Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Technologically Savvy

When her family ridiculed her for being technologically ignorant,
Sister Velma surprised them all by getting her very own "Blue Tooth."

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I Joined The Resistance

I am not going to sit by silently as Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid re-make our nation in their liberal image. That's why I just joined a grassroots conservative effort to RESIST Obama's liberal agenda. Please go here to join with me:


Left Coast Hall of Shame

Pacific Justice Institute Announces its
2008 "Left Coast Hall of Shame."
December 16, 2008

As we prepare to look back on 2008, the Pacific Justice Institute recalls ten of the worst attacks on faith, family and freedom in the Golden State.

1. In May, the California Supreme Court strikes down Prop. 22, the voter-approved definition of marriage as only between a man and a woman. The court says that equal protection requires gay marriage.

2. Following the passage of Prop. 8, rioters deface churches, assault Prop. 8 supporters and engineer the termination of employees who supported Prop. 8 in their personal capacity.

3. In February, the California Court of Appeal ruled that homeschooling is illegal. After PJI and other groups got involved in the case, the court reversed its decision.

4. San Diego County shut down a church, claiming improper zoning, even though the church had been worshiping at the location for more than twenty years. The county said a bar was a better fit for the site.

5. Alameda College threatened two students with suspension or worse after one of them prayed for a teacher who was sick.

6. After the gay marriage ruling, the State of California changed its marriage license forms from "Bride" and "Groom" to "Party A" and "Party B." The State then rejected a form submitted by a heterosexual couple who sought to use the traditional designations.

7. A K-8 public school in Hayward sought to promote the homosexual lifestyle to children as young as kindergarten by recognizing "Coming Out Day," "Ally Week" and "TransAction Gender-Bender Read Aloud Day" (featuring such classics as "Jane and the Beanstalk").

8. A public charter school in San Francisco took second-graders on a "field trip" to the lesbian wedding of a teacher. The school called it a "teachable moment."

9. A public school in Vacaville chose not to tell parents that a second-grade music teacher had decided to assume a new gender for the new school year, prompting much confusion among young students. The school is now attempting to prevent parents from removing their children from that teacher's class.

10. The California Supreme Court ruled against two doctors whose religious beliefs did not allow them to artificially inseminate an unmarried lesbian. The doctors paid for the woman to be referred elsewhere, and she now has three children - but she was so offended by their beliefs that she sued them for discrimination. This ruling has sweeping implications for a wide range of businesses and professionals in California.

Brad W. Dacus is the president of Pacific Justice Institute, a defender of my ministry and my friend.
The Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit 501(c) (3) legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties.

Pacific Justice Institute works diligently, without charge, to provide their clients with all the legal support they need. P.O. Box 276600 Sacramento, CA 95827-6600 Phone: (916) 857-6900 Fax (916) 857-6902 Internet:

Saturday, December 27, 2008

One More Argument For Staying In The Light.

The comment stream on Stay In The Light took an unintended and unexpected course. Be that as it may, it "triggered" (no pun intended) my recollection of this funny video clip. Incidentally, the crime scene takes place in the dark.

starring William Shatner

Friday, December 26, 2008

***Stay In The Light

What is the best way to protect yourself from violent crimes? Well, you might try staying in the light.

According to The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Statistics, older Americans are ten times less likely to become victims of violent crimes than younger people. During the years from 1992 through 1997 there were an average of 5.3 violent crimes for every 1000 U.S. residents age 65 compared to an annual average of 56 attacks for every 1000 residents between the ages of 12 and 65. That is astounding.

Although the Department notes that the elderly are less likely to fight back or argue with their assailants, the key reason cited for the low incident rate is that the elderly stay home at night.

That makes sense because most violent crimes occur out of view or under cover. People who perpetrate evil most often hide their actions under the cover of darkness.

The Light from heaven came into the world, but men love the darkness more than the light because their actions are evil. They hate the light because they want to sin in the darkness. They stay away from the light for fear their sins will be exposed and they will be punished. But those who do what is right come to the light gladly, so everyone can see that they are doing what God wants. John 3:19-21 (NLT)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

God Loves You And Has A Wonderful Plan For Your Life

"Campus Crusade’s “Four Spiritual Laws” . . . . give a diluted presentation of the gospel designed [to] be non-offensive. Who could fail to be attracted to, “God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.”? It is not false, but it is not the gospel as preached by Peter or Paul. It is an accommodation to the way the natural man thinks about himself. It produces an easy-believism in which every man is saved but lives just as he did before. With this accommodation of the message to the natural man came an accommodation in the way of presenting the message. The historic method has always been what Scripture calls, “the foolishness of preaching.” The new method became the selling of the gospel by the use of sports heroes, beauty queens, and famous people."

- John Ashbrook

But, some will argue, these four spiritual laws are "biblically based" as though the standard for right practice is that the practice has a biblical basis. That's insane. All kinds of nonsense can be justified by that standard. The real question is this; Is our practice doctrinally sound?

By way of contrast, in this post Steve Camp at CAMPONTHIS offers a reconstruction of Four Spiritual Laws that are doctrinally sound and sure to irritate a lot of folks I know.

LAW ONE: God is holy and has a plan for your life whether for wrath or for mercy.

LAW TWO: His wrath burns against you and you are hopelessly lost. There is nothing you can do about it. You are sinful and utterly lost; totally depraved, conceived in sin, and are incapable of saving yourself by the merits of your own righteousness.

LAW THREE: The Lord Jesus Christ came into this world, born of a virgin, tempted as we are yet without sin, died in our place and as our merciful and faithful High Priest fulfilled God’s law, took upon Himself every sin that would ever be committed by every(one) who would ever believe, with its guilt and penalty, and all of the wrath of God that persists against our sin.

LAW FOUR: Repent of your sin and confess and receive Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior for eternal life and have peace with Him forever. His love, mercy and grace no one can ever take away once your life is hid in Christ. This is God’s wonderful plan of salvation.

