Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thursday Tidbits

I love our mens' class on Wednesday night. It's great to hear men -- young and old(er) share their struggles, dreams and convictions. The sincerity of these guys is so obvious. It really does make for a lift each week.


I plan to attempt to attend Byron Nelson's funeral tomorrow. I won't be surprised if I get there and can't get in. The auditorium holds 2200, and the remote feed to the gym holds another 1900. I wonder where everyone will park?

For an excellent article about Byron, go to and read what Grant Boone (a member of the Church of Christ) wrote. It will give you goosebumps.


Every Thursday morning, I go to Governor's Ridge, a retirement center here in Decatur. I get to spend 45 minutes or so with some of the sweetest people ever. All ladies, except for Bill Dwyer. What an incredible man! He was a highly decorated soldier in WW2, and is such a kind man. It is a real treat to go out there.


Our daughter-in-law, Kayci, is doing well. Said the baby is the size of a raisin. By next week will be the size of a strawberry. Josh is already claiming that the baby looks like him.

When Kayci was talking to our granddaughter, Malaya (my daughter's 6 year old), she asked what Malaya wanted. Malaya said, “I hope it's a girl. I'm tired of these stinkin’ boys!”


So, T. O. won't be a distraction for the Cowboys? Sure.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ode to Byron Nelson

The world lost one of its really special people yesterday with the passing of Byron Nelson. I wrote a little bit about him back in May before his Dallas tournament, but want to reflect on his legacy again.

There are a handful of sports records that may never be broken. One could make a good argument for Nolan Ryan's 7 no-hitters, and maybe his career strikeouts. My guess is Joe Dimaggio's 56-game hitting streak is pretty safe. Wilt Chamberlain's 100 points in one game used to seem untouchable -- until Kobe ("Never Seen a Shot I Want Take") Bryant came along. But still, he is 30 points away in his best game. Maybe Jerry Rice's career touchdowns?

One record that I can't see ever being broken is Byron's 11 straight PGA wins in 1945. Tiger got to 5 this year, and that was unbelievable! But he wasn't even half way. Interesting, Byron lost in the 12th tournament, and then went on another streak. He went on to win 18 tournaments that year!

But his greatest achievement is the way in which his life was lived. Everyone who knew him knew what his #1 priority in life was -- to go to heaven. He was a man who lived a life of faith without being obnoxious about it. I have never heard or read one negative word about him. He has been adored be men from Arnold Palmer to Ben Crenshaw to Tiger Woods.

In Churches of Christ, we have had some wonderful celebrities to represent us: Sonny James, Loretta Lynn, Sen. John Cornyn, Randy Travis, Gene Stallings, David Robinson. But Byron Nelson has truly been a great ambassador. And more importantly, he has been an ambassador for Christ.

May the Lord raise up more like Byron Nelson. And I congratulate him for obtaining his goal. He's now at home with the Lord.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Heading to East Texas

Beverly's dad is back in the hospital as of yesterday. So, I will be going down to Crockett today to check on him.

Also I will be trading Beverly's Honda Odyssey in for a Honda Civic. We have decided to downsize our cars and direct the savings to our retirement fund. The Odyssey is Beverly's favorite car she has ever had. So she is a little sad this morning. But I think she will look so stylin' in her Civic.

Here's the interesting part: I had wanted to get a Honda Fit. But my salesman friend from Lufkin, Texas said there is not one in the 5-state area. He has another Civic on the lot. It's a LE, which is the middle package. But it's the same color as the one I am getting for Beverly, which is an XE. So, we might be driving the same model and color car. What do you think? Is that too weird, or is it kind of romantic?

I am now on the Board of Directors for W.A.R.M. (Wise Area Relief Mission). It is a great service to our community. I spent several hours yesterday learning more about it, and am so impressed. So I will probably be telling you more about WARM over the coming months and years.

Please offer up a prayer today for Beverly's dad.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday Musings

OK, I feel like I owe everyone an apology. Last week, I wrote about "24". At one point I even said that, while violent, there wasn't sex, etc. Well, remember: Beverly and I had started on season number four. And that was true of that particular season. So, this weekend -- we began season 1. Oops. It is full of homosexuality -- both men and women, as well as other pretty blatant sexual scenes. Sorry if I misled anybody.


