Cecil the Lion
But in the grand scheme of wickedness, the death of a lion – even a lion called Cecil — barely registers on the most sensitive Richter scale. The pathetic tears of a Kimmel and the predictable verbal violence of the hashtag wielding rent-a-mobs of the internet merely witness to the complete lack of any real moral compass and proportion in modern society. It no doubt makes them all feel good and righteous to stand up for a lion.
It’s Not Dixie’s Fault
These crude regional stereotypes ignore the deep roots such social ills have in our shared national history and culture. If, somehow, the South became its own country, the Northeast would still be a hub of racially segregated housing and schooling, the West would still be a bastion of prejudicial laws that put immigrants and black residents behind bars at higher rates than their white neighbors and the Midwest would still be full of urban neighborhoods devastated by unemployment, poverty and crime. How our social problems manifest regionally is a matter of degree, not kind — they infect every region of the country.
How Reading Can Transform Your Health
Grothaus’s life was in a rut…until he read War and Peace. Its 1500 pages took him two months to conquer and immediately became his favorite book because of how it changed him. “It’s almost impossible to explain why,” he says “but after reading it I felt more confident in myself, less uncertain about my future…As weird as it sounds, reading War and Peace put me back in control of my life—and that’s why it’s my favorite book.”
Now is the Time For Outrage
For my more progressive fellow pastors, now is not the time for missional quietude over abortion. Now is the time for outrage. Now is the time for public disgust. Slavery would never have been abolished through missional conversations. Public outrage was necessary to bring the whole sinful enterprise crashing down. The same public outrage must be brought to bear on abortion. If it will help, perhaps you can imagine that Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, is a fan of Dukes of Hazzard and refuses to drink fair trade coffee.
Are We Called to Preach the Gospel or Preach the Word?
We, too, live in a time when certain churches and certain movements are strongly emphasizing being Gospel-centered and emphasizing that pastors need to clearly preach the Gospel every Sunday. Now, I am fully in favor of being Gospel-centered, and I hope and pray that I do preach the Gospel every Lord’s Day morning. But that’s not the same thing as having every sermon be a “Gospel sermon” or a completely evangelistic sermon or basically the same sermon in different packaging.
The Brave New World of Childhood Indoctrination
Although Jennings often frames her style as “helping them understand a different point of view exists,” “setting up conversations,” and “modelling non-judgmental thinking,” she authoritatively interjects into her students’ conversations establishing what is right and wrong. She does this despite her “work to help children understand that just because someone thinks something different from you, it’s not a reason to be mean or dominate the conversation, but a chance to expand on what you know.” Perhaps she should take a turn listening to the wisdom of four-year-olds.
Wheaton College Refuses to Bow to Caesar’s Demands
It is indeed regrettable that some students will be without health insurance coverage. And some students and alumni are already blaming the school. But the loss of the health insurance is the fault of the Obama administration, not the administration at Wheaton. The college has repeatedly asked for a compromise that would not require them to violate their religious beliefs—and the federal government has repeatedly refused to concede to such a reasonable request.
‘To The Door Of The Oven’ – Hal Lindsey
Was Huckabee out of line when he used the word “oven”? Iran wants to build the most powerful oven in the world. It’s as real as the searing furnace Nebuchadnezzar threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into — and a thousand times hotter. A small number of nuclear bombs could turn a country the size of Israel into an oven, and then a wasteland in a matter of minutes.
Todd Bentley’s School of Revival?
Beware of false prophets . . .
Welcome to the (as I call it) School of the Unholy, where once again Todd Bentley will present his bells-and-whistles strange fire. In the video he speaks of his experience that was like “a glory liquid honey cloud.”
Why Millennials Are Turned Off by All This End-Time Talk
If all millennials hear about the future of the church is gloom and doom that’s decaying because of society, how can we expected to join the cause? Just like a flower will not grow if you yell and stomp on it, saying, “Look at all these thorns, you won’t be able to survive these attacks,” you can’t tell this generation of believers that we won’t survive what’s to come.
9 Reasons People Leave the Church
Once possessing a “favored place at the community table” along with other community leaders, with portfolio and reputation to boot, the church in North America is now hemorrhaging members at an alarming rate.
