part of God's work in the world is challanging -- but it is one of the only ways for true renewal in the Church!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Are You An Evangelical? DATE: 4/21/2005 07:58:00 PM ----- BODY: As I posted last night and this morning , I have been at an Evangelism Conference at Columbia Theological Seminary this week.

On Tuesday morning at the conference Rev. Jin Kim preached at the worship service about being an Evangelical Witness.

Preaching on the story of the first Pentecost -- Acts 2:1-13 -- he asked:

What happened at Pentecost when the disciples spoke in tongues?


The miracle was that God's great love began to be proclaimed to -- and understood by -- a diverse group of people. The early church was a diverse group. It was not a large group -- but it was filled with people of every culture and race sharing the love of God with each other and with the world.

What is evangelism all about -- Dr. Kim asked. He made the statement that the size of your congregation does not matter. Gaining members is not what evangelism is all about. What matters is zeal – caring – working together against the notions of success in society and ethics in society. Dr. Kim stated that the early church was certainly not big – the Roman Empire was not turned upside down because of church’s size – but because of it’s witness – it’s spirit!

Building loving – caring – diverse communities is the way to renewal in the church.

Dr. Kim then stated that the community of Christians that labels itself the “Evangelical Community” today is basically white! If it is going to really be the Evangelical Community – the community of Good News - - it needs to be the community of Good News for all people – not just those “like us.” Churches need to quit being so concerned about the things that separate them – theological differences, etc. -- and focus on the things that unite them -- the love of God.

One statement by Dr. Kim really made his point for me:

Don’t call yourself evangelical unless you are willing to show God’s love to all people – the poor – the needy – those hurting – even if they are not like you and do not agree with you!


Let's all strive to be evangelists -- sharing God's love with all people.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: More On Evangelism: The Artist DATE: 4/21/2005 06:47:00 AM ----- BODY: As I posted last night, I have been at an Evangelism Conference at Columbia Theological Seminary this week.

Dr. Leighton Ford spoke Tuesday morning on "The Evangelist As An Artist Of The Soul." Using the text of the call of Peter from John 1:40-42, he asked the question:

When Jesus looked at Peter, what did he see?


He saw Peter for who he really was -- and accepted him for who he really was!

Too many times we look at people but do not see who they "really are". If we would take the time to see who people "really are" -- and let God touch who they "really are" through us -- we would be blessed -- and so would they!

Dr. Ford talked about this painting



You probably recognise it as Johannes Vermeer's Girl With A Pearl Earring , considered one of Vermeer's masterpieces. In the movie adaptation of how the picture came to be, the girl is a servant in Vermeer's home, and is mistreated. No one sees her for who she is -- only for what she can do for them. Vermeer starts painting, and when he is done he shows the portrait to the girl. She looks at the portrait -- then her eyes grow wide and she exclaimed:

You saw inside me!


As evangelists -- those who share the good news of God -- we need to see people for who they are -- see what's inside them! Many people (most people, actually, at some point in their lives) feel that if God really could see what was inside them, God would not love them. It is up to us to show people that God does see what is inside them -- and loves them!

Dr. Ford ended by calling on us all to pray that God would make us all artists -- like Vermeer -- and like Christ -- of people's souls -- evangelists who take the time to see people for who they really are -- and share the good news that God loves them.

I'll share more about the conference later.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: An Evangelist Is ... DATE: 4/20/2005 08:09:00 PM ----- BODY: I have spent the past two days at Colloquium 2005 at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur GA. The theme this year was: Evangelism: From Crusade to Coffee Shop.

This was a wonderful two day conference on a vital subject. Statistics show that the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination is losing thousands of members every year. Certainly there is a need to take another look at what we are doing to bring people to Christ.

Monday night the keynote address was given by Dr. Leighton Ford. Dr. Ford began by asking us what we think of when we hear the word Evangelism -- and what images we have when we hear the word Evangelist.

His point was the many people see an Evangelist as somone with what he called
A well thumped Bible


He then asked if there are other images we can adopt for Evangelism -- and Evangelists.

In the Greek -- the word Evangelist means:

someone who proclaims good news


Churches need to be "evangelizing communities" -- or communities that are committed to spreading the good news of God's love! Christians need to be busy telling how God has shown them love -- and can show love to others!

