Saturday, July 30, 2016

2016 Presidential Election: Democratic and Republican National Conventions Over, Clinton and Trump Hit the Campaign Trail


The Democrats' Republican moment

Over four flag-waving days in Philadelphia, Democrats stole the Republicans' mojo.

That's how many conservatives felt, at least, watching their opponent's pageant this week in Philadelphia. And it may be enough to sway some of them to cross the aisle on Election Day. Read More

The Only Way for Republicans to Save Their Party Puts Them in a Pickle

There is only one way for the Republicans to save their party. By voting for Hillary Clinton.

If Trump wins, its all over for the now-tarnished Republican brand. Trump will decimate its cherished policies for four years or more. Diehards will never be able to put it back on track. But if Trump loses... Read More

Clinton, Trump struggle for national security upper hand

In their struggle for the upper hand on national security, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are emphasizing strikingly different themes - he as the bold and cunningly unpredictable strongman who will eliminate terrorism; she as the calm, conventional commander in chief who will manage all manner of crises. Read More

Poll: Clinton, Trump in virtual tie in Missouri

With campaigning set to ramp up post-conventions, a new poll puts Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in a dead heat in Missouri. Read More

Donald Trump at Denver rally: 'I’ve got to win here'

Donald Trump launched a barrage of criticism against Hillary Clinton on Friday as he toured the state, verbally attacking her before huge crowds at his rallies and declaring on Twitter that she’s a “loose cannon with extraordinarily bad judgement.” Read More

Trump Admits the DNC Hurt His Feelings and Made Him Want to Lash Out

This week was a rough one for Donald J. Trump. Democrats and their like-minded friends spent four long days lobbing everything they had at him during their convention in Philadelphia. They painted the former reality TV star as uninformed, unhinged, and un-American. They also made fun of his business record, his alleged fortune, and his Twitter account. Read More

Ruth: Only one candidate sounds presidential

“I can do presidential,” Donald Trump said. So far, he hasn’t. Read More

Friday, July 29, 2016

On the Net: "9 Ways to Begin Reaching Your Community for Christ" and More


9 Ways to Begin Reaching Your Community for Christ

If you read this blog much, you know my heart for the nations that don’t know Christ. At the same time, though, Jesus called us to reach our Jerusalem – our community where we live – even as we go to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Here are some simple ways to move your congregation in that direction. Read More

3 Types of Legalism

Have you, as a Christian, ever been accused of legalism? That word is often bandied about in the Christian subculture incorrectly. For example, some people might call John a legalist because they view him as narrow-minded. But the term legalism does not refer to narrow-mindedness. In reality, legalism manifests itself in many subtle ways. Read More

3 Dangers of Preaching in a Digital Age

An integral part of ministry involves helping Christians recognize how our culture is forming us so we can intentionally pursue gospel-shaped formation in our cultural moment. Pastors must ask, “How can I help the church discern the forces of our culture?” We also must ask, “How do the forces of our culture shape the way I minister?” Read More

The Word of God and the Academy

The word of God was not written for the elites. It is not the property of the clergy, professors or the academy. God’s word is—as it has ever been—a word for his people. It belongs to the church. Read More

The Sacred Ritual of Church Suppers and Snacks

By honoring the gift of food, we honor the body of Christ. Read More

A Podcasting 'How To'with Carey Nieuwhof - Rainer on Leadership #246 [Podcast]

Carey Nieuwhof joins Thom Rainer and Jonathan Howe to talk about the nuts and bolts of podcasting for pastors and church leaders. Lis Now

Discipling: A Conversation Between Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman [Podcast]

“If you say you’re a Christian, but you’re not helping other Christians follow Jesus, I’m simply not sure what you mean.” Listen Now

Goodbye, God Gap: Trump and Clinton Have Churchgoers Unusually Split

Plus here's what we know about evangelical Democrats. Read More

The Deep Roots of Our Hillary Hostility

A Clinton biographer and #NeverTrump third-party voter on why evangelicals are #NotWithHer. Read More

Pro-Life Democrats Struggle with Clinton Challenging Status Quo

Hyde Amendment joins Johnson Amendment in no longer being sacrosanct. Read More

Is There a Better Way to Fight 'Political Correctness'?

When language is a tool for coercion, nobody wins. Read More

How controversy over a march to celebrate the conversion of Russia highlights divisions in Ukraine

Controversy over a march to mark the anniversary of the conversion of Russia in AD 988 has highlighted the divisions in Ukrainian society following the loss of territory to its giant neighbour. Read More

Calls for an end to 'continuous massacre of Christians' in Nigeria

Nearly as many Christians have been murdered by Islamists in Nigeria this year as throughout the whole of 2015, latest figures show. Read More

2016 Presidential Election: Feds launch probe into Clinton campaign hacking; Trump ramps up his attacks on Clinton's character - UPDATED


New: Clinton campaign denies reports that its computer system was hacked

The Clinton presidential campaign said Friday that an “analytics data program” maintained by the Democratic National Committee had been hacked but that its computer system had not been compromised, denying news reports from earlier in the day that the campaign had become the third Democratic Party organization whose systems had been penetrated. Read More

New: Feds probing Clinton campaign hacking

The FBI and Justice Department are investigating a computer hack of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in addition to its examination of intrusions of other Democratic Party organizations, two law enforcement officials said Friday. Read More

New: Exclusive: FBI probes hacking of Democratic congressional group - sources

The FBI is investigating a cyber attack against another U.S. Democratic Party group, which may be related to an earlier hack against the Democratic National Committee, four people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Read More

New: Trump on 'lock her up' chant: 'I'm starting to agree'

Donald Trump on Friday abandoned his modest dismissals of the "lock her up" chants his supporters have aimed at Hillary Clinton.

"I've been saying let's just beat her on November 8th. But you know what, I'm starting to agree with you," Trump said.

