To believers who are the least bit observant, it is clear that there's a shaking going on within the world's systems, the church's systems and individual believers. The shaking we are experiencing today is a move of God, who wants to live and move and have His being through His people. He wants to change the world through us!
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I just returned from an important "Israel Summit" in San Antonio, Texas, with about 140 leaders from around the United States. We came away deeply concerned about the situation in Israel because of the threat from Iran and with an awareness that what we are doing through Christians United For Israel (CUFI) is more important than ever.
I am motivated to encourage as many people as possible to participate in several upcoming CUFI events. The first is Sunday, May 17, which is called CUFI Sunday. So far nearly 1,000 churches are signed up for this event. You can click here for more information on how to sign up.
With gay marriage legislation being passed in Iowa and Vermont, some Christians are saying that there is an all out war on traditional values. I thought Samuel Rodriguez (pictured), president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, spoke eloquently on this subject. You can read his comments here and then come back to our Web site and tell me what you think by leaving a comment.
Many Christians misjudged the California pastor after his recent interview with CNN's Larry King.
My switchboard almost short-circuited last week after California pastor Rick Warren appeared on Larry King Live to discuss the hot potato issue of the decade—same-sex marriage. Some concerned Christians called or e-mailed immediately to tell me that Warren had, just in time for Easter, denied his faith in true Judas style. They even lifted a quote from Warren's April 6 interview with King to prove that the pastor of the largest church in our country no longer believes in evangelical morality.
People who had not even seen the broadcast were hyperventilating. "How can Rick Warren do this to us?" they asked me. I decided to stay calm, breathe deeply and actually watch the broadcast instead of believing some slanted conservative blogs. (Note to readers: In this amazing age of TiVo andYouTube, you can actually check the facts easily before jumping to conclusions.)
This past Monday night on Larry King Live, Pastor Rick Warren, author of the Purpose Driven Life, waffled on his stand to support evangelical political involvement to protect marriage. He told Larry that he had sent apologies to his gay friends for how his comments about gay marriage were misconstrued. He denied that he had ever endorsed Proposition 8 in California (which amended the constitution of the state to defend marriage as being exclusively between one man and one woman) during the two years of its duration. Finally, he claimed to be totally oblivious to what was happening in Vermont concerning gay marriage.
A couple of months ago there was a huge demonstration in downtown Orlando, called a "tea party." It received very little press, even though thousands of people attended. I wouldn't have known about it except that a couple of my family members inadvertently found themselves downtown, and were able to interact with a number of the attendees. They gave me a big report of the event. These "tea parties" were going on around the country and now there is an organized effort to hold numerous parties in America on Tax Day-- Wednesday, April 15.
One of the things I do on the Strang Report is pass along information that comes to me on a daily basis. Recently both Rick Warren (pictured) and Joel Osteen were on Larry King Live. Larry King is well known for inviting Christian leaders to be on his show and then baiting them.
In what must have been an effort to be conciliatory, both Warren and Osteen made statements that liberals are taking as a sign that the Christian movement is moving leftward. It's bringing howls of protests from some Christian leaders on the right becuase they feel betrayed by two of the most respected and highest profiled christian leaders.
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.
We are being prepared for some very difficult times. Times of shaking, such as those we're experiencing now, show us just how much we are in God's hands and not the other way around.
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.
God bless you and have a grand weekend.
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