While speaking of apologies, I think the American Ryder Cup team owes us an apology (jk). The Europeans gave them an old-fashioned whuppin'. I must give them credit, however. They played incredibly well. And I was also impressed with how gracious they were in their victory. I even found myself rooting for Darren Clarke and Colin Montgomery. The only guy who sours me toward the Europeans is Sergio Garcia. Someone needs to wipe that smirky attitude off his face. But there is only one way to do it -- and that's to beat him.


New week. Cool weather. Let's make the most of each day. And let's make sure to be God's instrument -- the hands and feet of Jesus.

Friday, September 22, 2006

What's On Your TV?

A couple of weeks ago when Beverly was out of town for the weekend on the Decatur Church's ladies retreat, I went to Blockbuster and rented a DVD of the 4th season of "24". I thought I was getting the 1st season. Anyway, I had read somewhere how good a show it was, so I decided to give it a shot. Well, I got hooked. Then Beverly came home, and I said, "You've got to watch this." Then she got hooked. When she finished the 1st DVD, she said, "Go get the other one!" I said, "We'll be up 'til 2 AM watching it." So, we waited.

Last night, we finished season 4. Now we want to go back and see the other seasons. However, Beverly said, "Let's wait a while. I've got to get some rest!" In case you weren't aware, she is pretty hyper. And shows like that make her even more so.

It's funny. We have DISH, and yet we seldom watch TV. There are few series we watch each week. We like Monk and Psych (USA), but they have real short seasons that begin in September, January and May. So, there is a lot of in between seasons with them. And we kind of watch American Idol, while we multitask. I usually do some reading while it's on. My favorite episodes are the early-in-the-season shows where they show the really bad singers.

It seems that we don't get onto a series until it's on reruns on TNT or USA. For instance, one night when she was working late, I decided to try "Without a Trace" (on TNT reruns). Wow! It was good, too.

I hear a lot about certain shows, but I've never seen them. We have a group from church who get together each week to watch "Lost." But I haven't got a clue about that show.

So, what's worth watching on the tube these days?


The Ryder Cup began this morning. The Europeans are trying to give the US more incentive to win. Maybe you heard about the Irish tabloids publishing indecent pictures of Tiger Woods' wife (computer generated). He is furious -- threatening to sue. Then there is Sergio Garcia mouthing about how he is not intimidated by Tiger. Interesting. Every time he is paired with Tiger, he goes into meltdown.

The tradition since the inception of the Ryder Cup is that each team takes a group picture before the matches begin -- holding the cup. Yesterday, the Europeans did not provide the cup for the Americans to hold in their group picture. A little gamesmanship. I just hope our guys respond. They've been pretty embarrassed the last few times.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Does God Want You To Be Rich?

I found this on Mike Cope's blog. It is fairly lengthy, but I would encourage you to take a moment to read it. Blessings to you today.