The comments, which came in his first public appearance since Clinton ripped him in her speech at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night, marked an about-face for Trump, who in the last week has resisted joining in on his supporters' chants and instead urged them to channel their anger at the ballot box. Read More

Hillary Clinton makes history – and strives for unity

Hillary Clinton made history in accepting the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday. But to become president, she needs to overcome familiar challenges – most notably questions about her trustworthiness and warmth. Read More

How Hillary Clinton defined her historic moment

Her speech lacked the poetic sweep of the President Barack Obama's address Wednesday, but it was in keeping with someone who presents herself as a practical, dogged, policy-oriented striver who gets knocked down and then gets straight back up. Read More

‘Stronger together’ vs. ‘I can fix it alone’

How does one top a week of powerful speeches by Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and Barack Obama?

You don’t even try.

Thursday night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton did not deliver the best address of this convention or even the runner-up. Instead she gave a solid, substance-laden, and highly effective acceptance speech to her fellow Democrats.

It never reached the rhetorical flights of fancy achieved by Obama the night before — but it didn’t need to. Clinton delivered rhetorical shot after rhetorical shot to Donald Trump as she laid out a clear vision for her presidency. Read More

'She found her voice tearing apart a wannabe president': the verdict on Hillary Clinton's speech

Hillary Clinton delivered a searing response to Trump’s dark vision of America at the Democratic National convention – but was that enough? Read More

Clinton speech soars - sometimes

Mrs Clinton, in an acceptance speech that occasionally soared and sometimes trudged along, did her best to frame the upcoming general election race in her favour. Read More

10 takeaways from the Democratic convention

Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday night, casting herself as a uniter working for the common good and Donald Trump as a divider stoking fear for political gain.

It capped a Democratic National Convention designed to tell a new story about the most famous woman in American politics.

And it teed up the Democrats' frame for the election: Clinton's view of an optimistic, inclusive America ("Stronger Together") juxtaposed against Trump's vision of a country being ripped apart by terrorism, bad trade deals and a corrupt political system that he alone can save. Here are CNN's takeaways from four days in Philadelphia. Read More

Hillary Clinton dreams of wooing Republicans. So far, things look the way they always do.

No doubt annoying the Bernie Sanders delegates in the room to no end, the Democratic convention capped its four-night run with the most explicit appeal to Republican voters it has made all week.

There were speakers from Republicans for Hillary, and the nominee herself mentioned that appeal in her speech. "You heard from Republicans and independents who are supporting our campaign," Hillary Clinton said. "Well, I will be a president for Democrats, Republicans, independents, for the struggling, the striving, the successful, for all those who vote for me and for those who don't."

It's a smart play, for multiple reasons. But if Clinton actually thinks that Republicans will bail on Trump to support her, so far it doesn't really look like it's happening. Read More

At convention, Democrats struggle with stereotypes – of other Democrats

Young black women ready to 'Bern it down.' A teenage boy for Hillary. A middle-aged small-business owner for Bernie.

These are just a few of the fervent Democratic voters who don't fit into the stereotypes dominating the news right now.

While it's useful to see larger trends, such as white millennials for Bernie, there is a far more colorful mosaic of activists on the streets of Philadelphia. Understanding that diversity can help guard against the fear and mischaracterizations that arise between parties, or even within a party. Read More

Antics of Sanders’ backers rankles some black delegates

As most Democrats rally around Hillary Clinton, the lingering ‘‘Bernie or Bust’’ movement is stirring frustration at the party’s convention among delegates of color, who say they’re upset at the refusal of the Vermont senator’s most fervent backers to fall in line. Read More

Bernie Sanders: Is his 'revolution' now beyond his control?

The problem for the Clinton campaign, however, is that the Sanders "revolution" is refusing to acknowledge defeat. Read More

Trump says he would like to 'hit' DNC speakers who disparaged him

Donald Trump, after hearing speeches at the Democratic convention this week, said Thursday he wanted to "hit a number of those speakers so hard, their heads would spin.""They'd never recover," he said. Read More

Dozens show up to protest Trump in Davenport

The candidate spoke this afternoon, July 28, 2016. One specific group of protesters included the people with the League of United Latin American Citizens. LULAC said their message to Trump was simple. Read More

Thursday, July 28, 2016

2016 US Presidential Election: "Americans don't say: 'I alone can fix it,'" declares Clinton, "We say: 'We'll fix it together.'" - UPDATED


New: Touting Togetherness, Hillary Clinton Accepts Nomination With Promise to Heal Nation's Divides

Hillary Clinton, the first woman to lead a major American political party's presidential ticket, accepted the Democratic nomination Thursday night with an appeal for a more collaborative and unified nation in the face of domestic divisiveness and global uncertainty. Read More

New: Hillary Clinton: 'The sky's the limit'

Hillary Clinton beamed with emotion as she took the convention stage to become the first woman ever to accept a major U.S. party's presidential nomination. Read More

New: Democratic National Convention updates: 'When there are no ceilings, the sky's the limit,' Clinton says

The final day of the Democratic National Convention is over. Read More

New: Trump, Clinton to receive intel briefings despite opposition

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will receive their government intelligence briefing within days, even as each party argues the other's nominee is not worthy of receiving sensitive information, a US intelligence official familiar with the process confirmed to CNN Thursday. Read More

New: Clinton Campaign: Trump Needs To Guarantee He Won’t Leak Before Getting Briefed

“This isn’t a normal political story, and it’s not funny.” Read More

New: Trump comments raise new concerns about intelligence briefings

Donald Trump's entreaty to Russian hackers to find rival Hillary Clinton's deleted e-mails has renewed the debate over a decades-long tradition of providing major presidential candidates with classified intelligence briefings. Read More

Clinton makes play for those who fear Trump

The primetime lineup of military leaders and Reagan admirers could have been ripped from last week's GOP convention. Read More

Father of Muslim U.S. Soldier Killed in Combat Blasts Trump: Have You Read the Constitution?