Former Mars Hill pastor Rob Bell, who now has his own TV show on the Oprah channel, brought his “Everything is Spiritual” tour to Grand Rapids. During his one man show, Bell offered his convoluted version of the creation story, which of course has nothing to do with what the Bible teaches on creation. No […]
Todd Bentley’s School of Revival?
John Lanagan of My Word Like Fire reports that false prophet Todd Bentley is up to his old tricks:
Welcome to the (as I call it) School of the Unholy, where once again Todd Bentley will present his bells-and-whistles strange fire. In the video he speaks of his experience that was like “a glory liquid honey cloud.”
Rob Bell returns: His thoughts on creation, modern “kingdom of God”
Former Mars Hill pastor Rob Bell, who now has his own TV show on the Oprah channel, brought his “Everything is Spiritual” tour to Grand Rapids. During his one man show, Bell offered his convoluted version of the creation story, which of course has nothing to do with what the Bible teaches on creation. No surprise there, as long ago Bell rejected the inerrancy of Scripture and embraced the view of Christianity taught by Emergent Church apostates. During the show, Bell passed on this “truth” to his audience: “You are just a pile of dust and yet you can hope and dream and feel compassion and love. You are crammed full of something called spirit. You are an exotic cocktail of dust, soul, bone and spirit.”
MLive has the report:
“In the beginning,” Rob Bell said, “was a point.” That point of energy went bang and, over some 13 billion years of “ongoing creation,” particles bonded to become more complex atoms, which bonded to become more complex molecules, which bonded to become more complex cells, which bonded to become human beings.
Now, the spiritual inertia of the universe tugs at humankind to sustain that pattern of evolution, Bell said Wednesday, July 29, at The Intersection in downtown Grand Rapids.
“What, my brothers and sisters, is pulling the whole thing forward into greater complexity and depth and unity and inclusion?” Bell asked. “The thing (Jesus) kept talking about was the ‘kingdom of God.’ This is what he was talking about.”
The founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church who moved to California three years ago, Bell came back to Grand Rapids to reprise an “Everything is Spiritual” speaking tour that he first did a decade ago. Talking about atoms rather than the biblical Adam, Bell gave a fast-paced, often comical sketch of the history of the universe, with frequent interjections of pop-culture references to music, movies and dancing Super Bowl sharks.
Dismissing secular and churchy viewpoints, Bell said humanity is hard-wired over billions of years of evolution to progress toward greater equality and unity.
According to the documents released today [February 2, 1992—ed.], Josef Mengele, the Auschwitz death camp doctor known as the “Angel of Death” for his experiments on inmates, practiced medicine in Buenos Aires for several years in the 1950’s. He “had a reputation as a specialist in abortions,” which were illegal. When one young woman died […]
One of America’s worst problems today is that people in official positions (university presidents, police officers, and others) think they are above the law and never accountable when they act illegally. The decision in Barnes puts college officials on notice that qualified immunity is not going to shield them against lawsuits if they trample upon […]
Like many in the Christian community, I’ve found the recent string of undercover videos revealing the butchering and subsequent selling of aborted babies at Planned Parenthood facilities… troubling, to say the least. As if abortion itself was not enough of an atrocity, now so-called “doctors” are in the business of chopping up the just-murdered babies’ bodies and selling their parts for money. The fact that it’s done in the name of “science” is somehow supposed to excuse it all. On social media, the defenders of Planned Parenthood can only talk about how the practice is “legal,” since the pay they received was only for “reimbursements.” That’s a highly questionable claim in itself.
But what the videos reveal is not just disturbing to those of us that are considered “conservative.” Camille Paglia is a self-described “dissident feminist.” She said in a recent interview, “Now I am a former member of Planned Parenthood and a strong supporter of unconstrained reproductive rights.” Translation: she supports abortion on-demand. She continued, “But I was horrified and disgusted by those videos and immediately felt there were serious breaches of medical ethics in the conduct of Planned Parenthood officials.” Now, I’d like to know exactly to what ethics she’s referring, as I have no doubt my ethics differ from hers. But still, at least there is some sense that she sees wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood.
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: Many believers struggle with prayer, perhaps because they’ve often prayed prayers that remained unanswered. Isaiah 59 gives us one clearly stated reason for God’s unwillingness to answer our prayers: our sin.
Isa. 59:1-2 Indeed, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, and His ear is not too deaf to hear. But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face from you so that He does not listen.
