Quote - C.S. Lewis

"If you read history you will find out that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next." C.S. Lewis

Are we an Ezekiel 16 Nation? Am I an Ezekiel 16 Person?

When you think of the United States of America, what images come to mind? Are they great ones? Do you tend to see how the United States has provided freedom to the oppressed, democracy to counter tyranny, aid to the impoverished, hope to the nations, and leadership in the midst of chaos? What do you think captures God’s eye when He looks upon our nation today…our headlines, our entertainment, our focus? (Ezekiel 36:22-32) When you think of yourself, what images come to mind? Do you see yourself as a person who cares, provides, loves, serves, contributes, and is faithful? What do you think God has to say to each of us about our day to day lives…about the focus of our hearts? (1 John 2:15-17) When we fail to spend time daily with God, we can quickly begin to think better of ourselves than we should (Romans 12:1-3). Apart from God’s Word and prayer we will quickly lose our sensitivity to and conviction of sin. I fear that we as a nation and as individuals have far too often allowed our focus to be drawn away from Jesus Christ. When we look across the Old Testament we cannot ignore the cycles of Israel and Judah, whether under judges and kings or in exile, in which they abandon God and reach a point of punishment and rebuke. Try reading Ezekiel 16 today and ask yourself a simple question: have we been an unfaithful bride to our Creator by loving the creation more? Revelation 2:4-5 (ESV) “4But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” It is tempting to think that we may solve the problems of our nation and the problems of our lives through some act of our own. We want to be able to work our way out of the problems of the day, whether through laws and legislation or through the busyness and compartmentalization of our lives. However, there is only one true solution…we as a nation, as a church, as individuals must humbly repent and faithfully refocus our lives on Christ and seek Him daily. (Zephaniah 2:3, 3:1-2) Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV) “1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Quote - Martin Luther

"I have held many things in my hands, and have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." Martin Luther

Sexual Sin

Lots of good questions are being raised lately due to the plethora of situations regarding gay marriage and likely 'hate crime' legislation:

Apart from homosexual sins, it is equally important not to lose focus on the many heterosexual sins that we often choose to overlook or not confront...

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV) " 9Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

Adjusting our Addictions

I was actually kind of surprised that the newest data only shows one in ten video game players as being addicted. Maybe they raised the standards for being defined as 'addicted' due to the reality of our addiction-prone world today...
  • An 'addicted gamer' spends 24 hours a week playing video games
  • Bulleted ListA 'casual gamer' ONLY spends 12 hours a week playing video games

How awesome would it be for us to have 1 in 10 Christians addicted to the Bible and Prayer! How incredible would it be if the 'casual Christian' invested 1.5 hours a day in their walk with Christ??

Where is your time, energy, emotions, and focus directed? How can you seek to shift your 'addictions' towards Jesus Christ?

Psalm 1:1-3 "1Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers."

Ephesians 3:14-19 "14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

Quotes - Dr. Albert Mohler

Quotes from Dr. Albert Mohler in He Is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World "Large numbers of Americans...profess belief in God but live like atheists." "The heart and soul of expository preaching...is reading the Word of God and then explaining it to the people so that they understand it." "Preaching therefore is always a matter of life and death." "God is most beautifully praised when His people hear His Word, love His Word, and obey His Word." "Our people can have a deep repository of biblical facts and stories, and yet know nothing about how any of it fits together." "Congregations that are fed nothing more than ambiguous 'principles' supposedly drawn from God's Word are doomed to a spiritual immaturity." "We must assume a context of spiritual confusion, and this is often now a hostile confusion."

'Hate Crimes' Legislation - An Attempt to Curtail Freedom of Speech Rights

"A vote is looming this week in Congress on a bill that one conservative activist warns would not only silence Christian opposition to homosexuality, but also would legitimize deviant forms of 'sexual orientation.'" - read more of this article HERE This is a significant issue that has already arisen in European countries and Canada, often resulting in the arrest of pastors who teach the whole counsel of God...to include confronting the sin of homosexuality. If you want to hold onto your freedom of speech rights in the United States, beware the progress of this bill! 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3 " 1Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, 2and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. 3But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one."

Courageous Contestant vs. Pitiful Pastor

Miss California Carrie Prejean made worldwide headlines today during the Miss USA pageant. The most interesting part is that the attention given to her wasn't for winning, but for sharing her convictions when challenged. She was specifically asked her views on the issue of gay marriage on live worldwide television...by a judge who is both gay and outspokenly aggressive and liberal (in the followup to this matter, the judge swore at Carrie Prejean via an enraged video blog). Although caught off guard, Miss Prejean responded to the question by stating "I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman." Though her comments seemingly cost her the crown, she later stood by her convictions stating "I was raised in a way that you can never compromise your beliefs and your opinions for anything." Contrast this scenario with that of pastor and author Rick Warren in recent weeks. Rick Warren is respected by many as a visible Christians leader, who only months ago stood firmly against gay marriage only to later recant and claim to be in favor of gay marriage, with no explanation for his change of mind. It is a sad world we live in when pastors lack courage and moral integrity to stand firm on what God's Word so clearly teaches. What is more important to you? Political correctness or biblical correctness? Are you prepared to suffer for your love of Christ? Or will you cower, recant, and withdraw when faced with opposition to the cross of Christ? It is my prayer that I may courageously defend my Lord when the opportunities arise and that He raise up more examples of Christians such as Carrie Prejean to do the same, even when the attack is least expected. "The pastor should stand ready to define, defend, and document his own deep convictions" - Dr. Albert Mohler in He Is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World "If there is no controversy to your ministry, there is probably very little content to your preaching." - Dr. Albert Mohler in He Is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World 1 Peter 3:13-17 "13Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. 'Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.' 15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil."