Steve Camp

Friday, December 12, 2008


Posted by: Michael Medved on

In this holiday season, Americans hear lots of talk about “Hanukkah” but most Christians—and most Jews, for that matter—don’t know what that word actually means. No, Hanukkah doesn’t mean “Festival of Lights,” or “Festival of Tolerance.”

The Hebrew word means, simply, “dedication.” It refers to the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C., after its desecration by Hellenists who worshipped Greek Gods in the shape of men. The holiday calls for our re-dedication to resisting secularism and assimilation, and recommitting to God’s commandments. The word “Hanukah” has the same root as “Hinukh” –education—emphasizing that there’s no meaningful education without dedication to divine truth. At the darkest time of each year, the glowing candles of Hanukkah signal dedication to bring light to a world that too often worships men, instead of God.

How To Draw A Rhinoceros

Learn to draw this rhinoceros in six easy steps at How To Draw A Rhinoceros.

Bethlehem, Calvary, and the Empty Tomb

At this time of year when the world celebrates a secular form of Christmas, others celebrate the winter solstice, and Christians celebrate the birth of Christ, it is extremely important to remember the Savior as more than just a baby in a manger. Jesus Christ, God the Son, the Creator of the universe, entered time and space and came into this world on a mission. His mission was the redemption of lost sinners, and He accomplished that not through His birth or His righteous life, but through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. There are three key locations connected with the earthly life and mission of our Lord Jesus Christ, and those are Bethlehem, Calvary, and the empty tomb.

Bethlehem – The nativity scene is the symbol of Christmas for those who understand that Christmas is about Christ, not the worldly trappings of the holiday. This event happened at exactly the time and place God intended. …when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5, NKJV).

The angel Gabriel announced to a young teenager by the name of Mary that she was to be the mother of the virgin-born Son of God. We can be certain than many things went through her mind, but her response was one of willingness and obedience, whatever the cost. Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word (Luke 1:38, NKJV). Mary and her husband-to-be, Joseph, traveled to Bethlehem to register for Roman taxation, and there Jesus was born in a lowly stable, visited by lowly shepherds. It is quite significant that the birth of the Lamb of God was first announced to shepherds. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12, NKJV).

Calvary – As important as the birth of Christ is, the baby in the manger does not save anyone. After thirty years of relative obscurity, growing up and living in the home of a carpenter, Jesus began His earthly ministry. He taught many things and performed many miracles, all of which validated His identity as the Son of God. In the end, the religious authorities turned on Him because of their fear of losing their influence over the people and the crowd was incited to demand His crucifixion by the Romans. This was all part of God’s plan. In reality, it was not the crowd, it was not the Jewish people, and it was not the Romans who crucified Him. It was our sin that nailed Him to the cross, and He willingly laid down His life as a sacrifice for our sins. The Apostle Paul said, This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief (1 Timothy 1:15, NKJV). …God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8, NKJV).

The Empty Tomb – The fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the pivotal event in all of history. Without it, the Gospel becomes meaningless. With it, Christianity is true without any doubt. In recent years, in a Christian school not far from here, a student who practiced the religion of Islam had his Bible class the last period of the day. He did his work and studied well, and he was one of the best students in the class. He stayed after class almost every day to discuss biblical issues with the teacher. One day, he made a particularly revealing admission. He said, “If the resurrection really happened, Christianity is true.” How right he was! Although he accepted neither the resurrection nor Christianity, he had made a profound statement.

Written by Ron Livesay,
Pastor Ron Livesay is my long-time friend, co-worker, and occasional contributor to this blog. He recently retired from ministry after serving God for nearly 30 years in Christian School Administration.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reagan On The Government's Economic Bail-Out Plans

Recent polling data indicates that 91% of the American people are against the bail out of the "big three" auto makers. So if that's the case, why do we continue calling this system a "representative government?" When was the last time our elected representatives really represented their constituents?
Our race toward nationalization of industry and banking and real estate seems, to me, to be unconstitutional.

Here are a couple quotes from my favorite president which are relevant in view of our unconstitutional race toward the nationalization of industry, banking, labor, and real estate as a means to fix our economic crises. Congress should pay attention:

"The most terrifying words in the English language are:
I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."

Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Another Club

A hunter walking through the jungle found a huge dead rhino with a pigmy standing beside it.
Amazed, he asked: "Did you kill that?"

"Yes," said the pigmy.

The hunter asked "How could a little bloke like you kill a huge beast like that?"
Said the pigmy: "I killed it with my club."

"That's incredible," said the hunter, "How big is your club?"

The pigmy replied: "There are about 60 of us."
Disclaimer: No animals were harmed in the posting of this joke. If you are offended by pictures of dead animals, please delete yourself. This post is not intended in any way, to demean, denigrate, or disrespect Pigmies, little blokes, or any other short people.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

An Important Message For The GOP: Get Rid of the RINOS

This excellent analysis by John Hawkins on first caught my eye because of the word "RINOS" in its title but the message is right on target. Frankly, I think its time to throw out both parties and start over but that will never happen. The GOP seems to be proud of being just slightly right of center and they call that conservatism (the left calls it right-wing extremism). The Democrats move further left every time the right moves in their direction. The Republican Party had better wake up and move back toward conservatism or it will die.
“You say that the GOP can't win as a small government party. Well, we've already tried being a big government party for the last 8 years and it failed. You think running a moderate, pro-amnesty candidate who eschews social issues is the key to winning elections? Well, that's who we ran in 2008 and he received even less votes than George Bush did in 2004.
“Basically, we have a lot of moderates in the GOP taking the same attitude that the Left used to take towards communism, "It works, but it just hasn't been tried by the right people yet." It didn't make much sense when the lefties were saying it and it makes even less sense now.” Read the entire article, Five Hard Truths For RINOS (Republicans In Name Only) here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

****THE LORD TOLD ME revised

A cartoon that appeared in Leadership magazine a few years ago illustrated a church board meeting. The caption read, " O.K., so the vote is as follows: Dean, Robert, Joe, Frank and Harold are for the proposal. God and I are against it."

