Saturday, December 1st is World Aids Day.
There are over 42 million people with HIV | AIDS around the world. Over 25 million in Africa alone.
Today, like everyday, 6,000 children will lose a parent to AIDS.
Currently, for every person who successfully gets into a treatment program, six people aquire HIV.
Twenty years ago, a summit of health ministers realized that a united global effort was required to halt the spread of HIV and AIDS. As a result, World AIDS Day emerged as the first international health day in December 1988. The aim of World AIDS Day is to bring to people's attention the worldwide challenges and consequences of the epidemic-ultimately, preventing the spread of HIV and improving the lives of people living with the virus. Each year the campaign is an opportunity for organizations throughout the world to highlight the HIV pandemic in order to raise awareness and bring about change.
What can you do? This is an important question.
I have been asking myself "What can I do?" I feel part of my call is to raise awareness, mobilize others to give and pray.
Many people have asked me what I want for my birthday. World Aids Day is the same day as my birthday, December 1. If you feel so inclined to give me a monetary gift, why not consider donating to World Relief in my behalf? Celebrate life by giving life.
World Relief is a great organization, created by the National Association of Evangelicals, who work with and for the church worldwide to relieve human suffering, poverty and hunger in the name of Jesus Christ. To learn more about World Relief, click here. To give a donation to fight AIDS, among other human suffering, click here.
Last Friday, day after Thanksgiving, I went with a few friends to Washington, DC to see Rob Bell's"The God's Aren't Angry" tour.
Fortunately, it was a safe trip there and back. However, we had a close call. We were traveling in a van and on the way there we had a tire blowout on the Interstate. It was kind of scary because it happened so fast, we were traveling in the center lane and the sound was horrible. When my friend steered the car to the shoulder of the road we got out and looked at the tire. Well, what was left of it. There was literally almost no tire! It was crazy.
So we arrive in DC. Rob Bell's show was held at Lisner Auditorium on the campus of George Washington University.
The auditorium was electric. The only prop on-stage was a huge altar. After missing his lighting cue (which was funny), Rob began his talk. The presentation began with a story about the nature of relating to forces that we assume affect our lives. Over time humanity began to create names for these forces, or gods. The nature of these gods created a real paradox. If our lives depended on the gods for rain then we had better appease them so we can get rain. Rituals were created by people who had supposedly figured out how to appease the gods. The common method was an offering of some sort. Some gods could be appeased by a grain offering. Others needed blood. Other’s needed important male body parts (ouch!). Molech needed children. The problem became that humanity could never really figure out how to appease the gods. If their lives were bountiful then they were offering the right amount. If their life lacked blessing then they must offer more on the altar. Bell did an excellent job and really helped me connect the dots as he rattled off the Mesopotamian and Sumerian gods and explained why cultures seemed to worship them.
From there Rob taught on Abraham and Issac and the reality that Abraham lived in this god culture where sacrifice was expected. So when the one-true God asked him to sacrifice his only son it didn't seem farfetched. I thought this was very insightful.
Bell then began discussing the nature of the sacrificial system as a ritual to appease the conscience of man. God doesn't need our sacrifice. So what was all the sacrifices about? It was about appeasing man's conscience. The ritual was a reminder of our own forgiveness and putting away the shame. Unfortunately the Sadducee’s had created an industry out of the ritual and were distorting its purpose. The offering of Jesus was then a way to reform the old way and do away with sacrifice. He referred to Hebrews Six and talked about the new convenant with Christ. He continued to talk much about how our life is still about appeasing "the gods." Christ’s death was to satisfy God’s anger. The early church kept rituals as a way of reminding themselves of what Jesus did on the cross. They kept one great offering though. That was to “do good.”
In conclusion, Rob offered very personal stories about how we transform the world around us through love. He explained how this was a great offering before the Lord. It felt very much like an ending to a NOOMA video with the music accompanying his message.
All in all, it was a great talk. I felt that his message should be targeted more to a believer than an unbeliever. His message spoke to people who try to appease God with 'works' and 'offerings' rather than understanding that God doesn't need that ... and then bringing it home with showing love to those around us so they can come to know the God we serve.
The reviews on his talk have been very mixed. However, the most heat (I think) comes from critics who seem to expect Bell to preach the gospel and give an invitation.
I read one review posted by a writer who called his review "The Gods Should be Angry" and stated ...
"He walked around an alter for 90 minutes, without talking about the wrath of God against sin being poured out on Christ. He did not say, 'Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.' He did not say, 'It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.' Instead, he said, 'Anytime someone makes you feel guilty about how you are living, that is part of the old system (pre-Christ).'