Don’t miss what Isaiah says. The problem is not that God cannot save or hear. Instead, our sin has built a barrier in our relationship with God.
Read the verse again: “your sins have made Him hide His face from you so that He does not listen.” Those words remind us that our sin matters. When we live in unrepentant sin, God chooses to hide His face from us and does not listen to our prayers.
I think about so many believers and churches in the world that seek God’s answers to prayer, but they do so without first addressing sin issues in their own lives. They fail to see that the apparent “wall” in front of God that seems to keep Him from answering our prayers is actually the wall of our sin. God does not listen to our prayers because we do not listen to Him.
What sins in your life render your prayers useless right now?
If you want God to hear and respond to your prayers, tear down the wall of your sin. He stands ready to hear your prayers of confession and repentance — and He then will stand more ready to hear the rest of your prayers.
PRAYER: Ask God to reveal to you and me any sin that hinders our prayers today. Let Him weaken our love for our sin and then dislodge it from our heart. May our lips resound with words of repentance this day.
The post Bible, Bricks and How God Uses Symbols Throughout the Scripture appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.
Community without Judgment(alism)
Church refugees — those active former church folks — are sometimes called the Dones. They are done with church but not with their faith, not with Christianity, not with God, and not with Jesus. They are Done with church (as they have experienced it).
Why? The number one reason traced and mapped by Josh Packard and Ashleigh Hope (Church Refugees) is that the place where they found and wanted and needed community became a place of judgment rather than affirmation and love. The Dones left because they want community without judgmentalism. (Read on.)
Seasons of spiritual dryness can be alarming, exhausting, even downright awful and heart-wrenching. I’ve had days, months even, when coming to the Word and spending time with the Father has felt like work, and I’ve struggled to feel his presence and love for me. I’ve wondered, God, where have you gone? I feels like you’ve hidden your face.
The seeming silence of God and the lack of obvious, joy-filled, abundant fruit springing forth from reading the Word are trials that most every believer experiences in their lifetime. It feels embarrassing to admit because we as humans like “having it all together”…or, at least, we like putting on the facade that we do.
But these seasons of dryness are worth talking about because we not only glean encouragement from hearing similar stories from other people, we are pushed to remember what is true of God, his gospel, and his holy Word.
You Are Not Alone
In two very significant ways, those of us enduring dry spiritual seasons are not alone.
Firstly, many brothers and sisters of the faith have gone before us in this regard. And many are enduring the dryness alongside us right now.
Be comforted by David’s struggles in the Psalms:
Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (Psalm 10:1)
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? (Psalm 13:1-2)
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. (Psalm 22:1-2)
Also consider Job, who felt God had deserted him and left him for dead; Joseph, who spent years in a jail cell, probably wondering when God’s purposes for him, as once revealed in his dreams, would come to pass; and the disciples, whose faces were sad and whose hopes were dashed after Jesus was crucified.
Believer, you are not alone in your discouragement! We are accompanied by a long list of Christians who yearned for the assurance that God was indeed present with them, especially during seasons of dryness and doubt. There is comfort in knowing that there is nothing new under the sun; just as God has been faithful to his Church throughout biblical history, so he will show his faithfulness to us. That is a promise.
Secondly, and more importantly, we are not alone because the very presence of Jesus is with us. How do we know that this is true? Where do we find assurance? At the cross. There, God turned his face away from his own Son, rejected him, and poured his judgment upon him — the judgment rightly deserved by you and me. Jesus experienced full and utter abandonment by God on the cross so that believers in Christ would never have to experience his wrath.
Jesus died a lonely death so that we would never have to be alone.
But Jesus did not stop there. Not only did he sacrifice his own blood for the forgiveness of our sins, transferring his perfect righteousness to our record, he then sent his promised Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts, confirming to us that we are indeed beloved, accepted children of the Most High God. The good deposit of our inheritance in heaven, the Spirit is our Counselor, Comforter, and Helper, who ministers to us the gospel-reality that we are never truly alone.
Knowing that we are not alone is well and good…but what do we do when we feel alone, when our Bible reading seems stale and our prayers lackluster? How do we practically put aside what we feel for what we know to be true?
We can learn from an account in Luke 24. Two of the disciples were traveling on the Road to Emmaus three days after Jesus had been crucified and laid in the tomb. Jesus appears to them, but they do not recognize him. He asks them about their conversation, and they sorrowfully recount the events of the crucifixion, how their hopes had been dashed when Christ, the long-awaited Messiah, died on the cross. Jesus’ body was no longer in the tomb, and because the men could not see him anymore, their faith had faltered.
So Jesus calls them “foolish ones” who are “slow of heart,” and he helps to open their eyes to see him clearly once again. He does the same for us in three specific ways when we are struggling to trust that he is with us in dry and lonely seasons.
In this episode of the Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast, J. Warner Wallace talks about his new book, God’s Crime Scene, as he examines the first important piece of evidence in the universe: the origin of all space, time and matter from nothing. Does Big Bang Cosmology (the Standard Cosmological Model) point most reasonably to a Creator God? (For more information, visit http://www.ColdCaseChristianity.com)
Redefining the First Freedom
In 2 Samuel 11, it seemed like everyone was sending someone somewhere. David does some sending (2 Sam 11:3, 6); Joab sends Uriah (2 Sam 11:6) and later a messenger (2 Sam 11:18); even Bathsheba sends people (2 Sam 11:5). But throughout all of this sending in chapter 11, there is someone eerily missing: God. We’re left wondering, “Will God get involved and do some sending of His own?”
In chapter 12, we get our answer. God takes over this mess of a situation. He gives David enough time to feel the weight of his sin, and then sends His prophet Nathan to confront David (2 Sam 12:1). He does so by telling a story of a rich man who takes a poor man’s ewe lamb pet, and cooks it for his visiting friend. And although everyone would agree that it was an absolutely evil thing to do, David’s reaction is over the top, He screams “As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die” (2 Sam 12:5).
David recognized that it was a wicked thing for a man with plentiful herds to kill the only companion a poor man had so they could enjoy a meal. The problem, though, is that David had no business calling anyone out on their sin at the moment, since he had just murdered many innocent people! He committed adultery (2 Sam 11:4), impregnated Uriah’s wife (2 Sam 11:5), took Bathsheba as his own (2 Sam 11:27), and then killed Uriah and other soldiers (2 Sam 11:17) just to cover up his evil. After killing a human being, David is nevertheless incensed that the rich man would kill a lamb.
In the next verse, Nathan utters two words that will sink David’s heart forever: “Attah Ha-ish!” “You are the man!”
And if that doesn’t sound bizarrely similar to the events of this past week, I don’t know what does.
Cecil the Lion was killed by a dentist (apparently it’s important to keep repeating his profession; I guess dentists are evil). Cecil, a celebrity in his country, was loved to the point that scientists were tracking his every move. You could say that Cecil was loved as much as the lamb in Nathan’s story was loved by its owner. And we all should agree that killing a lion, for no apparent reason other than stroking one’s ego, is not God’s design. But the timing of the outrage over this demonstrates the utter hypocrisy of our society. When millions of Americans are calling for the dentist’s extradition, his imprisonment, and even his murder (!), one can’t help but to point to the Planned Parenthood scandal and scream, “Hypocrites!”
— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) July 29, 2015
These two tweets were just 8 minutes apart pic.twitter.com/l6uecxAQqj
— Andy Naselli (@AndyNaselli) July 30, 2015
I think it’s time to shout like Nathan.
“America, you are the man!” “This dentist ain’t got nothin’ on you!”
Hypocrisy is on full display when people sit by and watch Planned parenthood abuse young women, dismember babies, sell the limbs for cash, and not feel any emotion, but get choked up over the death of a lion. The irony that people are mourning the death of Cecil the Lion, all the while ignoring or happily supporting the merciless murder of human beings carried out by Cecile Richards
and her henchmen at Planned Parenthood, is just too much to handle. Some would say the similar names are a “coincidence” I say God is displaying our depravity, right before our eyes, which would be undeniable if our minds weren’t darkened in understanding (Eph 4:18; cf. Rom 1:28). The abortion industry has so seared our collective conscience that we lose our minds over the mistreatment of a large cat, but don’t bat an eye at the merciless slaughter of millions of helpless human beings. Annually. Planned Parenthood, and all those who support it, have proven that they have lost any grip on reality.