Church leaders sometimes resort to that kind of manipulation. Whenever they want something, they will intimidate people into going along with their agendas by insinuating that anyone who disagrees with them is unspiritual and divisive. The implication is that dissenters are insensitive to God's leading and are guilty of "quenching the Spirit."

I knew a pastor once who, when asked, "How do you know it is God's will to do this?" responded like this, "He impressed it on my heart with a 'still, small voice'."  In my experience, that "still, small voice" could have been the pizza and ice cream he had at 11:30 last night talking back to him.

Church leaders are not the only ones who abuse spiritually weak people with that kind of manipulation. Have you ever known people who claim to have a personal inside track on God’s will? They use phrases like “God led me”, or “The Lord told me.”  Whenever that happens, we need to be very careful (discerning). Some people, who sincerely mistake or confuse their own self-serving pride with God’s will, have been sincerely wrong and have blamed Him for some of their most outrageous behavior.

Bob Mumford, in “Take Another Look at Guidance”, compares discovering God's will with this navigational analogy that is used by many sea captains:

"There is a certain harbor in Italy that can only be reached by sailing up a very narrow channel between dangerous rocks and shoals. Navigating that channel is extremely hazardous, especially at night, and over the years, many ships have been wrecked. In order to guide the ships safely into port, three lights have been mounted on three huge poles in the harbor. When the three lights are perfectly lined up, they appear as a single, bright light. Only then can the ship safely proceed up the narrow channel.  If the pilot sees two or three lights, he knows he's off course and, to follow any one of them is certain danger."

God has also provided three harbor lights to guide us.  The same rules of navigation apply -- the three lights must be lined up before it is safe for us to proceed. The three beacons of guidance are:
  1. The Subjective Witness- When a mother noticed that her four-year-old daughter was ignoring her food, she asked, "Why aren't you eating?" The girl replied, "I can't eat; God told me not to." Her mother scolded: "God wouldn't tell you not to eat your supper." The little girl looked up at the ceiling, and then conceded, "Well then, maybe it was Moses."

    It is true that God speaks to us in mysterious or inaudible ways. The Bible tells us that it is the Holy Spirit who teaches us, guides us, leads us, and inspires us. However, it is dangerous to follow that single light alone. There are lots of people who claim to have received, so-called, “spiritual” direction that often contradicts the spiritual sense of others. I remember a man who announced to a young woman that God told him that he was to marry her. The problem was that God didn't inform her of that (Remember, when the Messenger of God told Mary that she would conceive and bear a Son, He also told Joseph).  That man's girlfriend believed God was leading her in a different direction. Obviously, one of them was wrong; possibly both were wrong but one thing was absolutely certain; they weren't both right.

  2. Divine Providence- God gives us direction through His people. His Word advises that with many counselors, there is safety. If we have some idea that we think may be inspired by God, it is wise to seek the opinions of a few other spiritually mature Christians before acting. When no one else senses that what we believe is the will of God, it probably isn’t. God is not responsible for confusion.

    And furthermore, if God truly is the inspiration for our plans, He will provide external circumstances to validate them. The Apostle Paul illustrated that for us when he told of how God opened “doors” of opportunities when he was going where God was directing him. When a closed door doesn’t easily open, it may be that God has closed it and is trying to direct us elsewhere.

  3. The Objective Standard- The most important indicator, that God has provided for our leading, is His Word. Our impressions, our reasoning, and external signs, no matter how sincerely we believe may be from God, aren’t enough to discern truth from error.  The best protection against deception is to know God's revealed Truth, the Bible. That is where we can find the absolute principles of God that are essential for wise decision-making. And because our systems of laws and rules are based in God’s law, they too may provide other objective standards to help us avoid the trappings of “situation ethics.” It is never right to do wrong in order to do something good.
We have God’s Spirit to lead us, God’s provisions to encourage us, and God’s Word to instruct us. All together, these three beacons give us confidence and assurance that the directions we've received are really from God and that they will keep us from dangerous confusion and lead us safely along His way.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing. Psalm 143:10

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Evangelical Christian Nature Worship (Repost)

Professing themselves to be wise they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures…For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator… Romans 1:22-25

Want to see something really scary? There's a reason I hate the word, "Evangelical." It means anything and everything; therefore it means nothing.

Be sure to check out this video clip.

Calvinist Cartoons

I just found this new blog - Calvinistic Cartoons by cartoonist, Eddie Eddings. There are only a few posts (they’re pretty funny). It looks like he just started the blog this month (Nov. 2008). I think it’s going to be lots of fun. I like old guys who enjoy sarcasm and who know how to LAFF.

Here’s one (I hope Eddie doesn’t mind).

I especially like the song title, "I Did It My Way"

I'm looking forward to more funny stuff from Eddie.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wild-Swinging Emotional Pendulum

It was the best of days; it was the worst of days.

While driving this afternoon, I heard the news that excited me to an all-time emotional high;

Ahhh! Euphoria. The sun was shining again on flowering pastures. What a great world.

Then a few minutes later I learned that he resigned from the senate.
Oh well, it felt good for a few moments.

The False Gospel of Man-Centered Theology

"Sadly, this is NOT the church’s finest hour. We live in an age of weak theology and casual Christian conduct. Our knowledge is insufficient, our worship is irreverent, and our lives are immoral. Even the evangelical church has succumbed to the spirit of this age...

"Perhaps the simplest way to say this is that evangelicalism has become worldly. This can be demonstrated by comparing it with yesterday’s liberalism. What was once said of liberal churches must now be said of evangelical churches: they seek the world’s wisdom, believe the world’s theology; follow the world’s agenda, and adopt the world’s methods. According to the standard's of worldly wisdom, the Bible is unable to meet the demands of life in these postmodern times.

"By itself, God’s Word is insufficient to win people to Christ, promote spiritual growth, provide practical guidance, or transform society. So churches supplement the plain teaching of Scripture with entertainment, group therapy, political activism, signs and wonders—anything that promises to appeal to religious consumers. According to the theology, sin is merely a dysfunction and salvation means having better self-esteem. When this theology comes to church, it replaces difficult but essential doctrines like the propitiation of God’s wrath with practical techniques for self-improvement.

"The world’s agenda is personal happiness, so the gospel is presented as a plan for individual fulfillment rather than a pathway of costly discipleship. The world's methods for accomplishing this self-centered agenda are necessarily pragmatic, so evangelical leaders are willing to try whatever seems like it might work. This worldliness has produced the “new pragmatism” of evangelicalism."

James Montgomery Boice and Philip Graham Ryken
(The Doctrines of Grace: Rediscovering The Evangelical Gospel, 20,21)

How To Catch A Rhino

Japanese zookeepers conduct a practice drill to catch an escaped rhinoceros. Looks easy. I can hardly wait to see them try this with the real thing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

****Knock And The Door Will Be Opened

For the most part, I think a lot of those church-sponsored Halloween alternative activities are pointless and pagan. But my wife and I discovered one in our local community, several years ago, that seemed to be more Christ-centered and evangelistic in its purpose. So we decided to take two of our young grandchildren. We tried to call the kids for over an hour, but the telephone line was busy so we finally just got into the car and drove over to pick them up.

The streets in their neighborhood were full of costumed children "trick or treating." When we arrived, their house was dark. At first we thought no one was home but upon closer examination we could see that they were deliberately trying to discourage the trick or treaters. We walked up to the front door. The window beside the door was covered, but we could see some light around the edges. The television was playing very softly.

I knocked on the door, but there was no answer. We knocked again and again but no answer. By this time, I was somewhat amused at the game we were playing. We knew that they thought we were just some of the neighborhood goblins and they were not going to open the door. But we were persistent as we continued, obnoxiously, to knock and ring the doorbell.  Finally, the door swung open wildly. I could tell by the look of disgust on my daughter’s face that she was ready to give her annoying visitors a tongue-lashing.  But when she saw us standing there her countenance changed and they welcomed us in.

That’s the kind of persistence that God wants us to have in prayer. Jesus said," Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks". Matt. 7:7-8

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Most College Students Lack Enough Literacy To Vote Right

Early this morning I was having coffee with some of the old-timers at the coffee shop, as is my custom, and some of the guys were lamenting their adult children’s ideological support for the radical left political agenda during this recent election. They could not understand how or why their children, whom they raised in church-going families with traditional, conservative values could possibly approve of things like environmentalism, gay rights, same sex marriage, abortion on demand, universal entitlements and, worst of all, cast their votes for the most radical, left-leaning, Democrat ever, Barack Obama.

I jokingly pointed them to the common denominator; each one of them subjected their children to twelve years of public education and then topped it off by paying lots of money to send them to secular universities for four years of godless, liberal indoctrination.

I clipped an article a few years ago and tucked it away in my file drawer. The title is, STUDY: Most College Students Lack Enough Literacy For Common Tasks.

According to the author, Ben Feller, the 2003 study revealed that more than 50% of students at four-year schools and more than 75% at two-year colleges lack the skills to perform complex literacy tasks. That means they could not interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit-card offers with different interest rates and annual fees, or summarize results of a survey about parental involvement in school.

So what did they do with all the money you spent to educate your children? You presumed that the purpose of education was to teach your children how to read, and write, and count, and think. You were wrong. You unknowingly subjected them to social experimentation, social engineering, and liberal, secular humanist philosophies. They did not teach your children how to think; they told them what to think.

Dan Phillips, in his excellent and dead on analysis of the 2008 election, A Lament For America, refers to public schools as, “government reeducation camps” and attributes some of the blame for the Obama win at their doorsteps. “The government school system didn't help, creating uneducated, uninformed, fact-starved glandlings, who mistake emoting for rational thought. These folks have been raised from toddlerhood on the state's teat. The State is a kindly face embodied in Miss Parkins in pre-school; when you're eighteen, you've long-since learned to see The State as your friend and guardian. As designed. And so you vote.”

That explains a lot. If anyone was paying attention to some of the demographic polling data on election night, you may have heard this alarming little tidbit of information. Voters with college educations favored Obama; McCain was favored by those without college educations. That 2003 study suddenly has new relevance. Apparently, most college students lack enough literacy to vote right.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Duty NOT to Vote

The following is an excerpt from A Duty Not To Vote?” by John Stossel.

Economist Bryan Caplan, author of "The Myth of the Rational Voter", points out, "the public's knowledge of politics is shockingly low."

He scoffs at the idea that "it's everyone's civic duty to vote."

"This is very much like saying, it's our civic duty to give surgery advice," Caplan said. "We like to think that political issues are much less complicated than brain surgery, but many of them are pretty hard. If someone doesn't know what he's talking about, it really is better if they say, look, I'm going to leave this in wiser hands."

Isn't it elitist to say only some people should vote?

"Is it elitist to say only some people should do brain surgery? If you don't know what you're doing, you are not doing the country a favor by voting."

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Natural Outcome Of Liberalism

This is what we get when we let liberals control public education. This is what we get when we let liberals teach kids what to think instead of how to think. This is what we get when we let stupid people vote. This is the natural outcome of liberalism.

People like this woman should be sterilized and their children should be removed for their own protection and in the interest of national security.

This is what Obama means when he says,
"Spread the Wealth Around."

We're all in trouble.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Drug Awareness Programs Have Me Seeing RED

This week (October 23-31) is Red Ribbon Week. As I was driving around town this week, I noticed an annual occurrence at several of our community’s local schools - gobs of little kids running around donning red clothing and chain link fences decorated with hundreds of little red ribbons. Some of them get really creative and use the ribbons to spell out banner-sized messages on the chain link fabric like “Just Say NO!” and “Drug Free.” Some schools still have old ribbons littering their fences from last year.

