Someone sent me this column called "Bickering Threatens to Break Apart Christian Coalition" by Kathleen Parker, a columnist with The Washington Post Writers Group. In it she analyzes what's going on with the religious right. After you read it, come back to our Web site and put your comments on our blog. Read the article here.
I don't consider myself a normal person. I don't think or act like most normal people. That's probably why the Lord doesn't talk to me like a normal person. He uses all kinds of strange and funny ways to get my attention.
For example, one Sunday morning during church when I was playing the piano, I happened to notice the reflection of my hands in the black, shiny surface. I have been playing for years, but in the natural, I'm not quite sure how I do it. Once a music major told me that it seems what I hear bypasses my brain and goes straight to my fingers. It does! What I know has been taught to me by the Holy Spirit. One thing I AM sure of: I know that I can't do it without Him.
As today is Good Friday and we are thinking about Christ's death on the cross, I decided to devote the Strang Report to sharing my thoughts about Matt Crouch's new documentary: The Cross: The Arthur Blessitt Story.
I found this documentary to be very moving when I saw it at a pre-screening on March 24. If the movie is still playing in your area, I urge you to go see it. When it comes out on DVD, I urge you to buy it. You can click here to watch the four-minute trailer.
If you want to read more about this movie you can click here to read the news story we wrote on March 24 in our Charisma News Online newsletter or you can click here to read the review we did in our newest e-newsletter, The Buzz, on March 25.
After visits from three evangelists in four days, I figured it out. We've neglected the heart of our mission.
Something amazing happened to me last week during a ministry trip to Texas and Oklahoma. God sent three unexpected visitors over the course of four days to confirm something He is doing in the church today.
Last Thursday when I was speaking at Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, my friend Sujo John called to say he wanted to drop by the campus and attend the conference with me. Sujo is a full-time evangelist who is originally from India. He surrendered to the ministry on Sept. 11, 2001, when he was buried under the rubble of the World Trade Center.
My good friend Michael Farris has been a real advocate for parental rights. He is founding president and current chancellor of Patrick Henry College, which is training young lawyers from a Christian worldview.
Angered by recent court decisions that have chipped away at parental rights, Farris helped craft H.J. Res. 42, also known as the Parental Rights Amendment, which was filed last week by 71 members of the House.
In recent years, Christians have been subjected to a firestorm of hate crimes, much of which has been overlooked by the mainstream media. Ted Baehr, founder of Movieguide, the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission and the Christian Film & Television Commission are conducting a joint effort to bring hate crimes against Christians to light and hold attackers accountable. Read the article from Ted Baehr below to see how you can support this effort.
Defending the Christian Faith and Faithful
The tragic church shooting and death of Rev. Fred Winters, pastor of First Baptist Church, Maryville Ill., has once again raised one of the most under-reported issues within the media today: violence directed at Christians and churches.
As today is World Health Day, I thought you'd be interested in this item from Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. See his letter below.
President Barack Obama is proposing regulations to strike or weaken current policies implemented by the then-Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Mike Leavitt. The policies protect the conscience rights of health care workers. Congress has passed numerous laws over the past 35 years protecting such rights; however, no regulations had ever been implemented until Jan. 20, 2009 when regulations were put into effect to defend the conscience rights of healthcare workers. These regulations, which President Obama is planning to rescind, would ensure that programs that receive federal funds, including federal, state and local government programs, do not discriminate against health care workers who object to participating in such practices as abortion and sterilization.
Over 30 years ago, I sat in a dorm room talking to a black, pre-law student from Detroit. As he glared at me, he said that it made more sense for us to think about being Republicans than Democrats because of the unique needs of our community in the 70s. That was out-of-the-box thinking at that time. Today this man is a successful investment banker, leading a powerful firm.
A few years later my first cousin, a Harvard Law graduate shared a vision of becoming a patent attorney and later a political leader. He spoke of shaking things up and making a lasting difference in our nation. As a result of his hard work, he joined a prestigious law firm at age 25 and was elected to the Richmond City Public School Board the same year. At age 32, he became a partner at the firm. He was nominated for the Virginia Supreme Court at age 34 and elected the first black Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court at 47 years old.
