Category Archives: book

Be an encourager, don’t just protest the bad 

( Below is the Breakpoint radio commentary for today. )

When it comes to culture, do you consider yourself a foot soldier or a gardener? Okay, that’s a bit cryptic. But let me explain.
When was the last time you participated in a boycott? Or shared a Facebook post alerting your friends to a dangerous cultural trend?
Good stuff. Now, let me ask you this: When was the last time you went to an art museum? Or bought tickets to the theater? Or listened to a great piece of music? Or wrote a poem and shared it with friends?
I ask, because, I believe even more important for Christians than being on the front lines of the culture war is participating in the culture—and better yet, helping to create and nurture it. If the main contribution that Christians make to culture is complaining about it, we’re doing something wrong.
That’s what my friend Makoto Fujimura says in his new book, “Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for Our Common Life.” You may have heard me interview Fujimura before. He’s a brilliant artist and writer who has thought long and hard about the relationship between faith and the arts. “Culture,” he argues, “is not a territory to be won or lost but a resource we are called to steward with care. Culture is a garden to be cultivated.”
In other words, Fujimura wants us to shift our thinking away from the “culture wars” model, in which we think of culture as a battleground. Of course we need to have convictions about culture, and to stand by them. But Fujimura wants to offer a better way for us to influence culture for good. His image of a garden is just one of many he draws from nature, to show how we can carefully and patiently help to cultivate that cultural environment and make good things grow in it.
So, how do we do this? Fujimura suggests that both Christians and the arts community start by learning to look at each other as potential allies, even friends, instead of as sworn enemies. He asks us to consider investing in cultural works, as we’re able to afford it. (As an example, he mentions customers who have purchased his own paintings by giving him a little money every month until they were fully paid for.) He suggests that leaders in the church, the arts community, and the business community form partnerships to help support each other and nurture the culture around them. He cites the example of singer Mahalia Jackson, who encouraged Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to “tell ’em about the dream,” spurring him to make his most famous speech. Such encouragement can flow in both directions.
This isn’t always easy work, but it’s extremely valuable and worthwhile. It requires thoughtful engagement instead of blanket condemnation, and it may call for us to broaden our understanding and deal with ideas that seem unfamiliar and uncomfortable. But from such efforts come moments that he calls “generative,” or “life-giving.” Christians who enjoy and support art and culture, who make it a priority in their lives, and who reach out to those in the arts instead of reflexively pushing them away, can help bring the culture toward a renewed appreciation of goodness, truth, and beauty. And that is good for everyone.
Fujimura acknowledges that Christians in the arts, or even just Christians who love the arts, can feel caught between two worlds. But he argues that this is not a bad thing. The person in this position may in fact be playing “a role of cultural leadership in a new mode, serving functions including empathy, memory, warning, guidance, mediation, and reconciliation.”
One of the best things about “Culture Care” is Fujimura’s optimism about our future—especially if you’re feeling a bit weary and battle-scarred from the culture wars. He firmly believes that, as tough as this cultural moment is, we can turn it into a “genesis moment” by learning to nurture and care for our culture and those who create it. If you want to be part of that effort, I can’t think of a better way to start than by picking up this excellent book.

The power of a story 

Listen to a commentary here.

Bible based faith, and Shack

Listen to sermon by Dr. Michael Youssef….

The Shack Uncovered

What really happened to the class of 65.. 

Listen to a commentary by Dr. Dobson, right here.

 Readers Are Leaders

Listen to, or read the Breakpoint radio commentary for today. 

Far from Rome, Near to God: 

Read what some former priests have to say about their former church. Along with their new faith. Now I don’t have issue with those who belong to the Catholic Church. My issue is with the leadership of that church. I use to be in the Catholic Church. I am very thankful for the stand  the Roman Church has taken on the right to life. 

   The key is not what church you belong to, but have you embraced Jesus Christ as your Lord, and Savior. ( John 1:12 ) 

  ( Read what some former priests say here. )

Scripture from Space

Read , or listen to the commentary by clicking here.

Thanksgiving 2016SQUANTO AND THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD

Hi, I’m John Stonestreet. Today, we want to share a classic Chuck Colson BreakPoint commentary on Thanksgiving, Squanto and the providence of God.

