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Dennis Rodman apologizes for failing to free missionary

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Former US basketball star Dennis Rodman sings Happy birthday to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Pyongyang Wednesday, January 8, before joining a game with fellow players to mark the event (Credit: SkyNews via YouTube)

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<iframe style=”float: left; border: 1px solid #000000; background-color: #C0C0C0; padding: 2px; margin: 10px; -moz-border-radius: 3px; -khtml-border-radius: 3px; -webkit-border-radius: 3px; border-radius: 3px;” width=”400″ height=”225″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/eAprW14F-8k?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>{/source}Dennis Rodman is a Hall of Fame basketball player, one of the best defenders and rebounders the game has ever seen.  He is also one of the most controversial athletes in recent memory.  He made headlines recently after a trip to North Korea during which he sang “Happy Birthday” to dictator Kim Jong-Un and appeared to blame missionary Kenneth Bae for his year-long incarceration.  After returning to the States, he apologized and explained his motives: “I just want to do some good stuff, that’s all I want to do.”

Imagine how much “good stuff” a person with his opportunities could do.  Rodman won five NBA championships during his career and was ranked #48 among the Top 50 Players of All Time.  He earned more than $50 million during his career.  Now he owes nearly $1 million in back child support and alimony.

Rodman is not the only celebrity in the news today for the wrong reasons.  Justin Bieber is being investigated for allegedly throwing eggs at his neighbor’s residence.  The billionaire inventor of Beanie Babies has been sentenced to two years of probation on tax evasion charges.  Rapper Kanye West is under investigation for battery after witnesses say he attacked a man who slandered his fiancée, Kim Kardashian.  Think of the contribution each could make if they would use their platform and opportunities for causes greater than themselves.

Before I point the finger at wayward celebrities, however, I must first point it at myself.  I live in Dallas, Texas, where only four percent of high school seniors read at a 12th grade level.  Nearly 30 percent of children live in families below the federal income poverty level.  We have the largest refugee population in America.

Jesus tells me that whatever I do for “the least of these,” I do for him (Matthew 25:40).  My compassion for widows and orphans is proof of my “pure and undefiled” commitment to God (James 1:27).  If I claim to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, I must love my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:37, 39).

I am encouraged by movements which unite believers to meet needs in Jesus’ name, earning the right to share the gospel.  One such initiative is Greater Dallas Movement Day, coming to our city on January 23.  GDMD is partnering with The New York City Leadership Center, Dr. Tim Keller, and Dr. Mac Pier.  

We will gather to engage 12 different priorities for our city, including issues such as human trafficking, hunger, orphan care and neighborhood revitalization.  Our ministry is leading an interactive track on Gospel Movements and Servant Leaders: Changing the Culture for the Kingdom. As Jesus prays that we “may all be one” so the world will believe the Father sent the Son (John 17:21), I am praying for GDMD to unite God’s people and advance his Kingdom in our city and beyond.

If you live in Dallas, I encourage you to visit the GDMD website and become involved.  If you do not, I encourage you to find ways you can join with fellow believers in your community to meet needs in Jesus’ name.  My friend Randel Everett says I have no right to preach the gospel to a hungry person.  Do you?