It kills 14,000 people each year in Arizona alone!

If anything else killed that many people each year in the entire world, it would be called an epidemic. But this statistic represents only one of the 50 United States of America. It does not account for the other 49 states, nor the rest of the world. They are nearly 100% preventable. Not one of them is a surprise. In fact, these are cold, calculated acts carried out by trained professionals. They act with the intent to erase, eradicate, and wipe the person from the face of history. As if they never existed. They destroy more lives than all the most horrifying dictators in history combined. They do it for profit. They work without remorse.

Abortion stops a beating human heart. It ends a human life. Call it what you will. Defend it as you wish. It does not change the facts. A human fetus is a human being. She enter’s the clinic safe and secure with the mother. A short time later, she is dead.

There is an outcry in our nation today against white-on-black crime. Nationally, about 35% of aborted babies are black, but only 12% of the country is black! Is not such genocide worthy of protest?

We are concerned about the demise of our American culture. At what rate do those whose culture clashes with our own sacrifice their children to the gods of convenience?

God’s people cannot afford complacency on this issue.

 

Crazy Love, a book by Francis Chan

Book - Crazy Love - Author - Francis ChanMost Christians, even devout Christians, often grow up mimicking the thoughts, beliefs, and patterns of those around whom they were raised. It’s easy to fall into habits – interestingly, something scripture warns against. Not that there is anything wrong, fundamentally, with habits. In fact, building good habits is a desirable thing. But good habits must be built. Bad habits, on the other hand, are easily acquired and usually hard to break or replace.

Crazy Love is about taking a long, hard, honest look at ourselves, and at what God expects of us. It is about challenging our beliefs and habits – not to question them, but to test them for authenticity.

Upon reading this book you are going to love God more deeply than ever before. You will no longer do things out of plain habit, but out of honest, deep, and passionate love.

Right Tool For The Job

I’ve talked before about the meaning of literacy, and how it is so much more than just the ability to read. Rather, it is having read, and being fluent in the great works of literature, not excluding the Bible. It is accessing the accumulated wisdom of generations past. When it comes to reading, being familiar with, and studying the deeper messages of the Bible, there has simply never been a better time than now to be alive!

Certainly, many have wished they could have lived in the time of Jesus, or that they could have walked with John, Peter, or the Apostle Paul. And, indeed, that might have some advantages. But when you consider that we have had all these years since to read, study, and accumulate what great minds have been able to share, and then incorporate all that accumulated knowledge, add complex search capabilities, and tools like Bible dictionaries, concordances, and maps, then burn it on a CD or DVD, and then package it at a price anyone, sinner, saint, surf, or lord can afford, I say again, there has simply never been a better time to be alive.

Personally, I fell in love with Bible software many years ago. I found it a wonderful aid in studying out a topic. I recall the first sermon I prepared using a computer program. It was a word study on The Heart of Man. I dig it out every now and then, and re-present it. And I have not done a single message since without the aid of Bible software. So when we were able to get a premier package and make it available on Mountaintop Christian Store, I was elated.


If you prepare sermons, if you write on Bible topics, or, even if you study the Bible for your own spiritual well-being, you will find that software such as this makes your job easier, gets you deeper into the word more quickly, and gives you an understanding you may have never achieved without it. I would encourage you to consider strongly getting a copy of Bible Explorer 4 and let me know how you enjoy it by adding your comments here on the blog.

Render Unto Caesar

In modern society many like painting Jesus as a self-styled revolutionary — a person who liked to defy authority, and purposely ignore social norms. In some respects, He certainly did buck the accepted traditions of His day. There is little doubt He harbored a low opinion of those who set up their banks in the Temple. But to say His purpose was to buck authority in general, or to discard tradition cart blanch would be badly mistaken. Jesus’ issue with tradition was not tradition, per se, but it was tradition that set itself above God’s revealed word. He did not resist properly ordained authority. But He did understand the hierarchy of authority, and recognized who was at the top of that hierarchy.

A good example is Jesus teaching on taxation. Isn’t it interesting that the place of His birth, from a human perspective, was dictated by an edict of taxation?


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That Jesus recognized and respected earthly authorities is well demonstrated in his discussion of the issue of taxation. Taxation has never been a popular subject, unless you are the tax collector. And, even in Jesus’ day, tax collectors were considered an unseemly bunch. His choice of a tax collector as one of his disciples is often used as an example of how he chose his follower from the lower echelons of society. But when put to the test of whether one ought to pay taxes, He asked for a coin. Then, of his interrogator He asked, “whose image is this?” “Caesar’s,” was the quick reply. Then, without a hint of uncertainty, Jesus said, “Give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and give to God that which is God’s.”

Some would then ask, “OK, what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God? Isn’t it all God’s?” Certainly, there is a sense in which all things are ultimately God’s. Yet, does He not admit in His word that others have rights of ownership too? Does not the story of Ananias and Sephira clearly teach that the land they claimed to give to God belonged to them before they gave it? (See Acts 5:4) Without doubt, it does. So, paying full attention to Christ’s words, how did he infer that ownership of the money was Caesar’s? Was it not by the image that was impressed upon it, and the inscription? Precisely. (See Mt 22:20-22) And in that same manner, we can then deduce that God’s property — that which we must render unto Him, is that upon which He has impressed His image.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26 KJV)

So, while Jesus may have revolted against many of the common social norms of His day, based on the authority of scripture, he was no tax protester. He was not a revolutionary. While governments – even our current administration – are all fraught with corruption, and while they all support many ungodly principles and plans, can they be worse than those of the Roman empire under which our Savior spoke those words?

Having established, by scripture, the authority of governments to demand taxes, I offer this opinion. Pay not one cent more than legally required. And, if you can get a fish to cough up a coin, let me know where you are fishing!


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The Wordless Sermon

When I received the email from a loved one that contained the illustration I am about to share, I am sure it had been rehearsed in hundreds of pulpits around the world, but it was new to me, and I thought it worth sharing with you.

A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the preacher decided to visit him.

It was a chilly evening. The preacher found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his preachers visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited. The preacher made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the preacher took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone then he sat back in his chair, still silent.

The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead.

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The preacher glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the preacher reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, ‘Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday.’

We live in a world today, which tries to say too much with too little. Consequently, few listen. Sometimes the best sermons are the ones left unspoken.

The famous quote, “No man is an island” is another way of putting it. It should be of no surprise that when Christ left us here shortly after His resurrection, that, in addition to the Holy Spirit, He also left us an organization of other believers, imperfect as ourselves, who share common bonds, common experience, and common troubles, to lend strength and warmth to one another as we wait for Christ’s return.

He gave us a perfect Word. He gave us a perfect comforter, and He gave us companions who, like us, are also imperfect, charging us with the responsibility of reminding one another of our duties, and comforting one another with his Word.

So if you feel you have finally come up with the ultimate reason for not attending church this Sunday, and you are considering going to the thrown of grace to seek remedy for your loneliness and lack of comfort in this world, and the passion for Christ you have lost, let this gentle lesson of the ember set apart remind you what happens when we are separated from our brothers and sisters. We simply cannot be on fire for God (for very long) alone.

Illiteracy Is Worse Than Statistics Indicate

A Look Back

More
emphasis is placed on education today than at any time in history. I
have no statistics to quote, but it would not surprise me at all to
learn that the ability to read is more widespread than at any other
time in history. Once considered a skill only for a special,
chosen few, reading, the ability to share in the experience of others,
has been a liberating force in history. No greater turning point can be
found than the invention of the printing press; the invention that
opened the doors to this liberation. It is interesting to me that the
very book at the center of that thought revolution which freed so many
from the bondage of ignorance is today considered the enemy of freedom
and liberation. But from an historical perspective it is difficult to
deny the fact that no other book has had a greater influence on the
world, and particularly on western civilization.

A Look Inward

Literacy
is generally defined as the ability to read. More specifically it means
to be educated or “familiar with letters”. Only a few short hundred
years ago to be educated meant you were familiar with the classics of
literature and science. At the center of that education would be a
strong understanding of the Bible. It by no means meant you were
Christian, or even necessarily religious. But to be unfamiliar with the
words of the book upon which most of society and the legal system was
based would have placed you among the illiterate.

A Look Forward

Regardless
of your own religious upbringing, your philosophical inclinations, or
social proclivities, you owe it to yourself to become familiar with the
book that gave you the world and the society in which you live.
Especially if you live in a placed influenced by the British Empire and
the political impact it had on the peoples it once governed,
familiarity with the Bible will broaden your understanding of what
drove the hearts and minds of those who gave us documents such as the
“Magna Charta”, the “Declaration of Independence”, the “Constitution of
the United States of America”, and the “Bill of Rights”.

To
deny the influence of the Bible on history, to attempt to expunge God
and scripture from our past, or to erase anything religious –
especially Christian – from the halls of our public institutions is an
enemy of education and literacy.

You can disagree with
the Bible. You can deny it is the work of Almighty God. You can reject
its claim of authority and its authorship. But to deny that it is the
greatest single influence on the political and social world in which we
live is to deny reality. So today, as much as at anytime in history, to
be unfamiliar with the Bible is the essence of illiteracy.

Read it again … for the first time.