Published on Sep 4, 2013
With this hymn I wanted to try a softer approach to the singing, as this is a jazzier arrangement of mine.
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Ignore the flies in my room, it gets very hot at the top of the house. It’s a small price to pay for opening the window.
-By Al Mohler | AlbertMohler.com
We are fast becoming a pornographic society. Over the course of the last decade, explicitly sexual images have crept into advertising, marketing, and virtually every niche of American life.
This ambient pornography is now almost everywhere, from the local shopping mall to prime-time television.
By some estimations, the production and sale of explicit pornography now represents the seventh-largest industry in America. New videos and internet pages are produced each week, with the digital revolution bringing a host of new delivery systems. Every new digital platform becomes a marketing opportunity for the pornography industry.
To no one’s surprise, the vast majority of those who consume pornography are males.
It is no trade secret that males are highly stimulated by visual images, whether still or video. That is not a new development, as ancient forms of pornography attest. What is new is all about access. Today’s men and boys are not looking at line pictures drawn on cave walls. They have almost instant access to countless forms of pornography in a myriad of formats.[Continue reading Al Mohler | AlbertMohler.com]
Sinners naturally look for fig leaves to hide sin, and biological causation is often cited as a means of avoiding moral responsibility.
Pornography is a sin that robs God of his glory in the gift of sex and sexuality.
We have long known that sin takes hostages. We now know another dimension of how this particular sin hijacks the male brain. Knowledge, as they say, is power.
Alfonso Cuaron’s box-office-record-smasher “Gravity” also broke new ground for faith in Hollywood, according to Christian reviewers who praised the film.
They saw the presence of God throughout the film in an allegory of the death and resurrection of Christ, a personal interaction with God, and a God-given hope in the afterlife.
In “Gravity,” the audience sees “the paradoxes of the Christian faith echoed on the screen,” Paul Asay, senior associate editor for Focus on the Family’s review blog, Plugged In, told The Christian Post in an interview on Tuesday. In an editorial for the Washington Post, Asay linked the story of medical engineer Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) to the ancient myths of Osiris, Gilgamesh, Hermes, Odysseus, and Orpheus.
After the tragic death of her young daughter, Stone travels into space, suffers catastrophic accidents that nearly kill her, and at one point runs out of oxygen.
At that point, she witnesses a visitation which gives her new purpose in life. In the empty dark of space, Asay wrote, she is reborn.
This death and rebirth echoes ancient myths, but it also mimics the story of Christ.
“But the most powerful (and, in my belief, the truest) of these stories is that of Jesus, who died and (as is written in the Apostle’s Creed) descended into hell, and rose again to bring us the possibility of new life,” Asay wrote.
"The film deals with spirituality honestly, not explicitly from a Christian perspective, but you can take it as such
“The film deals with spirituality honestly, not explicitly from a Christian perspective, but you can take it as such,” The Plugged In reviewer told CP. He admitted that “Gravity” does not carry an explicit Christian worldview, but argued that it hints toward the faith. “If you follow the trail, it will lead right to Christianity,” he said.[Continue reading Tyler O’Neil, Christian Post Reporter at The Christian Post ]
by Dave Andrusko | Washington, DC | LifeNews
Using remarkable technology to eavesdrop on the unborn child, it seems as if every day in every way we find that he or she is a remarkable human being.
One study builds on another on another, and so forth, showing ever-greater complexity.
Using 4-dimensional ultrasound, a few months ago researchers from Durham and Lancaster Universities published a study of 15 healthy unborn babies that showed how the child’s facial expressions develop and become more complex as the baby grows.
On the scans you can see recognizable facial expressions including what can only be described as a smile, followed by even more complex multi-dimensional expressions.
Researchers interpreted the behavior as babies “practicing” facial expressions.
The article was published in the academic journal, PLOS ONE.