The fact of the matter is that people everywhere need to repent and give their life to Jesus. And my prayer is that this clear, undeniable hypocrisy would prick the consciences of many — that they would come to their senses, repent of their wickedness, and turn to Jesus in faith for forgiveness and righteousness. Because of the Gospel of Christ, there is still hope in the wake of Planned Parenthood.
In 2 Samuel 12, the severity of David’s sin and hypocrisy pierced him to the heart. But there was hope. He went home and penned Psalm 51, a beautiful song of confession, repentance, and pleading with God for forgiveness and restoration. And God answered David’s prayer. Pray with me that many would read Psalm 51 and find the same forgiveness and restoration that David found, through Jesus alone.
Of all the painful experiences that I have had to face through nearly a decade in ministry–the death of a mother, couples enduring the heartbreak of miscarriage, strife, abuse, divorce, scandal, etc.–having to walk with a godly father and mother through the dark shadows of having a child rebel is among the most difficult. There are many difficult and painful experiences that ministers face, but the spiritual rebellion of a child of a believer weighs heavily on the heart of any true minister of the Gospel. Perhaps it weighs heavy on my heart because I was one such rebellious child brought up in a Christian home. Though I was nurtured in an extremely spiritually and theologically strong Christians home, I ran from it–and to the spiritual darkness and sin of this world–as far and as fast as I could.
Not long after I was converted, news of my conversion spread through the church that I began attended in Greenville, SC. People would frequently approach me to ask if I would reach out to their son or their daughter–children who were living prodigal lifestyles akin to that which I had lived. The first year of my conversion exposed me to the prevalent nature of such rebellion among children who had grown up in Christian homes. I started to realize a few things as I labored to bring the Gospel to young adults who were strung out on pharmaceuticals, cocaine, acid, crack, meth, MDMA, etc. First, I realized how true my Calvinistic beliefs really were (i.e. unless the Lord–in His sovereign mercy and grace–redeems, all is hopeless); and, second, I realized that most of the parents were at a loss to know how to pursue their rebellious covenant child. The only example that I had was that which was etched in my mind by the actions of my father and mother. Today, whenever I am counseling the parents of a rebellious child, there are five things that I always remind Christian parents with rebellious children:
Pray for Your Children – “As I was putting two of our sons to sleep, I was praying with our three-year-old on his little toddler bed. He hasn’t yet learned to close his eyes while we pray, and I can feel his intense gaze looking up at me when I pray over him each night. As I bowed my head, a hollering little voice came from the crib on the other side of the room: “PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!” My other son was so impatient and worried that I would forget him. I could hardly stumble through my prayer with his older brother.”
Couldn’t God Have Used Evolution? – “During the Scopes Trial in 1925, ACLU attorney Clarence Darrow placed William Jennings Bryan (seen as the man representing Christianity) on the stand and questioned him about his faith. In his questioning, Darrow pitted Bryan’s faith in the Bible against his belief in modern scientific thinking. Darrow questioned Bryan about the meaning of the word day in Genesis. Bryan’s answer rejected the clear teaching of Scripture, which indicates that the days of Genesis 1 are six actual days of approximately 24 hours. Bryan accepted modern evolutionary thinking instead when he said, “I think it would be just as easy for the kind of God we believe in to make the earth in six days as in six years or in six million years or in 600 million years. I do not think it important whether we believe one or the other.”1 This is not the first time a Christian has rejected the intended meaning of God’s Word, and it certainly will not be the last.”
The Wild Brothers—A Challenging Family “Reality Program” – “In a day and age when the culture by and large has turned away from God’s Word and openly ridicules those who choose to stand firmly on God’s Word, it’s hard to raise our children to love the Lord and honor, obey, and trust His Word. But it’s so important that we teach the next generation to stand on the authority of God’s Word from the very beginning, and to think biblically. That’s why we provide you with powerful resources that will help you as a parent to accomplish the task of training up your child in the way he or she should go (Proverbs 22:6).”
Be Clear, But Don’t Dumb Down the Bible – “Is the average person today living in a post-Christian world really capable of understanding the theology of the Bible? Should a pastor avoid doctrinal themes and terms in favor of preaching messages that are less intellectually demanding and more relevant to his listeners?”
The Nation, The Church, and the Immigrants – “No one denies that US immigration policy is a mess. One poll found that 63 percent of Republicans want to deport the estimated 11 million illegals in the United States. Sniffing a popular cause, Congress has jumped aboard with legislation focused on identifying, arresting, and punishing violent criminals among illegal aliens.”