And inside school, a weeklong campaign involving poster-making, games, assemblies, and other activities designed to “raise the level of drug awareness,” takes the center of attention as well-meaning teachers and parents really believe that their meaningless, superficial acts of symbolism over substance is really going to “make a difference.” How is it that, by having little children wearing red ribbons, wristbands, or red T-shirts is going to solve the illegal drug use problems in our world? And do we really want the public school system to introduce our little children to the subject anyway?

All of this is organized and promoted nationally by the Red Ribbon Coalition which, by its own admission makes the following statement on their website: “…it is important for you to understand that Red Ribbon Week will not - nor is it intended to - fix the drug problem in America.

A little closer scrutiny of their site reveals that some of their intended goals include “social marketing,” and “social norms marketing” which is, in reality, social engineering.

I think the methods used by my parents’ generation worked pretty well. When I was in elementary school, I didn’t know anything about drugs; all I knew is that everyone stereotyped “drug addicts” as some dark, evil, undesirable element of society that we were to shun and avoid. They were “bad,” we were told, and not to be glamorized or emulated..

My first personal experience with a “drug awareness program” began when I was in Jr. high school. We were warned about the dangers of glue sniffing. For those of you who are under 35 years of age, there was a time when assembling model planes, ships and cars actually required knowing how to follow written instruction and actually gluing the parts together. Today, the nanny government has replaced parental supervision and model building is a snap. But, I digress.

Back in those days, we all had access to model airplane glue and most of us had been using it for years. But suddenly, my curiosity was piqued and I had to find out for myself, what it was like to squirt the glue into a paper bag, bury my head in it, and inhale. The good intentions of well-meaning people to make me aware resulted in my experimentation. But hey, what do I know? You might just dismiss my experience as anecdotal and ludicrous so let me offer something more compelling. Here are some excerpts from an article reported by ABC News and soon to be published in the American Journal of Public Health:

Study: Anti-Drug Ads Haven't Worked
Report Finds $1 Billion Campaign to Curb Teen Drug Use May Have Encouraged It

"Youths who saw the campaign ads took from them the message that their peers were using marijuana," the report suggests as a possible reason for its findings. "In turn, those who came to believe that their peers were using marijuana were more likely to initiate use themselves."
"Despite extensive funding, governmental agency support, the employment of professional advertising and public relations firms, and consultation with subject-matter experts, the evidence from the evaluation suggests that the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign had no favorable effects on youths' behavior and that it may even have had an unintended and undesirable effect on drug cognitions and use," the report said.

In other words, teens who specifically said they had a lot of exposure to the campaign messages were no less likely to stay away from marijuana than those who did not.

There is also a small amount of evidence that indicates the anti-drug campaign may have had the opposite effect for some teens. In one part of the analysis, teens who recalled seeing 12 or more anti-drug messages per month were actually more likely to start using marijuana than those who had seen fewer anti-drug messages per month.

In their 2004 Abstract on the Effects of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign on Youths, a group of professors and researchers from the University of Pennsylvania reported the results of their study. They determined that most anti-drug advertising campaigns had NO EFFECTS on the children. In fact, more ad exposure predicted LESS INTENTION TO AVOID MAIJUANA USE and WEAKER ANTI-DRUG SOCIAL NORMS.

They concluded that the campaign was unlikely to have had favorable effects on youths and may have had delayed unfavorable effects. The evaluation challenged the usefulness of the campaign.

The bottom line is that the very campaigns and ad programs designed to prevent illegal drug use actually encourage it. But I guess the facts don’t matter. The important thing is how good we all feel about our intentions regardless of the outcomes. But the real question remains; do you want the school, which is probably miserably failing to teach reading, writing, counting, and thinking, to take the responsibility to provide social, behavioral, and moral education to your child? This is one more compelling argument for home-schooling.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


rnold Rhinoceros loved the smell of flowers. When all his friends were out stomping through the jungle and roaring, Arnold would be just as happy gathering a posy of bright forest blooms.

Arnold's parents were worried about him. He was the laughing-stock of the jungle. The parrots made fun of him by perching oon his horn, the monkeys pinched his tail and the deer tapped on his thick scaly skin, but Arnold didn't mind. He just carried on sniffing the sweet flowers and humming a pretty tune to himself.

One day, while Arnold was strolling along the river bank, he met Big Ted the tiger. Everyone was afraid of Big Ted. The tiger roared ferociously, and bared his huge teeth at Arnold. The animals held their breath, wondering what gentle Arnold would do. But Arnold had just taken an extra big sniff of a jungle flower, and his nose was beginning to tickle...
"Aatchooo!" sneezed Arnold. It was the loudest, most terrifying noise Big Ted had ever heard - and he didn't scare easily. He turned on his heels and ran off as fast as he could!

How the other animals laughed - and they never teased Arnold again!

Illustrated by Peter Stevenson
copyright (c) 2002 by Egmont Books Limited

Friday, October 24, 2008

Church My Way. SIMPLE CHURCH Made Easy

I’m not one to church-hop every time things don’t go my way. In 45 five plus years, I have been a member of only two churches and the only reason for the change was a 60 mile move.

But recently I have been wondering what I would look for in a church should I decide to make a change. Then it occurred to me that there are no churches good enough to join. The problem is that churches, as we know them today, should not exist at all. They are all corrupt; they are all unbiblical. I think I will start my own.

Where would we meet? We won’t need to rent a building or purchase a facility. We will just meet in my family room. That’s EASY. An intimate, Christ-centered community established primarily on relationships; just me and my wife and a few other like-minded folks who care to join together with us for support, conversation, and fellowship.

