Daily Archives: August 13, 2016

Celebrities from Michael Phelps to Kim Kardashian Want a Purpose-Driven Life

One of the 40 million copies sold of The Purpose Driven Life ended up in the large, paddle-like hands of Michael Phelps.

In between winning Olympic golds, Phelps made headlines for very different reasons: repeated DUIs, parties and pot, weight gain and rehab. A couple of years ago, fellow athlete and friend Ray Lewis (aka “God’s linebacker”) gave the champion swimmer Rick Warren’s bestseller.

“I basically told him, ”˜Okay, everything has a purpose, and now, guess what? It’s time to wake up,’” the former Baltimore Raven said in The Washington Post.

In an ESPN special, Phelps said the book “turned me into believing that there is a power greater than myself and there is a purpose for me on this planet” and “helped me when I was in a place that I needed the most help.” It spurred him to reconcile with his dad.

Read it all from Christianity Today.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Evangelicals, Health & Medicine, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Psychology, Race/Race Relations, Sports, Theology

(WSJ) Meir Soloveichik–Finding God in the Olympic Footrace

While Americans rightly exult in the achievements of U.S. medalists, “Chariots of Fire” also serves as a reminder that athletics and even patriotism only mean so much. When Liddell is informed that a qualifying heat takes place on Sunday, his Sabbath, he chooses not to compete in that race. The camera cuts from athletes at the Olympics to Liddell reading a passage in Isaiah: “Behold the nations are as a drop in the bucket . . . but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings, as eagles. They shall run, and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” David Puttnam, a “Chariots of Fire” producer, wrote me that the verses were “specifically selected by the actor, the late Ian Charleson, who gave himself the task of reading the entire Bible whilst preparing for the film.”

The Isaiah passage is liturgically important for Jews: Parts of it are declaimed in synagogue on the Sabbath when we read God’s command to Abraham to leave the center of civilization and found a family, and a faith, in a new land. Isaiah reminds Jews that Abraham’s children have encountered much worse than what Harold Abrahams experienced. While most nations now rest on the ash heap of history, the biblical Abraham’s odyssey continues. The countries competing in today’s Olympics come and go, while those who “wait upon the Lord” endure.

“Chariots of Fire” also offers a message for people of faith who have grown troubled by the secularization of society and the realization that they are often scorned by elites. Like Liddell, we may be forced to choose religious principle over social success. Hopefully, however, we will be able to use our gifts to sanctify this world. As Liddell’s father told his son in the film: “Run in God’s name, and let the world stand back in wonder.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Religion & Culture, Sports

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Richard Baxter

Keep us, O Lord, while we tarry on this earth, in a serious seeking after thee, and in an affectionate walking with thee, every day of our lives; that when thou comest, we may be found not hiding our talent, nor serving the flesh, nor yet asleep with our lamp unfurnished, but waiting and longing for our Lord, our glorious God for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Beth-za’tha, which has five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed. One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked. Now that day was the sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the sabbath, it is not lawful for you to carry your pallet.” But he answered them, “The man who healed me said to me, ‘Take up your pallet, and walk.'” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your pallet, and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.

–John 5:1-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Psalm 23

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

[Albert Mohler] “God Made Me for China” ”” Eric Liddell Beyond Olympic Glory

“God made me for China.” Eric Liddell lived his life in answer to that calling and commission. As Duncan Hamilton explains, Liddell “considered athletics as an addendum to his life rather than his sole reason for living it.”

Eric Liddell ran for God’s glory, but he was made for China. He desperately wanted the nation he loved to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and believe. David J. Michell, director for Canada Overseas Missionary Fellowship, would introduce Liddell’s collected devotional writings, The Disciplines of the Christian Life, by stating simply that “Eric Liddell’s desire was to know God more deeply, and as a missionary, to make him known more fully.”

As Olympic glory shines from Rio, Christians must remember that Olympic glory will eventually fade. There will be medalists for all to celebrate in Rio. But, will there be another Eric Liddell? At the very least, his story needs to be told again. The most important part of his story came long after his gold medal arrived by mail.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

[Economist] The Altar of Sport

LIKE almost every other human activity, religion will make its mark at the Rio Olympics. An American evangelist called David Crandall has organised teams of missionaries to propagate his reading of Christianity (one that attaches great importance to the creation story in Genesis) at every Olympics since 1996; in Rio, he has announced, a team of at least 85 people from seven countries will be handing out 250,000 booklets in ten languages. Pope Francis has tweeted his good wishes to all the athletes and sent a particularly warm letter of encouragement to a “refugee team” drawn from the wave of migrants sweeping through Europe. A priest has been named as “father-confessor” to the Russian team. It has been announced that the Olympic village includes a religion space with facilities for followers of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism.

But the hard fact is that religions in the ordinary sense have never been sure how to respond to the Olympics..

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

[ABC] Suicide rate for young Indigenous men highest in world, Australian report finds

The rate of suicide among young Indigenous men is the highest in the world, according to a new report highlighting the challenges facing young Australians.

The first ever Australian Youth Development Index (YDI) was compiled as part of International Youth Day.

The index helps formulate youth development policy in the domains of education, health and wellbeing, employment as well as political and civic participation, measured across 16 key indicators.

It rates a state or territory’s performance with a score between zero and one, with one being a perfect score.

Among the reports findings were alarming statistics on youth suicide, which showed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men between 25 and 29 had the highest suicide rates in the entire world…

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