1
Aug

An Open Letter from Jim Denison

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison

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Thank you for reading this open letter—I am grateful for your time and interest. I am writing to tell you about changes that have  come to the Center for Informed Faith and God Issues, our daily devotional. I am very excited about this transition and want you to know what’s happening.

From the time I preached my first sermon 35 years ago, my passion has always been to reach people like I was. My father was very active in church before he fought in World War II, but the atrocities he witnessed caused him to question the reality and relevance of his faith. I grew up with his questions about God. If Christians had not invited me to their church when I was a teenager, I would never have gone on my own. When God called me into ministry, he gave me a heart for those who are where I was.

In 2009, Jeff Byrd and I launched the Center for Informed Faith to bridge the gap between faith and culture by engaging contemporary issues with biblical truth. The Lord has blessed this ministry in remarkable ways. Our daily devotional subscription list has doubled, with readers in 104 countries. I have been invited to share God’s word in China, Bangladesh, Cuba, and across Europe and the Middle East. The Lord has built a remarkable ministry team and blessed us with donors who make our work possible.

Now he has led us to expand our ministry to reach people who are where I was, questioning the relevance of Christian faith for the issues of our day. They are interested in cultural questions such as radical Islam, the Middle East, and contemporary moral issues. They need an accessible way to explore these issues in spiritual perspective. Like the crowds at Pentecost, they deserve to hear the gospel in their own language (Acts 2:6).

Contemporary technology provides such a platform. Like the Christians who knocked on my door and invited me to their church, the Internet and social media give us the opportunity to dialogue with our culture on issues that matter to all of us.

To use this platform in reaching people who are not in church, we are making some changes to our ministry strategy. First, our name has changed to the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture. We hope the new name will appeal to secular readers in a way that the Center for Informed Faith did not. And it conveys the fact that we are a “forum,” a place to discuss the issues of our day.

Here are other ways we are expanding our ministry to the larger culture:

  • We have launched a new website which will facilitate our cultural conversation. Please visit www.denisonforum.org soon—I hope you’ll find the new resources to be helpful in engaging your culture with biblical thinking.
  • I have completed Radical Islam: What You Need to Know. It will be released in print and as an ebook next month, timed for the tenth anniversary of 9/11. You can read a sample chapter on our website.
  • We are expanding our social media with a new Denison Forum on Truth and Culture Facebook page, which will have original content each day, and a Jim Denison Facebook page, updated with study tours, speaking engagements, and book news. You can also follow me on Twitter.
  • We will soon launch our Discipleship Resource Center—it contains all my sermons, Bible studies, commentaries, and other writings, in a searchable format. We’ll let you know when it is available.

We have rebranded the daily devotional as well. It contains the same content as always, dealing with today’s news in spiritual perspective. But we will call it the Cultural Commentary rather than GodIssues, so people who would not open an email with a religious title might read the essay. With this name, we’re hoping you’ll be able to forward the essay to your non-churched friends and invite them to join the conversation.

Please pray for us as we continue to connect faith and culture by engaging contemporary issues with biblical truth. I hope you’ll read the Cultural Commentary, forward it to your friends, visit us at our new website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

God bless you and yours.

Jim

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29
Jul

The flu, cellphone cancer, and radical Islam

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison

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A nurse prepares a flu vaccine shot at a hospital in Budapest in a file photo.

A nurse prepares a flu vaccine shot at a hospital in Budapest in a file photo. (Credit: Reuters/Karoly Arvai)

There’s good news and frightening news in today’s headlines.  Let’s start with the good.  First, a universal flu vaccine may be on the way.  Researchers in Britain and Switzerland have identified an antibody which neutralizes both main groups of influenza A viruses.  Since the flu kills 36,000 people every year in the United States, this is significant progress. Read the rest of this entry »

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28
Jul

The largest water cloud in the universe

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison

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Quasar Drenched in Water Vapor

Quasar Drenched in Water Vapor (Credit: NASA/ESA

We’ve been dealing with a difficult subject this week, so let’s change the tone today with this announcement: I have solved the drought problem plaguing much of our country.  We simply need to siphon water from a galaxy 12 billion light-years away, where the most massive cloud of water yet discovered in the universe resides.  According to today’s National Geographic website, the cloud would fill 140 trillion Earth oceans. Read the rest of this entry »

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27
Jul

Where was God in Norway?

