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Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

He was "Chuck." Held in Highest Regard.

I first met Chuck Colson in 2001 at a gathering for Prison Fellowship Ministry volunteers. My wife and I had provided some teaching on biblical worldview at a state correctional facility through PFM, and we were invited to attend the luncheon. I soon discovered there was no “distance” with Chuck Colson. There were no “airs” about him. Although he held 15 honorary doctoral degrees, he was never “Dr. Colson.” He was “Chuck.” Held in highest regard.

Out of that meeting came a relationship. We corresponded several times, and Chuck showed great interest in my work, much to my amazement. Once he wrote, “I pray the Lord will continue to open every door for Worldview Matters to get your message to the masses….the need for what you are doing is greater today then ever.” This kind of encouragement spurred me forward. I’m especially feeling his encouragement after his passing last week.

Chuck contributed the Foreword to a book I co-authored with Don Johnson, called, Making the Connections. It was written for school teachers on how to integrate biblical worldview with academic subjects. Writing Forewords to books was something Chuck’s board studiously guarded him against. But somehow Chuck did an “end run” for this.

In 2008, I enrolled in his Centurions Program, and my relationship with Chuck strengthened. One day, at a Centurions residency, I asked Chuck if he would do a video interview to help me get word out about my work in the field of biblical worldview integration with labor. I knew I was asking for the moon. But to my astonishment, Chuck did this.

The morning after he received the Presidential Citizens Medal from George W. Bush in the Oval Office, the second highest honor an American president can bestow upon a civilian, Chuck made two videotapings to help with my work. I invite you to view these clips:

http://youtu.be/LhBpl4J1NEM

http://youtu.be/LWVf4xlbM1o

His final speech was given March 30. I urge you to listen to a recording of his remarks just prior to his inability to continue speaking. 

As I write, I’m feeling Chuck’s legacy in a very personal way. I can hear him saying, “Carry on, Christian,” as only an ex-Marine Captian can say it.

In the spirit of “carrying on,” I urge you to read and sign the Manhattan Declaration (here), and become a Centurion (here). I know Chuck would want me to ask.

Thank you, Chuck.


This photo was taken on November 17, 2001, the day Kathy and I first met Chuck Colson. With us is Randy Schulz, then Washington Alaska Field Director for Prison Fellowship Ministries, who introduced us.


With Chuck's daughter, Emily, who later wrote Dancing with Max,
a book about her autistic son, Chuck's grandson, Max.


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Friday, April 20, 2012

The Book that Made Your World

Vishal Mangalwadi and his wife, Ruth, are moving to Cambridge, England, where Mangalwadi will assume the John Harvard Lectureship in Christian Heritage, a post established by the Christian Heritage organization for the purpose of presenting the case that the modern world was "created by the West’s discovery of the Bible.”
   

What!?

Born and raised in India, Dr. Mangalwadi is intimately familiar with Hinduism, Buddhism, and the full array of worldviews shaping both Eastern and Western cultures. Christianity Today called him "India's foremost Christian intellectual." His thesis, that the Bible created the political liberties and modern science of the West, is presented in The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization.

Within the university community of Cambridge, Mangalwadi’s thesis will be put to the test. Literally! Beginning this Fall Semester, Dr. Mangalwadi plans to present lectures every Sunday evening that the University of Cambridge is in session. The lectures will be peer-reviewed before delivery, then filmed and uploaded to the Internet. A small group of international scholars will be invited to critically study Mangalwadi’s thesis for 12-18 months. Journeys will be made with cameras to Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Europe and America to investigate Mangalwadi’s thesis, as experts and critics discuss his thesis, along with their own research.

"The mission's objective," relates Mangalwadi, "is to move beyond giving a lecture and catching the flight to the next hall filled with admiring Christian audience[s]. The goal is to do what Paul did: stay in a city, preach the Good News, challenge its idols, reason with its philosophers, court the trouble of inviting skeptical and hostile aucience[s] to listen to all sides, ask difficult questions, look at the evidence, reject falsehood, and choose truth."

Mangalwadi is on a mission to re-awaken the West to its biblically-shaped soul before it is completely lost. He sees this issue from the perspective of an Easterner, whose personal engagement with oppression and corruption in India landed him in jail.

