Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Climate change bill: nuke it, literally

A top Republican senator has ordered an investigation into the Environmental Protection Agency's alleged suppression of a report that questioned the science behind global warming. 

The 98-page report, co-authored by EPA analyst Alan Carlin, pushed back on the prospect of regulating gases like carbon dioxide as a way to reduce global warming. Carlin's report argued that the information the EPA was using was out of date, and that even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have increased, global temperatures have declined.

"He came out with the truth. They don't want the truth at the EPA," Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., a global warming skeptic, told FOX News, saying he's ordered an investigation. "We're going to expose it."  

The controversy comes after the House of Representatives passed a landmark bill to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, one that Inhofe said will be "dead on arrival" in the Senate despite President Obama's energy adviser voicing confidence in the measure.

(This from Berger, J. "Sen. Inhofe Calls for Iinquiry into 'Supressed' Climate Change Report: Republicans are raising questions about why the EPA apparently dismissed an analyst's report questioning the science behind global warming." FOXNews.com, June 29, 2009. Retrieved June 30, 2009 from  <http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/06/29/gop-senator-calls-inquiry-supressed-climate-change-report/>."

I had originally misunderstood: I thought the climate change bill had pass both houses!  There is HOPE, and of the true variety!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Oh yeah!!!

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 3:14-15)

Monday, June 22, 2009

He Wants Me to Live!

(Modern Parables Series)

     Then Jesus entered an Obamacare waiting room.  A huge number of people were sitting, standing, or lying there, and moans and stale breath mingled in the air.  A single worker stood behind the check-in desk and languidly flipped through clipboards with sign-up lists, striking out most names, highlighting some others, and doodling in-between.  Hand-lettered signs marked the unisex bathroom, the broken water fountain, the free emergency suicide packs, the free Morning After pills, and the free Do Not Resuscitate wristbands.  A glass-encased cabinet showed the other high-quality safesex, safedrug, and other safedeath supplies, all sporting a picture of Our Esteemed Leader.  Once, bored children could have been seen wasting their precious time "playing" with germ-ridden toys as overprotective "parents" tried to remind them not to put anything in their mouths.  The "Let the Children Come to Me" program had changed all that.  With children being educationally conditioned at state facilities from birth to age thirty-two, there was no need for an understimulating "play area."  This formerly wasted space had been profitably replaced with a rack of brochures and books with titles such as "Ninety-Nine Ways to Know You're Gay," "It Takes a Global Community," "Smoking is Hell Fire (And Lung Cancer Takes Too Long)," "The More I Gain, the Less I Am: Handbook to the No-Eat Diet," "Safe Eating and How You Can Do It," and "Oh, Jump Off a Bridge: The Annual Catalog of Dignified Departures."

    A Pentium II stood in the corner by the weigh-in station under a sign proclaiming "WIs: Worth Index While You Wait!"  Just enough of a crumbling instruction sheet was left to make out a diagram with a bell-shaped curve showing value with respect to age.  There was also a description detailing the integrated approaching to value determination: "We combine your personality, family, obesity, and tolerance profiles to determine your exact worth!  Be sure and take this worth index with you when you go to the sign-up list!"  A series of posters on the wall each showed two pictures side-by-side, one in black-and-white, and the other in color.  On the first poster there was a photo of an older child holding a baby with Downs Syndrome with difficulty.  The next photo showed just the older child, this time with hands lifted up to the sky.  The caption said "Less is more!"  Another poster showed an unhappy woman looking down as a man talked to her. To the right was a picture of the same woman, this time smiling at another woman.  Its caption was "Toward a more perfect union!"  The third poster showed an elderly man in a wheelchair frowning as he read his W.I.  The next panel showed the same man joyfully holding out his arm to a physician preparing a syringe. The caption was "Come to me and I will give you rest!"