The father of one of 14 American Muslims who died serving in the U.S. Armed Forces in the ten years that followed the 9/11 attacks, took direct aim at Donald Trump Thursday night during a speech at the DNC, suggesting the GOP presidential candidate brush up on the Constitution. Read More

The father of Muslim soldier killed in action just delivered a brutal repudiation of Donald Trump

Donald Trump was speaking at an event in Iowa, complaining that America was not allowed to waterboard terrorists, when Khizr Khan and his wife walked up to the microphone at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. Khan's son Humayun Khan was a captain in the U.S. Army. When a vehicle packed with explosives approached his compound in Iraq in 2004, he instructed his men to seek cover as he ran toward it. The car exploded, killing Khan instantly. He was awarded the Bronze Star posthumously. Read More

Former Reagan speechwriter knocks Trump during Democratic convention

Doug Elmets, a former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, admitted when he took the stage at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday that it was not an event he'd ever thought he'd attend. Read More

Four-star general trolls Donald Trump over torture

Moments after Donald Trump praised waterboarding at an Iowa rally Thursday night, retired United States Marine Corps Gen. John Allen passionately pledged "our armed forces will not become an instrument of torture" at the Democratic National Convention. Read More

Donald Trump threatens to ‘hit’ several DNC speakers 'so hard' over their critical speeches

Donald Trump is living up to his reputation as thin-skinned bully. At a rally in Davenport, Iowa on Thursday, Trump threatened to attack several of the Democratic National Convention’s speakers for their remarks against him. Read More

AP FACT CHECK: Trump's misreading of Iran deal

Donald Trump entertained an Iowa audience Thursday with an animated account of how he would have wrung a better nuclear deal out of Iran if he'd been president when it was negotiated. But there was more fable than fact in his story. Read More

Hillary donors to Bernie supporters: Shut up

Rich Clinton backers, who were targeted during the Democratic primary, are tired of their antagonists’ antics. Read More

Angst in Bernie ranks over push to exit Democratic Party

Efforts by some Bernie Sanders supporters to organize an exodus from the Democratic Party have not only agitated party leaders but caused tensions inside the Sanders ranks – with some worried the latest effort to split from the establishment is a step too far. Read More

A new poll gives Clinton a big lead in Trump’s must-win Pennsylvania

The short version of the story is that Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by nine points, both in a one-on-one contest and when the field is expanded to include Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party's Jill Stein. That's in line with an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken earlier this month, but it's a bit bigger than the current average of Pennsylvania polls. Is this stable? Hard to say. Is it affected by the convention? Same. Read More

Trump Could Win Pennsylvania, May Not Debate, Rendell Says

Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell said Thursday he’s skeptical that Republican Donald Trump will take part in the three debates against Democrat Hillary Clinton scheduled for this fall. “He not only doesn’t put any meat on the bones, I think if you asked him for specifics he couldn’t tell you, and that’s why I think he may duck the debates,” Rendell, a Democrat, said at a Bloomberg breakfast in Philadelphia during his party’s national convention. Read More

Republican security experts request congressional investigation of DNC hack

Two dozen Republican national security experts signed a letter to congressional leaders Thursday asking for an immediate investigation into the cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee, writing that “this is not a partisan issue” but rather “an assault on the integrity of the entire American political process.” Read More

Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy

Donald J. Trump, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew. Read More

Trump and the Oligarch

He claims no ties to Russia. Here’s how he made millions from one of its wealthiest men. Read More

Trump's missed opportunity

Overall, this was an evening aimed squarely at a narrow audience, namely the GOP base. There was next to nothing presented in terms of ideas that might appeal to independents and moderates, whom Trump will need to win. In this sense the evening was a failure. Most importantly, what was missing Tuesday night was any discussion of policy ideas or proposed solutions that a President Trump would offer -- a squandered opportunity for the candidate and his party. It was a night long on anger and short on answers. Read More

On the Net: "Do Not Grieve the Holy Spirit" and More


Do Not Grieve the Holy Spirit

What does it mean to grieve the Holy Spirit? Read More

Apostasy and Backsliding Look Alike

Since you can’t tell where apathy will lead—whether to apostasy or back-sliding—and because both are very undesirable for us, then apathy should never be relativized, but rather it should be quickly dealt with. Read More

Doubt and Assurance

The quest for full assurance of salvation has long plagued the people of God. Many Christians place their faith in Christ alone for redemption but still live with doubts about their standing before God. For these dear saints, the tension between doubt and assurance can be crippling. Read More

5 Points on Decision Making as Leaders

Leaders are decision makers. Period. Whatever the time of year and season of life, lots of decisions are probably on your desk or in your to do list waiting to be pushed forward. It’s something we must do. Constantly. So here are 5 points to help you with making leadership decisions. Read More

The Costly Discipline of a Godly Pastor

We who are ministers and shepherds in the Lord’s church must maintain this same priority at all times. We, too, must discipline ourselves for godliness. We must keep our minds pure and our hearts clean. We must keep our souls unstained and our lives holy. We must be, as M’Cheyne said, “A pure instrument in the hand of God.” We must be a battle axe that is sharp and fit for our Master’s use. Read More

5 Ways to Lose Your Ministry

It is deeply tragic when ministry leaders lose their ministry, when sin sidelines them for a season. Not only is it painful for the leader, but also it is painful for the people who have been impacted and influenced through their leadership. Because sin is always crouching at the door and because Satan prowls around like a roaring lion looking to devour, we shouldn’t be surprised when great leaders implode. We should grieve, pray, and love, but we shouldn’t think ourselves better. In fact, here are five ways to lose our own ministries. Read More

8 Reasons Why Many Pastors Don't Like Pastoral Care

Let’s face it, church leaders. Some of us much prefer preaching over pastoral care. Others love pastoral care, but not all of us. Some do it because our role demands it, but that doesn’t mean we always enjoy it. If that’s who you are, use this post to check your heart. You might even be honest with your church and ask them to pray for you about this responsibility. Consider these reasons some of us don't love this role. Read More