Just this past week, publishing in the journal “Developmental Psychobiology,” researchers found that that babies get better at anticipating their own movements as they enter the later stages of gestation. Put another way, “For the first time, psychologists discovered that foetuses were able to predict, rather than react to, their own hand movements towards their mouths as they entered the later stages of gestation compared to earlier in a pregnancy,” according to Carolyn Buchanan.[Continue reading Dave Andrusko | Washington, DC at LifeNews]
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s candid interview with New York magazine covers a lot of ground: gay rights, media echo chambers, Seinfeld, and how little he cares about his intellectual legacy.
But what surprised his interviewer, Jennifer Senior, the most was his belief in “the Devil.”
This actually isn’t the first time Scalia has publicly raised the question of Satan. But after discussing heaven and hell, Scalia leaned toward Senior and whispered, “I even believe in the Devil.” “You do?” Senior responded. “Of course!” said Scalia, explaining that all faithful Catholics do the same.
After a few more exchanges, Senior asked, “Isn’t it terribly frightening to believe in the Devil?” Scalia was shocked by Senior’s incredulity:
You’re looking at me as though I’m weird. My God! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the Devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the Devil! It’s in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the Devil! Most of mankind has believed in the Devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the Devil.
Citing C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters, Scalia explained that the Devil has gotten wilier since Bible times. Instead of making pigs jump off cliffs, possessing people, and whatnot, he’s “getting people not to believe in him or in God.”[Continue reading Kevin P. Emmert at Christianity Today]
Embrace Grace is a 501c3 that inspires the church to love on single and pregnant girls. Visit http://www.iembracegrace.com to join or start an Embrace Grace program near you. Be a part of the movement by sharing the video! And for more stories like this one, pick up a copy of A Bump in Life: True Stories of Hope & Courage during an Unplanned Pregnancy at a retail store near you!
by Shawn Carney | Washington, DC | LifeNews
I know you’re eager for some Monday morning good news, so I’ll get straight to it.
So far during this 40 Days for Life campaign … through God’s blessings … 135 babies have been saved from abortion – that we know of!
Here are the stories of three of those babies:
Paul watched as a mom and dad arrived at the abortion center with their teenage daughter. The father was a big guy, “and he looked like he was mad.”
One of the prayer volunteers they walked past held a poster with a picture of a tiny baby in the palm of a hand with the words, “choose life.”
The three went inside the building, but came out about half an hour later. The man walked in Paul’s direction – Paul again thought the man appeared angry, but he soon learned he was mistaken.
The first words out of the man’s mouth were,
" “We decided not to do it. I saw the sign and it made me change my mind.”
“It was an amazing relief!” Paul said. “Thank you Jesus! The Holy Spirit is working through our prayers! Please continue to pray to end abortion in Tuscaloosa.”
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA
-by Tim Challies | challies.com
Sick of porn? Time to detox.
A huge percentage of men need a porn detox, a moral and psychological reset. Do you?
If so, whether you know it or not, pornography has corrupted your thinking, weakened your conscience, warped your sense of right and wrong, and twisted your understanding and expectations of sexuality. You need a reset by the One who created sex.
In this book, I hope to help you reorient your understanding of sex, both in the big picture and in the act itself, according to God’s plan for this great gift. I want to help you detox from all the junk you’ve seen, all the lies you’ve believed.
This is not an easy process. It is rarely a quick process. It involves a letting go of old realities and an embrace of a new normal. To be willing to go through it you need to see how bad your current situation really is, and how the path you are on leads no place good. You need to see that the path of porn leads only to more isolation, guilt, alienation, and pain. Whether single or married, such a reset to normal is the only thing that can ever equip you to become a pure, loving, attentive, sacrificial husband. But you already know you need to change.
Few Christian men indulge in porn without realizing they need to quit. Every Christian guy who looks at porn wants to stop, but many of us want to stop just a little bit less than we want to keep going.
The problem isn’t knowledge-it’s desire and ability. So sin prevails. Here’s a promise. You’ll never stop until you begin to see the monstrous nature of the sin you’re committing. You’ll never stop until the sin is more horrifying to you than the commission of the sin is enjoyable. You’ll need to hate that sin before you can find freedom from it.
That means you need more grace.[Read more and get the book by Tim Challies at challies.com]
By Greggrey C. Cudworth | The Colson Center
The Five “Solas” of the Reformation (1)
When Martin Luther wrote his Ninety-five Theses he challenged the authority of the Roman Church by maintaining that dogmas of the Church concerning issues of faith (such as tradition, Papal edicts, church authority, or church councils), which were not found in Scripture, should be debated. His was one of many voices calling for reform in the Church in the early years of the 16thcentury. Subsequent writings, especially three brief tracts from 1520, put Luther at odds with Church leadership. In 1521 he was summoned to a meeting of civil and ecclesiastical powers – the Imperial Diet at Worms – and offered the opportunity to recant his writings or face punishment. Luther came before the council a frightened man, fearing excommunication from the Church and peril for his life. Not being able to speak his mind on the first day, Luther asked for a night of prayer before giving the council his final word. The next day Luther again stood before the council alone, literally shaking in his boots. Then, in a small voice, Luther shook the very foundations of the Roman Church and Empire when he gave his final reply:
"“Your Imperial Majesty and Your Lordships demand a simple answer. Here it is, plain and unvarnished. Unless I am convicted [convinced] of error by the testimony of Scripture or (since I put no trust in the unsupported authority of Pope or councils, since it is plain that they have often erred and often contradicted themselves) by manifest reasoning, I stand convicted [convinced] by the Scriptures to which I have appealed, and my conscience is taken captive by God’s word, I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”
For Luther nothing was more important nor had more authority for faith than the Word of God. In our day, various forms of liberal theology continue to subvert the authority of Scripture in the minds of many people of faith. This week’s readings guide us in considering the teaching of Scripture as to the nature of its divine authority to inform faith and shape practice.
1. Scripture is from God
One of the biggest issues for believers relates to the question of the source of Scripture. Where did Scripture come from? The answer is vital to our accepting Scripture as authoritative. If it is not from God then it is no more than a compilation of philosophical or spiritual writings to pick and choose from as a possible source of truth. Discover the true source of Scripture from the verses for today’s reading. How would you explain this to an unbelieving friend?
2. Scripture alone comes from God.
3. Scripture is to be embraced in love.
4. Scripture is eternal.
5. Scripture is necessary for faith.
6. Scripture is necessary for practice.
7. Scripture bears the test of time and criticism.
Summary[Read details for each heading and summary by Greggrey C. Cudworth at The Colson Center.org]
Evan Leong is the director of the documentary “Linsanity,” which opened in 10 American cities on October 4. Like his subject, Houston Rockets player Jeremy Lin, Leong also grew up playing basketball and is Asian-American, and started chronicling Lin’s story back when he was playing at Harvard.
He shares his thoughts with The Christian Post below about Linsanity, how it impacted his faith, and what his future projects will be.
CP: How did you decide to make this documentary?
Leong: When we started this documentary he was at Harvard – this was long before “Linsanity” even became a word – and you know in my work as a filmmaker and a documentary maker, I always find a subject matter, and someone like Jeremy fits the primers for being a good role model, and what he was doing on the court. Then the more I learned off the court, what he was about, he was a character that you really want to further explore and share the story, so that he can be a role model for the generation of tomorrow.
Ultimately for me, for obvious or unobvious reasons, I grew up playing basketball, we’re both Asian-Americans, we grew up in the Bay Area, but what he was doing on the basketball court and off the basketball court really intrigued me. You know, when you put someone in a documentary you have the potential to be seen by millions of people – you want to make something about somebody that can help or inspire the next generation.
CP: Why did you decide to highlight Jeremy’s faith in Linsanity?[Continue reading MORGAN LEE , CP CONTRIBUTOR at The Christian Post]
By Matthew Lounsberry | The Washington Times
The Supreme Court prepares to open its 2013-14 term next week.
A small town in upstate New York is at the center of what legal scholars say could be one of the biggest religious freedom cases in decades, as the Supreme Court prepares to open its 2013-14 term next week.