If you've ever gone to a public high school, you know there are different groups with which kids associate. Some groups are formed on the basis of social status, some on intelligence, some on common interests. But whether it's the wealthy, the brainy or the golf pros, within each group, certain individuals stand out. They are the popular ones, the ones people are drawn to. When they walk into a room or down the hall, there is always a crowd of people following them.
Why is this? Probably because they are more beautiful or more gifted or have more bubbly personalities than the rest. Whatever the trait, there is something that distinguishes them from everyone else.
Many of you have heard my family's testimony of overcoming barrenness. The Lord sovereignly healed my wife, Pam, in 1984. She immediately became pregnant, and pregnant again. However, we knew that the faith promise we had received in 1980 of having twins had never been fulfilled by the Lord.
A few times in life there is such great news that you want to tell everyone. Today is such a day. I've just found out my son Cameron and his wife, Maya, will make me a granddad next October. Maya went to the doctor today for her 12-week sonogram.
For me the only way to get out the news quickly is to share it with the 26,000 who read my Strang Report each week. So I hope you'll rejoice with me on this grand news, even though it's so personal in nature and not the usual commentary on social issues that I usually deal with.
Next week the Strang Report will begin coming out twice a week instead of just weekly.
And I now have a twitter account. If you were following me at www.twitter.com/sstrang, you would have received this grand news a few hours ago.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement in response to President Obama's invitation to Tony Dungy, former coach of the Indianapolis Colts, to join the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
"I was pleased to hear that Tony Dungy, former coach of the Indianapolis Colts, has been asked to serve on the President's Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. I may not be a sports buff, but I've always been a fan of men of character. Tony Dungy has been that for me and for countless Americans who admire him - not just for his victories on the field but in life. He has used his celebrity platform to promote adoption, prison ministry, family values, outreach to the poor, and simple Christian decency.
Though not officially confirmed by the Obama administration, U.S. News & World Report has verified that President Obama has invited former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy to be part of the President's Advisory Council for his Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. You can read more about here.
President Barack Obama's first judicial nominee, David Hamilton, is a former ACLU attorney, who as a federal trial judge issued a court ruling that said "No" to Jesus and "Yes" to Allah.
In 2005, this former ACLU activist ordered the Speaker of the Indiana House to immediately stop "sectarian prayers" at the opening of the legislative session. Hamilton ruled that prayers "using Christ's name or title" were unconstitutional. In a post-judgment motion for this same case, Hamilton ruled that prayers said to "Allah" were acceptable.
Just after a jury in Sedgwick County, Kansas, returned not guilty verdicts in the criminal case against late-term abortionist George Tiller, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts (KSBHA) released to the public a petition it filed in December listing eleven allegations against Tiller's license reports Operation Rescue.
According to a statement released by the KSBHA, "Violations alleged include performing an abortion on a fetus that was viable without having a documented referral from another physician not legally or financially affiliated with him; unprofessional or dishonorable conduct or professional incompetency; and commitment of acts likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public."
When millions of curious seekers crowd into America's churches on Easter Sunday, what will they find?
Millions of "Easter Christians" and other curious spiritual seekers will crowd into America's churches on the next two Sundays. Some will visit simply to "put in their time"—either in an attempt to ease their consciences or to please relatives. A few will see it as an excuse to buy and show off new outfits. And many will come out of genuine spiritual hunger.
A recent survey conducted by Lifeway Research revealed that 56 percent of Americans would attend a church service if invited by a friend. And while polls show that many older denominations are losing members, non-denominational churches are growing in many regions of this country at a brisk pace (along with non-Christian religions). Despite all the grim economic news we've heard this year, some trends indicate that we could actually be on the cusp of a spiritual awakening.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many professing Christians in America, yet so few cities that have been truly transformed for Christ? Why, in prayer meetings and conferences, we passionately cry out for nations to be saved in a day; yet our local spheres of influence remain largely unchanged year after year?
The answer can be found by examining the historical seeds of past revivals. For example, legend has it that Jonathan Edwards, before the birthing of the Great Awakening, made a covenant with God. Standing on a riverbank, he cried out to God for revival in the land. Drawing a circle in the sand, he pledged that before God could take the city, the region, the nation, He must start here—and he pointed to the circle. Then Edwards stepped into the circle.