7 Tips for Seeking Peace with African Americans

Race relations are complicated and understanding goes a long way. Read More

The Ethics of Missionary Strategy

Do you have an ethical ministry strategy? I’m guessing most people have never asked this sort of question. What does strategy have to do with ethics? Read More

3 questions to ask before considering long-term missions

Those considering long-term missions should ask the following questions to minimize the dangers of rushing in unadvisedly, and the answers received should be the result of prayer, counsel, and searching the Scriptures. Read More

Porn Is More Criticized and More Popular Than Ever

There are so many problems with porn; it’s hard to pick just one. Read More

Christians to Science: Leave Our Bodies How God Made Them

Pew examines how US religious groups feel about the ways that biomedicine can enhance human abilities. Read More

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

2016 US Presidential Election: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride* - FURTHER UPDATES


New: Hillary Clinton's challenge: Igniting excitement

Hillary Clinton's allies did everything in their power to set up her big moment Thursday night. Now it's up to her to deliver. Read More

New: Can Clinton meet the moment?

She’s not a natural at this, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Read More

New: Pressure's on Hillary Clinton after Obama's grand-slam speech, Trump's errors

It would have been a good speech, even for the oratorically gifted Obama, under any circumstances. But coming just six days after Trump delivered the darkest, angriest, scariest, vainest acceptance speech in modern presidential history, it was devastatingly effective.' Read More

New: Clinton Is ‘Sane’ And ‘Competent,’ Unlike Trump, Bloomberg Tells U.S.

The billionaire ex-Republican, who has endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, made the case that Trump’s career is characterized by a litany of collapses and missteps, and that the Republican presidential nominee’s boasts don’t match reality. Americans who want a great businessperson in the White House should look for someone who isn’t Trump, Bloomberg said. Read More

New: Opinion: DNC hack requires swift, forceful response from Washington

President Obama and other Western leaders need to send a strong and lasting message to Moscow that meddling in democratic institutions is off limits. Read More

New: Donald Trump’s Call for Russia to Hack the U.S. Might Be a Felony

The GOP nominee says all kinds of crazy things on the campaign trail. But this one could open him up to prosecution—if the Department of Justice was really willing to go there. Read More

New: Donald Trump's admiration for Vladimir Putin is trouble

Trump has long been fascinated with Russia and, before its dissolution, the Soviet Union. Read More

New: Trump & Russia: Campaign Will Not Release Tax Returns [UPDATED]

On the heel of revelations the Russian government has been both using paid internet trolls to support Trump in addition to hacking the DNC and manipulating metadata to release emails to Wikileaks to damage Hillary Clinton, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort told CBS News this morning Donald Trump will not release his tax returns for public inspection. This refusal not only breaks tradition with every major party candidate in recent history (since 1976) but also contradicts Trump’s previous attack on Mitt Romney in 2012 for engaging in identical behavior. Read More

New: Trump: I Was Being Sarcastic When I Asked Russia to Hack Hillary

In an interview on Fox & Friends, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said that comments he made on Wednesday calling for Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails were meant to be a joke. Read More
But no one is laughing.
New: Trump: Putin’s ‘doing a better job’ than Obama

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump says Russian leader Vladimir Putin is "doing a better job" than President Obama. Read More

New: Melania Trump website scrubbed from internet

Melania Trump’s professional website was recently deleted from the internet, according to The Huffington Post. The deletion comes amid questions from the media about her degree in architecture from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. Read More

Trump goes it alone on Russia

His call for Moscow to find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails won him attention, but his foreign policy found few supporters on either side of the aisle. Read More

Trump denounced for suggesting Russians should hack Clinton email + video

Military and national security figures strongly condemned Donald Trump for his comments on Wednesday in which he appeared to suggest that Russians should hack Hillary Clinton's email. Read More

GOP Figures Disgusted By Trump Urging Russian Cyberattack

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, whose eventual electoral domestication seems to be forever around the next corner, pivoted back in the direction of the surreal and reprehensible Wednesday morning at a press conference in Doral, Florida. And once again, Trump is taking fire from fellow Republicans in a way that shatters all precedent, as disaffected conservatives receive one more sign that their party’s nominee is catastrophically unfit for office. Read More

Democrats accuse Trump of disloyalty over Clinton emails

Donald Trump appeared to call on Russian intelligence agencies Wednesday to find 30,000 of Hillary Clinton's deleted emails, adding a stunning twist to the uproar over Moscow's alleged intervention in the presidential election. Read More

Fact check: Trump’s presser on Clinton emails, Putin and more

Donald Trump made several false and misleading statements in an hourlong press conference Wednesday — on Bernie Sanders, Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton’s emails and more. Read More

On second thought, better to hail Mother Russia, Trump

William Inboden, a former National Security Council member under President George W. Bush, told Politico: "Trump's appeal for a foreign government hostile to the United States to manipulate our electoral process is not an assault on Hillary Clinton, it is an assault on the Constitution." Read More

McAuliffe fuels new distrust of Clinton over her position on trade

Gov. Terry McAuliffe fueled new distrust of Hillary Clinton among liberal Democrats this week with a declaration that the presidential nominee was likely to reverse her position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership after the election. Read More

What's the deal with Terry McAuliffe saying Clinton will flip on TPP?

On Tuesday night, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe gave a glowing speech about his friend, former secretary of Sate Hillary Clinton. There was only one problem: He seemed to suggest that she’d reverse her opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal if she became president. Read More

An Unforced Error

Terry McAuliffe accidentally fueled the perception that Hillary Clinton merely follows the trade winds on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Read More

Clinton friend McAuliffe says Clinton will flip on TPP, then walks it back

Terry McAuliffe tells POLITICO the Democratic nominee will support a deal with tweaks that Sanders' supporters hate. But the Clinton campaign calls the comments 'flat wrong.' Read More
* Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is a "dark ride" at Disney Land. It is a fitting description for how this year's presidential election is unfolding for the American voter.

