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July 23, 2012Culture

Morning Roundup - July 23, 2012

Todd Rhodes points out the sobering reality about public opinion polls-- the church has a lower approval rating than the President.

President's Approval Rating: 46%; The Church's Approval Rating: 44% -- Todd Rhodes

Yes... more people approve of the president's job performance than the church's. According to Rasmussen's daily poll, 46% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the president's job performance.

According to Gallup, only 44% of Americans have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the church or organized religion. OK... I realize these are two different polls, each tracking different things with different groups... but the point still remains...

THE CHURCH HAS A MAJOR PR PROBLEM

Of only 44% of people have confidence in church or organized religion as a whole, that means that 56% do not.

In addition, you might think of it this way: most church goers don't approve of the President's policies. However, most Americans don't have a favorable opinion of the church. An interesting conundrum.

Brett Eastman provides a helpful admonition that you CAN lead a small group.

Why leading a small group is not impossible with an extraordinary God -- Brett Eastman

Over the past year, our church, Saddleback, saw an incredible outpouring of God's Spirit. Thousands of people were connected under the care of a shepherd. More than 400 small groups were launched in a 13-week period. Yet 50 percent of our church family still needs the care of a shepherd.

Maybe your church needs shepherds, too. God may be calling you to care for a circle of friends and help them fulfill God's dream for their lives. When you touch the lives of others through an authentic relationship, you're fulfilling Christ's dream: that a shepherd would care for each of his sheep.

God's not asking you to go to China for the rest of your life; he's asking you to shepherd a group of friends for a few weeks. Small group leaders are people like you--burdened by busyness, unschooled in theology and the Bible, uncomfortable in the spotlight, and fearful of leading. You don't have to be a spiritual giant, a Bible scholar, or even a great orator. All you need is a willing heart.

Scripture teaches that the Father looks across the earth and seeks those whose hearts are fully his. Ultimately, ordinary people are used by an extraordinary God to make difference for his purpose. Perhaps you are this ordinary person called to shepherd a few. As the acrostic HEART explains, to be a shepherd, all you need is a shepherd's heart.

Hands.

Experience.

Availability.

Reluctant.

Teachable.

In an important move, Evangelicalism's "Harvard" joins forces with a Catholic university to oppose a part of the new health care law. Regardless of whether you think new law is good or bad, I encourage you to stand up for the religious liberties of people on this issue.

Wheaton College, Catholic University Jointly Sue Over Birth Control Mandate -- Christian Post

Wheaton College, an evangelical institution, joined forces Wednesday with Catholic University of America to sue the government for requiring that it provide health insurance coverage for some abortifacient drugs to its employees and students.

Wheaton's main reason for filing suit, Dr. Philip Ryken, president of Wheaton College, explained in a Wednesday conference call with reporters, is that the pro-life institution opposes the use of abortifacient drugs and would be forced to violate its religious beliefs.

"This insurance mandate is against our conscience and against our Christian convictions. We have no recourse now but to file suit," Ryken said.

Ryken added that Wheaton and Catholic University also wanted to demonstrate cross-denominational solidarity on the issue of religious freedom.

I am encouraged that Amazon has a new plan to speed up shipping-- sending things before I actually order them!

Amazon Yesterday Shipping -- Amazon

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Morning Roundup - July 23, 2012