The town council’s practice of beginning its meetings with a prayer…
The case, the Town of Greece (N.Y.) v. Galloway, involves the town council’s practice of beginning its meetings with a prayer offered by a volunteer “chaplain of the month” — Christian and non-Christian — and has attracted friend-of-the-court briefs from religious, secular and civil liberties organizations.
The surprising decision to take the case and how it rules could offer new insights on how far the court headed by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is prepared to go to redefine the role of religion in the public square.
A decision in favor of those challenging the city could affect religious observances at public events and gatherings across the United States.
Prayer before school board meetings, high school athletic events, local charity events and many more could be threatened.
"“If the court were to rule for Galloway, it would have to abandon prior precedent, it would have to abandon hundreds of years of practice going back to the founders of our country, and put in jeopardy the many practices and events that reflect our religious heritage throughout the country,” said David Cortman, attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian advocacy organization supporting the town of Greece.
-Michael Brown, PhD | The Christian Post
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 22 books and hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire.
Christian ministry pages on Facebook are being targeted for profane harassment, and Facebook is turning a blind eye. I believe it is time for those of us who use social media, especially Facebook, to send them a message.
Last year, I documented Facebook’s glaring double standard when it came to allowing all kinds of obscene, Jesus-mocking Facebook pages (along with pages encouraging anti-Israel violence) while shutting down Christian pages that differed respectfully with homosexual activism (in this case, the page devoted to discussion of my book A Queer Thing Happened to America).
Thankfully, after bringing national attention to this issue and working with an internal contact at Facebook, the page was reactivated, with apologies from Facebook. (For the relevant stories, see here and here.) But the extremely offensive sites, replete with profane, Christ-defacing graphics and horrific anti-Jewish images, were not shut down, despite the clear standards articulated in Facebook’s Community Guidelines.
Still, if Facebook wants to allow groups of all kinds to use their services, that’s their prerogative, as long as Facebook doesn’t violate its own standards and allow anyone to harass or intimidate others.
"Facebook is now permitting a new version of cyber-attacks on Christian pages
Unfortunately, Facebook is now permitting a new version of cyber-attacks on Christian pages, and despite working with my internal contact at Facebook and despite others complaining about this very issue, Facebook told me nothing would be done to resolve the problem.
To give the relevant details, a few weeks ago, my staff noticed that there were “Likes” appearing in response to posts on my AskDrBrown Facebook page, and these “Likes” were from new Facebook pages, including “Jesus F**king Christ. Slut Mary’s Bast*rd.”
Yes, this is actually the name of a Facebook Fan page – spelled out in full – and the page is as profane as the name. Yet Facebook says the page does not violate community guidelines for hate speech against a religious group![Continue reading Michael Brown, PhD at The Christian Post]
In England, a recent report showed that nearly two-thirds of MP’s believe that supporting gay ‘marriage’ is a ‘vote loser.’ And reports from local Conservative associations show a rapid decline in membership, with gay marriage seen as one of the reasons. Now even the Prime Minister, David Cameron, is saying that he regrets “forcing” marriage redefinition through the Parliament.
The same can be said in America. Despite the droning drumbeat of the mainstream media, nearly two-thirds – 65 percent – of Americans disapprove of redefining marriage.
During the November 2012 elections, true marriage out-polled the Romney campaign in all four states marriage was on the ballot – by double digit margins![Continue reading at The National Organization for Marriage]
I’ve grown up in a culture where abortion is commonplace. Furthermore, I risk being branded as intolerant, immoral, or worse for questioning this practice.
Be that as it may, I’ve never clearly understood the logic of abortion.
Why, in Canada, is it morally acceptable to terminate a normal pregnancy but morally unacceptable to euthanize a healthy happy two-year old girl?
The answer escapes me, and I suspect it escapes you too.
Our values (in Canada):
I take it that I share certain values with my fellow citizens, the foremost being that,
(1) It is morally wrong to end a human life without adequate justification.
