Missions & Motives

By Carrie Dedrick

Are you planning a mission trip? Mission trips can be incredible experiences, both for the Christians that go on them and for those that are reached through missions. But before you board your flight to a third world country, there are several questions you need to ask to make sure that this is the right opportunity for you. Read more...

29-Year-Old Brittany Maynard and 'Death with Dignity'

By Jim Denison

Brittany Maynard learned on New Year's Day that she had brain cancer.  She had been married for just over a year.  In April, she was given six months to live.
Facing weeks or months of suffering for herself and her family, she decided to move from California to Oregon, where she could choose euthanasia, an option supporters call "death with dignity."  She has filled a prescription she can take to end her life.  After her husband's birthday on October 26, unless her condition improves dramatically, she says "I will look to pass soon thereafter."
Brittany is now telling her story to advocate for euthanasia or "access for death with dignity" nationwide.  The resulting media coverage has sparked a significant discussion about death and life.  I have written a paper dealing with types of euthanasia, ways to choose it, medical issues, and Scripture.  For today, let's focus on biblical options.  Then we'll hear from someone who is dying but has found amazing courage in the love of Jesus.
Here's my theological position on this very difficult subject.  Humans are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:28; 9:6: 1 Corinthians 11:7; James 3:9).  So long as we have the ability or potential to relate to ourselves, others, our environment, and God, we retain this "image."  We should not choose medical approaches that are intended to cause or hasten death, believing that it is God who gives us life (Job 33:4), numbers our days (Job 14:5), and appoints our time to die (Hebrews 9:27).  However, we can choose to die naturally, and even choose medical treatments that enhance our quality of life while shortening it, so long as death is not our intention.
Now to someone who has far more right to speak on this issue than I do.  Kara Tippetts is dying of breast cancer that has metastasized.  She and her family had moved to Colorado Springs to plant a church when she was first diagnosed.  She tells her story in The Hardest Peace: Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life's Hard.  In a letter to Brittany Maynard, Kara writes, "Suffering is not the absence of goodness, it is not the absence of beauty, but perhaps it can be the place where true beauty can be known."
Kara notes that doctors who prescribe medications which cause death violate their Hippocratic oath to "first, do no harm."  She tells Brittany, "That last kiss, that last warm touch, that last breath, matters—but it was never intended for us to decide when that last breath is breathed."  In words that brought tears to my eyes when I read them, she testifies: "Knowing Jesus, knowing that He understands my hard goodbye, He walks with me in my dying.  My heart longs for you to know Him in your dying.  Because in His dying, He protected my living.  My living beyond this place" (her italics).
Brittany says, "When my suffering becomes too great, I can say to all those I love, 'I love you; come be by my side, and come say goodbye as I pass into whatever's next.'"  Kara wants Brittany to know "whatever's next" for those who trust in Jesus: "He overcame the death you and I are facing in our cancer.  He longs to know you, to shepherd you in your dying, and to give you life abundant—eternal life."
I'm praying for Brittany and Kara to be healed miraculously.  I'm praying for Kara's amazing ministry as she shares God's grace Read more...

Kicked Off Campus

By Ryan Duncan

Great changes are taking place in the halls of college education, and it’s uncertain if they are for the better. In a recent article for World Magazine, writer Josh Good examined how numerous Christian clubs are being derecognized by the state’s public university system for their instance on adhering to traditional, Biblical guidelines. These actions have been centered on one ideal: diversity. Diversity helps bring about new ideas, broaden horizons, and build understanding between students. But does the virtue of diversity trump all others?       Read more...

"David's Tent" Offers 24/7 Praise and Worship Outside White House for 50 Days

By Carrie Dedrick

Christians from all 50 states will gather in Washington D.C. throughout the next month as the third annual “David’s Tent” event stretches for 50 days of music and worship.  
David’s Tent is based off of the book of Chronicles when King David sent up a tent outside his palace to house the ark of the covenant. The event, held at the White House Ellipse began Sept. 15 and will conclude Nov. 4. Bands from across the country come to lead worship around the clock for 50 days.  
Jason Hershey founded the event in 2012. He said, "David's Tent is a love song to the heart of the Father, lasting 1,200 hours total this year. The issue at stake here is valuing Jesus as He should be valued—this is a 24/7 worship service for 50 days, simply because Jesus is worthy of it. David, even as a young shepherd boy, understood that God was the most important thing to his life!"
In addition to music, there is also prayer and scripture reading. 
"What we have introduced this year at David's Tent is Ezra's Platform, an area where people can come and read aloud from God's Word. Within our first 10 days, we proclaimed all the way through from Genesis to Revelation; now we're reading it again day and night, alongside songs of worship,” Hershey said. 
The organizers of the event obtained the proper licenses to hold event, which Hershey said is a miracle itself in today’s time of religious oppression.

What Do Americans Pray For?

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey

(RNS) When Americans aren’t busy praying for themselves or their own needs — and most of them are — many are seeking divine intervention on behalf of a favorite sports team or the golden ticket in the lottery, according to a new survey. Read more...

I Married the Wrong Person!

By Alex Crain

According to Scripture, Christians should never marry non-Christians. First Corinthians 7:39 is clear that we are “…free to be married to whom [we] wish, only in the Lord.” Read more...

You Don't Have to Save the World

By Whitney Hopler

He didn't leap across buildings or fly in with a cape trailing behind him; he just walked onto a playground. No speeding cars or bullets raced toward him; instead, it was a simple question. Facing an urgent need, would he choose to help? He didn't look like Superman, Spiderman, Batman, or any other cartoon character superhero. He was an ordinary man - a fellow church member who happened to be at the right place at the right time to respond to a call for action. But because he recognized Who was calling, and because he relied on that greater power working through him, he became a true superhero. Read more...

The Christian Music Paradox

By Ryan Duncan

We all have our opinions about Christian music. I don’t mean the songs you hear in a Sunday worship service (that’s an article for another day), I mean the recreational stuff you play in your car, or while out jogging. Many Christians love contemporary Christian music. They see artists like Casting Crowns, Colton Dixon, or Lecrae as pioneers, creating wholesome content in a market that thrives on self-obsession. Others however, find Christian music to be nothing more than a weak attempt at integrating faith and culture. Read more...