     A TV in the corner was blaring The Great One's latest speech: "U.S. Healthcare: New Methods!  New Hope!  New Miracles!"   Jesus went to a scruffy guy lying on an air mattress and started chatting with him.  The man put down the "Feel Like a Burden?  Try Our Solution!" brochure he'd been reading.  On the TV, the Supreme One was reading through the daily update of state-mediated clinical breakthroughs: "...and this nearly brings us to the end of our largest, and most practical section -- 'Dignified Departures.'  Many years ago I promised to reduce healthcare costs.  And as you all know, I have been faithful to that promise.  Dignified Departures enables just that!  Of course, I couldn't have done this without you.  The research groups  I've been describing are finding new and interesting ways to depart with dignity, and Death Counseling is the number one most popular major in our state schools (those the mortality rate is -- nevermind).  As one final example, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently discovered a new technique for painless passing.  It involves voluntary infection with African sleeping sickness.  Now this does sound novel!  Almost makes you want to -- anyway -- I am confident that this year will bring even more breakthroughs in Dignified Departure research, and offer custom methods for each and every global citizen!  It's never too early to start your planning!  I would like to take a moment to mention a little something in passing (no pun intended).  As you know, friends, under my watch, the FDA was streamlined to speed the approval of compounds which hasten dignified departures, especially those which make death possible through novel experiences.  Of course, I cannot take all the credit for this development, because it is truly easier end a person's life than to continue it.  But do not let this dampen your enthusiasm, my friends!  Remember that dignity comes by allowing each one to choose the end!  Each day brings reports of brave citizens of the world unselfishly determining that they are not of any use to society, and thus choosing to depart -- even though their W.I. did not yet report their undesirebleness!  These caring and model citizens are to be commended, and others are to be continually inspired by their stories!  Remember!  More is obtained through death, than through life! ..."  Though initially suspicious of the newcomer's questions, the disabled man soon warmed to Jesus and his broad smile.  The TV continued blaring "...and, my friends, you -- you -- they just don't make teleprompters like they -- uh -- as I was saying, my friends..."  "Name's Raj."  "You come here often?"  "All day, every day!"  Raj cracked a smile.  "Me and my mattress!"  The TV announced "...today I am joined a friend who would like to tell you about the excellent care she received just this week at an Obamacare facility.  Jan, what struck you most about your experience?"  "O Divine One, I can remember what care was like before Obamacare.  And when I think about it, I cry.  Ritalin-intake was subject to so-called "parent approval"!  Women brought deformed, useless eaters into the world!  Individual conscience superseded group consciousness and duty to society!  But as you have shown, O Great One, joy comes in the morning.  Joy comes in the morning!  I know that the treatment I received just this week enables me to work for my state, which is the one thing I want to do most.  I die daily, so that my society can benefit.  And when I have outlived my usefulness, O Mighty Leader, I will willingly lay down my life so that others might live..."  Raj was distracted by the TV, but Jesus kneeled next to him and asked, "Do you want to get well?"  Raj turned his eyes to the ceiling and answered mechanically, "Sure, bub.  But everytime people with my illness are collected, the quota gets filled before anybody helps me put my name on the sign-up sheet.  Anyway, my W.I. isn't exactly high, so I might be rejected anyway."  He paused, then continued, glad to have someone new to describe himself to.  "I'm a challenging case: back when I was born, there was still 'interracial breeding.'  (That's been outlawed, y'know, to cut costs).  Since I'm mixed-race, that makes my tissue-type harder to match -- it's not done that much nowadays.  So really, I don't know.  So much is out of my control."   His voice gained strength and he raised himself up on one elbow, poking a finger at Jesus.  "But there is a way that I can take control again!  Times have changed since I was a kid!  Like they say, 'We're all terminal eventually!' so why split hairs?"  He paused again, and the steam he'd collected evaporated slowly.  His body sagged back to the mattress, his eyes closed, and his voice dropped.  "Healing?  I'm not sure I'm worth the trouble."  His eyes flicked open and he stared at Jesus.  "Are you?"  Jesus kept his gaze and said forcefully, "Get up!  Deflate your air mattress, pick it up, and walk!"  Raj jumped up, deflated his air mattress, and ran out the door, rejoicing.  He didn't even notice the brochure that crumpled beneath his feet.