Indeed, Canada is a society without capital punishment. We don’t consider ourselves competent to end a human life after a fair trial (or perhaps we think no trial could ever produce the needed justification to kill). This doesn’t make us pacifists. We have police who will use lethal force provided they can justify their actions. We also employ our military if need be in defense of our values and interests. But there is always reluctance. Ending a human life is serious business. Doing so without adequate justification is inconceivable to Canadians.
When it comes to abortion, however, it seems clear to me that in Canada people widely believe,
(2) It is not morally wrong to terminate a pregnancy without adequate justification.
Somebody correct me if I’m reading the culture wrong here. As I understand it, a woman’s “right-to-choose” is taken to be sacred by many Canadians. To morally require adequate justification for terminating a pregnancy would clearly violate this widespread Canadian value.
Putting these two beliefs together, it becomes clear that, to Canadians, ending a human life isnot in the same category as terminating a pregnancy. Lacking adequate justification, one is morally permitted; the other is not. It follows, then, that Canadians have committed themselves to believing,
(3) Terminating a pregnancy is not the same thing as ending a human life.
Since ending a human life and terminating a pregnancy both amount to ending life of some sort, it is clear that many Canadians actually believe,
(4) An unborn life is not a human life.
This is the logical outcome of our thinking. But is it true?
What am I?[Continue reading Ben Nasmith | The Christian Apologetics Alliance]
I personally have never used steroids. Just so we’re clear on that. I’ve never really been tempted. Partly because I’ve never played the kind of sports where steroids come into play. Partly because I have always had the kind of body type that would be magnificently steroid-resistant.
But what if some denomination or church-planting network had a lab that came up with Pastor-Enhancing Drugs?
Jimmy Mellado, who recently became the CEO of Compassion International, was an Olympic decathlete a few years ago. For that grueling competition, he was somewhat undersized, and I remember him talking about how hard it was to compete by the rules while knowing others were taking chemical shortcuts to get ahead. He went on to describe the wrong sorts of fuel that all of us can use at times to energize us in life; motivations that may catalyze impressive performance for a while but put our spiritual and emotional health at risk.
So here’s a list of ecclesiastical performance enhancers that you’ll find available in the sacristy (or green room, depending on the kind of church you serve).
They may fuel an impressive looking ministry run for a season. But the long term effects don’t become fully visible until eternity.
This is the Human Growth Hormone of the ministry world.
We live in a celebrity culture, and the church has not escaped. In the early days of the church, people didn’t refer to churches as if they were the possession of the senior pastor (“I go to John Chrysostom’s church”).
An interesting contrast: name one person who has become famous through Alcoholics Anonymous (“Bill W. is a 12-step rock star!”). Adam Grant’s wonderful book Give & Take notes that ego-driven CEOs can be detected by little signs like having more and larger pictures of themselves in annual reports, and using “I,” “me,” and “mine” disproportionately often.
2. Guilt and fear
4. Envy[Continue reading John Ortberg at Christianity Today]
– From Christian Newswire
Film by Rick Santorum’s EchoLight Studios Opens Oct. 18 in Theaters
DALLAS, Oct. 3, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — “Seasons of Gray: A Modern Day Joseph Story,” which opens Oct. 18 in theaters around the country, shares a timely response to the age-old question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
“If you’re human and you’ve experienced disappointment and confusion, the story of ‘Seasons of Gray’ will resonate with you,” said Todd Wagner, the Senior Pastor at Watermark Community Church in Dallas, which made the film.
“Seasons of Gray” is the culmination of a nearly decade-old dream by former Watermark staff member Paul Stehlik, now a missionary in Africa, to share biblical stories through the medium of film, updated in a modern cultural context for contemporary audiences.
“Seasons of Gray” tells a beloved tale thousands of years old in a timely way that reaches far beyond the Christian community to mainstream audiences. The compelling story of Brady Gray (played by Andrew Cheney), the favored son of a two-time widower, begins on location at a Texas ranch. After Brady’s father lavishes him with accolades and gifts, his half-brothers, fed up with his privileged position and arrogant attitude, kick him off the family ranch with a stern warning to never return.[Continue reading at Christian Newswire]