In my church planting plan, the first thing I would do is consider the name. I would avoid any name that would associate my church with a denomination. I would avoid names that might distinguish my church on doctrine. After all, how many Episcopal or United Methodist or Presbyterian churches did the Apostle Paul start? Those kinds of name only serve to be divisive or exclusive. A name like “FAMILY ROOM CHURCH” might be good. It’s comfortable, non-threatening, and inviting. Or maybe I would choose a name that is pretty simple or easy like maybe, yeah, that’s it, “EASY CHURCH.” That’s good; church should not be hard. I’ll keep it simple and EASY.

I think church should be more about ownership, community, unity, and relationships. It should be organic, Not organizational. It should be about the Body, NOT the Business. Church, after all, should not be characterized by non-essential programs and liturgies and complex institutional structures. All that stuff just gets in the way of what church should be. EASY CHURCH will be different.

Do you see how EASY this can be? We wouldn’t be bothered by the pressures that drive so many people to feel like they must “do their church thing” every week. We would not have to attend this service and go to that activity and meet on that committee and take kids to their functions. We would not be compelled to “check off” the list of all the prescribed legalistic elements and formalities of traditional church. It would be guilt-free, EASY CHURCH where we could just come as we are (I could just come in my pajamas), enjoy God, and love others.

And, in my EASY CHURCH, we will have no need of trained clergy. Where in the Bible does it say that pastors must have seminary degrees anyway? The Bible says the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. We would just simply let the Spirit of God flow through our meetings and do whatever He wants to do. If He leads us to worship, we would be free to spend the whole time worshipping. At other times we might just devote the entire time to embracing, loving, and comforting a member who is hurting. Maybe we’ll just sing, or pray, or share. Or maybe someone in the group might be moved to open a book to bring a relevant study for personal growth or perhaps someone might open the Bible and bring a message from God. We will not be forced to sit in rows like mindless spectators to listen to some preacher’s speech, but instead, we will all lovingly interact and dialogue about how God may be speaking to each of us individually. And we would not need to worry about getting out on time to go eat. In my family room, we would just eat together while we do church. That’s biblical. And for communion, we could have real bread and wine; not just some little stale, tasteless wafer with a watered down grape juice teasers.

In EASY CHURCH, our prayers would be more focussed and and our ministries could be centered on meeting our needs. As a small, loving, relational community, we would devote ourselves to each other. We would invest in each member’s individual and personal spiritual formation. Our concerns would be more about our deeds; not our creeds. We could use our time and our spiritual gifts to minister to each other rather than concerning ourselves with fruitless, academic exercises like teaching divisive doctrines. EASY CHURCH will be an environment where it will be EASY to do the Word; not just hear the Word.

Yes, the more I think about it, the more excited I get. Can’t you just feel the love? I think we have all been “doing church” wrong for too many years. A smaller, more primitive, essential, and simple kind of church really makes good sense to me and it is biblical. Like my family room church, the early churches were all house churches.

On second thought, I think I will furnish my family room with comfortable recliners and call my church, “EASY CHAIR CHURCH.”


The above is intended to be satire but it is based in reality. Just when we are finally awakening to the dangers of the market-driven, mega-church-growth movement sweeping through the Christian community, it seems that another paradigm shift is gaining popular acceptance and phenomenal momentum right under our noses and may be already at work in many our own churches. And, ironically, the incubators for the new, re-defined church fad, are the small home-groups that, according to Rick Warren, are so much an integral and necessary vehicle for Purpose-Driven church Transitions.

“SIMPLE CHURCH” is a re-definition of church rising from the conversation between Christianity and the culture and worldview of postmodernism and could be seen as a subset of the Emerging Church.

Wikipedia has more information on “SIMPLE CHURCH”
here and a Google search will provide plenty of information about this rapidly growing movement.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bill O'Reilly on The View

Bill O'Reilly takes on the angry, sour women of The View with half his brain tied behind his back.


Show Support For Your Candidate

A bumper sticker election slogan has emerged recently that says,

"If you support McCain, turn your headlights on during the day.
If you support Obama, turn your lights off at night."

Now that's funny! I really think it is a good idea and it might work.

So my daughter called to tell me that they were driving after dark this week and they saw a car with the lights out. She and her husband were joking that the driver must be an Obama supporter. One of them suggested the possibility that the driver might have an accident and die, in which case he wouldn't be able to vote. The other one countered that that might not neccessarily be so because Acorn is registering dead people to vote for Obama.

That's when my little grandson objected from the back seat, "Huh uh! My Grammy's NOT going to vote for Obama."

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Trickery of Truthiness

If you can’t make a coherent, convincing argument with objective truth, try tricking people with “truthiness.”

According to Wikapedia, "truthiness" is a word that was first coined by Stephen Colbert just moments before taping Comedy Central's premiere episode of The Colbert Report on October 17, 2005, after deciding that the originally scripted word – "truth" – was not absolutely ridiculous enough. "We're not talking about truth, we're talking about something that seems like truth – the truth we want to exist," he explained.

"Truthiness is something that is spoken as if true, that one wants others to believe is true, that said often enough with enough voices orchestrated in behind it, might even sound true, but is not true.” Ken Dryden, Canadian MP
A couple years ago in her opinion piece, The Triumph of “Truthiness,” Suzanne Fields made the observation that truthiness is far more powerful than real truth. Truthiness is what “right-thinkers” conclude with their hearts; not their heads. Rhetoric is driven by emotion, not fact.

Truthiness is consensus thinking. A friend of mine reminded me of how that kind of consensus thinking has shaped our beliefs regarding our own U.S. history. What is the general consensus about how this country recovered from the Great Depression? Most would agree that it was the socialistic programs of the New Deal. But the truth is, regardless how warm and fuzzy people might feel about FDR, the New Deal was a disaster and it was really World War II that energized and mobilized this country back to solvency and growth.

Websters Dictionary defines truthiness like this:
Truthiness (noun)
1. “truth that comes from the gut, not books” (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Centras “The Colbert Report,” Oct. 2005)
2. “the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true” (American Dialect Society, Jan. 2006)

In her article, Suzanne Fields referenced an academic study that used magnetic resonance imaging to plumb the working of the brain during fierce ideological arguments. When a group of people, equally divided over ideology, discussed their differences, the centers of the brain bearing on the emotions “lit up,” driving each group to opposite conclusions. Drew Westen, the director of clinical psychology at Emory University, who led the study observed, “Opinions were shaped by emotional impact rather than logic or analysis. The circuits for cognitive reasoning were not engaged.”

And therein is the real power. Engaging the emotions rather than the intellect is the key. Politicians and junk scientists have known and employed that for a long time. A great deal of what is passed as fact, is really nothing more than truthiness; not truth. It starts with political manipulation. It derives from people we want to trust; people whom we used to believe were seekers of truth.

For that reason it is easy for spiritual leaders to manipulate truth through consensus thinking. But they cross the line when they employ truthiness in order to manipulate their own desired outcomes. When their followers are convinced that these “seekers of truth;” are being led by God, truth becomes irrelevant and truthiness prevails. The group consensus is that their subjective beliefs about God’s will is more important than truth.

In other words, they can look you straight in the eye and insist that their less-than-accurate statements are not, in fact, real lies because deep down in their heart of hearts, they really want and believe them to be true. They believe that, because what they are saying or doing is “good,” or “right,” or “pragmatic,” it is justifiable to invent their own version of the truth. Facts do not matter. What matters is how they feel and when they have successfully convinced the majority of their followers to buy it, embrace it, and own it, their truthiness becomes the new reality.

Suzanne Fields suggested that if Descartes were alive today, he would have to write, “I feel, therefore I am.”

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Spiritual Seduction

How can you recognize when your pastor, church, or leadership is being deceived and seduced into accepting another gospel by the spirit of our new age?

Pastor Morris Brooks has enumerated the following fifteen key indicators in his post, The Seducing Spirit of Our Age at his blog, Pressing On:

  1. When "evangelism" takes priority over theology
  2. When confrontation is traded for comfort
  3. When results are more important than truth
  4. When sin is defined as poor choices, bad decisions, falling down, failure, or having problems
  5. When requiring commitment is exchanged for providing convenience
  6. When preaching and teaching is replaced by speaking and conversation
  7. When pastorisms are substituted for Scripture
  8. When doing what's right gives in to doing what works
  9. When fellowship becomes community
  10. When the sacred becomes like the secular
  11. When being relevant is more important than being righteous
  12. When being distinct gives way to accommodation
  13. When book studies replace Bible studies
  14. When our focus is all about life change instead of saving faith in Christ
  15. When worship becomes man-centered entertainment instead of God-focused exaltation

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Standup Comedian, John McCain

Tonight (10-16-08), John McCain spoke at the traditional Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner.

It was very funny but, on substance and impact, this was probably the best speech he has delivered during this whole campaign season.

***Eyes Wide Shut Worship Music (Repost)

“The aim and final reason for all music should be nothing else but the glory of God and the refreshment of the spirit.” Johann Sebastian Bach 1685 – 1750

I have always enjoyed singing so I was naturally attracted to Christian music when God saved me. That was during the revolutionary and prolific time of the Gaithers and Ralph Carmichael.

It was in those days that I was first asked by our music pastor to sing a solo for a Sunday evening service. I picked a Ralph Carmichael song that had a nice, catchy melody and was heavy on warm-fuzzy sentiment; it was sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

When I told my music pastor what I was going to sing, he firmly informed me that I could not sing that song in our church. He explained that there were some doctrinal problems with it. At the time, I thought he was a bit overly stuffy but, nevertheless, I submitted to his leadership and chose another "approved" song.

I am thankful now for that kind of pastoral leadership in our church then. Those were the days when even the music in the church was a matter of pastoral oversight. That is what pastoral leadership is required to do; to guard the doctrinal purity and the truth of the Word communicated whether it is spoken, written or sung.  As it turns out, he was right and I was young and lacking in wisdom and discernment.

The Church needs more of that kind of pastoral leadership to teach people what is right and appropriate when it comes together for corporate worship. Sadly, too many modern churches have removed the responsibility of music from the pastors and relegated it to praise and worship leaders, many of whom lack sufficient understanding of doctrine or true biblical praise or worship, but who are skilled at leading the congregation in, as one person has described it, “mindless eyes-closing, body-swaying, being-moved-by-the-pretty-tune singing.”


Character Counts

A popular textbook written in 1812 was used in public education for many years. It was a favorite of Abraham Lincoln’s and this is what it taught about character:

“Public character is no evidence of true greatness, for a public character is often an artificial character.” In other words, if you want to know what a man is really like, you should watch him when he thinks no one is looking.

The textbook used a real life example to illustrate. The man was a Brigadier General in the Continental Army and a patriot leader in the American Revolution. He was a war hero of the battle of Saratoga, the battle that turned the war. His public credentials were quite impressive.

But he also had a private life. It was his responsibility to dispatch food and supplies to the troops at Valley Forge but he sold wagonloads of their provisions on the black market while Washington’s men were freezing, starving and dying. Later, Benedict Arnold sold out West Point to the British for money. He was tried and convicted of treason.

His private life was a better indicator of his true character than his public life. The textbook continued with this statement. “It is in the private life that we are to look for the man. Private life is always real life; that’s where a man is always sure to act himself.”

In the late 1800’s Robert Ingersol espoused that leaders should be elected for their public competence and their private lives should be disregarded.

Does it really matter whom a candidate associates with or what questionable moral and political principles he has articulated in the past or how he has been enriched at public expense? It is frightening how so many people today are willing to overlook a person’s private life in the political or public arena. If Benedict Arnold were alive today, he might be very electable.

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.” Proverbs 29:2.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Best Things A Church Can Do For It's Pastor

I don't know who authored this; several variations have been posted to the internet without attribution. Nevertheless, it is good advice and appropriate for Clergy Appreciation Month (October).


Make him a minister of the Word. Fling him into the office, tear the “office” sign from the door, and nail on the sign “STUDY.” Take him off the mailing list. Lock him up with his books and his typewriter and his Bible. Slam him down on his knees before text, and broken hearts and flick of lives of a superficial flock and a Holy God. Force him to be the one man in our surfeited communities who knows about God.

Throw him into the ring to box with God until he learns how short his arms are. Engage him to wrestle with God all the night through and let him come out only when he’s bruised and beaten to be a blessing. Set a time clock on him that will imprison him with thought and writing about God for forty hours a week. Shut his mouth forever spouting remarks and stop his tongue forever tripping lightly over every non-essential. Require him to have something to say before he dares break the silence.

Bend his knees in the lonesome valley. Fire him from the PTA. Cancel his country club membership. Burn his eyes with weary study. Wreck his emotional poise with worry for God and make him exchange his pious stance for a humble walk with God and man. Make him spend and be spent for the Glory of God; rip out his telephone, burn up his ecclesiastical success sheets; diffuse his glad hand. Put water in his gas tank. Give him a Bible and tie him to the pulpit and make him preach the Word of the living God. Test him; quiz him; examine him. Humiliate him for his ignorance of things divine. Shame him for his good comprehension of finances, batting averages, and political infighting. Laugh at his frustrated effort to play psychiatrist. Form a choir and raise a chant and haunt him with it night and day, “SIR, WE WOULD SEE JESUS!”

When at long last the pastor dares assay the pulpit, ask him if he has a word from God. If he does not, then dismiss him. Tell him you can read the morning paper, digest the nightly commentaries and think through the day’s superficial problems and manage the community’s weary drives and bless the sordid baked potatoes and green beans ad infinitum better than he can. Command him not to come back until he’s read and reread, written and rewritten until he can stand up, worn and forlorn and say, “THUS SAITH THE LORD.”

Break him across the board of his ill-gotten popularity. Smack him hard with his own prestige. Corner him with questions about God. Cover him with demands about celestial wisdom and give him no escape until he’s back against the wall of the Word. And sit down before him and listen to the only word he has left; God’s Word. Let him be totally ignorant of the downstreet gossip. But give him a chapter and order him to walk around it, camp on it, sup with it, and come at last to speak it backward and forward until what he says about it, rings with the truth of eternity.

And when he’s burned out by the flaming Word, when he’s consumed at last by the fiery grace blazing through him, and when he’s privileged to translate the Word of God to man finally transferred from earth to heaven, then bear him away gently and blow a muted trumpet and lay him down softly, place a two-edged sword on his coffin and raise the tomb triumphant, for he was a brave soldier of the Word, and ere he died, he had become a spokesman for his God.

Friday, October 10, 2008

King of the World: Are We Ready For A New World Order?


Whether or not Obama is "THE ONE" is arguable and I certainly wouldn't go so far as to speculate that he is the Antichrist, BUT it sure seems like the world is anxiously racing to crown and embrace a KING OF THE EARTH.

Watcher's Lamp is a blog dedicated to monitoring spiritual deception and world events from a Biblical perspective. Here are several headlines of recent new events from around the world in just the past few days:

United Arab Emerates: Europe’s failure to unite shows the need for global leadership

The Philippines: World Bank Head: G7 can’t handle this crisis

Australia: Wall St plunges as global crisis worsens

USA: Asian, European Markets Plunge as Fears of Global Recession Looms

London: Global stock markets plunge to new depths in financial vortex

From the UK's Telegraph - Russia Calls For New World Order

From the Scotsman - Scotland: The New World Order Emerges Out of Global Chaos

From - NEWS ALERT: Brave New World Upon Us

From - Christians Partner With Pagans For a Better World

Other related articles: The Global Solution to the Wall Street Crisis


China State News Calls For New World Economic Order

Turkey's Gul Anticipates 'New World Order'

India Calls For Global Crises Center

From the UK's Times Online: Britain's Prime Minister: We Must Lead The World To Financial Stability

And this video clip from Glen Beck: New World Order is the Endgame

All of this and more can be read at Watcher's Lamp

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Congress Shall Make No Law...

“It’s two centuries since the passage of the First Amendment, and our presidential candidates still cannot distinguish establishment from free exercise.”

—Charles Krauthammer

Lame Apologies, Unconditional Forgiveness, And Illigitimate Repentence

My jury service is over. We convicted the slimeball on four counts of sexual assault and abuse with young girls, one of which was his nine-year-old daughter.

One remark during the cross-examination especially caught my attention. In her testimony, the girl said that, when he was confronted about his misdeed, her father said, “Well, if I did anything that upset you, I’m sorry.”

What do you do with lame, disingenuous apologies like that? That happens frequently. Someone does some outrageous, hurtful deed and then, when confronted, flippantly offers that kind of a meaningless, half-hearted response. What does that mean anyway? Does it mean if you’re not upset, then he’s not really sorry? Does it mean he’s only sorry that you have been offended but he’s not remorseful about his deed? Or does it mean that he is only sorry that he was found out?

I have been told by someone who has repeatedly and habitually committed the same trespass, that, just because he said, “sorry” I must forgive him because Jesus commanded us to forgive seventy times seven. In this classic example of deflection, suddenly the attention is off the offender and turned to the supposed “sin” of the offended for not being willing to forgive.

And then there is this insane statement that I often hear. We must forgive unconditionally because God forgives us unconditionally. But is that true? Does God forgive us unconditionally? I just don’t see it that way.

The Apostle Paul clearly describes two kinds of remorse for sin. One kind is like the lame apology described above. It is the “sorrow of the world” and it produces death. True sorrow for sin produces repentance worthy of exoneration and leads to salvation which is the condition for real forgiveness.

"For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter." 2Corinthians 7:8-11