En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

  • Grab My Button!

    BWS tips button
    <a href="http://dadsdevoted.com"><img src="http://i496.photobucket.com/albums/rr323/baileytribe/blog/blckwhite_button.jpg" alt="BWS tips button" width="125" height="125" /></a><div style="border: 1px solid #DDD; margin: auto; padding: 5px 10px; background: #F8F8F8 none repeat scroll 0pt 0pt; overflow: auto; height: 100px; line-height: 1.5em;">***</div>

Archive for the ‘*Guest Blog Articles’ Category

Men: Some Thoughts on Facebook! Be Careful!

Posted by Scott on February 25, 2009

I was forwarded the below post one day and thought I would pass it along.  Men, we need to really pay attention to our time, especially if we have a wife, family, and/or ministry.  Our adversary, satan, would love nothing more than to use something like Facebook to get us off track and even destroy our very lives.  Read with an awareness that our time here is short…use what you have to the glory of God.

Slice of Laodicea

“An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal this morning raises the issue of Facebook use among adults. Reportedly, some who observe Lent are giving up their Facebooking for the 40 days prior to Easter. Facebook addiction, and the snares and pitfalls of social networking sites are the larger issues that deserve some attention.

Not long ago, I was invited to try Facebook by a friend who enjoyed the ability to stay in touch with other like-minded believers. I signed on. I didn’t feel I was doing anything particularly hip and up-to-date. I didn’t even really know what Facebook was. The thought of having contact with other Christians on a more casual and friendly basis was attractive. The work I do is often so serious in nature that a lighter opportunity to interact seemed like a great idea.

Within hours, I was into the Facebook vortex. People began “friending” me, most of whom I did not know, but who knew of me only through the Crosstalk Show or Slice. After initially struggling for a week or more to figure out how the site worked, I got a second wave of “friends” who discovered me online: people I hadn’t seen since the day I graduated from high school, college Republican acquaintances, even a former fiance all showed up asking to be Facebook friends. That’s where things began to get interesting.

Facebook has something called a news feed which updates you on nearly everything your “friends” do on their pages. You can control this feed, something I did not initially realize, as photos, videos and status reports from strangers began coming through. One “friend”, a woman I had known briefly in high school shared photos of herself in a tattoo parlor. I’ll leave the description off there. One male friend from years ago, identifying now as an “anarchist”, began showing off his new beliefs by posting blasphemous statements on my Facebook page or “wall” as it is called. I quickly had to locate the “de-friend” button to remove these individuals, including another acquaintance from the past who decided to share drinking adventure stories.

Meanwhile, the lure of the news feed became clear. With the click of a mouse, you can end up in somebody else’s personal photo album, read the comments on their wall, find out what someone is doing through their “status updates” and so forth and so on. I now had a window into the personal lives of people I barely knew, or in some cases, did know. Somebody changed her profile photo to a glamor shot, hmmm, interesting. Friend X has posted photos of herself in evening attire! Oh look at that new photo. Hmmm, I don’t know if that outfit is all that attractive in that color…Hey, an old boyfriend is making suggestive comments on my married friend’s site. She’d better hit the “de-friend” button on that guy. I’ll bet her husband wouldn’t be pleased. Yikes!…And so it went.

Welcome to the world of Facebook. Yes, these social networking sites can be an asset in some ways. I found that I connected with a busy teen niece for the first time because of my Facebook presence. I got in contact with extended family members I hadn’t seen in years and exchanged family photos. But. At least speaking for myself, I found that the site was a minefield spiritually. I started out checking the site a couple of times a day. As my “friend” list grew, however, I found myself checking it multiple times a day. Can you say “time wasting?” I offended several “friends” by not answering their Facebook messages quickly enough. The drama had started. My email in box started getting hit with notifications that people had tagged me in photographs. I awoke one morning to find that a man I had known in high school had started scanning his yearbook and tagged me in an embarrassing photo that could be seen by all “friends” on my list. In short, the entire experience ended up being a return to adolescence. I pulled the plug and not a moment too soon.

My experience is certainly not everybody’s. Because of my presence on Christian radio and the Internet through Slice and my Hope blog, I did manage to attract a higher number of Facebook trolls and those with malicious intent, in addition to the usual mixed assortment of former friends, family, acquaintances, etc. Those who use a social networking site and who limit their “friend” list strictly to those they genuinely know and care about probably would have an easier experience. I did not know what “friend requests” to approve and who not to approve, and I didn’t want to offend someone who was genuinely friendly.

The primary problem I found was the voyeuristic behavior that the site encourages. What business is it of mine what photos somebody has in their personal albums online? With Facebook, however, whenever anybody adds a new photograph, you are sent a thumbnail of it and by clicking on it, you are taken directly into somebody’s personal life. That’s the whole point of the site!

While I am in NO way accusing all Facebookers of engaging in sin (some even use the site strictly for ministry purposes and I salute that!), I found that without care taken, the site can engender a host of sins like envy, gossip, judgmental thinking, exhibitionism, pride, boundary issues with the opposite gender, and above all, time wasting. The latter issue was the biggest issue for me. There are only so many minutes in a day. With the flesh’s natural resistance to prayer and Bible study, I couldn’t justify my interest in the lives of other people. If God isn’t receiving the worship, time and fellowship He deserves, how could I justify spending all the energy on a social networking site, even with fellow Christians?

Everyone has to come to their own conclusions on this. Technology affords so many opportunities now to communicate with others and the world that can be used for good. It also offers us many new snares and opportunities to sin. Whether a given technology is worth the struggle of fighting pitfalls is something each person must decide. Above all, we need to be ready to examine ourselves and honestly look at our motives and behavior in light of God’s Word. If we can’t control the temptation a technology brings, we need to do rapid surgery and get rid of it so that Satan does not gain a foothold in our lives. If we can use a technology for God’s glory with a clear conscience, we need to carry on and thank God for the opportunity.”

Posted in *Guest Blog Articles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

39 Lessons, 20 Tips and 10 “Don’ts” for Parenting by the Schmuckers

Posted by Scott on December 13, 2008

39 Lessons, 20 Tips and 10 “Don’ts” For Parenting


By Matt & Elizabeth Schmucker


39 LESSONS WE’VE LEARNED

Lessons About Ourselves

  1. To be a faithful steward of your children you must abide in Christ (John 15:5: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”).
  2. “Trickle down theory” – Mom’s daily devotion naturally trickles down to encouragement and instruction in the Lord for the children.
  3. Not listening to your children causes you to misjudge them (James 1:19-20: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires”).
  4. Our task list is not as important as our children’s thought life.
  5. Preach the gospel of grace, not self-discipline.
  6. Being parented is defining; Parenting is refining.
  7. You will parent the way you were parented unless you think things through.
  8. Parents should become “smaller” as their children become bigger. In other words, a parent should become more transparent in confessing one’s sin and in sharing past struggles as children mature. Your children should hear more about your fight for faith as they grow older. Don’t be a plastic Christian!
  9. Ordinary times make for extraordinary memories.
  10. To have children is to need margin in your life.
  11. A disreputable life will undermine the gospel. An exemplary life will commend it.

Lessons About Children

  1. Little kids need the strength of your youth; older kids need your wisdom (i.e. have children while you’re young!).
  2. Pack in truth while your children are little and trust the Lord to unpack it in his time.
  3. Study your children. Know their “love language.”
  4. Consistent, loving, faithful discipline brings peace to the home. Inconsistency brings chaos.
  5. Do not let your child see their value in light of the world’s standards. The world rewards the 3 R’s. God delights in the heart that is tuned toward his (Deuteronomy 30:8-10: “You will again obey the Lord and follow all his commands I am giving you today. Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul“).
  6. God hands out “talents” to our children. The child with two talents who exercises both may in fact be more pleasing in the eyes of God than the one with five talents who exercises three (Matt. 25). Faithful stewardship is the goal!
  7. On some days, it’s just fine to accomplish nothing more than keeping your kids fed and safe.
  8. Older children need to learn how to care for the weaker among them; doing so smells like Jesus. Matthew 18 reads, “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” By contrast, Psalm 10:2 reads, “In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises.”
  9. Do not presume you will be able to speak into the lives of your older children if you do not live in their world when they are younger. Play with your children. There is a reap/sow principle at work here (2 Cor. 9:6: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously”).
  10. There’s nothing wrong with boredom for your children. It causes them to be creative.
  11. Send your kids to bed well (and school!) (Eph. 4:26: “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”).
  12. Make sure your kids keep short accounts with each other. Create a culture of care and forgiveness in your home (1 Cor. 13:5: “Love…keeps no record of wrongs”).
  13. Teach your kids to be shock absorbers, not wave makers (Matt. 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God”).
  14. Kids can memorize scripture very quickly.
  15. Teach your children to notice needs. Teach them to ask, “What can I do to help?” (Phil. 2:3: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves”).
  16. Teach your children to look adults in the eyes. It shows respect and recognizes authority.
  17. Fight materialism by teaching your children to have a thankful heart (1 Thes. 5:18: “…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”).
  18. Teach your children to receive reproof, correction, and instruction (Prov. 12:15 “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice”).
  19. Let kids be kids. Let them dabble in various areas of extra-curricular activities (sports, art, drama, etc) rather than build a resume.

Lessons About Satan

  1. It seems Satan comes into our homes on Sunday mornings in order to make the Lord’s Day one of struggle.
  2. Do not feel outside pressure to baptize your children. Look for and test for a credible profession of faith in your child (Prov 22:15 “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child…”).
  3. Satan is a divider and always attacks authority: husband/wife and parent/child. In your home fight for unity around the gospel.
  4. For mothers, the “I-can-do-it-all-superwoman” mindset is at best a myth and at worst a lie from hell (Matt. 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money”; Luke 10:40 “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made; verse 41: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her”).
  5. Beware of sports…on Sundays! Decide while your children are young that you will not allow the growing all-weekend sports phenomenon to usurp your worship (Ex. 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God”).
  6. Arm your children for the world, not (necessarily) shield them from it. Consider getting your high-school-aged children out of the Christian bubble.

Lessons About God

  1. Prayer is a mighty weapon to use in the life of your children:
    1. It changes the parent’s approach to the child
    2. It softens the hard-hearted child
  2. God uses children as a mirror to your own heart to expose your sin and hypocrisy.
  3. God elects. God saves. Parents cannot do this heart-changing work. At best we can pray and point to the One who can cause our children to be born again.

20 MORE TIPS FOR RAISING GOD-HONORING CHILDREN

  1. The saying goes, “When mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” We believe daddy is actually the problem. From a complementarian’s viewpoint one needs to conclude the above saying with, “And if daddy ain’t happy in the Lord, ain’t nobody happy.”
  2. In a stay-at-home-mom scenario, dad tends to back away from discipline when mom has been with the children all day. In one sense this is wise as he has not observed the rhythm and rhyme of the day. However, dad needs to catch up and jump in.
  3. Talk to both good and not-so-good parents; you’ll learn lessons from both.
  4. Talking to really old parents may not prove to be fruitful as their memories fade and they’ll remember raising kids as either a nightmare or a glorious experience. Talking to parents 5-10 years ahead of where you are seems most fruitful (Prov. 15:22: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed”).
  5. Though you may think this premature, have a vision for being involved spiritually with your grandchildren. This will shape even your parenting.
    • Positive example: Paul writing to Timothy said, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in your also” (2 Tim. 1:5).
    • Negative example: “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel” (Judg. 2:10).
  6. Let your children see you practicing hospitality and let them participate. This breaks down the selfish tendencies all kids have (Rom. 12:13: “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality”).
  7. Unbelievers set up their home for the benefit of themselves. Christians should set up and use their homes for the benefit of their family, the church community, and outsiders (notice the order of this list).

    Supporting verses:

    • “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8).
    • “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Gal. 6:10).
  8. If we could do it again, we would not have a television in our home. The television competes with more important things going on in the home. It competes for right thinking in the mind of the child. If you have a television, then watch it with your children (when you can) and play “catch the lies.”
  9. Our generation of parents encourages children to express themselves and vent all that’s on their minds. My parents’ generation grew up under the instruction that “Children are to be seen and not heard.” Both appear to be out of balance. Proverbs 10:8 says, “The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.” Ephesians 4:29 suggests that the purpose of speech is to the benefit of the listener.
  10. You cannot expect younger children to obey if their older siblings do not. Proverbs 10:17 says, “He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.”
  11. One’s conscience is not the same as the Law of the Lord. If conscience is defined as “That inner-voice that acts as a guide as to the rightness or wrongness of a behavior,” then your conscience is only as good as your knowledge of God’s Word. An informed conscience can be a trustworthy thing if it is drawing from God’s Word, God’s Law. An uninformed conscience is incredibly dangerous. Inform your child’s conscience by pouring in God’s Word. 
  12. We often speak of a home with the aroma of Christ (peace, hope, forgiveness and love—all for God’s glory). Alternatives are homes with the aroma of
    • a bus station—people just passing through
    • a war zone—people fighting all the time

    What does your home smell like?

  13. “Moral children” does not equal “Christian children.”
  14. Do a “sermon review” with your children sometime on Sunday. Have each child recap what he or she learned in Sunday School or “big church” and then help them apply it to their own hearts and trials. Then spend time praying for each other’s coming week.
  15. Martin Luther said he had the responsibility to be the worship leading pastor in his own home. His home was to be both a school and a church. Fathers, do you have this mindset?
  16. The unstated implication of Luther’s charge (above) is that fathers need to be present to lead in worship. Being in the house with a Blackberry in hands doesn’t count!
  17. Don Whitney encourages “brevity, regularity and flexibility” in family worship.
  18. Build in your children a global vision of God’s work in the world and thereby build a Great commission Mindset. We have found that having a map near to where we eat most of our meals is helpful. Reading from Operation World can inform the entire family of God’s work in the world.
  19. When children ask for permission to do something, their request can fall into one of several categories:

    Not Wise / Permissible
    E.g. out with friends on Sat night

    Not Wise / Not Permissible
    E.g. underage drinking and driving

    Wise / Permissible
    E.g. excused from family chores to prepare for next day’s test

    Wise / Not Permissible
    This problem rarely presents itself. Wants to save money for college but is not working age.

    The Not Wise / Permissible category is the hardest to deal with. Try to break down the request and sort out in your own mind why you think the request is unwise. Is it your own preference or is it truly unwise? Then encourage them to think through the wisdom of the matter, so that, even if you permit them to do it, they will remember the lesson when things go poorly.

  20. Build Godward children.

TOP 10 WAYS TO (WRONGLY) PROVOKE YOUR CHILDREN

  • Colossians 3:21: “Fathers [and mothers], do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”
  • Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers [and mothers], do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
  1. Make it a habit to discipline your child while angry.
  2. Make it a point to scold your child – especially in public. Mockery and ridicule work well.
  3. Deliberately embarrass your child in front of his/her friends. Name calling really gets their attention.
  4. Create double standards so that the child never knows who or what to follow.
  5. Preach and hold the child to a gospel of self-discipline instead of a gospel of grace. (Note: the Bible presents Pharisees as very unhappy people.)
  6. Never admit you’re wrong and never ask your children for forgiveness.
  7. Inspect your child until you find something wrong. Holding them to an unreachable standard makes this task easier.
  8. Judge a fight between your children before you’ve listened to them.
  9. Compare your child to others.
  10. Promise your children things early in the day and then don’t fulfill the promise.

Parents should provoke their children…in good ways: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on [provoke!] toward love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24).

Matt & Elizabeth Schmucker are the parents of five children who presently range in ages from 3 to 19. Matt is the executive director of 9Marks and an elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC.

© 9Marks

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you do not make more than 1,000 physical copies. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be explicitly approved by 9Marks.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: © 9Marks. Website: http://www.9Marks.org. Email: info@9marks.org.

To go directly to their site for this article click 9Marks

Posted in *Guest Blog Articles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Living and Holy Sacrifice! By Guest Blogger Dave Stallings

Posted by Scott on March 12, 2008

by Dave Stallings

“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1, 2).

It’s 5:15 in the morning and I am still awake from the pain in my back from the cancer lesion that was removed from my back yesterday morning. They said that I would experience some pain after the local numbing medication wore off and they were right. I am, indeed, wide awake, and unable to sleep from that experience, however it seems to be yet another opportunity in my life to allow God to be glorified. I cannot, on my own, endure the difficulties that go on in my defective “tent” so I sit here at my laptop, attempting to present my body, as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God…”  and allow Him to minister to my needs even now at another inconvenient time. And as the scripture says, Paul reminds us to NOT be “…conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds”.

I have seen that over the past 3 years now, nothing outshines God in my life, nothing is more important and nothing is capable of “calming” my mind and spirit the way that just thinking of God is able to do. So I think of God a lot in these times. “…being transformed” and “…renewing my mind” makes me think that I am, daily getting closer to God and farther from the securities (or perhaps insecurities) of this world. I seem to be reminded every day, by something that this world is not our home and I am simply just passing through. This is the thought process that helps us shake off the fears of life and know that our God is preparing us for an eternity in the presence of His Glory. Makes me wonder how it is that others can endure some of life’s hardships without His Spirit residing in them.

The passage of scripture goes on to say “…so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is GOOD and ACCEPTABLE and PERFECT.” It is words from God like that which take me all the way back to the beginning when God created this world for us and He said, upon completion of each event that “it was good” (Genesis 1). Can you look at a “thorn in your flesh” this morning and see that it is good? If you can, then perhaps you are being transformed and renewed in mind and spirit by the only force that can give you true peace. After all, isn’t true peace what we are all looking for in this life? Paul says earlier in Romans that he is “…not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Ro. 1:16). Are you listening close enough to God to have the power to be transformed and renewed, in spite of the difficult and sometimes, near impossible situations in this life? Next Thursday I get the opportunity to have another PET SCAN for the Lymphoma and I really expect the cancer to still be sleeping. I believe that God has done that for me. He can do that for you, too. Take the time, each day to be transformed and renewed, and know that God is the only tool you need.

About the Author
-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
Dave Stallings lives in Phoenix , Arizona with his wife of 36 years, Barbara, who also suffers a serious chronic illness, and their dog, Captain Jack…along with their kids and grand kids ! Dave is a semi-retired pastor and loves to blog on his personal web page since being diagnosed with Stage IV incurable non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma almost three years ago now and his motto is “It is what it is and God is not surprised”…. His personal testimony can be read at http://www.nowwhut.org/ and he can be reached by email at mailto:dstallings2@qwest.net
.

www.nowwhut.org

www.nowwhataz.blogspot.com

dstallings2@qwest.net

Posted in *Guest Blog Articles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Good Samaritan! by guest blogger David Stallings

Posted by Scott on January 14, 2008

The Good Samaritan

Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho , and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.” Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” Luke 10:30-37

This popular parable emphasizes the meaning of neighborliness and the importance of true Christian compassion. Responding to a lawyer who asked, “Who is my neighbor?”,   Jesus makes it clear that any human being in need is our neighbor. By casting one of the Samaritans (men much despised by the Jews) in the role of the compassionate neighbor, Jesus challenges His audience. He seems to be saying: If a Samaritan, whom you consider an outcast, will rescue a Jew in trouble, what a reflection it is on you and your religion if, in indifference, you pass by those in need.

What side of the street are you walking on these days?

About the Author
-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
Dave Stallings lives in Phoenix , Arizona with his wife of 36 years, Barbara, Who also suffers a serious chronic illness, and their dog, Captain Jack…along with their kids and grand kids ! Dave is a semi-retired pastor and loves to blog on his personal web page since being diagnosed with Stage IV incurable non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma two and a half years ago..his motto is “It is what it is and God is not surprised”….his blog is http://www.nowwhataz.blogspot.com/, his personal testimony can be read at http://www.nowwhataz.org/ and he can be reached by email at mailto:dstallings2@qwest.net.

-Scott Bailey 2008

Posted in *Guest Blog Articles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Fads Fade, but the Word Stands Forever!

Posted by Scott on November 29, 2007

Fads Fade, but the Word Stands Forever

Bible House(By Phil Johnson)

This concludes Phil’s series on the fad-driven church. For those who missed any of the earlier portions of this series, here are links to the previous posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6.

As we have seen in the last two posts, the Word of God is both powerful and penetrating. Third—

3. The Word of God is precise.

Notice how this verse describes the ministry of the Word of God as precision surgery, not wanton destruction: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Now, obviously, surgery is ordinarily done with a scalpel, not a sword. Scalpels are small and precise, and razor sharp—just like the Word of God:  “sharper than any twoedged sword.” The surgeon uses a scalpel with great care to cut precisely, sometimes dividing fine layers of tissue with remarkable precision.

That is exactly what is described here. The Word of God divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and it is capable of great discrimination. It discerns “the thoughts and intents of the heart”—something that is not even visible to the human eye.

We cannot look upon the heart—the innermost part of the human soul. First Samuel 16:7: “Man looketh on the outward appearance, but [only] the LORD looketh on the heart.”

We can’t even correctly discern the thoughts and intents of our own hearts.  Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” We are all subject to self-deception and blindness when it comes to judging our own hearts. But the Word of God reveals what is really in our hearts, and it correctly assesses our thoughts and intentions. It shows our motives and our imaginations for what they really are. And that is why it is capable of such precision surgery—even in the deepest recesses of our souls.

Some people misread this phrase “the dividing asunder of soul and spirit”  and imagine that this describes two completely separate parts of the immaterial makeup of our beings. I don’t believe that’s what it is teaching. I realize there  are good Bible teachers who teach that man is a tripartite creature, consisting of body, soul, and spirit. But I don’t think that’s the point of this verse. Scripture often uses the expressions “soul” and “spirit” interchangeably. It is difficult to make any meaningful division between soul and spirit, and that is the whole point.

Just like the “joints and marrow” of your bones and the “thoughts and  intentions” of your heart, these things are so inextricably linked that it’s impossible to separate them without destroying one or the other. They aren’t  separate entities that exist apart from each other. They aren’t distinct human faculties. There is overlap and interdependence. But the Word of God is precise  and exact, and it cuts with painstaking accuracy. It divides what cannot otherwise be divided. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, and yet more precise than any surgeon’s scalpel.

Here’s the point: We ought to make better use of the Word of God in our ministry, and ignore all the evangelical fads that come and go. After all, only the Word of God has the powerful, penetrating precision that is necessary to reach and revitalize hearts that are cold and dead because of  sin. And this is also our clear biblical mandate: “Preach the word . . . in season, out of season”—no matter which way the winds of doctrine are blowing and no  matter how many fads and fashions come and go.

Obey that mandate, and God will bless your ministry. Chase every bandwagon that comes down the road, and you will regret it on that day when you give account for your ministry.

-Scott Bailey 2007

Posted in *Guest Blog Articles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Bible-Better Than Any Fad!

Posted by Scott on November 28, 2007

New Article from Pulpit Magazine

Better Than Any Fad

 

God's Word is better than any fad(By Phil Johnson)

This is continued from last Tuesday’s series on the ”fad-driven” church. This article is adapted from the transcript to Phil’s 2005 Shepherds’ Conference seminar on this topic.

We left off, in the last post with this thought:

Scripture is better than any fad. Preaching the Word of God is more effective than any new methodology contemporary church experts have ever invented. I don’t care who thinks preaching is “broken.” If we would get back to the clear proclamation and exposition of God’s Word, everything that’s broken about contemporary preaching would be fixed.

The nature of God’s Word guarantees that. And that’s exactly what I want to do in the time we have remaining in this session. I want to preach to you about the superiority and the excellence of Scripture.

Hebrews 4:12 says, “The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

That’s a rich text, full of meaning, but let me take a few minutes to try to isolate what seem to me the three main qualities of the Word of God that are highlighted in this text, and let’s carefully consider what they mean.

First of all, it teaches us that—

1. The Word of God is powerful.

The King James Version says, “the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.” Quick, of course, is the old English word for “living.” I was surprised in reading John Owen’s commentary on Hebrews that even though he wrote in the 1600s, he had to explain the word quick to his readers. He referred to the word quick as an improper translation, because, he said, “that word doth more ordinarily signify ‘speedy,’ than ‘living.’” So I don’t know when the word quick stopped meaning “alive,” but it was apparently before John Owen’s time.

I grew up in a church where we used to recite the traditional version of the Apostles’ Creed, which says, Christ “ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.” And that made perfect sense to me. I figured “the quick” were those who made it through the crosswalk, and “the dead” were those who didn’t.

But, of course, quick in this kind of context just means “alive” or “living,” and that is what this text is saying. “The Word of God is living.” That’s the correct sense. It speaks of vitality, life, activity, energy. The Word of God has a life-force that is unlike any merely human book. It is not only alive; it has the power to impart life to those who are spiritually dead. Jesus said in John 6:63: “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” First Peter 1:23: “[We are] born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” James 1:18: “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.” Psalm 119:50: “This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.” “Your word has given me life.”

You can take all the great books and all the great literature in the world combined, and they do not have this life-giving power. No book changes lives like the Word of God. You might occasionally hear a person say, “that self-help book transformed my life”; or “that diet book was revolutionary”; or “that book on philosophy changed the way I think.” Rick Warren makes a promise in the introduction to The Purpose Driven Life that his book will change your life.

But the life-giving and life-changing power of the Bible is something far deeper than any other book can legitimately claim. The Word of God renews the heart by giving spiritual life to the spiritually dead. It changes our character at an essential, fundamental level. It transforms our desires and impacts us at a moral level no human literature can touch. It brings a kind of cleansing and renewal and sanctification that no other book could ever claim to offer. It resurrects the soul. It has the same creative power in the command of God when He said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.”

The Word of God is inherently powerful. It has a kind of life and vitality that is unlike merely human words. Proverbs 6:22–23 says this about the Word of God: “When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” And a familiar passage, 2 Timothy 3:16–17 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

No other book has that effect. It rebukes us. It chastens us. It comforts us. It guides us and gives light to our path. It preaches to us. It restrains our foot from evil. It frowns on us when we sin. It warms our hearts with assurance. It encourages us with its promises. It stimulates our faith. It builds us up. It ministers to our every need. It is alive and dynamic.

And the vitality of Scripture is eternal and abiding. In John 6:68, Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” The eternality of divine life is perfectly embodied in the Word of God. Again, Jesus said (Mark 13:31), “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” Isaiah 40:8: “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” Psalm 119:89: “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” First Peter 1:25: “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

Every page of the Bible has a life-changing power that is just as fresh as the day it was written. We don’t have to make it come alive; it is both alive and active. It is always relevant, eternally applicable, speaking to the heart with a power that is unlike even the greatest of human works. The thoughts and opinions of men come and go. They fall from fashion and fade from memory. But the Word of God remains “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.”

And what is true of the whole is true of the parts. Every part of Scripture is alive and powerful. Proverbs 30:5: “Every word of God is pure.” Jesus said “Every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” gives life and sustenance. That’s why Deuteronomy 8:3 says, “man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”

I’m always amazed at the passages of Scripture that have been instrumental in bringing people to Christ. I’ve told you before how I came to saving faith in Christ by reading 1 Corinthians as a senior in high school. The passage that drew me to Christ is not one you would necessarily think of as an evangelistic text. First Corinthians 3:18: “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.” But it rebuked my sin and turned me to Christ.

I have heard people tell how they were awakened to eternal life by verses from the gospels, the epistles, the psalms, and even some of the obscure parts of the Old Testament. I doubt there’s a page anywhere in Scripture that has not at some time or some place been used by the Spirit of God to convert a soul. None of it is superfluous. Second Timothy 3:16 again: “All scripture is . . . profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

My friend Joe Aleppo, who is here this week, introduced me to a man in Sicily who came to Christ during a severe paper shortage after World War II because of a single page of Scripture from a Bible someone had thrown away. Paper was almost impossible to come by, so merchants used old newspapers and other scrap paper to wrap whatever they sold in the marketplace. This man went to the fish market and bought a fish. When he unwrapped it at home, one of the papers used to make the package was a page from a discarded New Testament. He read it, and this man who had been a lifelong Roman Catholic and had never before read a verse of the Bible for himself became a believer. That man’s conversion was the beginning of the first significant Protestant movement on the island of Sicily.

The Word of God is powerful. The Greek word translated “powerful” in Hebrews 4:12 is energes, which is the source of our English word “energetic.” It’s translated “active” in some versions, and that’s a good translation. It speaks of something that is dynamic, operative, and effectual. The apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 2:13): “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”

The Word of God always works effectually. It always accomplishes its intended purpose. In Isaiah 55:11, God says, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

Sometimes God’s purpose is rebuke and correction; sometimes it is instruction and edification. Sometimes it is blessing; sometimes it is judgment. The gospel is “the savour of death unto death” for some; for others, it is “the savour of life unto life.” Either way, the Word of God is effectual, productive, powerful. It always produces the effect God intends.

That’s why preachers ought to preach the Word instead of telling stories and doing comedy. That’s where the power for ministry resides: in the Word. It’s not in our cleverness or our oratorical skills. The power is in the Word of God. And our task is simple: all we have to do is make the Bible’s meaning plain, proclaim it with accuracy and clarity. And the Spirit of God uses His Word to transform lives. The power is in the Word, not in any technique or program.

-Scott Bailey 2007

Posted in *Guest Blog Articles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

An Arguement Against Atheism-Diesh D’Souza!

Posted by Scott on November 6, 2007

by Dr. Mohler

An Argument Against the Atheists — Dinesh D’Souza on Christianity

“Today’s Christians know that they do not, as their ancestors did, live in a society where God’s presence was unavoidable. No longer does Christianity form the moral basis of society. Many of us now reside in secular communities, where arguments drawn from the Bible or Christian revelation carry no weight, and where we hear a different language from that spoken in church.”  That is the opening salvo from author Dinesh D’Souza in his new book, What’s So Great About Christianity.

 

D’Souza’s book is written, at least in part, as a response to the frontal attacks on Christianity launched by figures such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris.  He writes with a clear and uncluttered style and his arguments should attract considerable attention.

 

D’Souza chides believers for taking “the easy way out,” sheltering themselves in Christian intellectual enclaves rather than engaging the issues.  They live separate secular and sacred lives without recognizing that this is incompatible with the Gospel.

 

Here is how he sees the challenge:

 

 

This is not a time for Christians to turn the other cheek. Rather, it is a time to drive the moneychangers out of the temple. The atheists no longer want to be tolerated. They want to monopolize the public square and to expel Christians from it. They want political questions like abortion to be divorced from religious and moral claims. They want to control school curricula so they can promote a secular ideology and undermine Christianity. They want to discredit the factual claims of religion, and they want to convince the rest of society that Christianity is not only mistaken but also evil. They blame religion for the crimes of history and for the ongoing conflicts in the world today. In short, they want to make religion – and especially the Christian religion – disappear from the face of the earth.

 

In fact, the new atheists are frustrated that belief in God has not passed away.  They had great confidence that the theory of secularization would promise a new secular age, with belief in God relegated to humanity’s past.  Nevertheless, this isn’t happening.  Europe may be overwhelmingly secular, but Americans are still a deeply religious people — even if this does not represent an embrace of authentic Christianity.

 

Meanwhile, traditional religion is growing all over the world.  The world is not becoming more secular, but more religious in a myriad of forms.

 

D’Souza sees this in his own personal story:

 

 

 

I have found this to be true in my own life. I am a native of India, and my ancestors were converted to Christianity by Portuguese missionaries. As this was the era of the Portuguese Inquisition, some force and bludgeoning may also have been involved. When I came to America as a student in 1978, my Christianity was largely a matter of birth and habit. But even as I plunged myself into modern life in the United States, my faith slowly deepened. G.K Chesterton calls this the “revolt into orthodoxy.” Like Chesterton, I find myself rebelling against extreme secularism and finding in Christianity some remarkable answers to both intellectual and practical concerns. So I am grateful to those stern inquisitors for bringing me into the orbit of Christianity, even though I am sure my ancestors would not have shared my enthusiasm. Mine is a Christianity that is countercultural in the sense that it opposes powerful trends in modern Western culture. Yet it is thoroughly modern in that it addresses questions and needs raised by life in that culture. I don’t know how I could live well without it.

 

The continent of Europe is now the great exception — the secular continent.  D’Souza explains:

 

Then there is Europe. The most secular continent on the globe is decadent in the quite literal sense that its population is rapidly shrinking. Birth rates are abysmally low in France, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, and Sweden. The nations of Western Europe today show some of the lowest birth rates ever recorded, and Eastern European birth rates are comparably low. Historians have noted that Europe is suffering the most sustained reduction in its population since the Black Death in the fourteenth century, when one in three Europeans succumbed to the plague. Lacking the strong religious identity that once characterized Christendom, atheist Europe seems to be a civilization on its way out. Nietzsche predicted that European decadence would produce a miserable “last man” devoid of any purpose beyond making life comfortable and making provision for regular fornication. Well, Nietzsche’s “last man” is finally here, and his name is Sven.

 

D’Souza’s strongest analysis comes when he considers the true character of the new atheism.  It is, he suggests, a “pelvic revolt against God.”   In other words, it is a revolt against Christian morality — especially sexual morality.  This is not a new observation or argument, but D’Souza makes it exceptionally well:

 

My conclusion is that contrary to popular belief, atheism is not primarily an intellectual revolt, it is a moral revolt. Atheists don’t find God invisible so much as objectionable. They aren’t adjusting their desires to the truth, but rather the truth to fit their desires. This is something we can all identify with. It is a temptation even for believers. We want to be saved as long as we are not saved from our sins. We are quite willing to be saved from a whole host of social evils, from poverty to disease to war. But we want to leave untouched the personal evils, such as selfishness and lechery and pride. We need spiritual healing, but we do not want it. Like a supervisory parent, God gets in our way. This is the perennial appeal of atheism: it gets rid of the stern fellow with the long beard and liberates us for the pleasures of sin and depravity. The atheist seeks to get rid of moral judgment by getting rid of the judge.

 

D’Souza’s argument here is very insightful.  These atheists are not so much struggling with intellectual doubts but feel limited by moral constraints.  They are repulsed by the very idea of divine judgment, so they get rid of the Judge.

 

Christians will find Dinesh D’Souza’s latest book to be both interesting and helpful.  His apologetic model is G. K. Chesterton, and he writes with a similar style and verve.  I found his argument that Christians should embrace evolution while rejecting Darwinism to be unconvincing and unhelpful.  The dominant model of evolutionary theory is just as atheistic and incompatible with Christianity as classical Darwinism.

 

Nevertheless, the book is filled with interesting and helpful arguments offered by a Christian intellectual who is heavily engaged in the great battle of ideas.  What’s So Great About Christianity is a helpful addition to our public debate.

 

-Scott Bailey 2007

Posted in *Guest Blog Articles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Are We Listening to the Call–The Listening Heart!

Posted by Scott on October 26, 2007

By Dr. Albert Mohler Jr.: 

The Loss of Vocation and its Recovery — The Listening Heart

The concept of vocation — in the theological sense of a calling — has all but disappeared from contemporary society.  The late Professor A. J. Conyers blames this loss on the rise of confidence in personal autonomy and an absolute demand for personal choice in all dimensions of life.

 

In The Listening Heart: Vocation and the Crisis of Modern Culture [Spence Publishing], Conyers said he was writing for readers “who cannot, for their life, take modern western culture at face value,” and for those “who suspect that modern, western world, even with its productivity, lacks something essential to the human spirit.”

 

Conyers pointed to the loss of vocation as a central symptom of the age — a loss that explains so many other losses.  In his words:

 

The idea of “vocation” – of being “called” is at first commonplace until one actually begins to think what an extraordinary thing is suggested by such language. It suggests of course, that life does not center on the choices of individuals, and that community does not emerge entirely by appealing to those choices the way modern societies ever since the industrial age assumed, being wholly distracted by the wealth-making power of the market and its appeal to the individual consumer. Vocation instead implies that a larger obligation presses itself upon persons and draws them into a community of mutual sacrifice and affection. Not centering in the individual, the obligations and the affections are understood as coming from a transcendent source. Yet while they are not centered in the individual, they are necessarily addressed to the individual, and therefore necessarily personal-and if personal they can only be described as coming from a divine source, from God. It is that extraordinary premise of community life that the modern age, like the builders of the tower at Babel, wished to defy, even if it could not altogether deny it.

 

The concept of vocation, if it means anything at all, means that we are called in the context of a community — indeed for a community.  It is based in a knowledge of what the community needs and a knowledge of how persons within the community are gifted.

 

Conyers added:

 

 

It is important to note that this word “call” is an experience, or speaks of an experience, that runs in the opposite direction from the social experience most often articulated by modern people. Here is an idea that pictures the self being “laid hold of” by another, having a claim made upon his time, his future, his destiny, the shape of his life that originates from outside the self. It is the opposite of “choice,” or of freedom in the sense of self-determination.

 

And, recognizing the biblical root of the concept: 

 

 

Therefore, the Pauline “vocation” is always to a higher unifying reality, namely the body of Christ. It is, furthermore, an eschatological reality for which one might hope and a reality for which one might long to suffer for its greater glory. “He must increase, but I must decrease” are words appropriate to this sentiment of a greater good calling for the suffering, longing, and diminishing of the person. The Enlightenment state also calls for individual sacrifice, but it does so posing as a deliverer from the petty tyrannies of traditional authorities, such as the church, the tribe, and the family. The irony of this trade-off is apparent, for it profits from diminishing the ties to which the individual is born, or in which the individual abides in common faith, by preaching the enlargement of the individual’s sphere of action and privilege. At the same time, it requires the kind of sacrifice that is implied in the individual’s relationship to family or community of faith.

 

There are important insights in these words.  Conyers rightly saw the atomistic inheritance of the Enlightenment and the need for a recovery of the only context in which calling and vocation could make sense.  But added to this must be the recognition that the most authentic community in which vocation is to arise and be affirmed is in the church.  The local congregation of believers is the most important context for the recovery and discovery of vocation.  In the fellowship of fellow believers and under mutual submission to Christ we discover who we are and what we are called to do for God and for each other.

 

Conyers concludes:

 

Only when members of a community understand life as a response to a large and generous world, created by a great and merciful Providence, will the possibilities of life together become more fully realize. Otherwise, without this spirit infusing and animating people, existence is reduced to competing forces, clashing at twilight, grasping whatever is left of power, fame and fortune, before the darkness descends. For then, while the isolation becomes rooted in every human domain, its end is necessarily found in the dust of death. But with this spirit of vocation, this conviction that we are not after all, our own, but belong to Another, the world opens up, becomes a place for others, and is illuminated by a spreading and abiding hope.

 

A. J. Conyers was a gifted teacher who will be greatly missed.  Nevertheless, this book, published after his early death, represents a lasting legacy. 

 

-Scott Bailey 2007

Posted in *Guest Blog Articles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Courageous Message for All Americans by Al Mohler Jr.

Posted by Scott on October 19, 2007

Dr. Mohler’s Blog

October 2007

« previous month next month »

A Recovery Plan for Black America — And a Courageous Message for All Americans

Bill Cosby worked his way into American hearts through his great talent as a comedian and actor, but there has always been more to Bill Cosby than any laugh line can convey. He is also a man of ideas and a man who cares deeply about his country.

Cosby is also a man who cares deeply about the breakdown of the family and social cohesion among black Americans — especially among young black men and boys. In his new book, Come on, People: On the Path from Victims to Victors [Thomas Nelson], Cosby teams up with Harvard University psychiatrist Alvin F. Poussaint to confront many of these issues head-on. The book is as courageous and it is timely.

“For the last generation or two, as our communities dissolved and our parenting skills broke down, no one has suffered more than our young black men,” Cosby and Poussaint lament. They face the issues honestly and do not mince words. At the same time, they place these challenges within the context of what they also see as continuing prejudice against black Americans. The essence of their argument is that while black America can blame others for many of the challenges they face, they hold the key to their own recovery through personal and group achievement and responsibility.

Consider a paragraph like this:

We are calling on men, all men, the successful and the unsuccessful, the affluent and the poor, the married and the unmarried, to come and claim their children. You can run the biggest drug cartel in America or win the Super Bowl, but if you haven’t claimed your children, you are not a man. You can make all the excuses you want, but no one can stop you from claiming your children. It’s not about you. It’s about them. If you have not come to claim your children, you have stolen their hope. You have stolen any kind of feeling that they are worth something. They will likely have no sense of the past, little pride, and even less faith in the future. They will see fathers at the mall or on TV and they will wonder how stupid or ugly they must be to have driven their fathers away.

The authors lament the breakdown of marriage and fatherhood most of all, tracing most of the pathologies they cite to that cause.  They also note that even under the worst oppression by others, black Americans had held their families together or had done their very best to do so.  These pathologies are now self-inflicted.

This paragraph should haunt all Americans:

There is one statistic that captures the bleakness.  In 1950, five out of every six black children were born into a two-parent home.  Today, that number is less than two out of six.  In poor communities, that number is lower still.  There are whole blocks with scarcely a married couple, whole blocks without responsible males to watch out for wayward boys, whole neighborhoods in which little girls and boys come of age without seeing up close a committed partnership and perhaps never having attended a wedding.

Just think about that — whole blocks of children growing up without ever seeing a married couple up close or having attended a wedding.  The problem can be traced to the breakdown of marriage and the absence of fathers, they argue.  In their words, “Parenting works best when both a mother and father participate. Some mothers can do it on their own, but they need help. A house without a father is a challenge. A neighborhood without fathers is a catastrophe, and that’s just about what we have today.”

Bill Cosby has raised these issues before, but never with a presentation and articulation as forceful and comprehensive as Come On, People.  Christians will want to take many of the arguments beyond where Cosby and Poussaint leave them, but all will recognize the courage represented by this brave book.

Here, for example, is a passage in which the authors deal with the shift in young male sexual behavior and its consequences:

As we became older and grew more interested in girls, our hormones raged just as boys’ hormones rage today. The Internet may be new. Cell phones may be new. But sex, we don’t need to tell you, has been around since Adam and Eve. So has shame. We knew that if one of us got a girl pregnant, not only would she have to visit that famous “aunt in South Carolina,” but young Romeo would have to go too, not to South Carolina maybe, but somewhere. It would be too embarrassing for Romeo’s family for him to just sit around in the neighborhood with a fat Cheshire cat smile on his face.

 

 

And there was something else we understood: that girl likely had a daddy in the home. And he’d be prepared to wipe that grin off Romeo’s face permanently. This was what parenting was about. It wasn’t always pretty, but it could be pretty effective.

 

More:

 

For no good reason we can understand, society seems to be telling young black men that fatherhood is no big thing. Society tells young people in general to look after number one and to worry about everyone else later, if at all. Like the sixteen-year-old on the TV show—if you don’t like the outcome, walk away. Even if you get married and you’re not happy, walk away. With all the temptations to walk away, the black divorce and separation rate today is 50 percent higher than the white rate. And black women who divorce are considerably less likely to remarry than white divorcees, partly because of the shortage of black males.

 

 

Without being told and told often, young men simply do not know or understand what a father’s responsibilities are. Many of them have never seen a real father in action. Many do not appreciate that fathers are important to a child’s healthy development or that unemployed, separated, and unwed fathers can still interact with their children and contribute significantly to their well-being.

 

The issues Cosby and Poussaint address are important to all Americans, and every American has a personal stake in the recovery these authors hope to encourage.

 

___________________

 

Many people who enjoy and appreciate Bill Cosby do not know that he holds both Masters of Education and Doctor of Education degrees from the University of Massachusetts.  His doctoral dissertation was entitled, “The Integration of Visual Media via Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids into the Elementary Schools Culminating as a Teacher Aid to Achieve Increased Learning” (1977).

 

Cosby has his critics within the African-American community, notably Michael Eric Dyson of Georgetown University.  In his book, Is Bill Cosby Right?, Dyson argues that Cosby blames black Americans for problems caused by others and rejects Cosby’s proposals for recovery. 

 

-Scott Bailey 2007

 

Posted in *Guest Blog Articles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

-Is Creationism a Threat to Human Rights? By Dr. Mohler.

Posted by Scott on October 8, 2007

Is Creationism a Threat to Human Rights?

Posted: Monday, October 08, 2007 at 5:47 am ET

As if the world needed another crazy development, the Council of Europe, the continent’s central human rights body, last week declared creationism to be a threat to human rights. The group’s Parliamentary Assembly approved a resolution stating that creationism is promoted by “forms of religious extremism.”

As Reuters reported:

The Council, based in the eastern French city of Strasbourg, oversees human rights standards in member states and enforces decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.

The resolution, which passed 48 votes to 25 with 3 abstentions, is not binding on the Council’s 47 member states but reflects widespread opposition among politicians to teaching creationism in science class.

The text of the resolution leaves no doubt about the Council of Europe’s judgment. “For some people the Creation, as a matter of religious belief, gives a meaning to life,” the text acknowledges. “Nevertheless, the Parliamentary Assembly is worried about the possible ill-effects of the spread of creationist ideas within our education systems and about the consequences for our democracies. If we are not careful, creationism could become a threat to human rights which are a key concern of the Council of Europe.”

Anyone looking for evidence of a secularized culture should take a quick look at this resolution. When the official human rights institution of Europe has to explain that “some people” believe that the divine creation of the universe “gives a meaning to life,” this can only mean that Europe (at least as represented by the Council of Europe) has forgotten even its Christian memory.

This body is seriously concerned that creationism is not only a threat to their secularized educational systems, but to democracy itself. Human rights could be endangered, the Council claims, if the continent is “not careful.”

Someone must be passing out paranoia pills in Strasbourg.  But more than secular paranoia is operating here.  A closer look at this resolution indicates the centrality of Darwinian evolution to the secular worldview.  Any breach in the wall defending evolution can lead, they are sure, to disaster.

“Creationists question the scientific character of certain items of knowledge and argue that the theory of evolution is only one interpretation among others,” they argue.  “They accuse scientists of not providing enough evidence to establish the theory of evolution as scientifically valid. On the contrary, they defend their own statements as scientific. None of this stands up to objective analysis.” 

So the initial cause of the offense is that creationists argue that evolution is only one theory among others.  Creationists also “question the scientific character of certain items of knowledge,” they assert.  This rather awkward wording amounts to the charge that creationists deny the larger structure of naturalistic thought.  Any doubt about the meaning of that charge is removed when the text goes on to state:

We are witnessing a growth of modes of thought which, the better to impose religious dogma, are attacking the very core of the knowledge that we have patiently built up on nature, evolution, our origins and our place in the universe.

And:

The Assembly has constantly insisted that science is of fundamental importance. Science has made possible considerable improvements in living and working conditions and is a not insignificant factor in economic, technological and social development. The theory of evolution has nothing to do with divine revelation but is built on facts.

That last sentence is truly amazing.  Evolution is simply based upon “facts,” they claim — a claim that would make most evolutionary scientists blush.

But the group’s commitment to naturalistic evolution is unconditional.  The Council even suggests that the meaning and importance of evolution touches the totality of life and drives the development of societies:  “Evolution is not simply a matter of the evolution of humans and of populations. Denying it could have serious consequences for the development of our societies.”

The Council also attempts to root creationism in a political agenda to replace democracy with a theocracy.  Look carefully at these two paragraphs:

Our modern world is based on a long history, of which the development of science and technology forms an important part. However, the scientific approach is still not well understood and this is liable to encourage the development of all manner of fundamentalism and extremism. The total rejection of science is definitely one of the most serious threats to human rights and civic rights.

The war on the theory of evolution and on its proponents most often originates in forms of religious extremism which are closely allied to extreme right-wing political movements. The creationist movements possess real political power. The fact of the matter, and this has been exposed on several occasions, is that some advocates of strict creationism are out to replace democracy by theocracy.

I would be most interested to see any evidence put forth to back up this claim.  The group claims that such knowledge “has been exposed on several occasions” but fails to mention even one such occasion.

The Council also asserted that  respectable faiths had found a way to accept and accommodate evolutionary theory.  “All leading representatives of the main monotheistic religions have adopted a much more moderate attitude,” they advise.

The Council on Europe’s resolution is clear evidence of the fact that a secularized society desperately needs naturalistic evolution as the metaphysical foundation of its worldview.  Any threat to evolution is seen as a threat to democracy and human rights — and democracy and human rights are understood in an entirely secular framework as well. 

This resolution is so extreme that, at first glance,  it appears to be a farce or parody.  Sadly, it is not.  This is no joke.  This is the shape of a secularized future.

-Dr. Albert Mohler Jr. October 8th, 2007

I thought this to be a tremendous topic and blog article byDr. Mohler and wanted to share it with you.  It seems that today the Christian belief’s are under extreme attack.  Frankly, as the end times near this will only get worse not better.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

Posted in *Guest Blog Articles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »