Today's Word for Pastors...
This is what the LORD says-- your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.
Today's Preaching Insight...
In the church where my family attends, we've recently been enjoying a sermon series from the book of Daniel entitled "How to Live in Exile." In the series, senior pastor Mike Glenn notes that we live in a culture which no longer understands or accepts a Christian worldview. In a recent daily devotional linked to the series, he wrote about Daniel 1:7: "Whenever we read Bible stories we can't help but notice an important event that happens over and over again. People who have had a significant experience with God that transformed their life, more times than not they ended up with a name change. When Abram was called to leave his family and become the father of a great nation, his name was changed from Abram to Abraham. When Jacob wrestled with the angel and is blessed at the end of the battle, that blessing is signified in the change of his name from Jacob to Israel. When Simon confesses Christ on the mountain in Caesarea Philippi, his name is changed from Simon to Peter...
That is why it is significant that one of the first things that happens when Daniel and his friends are taken into exile in Babylon is that their names change. Each one of their original names has a significant connection to God. Daniel means "God judges. " But when Daniel and his friends are renamed, all the references to God are lost.
It should be interesting for us as believers to pay attention to how the world would name you. To those who would see you as the end product of evolution, you are simply the next step in the process -- a conglomeration of proteins and water and carbon. To Madison Avenue we are consumers, targets to be separated from our money. To politicians we are voter groups who have significant key issues or points of interest, or agendas.
That's why it is so significant for us to remember who we are in Jesus Christ. We are, indeed, rejected by the world but chosen and precious by Jesus (I Pet. 2:4). We must understand who we are because what we do comes directly out of who we believe ourselves to be. If you believe your life is not worth anything, then you will make choices that reflect that lack of value. If you believe that you are created in the image of God and are called according to His purposes, then your behavior will reflect that basic belief.
Many of us complain about living in a world where we are called numbers. It is more than just a rude way to be addressed by corporations. It is a basic loss of our humanity. The Gospel is good news because it restores our broken relationship to God, and in doing so restores our humanity. Today as you pray, confirm within you the name that He and He alone has given you, and that you will live in the freedom of knowing who you are. Then you simply won't respond to a world that calls you by a wrong name."
Michael Duduit, Editor
After the Enron scandal a number of schools began to talk about ethics and values, however, this year has made the ubiquity of cheating a hot topic for educators. Duke University expelled 9 MBA students and gave out lesser punishments to 37 others in one of the largest cheating scandals in the country. The US Air Force Academy expelled 18 students for cheating. Ohio University has reported "rampant and flagrant" plagiarism by graduate students in engineering.
Even administrators have been caught cheating. The most prominent was the resignation of a dean of admissions at MIT whose resume contained fabrications -- when she was first hired some 30 years ago. A Rutgers study of 32 universities showed 56% of MBA students admitting cheating; followed by 54% of grad students in engineering; and 45% in law. The undergraduates at those schools were even worse, with 74% of business students and 68% of students in other fields admitting to some form of cheating. Combating cheating is not only difficult, it can also prove costly -- with the loss of tuition dollars, bad publicity, and often lawsuits to defend. (AP 5-19-07, via IvyJungle.org)