Tim Conway – The Battle With Sin: Pride
Do You Desire God?
Jesus and the Journey to Joy
“If you alter or obscure the Biblical portrait of God in order to attract converts, you don’t get converts to God, you get converts to an illusion. This is not evangelism but deception.” – John Piper
- Calvin and (Herschel) Hobbs.
- Ian Hamilton describes how he first learned of God’s sovereignty in salvation.
- Tim Challies invites you to join him in reading a modern classic: Knowing God, by J. I. Packer.
- In the most recent edition of The Dividing Line, James White responds to Dr. Michael Cox’s article (linked to last week) “Is Calvinism Spiritual Racism?”
- Free ebook by J. C. Ryle from Monergism.
New from GLH Publishing is one of my all-time favorite Puritan works: Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks. It’s at just $0.99. Also consider Truth in a Culture of Doubt by Andreas Kostenberger ($2.99); The Essential Bible Companion by John Walton ($5.99); Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal by Michael Kelley ($0.99).
Exceptionally Ordinary – We need to be reminded of this often. “The assumption is that God will be really pleased if we do something massive (on a human scale) for him. Really? Do you really think God needs you or I to do anything in order to accomplish what he wills?”
The Children of Strangers – The New Yorker has a long, interesting, and sad article about a couple that adopted twenty children.
10 Quick, Important Developments On The Planned Parenthood Scandal – And still the major news outlets are quiet about it.
Our Wilberforce Moment – The comparison to Wilberforce is a strong one. Josh Howerton says that this is our culture’s Wilberforce moment, and I am inclined to agree.
When Success Outgrows Character – This is a very helpful article from Eric Geiger. “When skills surpass the process of sanctification, the trajectory is downward though everything looks great on the outside.” (I have previously written about this here.)
We’ve Got Spirit, Yes We Do – “My fear is that we can fall down that slippery slope that an awesome worship experience equals the Holy Spirit.”
New York City Transit – Did you know that much of the technology driving the New York City subway system is nearly 100 years old? Here’s a look at the past, present, and future.
Running for My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games. I’m halfway through this and loving it. On sale today for $1.99.
The American Home Front: 1941-1942 by Alistair Cooke $1.99. Classic insight into wartime America.
Truth Matters: Confident Faith in a Confusing World by Andreas Kostenberger $0.99.
Recommended New Book
Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore.
When Our Sufferings Feel Like Too Much
At Pastor Scotty Smith’s Heavenward blog, he offers biblical counsel When Our Sufferings Feel Like Too Much: Praying through Psalm 13.
The True Saint Abhors All Sin
Tim Challies writes:
‘Sometimes I just need to be reminded about the seriousness of sin. And sometimes I just need to be reminded off the slipperiness of sin. Those reminders came this week through Charles Spurgeon and a sermon he preached on June 29, 1890.”
Read Tim’s convicting quote from Spurgeon in The True Saint Abhors All Sin.
Should We Pray for God to Punish Our Enemies?
Johnathon Bowers at Desiring God addresses the question, Should We Pray for God to Punish Our Enemies?
When Christian Kids Reveal They Aren’t
Julie Ganschow candidly addresses the painful reality that many Christian parents face—prodigal children. Read Julie’s biblical counsel for parents in When Christian Kids Reveal They Aren’t.
Pastor Paul Tautges writes:
“All three members of the divine Godhead are involved in the work of rescuing sinners like you and me and gradually fashioning us into the image of Jesus. The Father called us in Christ; the Son redeemed and keeps us; and the Spirit transforms us into His image as we grow in submission to His written Word.”
Read the rest of Paul’s reflections in Trinitarian Sanctification.
- Michelle Lesley shares some reasons why discerning women might be leaving your church.
- Rosaria Butterfield on the SCOTUS decision.
- Have you yanked your son out of the boy scouts yet (I hope)?
- Driscoll is in Phoenix.
- Funny how this happens when you handle poisonous snakes.
- Here’s your weekly dose of adorable (boop!).
- Answering that age-old question: What do you do after you’ve been slain in the spirit?
- Kenneth Copeland helps you figure out why your prayers aren’t getting answered. Seriously? Do people really believe his garbage?
- Looks like this issue of Credo Magazine has some interesting articles.
