Membership and Citizenship Matter

This week, President Donald Trump made news when he announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative put into effect by an executive order by former president Barak Obama.

This policy allowed children of illegal immigrants--whom have no memory of living anywhere but the United States--to be free from the possibility of deportation. Even though they were not legal citizens, they would receive some of the rights and privileges of citizenship, like getting to live in this country. The ending of this program sparked protests and social media backlash. Even lawsuits have been filed.

At the heart of this issue, to me, is the idea that membership matters. To be a citizen of the United States makes you a member of the United States. As a citizen or member of the country, you have certain rights guaranteed by the Constitution. You have the right to free speech, free religion, and free assembly. You have the right to bear arms and the right to due process. Most…

Kneeling and Football

Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against former Washington State high school assistant coach Joe Kennedy.

Kennedy began a tradition in 2008. At the end of the game, he would walk to the 50-yard line, drop to a knee, and silently offer a prayer. Over the years, players and other coaches joined in the ritual. That was until 2015, when another district employee noticed the prayer and reported it to the school board. Kennedy was asked to stop. He was given an alternative time to pray when no students or fans would be around. Kennedy refused, so he was suspended. Eventually, the board chose not to renew his contract.

Kennedy took legal action. However, in last week's decision, the court ruled that as a public school employee, he speaks for the school, and thus he has no first amendment rights to free speech or religion. By praying, they wrote, he made the school officially endorse a religion.

As I read that story I was struck by the opposite reaction to professional f…

Do you care?

A few years ago, a church had a growing youth group. They started small, but over the years more and more students began to attend. The church started a bus ministry, and the youth group nearly doubled in size.

However, much of the work was done by the youth pastor and a few committed youth volunteers. They made contacts with the parents and formed relationships. They earned trust by showing that they cared for the teens and the teens' family. Much of the growth came as a result of those relationships.

Then something happened. The youth pastor left. He moved on to another church out of the area. The youth who had relationships with him soon stopped coming. This committed group of students, just a few weeks after the youth pastor's departure, stopped coming to youth and stopped going to church.

The problem was they had no relationship with the church. They had a relationship with the youth pastor. They had a relationship with the youth volunteers. But they had no relationship …

Facing Death for Sharing Christ

In 1525, William Tyndale published the first English translation of the Bible. He went back to the original Greek to translate the New Testament for English readers.

There was only one problem. An English version of the Bible was forbidden by the Roman Catholic Church and the King of England. Tyndale lived in Germany at the time, but copies of the Bible soon found their way into his native country. He remained exile for 10 years.

Finally, in 1535, Tyndale was betrayed. He was arrested and sent to the Netherlands to stand trial under the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. They tried and convicted him. As a result of his "crime," he was tied to a stake and then strangled to death. After his death, his body was burned.

Tyndale did nothing wrong. He simply made God's word available for English speaking people to read. For that, Tyndale faced death.

We have a hard time with stories like this. We want to think that God will intervene and spare people who do good things f…

The Source of Information

Today is a good day to simply get things done, Pisces. Take care of the annoying tasks that have been accumulating. You have a great opportunity to accomplish a lot. People are less concerned with frivolous drivel and gossip than they are with setting a plan to meet an important goal. Contribute to this trend by getting serious about the tasks at hand. 

I took this from a real horoscope website. Notice the simple phrases and words that can be interpreted in any number of ways? Yeah, that's the hallmark of horoscopes. They are written in such a way that you can interpret them to come true.

We spend a lot of time and energy on reading and interpreting signs. We wants our dreams analyzed. We see events in our lives as meaningful signs that direct our paths. We even pray for signs of what to do.

But how often do we seek revelation from sources other than God and his word? We do it all the time. We ask our friends, our neighbors, our family, our doctors and even social media to giv…

Rejoicing over an EKG

"Sir, your EKG had a funny result and we need you to go to the hospital to have another EKG done."

That was not the best phone call of my life.

Last week, I went to the doctor for an ear problem. I came out of the visit with a blood pressure problem. While at the doctors, my blood pressure shot up and that became the chief concern of all the medical people in the office.

The poked and prodded. They asked lots of questions. They drew blood. They took an EKG. Then they sent me on my merry way. It was while at the pharmacy, picking up medicine for my ear, that the phone rang and the above sentence was spoken.

Let me tell you, in that moment, when I was told to go to the hospital for a heart test, I didn't exactly jump for joy. I wasn't thanking God or rejoicing in my hardship. In fact, I was scared. I have a wife and two young children. As I drove to the hospital, all I could think about was a potential surgery or a major heart issue.

I sat in the waiting room almost i…

One Big Pile of Poop