I hope you got a chance to read the excellent, balanced cover story in Time Magazine entitled “Does God Want You to Be Rich?” The cover description says: “Yes, say some megachurches. Others call it heresy. The debate over the new gospel of wealth.”
Seriously — how did the Evangelical church get here?
The basic movement of the gospel is clear (Phil. 2:5ff): self-denial and self-sacrifice rather than self-fulfillment. We follow one who had no place to lay his head, who warned us that life does not consist in the abundance of things, who told a wealthy man to sell all and give to the poor, who insisted that we cannot have two masters (God and $$). Followers of Christ in other cultures have often lost all as a result of their faithfulness to him.
But walk into Christian bookstores and there is a different gospel. The gospel of Joel Osteen.
And does it sell! Your Best Life Now has sold over 4 million copies. It finds a welcome audience in the consumerism of America.
The authors of the article write:
“What remains is a materialism framed in a kind of Tony Robbins positivism. No one exemplifies this better than Osteen, who ran his father’s television-production department until John died in 1999. ‘Joel has learned from his dad, but he has toned it back and tapped into basic, everday folks’ ways of talking,’ says Ben Phillips, a theology professor at the Soutwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. That language is reflected in Your Best Life Now, an extraordinarily accessible exhortation to this-world empowerment through God. ‘To live your best life now,’ it opens, to see ‘your business taking off. See your marriage restored. See your family prospering. See your dreams come to pass . . .’ you must ’start looking through the eyes of faith.’ Jesus is front and center but not his Crucifixion, Resurrection or Atonement.”
Does that tell us something?
The book is full of “illustrations of how the Prosperity doctrine has produced personal gain, most memorably, perhaps, for the Osteen family: how Victoria’s ’speaking words of faith and victory’ eventually brought the couple their dream house; how Joel discerned God’s favor in being bumped from economy to business class.”
Insightfully, the authors go on to talk about the basic for criticism of this Prosperity Lite movement: “Most unnerving for Osteen’s critics is the suspicion that they are fighting not just one idiosyncratic misreading of the gospel but something more daunting: the latest lurch in Protestantism’s ongoing descent into full-blown American materialism.”
Rick Warren, who by his words and life is becoming an incredible leader in the worldwide church, said: “This idea that God wants everybody to be wealthy? Baloney. It’s creating a false idol. You don’t measure your self-worthy by your net worth.”
Ron Sider, author of Rich Christians in a Hungry World: “They have neglected the texts about the danger of riches. Prosperity Gospel Lite is one of the most powerful forms of neglect of the poor.”
And Ben Witherington, an incredible Evangelical New Testament scholar at Asbury Seminary: “We need to renounce the false gospel of wealth and health — it is a disease of our American culture: it is not a solution or answer to life’s problems.”
The “internet monk” (Michael Spencer) has written:
“He’s being sold to us by people who want to make money off his success, and they are counting on us to be sheep, ‘baaing’ quietly, but going along to the slaughter. Any analysis of Joel Osteen’s theology is going to have a hard time saying he is proclaiming the Christian message. The most popular preacher in Christianity is proclaiming a theology that is neither Christian, nor Jewish, nor Muslim, but is pragmatically pagan. Pagan in the sense of finding ways to gain the favor of god so he will do good things for you. Manipulating the deity to give you blessings. This is the ultimate example of Luther’s ‘theology of glory’ chosen over the ‘theology of the cross.’ I would rather a non-Christian hear John Shelby Spong a hundred times than hear this. Spong denies it all- outright. Osteen is presented as a Christian, but his message isn’t going to bring you to Christ, the Kingdom or heaven. It’s spiritual cyanide disguised as candy. If there is a hell, Osteen’s message won’t stop you or the people you love from going there, because the savior in his messages is YOU and the salvation he offers is a NEW ATTITUDE, and some resulting real estate. The question becomes, will evangelicals do anything? Will they say anything? Will they register their objections to Osteen’s reshaping of the Reformation gospel into a positive thinking message that makes Robert Schuller look like John Calvin in comparison?”
Yesterday I listened to Dan McVey talk about the advancement of Islam in North America. It is the fastest-growing religion in North America. (On a global scale, protestant Christianity is by far the fastest growing religion, however. It outpaces Islam in growth by 3-1, I believe Dan said.) In this culture of ease and consumerism, Islam offers a faith of discipline and serious devotion. Of course, Christianity does too (along with a framework of grace and a God who has come near in Christ) — just not in the versions that have become so popular in “Christian” bookstores.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Back From ACU

Just returned yesterday from the ACU lectures. We intended to stay for more of them, but got a call Monday night that Beverly's dad would have a procedure on Tuesday that was very serious. So, we left early Tuesday to try to get her back to Tyler. But about halfway home, we got a call that all had gone well. So, Beverly dropped me off in Decatur and she headed on to Tyler. Hopefully, she will come home today, and her dad will go home tomorrow. Thanks to all for your prayers.

It was nice having the lectures in September. I always love going back to Abilene and seeing some of my favorite people in the world.


I have a calendar called, "Amazing But True Golf Facts." Yesterday's was cool. It reads, "If you're looking for a good guy to root for on the PGA Tour, you couldn't do much better than Kenny Perry, who still lives in his hometown of Franklin, Kentucky. For years, he's taken every September off to coach the boys' and girls' golf teams at Simpson High School. His ball mark is a coin with an angel on it, and he never travels anywhere without his Bible."

This calendar is a secular one, so I found the comments interesting. Kenny Perry is a deacon in the Franklin Church of Christ. He donates 5% of his earnings to the David Lipscomb University golf team. Over the last few years, that would be in the neighborhood of $250,000-300,000 a year.

He was in the top ten in the world last year. Unfortunately, an off-season knee operation has reallly slowed him down this year.


Speaking of golf: Set your VCRs or TIVOs this week. RYDER CUP, baby! Friday through Sunday. I think I feel a three-day bug about to hit Friday morning.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Saturday Night Update

I appreciate so much the many calls and prayers on behalf of my father-in-law. As of Saturday night, he is doing better -- stable and improving. Please continue to keep Billie Jones in your prayers. Thank you so much!