On the Net: "A Beginner’s Guide to ‘Free Will’" and More


A Beginner’s Guide to ‘Free Will’

The human will is free when it is not in bondage to prefer and choose irrationally. It is free when it is liberated from preferring what is infinitely less preferable than God, and from choosing what will lead to destruction. Read More

Taking Back Christianese #3: “God is Always Pleased with You”

Our purpose in this post (as in all the posts in this series) is simply to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of this phrase. We will do this by asking three questions: (1) Why do people use this phrase? (2) What is correct or helpful about this phrase? and (3) What is problematic about this phrase? Read More

3 Ways to Understand Jesus and the Old Testament

Because Jesus didn’t make an obvious appearance in the Old Testament (OT) and is introduced in the New Testament (NT), Christians sometimes wonder how to connect the OT with Him. In other words, what relationship does Jesus have to books written hundreds of years before He was born? There are several ways to discuss this, but here are a few to get you thinking. Read More

What Do You Think About Pope Francis?

Wherever you land in your opinion of him, here are five traits essential to understanding Pope Francis. Read More

Why You Should Use Stats in Ministry

Facts are our friends, and so are stats. Read More

Seven Reasons for Not Considering Office Hours for Ministerial Staff

I’ve never liked the idea of requiring office hours for pastors and ministry staff. Ministry demands a “go” mentality. It’s hard to go when you have to sit at a desk all day. Assuming you have at least one person in a support role to answer phones and greet walk-ins, then you likely don’t need to require staff to have office hours. Here are a few reasons why I don’t require office hours for ministry staff. Read More

7 of the Hardest People to Lead

Often personalities, experiences and preferences negatively impact a person’s ability to be led effectively. Read More

10 Questions to Evaluate If You Have an Anger Problem

In my years of working with church leaders, I’ve seen two common problems: lust/pornography and anger. As a believer, I’ve dealt with both issues personally, and I know both the brokenness of the ongoing battle and the sweetness of daily, long-term victory. Read More

Attitudes of a True Shepherd

Caring for the wounded is the church’s loving duty to her own. Read More

5 Reasons to Host a Q&A After Your Worship Service

For many years I did a question-and-answer session after each worship service. At the end of the service, just before the benediction, I would say, “Anyone who would like to ask a question about something in the sermon, or in the service, or about our church or Christianity in general—you are invited to stay and ask me those questions. Immediately after the postlude, we will conduct a 40-minute Q&A session right here down in front of the podium.” Read More

6 Times When Prayer Isn’t Enough

If you are doing these six biblical commands, dedicate yourself to prayer and call on God on behalf of our nation. Read More

5 Current Views of Discipleship

“What do you mean by discipleship?” Read More

Who's backing Trump and who's for Clinton? The battle for evangelical endorsements

Endorsements from leading evangelical pastors and opinion-formers are prized, because they can influence the followers of these Christian leaders. "So-and-so thinks Trump is a good guy? Well, maybe he's right." Read More

Vice-President Kaine? Find out six facts about his faith

What can we learn about the Virginia's senator's religion and what influence it would have should he become the next vice-president? Read More

Pakistan: Christian students face 'victimisation and religious persecution'

The Punjab government in Pakistan has launched an inquiry into allegations that Christian students are coming under pressure to convert to Islam. Read More

US Presidential Election: Trump's Latest Remarks a National Security Issue--FURTHER UPDATES


New: 'Treason'? Critics savage Trump over Russia hack comments

Donald Trump's call on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's emails has shocked, flabbergasted and appalled lawmakers and national security experts across the political spectrum, with some describing his comments as "treason." Read More

New: Trump's Political Patron

Donald Trump is openly encouraging Russia to commit espionage against the U.S. How else might he allow Vladimir Putin to sway this election? Read More

New: What Did Trump Mean When He Said Putin Used the "N-Word" and Doesn't Respect Obama?

Donald Trump gave a wide-ranging and bizarre press conference on Wednesday that the Washington Post described as “falsehood-laden.” Getting the most attention out of the event was Trump’s request that Russia hack and release some of Hillary Clinton’s emails from her time as secretary of state. But perhaps even more bizarre was another portion of the event in which Trump made a puzzling reference to Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama, and “the N-word.” Read More

New: Donald Trump invites Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's emails

Donald Trump dared a foreign government to commit espionage on the U.S. to hurt his rival on Wednesday, smashing yet another taboo in American political discourse and behavior. Read More

New: Trump urges Russia to hack Clinton’s emails

Democrats prepared to use their convention Wednesday night to raise fresh doubts about Donald Trump’s fitness to serve as commander-in-chief as the Republican presidential candidate called on Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s email server to find “missing” messages and release them to the public. Read More

New: Donald Trump’s falsehood-laden press conference, annotated

On Wednesday, Donald Trump held a press conference in Florida, focused largely on questions about his possible relationships with Russian business interests. True to form, the conversation ranged much more widely than that, resulting in enough misrepresentations and falsehoods that we decided to simply post the full transcript and annotate what Trump said. Read More

New: Democrats Fear Cyber 'October Surprise' That Could Sink Clinton

Now that U.S. authorities are confident Russian intelligence agencies are behind the hack of Democratic Party emails, political operatives and cybersecurity experts tell NBC News they are bracing for an "October Surprise" -- a release of even more potentially damaging information timed to influence the outcome of the presidential election and the course of the next administration. Read More

New: As Democrats Gather, a Russian Subplot Raises Intrigue

An unusual question is capturing the attention of cyberspecialists, Russia experts and Democratic Party leaders in Philadelphia: Is Vladimir V. Putin trying to meddle in the American presidential election? Read More

Democratic National Convention: Obama, Biden, Kaine take aim at Trump

Top Democrats leveled a series of attacks on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday, previewing part of what they plan to do Wednesday night to tout Hillary Clinton’s fitness to serve as commander-in-chief. Read More

Obama and Biden tag-team to slam Trump on foreign policy

With both men set to take the stage Democratic National Convention stage Wednesday night in Philadelphia, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden spent the morning hammering Donald Trump. Read More

