Monkey-typing

Why Evolutionists are Desperate to find Alien Life, Despite All Contrary Evidence

Today I saw an article about why creationists are determined to prove there is not intelligent life on other planets.

The silliness of the article made me laugh. Here’s why:

Many evolutionary astronomers spend literally their whole lives searching the stars for life. Billions of dollars have been spent on this search. They are desperate and keep promising that the find is just around the corner. Creationists aren’t spending money, let alone billions of dollars, trying to DISPROVE aliens. They have no need to. Who is desperate here?

This is despite continued evidence that the search is futile. Even recent searches have confirmed that after reviewing 100,000 galaxies, there does not appear to be intelligent life in the universe. Regularly there are stories about finding “Earth-like” planets that “could” harbor life – and even those end up being disproven.

While there is no evidence of life beyond earth, there is incredible evidence to confirm that Earth is Unique. Evolutionists ignore the overwhelming evidence that life on this planet is fragile. If the moon was a tad farther or a tad bigger or the average temperature a fraction of degree colder or the water concentrate a couple of percentage points greater or the sun’s heat a fraction of a percent great – life as we know it would not exist.

So why do these atheist scientists continue to pour their time and efforts into this desperate search? Especially since I think we all have seen Independence Day and know that IF there was life on other planets they’d be hostile anyway.

Because these so called “scientists” need to defend their god – Evolution – and their religion – the pseudo-science they claim to be science. If life spontaneously generated on this planet and bananas, slugs, monkeys, whales, ebola viruses, and humans all came from that single life form – then SURELY life MUST have evolved on other planets too. With trillions of stars, it simply must be true – right?

As the old saying goes – with enough Monkeys typing on typewriters and enough time they can write Shakespeare.

Monkey-typingActually, people who do real science studied how long it would actually take random text generation to write just 24 characters – one line – of Shakepeare. One group found that it would take 2,737,850 million billion billion billion monkey years. Another found it would take 42,162,500,500 billion billion monkey years. To put that into context, that’s the entire earth filled with monkeys for the entire calculated lifespan of our sun typing all of their lives. And that to only make ONE line of Shakespeare.

So please tell me how likely it is that DNA randomly self-compiled itself to create life? The smallest known organism has DNA that is 182 genes long, which is like 159,662 “letters” of DNA. Yes, a significant amount more than 24 characters of Shakespeare. And it is so unlikely to happen once, its even outlandish to think it happened TWICE, and that both survived and evolved into intelligent space-gazing civilizations.

The search for aliens is not science, its science fiction. Let the film makers study aliens and scientists stick to real science.

 

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How Liberal Progressivism caused our troubles with Russia, ISIS, Iraq, and Iran

War to control, limit, and shape foreign nations a Progressive idea, an idea resisted fiercely by all Americans until this last century. That idea has cost us greatly, earning us animosity the world over and sucking wealth and life out of our country.

In George Washington’s farewell address, he gave a staunch warning against foreign entanglements. Particularly he said we should have no business participating in wars in Europe.  He said:

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation (referring to our isolation and ability to stay at peace)? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?

Furthermore, Washington (military general extraordinaire) said we should never enter into any longstanding alliance with a foreign nation. Peaceable trade, yes, but not alliance. And he said “it is folly” to establish favorable trade agreements that favor certain nations, but rather to give trade “a stable course” through neutral, harmonious interactions with all nations. He said:

There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

Today’s foreign troubles are a result of neglecting – nay, unabashedly violating – those clear guidelines set out by our nation’s wisest, most humble president.

Our nation would probably not be here without George Washington

Our problems with Militant Islam and with Aggressive Russia can be traced clearly to our involvement in World War 1. We had transgressed Washington’s wisdom in the past, but never fully engaging in war on European soil. Our entrance into World War 1 was the result of the modern Progressive Liberal idea that our government knows best, not just for our citizens but for everyone else.

Classic Liberalism set forth personal and individual liberty above all else. Government was limited and not to be trusted. Laissez-faire economics was upheld. Liberal Progressivism, which has nothing to do with classic liberalism, emphasizes the Government necessity to intervene in order to “improve” our lives. It is this idea that the Government had the RIGHT to use citizen’s dollars, citizen’s lives, and the power delegated to the government by citizens in order to intervene in the affairs of foreign nations. We should join George Washington in finding this appalling.