We all have a story to tell -- the story of God's love. Evangelists need to be storytellers -- telling the story of God's love.

Dr. Ford asked us to think of who first shared God's love with us. He then said that for most people the answer is not
someone with
A well thumped Bible

but someone who shared God's love in a loving and caring way.
He then challanged us to find a way we can authentically share the story of God's love as we have experienced it with others.

An evangelist, he said, is a stoy teller.

I'll blog some more about the confernce later.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: MinistryNet Retrospective DATE: 4/16/2005 03:32:00 PM ----- BODY:

You may remember that my nephew, Rob,and his wife Patricia were in Budapest a few weeks ago for the MinistryNet 2005 Internet Ministry Conference. The conference is over, but the work sharing the good news of Jesus Christ over the internet will never end.

Rob has put together a retrospective of the conference on one post on his blog. Click here
to see many of the posts and observations from the conference in one convenient place!

By the way -- unless I come up with something else to blog about tonight or early in the morning, this will be my lst post until some time next week. I'm leaving tomorrow morning for Colloquium 2005 at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur GA. This year's theme is Evangelism: From Crusade to Coffee Shop -- and will feature Dr. Leighton Ford. If I had a laptop and could make posts during the conference I would do that -- but since I don't have a laptop I can't promise post until I return home!

I'm leaving in the morning and not preaching tomorrow -- so there are no updates to my sermon blog for this week.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: More "Humor" DATE: 4/15/2005 08:32:00 AM ----- BODY: Wow -- am I in a rare mood this morning!

I just opened an e-mail from The Wittenburg Door and could not help but laugh at this new "Evangelism Tool" they were poking fun at!



Sometimes truth is much stranger than fiction!

Hey -- I'm going to be at an Evangelism Seminar next week at Columbia Seminary featuring Leighton Ford. I wonder if this is one of the "tools" he will be promoting?

Somehow I doubt it!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Lots of Beer -- No Pretzels DATE: 4/15/2005 07:55:00 AM ----- BODY:



From the humor depatment:

Rev. Mike posted last week about a "tragedy" in Canada. It seems that 46,368 bottles of Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale were wasted as the truck carrying them wrecked and they were all broken.

Here's part of how Rev. Mike reports it:

The truck .... skidded to a stop against the overpass's guardrail, luckily avoiding a 50-foot plunge down to another road.

The female driver was pulled out of the cab uninjured — "more frazzled than hurt," according to Logan — letting rescuers focus on the calamitous aspects of the disaster.

"I had a tear in my eye, actually, when I was watching it," said police Constable Mark Hobeck. "It was full of beer. We were hoping a Hostess truck full of pretzels would come by, but no such luck."


All that beer -- and no pretzels!

A "tragedy" indeed :)!

Until next time -- Peace! Bil -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Is Eric Rudolph Really Pro Life? DATE: 4/14/2005 08:07:00 PM ----- BODY: Eric Rudolph says he is a pro life activist.

I disagreee.

The man who has plead guilty to several bombings of Abortion Clinics, Gay and Lesbian bars, and the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, issued statement that he feels he is justified in his actions because the government is legalising abortion -- which he sees as murder. He sees himself as a pro life activist -- fighting to stop the horrors of abortion.

But -- how can you call yourself pro life -- when you are killing innocent people?

This is not pro life at all.
It is murder.
Just as abortion is.

Here is part of Rudolph's statement:

"There are those who would say to me that the system in Washington works. They say that the pro-life forces are making progress, that eventually Roe v. Wade will be overturned, that the culture of life will ultimately win over the majority of Americans and the horror of abortion will be outlawed. Yet, in the meantime thousands die everyday. ... I ask these peaceful Christian law-abiding Pro-Life citizens, is there any point at which all of the legal remedies will not suffice and you would fight to end the massacre of children? How many decades have to pass, how many millions have to die? ... I think that your inaction after three decades of slaughter is a sufficient answer to all of these questions."


I am pro life. I believe that life -- all life -- is a precious gift from God and to be treated with dignity and respect.

Someone who kills others and justifies it by saying they are fighting to end abortions is not pro life at all.
Anti- abortion maybe.
Pro life -- no.

You can read excerts from Rudolph's statement here.

May God bless all of us with the vision that life -- all of life -- is precious -- and killing others to advance your view is not pro life -- but is wrong.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Dying and Dignity DATE: 4/13/2005 08:53:00 PM ----- BODY: This week's issue of SojoMail from Soujourners has a great article on dying with dignity by David Batstone -- one of their frequent contributing editors.

I like the way he begins his article:

Health care these days isn't, for all but the elite strata of our society


How true!

He goes on to say:

It's not hard to conjure up a medical nightmare tale at the local coffee shop: Just start sharing your own recent woes at a hospital, and a host of voices will chirp in with their own experiences of neglect.


Blackstone then tells a moving tale of a Health Care professional who takes her job seriously -- and how she dignifed the dying moments of one unknown man.

This is the story Blackstone tells:

On this particular evening, not unlike most evenings at this urban San Francisco hospital, the nurses had a full slate of patients who needed attention. To Mary Ann's list was added John Doe.

Mary Ann soon realized that there would be no extraordinary medical intervention to rescue John Doe's life. Her task that evening, as she understood her nursing vocation, was to accompany her patient on his journey toward death. Mary Ann continued to make her rounds with all her patients early in the evening, and made regular stops at the bed of John Doe. She noted that the man whose name she would never come to know was aware of her presence, and responded to her words of comfort.

The other nurses on the ward that evening were moved by Mary Ann's spirit of compassion, and felt sympathy for a man dying alone, without apparent friend or family. To a person, the nurses spontaneously volunteered to add to their attendant list one of Mary Ann's patients so that she would be free to care solely for John Doe.

Mary Ann stayed by his bedside the rest of the evening. The man could not speak to her, but he applied pressure to Mary Ann's hand in response to her prayers, stories, and consolations. He remained alert until the last breath escaped from his lungs. Death came to take him at daybreak. Mary Ann uttered one final prayer of gratitude to God for walking this gentle soul home.


And here is Blackstone's real point:

as John Doe lay in his hospital bed dying, saved from a totally anonymous passing by a giving spirit, the nation was transfixed with Terry Schiavo. Americans, it seems, work out their social values through pop culture - race with O.J., gender with the Bobbits, and so on - so perhaps the 24/7 media coverage of every detail of the Schiavo family is not surprising. But it strikes me that Mary Ann, on watch at the bedside of John Doe, is the symbol for an expression of "the absolute dignity of human life" that I will carry with me.


Read Blackstone's article here.

There are still many who hold to "the absolute dignity of human life" -- and many who act in ways that protect that -- even for those whose names they will never know. May God bless us with more people who are committed to "the absolute dignity of human life" -- and work to protect it!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Buy A Car -- Get A Bible DATE: 4/12/2005 06:01:00 AM ----- BODY: I just read a great post about Thomas Nelson Printers' attempt to get the Bible to more people. Here's how Michael Hyatt, President of the Thomas Nelson, described the program:

In February, we launched “The Million Bible Challenge.” The purpose of this campaign is to motivate non-Bible readers to read the Bible. We wanted to provide an inexpensive version of the NKJV Bible so that individuals and churches could “pull out the stops” and help us (literally) get the word out. This is a year-long campaign, running from Easter 2005 to Easter 2006


A great idea -- and here are some things that Mr. Hyatt reports have happened:

* These results drove the NKJV to the #1 market share position in the Christian bookstore market. (This is STATs results for March, which are reported in the May numbers. The NKJV has a 33.55% share, the NIV a 22.38% share, and the KJV a 14.66% share.) Not that we are competitive!

* One store, in Kerrville Texas, has partnered with two car dealers in his town. The dealers will put this Bible into every new and used car they sell.

* A Los Angeles store has sent flyers to hundreds of churches in the Southern California area with incredible initial results.

* A store in Scottsdale, Arizona originally ordered 4,000 Bibles. Before they received their order, they had orders for 10,000 Bibles.


I particularly like the idea of the Kerrville, Texas car dealer! ;)

Read the entire post
here
.

Oh -- I found out about this reading Mind & Media.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Not Boring -- Not Empty DATE: 4/11/2005 08:55:00 PM ----- BODY: I ran across this post -- which is a sermon based on the Walk To Emmaus -- by Mark Greer.

