The Greatest Gift God Can Give
If you make much of yourself, you distract others from what matters most. But when God makes much of himself, he gives us what we need most.
This Video Appears to Show an LAPD Officer Planting Drugs on a Suspect
CBS Los Angeles has obtained video—shot by an LAPD officer’s own bodycam—that appears to show several officers planting cocaine on a suspect. The video shows officers arresting a man named Ronald Shields—who was later charged with hit-and-run, having a gun in the trunk of his car and cocaine possession. But, it appears that the officer who was running the camera didn’t realize that it actually records and saves everything happening (without audio) in the 30 seconds prior to the record button being hit. In the time before he thinks the video is activated, an officer picks up a wallet from
Uh Oh: ‘Justice League’s Rotten Tomatoes Score Is Just 40%
After a curious delay, the initial Rotten Tomatoes score for Warner Bros.' hotly anticipated comic book epic Justice League have been released—and it’s not great. After the first round of reviews, it’s sitting at 40 percent—that’s a little better than Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (27 percent) and Suicide Squad (26 percent)—but much lower than many Marvel recent releases, which tend to do relatively well with critics. Here are a few phrases used by “top critics” to describe the movie: “erratic and fatigue-inducing,” “dialogue scenes framed for maximum awkwardness,” “a cobbled-together mess,” “ level your expectations to the league minimum,”
CDC: 90% of the American Population Doesn’t Eat Enough Fruit or Vegetables
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is very concerned about the health of the American people, apparently, for very good reason. They recently released the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and a new report about food consumption, and the findings aren’t great. Essentially, they found that America is basically this clip of Ron Swanson trying to eat a banana: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUZnnQu2r-s According to the government’s nutrition experts, adults should be eating 1.5 to two cups of fruit every day along with two or three cups of vegetables. In reality however, just 12.2 percent eat enough fruit, and just 9.3 percent are eating
Can You Handle a Horror Movie Starring Jim Halpert?
A teaser for an upcoming Emily Blunt/John Krasinski horror movie has been released, and The Quiet Place looks legitimately creepy.The premise, which is about some sort of monster that “can’t hunt you if they can’t hear you,” is intriguing, but let’s talk about the real issue: Can we take Jim Halpert seriously in a supernatural thriller? Sure, the beard helps, but is it hard for anyone else to see past the Dunder Mifflin goofball hiding underneath it?On a side note, this seems like a movie that Dwight would love.
Media Exec. for Televangelist James Robison Announces Run Against Ted Cruz in 2018 GOP Primary
Bruce Jacobson Jr., vice president of televangelist James Robison's Life Outreach International and executive producer of the preacher's syndicated television series "Life Today," formally announced Thursday that he will challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz for his seat in the U.S. Senate in the 2018 GOP primary.
Three Bad Arguments against Life Beginning at Conception
A recent article on Romper argues “3 Ways Science Proves Life Doesn’t Begin at Conception,” and the arguments are not good ones. To begin with, the author is not actually arguing that embryonic humans are not alive (this is clear, since she also argues we should be allowed to kill them). Rather, she’s arguing that these reasons prove embryonic human beings are not valuable human life.
God Never Requires Us to Believe without Evidence
I’ve often asked my students whether they can come up with even one example in Scripture of someone who is asked to believe blindly—that is, to believe without evidence. It’s harder than you might think…okay, I think it’s impossible, since it is not there. But feel free to try. Every time God requires belief, there are experiences that accompany the request. Take, for example, Moses being asked to confront Pharaoh. There’s of course the burning bush as well as other confirming miracles. Or take Paul’s conversion experience on the road to Damascus. He’s literally blinded by an unexplainable light and talked to by Jesus himself. It’s not that these couldn’t have questioned these experiences and disbelieved. In fact, disbelief is always possible with experience (more on this below). The point, however, is it was very rational for them to believe. That is, these extraordinary experiences provided good evidence that rationally supported their beliefs…
Why Should I Believe that Jesus Rose from the Dead?