Quote - Jim Elliot

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

Quote - D.L. Moody

"There's no better book with which to defend the Bible than the Bible itself." D.L. Moody

Pornography & Technology - A Continuing Danger

Sexting (sending pornographic photos and videos via cell phones) and other forms of pornography continue to rise to the national news as teenagers are being charged under child pornography laws and some states (Ohio & Vermont) consider the legalization of sexting. 44% of teenage boys have seen nude photos of their classmates...think your student hasn't been affected? Talk to them. Ask them the tough questions. Check their cell phones, MySpace, Facebook, email, and IM accounts. Google their names and see what turns up. Search your computer for photos and videos. Your inspection and supervision of their media and technology outlets show your love for them and their future! Check out the below previous blog posts that point to Christian resources for cell phones and computers. The technology isn't going away and you can't isolate them from the dangers forever. Train your child how to avoid the dangers and temptations while simultaneously protecting them from their fallen nature! Protect yourselves and your family! The mistakes and sins of the teenage years can have long-lasting affects!

Quote - John Wycliffe

"The gospel alone is sufficient to rule the lives of Christians everywhere...any additional rules made to govern men's conduct added nothing to the perfection already found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ." John Wycliffe

Religious Expression in Public Schools

Ever wonder about what you can and cannot do in public schools as you desire to exercise your right to religious expression?
The U.S. Department of Education has an online policy document that discusses this as well as a variety of practical application and implications within the schools.
  • Organized Prayer Groups & Activities
  • Teachers, Administrators & School Employees
  • Moments of Silence
  • Accomodation of Prayer During Instructional Time
  • Religious Expression and Prayer in Class Assignments
  • Student Assemblies & Extracurricular Activities
  • Prayer at Graduation
  • Baccalaureate Ceremonies

www.firstamendmentcenter.org has a plethora of educational resources to include helpful lesson plans on teaching about the first amendment and articles on petition, assembly, press, speech, and religious liberty.

Under Religious Liberty in Public Schools there is a helpful breakdown of specific topics/areas of concer:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." - First Amendment, Bill of Rights
Check out my previous blog post on "Christian and Student Legal Resources"

Quote - D.L. Moody

"The preaching that this world needs most is the sermons in shoes that are walking with Jesus Christ." D.L. Moody

"Getting What I Don't Deserve" - Dr. James Merritt

Dr. James Merritt, Senior Pastor of the Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, GA and former President of the Southern Baptist Convention delivered a powerful sermon titled, "Getting What I Don't Deserve" at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary last week. It was a powerful message and a reminder that a guarantee of life is that you will often get what you don't deserve. Dr. Merritt focused in on the example of Joseph and how in the midst of unfair and undeserved circumstances God remained with Joseph, how Joseph's perseverance brought about some amazing opportunities, and how God used Joseph to His glory. This sermon was extracted from a sermon series by Dr. Merritt titled Average Joes which also featured sermons titled "When Dream's Come True" and "In The Crosshairs." Genesis 39:3 "His master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. " Genesis 39:21a "But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love"

Quotes about Money and Wealth (Part 4)

Acts 20:33-35 “I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. 35In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” Mark 12:41-44 “41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43And he called his disciples to him and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:17 “Jesus said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they marveled at him.” 1 Timothy 6:6-10 “6Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 7for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

Quotes about Money and Wealth (Part 3)

From www.christianquotes.org "A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty." Author Unknown "A dreadful thing is the love of money! It disables both eyes and ears, and makes men worse to deal with than a wild beast, allowing a man to consider neither conscience nor friendship nor fellowship nor salvation." John Chrysostom "Let us not ask of the Lord deceitful riches, nor the good things of this world, nor transitory honors; but let us ask for light." Gregory Nazianzen "Defer not charities till death. He hath does so, is rather liberal of another man's than of his own."Francis Bacon "Since much wealth too often proves a snare and an incumbrance in the Christian's race, let him lighten the weight by 'dispersing abroad and giving to the poor'; whereby he will both soften the pilgrimage of his fellow travelers, and speed his own way the faster." Augustus Toplady "The real measure of our wealth is how much we should be worth if we lost our money." J. H. Jowett "When blessed with wealth, let them withdraw from the competition of vanity and be modest, retiring from ostentation, and not be the slaves of fashion." William Wilberforce

Quotes about Money and Wealth (Part 2)