John Stonestreet
Most of us know the story of the first Thanksgiving; at least we know the Pilgrim version. But how many of us know the Indian viewpoint?
No, I’m not talking about some revisionist, politically correct version of history. I’m talking about the amazing story of the way God used an Indian named Squanto as a special instrument of His providence.
Historical accounts of Squanto’s life vary, but historians believe that around 1608, more than a decade before the Pilgrims arrived, a group of English traders sailed to what is today Plymouth, Massachusetts. When the trusting Wampanoag Indians came out to trade, the traders took them prisoner, transported them to Spain, and sold them into slavery. It was an unimaginable horror.
But God had an amazing plan for one of the captured Indians, a boy named Squanto.
Squanto was bought by a well-meaning Spanish monk, who treated him well and taught him the Christian faith. Squanto eventually made his way to England and worked in the stables of a man named John Slaney. Slaney sympathized with Squanto’s desire to return home, and he promised to put the Indian on the first vessel bound for America.
It wasn’t until 1619, ten years after Squanto was first kidnapped, that a ship was found. Finally, after a decade of exile and heartbreak, Squanto was on his way home.
But when he arrived in Massachusetts, more heartbreak awaited him. An epidemic had wiped out Squanto’s entire village.
daily_commentary_11_24_16We can only imagine what must have gone through Squanto’s mind. Why had God allowed him to return home, against all odds, only to find his loved ones dead?
A year later, the answer came. A shipload of English families arrived and settled on the very land once occupied by Squanto’s people. Squanto went to meet them, greeting the startled Pilgrims in English.
According to the diary of Pilgrim Governor William Bradford, Squanto “became a special instrument sent of God for [our] good . . . He showed [us] how to plant [our] corn, where to take fish and to procure other commodities . . . and was also [our] pilot to bring [us] to unknown places for [our] profit, and never left [us] till he died.”
When Squanto lay dying of fever, Bradford wrote that their Indian friend “desir[ed] the Governor to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishmen’s God in heaven.” Squanto bequeathed his possessions to the Pilgrims “as remembrances of his love.”
Who but God could so miraculously convert a lonely Indian and then use him to save a struggling band of Englishmen? It is reminiscent of the biblical story of Joseph, who was also sold into slavery, and whom God likewise used as a special instrument for good.
Squanto’s life story is remarkable, and we ought to make sure our children learn about it. Sadly, most books about Squanto omit references to his Christian faith. But I’m delighted to say that my friend Eric Metaxas has written a wonderful children’s book called “Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving.” I highly recommend it because it will teach your kids about the “special instrument sent of God,” who changed the course of American history.

Ruth Gruber dies at 105; journalist and author brought Jewish refugees to U.S. during WWII

When Ruth Gruber saw a report during World War II that 1,000 Jewish refugees were being brought to the United States, she rushed straight to her job with the Secretary of the Interior.
“I got rid of my breakfast and rushed to the office and said, ‘I have to see the secretary.’ I told him, ‘Somebody has to go over and hold their hands; they’re going to be terrified,'” Gruber said in a 2010 interview in the Sunday Telegraph of London.

That somebody turned out to be her, and as she accompanied the refugees to the U.S., she interviewed them, which became the basis of “Haven: The Dramatic Story of 1,000 World War II Refugees and How They Came to America,” one of her many books but only one part of Gruber’s long, trailblazing life. The book inspired the 2001 television miniseries “Haven,” in which the late Natasha Richardson portrayed Gruber. 
The journalist and humanitarian died Thursday at her home in Manhattan, according to her editor, Philip Turner. She was 105.

( More )

Cold Case Christianity

When a cold-case detective decides to use his analytical skills to evaluate the Bible or the evidence for God, it can be a fascinating journey. In his previous book, Cold Case Christianity, J. Warner Wallace applied time-tested investigative tools and techniques to evaluate the claims of the gospels. This time his book, God’s Crime Scene, applies those same techniques to examine the universe as a crime scene.
He invites the reader to sit on a jury as he makes a compelling case for God’s existence. He sifts through the clues and develops a profile of the suspect. That would be an uncaused, intelligent designer who is all-powerful, non-spatial and non-material. Eight chapters investigate various clues while building a profile.

( Read the rest of this commentary, or listen to it Crime Scene.)