Beverly plans to leave Tyler in the morning (Sunday) and be back in Decatur in time for Bible Class. Tomorrow afternoon, we will leave for Abilene. ACU has moved their lectures from February to September, and I will be teaching a class on Tuesday at 2 PM. I will be sharing my journey as an ACOA. I will also be presenting this information at church tomorrow morning. Please pray for me and for the hearts of those who are struggling with similar issues. I would love for the Lord to use this beyond just these two presentations.

Beverly and I plan on returning home Tuesday afternoon. I will blog again on Wednesday morning.


On a lighter note, I don't think any college team I wanted to win did on Saturday. Well, Texas did. But big deal. They were playing Rice.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Pray For Beverly's Dad

We received a call at about 7 this morning that Beverly's dad was being taken to the hospital. It seems that his blood pressure has dropped extremely low. He is in ICU. They called Beverly and told her she needs to come on down there.

Please be praying for Billie Jones today. He has been a tremendous influence in my life. He is perhaps the most honest man I have ever known. He is so ready to go to be with the Lord, and we selfishly want to hold on to him. Just pray that the Lord will do what is best. Thank you.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

State Fair Time

Thanks to those who prayed for me last night. I feel like things went well. It's always encouraging to me to share my story and see how many people are relating to it.

Someone last night asked me if I was scared to share such personal information about myself. But, you know, every time I have shared it, the people have been incredible. Sure, there may be someone who goes away thinking, "A preacher who is admitting to depression? Sounds crazy." (no pun intended). But you know -- it just doesn't matter to me any more. I want so much to help people, and God has given me this special avenue. So, I'm not real concerned about my reputation. If my story can help one person to break the shackles of depression, it has all been worth it.

Continue to keep me in your prayers.


I didn't know until this morning that Ann Richards had died. Agree with her politics or not, she was an interesting woman. Certainly had a lot of spunk.


The state fair opens soon. This has become an annual event for Beverly and Malaya and me. (We let David and Jenny come along, too.) I usually try whatever fried concoction is the "in" thing for that year. Last year's fried peanut butter and banana sandwich wasn't bad. Beverly has to have a corn dog and Malaya has to have cotton candy. Of course, a funnel cake and potato curl is a must to share as well.

Any favorites out there?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Please Pray for Me Tonight

For a couple of weeks, I have really been obsessed with getting my thoughts together for what I will be sharing at ACU Lectureship next Tuesday. Well, I finally got finished yesterday. I have been asked to share this same information tonight at the Saturn Road Church of Christ. I will be sharing about what it is like to be an ACOA (Adult Child of an Alcoholic). It is amazing how every time I talk on this subject, there will be a number of people who share similar struggles. I want to provide tools for people to be able to overcome.

Please pray that the Lord will use my words beyond simply tonight or ACU.


I hope you don't get tired of reading quotes from things I have read. It's just that some days, they hit me so powerfully that I feel compelled to share them. Here is more from Yancey:

He quotes Eugene O'Neill: "Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue."

Later, he observes: Strangely, God is closer to sinners than to "saints." (By saints I mean those people renowned for their piety -- true saints never lose sight of their sinfulness.) As one lecturer in spirituality explains it, "God in heaven holds each person by a string. When you sin, you cut the string. THen God ties it up agains, making a knot -- and thereby bringing you a little closer to him. Again and again your sins cut the string -- and with each further knot God keeps drawing you closer and closer."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Five Years Ago Today

Today is my oldest son, Josh's, birthday. Hard to believe he is 26. I am so proud of him. The degree he recently earned was quite an achievement. I feel like a dummy when we talk theology -- like a 1st grader talking with an expert. But not because of anything he does to make me feel that way. He is so humble -- about most things. Just kidding. He is a spiritually humble and compassionate man. Every Sunday morning, I can count on a phone call from him at about 8:30 to tell me that he is praying for his dad.

His 21st birthday was extra-special. It was the day after 9-11. Beverly and I were living in Forney at that time, and he and his girlfriend had come for a visit. Why they were there on September 12 (a Wednesday) when school was going on, I don't know. I'm sure that he never cut a class. But anyway, he and Kayci left for a while -- supposedly to go to a concert, if I remember right. A little while later, they came back to the house. Kayci had a ring! They were engaged! And we were so happy. So, last night when we were talking, Josh said, "Tomorrow is a special day for you and mom and me. For 26 years, I have brought joy into your life." I said, "Yes, most of the time. But especially 5 years ago -- when you brought Kayci Joy into our lives."