Now Hillary Clinton has to even out her contradictions

Hillary Clinton has been a national political figure for a quarter-century, longer than any presidential candidate. Yet contradictions and conflicting portraits of her persist. Read More

A historic night for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday became the first woman to be nominated for president by a major political party on a historic night during which her campaign also sought to reintroduce her to skeptical voters and calm continuing tensions here. Read More

Bill Clinton Makes The Case For The 'Best Darn Change-Maker' He Has Met

If the first day of the Democratic National Convention focused on Bernie Sanders, the second day focused solely on Hillary Clinton. Read More

US election: Bill Clinton backs 'best friend' Hillary to lead US

Former US President Bill Clinton has set out the case why his wife and "best friend" Hillary should lead the nation. Read More

Sanders struggles to unite his ‘political revolution’ behind Clinton

Party disunity overshadows Democratic convention as Bernie fans boo their own man. Read More

How Sanders Delegates Organized a Walkout Under Everyone's Nose

The walkout, which came as Sanders personally moved to nominate Hillary Clinton by acclimation, left hundreds of seats on the convention floor empty. It came after protests from Sanders delegates seemed to be fizzling out, thanks to personal pleas from Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, among others. Read More

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

On the Net: "Multiplicative Discipleship" and More


Multiplicative Discipleship

Whenever we only seek to train a single generation, we have missed the point of discipleship. By nature, discipleship should be multiplicative. We are at our best when we are disciple-makers making disciple-makers. Here are eight ideas that will help you lead your church toward multiplicative discipleship. Read More

Listen in as Four Theologians Discuss the Trinity Debate

In today’s blog post Fred Zaspel interviews four outstanding theologians on the question for our Books At a Glance listeners. Listen Now

10 Things You Should Know about Thomas Aquinius

We Protestants often fail to take note of the unique and sometimes profitable contributions of Roman Catholic theologians of the past. So today we look at 10 things we should know about Thomas Aquinas. Read More

14 Things Leaders Tend to Forget

My experience is that even the best leaders tend to be forgetful at times. Usually, though, we talk about forgetting appointments or assignments or commitments – not so much these simple realities that many leaders I know (including me) forget too readily. Read More

8 Time Drainers for Pastors and Staff

“What if I told you I could help you get 10 or more hours of your week back?” Read More

10 Ways To Create More Margin in Your Time

HOw do you creat more margin in your schedule – to do the things you want to do and the things you need to do? Read More

5 Reasons I Can’t Stay Away from Student Ministry

This summer has shown me that I can’t stay away from student ministry. Read More

Summer 2016 Issue of Oak Hill College's Commentary Online

The latest issue of Commentary "focuses on the impact of change, good and bad, on our times, our society and institutions, and on ourselves." Read Online or Download
Mike Ovey has a great article on the preaching relationship (pp.22-26) in this issue.
Massive lead for Trump over Clinton among white evangelicals

A poll released yesterday shows seven out of 10 white evangelicals have decided to vote for Donald Trump in the American presidential election. Read More
"The polling data does not distinguish between churchgoing evangelicals, who are less likely to vote for Trump, and others."
Why Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump

In the face of a candidate’s antics, ‘America’s Pastor’ speaks out. Read More

Many thousands of displaced children in Nigeria on brink of starvation

Hundreds of thousands of children in north-eastern Nigeria are facing starvation because of the ravages of the terror group Boko Haram. Many will die if they are not helped soon, according to aid agencies on the ground. Read More

Japan: Church commemorating 26 crucified Christians may become UNESCO World Heritage Site

The oldest church in Japan, built in honour of the 26 martyred Christians crucified in 1597, has been nominated as a World Heritage Site. Read More

US Presidential Election: Democrats Work to Overcome Disunity--UPDATED


New: Democrats seek to work past discord; set to nominate Clinton

Hillary Clinton was set to become the first woman presidential nominee of a major U.S. party on Tuesday, a historic moment that Democrats hope will help eclipse rancor between supporters of Clinton and her rival in the primary contests, Bernie Sanders. Read More

New: It’s up to Bernie Sanders to fix the Democratic Party

If there has been one dominant theme of the Democratic National Convention so far it’s been disunity. Read More

New: Democrats pull convention back from the brink

Sanders joins forces with Clinton camp to soothe angry delegates, as he makes a prime-time pitch for his former rival. Read More

New: Sanders Outlines a Plan to Help Clinton, Fundraising Not Included

The senator says he intends to give his delegates the opportunity to vote for him Tuesday even as he urges them to back Clinton and defeat Trump. Read More

New: Donald Trump risks 'financial crisis' from WTO exit

Donald Trump has revved up his populist campaign against international trade by threatening to withdraw the United States from the World Trade Organisation, an unprecedented move that economists said would cause a global financial crisis. Read More

New: From Nato to WTO, Trump challenges current world order

Toughening immigration checks for the French and Germans, questioning Nato obligations and hinting at an exit from the World Trade Organisation (WTO): Mr Donald Trump has cast further doubt on US alliances and commitments around the world. Read More

Putin’s suspected meddling in a U.S. election would be a disturbing first

Credit for the internecine furor that disrupted the Democratic Party on the eve of its convention should go to Vladimir Putin. Read More

Sources: US officials warned DNC of hack months before the party acted

Federal investigators tried to warn the Democratic National Committee about a potential intrusion in their computer network months before the party moved to try to fix the problem, U.S. officials briefed on the probe tell CNN. Read More

Russian Hackers Altered Emails Before Release to Wikileaks

New evidence is emerging that content from the DNC emails accessed by Russian hackers may have been altered before being released to Wikileaks. This added layer of information joined with the timing of the release and Trump’s cozy relationship with Putin paint a picture of deep collusion and planning aimed at fracturing any potential Democratic unity at the most crucial point in the 2016 presidential election cycle. Read More

Trump says he would consider alliance with Russia over Islamic State

Republican nominee Donald Trump said on Monday that if elected U.S. president he would weigh an alliance with Russia against Islamic State militants but rejected any suggestion Russian President Vladimir Putin might be trying to help him win. Read More

