Often people ask me if they can be a Christian and not go to church. I think it would be like trying to be a gourmet cook without frequenting the produce department of the grocery store; or trying to be a good basketball player without going to practices. The excuses people use for staying away are sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and often revealing. Since Easter, the high point of the Christian year, is little more than a week away, this is a great time to remind ourselves of just how important it is to express our faith and grow in it by gathering together. Here is a good article summarizing why attending church is important.
City schools are a perennial topic of conversation. What can be done to help poor districts? What helps students who are struggling? So much talk and money is spent on things which don’t really make a difference because political correctness keeps us from endorsing what really does make a difference – religious faith and stable family structure. This study should be labeled as a landmark study. It should be required reading for politicians overseeing schools and for school officials.
I am very opposed to the government making money from its citizens by promoting gambling of any kind. It is immmoral as it is a way for the powerful to shirk responsibility and to rob the vulnerable instead. In the following article Albert Mohler Jr. argues convincingly that besides being immoral, increasing casino gambling is also counter-productive financially for communities.
I read a great quote this evening that is worth posting. It helps provide prospective for the New Year too. I’m enjoying the book very much.
“The happiest people are those who have invested their time in others. The unhappiest people are those who wonder how the world is going to make them happy.” (John C. Maxwell in Be a People Person, 2007, p. 20)
This morning as I was reading my devotional book, I found some great thoughts from E. Stanley Jones. Sometimes we belittle the small kindnesses that we do for others out of love. But just maybe they are more important that we think. “The love of God is the biggest thing in the universe, and when that love is incarnate in a deed, then the deed is big….We don’t try to love; we just let Love love. And as we do, …his perfect Love perfects our love and perfects us in the process.” (365 Days with E. Stanley Jones p. 351) With this perspective, we are less likely to hold back when it seems sacrificial or to unconsciously expect returns on our investments. We are privileged to a channel for God’s love and we are being enlarged in heart through loving, whether or not it is returned.
I have been saying for years that our justice system needs to consider how to restore non-violent offenders. This is as much a part of justice as is punishment. This is a great article by Charles Colson commending the state of Ohio for taking a major step in this direction. I recommend it.