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


A sign of love for Oslo is seen inside of a sea of flowers and lit candles placed in memory of those killed in Friday's bomb and shooting attack in front of Oslo Cathedral July 25, 2011

A sign of love for Oslo is seen inside of a sea of flowers and lit candles placed in memory of those killed in Friday's bomb and shooting attack in front of Oslo Cathedral July 25, 2011 (Credit: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay )

Where were the Norwegian police while Anders Breivik was shooting innocent civilians last Friday?  They have only one police helicopter; its crew were on holiday at the time of the attacks. Today their chief of staff states, “You always try to be better but I don’t see how we could have been faster.”

God is not limited to a single helicopter.  Where was he in Norway last Friday? Read the rest of this entry »

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26
Jul

Anders Breivik and the presence of God

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


Survivors and relatives of a shooting rampage on the Utoeya island mourn following a memorial service in the Oslo cathedral July 24, 2011. (Credit: REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)

Survivors and relatives of a shooting rampage mourn following a memorial service in the Oslo cathedral July 24, 2011. (Credit: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay)

As each day passes, we learn more about Anders Behring Breivik.  As you know, last Friday he killed 76 people in the bloodiest act of terrorism Norway has seen since World War II.  Before launching his attacks, he posted to his Facebook page a 1,516-page document which explains his motive.

His manifesto blames multiculturalism for the destruction of Western culture.  In it he states, “I do not hate Muslims at all… This does not mean that I will accept an Islamic presence in Europe.  Muslim individuals who are not assimilated 100% by 2020 will be deported as soon as we manage to seize power.” Read the rest of this entry »

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25
Jul

The NFL lockout, the debt ceiling, and my drill

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


The electric drill my grandfather bought for me

The electric drill my grandfather bought for me

The NFL lockout has been called “millionaires deciding how to share billions.”  Since the NFL makes $9 billion a year and the average player salary is $1.8 million, it’s been hard to generate sympathy for either side.  The collective bargaining agreement expired on March 11.  The players filed a lawsuit against the owners, who locked out the players from their facilities.  Owners want to limit salaries; players want more money. Read the rest of this entry »

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22
Jul

Swimming with the sharks

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


Carribbean reef shark

Carribbean reef shark (Courtesy of user Albert Kok at en.wikipedia.org)

As you read this article, Diana Nyad may be swimming from Cuba to Key West, Florida.  She’s been waiting on water temperatures to warm up; now that they have, nothing stands in her way.  Nothing, that is, except 103 miles, countless stinging jellyfish, and sea salt which will swell her tongue and rub her skin raw. Read the rest of this entry »

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21
Jul

Mount Everest, the Dead Sea, and robots

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


Mount Everest from Kala Patthar in Nepal

A view of Mount Everest from Kala Patthar in Nepal (Courtesy of Pavel Novak at en.wikipedia.org)

Mount Everest may be shrinking.  According to Nepal, on whose border it stands, it is 8,848 meters tall. According to China, which shares that border with the mountain, it is 8,844 meters tall.  To solve the controversy, Nepal plans to re-measure the world’s tallest peak.  The process will require GSM satellites and reference points on the mountain and take two years to complete.

Here’s my question: So what?  The mountain is what it is and probably doesn’t care what height we assign it.  Climbers still want to get to the summit, whether it is 12 feet taller or shorter than someone’s government says it is. Read the rest of this entry »

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20
Jul

Forgiving a death row killer

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


Rais Bhuyian, the man Mark Stroman tried to kill (Credit: Reuters)

Rais Bhuyian, the man Mark Stroman tried to kill (Credit: Reuters)

Mark Stroman has watched 208 people walk past him to be executed.  Today it’s his turn.  Unless the Texas governor issues a stay, he will be put to death by lethal injection at 6:00 tonight.  What makes his case unique is the fact that a man he tried to kill is working to stop his death.

Stroman’s sister died on September 11, 2001 in the World Trade Center, and Stroman was angry at all Muslims.  In the days after 9/11 he shot dead an Indian immigrant and a man from Pakistan.  He also shot Rais Bhuyian in the face as the Muslim worked behind a gas station cash register.  The Bangladeshi-born naturalized U.S. citizen played dead until Stroman left his store.  Several operations saved his life, but he lost the use of his right eye and still carries shotgun pellets in his face. Read the rest of this entry »

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19
Jul

Homosexuality and transformation

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


Composition Of Man Praying To Jesus

Credit: Vibe Images

Following the media firestorm created by coverage of Michele and Marcus Bachmann’s counseling practice, we’ve been exploring biblical answers to the question of homosexuality.  To summarize our discussion of this difficult subject: The Scriptures consistently describe homosexual behavior as wrong.  This fact does not classify homosexuality as the unpardonable sin.  We must therefore attempt the difficult task of loving homosexuals without condoning homosexual acts.  How do we do this? Read the rest of this entry »

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