- The Washington Post wonders about hipster Christianity.
- Speaking of that sermon, I linked to the audio last week, but thought it was worth posting the video here for your convenience. I had the opportunity to hear this preached live, and I hope that if you haven’t listened to it already, you will:
Wisdom For Your Weekend: your weekly installment of things we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web.
Video of the Week
The Power of Morning & Evening Routines, The Art of Manliness. Yes, the audience for this video is, unsurprisingly, men. But we promise, this is relevant even if you aren’t concerned with increasing your “manliness.” And if the word “routine” inspires feelings of dread in your heart, you might need this video. The right routines can make the world—or, at least, your world—go round.
Articles of the Week
Seven Gospel-Centered Principles for Protecting Your Marriage, Jim Newheiser. Most advice about “protecting” marriage these days tends to run in one of two directions: (1) hand-wringing about same-sex marriage in our society or (2) hard-and-fast principles about when and where you can interact with friends of the opposite sex. Newheiser gives us a bit more meat, some proactive steps to enriching your marriage – whether you’ve been marriage for 30 days or 30 years, whether your marriage is characterized by bliss or by pain.
Ten Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Southern Baptists, Russell Moore. Few religious monikers evoke the awkward uneasiness that “Southern Baptist” does. The name conjures up images of polyester suits and big tent revivals (at best) or racist prejudice and bigotry (at worst). So what should the non-Southern Baptist folks know about the real Southern Baptists? Moore offers a handy compilation.
Five Rules of Textiquette for Teenagers, Barry York. There’s nothing like a fresh portmanteau to brighten your day! (Port-man-what? Click here.) Texting etiquette, or “textiquette,” is a fuzzy subject for most folks. For parents who didn’t grow up with cell phones, it can be difficult to know what rules, if any, are appropriate. York offers five rules that reign in his household.
What’s So Bad about Internet Rage? Sharon Hodde Miller. According to a 2013 study, the emotion most likely to spread through social media is anger. That sounds about right. So why is it that we are so quick to respond to internet-rage with more sinful rage? And, more importantly, what does this say about the way sin spreads? Sharon offers a refreshing perspective and some critical ways for us to ensure that the infection of sin stops at our door (or keyboard).
This video by Nature Valley uses three generations to compare what kids did for fun. The message of Nature Valley is that we should get back to nature, but the message for Christians is that we need to be vigilant over how much technology we use.
Michael Herrington: “Don’t grumble about anything? Even traffic? Even the long line at the DMV? Even the weather? Even politicians? Even that annoying church member? Yes, even those things.”
You’ll want to take this five-day challenge!
This article from Desiring God may be more scientific than we’re used to reading, but stick with it. Toward the bottom, the authors give clear implications for Christians as we stand for the dignity of life.
This is an important article from Joe Rigney about how we can respond to the continued revelations of what goes on behind Planned Parenthood’s doors.
• The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist
• My Favorite Apologetics Apps
• The Gospels Agree About A Lot
• Six Errors Jesus Mythicists Repeatedly Make
• On Bart Ehrman and the authorship of the gospels
• Follow up to Part II of Ehrman-McGrew radio debate
• On Biblical Ethics: An Interview with Paul Copan
• How to be a Christian Ambassador in Troubled Times
• Two Things Nearly Everyone Believes About the Universe
• Debate: Does God Exist? John Lennox vs. Michael Shermer
• Is Kepler-452b an Earth-like planet? Does it support life?
• Christianity Promotes Rational (and Evidential) Exploration
• What are the historical arguments for the empty tomb story?
• Does the Cumulative Case for Design Point to a Divine Designer?
• Stand to Reason | The Importance of Studying Apologetics Regularly
• Of course you’re smart enough to learn how to defend your faith
• How do atheists try to accommodate the Big Bang in their worldview?
• What historical evidence is there to support the post-mortem appearances of Jesus?
• Why We Know Our Universe, And Everything In It, Had A Beginning (Free Bible Insert)
• God’s Crime Scene: Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe – NEW by J Warner Wallace
In the last three weeks, videos of Planned Parenthood officials (the organization that performs over 40% of our nation’s abortions) harvesting and selling the body parts of dismembered infant corpses have surfaced to national outrage. See them HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE. Rumors are there are 8 more to come. In a nation that has been legally pro-abortion for ~40 years, why are these videos now causing such outrage? Because the reality of what abortion obviously is (the killing of a human infant) is being non-ignorably thrust into our faces. This is our William Wilberforce moment: the stories have been viscerally told and people may choose to look away, but nobody can ever say again that they did not know. A few quick, bulleted reflections from watching the events of the last three weeks…
American friends, please be sure to use the info at the end of this post.