From http://www.christianquotes.org/ "Money is like muck, not good except it be spread." Francis Bacon "Nothing I am sure has such a tendency to quench the fire of religion as the possession of money."J. C. Ryle "Suspect everything that is prosperous unless it promotes piety and charity and humility." Isaac Taylor "The poor man's hand is the treasury of Christ."Henry Alford "Man's life is of God, not of his goods, however abundant they may be." Henry Alford "It is what we get by the soul that makes us rich." Henry Ward Beecher "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to cast off his trust in riches." John Wesley "Say not you know a man entirely till you have divided an inheritance with him." Johann Kaspar Lavater

How Not To Grow

An abbreviated step-by-step guide to personal stagnation that is GUARANTEED to diminish your relationship with Christ, expose yourself to temptation, lead to sin, weaken your example for future generations, stall out church growth, and assist the Devil in the snatching of the Gospel from the hearts of the lost. Avoid the Word - You’ve probably heard and know most of the Bible stories and characters before. Sermons and Sunday school are enough Bible time in your week. It’s old and irrelevant to the things of today. Your free time is too valuable. (do not read Hebrews 2:1 or 2 Timothy 3:14-17) Neglect prayer – Prayer can get boring and dry and takes too much time; God knows what you are going to ask before you do it anyhow, so why bother? (avoid this passage; Ephesians 6:18-20 ) Be proud & self-focused – Impress people with your skills, knowledge, wit, power, possessions, positions, legacy, and competence (forget that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 1:26-2:5) Stay busy with things that don’t matter – See how many things you can do, build up your resume, be consumed with the things of this world so you have a good excuse to avoid church commitments. (don’t take the time to look up 1 John 2:15-17) Forget about Satan – Pretend Satan isn’t real and that he doesn’t actually attack you and others. Go ahead and assume that Hell probably isn’t a real place either for that matter. (ignore 1 Peter 5:8-8 & James 4:6-8) Make excuses for minimal church involvement or practice church hopping – Take for granted the freedom and privilege we have to gather together and worship God. Rationalize missing church by saying “I can worship God anywhere,” “I’m tired,” or “They won’t miss me.” Forget that the primary purpose of church is to glorify God and not to meet your needs. (do Hebrews 10:25 & Matthew 18:20 really matter?) Think positively about Human Nature – Most people are good people and that is what really matters. If they say they are Christians or religious that is a good enough answer. (you probably haven’t read Psalm 51:5 or 1 John 1:5-10 anyhow) No true follower of Christ would desire or advocate the above positions or behaviors…however, the sad truth of is that many of us have and may be continuing to struggle in these areas (or know someone who is). We must not minimize or trivialize the damage that the habitual negligence of our walk with Christ has on our own spiritual health and the health of our church. We must become sober-minded in the spiritual aspects of our lives and more disciplined to run the race and fight the good fight that our God may be glorified through our lives! We should thank the Lord for His provision in the examples of many godly and spiritually-mature men and women within our churches….but we should also pray that the Lord raise up and grow many more to His glory (including ourselves)!

Quotes about Money and Wealth (Part 1)

From: www.christianquotes.org "For a hundred that can bear adversity there is hardly one that can bear prosperity” Thomas Carlyle "Few are made better by prosperity, whom afflictions make worse." William Gurnall "Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; adversity not without many comforts and hopes." Francis Bacon "Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity is a greater. Possession pampers the mind; privation trains and strengthens it." William Hazlitt "Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monsters." Victor Hugo "It is prosperity that we cannot endure."Martin Luther "He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing." Benjamin Franklin "It is riches of the mind only that make a man rich and happy." Thomas Fuller

Quote - Martin Luther

"Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason---I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other---my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen." Martin Luther

Quote - C.S. Lewis

"We may note in passing that He was never regarded as a mere moral teacher. He did not produce that effect on any of the people who actually met Him. He produced mainly three results---Hatred---Terror---Adoration. There was no trace of people expressing mild admiration." C.S. Lewis

StudentNewsDaily.com - A News Source for High Schoolers

StudentNewsDaily.com is a great website for growing and developing teenagers into critical thinkers when processing news and events in the media. A description of their purpose: "StudentNewsDaily.com is a non-profit current events website for high school students. Our goal is to build students' knowledge of current events and strengthen their critical thinking skills. This is done by providing comprehension and critical thinking questions along with published news articles and other current events items from established news organizations. We provide resources that will enable students to become informed viewers and readers of the news." StudentNewsDaily.com also helpfully has a general breakdown of Conservative vs. Liberal beliefs on a multitude of issues and how to be an educated voter. They have a quote of the week, an end of the week news quiz, daily best of the web, and daily news article.

World Magazine - News with a Biblical Perspective

I've recently started receiving World magazine, delivered every other week, that shares national and international news tempered with a Biblical perspective. It is especially helpful as it presents a perspective often missing from biased and liberal mainstream media sources. It is also unique in that it presents issues, events, and stories that are often not reported or given adequate attention elsewhere. World covers a broad spectrum of news, to include business, politics, books, music, movies, TV shows, quotes, moral/ethical issues, culture, technology, sports, and church related news. World magazine is a great way to stay accurately informed without being overwhelmed or slowly brainwashed!
Titus 2 (ESV) “1But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 6Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. 9 Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. 11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. 15Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”

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