He did not say he is a universalist. Instead, he just said, 'the only Christian ritual is to help you tap into the peace that God has already made with the world.' He did not tell them 'Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.' Instead he said, 'The gods are not angry anymore.'
And this is the fundamental problem with Bell’s message. The Bible says that the wrath of God is continually being revealed against ungodliness. In other words, God is still angry. And Bell did an enormous disservice because the people did not hear the gospel, and they were not told to flee the wrath to come."
While I will always agree that we need to be VERY clear to communicate man's need for salvation and the provision for it through Christ in every message we speak, I'm not convinced this critic and those likewise are completely fair to Bell. However, we are sadly beginning to see division among Christians today as a result of the Emergent movement and will continue to see it I'm afraid.
Here's the video (may not be viewable in RSS readers or email):
One of my friends stated a while back that he has a hard time enjoying movies because he spends most of his time critiquing them. I find myself doing the same in worship.
This writer strike really needs to end soon. It's getting ridiculous.
I like to watch a late-show before bedtime... especially if someone I find interesting is scheduled to appear on the show. Last night I was channel surfing and decided to see who was on Leno. NBC has apparently gotten desperate. They pulled out vintage Leno! I can't believe they are doing this already.
This particular episode was from 1992! In Jay's monologue he referred to President Bush (um... that would be Bush Sr.) and Billy Joel being married to Christie Brinkley! Wow... that is ages ago. A very young Tom Hanks, among others, appeared on the show.
Makes me wonder what will happened next?
I must give a shout-out to my Tigers for pulling out a victory on Saturday over the Gamecocks.
I always watching these two rivals play.
Boy, it was close too! In the last 3 seconds of the game the Tigers scored with a game-winning field goal, defeating the Gamecocks 23-21 and leaving Gamecocks Coach Spurrier with the longest losing streak of his college career. Of course, if you know me, I don't pin every win and loss on the coach. I don't think its fair.
Good job Tigers! Hopefully, you'll head to a bowl.
Click here to visit the Clemson Tigers Official Site.
last Tuesday after a long battle with cancer.
Labels: Manic Monday Minute
Click here to visit our NYWC podcast.
Labels: Manic Monday Minute
Last evening Shane Claiborne brought a most unique message to the convention.
It was most unique because he just read the scriptures. After he was introduced he approached the platform, did a fire-breathing trick and a back flip (I'm already impressed) and then read three chapters from the book of Matthew. Actually, the greatest sermon of Jesus Christ captured in Matthew chapters 5-7. After he finished reading the scriptures he said "this was the greatest sermon ever preached" and said a prayer over us and he left the stage.
The reaction from the crowd was mixed. Many have been very positive (based on blogs I've read, people I've spoken with) but others are hacked off or were disappointed. Hacked off? Why are people upset?! Yes, I was disappointed as well because I had hyped myself to hear "what Shane had to say" but literally I heard "what Christ had to say!" Claiborne let the scriptures speak. When is the last time you've seen or heard this done? I don't know that I ever have.
Shane, even though I was disappointed I didn't get to hear you... I'm sure glad you delivered what you did. It was refreshing.
Click here to listen in on the podcast live from the NYWC!
I'm sure I'll blog about my experience while I'm there and\or when I return.
Click here for more information on the National Youth Workers Convention.
Ward explains the reason for her boycott when she says...
Sadly, I've seen that "Jensenites" are becoming the rule rather than the exception. I've heard dozens of pastors speak breathlessly and reverently about their ministerial and spiritual heroes, reading their books and their blogs, listening to their podcasts, following them at conferences, hoping just to get a glimpse of them or to touch their robe so they can receive some magical leadership or teaching power that will result in overwhelming ministry success and their own fame...
...It's no different today than it was in the first century, when Paul noted in his first letter to the Corinthians that the Christ-followers there were dividing themselves over who they followed. 'I follow Paul,' said some, while others countered, 'I follow Apollos.'
Today it's the same story, just a different millennium: 'I am of Hybels.' "I am of Warren.' 'I am of Maxwell.' 'I am of Stanley.' 'I am of Moore.' 'I am of Groeschel.' "I am of McLaren.' 'I am of Driscoll...'
Interesting article I thought.
I, of course, would consider myself a "fan" of the men she mentioned. I also like "Rob Bell" among others she didn't mention. In fact, another "fan" of his told me that I could be part of "the ROBBELLion." I thought that was pretty amusing.
I would say I have many heroes in the faith... but I'm not obssessed.