Dems open convention without Wasserman Schultz

The Democratic National Convention kicked off Monday without its outgoing Democratic National Committee chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, following a chaotic scene at a morning meeting where she was loudly jeered by Bernie Sanders supporters. Read More

Hillary's convention opens with pro-Sanders protests

The Democratic convention that will make Hillary Clinton the first woman ever nominated by a major party for president opened Monday with protests in support of the man she defeated, Bernie Sanders -- who received the night's lengthiest and most rousing reception. Read More

On raucous opening night, Democratic stars make a pitch for Clinton

The Democratic Party's deep divisions were on full display on a raucous first day of its convention, with Bernie Sanders portraying Hillary Clinton as a fellow soldier in his fight for economic equality while his supporters booed the mere mention of her name. Read More

Bernie Sanders: 'I am proud to stand with her'

Bernie Sanders on Monday led an orchestrated attempt by Democratic leaders to pull their party together, but simmering anger among his die-hard supporters proved that Democratic unity will be a work in progress. Read More

Bernie Sanders Goes All In For Hillary Clinton

When Bernie Sanders walked out to address the Democratic National Convention, on Monday night, at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center, which normally serves as home to the N.B.A.’s hapless 76ers, he was fully aware that many of his supporters were ready for a fight. Read More

US election: Democratic Party struggles to present unified front on first day of convention

The first day of the Democratic National Convention, where she is set to become the first female presidential nominee for a major US party, has been marred by scandal and disunity. Read More

Clinton says there is an unfair 'Hillary standard' on trust and honesty

Hillary Clinton "felt sad" watching a Republican National Convention that was mostly about "criticizing me," she said an interview aired Sunday night on CBS' "60 Minutes." Read More

Monday, July 25, 2016

On the Net: "Two Statistics Every Church Planter Needs to Know" and Much More


Two Statistics Every Church Planter Needs to Know

With these two statistics in mind, church planters can start and grow healthy, Great Commission churches. Read More

The burning issue: Why the Church has got to start talking about hell

I'm not sure when I last heard any teaching about hell in church, never mind a good old fashioned hell-fire sermon. Isn't that a wonderful thing? Isn't the rejection of hell a sign we've grown up, matured and finally come into the 21st century? Isn't this a much nicer picture of God? Indeed it is. There is only one slight problem. Its not what Jesus taught. Which is a big problem for those who profess to be Christians – followers of Christ. Read More

3 Things Sin Can't Do To the Christian

Below are three things to remember about sin to remind yourself that it has ultimately lost its power in your life. These reminders help us eliminate the shame we feel after disobedience and push us to repent of our sin even when we're tempted to wallow in it. Read More

Don’t Be the Bottleneck

Effective lead pastors must learn how to lead larger. Read More

How People-Pleasing Crushes Your Leadership Potential

Ever wonder how your leadership potential gets crushed? How you end up stalling out as a leader with your dreams stifled and your future looking far less exciting than you hoped for? Read More

Eight Common Mistakes Rookie Pastors Make

As I have worked with hundreds of rookie pastors over the years, I see a pattern of mistakes many of them make. I pray my highlighting of these eight common mistakes will be helpful to some of you. Read More

7 Ways to Find Joy Today if Yesterday's Ministry Was Hard

I’ve been involved in the local church as a pastor long enough to know that some Sundays are really hard. If that’s the case for you, I hope these ideas will help you find some joy today. Read More

Political Speeches and Four Characteristics of a Great Message

There are common characteristics to a great presentation. Whether delivering a message to a leadership team, a group of employees, a congregation, or a large audience, effective messages contain the following four characteristics. Read More

You Have Enough Time to Study the Bible

Among Christians, I suspect busyness is the top excuse for not studying the Bible. Read More

Doin’ the Wonky with Words: 4 Word Study Missteps (Part 1)

The words of the Bible are your friends. Some are extroverted, linking arms with the words around them they communicate fairly clearly and openly. Other words are complex introverts, shying away from speaking the obvious. Still others seem clear but reward the time spent getting to know them. Suddenly you see that they are not who you thought they were at first blush. But all of the Bible’s words are your friends. Be kind to them. In this and the next post I will line out 4 common word study missteps we need to avoid. This will be fun. Here we go. Read More

Doin’ the Wonky with Words: 4 Word Study Missteps (Part 2)

In my last post I discussed briefly two wonky things we do with words: the root fallacy and the time-frame fallacy. In this post let’s discuss two other ways we throw Bible terms under the linguistic bus. Read More

Why Christians Should End Their Search for 'Relevance'

In a culture hell-bent on undermining traditional institutions, including the church, Christian witness will look neither conservative nor liberal but resilient. Read More

(Perhaps) The Most Insightful Interview You'll Read This Election Year

I have been convicted of late that I have not worked very hard to understand the appeal of Donald Trump to his working class white poor constituency. One helpful thing for me has been reading this interview with J.D. Vance, a graduate of Yale Law School graduate who grew up in dysfunctional Appalachian poverty and is the author of the new book, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis. Read More

Dems need to reverse moral misstep on abortion: Column

First-time call to make taxpayers fund abortions leads nation and democracy in wrong direction. Read More

Looking Ahead to the Likelihood of Increased Persecution in America

Several months ago I was asked by World Magazine some questions about religious persecution. Here are my responses. Read More

Bangladesh: Islamists step up persecution of Christians after rapid rise in conversions

Islamist terrorists are stepping up their persecution of Christians in Bangladesh after a rapid rise in converts. Read More

Muslim attacks on Christians in Egypt spiraling out of control

A senior bishop has issued a warning of an exponential spiralling of attacks on Christians in Egypt, home to three-quarters of all Christians in the Middle East. Read More

Massive increase in persecution against Christians in India

Persecution against Christians in India is increasing at an unprecedented rate but Christians are urging love and forgiveness for their Hindu neighbours, according to the charity Open Doors. Read More

US Presidential Election: Trump's Russian Connection and Democratic Party in Disarray


Trump & Putin. Yes, It's Really a Thing

At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties. There is also something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of evidence suggesting Putin-backed financial support for Trump or a non-tacit alliance between the two men. Read More

The Donald Trump Russia Connection: 5 Facts You Should about Candidate's Possible Ties to Putin

Following are five points about the apparent links between Donald Trump and Russia that voters need to take into consideration in making a decision whether or not to vote for Trump on November 8. Read More

US fears over Donald Trump's connections with Vladimir Putin's Russia

Fears Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump may be pursuing a Russian agenda with his candidacy have triggered a wave of alarm in the US. Read More

What's Behind Russian Support for World's Separatist Movements?

