OK, I admit it, I enjoy National Public Radio (NPR) and I’ve listened to it for decades. I’ve listened to it for so long that I know who Bob Simon is and what happened to him. I’ll just stand here for a minute so my conservative friends can lob their rotten tomatoes …

Feel better? Good, now let me tell you why NPR scratches my information-junkie-itch and what I’ve found to replace it.

NPR does a lot of things very well. From Morning Edition to All Things Considered, Car Talk to The People’s Pharmacy and This American Life, among others, NPR succeeds with its breadth of topics, in depth reporting, and its literate reporting staff. But more than anything else I appreciate its tone. Unlike its commercial, conservative competitors, it isn’t bombastic, crude, repetitive, personality-driven or sensationalism, but rational, reasonable, and somewhat understated. The problem, and it is a deep one, is that you can’t listen to NPR without noticing its Darwinian, post-modern, secular-humanist point of view. (Did I leave any out?). I am increasingly sickened by its total commitment to the politically correct party line and pretty much anything contrary to the biblical world view. It’s reporting on the Planned Parenthood videos sounds like public relations work by the priestesses of this modern Molech. As Juan Williams said in 2010, when he was unceremoniously fired from NPR for mentioning his reasonable fear of Muslims on airplanes, “To say the least this is a chilling assault on free speech. The critical importance of honest journalism and a free flowing, respectful national conversation needs to be had in our country. But it is being buried as collateral damage in a war whose battles include political correctness and ideological orthodoxy.”

Enter WORLD RADIO and its daily program, The World and Everything In It, a thirty-minute daily broadcast available to download on your smartphone or listen online. The World and Everything In It takes the best of NPR, its tone, its breadth, and its intelligence, and presents its news and commentary from a biblical world view. It is refreshingly honest about this, unlike NPR, which pretends objectivity as it promotes the PC party line. Its contributors and regular guests include Cal Thomas and John Stonestreet, along with weekly interviews with thinkers and policy makers from all walks of life. WORLD RADIO is also committed to journalistic integrity. They do the hard work of chasing down the facts, verifying them, and reporting them without gloss. Like the magazine from which it grew, WORLD RADIO doesn’t shy away from difficult stories. It will report corruption and failure within Christianity as well as without, yet without the rancor and insensitivity found in some other publications.

WORLD RADIO is part of World News Group, which also produces the monthly World Magazine and GOD’S BIG WORLD for kids. They also sponsor the Hope Awards for effective charity. Like NPR, it is a non-profit, which works in its favor. It doesn’t let its advertisers shape its content. Yet unlike NPR, which slurps at the tax-payer-money-trough to fund its budget, WORLD doesn’t whine. They do offer an opportunity for forward thinking Christians to contribute to the further development of world class journalism from a biblical point of view. I urge you to check them out, and become a regular reader and supporter.


I recently took up Cross-fit training for two reasons: I was overweight and out of shape. I could tell that there were things I should be able to do with ease, even at fifty-five, which wore me out. I’m now in better shape, (but I’m still a bit overweight).

The point is that I’m not ready to give up being an active person, but I knew that if I didn’t do something about it I wasn’t going to have any choice; the cardiovascular ability wasn’t going to be there. I had two basic problems with personal fitness: a sedentary job and a diet full of sugar. I needed to get off my duff and change the way I ate.

Derek Wright, of Hard Target / Krav Maga, the gym where I work out, writes:
“Back in 1822 the average person ate only 6.3 lbs of sugar per year, compared to 130 lbs of sugar in 2012. That’s more than 20 times as much sugar in our modern diet! No wonder we are bigger than ever… some form of refined sugar is included in virtually every single processed food … it’s important to cut those processed and packaged convenience foods out of your diet.

Cutting sugar from your diet is easier said than done. Once it is a part of your daily diet, cravings strike, causing you to eat it even more frequently … even the diet soda you’re sipping is making it harder for you to reach your goal weight. While the diet soda itself doesn’t contain calories, it has been proven to cause cravings for sugary foods.”

Who hasn’t tried to lose weight and failed? The reasons always go back to a poor diet and lack of exercise. We eat too many convenience foods, which are full of unhealthy calories, and we sit when we should stand, ride when we should walk, and relax when we should be working out.