In answering this question, it’s helpful for us to return to the “facts of the case.” Here, speculation is useless. It does not matter what we thought reality was like: whether we believed in thirty gods or none. It doesn’t matter what we find helpful, meaningful, or fulfilling. This is not about spirituality or moral uplift. Something has happened in history and we cannot wish it away. It either happened or it did not happen, but the claim itself is hardly meaningless or beyond investigation. Let’s look at the facts of the case.
When Moses Preached the Gospel
The Old Testament purposefully has an unresolved narrative tension in it, and this very tension is the whole basis of the gospel. Narrative tension means you don’t know what’s going to happen and there are opposing forces at work. In other words, “Little Red Riding Hood took her grandmother some goodies” is not narrative. It’s just a report. “Little Red Riding Hood took her grandmother some goodies, but the Big Bad Wolf was waiting to eat her up” is a narrative, because we’ve got tension. We’re led to ask, “What’s going to happen?”
Finding Courage in the Shadow of Cancer
Facing cancer felt a lot like being on that tightrope. I knew God was behind me (and before me), but the intensity of the fear made it difficult to trust him. However, the joy that trumped that fear and pervaded my soul came with meditating on God’s assurance that his grace is truly sufficient for me (2 Corinthians 12:9). If I died, if I lived, if I suffered, if my quality of life declined, I still had him (Hebrews 13:5). The emotion of fear finally bowed down to the God-given action of courage. A deep and satisfying peace mingled with and muted the intense feeling of fear, and I was able to walk safely to the other side.
Historical References to Christ From Non-Biblical Authors
One of the first Gentile writers who mention Christ is Thallus, who wrote in A.D. 52. He wrote a history of the Eastern Mediterranean from the time of the Trojan War to his own time. However, his writings have disappeared, and we only know of them from fragments cited by other writers. One such writer is Julius Africanus, a Christian writer about A.D. 221 One very interesting passage relates to a comment from Thallus about the darkness during the last 3 hours Jesus was on the cross. Julius Africanus writes:
The Cause of the Universe Must Be Intentional
We know the universe began to exist. That fact is agreed upon by the majority of theists and atheists alike. But what else can we know from that fact? By conceding that the universe has a beginning, does that give us proof of the Christian God? Not really, but it gets us closer than you may initially realize.
Finding Purpose in Faith
Many skeptics maintain unquestioned faith that science will solve the world’s problems. Seeing the evidence of chaos throughout the world, often the product of religiously-inspired violence, they conclude that religion is somehow the problem. Authors like Christopher Hitchens capitalize on such assumptions, writing best-selling books that explain how “God is not great” or how religion has “poisoned” everything. By contrast, science has provided “progress,” the sense that things are definitely getting better from a technological sense, as we continue to harness more and more power to make our lives increasingly prosperous and comfortable.
The Blessing of a Bad Reputation
Jesus knows we face this temptation regularly. Our sinful pride is “greedy for dishonest gain” of all kinds (1 Timothy 3:8), and fearful to lose what gain we have. That’s why he warns us that if everyone speaks well of us, something is very likely wrong. We may not be following Jesus faithfully. We may be valuing the benefits we gain by pleasing people more than the benefits Jesus promises us.
A STATEMENT ON THE DENOUNCEMENT OF SEXUAL ABUSE, ASSAULT, HARASSMENT, AND EXPLOITATION OF WOMEN
Prompted by the amount of victims of sexual abuse, assault, harassment and exploitation within the past several weeks coming forward with their accusations against persons (predominantly men) in positions of power and authority, we first, as followers of Jesus Christ, and second, as Alabama Baptist pastors, find it incumbent upon us to make the following statement:
8 False Assumptions about Christianity
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Every Day Might Be His Last: Drinking from God in the Drought of Suffering
Whether it comes as chronic illness, disability, death, or any of a million other forms, suffering is like scorching heat to the soul. It threatens to turn once-fruitful faith into a wilted husk. But in my own suffering, God’s word has taught me that the heat of hardship can also drive me deeper into the all-sufficient, refreshing grace of God.