That freedom is sometimes frustrating as a parent, especially one who has wasted as much money on stupid things as I have over the course of my life. Periodically throughout the year, one of the kids will see something they absolutely have to have. So begins the conversation about value in which I try (unsuccessfully most of the time) to convince them that what they have their heart set on isn’t actually worth it. It’s not as good as they think it’s going to be, and in the end, they’ll wind up not just frustrated, but frustrated and broke.
David Murray discusses a few key things he learned reading How Changing Your Reading Habits Can Transform Your Health, Michael Grothaus.
The Bible is as fascinating as the best museum. There is a lot glean from it at face value. But it is enriching as a mine. Begin to dig, poke around, and examine, and it yields wonderful things that you didn’t notice at first.
When a leader’s competence outpaces a leader’s character, implosion is imminent. When skills surpass the process of sanctification, the trajectory is downward though everything looks great on the outside. It is often easier to see the speck in someone else’s eye than the plank in our own, so here are seven signs your success is outpacing your character.
Only Two Religions!
I don’t know if you know this but there are only two religions in the entire world.
You might say I’m nuts. There are hundreds if not thousands!
But there is one religion that likes to put on hundreds if not thousands of different masks on, and so ultimately there are only two: the religion of Human Achievement and the religion of Divine Accomplishment.
You see Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism and every single religion that you have ever heard of, ultimately teaches some form of a works-based salvation. They say that you have to be a little more good than bad in order to make it to heaven. These religions encourage you to hand God a resume when you face Him one day. The resume will be filled with all your accomplishments. It will list everything you’ve done for other people, every penny you’ve given to charity and every good deed you’ve done. God will look over this resume and say, “Good job! You’ve made it into heaven”.
The problem is that if you were to enter into heaven because of a resume based on your accomplishments God would get no glory; you would be the one who gets all the praise. In fact, Ephesians 2:9 would say that salvation is not of works lest you should boast! Genesis chapter one shows us that God created the entire universe including you. Everything He created is designed to bring Him glory. The problem is that sin has entered the world, and from birth we all have replaced exalting God with exalting ourselves. Everything we do from birth is geared towards bringing us glory and bringing praise to ourselves. We all have a throne in our hearts that God should be sitting and reigning on, but instead we are born with ourselves sitting on it. We are so used to it we don’t even notice it to the point where we all think that our resumes are good enough to get us into heaven.
Of course we are going to think that we are good people! Of course my mom is going to tell me I’m a good person! But what does your Creator think? He says in Romans 3:23 that we all have sinned and fall short of His glory. He also says in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. So if we stand before God and start listing accomplishments or hand Him a resume we might as well slap Jesus in the face because God is going to look at the resume and say, “I killed my only Son because you were not good enough to get to me!”
And that’s where the only other religion comes in.
The religion of Divine Accomplishment. God saw your situation, and decided that since man was so sinful and could not save himself, that He would come Himself and take the form of a man. He humbled himself, spent nine months in a womb he created, grew up with every temptation you and I face every day, but without sinning. He then died on the cross for our sins, and then rose from the dead and defeated death. He made it possible for human beings to stand before God one day and not hand Him a resume and condemn themselves further, but rather, tell God that they deserve His wrath but have placed their faith and trust in the work that Jesus did on their behalf on the cross and through His resurrection.
You see we need someone to be a substitute for us because no matter how hard we try, we can never bridge the gap between God and us. And the substitute can’t be merely a human. It must be God Himself.
Do you see the difference between Christianity and every other religion?
The Greatest Story Ever Told
What is The Gospel?
“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime
9 powerful minutes of animation that begins with a thief behind bars watching the scourging of Jesus, and it ends with the thief dying next to Jesus, and waking to see Him in a beautiful place.
The dying thief: What was so great about his faith?
Our Time is Short
Ready to start your new life with God?
Who do you think that I am?
With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.
Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.
Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more
Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!
30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.
New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed
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