Mangalwadi’s commitment to scholarly credibility is indicative of the current trend of evangelicals toward involvement in mainstream academia. This is what Michael Lindsay found in his journey of discovery doing research for his Ph. D. in sociology at Princeton, documented by his Pulitzer-nominated book, Faith in the Halls of Power.

More about Lindsay's book next week.



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Friday, April 13, 2012

The Monday Church Project

The Church is people. Sometimes it gathers (as on Sunday morning), and sometimes it scatters (as on Monday morning). Connecting with Christ's purpose for Sunday morning can be challenging enough, but connecting with Christ's purpose for Monday morning can be like rock climbing with ropes. Help for reaching the rim on Sunday morning is readily available. But help for reaching the rim on Monday morning is less plentiful. Allow me to introduce you to The Monday Church Project, an on-line rope.

Not only can you develop a personalized "theology of business," or "theology of health care," using the free resources provided, but you can also make connections with other people who have similar types of work, by plugging into one of the Monday Church on-line communities.

The movers and shakers behind this project are my colleagues at Disciple Nations Alliance. President Scott Allen authored Beyond the Sacred-Secular Divide: A Call to Wholistic Life and Ministry, and Darrow Miller, co-founder, authored LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day. These books provide outstanding “gear” for the faith-at-work rock climb challenge.

As the Monday Church Project website puts it, in the words of Os Guinness, “God has His people where He wants them. The problem is that they are not being His people where they are.” This is a sober reality. But imagine what could happen if the People of the Vine put their faith to work in relevant, winsome and restorative ways while at work!

"For the church to faithfully fulfill this mission," the website continues, "it must envision, equip and empower each member of the body to function as agents of redemption and restoration in those places where they are called and deployed."

They quote Ken Meyers of Mars Hill Audio:

"Faithfulness to the Lord of all Creation is cultural faithfulness; it is faithfulness in every realm of human experience, from science to sports, from making movies to making babies, from how we build relationships to how we relate to buildings. Following Christ is a matter first of inner transformation, and then of living faithfully in accord with the order of Creation as he made and is redeeming it, in all of our cultural convictions and practices concerning a host of abstractions and concrete realities: food, sex, time, music, history, language, technology, family, justice, beauty, agriculture, and community.”

Take hold of the rope at http://www.mondaychurch.org/about.

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Friday, April 6, 2012

The Seattle Centurions Program Is Launching

Chuck Colson founded the "Centurions Program" to equip People of the Vine to “live out their faith authentically in the world.” I was privileged to participate in this program during its fifth year.

Chuck Colson’s vision has always been that commissioned Centurions would launch affiliate programs in regions where they live. I am pleased to announce the Seattle Centurions program is launching its first affiliate study program this June, in collaboration with Northwest University, and in cooperation with The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

Applications from qualified candidates are now being accepted for the year-long program, and I urge each reader to consider this great opportunity. The Seattle program is especially pleased to have Northwest University as a partner, united in vision. The Seattle Centurions will use the facilities and shared resources of the University’s campus in Kirkland, Washington.

Dr. Joseph Castleberry, president of Northwest University, stated: “The Centurions Program, in our view, is consistent with our mission of ‘carrying the call of God by building a learning community dedicated to spiritual vitality, academic excellence, and empowered engagement with human need.’  To this end, we see the University as not just the physical campus but the community at large. Our hoped-for affiliation with Seattle Centurions is one important way for the University to ‘carry the call of God’ to the community, while in turn drawing the community to the opportunities for enrichment offered by the University.”

Participants in the Seattle Centurions program will be exposed to a curriculum of important books and films, with access to a national online discussion forum of Centurions in other regions. The program will include special speakers at two weekend residencies at Northwest University, along with teleconferences by national leaders. 

Commissioned Centurions will participate in a self-directed, three-year, post-program discipleship project within their sphere of influence. Centurions will have the opportunity to network with an increasing number of fellow Centurions and leaders throughout the world.

The Seattle program is one of five affiliate programs in the U.S. organized by commissioned Centurions. Other programs are in Michigan, New England, Pittsburgh, and Colorado.

For a brief word from T. M. Moore, Dean of the national Centurions program, click here. For a testimonial from Centurion Nancy Schulze, click here.

If you live in the Northwest, I hope to see you in the Seattle program! 


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