I really like this point he makes:

Christianity isn't a boring, empty religion. It is a movement of people who follow the risen Jesus Christ. It is a movement of people who live a resurrection life now, death cannot hold them back because the one whom they follow has won the victory over death. So we stand firm, we don't let anything move us, we give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord because we know that our work is not in vain.


Mark, I could not agree with you more! A risen Lord that continues to change lives is certainly not boring or empty.

Let's see what we can do to catch the fire and excitement of the risen Lord!

Read Mark's sermon here.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Marketing: Mind and Media DATE: 4/10/2005 05:18:00 AM ----- BODY: I get e-mail alerts from Mind and Media -- a wonderful company that helps us look at the culture from a more thoughtful perspective. Part of what they do is get books that present issues from a well thought out perspective -- then get their subscibers to read and post reviews about them. A great idea -- they are being paid by the publishers to do this -- and are building a community of bloggers around their site at the same time.

I have petitioned to be one of their reviewers -- but need more traffic on my site! So get the word out -- and someday I, too, can get free books and blog about them! ;)

Anyway -- the point of this post is to let you know that Stacy Harp, President of Mind and Media, did an interview with Paul Chaney of the Radiant Marketing Group. It's a great interview -- well worth a listen.

Listen to the pod cast of the interview here.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Jim Wallis: The Pope and Terri Schiavo DATE: 4/09/2005 04:57:00 PM ----- BODY: As we end the 2 weeks that have been filled with news of Terri Schiavo -- then John Paul II -- I want to share an article I found from Sojourners.

Jim Wallis wrote a good piece about the Pope, Terri Schiavo, and moral consistency. Wallis begins by relating how remarkable it is when someone has a spirituality that attracts millions of people.

Wallis writes:

It's sadly rare for a church leader, or for the leaders of most of our dominant institutions, to demonstrate a spirituality that attracts millions of people around the world - particularly so many young people. But the scene of millions lining up to simply pass by the body of John Paul II in Rome this week is remarkable indeed.


Wallis goes on to write about the Pope's "consistent ethic of life".

One of the great attractions of Pope John Paul II's spirituality was his consistency. At the core of Catholic social teaching is the idea of a "consistent ethic of life," an ethic that seeks to protect and defend human life and dignity wherever and whenever they are threatened, and which challenges the selective moralities of both the political left and right.


Wallis believes the Pope's appeal lay partly in this "consistent ethic of life" , an integrity that is missing in so many other leaders. He believes this "consistent ethic of life" was missing from the death of Terry Schiavo.

Consistency is deeply attractive to people who long for public integrity - particularly to a new generation. The same lack of consistency in the politically selective eulogies of the pope also characterized the highly politicized responses to the sad story and death of Terri Schiavo.


Wallis continues with the statement:

I cannot understand why parents willing to take care of their disabled daughter were not allowed to by a husband who had moved on to another life and family. Terri Schiavo was severely mentally disabled but was not dying, and we don't decide to end the lives of many similarly disabled people, even children, whose mental capacities greatly diminish their quality of life


That is something I am having a hard time understanding, also.

We need more leaders with a "consistent ethic of life". Then again, just "consistent ethics" would be nice in our leaders -- as well as ourselves.

Read the Jim Wallis' article here.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Does It Make A Difference? DATE: 4/09/2005 04:12:00 PM ----- BODY: I have finally finished -- and posted on my sermon blog site -- my sermon for tomorrow. It's based on parts of Peter's sermon in Acts 2 and the appearance of Christ after the resurrection on the road to Emmaus.

The premise of the sermon is that we need to live as if the resurrection of Christ has really made a differnce in our lives. If we do not let Christ change our lives and share that change with others, then we miss the life God can give us to live.

