Thursday, August 27, 2009

UGANDA IN PERIL


Uganda is a land of Orphans. They are the result of two main causes: brutal dictators who killed their parents and the loss of parents from the AIDS epidemic.


Twenty years of rebel activity by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) has created a humanitarian upheaval in Northern Uganda that has displaced 1.7 million people who don’t have access to humanitarian aid. Especially hard hit are the children. It is estimated that 935,000 children have been displaced from their homes (OXFAM, 2006). Many orphans live in one of the 230 displaced persons’ camps which offer limited supplies. Many simply wander the streets.


Uganda has the highest number of AIDS orphans in the world.


AIDS AND UGANDA ORPHANS
*There are 2 million orphans in Uganda (UNICEF, 2003).

*By 2010, it is estimated that the number of children orphaned by AIDS will nearly double as more parents die (UNICEF).

*Around 1 million people live with AIDS in Uganda and over 1 million children have lost one or both parents due to AIDS (Global Health Report 2005).

TOWARD A SOLUTION
After a week in Kenya, I'll be joining the Eqipping Pastors International to cross the border into Uganda to share with a group of national pastors and their wives how biblical principles can help address the malaise. We will explore how Christ can bring peace to the North, help raise the standards of living in Uganda, and even help the people create more orphanage homes, medical facilities, and schools.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Scripture in Art at Mobia














If you have plans to travel to New York before September 27, don't miss the opportunity to see Scripture for the Eyes, now showing at the Museum of Biblical Art.

Scripture for the Eyes is the first major exhibition to explore the central role played by printed illustrations of subjects from both the Old and New Testaments in the Low Countries during the sixteenth century.

Through approximately 80 engravings, woodcuts, and illustrated Bibles and books by masters such as Lucas van Leyden, Maarten van Heemskerck, Philips Galle, Hendrick Goltzius, and Hieronymus Wierix, biblical prints are shown to be a dynamic force in the transformation of Northern European art between Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt van Rijn as well as in the intensified attention to scripture in the religious turmoil of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kenya

Kenya in Need

Political unrest erupted in many parts of western Kenya on December 30th, 2007, immediately after the Electoral Commission of Kenya declared incumbent President Mwai Kibaki the winner of the election held on December 27th. Kibaki’s main challenger, Raila Odinga, rejected the result and claimed he won the election, alleging it was rigged in Kibaki’s favor. Ethnic groups perceived to have supported Kibaki have borne the brunt of the violence, mostly in areas of Nyanza and Rift Valley provinces where they are minorities. Residents of those areas voted overwhelmingly for Odinga. The official death toll is reported at about 600.

The results of political unrest have been hard on Kenya. A nation that was working to move beyond its humble tribal beginnings toward a mature society has been set back many years. The struggle for a stable national life is intensified by the fact that most of the people who fled political violence in Kenya’s Rift Valley Province, the country’s breadbasket, are farmers and their displacement has undermined the national food supply. The violence also affected milk delivery to factories, leading to shortages and price hikes. Livestock theft was widespread during the violence and dairy farmers in areas hit by the unrest will need help to resume milk production, according to Augusta Abate, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) assistant representative for Kenya Abate also notes that 75 percent of the estimated 300,000 people displaced from the Rift Valley have become destitute.

Toward a Solution
Teaming with Equipping Pastors International (EPI), I hope to give a series of lectures before a group of national pastors and their spouses in October’09 on how Christian principles can guide Kenya through its long history of political and cultural uncertainty to finally achieve what many there long for: a developed nation which cherishes personal liberty and affords its people a path to stable growth.

Few places in the world provide a better test of the power of a biblical world and life view to transform people and their culture than Kenya. Please remain in prayer for the Kenyan people and also for this important ministry project.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sing His Salvation!

"I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD." Psalm 40:1-3

Did you know the songs recorded in the Bible are in response to God’s mighty acts of deliverance? The Song of Moses, Deborah’s song, David’s song of victory, Mary’s song, were written in response to God’s saving acts. In fact, these songs also declare God’s mighty acts of deliverance. They are evangelistic. People say, “I love the old hymns because they’re theologically deep. Well, I too love their rich theology. But the purpose of most hymn writer’s was not simply to write theology in song, but to declare the salvation of God. Psalm 40 says that the person who has been delivered from the pit of destruction is the person who declares, who sings forth, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Has God saved you from the pit of destruction? Will you tell someone?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Perfect Peace

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock." Isaiah 26:3-4

1. What does it mean to have your mind "stayed" on him?

2. Biblically, what does "rock" stand for?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Preach Repentance Again

Biblical teaching on repentance has all but been lost in the vanguard church of today. The call of God heard throughout the pages of both the Old and New Testaments: that we are to turn from our sins to the Living God is gradually more viewed as an impediment to our campaign to advance the image of our churches in the eyes of the world. Books that lay out how to become a better you, and how you can experience your best life now, prop up modern man while begging the question of sin, and the pang of guilt and shame, that must be addressed if modern man is to find true healing from the disease of sin that ravages his soul. The decomposition of the modern evangelical message begins at the same point where the composition of Jesus’ first public pronouncement begins. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Reaching Islam

Islam is Christianity's greatest rival. This is true historically as well as in our own time. For the Reformers, Islam posed a greater threat to the church than did Roman Catholicism. Luther thought of both the Pope and the Turk as antichrist. Calvin maintained that Muhammad was one of the two horns of antichrist. By Calvin's time Islam had been a force to reckon with for almost a thousand years, and had wreaked havoc on the church. Calvin wrote that ...the sect of Mohammad was like a raging overflow, which in its violence tore away about half of the church.

In the 1645 Westminster Assembly's Directory for Public Worship ministers were instructed to lead their congregations in prayer for the deliverance of the distressed churches abroad from the tyranny of the antichristian faction, and from the cruel oppressions and blasphemies of the Turk (Islam).

Today's reformers do not seem aware that Islam has plans to tear away the other half of the church. I suspect that prayers for churches distressed by the oppressions and blasphemies of Islam are relatively rare on most Sunday mornings. Protestants continue to keep one eye suspiciously peeled toward Rome while the other eye that should be watching Mecca remains closed.

However, Calvin and the Reformers did not simply foresee the rise of Islam, they predicted its fall. There was no doubt in the mind of Calvin that Christianity would triumph over Islam. Even more significantly, Calvin believed that Muslims would be converted in great numbers. Through the undeserved goodness of God, Calvin wrote, the Assyrians and Egyptians shall be admitted to fellowship with the chosen People of God...Calvin based this belief from reading Isaiah 19:23-25. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance."

Indeed, Calvin saw the first fruits of God's goodness when Muslims were requesting baptism after making professions of faith.