Perspective | The absurd arguments we make to defend Roy Moore and Al Franken are getting dangerous
When this is true, it becomes easy enough to deify those on “our side,” because we never even seriously consider whether charges against them might be true. It’s all just incoming pseudo-warfare from the “other side.” That’s why, regardless of whether on the left or the right, many are willing to believe elaborate conspiracies are behind any suggestion of impropriety by someone on their “team.” The character issue doesn’t need to be worked through at all, if one already knows that those who are part of my tribe are saints and those who are part of the other are demons. That’s settled. The issues then are just used insofar as they are useful as footnotes to those already existing pledges of allegiance.
Spurgeon’s advice for suffering Christians — Southern Equip
“I commenced these daily portions when I was wading in the surf of controversy. Since then I have been cast into ‘waters to swim in,’ which, but for God’s upholding hand, would have proved waters to drown in. I have endured tribulation from many flails. Sharp bodily pain succeeded mental depression, and this was accompanied both by bereavement, and affliction in the person of one dear as life [Susannah]. The waters rolled in continually, wave upon wave. I do not mention this to exact sympathy, but simply to let the reader see that I am no dry-land sailor. I have traversed those oceans which are not Pacific full many a time: I know the roll of the billows, and the rush of the winds. Never were the promises of Jehovah so precious to me as at this hour. Some of them I never understood till now; I had not reached the date at which they matured, for I was not myself mature enough to perceive their meaning.”
EPSOCIETY.ORG on Twitter
Sunday, 7 pm at #AARSBL17 : Discuss how philosophers and theologians can and should engage with scripture in their analytic and philosophical thinking: http://bit.ly/2zbHLlR #ETS2017 #christianphilosophy #analytictheology #philosophyofreligion
Christianity Today on Twitter
Christianity Today is the source for those eager to engage the world for Christ and curious about the people, events, and trends shaping the church and culture.
The Power of Words and the Wonder of God
Words are powerful. As the Scriptures indicate, they can create and destroy, build and burn down, save and condemn. The triune God created and upholds us by his Word, redeems us by re-narrating our lives by his gospel, and directs us by his commands so that our words become more conformed to his Word. These many facets of verbal communication-both divine and human-are displayed in one rich and enriching jewel. Faith and practice are wonderfully integrated in this collection of godly wisdom.
Michael Horton, Professor, Westminster Seminary California
How Southern Baptists Trained More Disaster Relief Volunteers than the Red Cross
The Southern Baptist North American Mission Board (NAMB) almost missed them. And it would’ve been a big miss.
Mike McDaniel is an electrician and handyman who specializes in restoring power after natural disasters. He’s seen the wreckage of nine hurricanes, including Hurricanes Andrew (“the worst”) and Katrina.
His wife, Linda, occasionally visits him on the job. Her father was a construction contractor; she’s helped to flip many a house.
And for years, the two of them have wanted to volunteer to help after disasters.
The McDaniels attend a Baptist church, and Linda would go online to look up the North American Mission Board’s disaster relief efforts.
“They said you had to be trained,” she said. But training was offered only a few times a year, and not always locally. So the couple always passed.
But this summer, NAMB waived the training requirement, experimenting to see if it would lift the falling Southern Baptist volunteer base.
“It seemed to be a big success,” Mike said. “There were twice as many blue shirts (worn by untrained volunteers) as yellow shirts (worn by trained volunteers).
Ligonier Ministries on Twitter
Holy—one word that points to both God's greatness and His goodness. Listen as @RCSproul considers the holiness of God. http://renewingyourmind.org/2017/11/17/asleep-in-the-light …
How Do I Glorify God in My Job?
Well, a lot of listeners listen to this podcast on their drive to work in the morning, so this seems especially relevant. We don’t want to waste our jobs. None of us does. We spend so much time at work, and it’s a place to pursue excellence. But why? Why should we pursue excellence at work, when we often don’t see any eternal value in our weekly duties and routines? It’s a question today from a listener named Dylan. “Hello, Pastor John. In Colossians 3:22–24, Paul exhorts his readers to ‘work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.’ Does this mean that any work not done in excellence is sinful? And how do we apply God’s view of work to cleaning our house, writing a paper for school, or working a 9-to-5 job? I have been feeling guilty about the way I handle these things for months now, and I’m not sure if I’m just being lazy, self-righteous, or am I disobeying the Lord?”
Why Shouldn't We Trust the Non-Canonical "History of Joseph the Carpenter"? | Cold Case Christianity
How Does It Corroborate the Life of Jesus?
The document acknowledges much of the factual information from the canonical Gospels and assumes the validity of these Gospels from the outset. Jesus is described as “Jesus of Nazareth” the “Lord Jesus Christ”, “Saviour”, “Master”, “God”, “Christ” and “Son of God”. He is depicted as teaching on the Mount of Olives prior to His crucifixion and He mentions the crucifixion and resurrection specifically. He is described as having to “die for the Salvation of Adam and his posterity” and He commissions the apostles to declare the Gospel to the world. In turn, these apostles are said to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to accomplish the task. The narrative of Jesus’ nativity is then repeated in a manner befitting to the canonical Gospels. Mary is described as a young virgin at the time of the conception of Jesus and this conception is described as a “a mystery which transcends the grasp of created reason… which no creature can penetrate or understand, except myself, and my Father and the Holy Spirit, constituting one essence with myself.” The canonical claims are repeated here related to the visitation of the angel to Joseph, proclaiming the conception of Jesus and the need to flee to Egypt.
EPSOCIETY.ORG on Twitter
Starting at 3pm @ #AARSBL17 : Evangelical Philosophical Society sessions on "Human Flourishing" "Penal Substitutionary Atonement Theories Today," "Engagement with Scripture in Philosophy and Analytic Theology," "Erik Wielenberg's Robust Ethics" #ETS2017 http://bit.ly/2zNkC65
Dr Rowan Williams: politicians have botched Zaghari-Radcliffe talks - Premier
Political point scoring has "bogged down" efforts to free a British mother being held in an Iranian prison and it is time for Christian leaders to intervene, a former Archbishop of Canterbury has said.
Bhat (Hindu traditions) in India
The Bhat are known for 'phakra' (speaking poetically in praise of others). The Bhats are an offshoot of Brahmins, as their name is merely a corruption of the term Brahman. They are mainly a landowning community. They work in temples as priests who sometimes read the Bhagat and Puranas. They worship Tusu and Bhadu and local deities such as Kudra. The Bhat shun manual work. Literacy is very low among the Bhat, particularly among women.
Bishop: internet not for kids - Premier
Inventors of the internet never intended that their creation would be one-day be easily accessible for many millions of children around the world, an English bishop has said.
Challenge to a Critic of the Design Intuition: How Do You Explain Your Own Use of It? | Evolution News
In the previous part of my conversation with my friend Hans Vodder, a theistic evolutionist, I questioned his claim that we can’t rule out chance as an explanation for something unless the probability of chance working can be calculated accurately. “If your reasoning is correct,” I said, “then we have no basis for thinking the Mars rover won’t stumble upon what appears to be a working communications device on Mars — one that isn’t of human origin. And if it did, we would have no basis for thinking the device isn’t a natural product of Martian geological processes.”
BreakPoint on Twitter
One #Fresno #State prof learned the hard way that trying to deny someone else's #free #speech can cost you. http://bit.ly/2hEwClT pic.twitter.com/gx15XpY4yT
Stand to Reason on Twitter
Want to be a fearless influencer of society but have no courage? Greg's bimonthly letter, Solid Ground, will help you get deeper into the content and gain more confidence to share. Sign-up at: https://www.str.org/subscriptions pic.twitter.com/uzQEe3JyQ3
3 Things You Didn’t Know About the Sermon on the Mount
It has been a great joy for me to devote a lot of mental energy to studying, teaching, and writing about the Sermon on the Mount. Even though I’m done writing my new book on the sermon , this famous biblical text continues to teach me new things every day.
Here are three things I’ve learned about the sermon that most people probably don’t know.
1. Jesus’s Sermon Is Radical but Not Entirely New
Out of respect for Jesus, we often assume his message was a lightning bolt of novel and wonderful things never heard by humanity before.
The Sermon on the Mount is a lightning bolt. It’s direct revelation from God, coming from the mouth of the incarnate Word himself. But this doesn’t mean Jesus’s teachings were entirely new.
When we understand the sermon in the cultural context of the first-century Mediterranean world, we can discern as much continuity as there is difference. This is a good thing. Jesus wasn’t speaking Mars-based gibberish, but revealing God’s kingdom to real people in real cultures.
There are two slices of Jesus’s cultural context that both illuminate what Jesus is saying and also show that the sermon isn’t entirely new.
Southern Seminary on Twitter
One of the nation’s most influential journalists claims donations to Planned Parenthood didn’t affect her coverage of Supreme Court @albertmohler #TheBriefing http://sbts.co/2zLnXoV
BreakPoint on Twitter
You can add location information to your Tweets, such as your city or precise location, from the web and via third-party applications. You always have the option to delete your Tweet location history.
Hope Anchored in Heaven
If I am going to hold fast to my well-anchored hope, then I will need some sin-conquering help from God. And that is what verse 21 says I get: “[God] is working in us that which is pleasing in his sight “ — namely, our holding fast to the well anchored hope. And notice the next three words: “through Jesus Christ.” That means that our High Priest, our never-dying, Melchizedek-like High Priest obtained by the blood of the eternal covenant not just firm attachment at one end of the anchor, but at both ends. It is firm in heaven, and it is firm in us. This is the salvation he obtained by his blood: the hope of heaven, and the holding fast to get there. We are not left to our own weak hands to hold on. The anchor of our souls is bound to us as well as to heaven.
Thomas Sowell on Twitter
“The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals’ expansion of the welfare state.”
An Introduction to the Anthropic Principle and Fine Tuning
Most of the readers of this blog have probably heard about the anthropic principle and the fine-tuning of the universe. However, because future posts will discuss the ramifications and speculations about fine-tuning, I thought it would be prudent to give a brief overview of these topics. Although not identical, the anthropic principle and the fine-tuning are definitely related.
7 Unbiased Facts about Jesus' Death
Before asking whether Christianity is true, whether the resurrection happened—or even could— it is helpful to clear away the hype and rhetoric and look at the unbiased facts concerning the death of Jesus. Today, even liberal scholars agree about some very basic data. Moving on in the debate requires coming to an agreement concerning these seven things:
Amazon Is Making a Lord of the Rings Prequel Series
According to TechCrunch: “It’s possible the new series will mine the ponderous but rich Silmarillion for material, as fan fiction writers and lore aficionados have done for decades. The exploits of the Elf-Lords of old would make for a stirring epic, while many would thrill at the possibility of seeing Moria at the height of its grandeur.”
Australia and the Global Spread of Same-Sex Marriage
“Parliament has the power under our constitution to change the Marriage Act and has already exercised that once this century,” Maguire said, referencing the 2004 amendment that defined marriage as “the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others.” She added that despite high levels of support for same-sex marriage across the country, opposition within the government likely made changing the law through parliament impossible. “With the current government, we needed a circuit breaker. There was an obstinate refusal to follow a parliamentary route in saying that the opinion polls that have been taken on this over recent years have all reflected public support for same-sex marriage at almost exactly the point where it was measured in the survey.”
Do You Pray Like a Nonbeliever?
Finally, Father, grant happiness . We do not desire or pray for anyone’s lasting misery or sorrow or sadness. If the pain of surgery is needed for lasting healing, we trust you with that sting. But our heart is for the lasting joy of every living soul. We do not ask for what Moses repudiated as “the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25), or the “passions of the flesh that wage war against [the] soul” (1 Peter 2:11), or for the comfort of riches that turn the door of heaven into a needle’s eye (Matthew 19:24). But we ask, even for our enemies, fullness of joy at your right hand and pleasures forevermore in your presence (Psalm 16:11). Jesus died for this. May they see and receive.
Christianity Today on Twitter
What continues to worry evangelicals? Single-parent homes, sexual permissiveness, and declining religious affiliation http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/november/american-family-values-trump-clinton-voters-finances.html …
The Miracle Myth Debunked
On yesterday’s broadcast, I spoke about the Jesus Game . The rules are you have to begin with an anti-supernatural bias. Then you have to present a portrait of Jesus Christ that is wildly divergent from the biblical Christ. If your picture even remotely resembles the historical Christ, then you lose. On the other hand, if you present a Jesus who bears absolutely no resemblance to the Christ of the gospels, then you win. The more sophistry, sloppy journalism and sensationalism that you throw in, the better.
4 Ways to Break Down Social Barriers
Travel takes us out of our own little world. When we go somewhere new—whether on the other side of town or Timbuktu, it can make us feel vulnerable. But it can also teach us to be open to the unfamiliar and not be so quick to judge what we may not yet understand. Travel can help us appreciate different ways of living and other cultures and not automatically view them as threats or a reason to divide.
In the Age of Sexual Misconduct, How Is Mike Pence a Problem?
Second, variations of the Pence rule protect both sides from reputational harm. It’s a simple fact that observing a married man alone at dinner with a woman other than his wife can start tongues wagging, and it’s also a fact that leaders of Christian ministries have often had to take extreme measures to protect against intentional sabotage of their reputations. I know leaders who never travel alone in part because of actual past hostile attempts to place them in compromising positions (with photographic evidence). If we should understand anything in 2017 it’s that our politics is vicious and poisonous. The more high-profile you become, the more careful you should be.
Why So Many Christians Wanted a ‘Pagan Brawler’ in the White House
Either a president’s faith matters or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t matter, let’s forget about the issues the Religious Right has been raising for years—individual piety, devotion to Scripture, personal faith history, good moral character—and just focus on policy. But most prominent Religious Right leaders couldn’t do that because that hasn’t been their traditional approach to the faith of presidents. Some of them agreed, “We’re not electing a spiritual leader,” and then they turned around and engaged in gossip about Trump being born again or secretly led to Jesus—trying to reassure the faithful that here, in fact, was a godly man. And every day this happened, Donald Trump was behaving the exact opposite of how a born-again man ought to have behaved.
7 Traits of Effective Parenting Assessment
There’s no such thing as “waiting for the perfect moment” when you’re a parent, which is why it’s both rewarding and scary to be a mom or dad. Some days are harder than others, that’s for sure. Just when you seem to have it together—you don’t. Well, guess what? Good parents aren’t perfect. Focus on the Family’s 7 Traits of Effective Parenting Assessment gives parents an honest look at their strengths, plus some areas that could use a little help. The assessment focuses on 7 traits found within effective parent-child relationships. When you take the assessment, you will:
G. K. Chesterton on Twitter
A man who attacks the Christian religion in the modern world is not an unheard-of or extraordinary person. The extraordinary person is the person who defends the Christian religion.
Focus on the Family on Twitter
“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions ... For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 14:1 and 17
http://bible.com/59/rom.14.1-23.esv … pic.twitter.com/drymIHp128