I used the story of Ashley Smith to illustrate my point:

I am sure that you have heard of Ashley Smith. You might not recognize her name, but you have certainly heard her story.
Ashley is the young woman taken hostage by Brian Nichols, the man who killed a judge and three other people in Atlanta.
Ashley has had a troubled life -- drugs and other problems. Not so long ago, when she hit bottom, Ashley spent two months in a Christian clinic for drug abusers. The counselors not only helped her to get off drugs, but they also helped her to get her heart right with God. When Brian Nichols took her hostage, she had in her possession a copy of "The Purpose Driven Life" -- a book about Christian faith -- and she had read part of it. God had done a good job of getting her ready for her encounter with a killer.
When Nichols took her captive, Ashley talked to him about God. She showed him pictures of her family. She read to him from "The Purpose Driven Life." When Nichols asked what she thought he should do, she was honest with him. She told him that he needed to stop running -- he needed to turn himself in. She told him that, when he went to prison, he could fulfill his "miracle" by "sharing the word of God" with other inmates.
You know the rest of the story. He let her go -- and she called the police -- and Nichols surrendered peacefully
Ashley let God change her life.
Ashley was changed from a young woman with many problems to a young woman with a story to share – and willing to share it with others.
Ashley let God make a difference in her life – and lived as if Christ made a difference to her.


Read the sermon here.
Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: MinistryNet Upate:Wednesday DATE: 4/06/2005 08:43:00 PM ----- BODY:

My nephew, Rob,and his wife Patricia are in Budapest for the MinistryNet 2005 Internet Ministry Conference.

As Rob has blogged on the MinistryNet blog site, the conference is over, but the work sharing the good news of Jesus Christ over the internet will never end.

Click here to learn more about getting visitors to your web site, digital advertising,, and resourses.

Pray for God to use the parcipants in this conference for His glory!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: MinistryNet Upate: Tuesday Evening DATE: 4/05/2005 08:06:00 PM ----- BODY:



My nephew, Rob,and his wife Patricia are in Budapest for the MinistryNet 2005 Internet Ministry Conference.

The MinistryNet blog site is again filled with great stuff for those interested in using the internet to reach folks with the Gospel. Click here to learn more about Writing For The Web, Graphic Design, and Web Usability.

Please continue to pray that God will bless this conference!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: MinistryNet Update: Tuesday Morning DATE: 4/05/2005 05:40:00 AM ----- BODY:



My nephew, Rob,and his wife Patricia are in Budapest for the MinistryNet 2005 Internet Ministry Conference.

The MinistryNet blog site has much more exciting news about Internet Evangelism.

Click here to learn more about what's happening in NAMEStan and Branding, some Wisdom and Revelation they have received, and a group photo of the participants.

Click here for Patricia's report of the "human side" of the conference!

Please continue to pray with me that God will bless this conference and the information used will be utilized for God's glory!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: MinistryNet Upate: Monday DATE: 4/04/2005 08:24:00 PM ----- BODY:



My nephew, Rob,and his wife Patricia are in Budapest for the MinistryNet 2005 Internet Ministry Conference.

A lot is happening at the conference! Click here to learn about what is happening with Internet Evangelism in Eastern and Western Europe, mentorships, response centers, the art and science of response, media canopy, and connecting with the culture.

Won't you continue to pray with me that God will richly bless this conference?

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: MinistryNet Update: Sunday DATE: 4/03/2005 02:15:00 PM ----- BODY:



My nephew, Rob, and his wife Patricia are in Budapest for the MinistryNet 2005 Internet Ministry Conference.

Rob's blog has a post today that the conferenece has started!

This is how Rob describes part of the action:

I look around the room now (after dinner and many have left now) and I hear accents from all over. A man from Jordan is playing with his palm. A guy from Germany is using Skype to talk to someone else. A guy from Singapore is surfing the web. A conversation in English, Polish, and others I don't recognize are happening as I type.

I look forward to the rest of the week!


Read Rob's post on his blog site here

Read the post about the opening session on the MinistryNet blog site here.

I'll post more as I see it on the sites -- but keep the conference in your prayers.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Believing Is Seeing DATE: 4/03/2005 02:01:00 PM ----- BODY: I have posted today's sermon on my sermon blog. It is based on Acts 2:14(a), 22-32 and John 20:19-31. Entitled "Believing Is Seeing"
it looks at the story of Jesus coming to the disciples the night after the resurrection, then again, with Thomas present, the following week. The basic premise is that many times we have evidence of God's work in front of us -- but don't beleive it for what it is -- so we don't see it for what it is.