Britain's decision to leave the European Union is just the beginning, if some in the Kremlin have their way. Read More

Donald Trump's plan to win the week

Donald Trump isn't giving up the spotlight as Democrats meet in Philadelphia to formally make Hillary Clinton their presidential nominee. Read More

Jennifer Rubin: Trump doubles down: Fear justifies a strongman

Donald Trump accepted the nomination of the Republican Party for president by appealing to, and fanning the flames of fear and resentment. It was notable for a presidential convention acceptance speech that it had so little hope, vision, or concrete examples of how Trump would advance his agenda and "Make America Great Again." Read More

Jackson: GOP not interested in appealing to black voters

By nominating Trump, who hemmed and hawed this year before finally disavowing the endorsement of former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke, the party signaled its belief that the race-baiting Southern strategy birthed by Richard Nixon can again carry it to victory. Read More

Trump’s killed the GOP: He erased covert racism from the party’s platform — by being overtly racist

The modern Republican Party is dead and Donald Trump killed it. He did so by extracting its heart, a large group of voters who joined the party because of their views on race but who disagree with the GOP’s economic positions. What replaces the modern Republican Party? That’s still anyone’s guess. Read More

Trump Threatens To Pull The U.S. Out Of The World Trade Organization

Add it to the list. Read More

Peter Thiel's 'I am proud to be gay' is a GOP convention first

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, spoke on Thursday night about his sexuality, but didn't go so far as to criticize specific parts of the platform. Read More

The Strange Politics of Peter Thiel, Trump’s Most Unlikely Supporter

The Republican Party’s new trade-loving, free-thinking, gay, Christian, antiwar, rich-as-hell, naturalized-citizen, Silicon Valley hero. Read More

America's Rejection of the Politics of Barack Obama

The president’s belief in policies that can benefit all Americans is being repudiated by voters, in favor of a vision of politics as a zero-sum game. Read More

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Resigns As Democratic Party Chair

After mounting pressure from party officials, Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced her resignation on Sunday, sending the party into turmoil ahead of its convention this week. Read More

US election: Email row claims Debbie Wasserman Schultz

The US Democratic Party chair says she will resign as a row over leaked emails threatens efforts for party unity at the presidential nominating convention. Read More

Democrats in disarray over party's attempts to brand Bernie Sanders as an atheist

The head of America's Democratic Party resigned on Sunday amid a furore over embarrassing leaked emails, hoping to head off a growing rebellion by Bernie Sanders supporters on the eve of the convention to nominate Hillary Clinton for the White House. Read More

Debbie Wasserman Schultz's controversial tenure

A slew of leaked emails was the last straw for Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who announced Sunday afternoon her resignation as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee effective later this week. Read More

As DNC Begins, Many Sanders Supporters Not Ready To Get On Board For Clinton

If there was ever a time to show party unity, this would be it. Read More

Dismayed by Donald Trump, Michael Bloomberg Will Endorse Hillary Clinton

Michael R. Bloomberg, who bypassed his own run for the presidency this election cycle, will endorse Hillary Clinton in a prime-time address at the Democratic National Convention and make the case for Mrs. Clinton as the best choice for moderate voters in 2016, an adviser to Mr. Bloomberg said. Read More

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday Lagniappe: "5 Principles Megachurches Can Learn From Small Churches" and More


5 Principles Megachurches Can Learn From Small Churches

Healthy small churches have characteristics that make them work. And many of them can work in big churches, too. Read More

Five ways to engage: the city

Ben Pilgreen, a pastor and church planter in San Francisco, shares five simple steps for your church to engage your city. Read More

Trends in Church Architecture, Part 5

Can a church building be culturally engaged? Read More

Church Safety & Security: Insurance & Risk Management [audio] 

Recently at the Southeastern Center for Pastoral Leadership and Preaching, John Ewart, Stephen Griffin, Ron Allen, and George Harvey sat down to talk about what kind of policies, bylaws, and insurance coverage your church should have. Listen Now

A Brief Word to J. I. Packer on His 90th Birthday

As I reflect on who J. I. Packer is and what he has meant to me personally, several things come quickly to mind. Read More

Free Spiritual Gifts Analysis

The Team Ministry Spiritual Gifts Inventory is a discovery tool that provides you with a personalized analysis. Not a test, but a simple questionnaire giving you a profile of your God given spiritual gifts. Learn More

4 Ways to Build a Loyal Team

Todd Adkins examines four ways you can endear yourself to your team. Read More

Enough with the Vague Generalities of Prayer

"He prayed like he knew us." Read More

Stop Trying to Make the Bible Relevant to Teenagers

How do you break through to a young person so they see Scripture’s significance? How do you impress the Bible’s relevance on a teenager who gauges importance by whatever’s atop her social media stream? Read More

How Skipping Church Affects Our Children

The church is losing its young people because the parents never taught their children that it was important. Read More

Seven Steps towards a Greater Gospel Focus in Your Church

Eighty percent of churchgoers believe they have a personal responsibility to share their faith, yet 61% of them had not told another person about Christ in the last six months. The vast majority of Christians believe they should share their faith, but few actually do. Christians should be eternal optimists. The good news should compel us outward with love. If you’re leading a church, what can you do about the fact that most believers don’t share their faith? Read More