    No sooner did he pass the bronze Kevorkian statue and reach the sidewalk than he was accosted by two Globicorp "volunteers."  "Hey, hey, hey, there!"  one said to him.  "What's that you're carrying?"  Raj, now enraptured, but as scruffy as ever, glanced down at his wadded-up mattress.  "It's my air mattress.  I've got to go find a dumpster so I can throw it away."   "You have a permit for that?"  Raj started sweating and mumbled something about not having a chance to file the paperwork.  The first volunteer turned to the second.  "You got that, Mulligan?"  Mulligan nodded and scratched some notes on a pad.  Looking back to Raj the first volunteer said, "You are aware that you are in total violation of 44-61-78, 25-17-94 and 45-66-09?"  Raj blinked twice and looked despairingly for an exit.  "Postulation of private property, unlicensed transport of material, and environmentally irresponsible waste disposal.  What do you say to that?"  Raj looked up from watching his wiggling toes and said, "All I know is that the guy who healed me told me to deflate this air mattress, pick it up, and walk."  "Who was this?"  "Beats me.  I was so busy getting healed He could have gone anywhere.  I think He might have been passing out tracts when I jetted, but I'm not sure.  Anyway, anything's better than the garbage they've got in there!"  He paused, then added, mostly to himself, "He didn't have a waiting list.  And he wants me to live!"  Mulligan scribbled "flagrant disregard of state information," "delusional tendencies," and "absence of praise about The Chosen One" on his pad, and the first volunteer demanded, "Was this guy even licensed?"  (Loosely based on John 5).

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Creationists in Urbana!

So I'm church hunting again.  I found a neat church that has a nursinghome and foodpantry ministries.  It's also Wesleyan.  Cool beans!  It's First Wesleyan Church on 408 E. Illinois St., and it has Sunday School or a Traditional service at 9:30, and Sunday School or a Contemporary Service at 11:00.  They hosted a town hall meeting with Dave Ramsey to talk about the economy.

This was a mighty blessing to find.  But I wondered: are there any churches active on creation/evolution?  I searched for "Ken Ham Urbana IL" and found that Robert Gilbert from Calvary Baptist Church was number 64 on the Creation Letter Project.  Woohoo!  He's not the "pastor" of this church, though.

Hmmm... decisions!!!!

Wow: Look at this: "Teenager/Young Adult Bible Study
When:  Sundays, 9:45 AM
Led by:  Mike Beadle

In the world today our faith is under constant attack. This Bible Study will focus on equipping ourselves with knowledge to defend our faith. With a greater understanding of God's Word we will be better prepared to face the post-modern culture in which we live. Some of the issues we will be discussing include evolution, environmentalism, genetic engineering, sexual ethics and the media and how all of these relate to our Christian faith."  Isn't that cool!  This wa taught last fall at Trinity Lutheran Church in town!

And woah!

"Bible Study and Discussion:  Politics and Christianity
When:  Tuesdays (Sept. 9 and 30, Oct. 14 and 28, Nov. 11) 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Place:  At the church
Led by:  Bob McColley and Ken Davis

            Sept. 09:          The Gospels.  What Jesus teaches.
            Sept. 30:          The Epistles.  What St. Paul teaches.
            Oct. 14:           The Old Testament. Jewish reverence for law.
                                    The political instability of Israel and Judah.
                                    Relevance to modern politics?
            Oct. 28            Election day approaches
                                    What should Christians keep in mind?
            Nov. 11:          Reflections on the election. What great Christian writers teach us about politics:St. Augustine, Luther, C.S. Lewis, others?"

This I've GOT to check out!!!!   I can't believe this!!!!!  WOWOOOWERHZEES!!!!!!!  C.S. Lewis, religion, politics!!!!!  WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW!!!!!  (As you can see, I'm excited :-)

This church is a member of the Missouri Synod, and this group has articles on many key issues such as homosexuality, abortion, the ordination of women, and creation evolution.  They recognize homosexuality as sin, are against abortion in all cases (even rape and incest) except to save the life of the mother, do not allow the ordination or women, and support creation and intelligent design.  Except for certain elements on the stance on abortion (though at least they said "life," not "health"), I agree wholeheartedly with what they state.   Praise the Lord Jesus!!!!  To give you just a taste of how strong this synod is on creation/evolution, look at the references that Dr. A. L. Barry, the president of the Luther Church-Missouri Synod included in his position paper on this topic: Michael Behe,Darwin's Black Box:The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, William Dembski,Intelligent Design:The Bridge Between Science and Theology, Michael Denton,Evolution:A Theory in Crisis, Carl Wieland,"Darwin's Real Message,Have You Missed It?"Creation Ex Nihilo

I honestly started crying when I saw all this.  God is so good.

Three in One

". . . God is not a static thing--not even a person--but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance. The union between the Father and Son is such a live concrete thing that this union itself is also a Person. I know this is almost inconceivable, but look at it thus. You know that among human beings, when they get together in a family, or a club, or a trade union, people talk about the 'spirit' of that family, or club, or trade union. They talk about its 'spirit' because the individual members, when they are together, really develop particular ways of talking and behaving which they would not have if they were apart. It is as if some sort of communal personality came into existence. But of course, it is not a real person: it is only rather like a person. But that is just one of the differences between God and us. What grows out of the joint life of the Father and Son is a real Person, is in fact the Third of the Three Persons who are God." -- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bible Stories for a PC Audience

Good morning, class!  Today I'd like to tell you about six of our shining lights, six of the most important people you'll ever hear about in this class, six people about whom you may of heard the most bold-faced lies!

David didn't throw stones at a man named Goliath!  He consulted his knowledgeable older brothers who were more acquainted with the situation.  A detailed appraisal of the force his own party was up against quickly convinced him that a global economy is best served by getting beyond mere nationalistic concerns.  He initiated peacetalks that culminated in a joyous resolution: the "ruler" of "Israel" (both terms were later recognized as hatespeech and were rejected by all in David's party) rejected a show of arms.  Instead, he fair-mindedly gave half of "his" land -- including "his nation's capital" -- over to Goliath's party of the Philistines. 

Daniel didn't get thrown into a den of lions!  Who told you that?  He championed the rights of atheists to declare a "God-free month"!  He even went so far as to show his open-mindedness by taking a break from his own Puritanical prayer schedule.  At the end of the month, he was so free that he never went back!  (And incidentally, his three best friends were never thrown into a fiery furnace!  What bosh!  The hottest thing they ever entered was a sauna!  After showing their undying support for their king during a multimedia recognition extravaganza, his three friends initiated an "Do Ask, Do Tell" policy to report the minutest acts of insurrection directly to the king himself.  Under their watch even these plots decreased to the lowest levels of any recorded period.  After their first experience at a public rally, they encouraged the king to hold them monthly.  It's never so easy to unite consciousness (and incidentally pick out dissenters) than in a crowd of 3,000!).

Joseph didn't get thrown into prison!  He started the first successful pluralistic Free Love initiative in recorded history!  While others during his time were oppressed by a patriarchal society, Joseph saw the value of a matriarchal system!  He even led the way for Freudian dream analysis!

Esther didn't fear for her life!  She realized the unique perspective that new generations enjoy, and rejected the right-wing-fundamentalist-extremist (Fascist!) views of her uncle.  She recognized the unmerited preference that her people enjoyed, and was extremely supportive of Haman and his fellow freedom fighters.  She was a frequent spokesperson in the Babylonian media, speaking out against the radical claims of Jews, and seeking to bring attention to the persecuted plight of Ammonites oppressed by Jews everywhere.  While not directly attacking the biased account of Jews being a peace-loving, law-abiding people who had endured a vast history of suffering, she helped to popularize the understanding which we now know is true: that any injustice that a Jew receives at any time is amplified by 10,000 before it is repeated to anyone else.  With her help, Babylonians came to see the truth -- that Jews were indeed money-grubbing, self-promoting radicals who had no mercy for the people groups they displaced and oppressed.  As a Jew herself, she also was widely successful in her public addresses to her people.  She could speak directly to the Jews and tell them their own unflagging stubbornness was the reason for their conflict with the Ammonites!  If they would only soften their cultural mores and show the proper amount of deference for those over them, they could coexist in peace!  She was able to relieve their misguided fears that Haman and other Ammonites were planning a merciless ethnic cleansing campaign.  (Anyone who tuned into the Babylonian Broadcasting Network knew that it was the Jews, not the Ammonites that were the aggressors!)  Without her support, it is entirely possible that Ammonites would not have seen the kind of political and personal success that solidified their position in history and freed them from the bondage of Jewish oppression.

John the Baptist wasn't beheaded!  He began an astonishingly progressive "Reinvent Marriage" campaign.  Under his watch, couples in his city who best demonstrated The New Morality were profiled in the Jerusalem Times.  Naturally, the first couple to be profiled were Herod and Herodias.  During their interview, they were even able to mention the Interpretive Dance course that Herodias' daughter was offering!  Once they "came out," many other creative couples were more than willing to share their story.  When not planning his next issue, John spearheaded the "Go Brown" campaign -- impressive by even our modern standards.  He showed us how to get back to nature, enjoy water for itself, and recycle materials that others reject.  Surprisingly, he even broadly hinted at One who was to come -- a community organizer who would bring salvation in the form of government assistance!  (Think about this children: you know Who he was talking of!)

Moses didn't wander in the desert for forty years!  He didn't threaten his nation's Pharaoh with statements from "God."  Oh no!  He recognized his place as subordinate to the government, and came to realize that his schizophrenic tendencies could best be dealt with through modern Egyptian medicine (he liked froglegs anyway).  He happily labored in Egypt after realizing that his people were being given the best possible education they could ask for: a worker's education!  He organized labor committee meetings with ninety-nine representatives from Pharoah's government, and one incredibly lucky Israeli worker-representative!  These successful meetings proceeded for sixty-six and one half years!  And they were even supported by dues from the workers themselves!  He wisely recognized the usefulness of his people, and joined the People's Educational Council.  He also was instrumental on the People's Propaganda -- ahem -- Informational Bureau.  Under his direction this bureau accomplished what many thought impossible: the dwarfing of its early successes in the No Straw Is Good Policy and the Midwives for Birth Control (Before or After Birth) campaigns.

I haven't the time to go on, as I would like to.  I'd like to tell you the truth about Nehemiah -- that he wasn't threatened with hate mail!  That he didn't carry out obscure construction projects for hate mongerers, but hosted town hall meetings where he encouraged his people to form religion-bridging relationships with their neighbors!  I'd like to tell you about Jeremiah -- who wasn't thrown into a well, but as chief advisor to the king, always reassured him that they would be victorious!  Oh, and if only I could tell you about Elijah, who didn't carry out mountain-top histrionics, but quite logically started a Foundation for Pagan Religious Expression -- complete with its own piercing and tattoo parlor.  Noah, Gideon, Jael, Joshua, Abigail, Naboth, Stephen, Paul, Jesus -- so many stories, so little time.  Rightwingers will try to tell you that the most notable events in their lives were when they resisted.  But I assure you: these people were most notable when they assented.

The abiding lessons in these men's lives, children, is that it's always best to bend!  Recite it with me: Best to Bend, Best to Bend.  Exactly!  Don't stand when everyone else is kneeling!  Don't stand when everyone else is bowing!  Bend means Blend.  Say it again!  Yes!  Bend means Blend!  As you can see from the examples of David, Daniel, Joseph, Esther, John-the-Baptist, and Moses, holding to antiquated "ideals" never gets your name recorded in history.  Consistency is no virtue.  Recognize those in authority, and obey them, no matter what!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Freedom in Truth

Sure was good seeing you two weekends ago!  God is awesome!

I've been thinking more about Obama's speech at Notre Dame, and I wanted to share my thoughts with you.  I'd love to hear what you think on this.  It's pretty long, but if you look over the outline, it'll give you a good idea of what's there.


I. One mistake in logic can take you anywhere.
II. Obama's Notre Dame speech questions our ability to know God, thus rejecting divine revelation through Scripture and other means.  Obama said that:
    A. We cannot know with certainty what God has planned for us.
    B. We cannot know with certainty what God asks of us.
III. God through the Scriptures refutes Obama's statements.
    A. We know with certainty what God has planned for us. (Jeremiah 29:11, Philippians 1:6, 9-11)
    B. We know with certainty what God asks of us. (Overall: Micah 6:8.  On abortion: Proverbs 24:10-12.  On salvation: John 6:28-29).
IV. Why doesn't Obama understand Scripture on these points?
    A. He is relying on man's wisdom instead of God's revelation, and is trying to live without the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2).
    B. He does not understand that faith in God is not an antidote for confidence; it is a requirement for confidence. (2 Corinthians 5:5-20, 1 Corinthians 15:13-20)
V. As Christians, we must know the Truth (Jesus Christ), and conquer falsehood.
    A. Through the Holy Spirit, we can discern which ideas are of Christ and which are not (1 John 4:1-6).
    B. We are to demolish those arguments that set themselves up against Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3 and Ephesians 6:10-18).
VI. We have been delivered from the spirit of this world, and have been given the Spirit of God.
    A. The Spirit delivers us from fear.  (Romans 8:15.  See also John 8:34-36 and 17:23-26).
    B. The Spirit points us to God and helps us to understand what He's given us. (1 Corinthians 2:12).
    C. Let us never turn back to fear, but run to our Savior and Deliverer. (John 8:32)


I remember Grandpa talking about how fatal a mistake in logic can be.  If you make one wrong assumption, you can end up anywhere.  I was reading over Obama's Notre Dame speech again.  Is it all wrong?  No.  Is it all right?  Ehhhhh, no.  I wrote all over it, circling things, underlining things, and scribbling out responses.  In the end, though, I don't want to send you a point-by-point assessment of Obama's statements.

The key point to this speech is summed up in a single sentence: "It is beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has planned for us or what He asks of us, and those of us who believe must trust that His wisdom is greater than our own."  (That's from the next-to-last page of Mom's handout).

See anything you agree with?  I agree with the statement that "His wisdom is greater than our own."  As Romans 11:33 says, "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!"  God's wisdom is awesome.  With wisdom He laid out in six days what's taken us thousands of years to scavenge out and begin to marvel at.  And that's just the beginning!

Back to the speech.  See anything you disagree with?  What about these statements?
1) We cannot know with certainty what God has planned for us.
2) We cannot know with certainty what God asks of us.

Basically, Obama has given up on knowing God with any degree of certainty.  What do you think?  Can you know what God is planning for you?  Do you know what He asks of you?  Do a search for the phrase "that you may know" in the Bible. Wow!  Also, look at these verses: "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to proper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11).  If that's not encouraging, I don't know what encouragement is.  Does this mean I know the details of every day of my life, according to God's will.  No.  But we can know that God has plans for us to be working here, preaching His word, that He's building us up into His church, and that He's going to take us home to Heaven when we die.  Those are some pretty awesome plans, if you ask me!

Okay, point two.  We cannot know what God asks of us. 

Hold it.  God has given us His creation, His Scriptures, His Son, and His Spirit to guide us to Him!  (See Matthew 22:36-40 for starters).  He knows we often get hung up on the details, and that sometimes we claim to not know what the word "is" is.  So He makes it simple:

"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

It's because God has told us what is good that He can hold us accountable.  We can't come to the end of our life and say "You can't punish me!  You never told me what I was supposed to do!"

God knows our hearts.  He knows where we stand with Him, and what our attitude is toward those who cannot defend themselves.  We cannot plead ignorance with Him:
"If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!  Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.  If you say, 'But we knew nothing about this,' does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who guards your life know it? Will He not repay each person according to what He has done?" (Proverbs 24:10-12)

What, then, is the work that God has for us?
"Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"
Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent."
(John 6:28-29)

So, uniting these ideas, what is God doing in us?
"...being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus...  And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-to the glory and praise of God." (Philippians 1:6, 9-11)

If Scripture was an allergy medication, it'd be more than Claritin clear.  The work of God is to believe in the One whom the Father sent: Jesus.  Jesus is working in us right now to conform us to Him.  Why would Obama ignore such direct and inescapable teaching?  Short answer: his eyes may well be blinded to it, because it is spiritually discerned.  Long answer: 1 Corinthians 2.  I was so struck when I was reading this tonight that I'd like to share this chapter with you.  Think about it, and compare it to Obama's words in his speech:

1 Corinthians 2

"When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.  We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.  No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.  None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  However, as it is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him' - but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.  The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.  The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: 'For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?' But we have the mind of Christ."

Obama professes to know Christ.  He stands before God for his statements, and it is to this Master that he will give an account, as we all will.  It is not for me to decide where Obama stands with God.  But I am required to compare his words -- and every man's words -- to Scripture.  Also, since Obama uses Scripture, I need to look at those words in context and understand what the author's original intent was. 
Obama's interpretation of Scripture requires scrutinty.  Obama quoted a verse talking about living by "faith, not by sight."  He used this verse as a counterweight to the idea of confidence.  Yes, you should stand as a lighthouse he said, but don't get carried away.  We can't actually see what we believe in, so we must be humble and uncertain. 
The verse he pulled was 2 Corinthians 5:7.  Looking at the context of this verse, I think Obama could not have selected a more fitting passage to refute his own words. 

"Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.  Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  We live by faith, not by sight.  We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.  So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.  Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience... For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.  So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God..." (2 Corinthians 5:5-20).

Both verses flanking Obama's verse speak of confidence.  Living by faith isn't an antidote for confidence as Obama implies.  The strength of faith is in its object, and living by faith in a supreme God is the basis of all our confidence. This isn't worldly confidence, the swagger and brag of arrogance.  This is life from the Spirit.  Because knowing Truth, knowing Christ, is knowing Life.  And as we live for Him, we spread Truth to everyone.  Think about Paul. Now think about Paul without confidence.  Hold it -- where'd Paul go?  What would we as Christians be without confidence in God?  What if we weren't sure that Jesus had actually been taken out of the grave after the resurrection? 

"If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead. But He did not raise Him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep." (1 Corinthians 15:13-20).

This kind of confidence only comes from knowing and following the Holy Spirit.  When someone tries to inject uncertanity into your beliefs about Christ, step back and ask yourself Why are they doing this?

Remember, just because someone quotes Scripture or uses connotation words like "faith," "humility," etc. does not mean that they are of Christ.  (Satan even quoted Scripture to Jesus!)  Through the Holy Spirit, we can test ideas and spirits to see what is Truth, and what is anti-Truth (and anti-Christ).  I know that there is not just one "Anti-Christ."  There are many anti-Christs.  Any idea that is set up against Christ is, by definition, anti-Christ.

"Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.  You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.  They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.  We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood." (1 John 4:1-6)

So what's the bottom line?  "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." (2 Corinthians 10:3)  What are our weapons?  See Ephesians 6:10-18.  Our number one offensive weapon is the sword of the Spirit -- the Scriptures.  Notice that our object is not individual people, but the strongholds, arguments, pretensions, and thoughts that hold people captive.

The spirit of this age delights in uncertainty, because uncertain people are often easy to influence, sidetrack, persuade, and discourage.  But we as Christians can live by a different Spirit altogether: "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by Him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'"  Let's never return to the spirit of fear and slavery.  Let's be set free by knowing God and accepting this gift of Jesus Christ: "We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us." (Romans 8:15 and 1 Corinthians 2:12.  See also John 8:34-36 and 17:23-26).

"Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free." (John 8:32).

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Jesus Clears the Temple

It's fun to see the different takes on Jesus' clearing the temple.  We're studying John chapter two in one of our Bible studies, and I found some re-enactments of it on YouTube:


A creative dramatization that uses animated graphics to tell this story.  Amazing!  See www.sgmlifewords.com/easter for more information, and more examples!

The Gospel of John version, which is excellently done.  2:57 shows the Wedding at Cana, and 6:27 shows Jesus and his disciples entering Jerusalem.

A "silent film" version that compiles action from many different movies.  Somehow, this action is more disturbing when everything is quiet.


Preacher Dan takes on the story, and draws lessons for today.

A man dramatizes the account by reading it aloud.


Kids acting out Jesus storming the temple.  One outspoken adlibber gives this one life. 

Two kids read a script, and one acts out the story with plastic figures.  Most of the talking is boring, but 0:50 - 1:07 is fun.  Watch the girl's face as she clears the table!

Teenage boys in fake beards act out the story.  It's an amalgam of modern and ancient wares, with hounds sold instead of doves.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Bully Propaganda

"JERUSALEM – The number of Muslims in the U.S. would make America 'one of the largest Muslim countries in the world,' claimed President Obama in an interview released last night."

So it's taboo to say that America is a Christian nation -- even though the vast majority of our founding members were Christian and we have the highest number of Christians of any nation.  And we can't claim to be a substantially Jewish nation even though we have the second largest Jewish population in the world, lagging behind only Israel.  Why not?  Because -- wash your mouth out! -- that's incorrect according to cultural Marxism.  But, even though we're only 42nd in the world when it comes to the number of Muslims in our midst, we are "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world."

The president has a bully pulpit, and he's making full use of his ability to propagandize.

See WorldNetDaily's Analysis, from which I extracted my figures: http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=100019

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Your "Ex" Is on the Phone

Your "Ex" is on the phone.
He's sayin' He still loves
you like He did.

Your "Ex" is on the phone.
He knows that you are tired
of browsin' personals that's all the same.

"Satan" might come courtin',
and it's all of your choice,
but your "Ex" is on the phone
and He is ready to have you home.

Your "Ex" is on the phone.
He says you are beloved
and there's no one else for Him.

Your "Ex" is on the phone.
And even though you signed
the paper and left Him "once for all,"

Your "Ex" is on the phone.
He wanted me to say,
it's all paid, and covered o'er.

Your "Ex" is on the phone.
You can call or you can text,
you can send a dove or pigeon

and He'll come.