President Woodrow Wilson portrait December 2 1912.jpg

Woodrow Wilson

Below I’m going to trace how the actions of Progressive Liberal president Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president, have led to almost all of our hostile problems today.

  1. America was founded by people pursuing their own independence. Religious freedom, economic freedom, freedom to self-govern. Even people with relatively comfortable lives in Europe came to slug it out in the backwoods of America, because at least they had their independence.
  2. America became the first Free nation in the world, based on our modern definitions of what freedom is . America passed on the baton of freedom, inspiring France and then a host of nations to pursue their own independence.
  3. America traded freely throughout the world, enjoying massive economic gain by its laissez faire style, which was greatly welcomed by all nations compared to British colonialism and imperialism. That contrast led to the War of 1812.
  4. What started as World War 1 really began as a arms race due to economically growing Germany being threatened by increasingly aggressive Russia and its allies Britain and France. We paint Germany as the “bad guy” here, but really Russia and Britain are both to blame probably even more-so. Germany was, in fact, MORE similar to the US in terms of economic style than the other nations. Russia was, and continues to be, autocratic and opposed to American ideals of freedom.
  5. America traded with Britain (due to the blockade of Germany), which included massive amounts of arms. American banks lent huge sums to the British to finance the war. Had Britain lost, America would have been sent into a significant financial depression due to its entanglement in the war. So even before declaring war, we had entered in the war on one side.  Some historians even say it was stupid for Britain to enter the war, let alone America!
  6. America officially entered World War 1, at a time when nations were at a stalemate and a peace likely. Lame excuses were given, like Germany’s submarines attacking our ships (including the Lusitania which was carrying arms to Britain). During the Napoeonic Wars (France vs. Britain) America lost dozens of ships to both British and French warships and privateers plus the British impressed many American sailors into mandatory service. Nevertheless, the US did not enter those wars.
  7. Many believe America’s entrance prolonged, not shortened, the war, and caused several million lives to be lost, in addition to contributing to a Spanish Flu epidemic that killed 20 to 40 million people across Europe.
  8. World War 1 was America’s first undeclared war against a Muslim nation (Ottoman Empire).
  9. America’s entrance into the war unbalanced the scales. The “allies” imposed humiliating terms in the Treaty of Versailles, which redrew nations and forced huge reparations on the German government, which had limited ability to tax and meet those requirements.
  10. The financial instability, the vacuum from the expelled aristocracies, and the passionate (vengeful) nationalism stirred by the war left Germany ripe for Nazi Socialism. I think its hard for us to really understand the massive humiliation and defeat caused by the unfair terms Germany was forced to agree to.
  11. The Ottoman empire was redrawn, which created Syria, Iran, and Iraq, arguably boundaries drawn intentionally poorly to make them unstable nations. Yes, World War I is a significant cause to the ongoing conflict in the middle east.
  12. WWII was inevitable given this situation in Europe. And of course, FDR, architect of the social state which looks to soon implode our nation and further destroy our freedom, also brought us into the war despite HUGE public sentiment to stay out. Even before we officially declared war, FDR repealed arms embargo provisions of the neutrality law so the US could start supplying France and Britain with arms. Liberal champion FDR chose to enter the war long before we declared war officially.
  13. With the “allied” victory of WWII, again we had massive country redrawing and bitterness created.
  14. The United Nations was created, forever sticking the US into “permanent alliances”. This led to significant “favors” to nations and specialized trade conditions. MASSIVE foreign entanglement.
  15. The US, against British desire (who held colonial power over Palestine until 1948), used the UN to push for an Israeli state, which earned us the hatred of the Arab nations.
  16. WWII created a vacuum which Communism raced in to fill. Suddenly the US was now left to fight an ongoing battle with an even BIGGER enemy.
  17. The US progressively became more and more of a police state. Even republicans became “hawks”, setting aside President Washington’s commands and joining the Liberals hawks (the original War Hawks) in parenting the world.
  18. The US continues its march to establishing “Free Trade Agreements” – bestowing “favors” of trade on specific nations. Note the US has few of those agreements with Muslim nations. We’ve been playing favorites – no wonder those nations don’t like us.

Liberals today blame Bush on our problems. I’m not defending either Bush one bit, but the problems started way further back.