A similar phenomenon can happen in our spiritual lives. It’s one the Apostle Paul warned his protégé’, Timothy, about in 1 Timothy 4:7-8.

“Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training has some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

In a spiritual sense, Paul was warning Tim away from “convenience foods for the soul,” i.e. godless myths and old wives’ tales, and urging him to spiritual exercise.

Spiritual convenience foods clog the shelves today, just as they did then. The feel-good spirituality that teaches that God is more interested in our happiness than our holiness comes to mind along with the gospel of success, and some of the more spectacular doomsday predictions.

These things are distractions. They aren’t preparing God’s people to take on the demands of following Christ in a culture increasingly hostile to the gospel. They aren’t preparing us to deal with unethical behavior in business, professional, and church settings. They aren’t helping us lead our families wisely and well as they face corruption in schools and social environments.

With that in mind I offer four tips for training your soul.

First, build strong, transparent relationships with godly friends. Find a few people who are committed to obeying Christ no matter what, and commit to meet regularly to discuss the Scriptures, sharpen and pray for each other.

Second, commit to regular intake of solid food: read scripture, study hard books, things that force you to work your mental muscles. Turn off the T.V., put down the smartphone, and learn to think biblically about life.

Third, learn the art of listening prayer. Be still before the Lord and tell him that you are listening, that you want him to lead you and that when he does, you will obey. The Transforming Friendship, by James Houston, is an excellent resource, along with many others.

Fourth, master your time. Jesus was very intentional about time. He talked quite a bit about God’s timing. He did things at certain times and did not do other things at certain times. He did not allow himself to be blown about, to drift with the currents of the times or the whims of his disciples or followers or even his enemies. His no was as ready as his yes. He was very much the master of his schedule. Learn to be the master of yours.

In the coming years it is going to be more difficult to be a committed follower of Christ in this country than at any time in the past. Spiritually flabby, unfit Christians will not be up to the challenge. Time to do some serious soul training.

ALPHA: The Anti-Sales-Pitch Gospel

It is called the Rule of Seven and it was developed by marketing expert Dr. Jeffery Lant. It is one of the reasons that Christianity has become so distasteful to so many people in western civilization.

The Rule of Seven states that, “to penetrate the buyer’s consciousness and make significant penetration in a given market, you have to contact the prospect a minimum of seven times within an 18-month period.” My dad, who sold life insurance among other things, summarized it thus: “It takes six NO’s to get a YES.”

I can remember my seminary professors making similar statements regarding evangelism. I don’t fault those men. They were simply trying to obey Christ’s command to make disciples with all the energy and expertise they could muster. But their methods, so closely modeled on the most effective sales strategies of the twentieth century, only alienate people today. All of us are so tired of being “sold,” so fed up with being approached as prospects with Pay Pal accounts, instead of people with problems and needs, that anything that smacks of marketing, anything that treats us like just another “YES,” is insulting. We mute commercials, hang up on phone solicitors, mass delete our inboxes and even slam the door when the Girl Scouts come cookie calling. (OK, that’s hyperbole. I don’t know anyone who isn’t a sucker for a seven-year-old selling Slim Mints).

Add to that the political stench that follows evangelicals like the dust cloud around Charlie Brown’s friend Pig-Pen, and one wonders why anyone would ever be interested in the message of Jesus.

The Alpha Course is the antithesis of those things. That’s one of the reasons the church I lead is offering it for the fifth time since 2011. First, The Alpha Course is completely apolitical. More importantly, it isn’t built around a sales pitch of the gospel. It is a course, Christianity 101 if you will, founded instead on two fundamentals: Process and Community. Learning is a process that happens best when we learn in the presence of friends. This is what makes Alpha so enjoyable and encouraging. No one is pressured to “buy” anything and all questions are welcomed in a community of friends who’ve gotten to know one another through shared meals and laughter.

Alpha is for everyone. If you’ve been a church member all your life, you will enjoy it. If you’ve never entered a church or considered Christianity, you will enjoy it and come away enriched with new understanding and new friends.

Find an Alpha Course near you by visiting