Happy Birthday, Buddy. You have given me so many good memories that I could never even begin to recount them here. I am really anticipating next May. That baby will be one lucky child.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9-11 Revisited

There are moments in time that are indelibly printed on my mind. I can remember where I was, and details about my surroundings. It's almost like I can project myself back into those moments.

I can still vividly remember where I was on November 22, 1963. I was in my 2nd grade classroom when the teacher announced that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. School was dismissed, but we didn't go home to play. There was a somberness that fell over all of us -- even us 7 year olds.

I can remember when Martin Luther King was shot. I remember vividly the picture of his associates on the balcony of his hotel room, surrounding his fallen body -- and pointing to where the shots had come from.

I remember hearing of Bobby Kennedy's assassination. It was late in the evening, since we lived in Lexington, Kentucky at that time. As a 6th-grader, I could not comprehend why all these good men were being killed.

I remember where I was when both of the shuttle disasters took place. And I remember being in Junior High as we sat on pins and needles hoping that Apollo 13 would make it home safely.

Five years ago today, I remember so clearly where I was. A group of us from the Mesquite Church of Christ went once a year for a two-day golf outing where we played a Ryder Cup format. This particular year we were playing at a course close to Tyler, so we didn't stay overnight. We had played on Monday -- and had a great time. On Tuesday morning at about 7:45, I stood in our driveway waiting for a couple of the guys for our ride to Tyler. There was a little bit of a fall feel in the air.

When my friends drove up, I opened the door to get in. They had the radio on. Frank (the driver) said, "An airplane has just hit one of the World Trade Center towers. We had no idea at that time what the implications were. We had all seen pictures of the plane that hit the Empire State Building way back (in the 30s or 40s), and we just assumed that must have been what happened.

By the time we got to Tyler and walked in the clubhouse, I will never forget the look on the faces of everyone who was there. There was a feeling of numbness and disbelief. We looked up at the TV, and saw the towers smoking. Not long after arriving, the 1st tower collapsed.

I stayed glued to the TV for hours. I kept wondering what could cause human beings to hate so much. I struggled with the injustice of it all. I wondered what our response as a nation would be. And I prayed.

I continue to pray to this day that Islam -- that false system of faith that is anything but peaceful -- will collapse (look at any place in the world historically that they occupy and tell me where "peace" defines them). I pray that it will collapse just as those twin towers did (figuratively). I don't pray for it to collapse under violence -- but that it will simply implode because it is built on a false, sick foundation.

And I pray that we will never forget that day 5 years ago. God forbid that it ever happen again.

Friday, September 08, 2006

5 Years Already?

Last night I watched "Flight 93." I don't know about you, but the events of 9-11 are still too fresh for me. Hard to believe that the 5th anniversary is coming up on Monday. Oh, how I hope that we never forget that day. And I pray for wisdom for our leaders to do what would most be within the will of God to assure that we never experience anything like that again.

As I watched, my fleshly reaction was that we need to round up anyone remotely associated with terrorism and shot them. Then I got to thinking that they are doing what they do from similar emotions. They want to extract revenge for wrongs (real or perceived) done to them. That hardly excuses their cowardly and unconscionable methods in any way. But eye-for-eye is probably not the best way of ending this war of cultures.

And then it hit me, as I sat with Philip Yancey's What's So Amazing About Grace? on my lap: Those terrorists are as deserving of God's grace as I was / am. All humanity is in the same condition -- lost and in need of the cleansing blood of Jesus.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Reflections from Wednesday

Beverly and I received exciting news yesterday. And since she has been shouting it from the rooftops (even wrote a blog -- her 3rd this week!), probably all of you know by now. But I still want to say it. Our third grandbaby is on the way! That's right! My favorite oldest son and my favorite oldest daughter-in-law are going to have a baby! Due date: May 5th. My thought right now is this: Bless Kayci's heart. She will be raising two kids (just kidding, favorite oldest son).

Our 1st men's class went really well last night. We are using Being God's Man in the Face of Temptation as a guide for our studies. The book identifies 8 temptations that men face, and shows how James addresses these 8 issues. The men last night really interacted well, and I was glad to see a number of grayer heads in there. I look forward to them sharing from their life experiences so that maybe others can learn from their successes and avoid their mistakes.