As George Washington said:

 that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character

The IDEA of being at war with foreign nations, favoring specific nations, giving aid to specific nations, funding revolutionaries in other nations, is an idea founded in Liberal Progressivism.

And the idea IS NOT WORKING. We intervened in WWI and got WWII and set a spark in the middle east. We got into WWII and got Communism, Vietnam, Korean War, and Cold War. We intervened in Iraq and got 9/11, Iraq part 2, Afghanistan, and now ISIS. The more we meddle, the worse it becomes. We took on heaps of debt and lost hundreds of thousands of young soldiers, only to get worse problems.

This idea of the Government knowing best, a notion similar to “The King Knows best” which our Declaration of Independence fiercely fought, is destroying us. Liberal Progressivism is destroying America by throwing away peace and prosperity and giving away our liberties to our massive and increasingly tyrannical government and foreign governments.

Liberals  need to see that its continued intervening policies (by both Democrat and the Republican War Hawks) are making the world hate us. Starting with Wilson and continuing on, we’ve been intruding on other’s affairs and attacking nations in judgement.

We MUST take a stand for freedom. Our own independence as well as the freedom of other nations. Its time to take drastic steps to untangle ourselves from foreign involvements. The world does not need us to parent it. The more interventions we step into, the worse it will become.

Keep in mind, our nation is the wealthiest nation ever to exist because of freedom. Government did not get us here, its been the ingenuity and sacrifice of generations of entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists, and business people that have built this nation. Let us not squander the hard-earned inheritance we’ve been given of prosperity and freedom by meddling in other nation’s affairs.

Peace leads to freedom which leads to prosperity.

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Free CFA Level I Video Lessons from Passed Tense

I really love economics. As much fun as practical economics can be, I really do miss the concepts and theory I learned getting an Economics major.

Mike Carmody

It is one reason I’ve been excited to be helping my friend Mike Carmody spread the word about Passed Tense, his company that offers CFA exam prep materials. Mike is a fabulous teacher and I’ve really enjoyed going through his video lectures, which are short, engaging, and to the point. Mike is also just an all-around great guy, a good father, and a savvy businessman. He’s been an example to me.

Passed Tense offers two full sections of video lessons for free. Check them out on Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/user/passedtensecfa/playlists

Or you can experience the video sections plus their great Adapt exam engine by signing up for a Free Trial:
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H2H

Dear Francis, I think you got the BASIC message wrong

This last year I learned the most important message of my life – and I praise God for the freedom, joy, peace, and victory that this message gave me.

This message was not found in Francis Chan’s BASIC video series. Instead, God used that to highlight the important message I really needed, and that I did not need what I found in BASIC (so I returned it).

This is the message I needed:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 ESV)

Yes, I needed to learn how to die. For years I worked in my flesh – in my self effort – to do God’s will and to please Him. I honestly had no idea I was even in my flesh! I thought I was being led by the Spirit! But the fruits of the Spirit were not abundant, and victory was an exception rather than the rule. Then I learned about the “Exchanged Life” (as Hudson Taylor put it) and God set me free from my flesh-life and showed me the true way of letting Christ live HIS life through me. Galatians 2:20 now makes sense to me! It is now a vivid part of my daily life! I am CRUCIFIED with Christ and RAISED with Him!

I do not want this to be overly critical against Francis. I’ve met him in person and I do see God working through him. I’ve personally be edified and encouraged by his teaching many times. That said, I do strongly think the message in BASIC is not accurately reflecting God’s Biblical emphasis, particularly the message of Galatians 2:20. Instead, I think his emphasis leads people to self-effort and striving to please God in the flesh.  As one of my readers pointed out, Francis’ message typically seems to be “there’s always something wrong with your faith/walk”. Because of that, I do think it is worthwhile to review the video series here briefly and instead point you to more profitable ways.

I’ll briefly address the first two themes of BASIC: fearing God and following Jesus. I’ll then point you to some old books, time proven and yet still relevant today (and out of copyright so they are free!).

Fearing God?

fear godFrancis starts out that the foundation element we need is fearing God. The drama portion is a woman in a room filling up with water and basically drowning. This is a great visual picture of how my life felt – before finding victory by faith! The foundational element is faith. There’s a place for the fear of God, but in Christ this looks differently than when the Israelites cowered near Mt. Sinai afraid to even draw near.