I use to be pretty close to what you'd call "obssessed" with Steven Curtis Chapman. Yes, he's still rockin for Jesus. I had all his albums. Dreamed occasionally of hanging out with he and his family. Had a life-size cardboard cut out of him in my room. Yea, I know, pretty sad right? There have been others I esteemed here and there... but I won't mention.
I learned a valueable lesson a long time ago though. Never be obssessed with anyone but our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY one that will not let you down.
I think Angie provides a great word to all throughout her article...
These groupies try to become clones of their heroes, instead of becoming who God has made them and ministering in a uniquely personal way that no celebrity could ever attain. Instead of claiming their standing in Christ and asking what He wants of their leadership in their unique situation, they settle for a trinkety-bracelet approach to ministry: "What Would Hybels Do?"
Thanks for the reminder, Angie. It's okay to have heroes and mentors ... but never let them get in the way of our focus on Christ and who Christ wants us to be.
Click here to view the entire article by Angie Ward in Leadership Journal.
Many have screwed it up. Fortunately, the Provost got it right that day.
I just find it interesting. That's all. Especially people that say they "know" me. If you "know" me then you should "know" my NAME.
I know the frustration Max Lucado feels. Well, maybe he doesn't feel any frustration at all. However, he felt compelled to clarify the pronunciation of his last name in one of his thousand books he's published and stated "its LooKayDoh." I love Max Lucado. Man, he can seriously publish a book by lunch time everyday. Who does that?!
Do I hate my NAME? That's a question I get on rare occasion. The answer is "no." My mother and father gave me that name. I like it. Of course, I welcome nicknames (if they are friendly and in good spirit), because I like nicknames in general.
Do we consider the value of a name? I do! I personally believe GOD knows our name. How powerful is that? The creator of the universe calling YOU by NAME. Wow!
Businesses and organizations spend millions each year so that you will "know" their NAME, "know" their brand.
I know what it is like to meet a student for the first time and ask them their name. When they return to our ministry and see me again and I call them by their name they just light up! Ten out of ten times this happens. Why is that? Because I "know" their NAME.
This gentlemen that I've interacted with in many prayer meetings 'should' know my name. I've mentioned it to him many times. I've corrected him many times. (Yes, I am forgiving.) In the last couple of weeks he has called me "Torrence." Just Monday I saw him and he called me "Charlie."
I give up.
This is "Terrace" signing off.
Labels: Manic Monday Minute
. . . because people were celebrating my Birthday outside of our church facility last night.
Tap tap tap ... on my shoulder. "Terrace, you have some guests outside," one of our deacon's said to me last evening (in the middle of our evening service).
I walked out the door to find Norview's youth group outside waiting to serenade me for my Birthday. I said "you realize its not until December 1 right?" They didn't care. They wanted to start the party.
You gotta love that.
Don't forget that today is Election Day! Be sure to vote.
I had an interesting voting experience this morning. (These kinda things always seem to happen to me.) I'm not complaining, it makes life interesting.
It was raining pretty heavily and I ran to the door nearest my car but found out that I went in the exit door -- as one of the ladies quickly pointed out to me (although the door wasn't marked). I said "well,um, its raining... so I ran to the closest door." Then I went to the back of the line to get ready to vote. An older gentleman greeted me and said "Sir, you came in the wrong door (I was like geez!)... and you know we could shoot ya for that." I was like "WHAT?!" Wow, I could not believe he said that to me.
I was safe. He was probably (I hope) joking. My vote was cast.
Labels: Manic Monday Minute
After probing a little further I discovered that Google was rolling out a new initiative called Open Social.
What is Open Social?
Google wants to create an easy way for developers to create an application that works on all social networks. And if they pull it off, they’ll be in the center, controlling the network. OpenSocial is a set of three common APIs, defined by Google with input from partners, that allow developers to access core functions and information at social networks: Profile Information (user data), Friends Information (social graph), Activities (things that happen, News Feed type stuff). Hosts agree to accept the API calls and return appropriate data. Google won’t try to provide universal API coverage for special use cases, instead focusing on the most common uses. Specialized functions/data can be accessed from the hosts directly via their own APIs.
Basically, the lines are now becoming blurred. Google is the big dog and will play nucleus to all social networks (exluding a main player, Facebook -- at least for the moment) and will allow users to use common applications and code on various social networking sites interchangeably. The lines will become even more blurred as the social moguls join forces.
I thought Seth Godin shared an interesting perspective on all of this in a blog entry he entitled Changing the Game.
Facebook has clearly packed a mean punch... as numerous social networking sites have joined with Google out of their Facebook-Fear, including the most recent additions to team -- MySpace and Six Apart. Will Facebook crumble under the pressure or because of its uniqueness continue to be the boardwalk of our day? Time will tell.