Speaking of grayer heads, Ray Foster told me something funny the other day. He said there are three stages in life: young, middle-aged and "You're looking good."

On a similar thought: On Thursday mornings, I go out to Governor's Ridge (an assisted care facility here in Decatur) and lead a Bible study. At about 9:45, I will tell Joy, our secretary, " I'm going to the nursing home." Jacob (the youth minister that I bragged about yesterday) will say, "I'll come visit you" -- or some other smart-aleck response. I'm gonna have to slap that boy.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Special People

I've just come from the hospital. Jerry Nicholas is having a series of stress tests today. Jerry has become one of my heroes. He is battling cancer, and has been dealing with the difficulty of chemo treatments for about a year. Sunday right after worship, it appears as if he might have had a heart attack. I have visited him several times since Sunday, and never heard a word of complaining. He and his wife, Anna, have dealt with blow after blow in the year and a half I have known them. Any one of the blows would have devastated many. But they just keep on going -- and enjoying life as it unfolds for them.

Back in May, while in the midst of chemo, etc. -- Jerry (who also has a prosthetic leg) played in our church golf tournament. He came within about an inch of a hole in one, thus obviously winning our closest-to-the-hole prize.

Pray for Jerry and Anna.

Last night, Beverly and I went to Jacob and Heather Baker's for supper. We had a wonderful meal with them. It is an incredible blessing to work with such a couple in ministy. When we left last night, Beverly said, "They are such an easy couple." And they are. I am thankful to be able to come to the office each day and share time with Jacob. Yesterday afternoon he and I went out and played golf. It was a wonderful day. The temperature was just right. The golf course was beautiful. And the company was ideal.

I count my blessings today to have such people as the Nicholases and Bakers in my life.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Just Stuff

Another week on the PGA tour, and another TIger win. I read that this year he is averaging $2,500 per shot! What a tough way to make a living. That sounds funny. The guy makes about $80 million a year!

Early prognosticators said this would be a violent hurricane season. So far, it has been a whimper -- thank the Lord. I realize we still have a while left in hurricane season. But let's hope the trend continues.

Yesterday was so nice here! It rained all day. Not heavy (we only got about an inch at my house). But is was steady from morning until evening. And the temperatures for the last few days have been incredible!

I was saddened to hear about Steve Irwin's death. I started watching "the crocodile hunter" when Jonathan was still home. At first I thought, "This guy is a nut!" But he really was a contagious personality. Jonathan was stung by a stingray on his foot when he and Jennifer were on their honeymoon. He got so sick that Jennifer thought she might be a widow after only a few days of marriage. But Irwin's sting was to his heart. So sad.

Question of the day: Will the Longhorns beat the Buckeyes on Saturday?

Friday, September 01, 2006

I Pledge Allegiance to What Kingdom?

As I have become obsessed with the idea that we Christians are a counterculture, I have become more aware of how much of the current Christian lingo is tied to politics. Some people today think one cannot be a Christian unless they are aligned with a particular American political party. Yet, I know people in both major political parties who walk with Jesus.

So, Yancey grabbed my attention with both hands yesterday. I assume you know how morally vile the Roman Empire of the 1st century was. Listen to Yancey:

"The apostle Paul had much to say about the immorality of individual church members but little to say about the immorality of pagan Rome. He rarely railed against the abuses in Rome -- slavery, idolatry, violent games, political oppression, greed -- even though such abuses surely offended Christians of that day as much as our deteriorating society offends Christians today."

He then mentions how Romans would give birth to full-term babies, and -- if undesired -- would leave them to die. He tells about the common practice of older men keeping young boys as sex slaves. Then he adds, "Jesus and Paul doubtless knew of these deplorable practices . . . Both concentrated not on the pagan kingdom around them but on the alternative kingdom of God."

"For this reason, I wonder about the enormous energy being devoted these days to restoring morality in the United States. Are we concentrating more on the kingdom of this world than on the kingdom that is not of this world? The public image of the evangelical church today is practically defined by an emphasis on two issues that Jesus did not even mention. How will we feel if historians of the future look back on the evangelical church of the 1990s and declare, "They fought bravely on the moral fronts of abortion and homosexual rights," while at the same time reporting that we did little to fulfill the Great Commission, and we did little to spread the aroma of grace in the world?"