This story from Charles Trumbull’s Victory in Christ strikes me again and again, because it is exactly what I needed (and need) to hear:

For the second – well, I remember how, toward the close of the two weeks here, a young woman student came to me with a distressed face and a heavy heart. “I have been listening,” she said, “to what has been said about victory and peace and power, and all the rest of it, and I am longing for it, but I can’t get it.”

Then she went on: “I am finishing my work here this summer; I am going out into the field of evangelism. But if I don’t get what you are talking about, I shall feel that my entire course at Moody Institute will have been a failure, and I dare not go out into the work.”

We talked together about the simple matter of surrender and faith, first giving yourself wholly to God, and then just believing that God is doing His part. Said she, “I know it is just a question of faith, but I haven’t got that faith. That’s the thing that’s keeping me out. I can’t seem to get the faith for victory.”

“Are you saved?” I asked her.
“Oh, yes,” she said.
“What makes you think you are saved?”
“Why,” she said, “I know I am; John 3:16 settles that. God has told us that anyone who believes on Jesus as Saviour is saved.”
“You believe that, do you?” I asked.
“Why, certainly; I just take it on the Word of God.”
“Well, then,” I answered, “you have all the faith you need, and you are using it. For it’s the faith that you are already using and have used for years for your salvation that is the only faith you need for victory.”

“Do you mean that?” she exclaimed. “Is it just the same as salvation?”
“Exactly the same,” I answered.

And her burden dropped then and there; and in the days that followed she praised God that the faith she already had, and had had all the time, was the only faith she needed. After all, it was just a simple recognition of God’s faithfulness. So let us forget all about our faith, and think only of God’s faithfulness to us through Christ Jesus.

Yes my friends IT IS THE SAME! The very same faith you had at the beginning is ALL you need! Isn’t that amazing?

Charles Trumbull’s full book – Victory in Christ – is available as a Free PDF.

Following Jesus?

basic-follow jesusThe second major theme that BASIC highlights is “Following Jesus”. A review of this section is hard for me to write, primarily because being a “follower of Jesus” was my primary mantra for years. But now I’ve found a better way – not following (or imitation) but PARTICIPATING in Jesus!

F.J. Huegel puts this so well in his book Bone of His Bone:

We are not what Christ would have us to be; the Sermon on the Mount does not find  expression in our attitudes; sin as a principle is still rampant in our lives; we are not  free from envy, pride, self-love, and lust of pleasure; the mountain of secret selfishness  still crushes us and in spite of all our efforts remains immovable; there is little joy, so  little freedom of spirit, none of that rapture which so characterized the primitive  Christians; we agonize, and bleed, and struggle — but failure dogs our footsteps.

What is the matter? We are proceeding upon a false basis. We are attempting to do what the  Saviour Himself never expected us to do. The Christian life is not an Imitation.

The great dilemma of which we have been speaking resolves itself into most simple terms when we grasp this distinction between Imitation and Participation.  For, what is impossible to me as an imitator of Christ, comes perfectly natural as a participant of Christ.

It is Only when Christ nullifies the force of my inherent “self-life,” and communicates to me a Divine life, that Christian living in its true sense, is at all possible for me. I must be born again. “The flesh profiteth nothing.” (John 6:63)  Without Jesus I can do nothing. I must live in Him and, renouncing my own life, find in Him a “new life.”

Ah. “It is the Spirit that Gives life, the Flesh is no help at all”. I knew that for years but did not understand how to let my flesh be crucified with Christ so I could participate in His Life!

F.J. Huegel’s book is also out of copyright and is available as a free PDF!

Are you wanting Real Victory?

Victory comes by Christ’s life, not your self life. I highly recommend that you close off messages that are fueling your self, fleshly efforts and listen to God’s Word and teachers who point you to this far more profitable way!

H2HIf you want to get a more in-depth look in how to practically apply the Exchanged Life or Victorious Life, I highly recommend Handbook to Happiness by Dr. Charles Solomon. Its not free but worth the price!

 

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How to talk during intimacy with your spouse

The world quite often presents sex as a dirty act, accompanied by dirty language. This is upheld in romance scenes in movies and most especially in pornography (praise God for redeeming me from both). Here is a special valentine’s post that I hope will bless your marriage (or future marriage).

God created marriage and sex (Genesis 2:20-25). God also wants believers to enjoy each other in marriage. Look at God’s instruction to us husbands:


 ”Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love” (Proverbs 5:18-19)

Yes, this is the God I worship – the God who provides good things to His children!

How do we properly convey being “intoxicated in her love” to our spouse, especially without resorting to swearing and the world’s dirty language? I’m writing from a husband’s perspective but I think it applies both ways. You should, of course, filter all this through what you know about your own spouse’s preferences/desires/tendencies/etc, as you know how to best love your spouse. You should also, of course, speak at appropriate times. Intimate times are often times when just a few words go a long way.

1. Affirmations, Affirmations, Affirmations

Voice what your eyes, hands, nose, mouth, etc. finds pleasing. If there is something worthy of praise – praise it! Tell her how beautiful she is and give her specifics. What particular things intoxicate you – let her know! And keep focusing on those things (Phil. 4:8-9), as they will help you be intoxicated in her love all the more.

If you need help in general with affirmation (as many men do), I commend Practicing Affirmation: God-Centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God by Sam Crabtree.

2. State the plain truth

Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be words to describe what we’re feeling. If you’re like me – who had a nasty habit of swearing in my pre-Christ days – then it seems like only a strong, harsh word is enough to convey strong emotion. Or there’s no words at all so you don’t say anything. The ideal is to simply state the plain truth, like “You are so exciting” or “you make me feel wonderful” or “everything in life seems good when I’m with you”. You can also give plain feedback: “I like that” and “Thank you”.

3. Praise for God

Times of intimacy should also draw us closer to God, as this temporal physical intimacy is really just a foretaste of the Great Love we will experience in Him. We should be in constant prayer, praising God, asking God for guidance, asking God to bless our spouse with joy, and asking God to help us effectively love our spouse in the way they need to be loved. And if you are doing that, the natural response will be praise: “I praise God for you”, “Being with you shows me how much God loves me”, or sometimes a hearty “PRAISE JESUS!”

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carpenter

Am I called of God to be in ministry? What does that mean?

This letter I wrote to someone who contacted me, asking:

my pastor and others always tell me i have the called of God on my life. I have waited to hear a direct confirmation from God but none. what can i do? i feel confused.

Dear Henry,

There’s a lot to consider in the word “Call”.

Calling as Life of a Christian

First, we must realize all Christians are called (Romans 8:30), we all have a “holy calling” (2 Tim. 1:9). We are called to Eternal Life (1 Tim. 6:12). We are called from Darkness into Light (1 Pet. 2:9). We are called to Freedom (Gal. 5:13). We’re called to be His sons (1 John 3:1). We’re called to be ruled by the peace of Christ (Col. 3:15). Read Ephesians 4. Being Christians means we are called to ministry.

For example:

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, (Ephesians 4:11-13, ESV)

Note, WHO does the work of ministry. The apostles? The shepherds? The teachers? No, the saints! The calling of God to join God’s family means entering into the family business, God’s business, which is winning glory to Himself and lifting up the name of His Son. This is why Jesus commands ALL of us to “make disciples” (Matthew. 28:19).

This is a very important distinction. Our Western Christian culture has decided that ministry is for the professionals – which couldn’t be further from what the New Testament says. So Henry, if you truly have turned from sin, turned toward Jesus Christ, and made Him Lord and it is evidenced in your life, your behaviors, and the affections of your heart – then indeed you are “called” and you need no confirmation from God but rather you need to obey what God commands in the scriptures, because “If you love me you will obey my commandments” (John 14:15).

Calling as Vocation

Another way we talk about “calling” is our vocation. God may indeed call us to specific work. Generally we’re called to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28, ESV)

Through any legal vocation can will fill this calling to raise offspring and work to provide for the thriving of our family and our community.

Calling into Ministry

The Apostle Paul twice says he was “called to be an apostle” (Romans 1:1, 1 Cor. 1:1). Today we often talk about the “calling of God” in reference to a specific calling to pursue full-time vocational ministry. Often when interviewing for pastoral positions they will ask you about your “calling”. I’ve heard people answer that question in different ways: circumstances, specific burdens God has given someone, affirmations from leaders and/or parents, and even revelation from God. Ultimately, I would say the only true affirmation of a “calling” to shepherd God’s people is to 1) desire to be an Elder (1 Tim. 3:1), and 2) live up to the qualifications of an Elder (1 Tim. 3, Titus 1) – or at least on a trajectory to do so. The true evidence of the Spirit’s work in calling a man will be the man’s obedience to God’s Word and how it works out in his life and character. Zealous energy, good people skills, good speaking skills, intelligence – all are insufficient evidences and can distract from looking upon the true qualifications (1 Tim. 3, Titus 1 < Read those!).

Keep in mind my first point above. All CHRISTIANS are called to ministry. It is ministry to raise Godly children. It is ministry to work a vocation and have dominion over the earth. We must not confine “ministry” to a paid position at a church or a missionary position. I know many men who have seminary degrees and are in deep states of depression because they are not “in ministry”. What they really mean they are not employed by a church, because if they aren’t doing ministry in their life that’s their disobedience to God.

Ministry does not exempt a man from Vocation


First century rabbis and pharisees had to learn a trade in addition to learning to be a religious leader. The Apostle Paul made tents, and used this skill often to support himself and doing so let him meet key people who later became influential leaders (Acts 18:3). Jesus himself was a carpenter and practiced that for far longer than his ministry. Clearly God is pleased if what we do is swing a hammer all day!

Many men who feel “called” into ministry neglect this VITAL duty to have an alternative means to support themselves and their family. I know multiple former pastors who now drive buses or work other low-paid, low-skill jobs – despite having master’s degrees! This is especially important in today’s world. In contexts of great persecution and/or poverty, churches usually do not have paid pastors. This is how it was in the early church and even how it was in the churches in the “untamed” Western US in the 1800s. Our culture is becoming highly anti-Christian and it would be foolish to rest your family’s well-being on the church functioning the same as it does today. I would HIGHLY recommend you read this book about the amazing things God is doing using ordinary people in closed Muslim countries: Miraculous Movements by Trousdale (link to Amazon).

Henry, if you are indeed going to pursue full-time vocational ministry, I would highly advise you that you:
1) Learn a real vocation or trade – this could be carpentry, construction, computer programming, consulting, or whatever interests/skills/talents/influences God has given you. Maybe ask your father or another Godly man to start teaching you something. That can help you explore a variety of areas.
2) Read the scriptures above and get a Biblical understanding of ministry. Do not be conformed to the pattern of our Christian culture but be transformed by the Bible’s truths.
3) Make all of your life about ministry and learn how to seek God to use you wherever He places you.

Once you do that, I would expect it may become clear if you should pursue full-time vocational ministry.

Also, you can just simply pray. God answers (Matt. 7:7).

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Is it too inconvenient to save the man?

A story from Hudson Taylor’s biography that challenged and encouraged me to consider whether I too see the salvation of other men as too inconvenient for me.


While in Ningpo, I had made the acquaintance of Mr. John Jones, who, with Dr. Parker,
represented the Chinese Evangelisation Society in that city. Hindered from returning to Swatow, I now decided to join these brethren in the Ningpo work, and set out at once upon the journey. On the afternoon of the second day, when already about thirty miles distant from Shanghai, Mr. Jones and I drew near the large and important city of Sung-kiang, and I spoke of going ashore to preach the Gospel to the thronging multitudes that lined the banks and crowded the approaches to the city gates.

Among the passengers on board the boat was one intelligent man, who in the course of his travels had been a good deal abroad, and had even visited England, where he went by the name of Peter. As might be expected, he had heard something of the Gospel, but had never experienced its saving power. On the previous evening I had drawn him into earnest converse about his soul’s salvation. The man listened with attention, and was even moved to tears, but still no definite result was apparent. I was pleased, therefore, when he asked to be allowed to accompany me, and to hear me preach.

I went into the cabin of the boat to prepare tracts and books for distribution on landing with my Chinese friend, when suddenly I was startled by a splash and a cry from without. I sprang on deck, and took in the situation at a glance. Peter was gone! The other men were all there, on board, looking helplessly at the spot where he had disappeared, but making no effort to save him. A strong wind was carrying the junk rapidly forward in spite of a steady current in the opposite direction, and the low-lying, shrubless shore afforded no landmark to indicate how far we had left the drowning man behind.

