The Denison Forum exists to thoughtfully engage the issues of the day with biblical truth. This is your go-to resource to help you discern the news differently.
America has lost its moral compass while a great spiritual revolution is sweeping other nations of the world. More people are turning to Christ today than at any time in history – more than 82,000 a day, according to recent surveys. However, only 6,000 are in Western Europe and North America, combined. At the same time that faith is increasing dramatically in developing nations, research shows that our culture is experiencing a spiritual crisis. Many don’t know or accept traditional religious answers to the challenges of our day. A recent survey asked Americans what one problem they would fix if they could. Not surprisingly, the leading answer was restoring economic stability to the nation. But tied for first place was restoring morality to our society. How can we rebuild the moral foundations upon which our democracy depends and help people join the global spiritual awakening? Dr. Jim Denison launched the Denison Forum in February 2009 to respond and to equip believers to engage the news and the culture from a biblical perspective. As a catalyst for moral and spiritual renewal, we are joining God in building a global movement of culture-changing Christians. We send out daily emails responding to today’s news from a biblical perspective. Signing up for Jim Denison’s Daily Article will help you understand and have God’s heart for the culture.
Mission: The Denison Forum exists to thoughtfully engage the issues of the day with biblical truth. Whether it’s through Jim Denison’s Daily Article, other website articles, or social media postings, this is your go-to resource to help you discern the news differently.
I grew up in Houston, Texas, where flooded streets are a way of life. Because the land is so flat, water after hurricanes or storms has nowhere to go but the city's bayou system. When they flood, everything floods.
But yesterday was the first day I can remember when the city was flooded with no major storms in sight. The problem wasn't above the ground but below it.
A ninety-six-inch water main provides as much as 50 percent of the city's water. It is thirty-five years old. Private contractors were working on it when it burst.
The break sent water flowing nearly two miles away. Freeways, streets, and even cars were submerged in east Houston. People had to sit on the roofs of their cars awaiting rescue. The sheriff's department marine unit had to assist.
Workers had to wait six to eight hours for the water main to drain before they could repair it. City residents have been under an order to boil water for twenty-four hours. Restaurants with no water pressure had to close immediately. (For more, see the CNN article: https://cnn.it/2voi54z.)
I don't know how long it took to break the water main, but I do know that it will take far longer to repair the damage. And I know that the mistake is affecting far more people than the person who made it.
Here we find an important life principle: we should consider the future before making decisions in the present.
The tempter likes to claim that no one will know or be hurt by the sin we're considering. But this is just one way he is "a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44).
Pharaoh's "hardened heart" devastated his entire nation. Hitler's maniacal hatred of the Jewish people led to the Holocaust. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the "principal architect of the 9/11 attacks" according to the 9/11 Commission Report, created a strategy that devastated our nation.
The converse is true as well. Joseph chose enduring character over present temptation, a decision that led to prison but then positioned him to be used by God to save his people. Daniel chose to pray to God rather than to the king, a commitment that led to the lions' den but then to God's greater glory. Paul chose to follow God's Macedonian call, a commitment that led to prison in Philippi but also to the extension of the kingdom across the Empire.
The next time you are presented with a temptation or an opportunity, ask what the future would say to the present. If you do what you're considering, will your self in five years thank you or grieve for you?
And know that your Father will lead you if you'll let him. Ravi Zacharias: "There is no greater discovery than seeing God as the author of your destiny."
Who is the "author of your destiny" today?
—Dr. Jim Denison
Reports of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, are plastered across media platforms. Everywhere we turn, we see and hear concerns and warnings regarding the respiratory illness it can cause, COVID-19.
How should we prepare? What do we need to know about the virus? Are we stocked up on the pharmaceuticals we regularly consume? How dangerous is the coronavirus to our health?
The internet is laden with tips to prepare for potential contact with the sickness. Infectious disease specialists now say that it’s not if, but when the virus begins circulating in the United States. The New York Times has created a newsletter dedicated entirely to daily reports surrounding the progression of the virus.
For the first time since the coronavirus outbreak, a greater number of new cases are being reported outside of China than within. Conspiracy theories are surfacing like wildfire. Just this week, a report of an infection in California—without link to foreign travel—raises possible confirmation that we already have undetected viral circulation, or community transmission, within the United States.
And despite our wildly equipped force of scientists, infectious disease specialists, and stout political authority, we remain generally mystified by the infection. There is still great uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus. Elements such as the virus’ incubation period, transmissibility, and mortality have yet to be fully determined.
These points of attention are both valid and critical next steps in the days to come. But the coronavirus very clearly reveals that we are not in control.
As fear of the coronavirus abounds, where is your trust?