Here's a small part of the sermon:

Maybe you see things that make you feel:
“So what if Christ has risen?”
“What difference does it make -- to me?”
“What difference does it make in my life?”
“What difference does it make in this church?”
“What difference does it make in the world?”
“Where’s the new life Christ offers?”
“I don’t see the difference – so I can’t believe it!”

Friends – many times
Believing is seeing.
Believing is seeing.


Read the entire sermon here.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Real Live Personal Space DATE: 4/03/2005 05:22:00 AM ----- BODY: Gordon Atkinson -- the Real Live Preacher -- has published another article in the Christian Century magazine. It's about "Personal Space" -- startine with his relating a time when he invaded someone's personal space -- then moving to a refelection on intimacy and the struggle between intimacy and personal space. A good read about what it means t be open and vulnerable.

Here's a part of the article:

Real Christianity involves getting together with a handful of pilgrims and becoming intimate. It means braving the possibility of communion. It means letting people into your personal space. And, by the way, these are exactly the sort of people who may hear something desperate and child-like in your voice and be experienced enough at listening to know exactly what it means.


Read the entire article here.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Pope John Paul II -- The Legacy DATE: 4/02/2005 06:55:00 PM ----- BODY: The Pope's life on earth is over -- but his legacy continues.

History -- the news media and others -- will decide what his legacy will be. He was certainly very conservative in many of his views -- many felt too conservative on abortion and the role of women in the church. I'll let others argue these points.

For me he was a Pope who made the Catholic denomination -- Christianity in general -- and indeed religion in genreral more accessable to more people.

In his many travels, his love for life and for others, and his use of the media he became a positive picture of religion for many people. Even in his death he gave us an example of how Christians should face death -- with faith and confidence of eternal life.

Read what ABC news and CNN have to say.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: The Pope -- Fatihful In Life And Death DATE: 4/02/2005 09:08:00 AM ----- BODY:




People of religious faiths throughout the world are praying for Pope John Paul II as he nears death. CNN is reporting that he is slipping in and out of consciousness. What strikes me is the report that he has written to his adies not to weep for him -- that he knew he was going to a place of joy and for them to rejoice with him.

Even in death, the Pope is teaching Christians the secret to life!

Unitl next time -- Peace ! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: MinistryNet Upate: Saturday DATE: 4/02/2005 08:43:00 AM ----- BODY:



If you have been following my blog, you know that my nephew, Rob, and his wife Patricia are in Budapest for the MinistryNet 2005 Internet Ministry Conference.

Rob's blog has a post this morning that they made it to Budapest! Today will be a day for catching a little rest then getting things ready for the conference.

Here's some of Rob's comments:

I only got about 6 hours of sleep last night which I don't understand. I was so exhausted...still am! We went to bed at 9 local time and I woke up at 3. At 4 I got on up. I don't get it. I'm sure I'll need a nap today...and probably won't get it. Tomorrow night the reason we came here gets started and both Patricia and I need to convert our plane-completed talks into PowerPoint sometime this weekend.


Read his entire post here.

Continue to pray for Rob and Patricia to get some rest -- for their preparation for the conference -- and for success for the conference!

Unitl next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: MinistryNet Upate:Friday DATE: 4/01/2005 08:31:00 PM ----- BODY:


Friday's MinistryNet Update

Here's the latest from the MinistryNet 2005 blog:

1 more visa granted in Paris. 1 more to go!



God is doing a great thing! Pray for the success of the conference!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Pope John Paul II -- A Life Of Faith DATE: 4/01/2005 08:31:00 PM ----- BODY: The latest reports are that the health of the Pope continues to get worse -- and that he is near death. This from CNN

Pope John Paul II is clinging to life though Vatican officials concede he is nearing the end of his long, illustrious life. High above St. Peter's Square, lights burned in the papal apartments as Catholics around the world somberly waited and prayed. During a Mass for the pope's health, the vicar of Rome, said John Paul had "abandoned himself to the hands of Christ."


Prayers are being lifted up by Catholics,indeed people of all religions, around the world tonight for this brave man of faith. Let us all pray that he be free from pain and suffering in his death, and continue to be an example for us all of how to live -- and die -- in faith and confidence of God's loving care.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill --------