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John Stonestreet Interview: Worldview Thinking, Curriculum Development, Cultural Engagement | The Best Schools

John Stonestreet is one of the leading lights in helping students understand the importance of their worldview on making sense of life. 

Acts 17: The Information Enigma

Even the simplest life requires a tremendous amount of genetic information, so the amount genetic information required for the diversity of life in our world is simply unfathomable. Is it reasonable to assume that this information arose through unguided naturalistic processes? Or does the evidence point to an intelligent designer? The Information Enigma is a fascinating 21-minute documentary that probes the mystery of biological information, the challenge it poses to orthodox Darwinian theory, and the reason it points to intelligent design. The video features molecular biologist Douglas Axe and Stephen Meyer, author of the books Signature in the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt .

Furry, Feathery, and Finny Animals Speak Their Minds

Evolution News and Views (ENV) provides original reporting and analysis about the debate over intelligent design and evolution.

Why Would Evolution Produce Non-Essential Genes?

Evolution News and Views (ENV) provides original reporting and analysis about the debate over intelligent design and evolution.

The Introvert’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays

Some Netflix picks for your Christmas downtime.

Why We Need Katniss

If there's one hallmark of conservatives in this country, it's a conviction that America, like Katniss, is the heroine of the story. We consider our nation morally and historically exceptional for a whole host of reasons, many of them legitimate. But no one and no nation holds moral high ground by default, or as an irrevocable heritage. It can be lost. And judging from experience and polls, we're already on that road. The growing willingness to answer political correctness with vulgarity, terrorism with nationalism, and ends-justify-the-means morality with our own ends and means shows that a little bit of President Coin has already grayed our hearts.

How Does Summer in Seattle Sound? Apply Now for Our Intensive 9-Day Seminars on Intelligent Design

Evolution News and Views (ENV) provides original reporting and analysis about the debate over intelligent design and evolution.

The 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' Music Works Perfect with the Miss Universe Blooper

You've seen the incredibly and almost unbearably awkward video of Steve Harvey crowning the wrong Miss Universe. But, you haven't seen him do it to the sound of the Curb Your Enthusiasm music. To say it works perfectly is a bit of an understatement.

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FREE Social Media Management Dashboard | Twitter/Facebook Marketing Tool |

“..I started using to be more efficient on the way I manage out Twitter communities. My favorite features? The prioritized feed to focus on the relevant members of the community..”


We invite you to the conference for women, but not all about women. It's a gathering of women around the Word of God. To this third TGC Women's Conference, we come joyfully but soberly, knowing that suffering meets us at every hand, right at home and all across the globe. What better book for us in 2016 than 1 Peter—packed with gospel perspective on our short lives. It's a little epistle, but it gives us a big view of who we are in Christ and how we are to live as redeemed sojourners in this world. How do we stand firm in God's true grace? How do we offer a strong shining witness to Jesus Christ even in the midst of fiery trials? Peter points us insistently to the Lord Jesus, to his suffering on our behalf, and to the resurrection life he makes possible for those who believe in him. At TGCW16 we won't be getting away from real life; we will be seeing it clearly, in light of gospel help and hope. By God's grace, we will go away better prepared to live and share resurrection life, in a world of suffering.

YEAR IN REVIEW: A Gay Atheist Speaks a Timely Word to the Church

Parris asks, "Can't these Christians see that the moral basis of their faith cannot be sought in the pollsters' arithmetic?" He also questions: "Can a preponderance of public opinion reverse the polarity between virtue and vice? Would it have occurred for a moment to Moses (let alone God) that he'd better defer to Moloch-worship because that's what most of the Israelites wanted to do?"

The Death of God Is Greatly Exaggerated

During the holiday season, many Christians object to greeters who say “Happy Holidays” as opposed to “Merry Christmas.” It is one of many manifestation of their insecurity.  They use the terms “war on Christmas” and “war on Christianity” despite enjoying a numerical super-majority.   An affront on their faith is seen as being disrespectful, though they feel free to criticize and belittle any opposing belief system. They don’t seem to understand that saying “Merry Christmas” is being somewhat insensitive to Muslims and Jews, for example, and, certainly, they would be incensed if someone greeted them with “Happy Hanukkah.”

Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God? | RZIM

I should start by saying this: for years after leaving Islam and accepting Jesus as Lord, I believed that Muslims worshiped the same God as Christians but that they were simply wrong about what He is like and what He has done. After all, I had been taught as a young Muslim to worship the God who created Adam and Eve, who rescued Noah from the flood, who promised Abraham a vast progeny, who helped Moses escape Egypt, who made the Virgin Mary great with child, who sent Jesus into the world, who helped the disciples overcome, and who is still sovereign today. Is that not the God of the Bible?

Leibniz’ Contingency Argument

For more resources visit: View the Kalam Cosmological Argument animation video: View the Fine Tuning Argument animation video: View the Moral Argument animation video: Reasonable Faith features the work of philosopher and theologian Dr. William Lane Craig and aims to provide in the public arena an intelligent, articulate, and uncompromising yet gracious Christian perspective on the most important issues concerning the truth of the Christian faith today, such as: -the existence of God -the meaning of life -the objectivity of truth -the foundation of moral values -the creation of the universe -intelligent design -the reliability of the Gospels -the uniqueness of Jesus -the historicity of Jesus' resurrection -the challenge of religious pluralism We welcome your comments in the Reasonable Faith forums: Be sure to also visit Reasonable Faith's other channel which contains full-length clips: http://www.

Christmas Morning Without Competitors

We must be clear, Santa is preaching a message, too. It’s heralded every year on television and in children’s books. On the surface it seems innocuous, but up his red and white sleeves is a worldview that fundamentally competes and conflicts with the good news of Jesus. As Christian parents we must subject every worldview that enters our households to gospel scrutiny. In that spirit, let me point out four ways that Jesus’s news outshines Santa’s this Christmas.

8 Five Reasons You Can Trust the Story of Christmas Is True (Free Bible Insert) | Cold Case Christianity

Reason 5: The Virgin Conception Wasn’t Borrowed from Another Source Skeptics also attempt to discredit the virgin conception of Jesus by claiming it was borrowed from prior pagan mythologies such as those of Mithras or Horus. But any fair examination of pagan mythological birth narratives revels the dramatic differences between the virgin conception of Jesus and stories about the supernatural emergence of mythological gods. While “borrowing” may have occurred between belief systems, the weak resemblances between the Biblical account and pagan mythologies are far more likely the result of the Judeo-Christian influence rather than contamination from a pagan source. It’s irrational to believe the early Jewish readers of the gospels would embrace any part of paganism in the story of Jesus’ conception as continuous with the Jewish narrative from the Old Testament. In addition, early Christian converts were repeatedly called to a new life in Christ, told they were merely travelers passing through this mortal (and pagan) world, called to live a life that was free of worldly influences, and told to reject the foolish philosophies and stories of men.

Give Truth with Your Year-End Gift

When Josh saw the paper, he was stunned. Those words of thanks represent the lives of men and women around the world who want to thank YOU — our faithful ministry partners — for helping them know the Truth of Jesus and live out their faith in real and meaningful ways every day.

Life exploded on Earth after slow rise of oxygen

Samples of rocks that were laid down under the sea at different times were taken from different locations to piece together the global picture of the oxygen levels of Earth's oceans and atmosphere. By measuring selenium isotopes in the rocks, the team revealed that it took 100 million years for the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere to climb from less than 1% to over 10% of today's current level. This was arguably the most significant oxygenation event in Earth history because it ushered in an age of animal life that continues to this day.

How Christ’s Incarnation Differs from the Hindu Idea of Avatar

The doctrine of the Incarnation (God became man in Jesus of Nazareth) lies at the heart of Christianity; it’s a truth-claim celebrated all over the world at Christmastime. Historic Christianity affirms that Jesus Christ is a single person with both a fully divine nature and a fully human nature. As C. S. Lewis aptly put it, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.” 1

The First Noël

But in the very same moments with the very same news, the wise men responded very differently. “When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” (Matthew 2:10). The wise men were beside themselves with joy because of this star. These guys weren’t Jewish priests. They weren’t Jewish at all. They were men from the east. From the moment of his birth, the joy Jesus brings is a joy for the nations, for the whole world. It happened just like Isaiah predicted, “The Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Isaiah 60:2–3).

A Christmas Meditation | RZIM

I have a friend who lives in Norwalk, Ohio, a doctor. He told me some years ago that as a very young teen, his daughter had gone to the Caribbean on a youth mission trip. She returned with her group to Miami to make her way back home. Her parents were concerned about this last leg of the journey by herself; she would be separate from the group, traveling alone for the first time. As she was looking for her flight information on the marquee at the airport, an older man also viewing the list of flights asked if he could help her. Uncomfortable, but not wanting to reveal her unease, she let him know she was checking for her flight information to Detroit. He said, “Oh, I’m going to Detroit, too!” That sent tremors into this young girl’s heart. Again, she tried to mask it. “Is that your destination,” he asked? “No, actually I’m heading to Norwalk, Ohio, and my dad is picking me up in Detroit.” To her utter surprise, he said, “You know what? I’m going to Norwalk too and I’ll be happy to take you there and save your dad the drive.” Now fear really began to grip her. Then there was a pause. The gentleman detected the hint of fear.

How We Forgot the Poverty of Christmas

The story is found in Luke 2. A decree goes out. Joseph travels with Mary to the city of David, called Bethlehem, to be registered in Caesar’s census. Then the text simply says: “And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them” (v. 7). Such little fanfare, we might miss the pre-existent divine Son of God lying as a babe in a feeding trough.

Will I Ever Be ‘Man Enough’?

Pyle’s challenge to the direct pursuit of masculinity is in many respects salutary: manhood develops most appropriately when we pursue the kingdom of God rather than an idol of masculinity itself (and manhood differs from masculinity on account of its focus on maturity). However, the inadequacies of Pyle’s account—in part on account of his egalitarianism, in part on account of his focus on individual authenticity, and in part on account of his failure to attend closely to the form of maturity in and perfection of maleness—are most betrayed in its failure to give any shape to the concept of manliness. While, as Pyle argues, men and women aren’t called to different sets of virtues, their relation to and expression of these virtues do differ. Men and women may be compared to two different instruments playing the same notes, the difference between them immediately discernible by even the untrained ear, though often difficult to articulate.

The Sultan of Brunei Has Literally Outlawed Christmas

The leader of the conservative Muslim country of Brunei has made celebrating Christmas a crime. The new measures make it illegal for any Muslim residents—who make up 65% of the population—to celebrate the holiday in any way. Non-Muslims, may put up decorations and openly celebrate the holiday, only if they remain in their local areas and first receive specific permission from the government.

The Advent Project

The Advent Project is a daily devotional series celebrating the Advent season through art and Scripture. Our goal is to help individuals quiet their hearts and enter into a daily routine of worship and reflection during this meaningful but often hectic season.

Why I'm Not a Conscientious Objector

I loved that community, and some there were among my best friends, but I struggled that day. As each person took turns denouncing the evils of militarism, I realized I was the only veteran in the room. I felt ashamed for participating in the "war machine," but also annoyed with friends who were oblivious to their own complicity. While they talked about how to resist "war taxes" and frustrate the service system, they didn't mention their contribution to an economy that drives countries to war—not only through fossil fuel consumption, but also through purchasing goods in a system dependent on foreign oil for trade and transportation. Mostly, I was frustrated by my friends' seeming lack of empathy for military service members and for their sense of moral superiority.

Muslims, Christians, and the Gods

It's, of course, possible to have false beliefs about a person and still believe in and encounter and even worship that person. This is the sort of analogy presented by Francis Beckwith : “Imagine that Fred believes that the evidence is convincing that Thomas Jefferson (TJ) sired several children with his slave Sally Hemings (SH), and thus Fred believes that TJ has the property of ‘being a father to several of SHs children.' On the other hand, suppose Bob does not find the evidence convincing and thus believes that TJ does not have the property of ‘being a father to several of SHs children.' Would it follow from this that Fred and Bob do not believe that the Third President of the United States was the same man? Of course not.” He concludes, “one may have incomplete knowledge or hold a false belief about another person – whether human or divine – does not mean that someone who has better or truer knowledge about that person is not thinking about the same person.”

The Christmas Story is Personal

This Christmas season please remember that the story of Jesus’s birth is more than just a story for people “out there.” It is a  Little wonder then that the Apostle Paul breaks out into praise in the middle of a letter to a church. He writes with such devotion and delight. He was moved by the glorious truth of the incarnation: “he loved me and gave himself for me.” Let yourself today be moved by the personal and powerful truth of the gospel.

Should the Children Suffer?

And then there’s every grandparent’s fear—will they be safe? These little treasures move into the backyard of terrorists, into the bush far from quality medical care, or into megacities where children frequently go missing. Mom and Dad may have chosen to risk their lives for the sake of the gospel, but do they have the right to put their children in harm’s way?

Innovative Apologetics: A Large List of Bible Verses Relating to The Trinity

Our First Christmas

It’s a real privilege to reflect that we really have gone from zero to something! We had no idea what to expect at the start of this year, but God’s brought people into our path and helped build relationships. Our big prayer for 2016 is for a core group to form, as we’re still really small, and for people to get to know Jesus. In this Advent season, the major learning curve for us has to be learning to depend on God: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)

Where the Lambs Are Kept: A Narrative Retelling of Luke 2:8–15

For the poor, helplessly earthbound shepherds, this was a lot to take in. What had they just heard? What did it mean? How should they respond? Wisdom suggested that if the angelic hosts of heaven offered unfettered joy in response to this message, their reaction was appropriate. Though none of those shepherds had ever before had an angel of the Lord tell them of the coming of the Savior of the world, the spontaneous eruption of angelic praise became the lens through which they would see this moment: God was at work. This much was plain. But why had the glory of all glories appeared to the lowest of the lows? Why had the angel chosen to reveal this message to mere shepherds, unclean as they were?

Report: Kurt Russell Might Play Chris Pratt's Dad in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Sequel

I literally got a phone call two days ago about this. You got to understand something, I've never seen Guardians of the Galaxy . I don't know anything about it. I'm one of the four idiots who have never seen it, evidently ... I didn't realize [Gunn] had written and directed it. So we talked to each other on the phone and I just had to be honest and say, “Thank you for considering me, I have to read it and I have to watch the movie, because I can't bring anything for you. I got nothing to offer here.” I'm amazed to get asked about this, because everybody knows more about it than I do.

Renewing Your Mind | The Glory of God | December 23, 2015

Every day in America, we hear one of the great pernicious lies about God, namely, that we all worship the same god. We are told that whatever we call him or it—Allah or Yahweh or Tao or Buddha—it doesn't matter. We all worship the same thing. To that I reply, "No, we don't." The scary part about religion in general is that it underscores man's guilt before God, but then goes on to create ineffective solutions to this guilt. The impetus for creating alternatives to the religion that God reveals in nature and in Scripture is idolatry. But even if we boldly confess this truth, we must be on guard against idolatry even within the Christian community. Because we are fallen creatures, we can be religious and be idolaters at the same time. All of us can remake God in our own image, downplaying or ignoring those aspects of His character we do not like. If we do that, we are withholding the glory that belongs to God alone.

WORLD | Does Christmas still matter? | John S. Dickerson | Dec. 23, 2015

In a world where ISIS is spreading and where racial hatred is resurging, one 10-year-old girl is proving that Christmas still matters. Myriam is a refugee from Iraq, a Christian driven by ISIS from her home, her church, and her homeland. In an ABC News interview (see video below) you can hear her say in her own words that she forgives ISIS “because Jesus said forgive each other, love each other the way I love you.” Of violence and war, this 10-year-old says that, based on Jesus’ teachings, “This is what we need to learn: forgiveness.”

28 Prayer for God's will

What would be a good prayer? Depending on the subject, it would be a request to the Lord to forgive, to heal, to reveal, to intercede, to help, etc. But, and this is important, we must realize that it is not our will that is to be done but God's. We must primarily ask for God's will to be accomplished, not ours. This means that we must enter prayer by faith and accept--in advance--that what we are requesting may not be answered the way we hope it will. We must look to God as the wise counselor and the all-knowing Lord who loves us deeply and who hears our prayers but has a divine plan and purpose for His creation that God will carry out. Therefore, we must not only pray for others, for forgiveness, for healing, etc., but also we must pray that we are moved into the will of God in every area of our lives so that our prayers might more accurately reflect the will of God.

Our Mission in a Prodigal World (Part 2 of 2)

And so, Jesus wants to push them back. I understand why some Pharisees were bothered. Listen, we made this mistake in the past and we lost our land for 100 years. You can't make that mistake again, Jesus. If You eat with them, God will sooner or later send us and Jesus has to say, no, no, no, no, no, no. We're called to be holy. You're right about that. Touch no unclean thing, but why? Because God wants to engage this world as a holy community to show them what He's like.

Christmas Carols vs. Secular Holiday Tunes

When you dig into the real substance of Christmas, it’s all ultimately about hope : hope for redemption from sin and salvation from darkness. But how many of us really see Christmas as the season where desparate despair is conquered? Maybe we’re just distracting our minds from tragedy for a time during the holidays, while the days surrounding Christmas can bring a fatigue and stress of their own.

Five Reasons You Can Trust the Story of Christmas Is True (Free Bible Insert) | Cold Case Christianity

Reason 5: The Virgin Conception Wasn’t Borrowed from Another Source Skeptics also attempt to discredit the virgin conception of Jesus by claiming it was borrowed from prior pagan mythologies such as those of Mithras or Horus. But any fair examination of pagan mythological birth narratives revels the dramatic differences between the virgin conception of Jesus and stories about the supernatural emergence of mythological gods. While “borrowing” may have occurred between belief systems, the weak resemblances between the Biblical account and pagan mythologies are far more likely the result of the Judeo-Christian influence rather than contamination from a pagan source. It’s irrational to believe the early Jewish readers of the gospels would embrace any part of paganism in the story of Jesus’ conception as continuous with the Jewish narrative from the Old Testament. In addition, early Christian converts were repeatedly called to a new life in Christ, told they were merely travelers passing through this mortal (and pagan) world, called to live a life that was free of worldly influences, and told to reject the foolish philosophies and stories of men.

Get to know your Bible in 2016 with these awesome Kindle Deals on Study Bibles and Bible study Resources from only $1.99 t0 $3.99!

Greg’s Note: Most of us (myself included) are falling down in reading and studying our Bibles. Resolve with me to change that with the coming new year! My approach to Bible study and reading has always been to use a variety of study Bible in different versions along with other study helps to help you better understands how to read, study, interpret scripture, and apply it to your life. Two of the resources offered here that I’ve used in the past have made the Bible come alive to me like never before: Reading the Bible through chronologically and read the Bible through in 90 days. As a big proponent of learning and applying apologetics, one of the biggest things that is often overlooked is that the budding apologist must always start and end with the Bible. If we don’t know our Bibles, our apologetics will never be as effective as it should be or could be. Merry Christmas and Happy and Blessed New Year to all of you!

Prayer in Apologetics

Never let your study and practice of apologetics replace the power--received by faith--in prayer before the Holy Creator. Ask God to empower your words and open the hearts of those with whom you speak . . . and then study and witness to the best of your abilities.

Battle of the Crazy Gigantic Extreme Christmas Spectacles!!

Here's a heartwarming Christmas story: At John Hagee's Mega-Church they expect members to tithe regularly; however, they realize that some people are poor, unemployed or just "down on their luck," so the non-tithers are required to go listen to Pastor Hagee sing and play the saxophone at Christmas and pretend they enjoyed it. This will compensate for their inability to tithe for one year...

35 EPS Blog - Evangelical Philosophical Society

Katherin A. Rogers presents a new theory of free will, based on the thought of Anselm of Canterbury. We did not originally produce ourselves. Yet, according to Anselm, we can engage in self-creation, freely and responsibly forming our characters by choosing 'from ourselves' ( a se ) between open options. Anselm introduces a new, agent-causal libertarianism which is parsimonious in that, unlike other agent-causal theories, it does not appeal to any unique and mysterious powers to explain how the free agent chooses. After setting out Anselm's original theory, Rogers defends and develops it by addressing a series of standard problems leveled against libertarianism. These include the problem of 'internalism--in that an agent is not the source of his original motivations, how can the structure of his choice ground his responsibility?; the problem of Frankfurt-style counterexamples--Do we really need open options to choose freely?; and the problem of luck--If nothing about an agent before he chooses explains his choice, then isn't the choice just dumb luck? (The Anselmian answer to this perennial criticism is especially innovative, proposing that the critic has the relationship between choices and character exactly backwards.

36 EPS Blog - Evangelical Philosophical Society

In The Passions of the Soul, Descartes proclaims his intention to explain the passions “only as a Physicist,” and titles Part I “About the passions in general, and incidentally about the whole nature of man”—not an incidental item. Two questions orient the present inquiry: What does Descartes mean by “the whole nature of man,” and how does a general theory of the human emotions based on his physics account for it? Not surprisingly, Descartes does not fulfill the letter of his intention; rather, he explains the passions “only [partly] as a Physicist.” The other part of his study—irreducible to any physics—consists in his own analysis of the life of the human being as union of soul and body. The resulting account is an unusual combination of scientific (hypothetico-deductive) psychophysics and prescientific insight into human experience. In it, a quasi-mechanical theory of the impact of imagination on passion and volition is combined with a distinctive emphasis on the human propensity to esteem what we imagine to be great. Human history and therewith “the whole [problematic] nature of man” is constituted in significant measure by the particular and variable objects of esteem.

Franklin Graham Leaves GOP Over Planned Parenthood Funding - Breitbart

After all of the appalling facts revealed this year about Planned Parenthood, our representatives in Washington had a chance to put a stop to this, but they didn’t. There’s no question—taxpayers should not be paying for abortions! Abortion is murder in God’s eyes. Seeing and hearing Planned Parenthood talk nonchalantly about selling baby parts from aborted fetuses with utter disregard for human life is reminiscent of Joseph Mengele and the Nazi concentration camps! That should’ve been all that was needed to turn off the faucet for their funding. Nothing was done to trim this 2,000 page, $1.1 trillion budget. This is an example of why I have resigned from the Republican Party and declared myself Independent. I have no hope in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, or Tea Party to do what is best for America. Unless more godly men and women get in this process and change this wicked system, our country is in for trouble.

Just Drop the Blanket

In that climactic scene when Linus shares what “Christmas is all about,” he drops his security blanket, and I am now convinced that this is intentional. Most telling is the specific moment he drops it: when he utters the words “fear not” (at :38 seconds).

I Have Parkinson’s and I Am at Peace

Wayne Grudem has been a friend for over 45 years. We have walked through a lot together in scholarship and family life. When I spoke with him yesterday to see how he was doing, he said, “The last time I looked, Romans 8:28 was still in the Bible.” I smiled, and said, “You did a good job editing the ESV. Thanks for not taking it out.” When the roots go as deep as they do with Wayne and me, laughter is the fruit of indomitable joy. Join me in praying that God would heal the body, sustain the faith, and give the strength for the work Wayne believes he is still called to do. We asked him if we could let you know about this with his letter he had sent to some friends. Thank you, Wayne. –John Piper

The Manger

When our dreams and plans are falling apart, and our life feels humble and obscure when we were hoping for something prettier, maybe we are exactly where God wants us to be. Where he can use us most.

Should Christians Be Encouraged to Arm Themselves?

1) This instinct is understandable. But it seems to me that the New Testament resists this kind of ethical reduction, and does not satisfy our demand for a yes or no on that question. We don’t like this kind of ambiguity, but I can’t escape it. There is, as I have tried to show, a pervasive thrust in the New Testament pushing us toward blessing and doing good to those who hate, curse, and abuse us (Luke 6:27–28). And there is no direct dealing with the situation of using lethal force to save family and friend, except in regards to police and military. This is remarkable when you think about it, since I cannot help but think this precise situation presented itself, since we read that Saul drug men and women bound to Jerusalem (Acts 9:1–2).

Pillar - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Official Lyric Video)

Buy now on iTunes - Check out Pillar's take on the Christmas classic, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" just in time for the holidays. Available now everywhere digitally. Request this song now at your local rock radio stations! Visit Pillar at: Video created by Trinitys Apprentice Studios


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Home for the Holidays When Home Isn’t Safe (Part 1)

Indeed, it was otherwise in my childhood. My father (who died eight years ago) was a church leader and a violent man. His wisdom and insight, his ability to connect with anyone he deemed worthy, and his capacity to help people who had the least reason to expect it let him become a surrogate father to a number of grateful people. Alas, he had threats, humiliations, and blows for his sons. About half of my earliest memories have beatings and cruelties as their centerpiece. And Christmas was often the worst day of the year. On Christmas Eve, he spoke of the night heaven came to earth, and on Christmas day he gave his family a chocolate sampler of hell.

What Was the Star of Bethlehem?

In the ancient world, comets were often seen as omens. They could either be good or bad, and they testified to a great human or natural event. That is, a comet could anticipate a great birth or death, a great battle, an earthquake, or a volcano. The Old Testament banned astrology, but at the same time, God was not loath to use natural phenomena to manifest things of great importance in time and in space. For example, when Moses stood at the Red Sea, with Egyptian chariots behind him and the waters in front of him, God used a great wind to part the Red Sea and see the Israelites safely through. God often uses ordinary—or “natural”—means supernaturally. He times things miraculously. We see here, again, the intertwining of the natural and supernatural, the ordinary and the extraordinary. It is not unlike the way God sent His glorious Son to be born in an ordinary stable. There, the miraculous was born among the ordinary. Angels and shepherds both praised Him. The star ultimately led these Magi to the promised Messiah, and they worshiped Him. Let us also worship Him during this Christmas season.

How Expository Preaching Meets Your Needs

Critics accuse need-oriented preaching of pandering to a consumer mentality. They say it twists the Christ-centered gospel into a man-centered counterfeit: we no longer exist to serve God; God exists to serves us. Besides, critics say, fallen humans misconstrue their needs. If preachers don’t question felt needs, they’ll indulge the thin desire for more pleasure or less pain. People assume they need counsel about what to do, when in reality they need to hear they must change or they’ll never be able to do the right thing. They think they need answers to their questions when in fact they need new questions. Their questions show they have set their minds on “the things of man,” not “the things of God” (Matt. 16:23).

Let Christmas Be Complicated

I see this simplification happen on a personal level too, with well-intended attempts to explain or answer our suffering. Think of the clichés: God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Everything happens for a reason. It was just her time. Behind these sentiments, we find the good desire to affirm that God loves us and has our best interests at heart. But too often such simplifications—of individual suffering or suffering on a larger scale—belie our need to control the narrative. If we can oversimplify the situation, then we can understand it and protect ourselves. But in a world tainted by sin, circumstances are rarely that straightforward, as we learn from Scripture itself.

9 Things You Should Know About Christmas

2. Despite the impression giving by many nativity plays and Christmas carols, the Bible doesn't specify: that Mary rode a donkey; that an innkeeper turned away Mary and Joseph (only that there was no room at the inn); that Mary gave birth to Jesus the day she arrived in Bethlehem (only that it happened “while they were there”); that angels sang (only that the “heavenly host” spoke and praised God); that there were three wise men (no number is specified) or that the Magi arrived the day/night of Jesus' birth.

What Do We Mean When We Use the Term, “Virgin Conception”?

Both Matthew and Luke described the “virgin conception” of Jesus. This term is often mistaken for other similar expressions that actually represent different theological concepts, and not all of these concepts are warranted by the Biblical text. The “virgin conception” of Jesus is clearly described in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, but this term is not to be confused with two similar terms commonly known as the “virgin birth” and the “immaculate conception”:

Don’t Starve Yourself This Christmas

Christmas gift-giving brings the temptation to love the things of the world. You may feel discontent because you can’t buy your kids everything they ask for, or because your sister-in-law got a brand-new car. Or it may be that as you Christmas-shop for others, you start wanting for yourself all the lovely things you see in the stores. We need God’s Word to remind us to be on guard “against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).

51 Some Honest Answers for Michael Brown
52 God and Father Christmas
53 Mary, Do We Know? Evangelicals and the mother of God | Think Christian
54 Announcing the Death of Vonette Bright
55 @louiegiglio on Instagram: “Happiness. I remember when their mom (and her sisters) sat around Aunt Shay-Shay just like this. Generations. Family Christmas! #tutus…”
56 The Poached Egg on Twitter
57 God's Not Dead: No Need for Evolution: God’s Fingerprints are Everywhere
58 The Poached Egg on Twitter
59 Book Review: "Joy in the Journey" by Steve and Sharol Hayner
60 Innovative Apologetics: The Folly of Atheism as the Absence of Belief in the Existence of gods
61 The Poached Egg on Twitter
62 Ligonier Ministries on Twitter
63 Innovative Apologetics: Relativism and Nihilism Some Applications for Apologetics part 1
64 His Cornerstone, LLC on Twitter
65 Your Gift to Truth For Life Helps Bring the Comfort of God's Word to People You May Never Meet This Side of Heaven.
66 Click here to support Melissa Pellew: Transverse Myelitis by Lisa Cruz
68 Merry Christmas should mean the end of racism
69 Travels, a Traveller, Whistles & Bells: the top 10 albums of 2015 | Think Christian
70 Feuding physicists turn to philosophy for help
71 Being born again.
72 Five Errors to Drop from Your Christmas Sermon
73 John Piper, Guns, and Civic Responsibility - The Calvinist International
74 A Clear Lens on Twitter
75 Was the Dispersion at Babel a Real Event?
76 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review
77 Descartes, Hume, and Darwin on the Argument from Reason
78 Dr. Ben Merkle
79 @russellmoore on Instagram: “Taylor being fed Blue Bell by his grandparents. This is spoiled.”
80 Glory to God and Peace on Earth
81 WORLD | Muslims protect Christians in Kenyan bus attack | Julia A. Seymour | Dec. 23, 2015
82 A 3,000 Year Old Version of 'Imagine'
83 The TC Apologetics Daily
84 Josh McDowell on Twitter
85 WORLD | Wheaton, hijab-wearing prof reach impasse in reconciliation attempt | Leigh Jones | Dec. 23, 2015
86 Triablogue: Gabriel appears to the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
87 Cadbury Lectures: God Over All | 1. Divine Aseity | University of Birmingham, UK
88 National Review on Twitter
89 Alyssa Farris on Twitter
90 Innovative Apologetics: Seeing the Powerful Patterns of Evidence for the Exodus
91 The Poached Egg on Twitter
92 David Platt and Evangelicals For Life