Read more in this contributor article by Claire Avidon.
denisonforum.org Reports of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, are plastered across media platforms. Everywhere we turn, we see and hear concerns and warnings regarding the respiratory illness it can cause, COVID-19. How should we prepare? What do we need to know about the virus? Are we stocked up on the pharmaceu...
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A twenty-two-year-old just won the biggest jackpot in Quebec's history after buying a lottery ticket from the store where he works.
Gregory Mathieu is a bagger at the IGA Extra in Québec City, Canada. On Wednesday, he brought the lotto office the winning ticket. According to a lotto official, "There will be eight winners from the same family. He shared it with seven family members."
The lottery plans to hold a press conference today to introduce Mathieu and have his picture taken holding a giant check. Officials plan to give the winner advice: "If you like your job, you don't need to retire yet. And be careful what you post on social media."
That's good advice for us all. (For more, see the CNN article: https://cnn.it/2I6hd7v.)
Imagine how much your life would change if you won a $70 million lottery today. Now think of all the ways it would not.
The latter answers define you far more than the former.
If I won that much money, I would still be a husband, father, and grandfather. I would still want to do just what I'm now doing at our ministry. I would want to have the same friends.
Most significantly, I would still be a child of God saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9). And my eternal reward would depend not one iota on my net worth in this world.
Henri Nouwen: "You are not what you do, although you do a lot. You are not what you have collected in terms of friendships and connections, although you might have many. You are not the popularity that you have received. You are not the success of your work. You are not what people say about you, whether they speak well or whether they speak poorly about you. All these things that keep you quite busy, quite occupied, and often quite preoccupied are not telling you the truth about who you are.
"I am here to remind you in the name of God that you are the Beloved Daughters and Sons of God, and that God says to you, 'I have called you from all eternity and you are engraved from all eternity in the palms of my hands. You are mine. You belong to me, and I love you with an everlasting love.'"
What would not change if you won the lottery? Focus on those answers today. And thank the God who owns the entire universe that he owns you.
—Dr. Jim Denison
The stock market had its worst one-day point drop in history yesterday, falling nearly 1,200 points as worries about the coronavirus epidemic escalate. In light of the virus, companies are canceling business travel and corporate off-site events around the world and making plans for more employees to work remotely. Airlines say the epidemic could cost their industry as much as $100 billion.
The CDC has confirmed a coronavirus infection in a person in California who reportedly did not have relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient with COVID-19. This could be the first instance of community spread—the spread of an illness for which the source of the infection is unknown—in the US. It is also possible, however, that the patient was exposed to a returned traveler who was infected.
Churches are discussing ways to handle communion and worship service crowds in light of the virus and the flu. The US and Seoul have postponed joint military exercises as South Korea struggles to contain the virus. Hong Kong’s 800,000 students are studying online in the midst of a two-month school closure.
My first thoughts are for my wife, children, and grandchildren. You feel the same way about your family. Next I think about my colleagues and friends. If any of them becomes sick with the virus, an objective news story would become very personal, very quickly.
It is the same with any other disease or disaster we read about in the news.
denisonforum.org The stock market had its worst one-day point drop in history yesterday, falling nearly 1,200 points as worries about the coronavirus epidemic escalate. In light of the virus, companies are canceling business travel and corporate off-site events around the world and making plans for more employees to...
Clive Cussler was one of my favorite adventure writers.
His books about underwater explorer Dirk Pitt sold millions of copies and were made into popular movies. I read his novels with gratitude for their historical context and geopolitical intrigue.
In many ways, the author patterned his most famous character on himself. Cussler participated in dozens of searches for old ships, including one that found a steamship belonging to Cornelius Vanderbilt. Like Pitt, he was a collector of antique cars. He lived large and invited us to do the same.
His writing career almost didn't become a career, however.
He was working as an advertising copywriter in the 1960s (he helped coin the Ajax laundry detergent slogan, "It's stronger than dirt") while writing fiction on the side. He finished two manuscripts but had no literary agent.
So he created one out of thin air. He invented "The Charles Winthrop Agency," got a friend to design a logo for it, and sent an inquiry in its name to the William Morris Agency. The ruse worked—Cussler's book, Mediterranean Caper, was published in 1973.
He went on to write more than twenty Dirk Pitt novels as well as other adventure series and children's books. Cussler died Monday at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the age of eighty-eight. (For more, see the yahoo! article: https://yhoo.it/32v4PqW.)
You and I know of the Apostle Paul because of the New Testament books that he wrote and that were written about him.
We know of St. Augustine because of his autobiography and other brilliant works of theology.
Thomas Aquinas authored Summa Theologica, a masterful exposition of Christian theology that remains foundational to Catholic thinking today.
Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation with a document he nailed to the door of the Wittenberg church.
John Calvin's written systematic theology undergirds Reformed thinking more than four centuries later.
The martyred pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer speaks to us daily through The Cost of Discipleship and other writings.
Here's my point: writing leaves a legacy that lasts far beyond the writer.
This fact would have been far less relevant to most of us a generation ago than it is today. In our digital age, anyone with a smartphone can publish his or her writing to the world. As a result, Christians have an unprecedented opportunity to "make disciples of all nations" through social media and other platforms (Matthew 28:19).
Conversely, posts on Facebook and Twitter that do not honor our Lord can live far longer than the same words spoken into the air. Our witness is more enhanced—or undermined—through our digital presence than ever before.
Let's resolve today to be faithful and effective stewards of the words we write. Let's seek ways to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) in all we do. Let's look for opportunities to love our Lord and our neighbor by writing biblical wisdom with Christlike compassion.
And let's remember that, like Clive Cussler, what we write will outlive us.
This is the warning and the opportunity of our day.
—Dr. Jim Denison
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This year’s Super Bowl was one of the best games in years. The halftime show, by contrast, was one of the most shocking. My wife and I were appalled at the sexual nature of the performance, agreeing that if our grandchildren had been with us, we would have been forced to change the channel.
It turns out, we were not alone. The Federal Communications Commission has received 1,312 complaints from viewers concerned about the show. Some parents felt their children were exposed to a “porno show.” Others thought the show encouraged sex trafficking or was a major setback for the Me Too movement.
At least there is a way for viewers to do something about abhorrent television content. That seems to be less the case for the other big story in today’s news.
The number of new coronavirus cases in China is dropping. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the virus is spreading rapidly elsewhere.
This morning, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked all of Japan’s schools to close for a month to help contain the spread of the virus. Federal health officials are preparing for a potential pandemic in the US. President Trump has appointed Vice President Pence to head up the American response to the virus. A US soldier in South Korea has tested positive for the virus, which has spread to every continent except Antarctica.
What can we do to prepare?
denisonforum.org This year’s Super Bowl was one of the best games in years. The halftime show, by contrast, was one of the most shocking. My wife and I were appalled at the sexual nature of the performance, agreeing that if our grandchildren had been with us, we would have been forced to change the channel. It…
Like most lifelong Baptists, I grew up with no understanding of Lent. I saw Ash Wednesday on my calendar but didn't know why. "Marti Gras" made the news and was anything but religious.
For liturgically challenged people like me, let's begin with some facts.
"Lent" comes from the old Anglo-Saxon or Teutonic word "Lencten," which simply means "spring." By the end of the second century AD, it designated a period of spiritual preparation for Easter. The season begins on Ash Wednesday (February 26 this year), always the seventh Wednesday before Easter Sunday. Ashes are placed on worshippers' foreheads as symbols of humility and gratitude for Jesus' death.
The three days before Ash Wednesday are known historically as Shrovetide, from the Old English word for "repent." These days were originally used as spiritual preparation for Lent and closed with a Tuesday feast before the fast which began on Ash Wednesday. That Tuesday was sometimes called "Fat Tuesday" ("Marti Gras" in French). The ancient Christians who first observed the day would scarcely recognize it today.
The first observers of Lent fasted for a day, or a few days, or forty hours. The Council of Nicea (AD 325) designated Lent as forty days, with only one daily meal permitted and meat, fish, eggs, and milk products forbidden. By the fifteenth century, these food restrictions were dropped in the Western Church (they are still upheld in the Eastern Church today), and only breakfast was forbidden. In 1966, the Roman Catholic Church restricted the obligation of fasting to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
How can Lent help you prepare for Easter?
As you follow Christ to his cross and resurrection, be public with your faith. If you don't wear ash on your forehead, what will you do to tell others you worship the risen Christ?
Be penitent, remembering Jesus' crucified sacrifice for you with humble gratitude.
And be sacrificial. Skip a meal and spend the time in prayer. Fast from television for Bible study, or from your cell phone for solitude with God.
The cross cost Jesus everything—what will it cost you this year?
Learning from Lent can make Easter far more memorable. May its lessons draw us all closer to our crucified, risen Lord.
—Dr. Jim Denison
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Higher Living Christian Center is an exciting, new ministry in Dallas, Texas, that endeavors to embody and exemplify the life and love of Christ!
Our purpose is to help build strong transformational churches within the African American community by equipping, encouraging, & empowering them in Christ.
Transforming our world with God's Word... One life at a time.
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