I instantly let down the sail and leapt overboard in the hope of finding him. Unsuccessful, I looked around in agonising suspense, and saw close to me a fishing-boat with a peculiar drag-net furnished with hooks, which I knew would bring him up.

“Come!” I cried, as hope revived in my heart. “Come and drag over this spot directly; a man is drowning just here!”

“Veh bin” (It is not convenient), was the unfeeling answer.

“Don’t talk of convenience!” cried I in an agony; “a man is drowning, I tell you!”

“We are busy fishing,” they responded, “and cannot come.”

“Never mind your fishing,” I said, “I will give you more money than many a day’s fishing will bring; only come—come at once!”

“How much money will you give us?”

“We cannot stay to discuss that now! Come, or it will be too late. I will give you five dollars” (then worth about thirty shillings in English money).

“We won’t do it for that,” replied the men. “Give us twenty dollars, and we will drag.”

“I do not possess so much: do come quickly, and I will give you all I have!”

“How much may that be?”

“I don’t know exactly, about fourteen dollars.”

At last, but even then slowly enough, the boat was paddled over, and the net let down. Less than a minute sufficed to bring up the body of the missing man. The fishermen were clamorous and indignant because their exorbitant demand was delayed while efforts at resuscitation were being made. But all was in vain—life was extinct.

To myself this incident was profoundly sad and full of significance, suggesting a far more mournful reality. Were not those fishermen actually guilty of this poor Chinaman’s death, in that they had the means of saving him at hand, if they would but have used them? Assuredly they were guilty. And yet, let us pause ere we pronounce judgment against them, lest a greater than Nathan answer, “Thou art the man.” Is it so hard-hearted, so wicked a thing to neglect to save the body? Of how much sorer punishment, then, is he worthy who leaves the soul to perish, and Cain-like says, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Lord Jesus commands, commands me, commands you, my brother, and you, my sister. “Go,” says He, “go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Shall we say to Him, “No, it is not convenient”? shall we tell Him that we are busy fishing and cannot go? that we have bought a piece of ground and cannot go? that we have purchased five yoke of oxen, or have married, or are engaged in other and more interesting pursuits, and cannot go? Ere long “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body.” Let us remember, let us pray for, let us labour for the unevangelised Chinese; or we shall sin against our own souls. Let us consider Who it is that has said, “If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? and He that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not He render to every man according to his works?

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Why my son said “Last year I didn’t know Christmas was about Jesus” – 11 Steps toward a more meaningful Christmas

One of the most convicting statements of my life happened last week. My oldest son, who is four, said: “Last year I didn’t know Christmas was about Jesus”. That hurt, but I also rejoiced because it means this year he does know what Christmas is all about.

It’s not like we had not talked about it. We had read some Christmas books at home. We had gone through the Nativity stories in the Bible. We went to Christmas church services and sang some Christmas songs. But it didn’t land. Why not? Why did my son fall in love with the holiday and not the one who the holiday is celebrating?

I know: our actions. Our children learn by our actions. As Bible professor D.A. Carson once said: my students learn not what I teach but what I’m passionate about. Likewise, our children learn by what we sacrifice for (or to) – what we give our time or attention to. My son saw all that we did at Christmas and figured it was about seeing family, eating lots of food and sweets, and getting presents. Those are good things but not the main thing.

This year we have been focusing on establishing a Godly legacy in our children. We have been intentionally establishing new patterns and traditions that communicate to our children our passion for God and our reliance on His Word.

11 Steps toward a more meaningful Christmas

Some things we did this year to be more intentional about pointing to Jesus at Christmas. This is our first year really being intentional, so we’re still learning. But overall we think it was – praise be to God – successful at pointing our kids toward Jesus.

1) During Family worship each night we went through the nativity story. We followed Sally Michael’s advent calender and devotional. We prayed, read the scripture, illustrated it on our felt board (yes I got a felt board, its so helpful), sang songs that highlight Christmas, memorized some key verses (James 1:17, Matt. 7:7-11), and prayed for us to believe and obey God’s word. Oh yeah, and then we ate (fair-trade) chocolates from our advent calendars.

2) We sat down and discussed what Christmas was NOT. It was NOT about Santa Claus (see my post on Satan Claus). I made it clear that Santa is a rival god and we will have nothing to do with him. We tried to get rid of all decorations, books, or other Christmas paraphernalia that distracted from Jesus.

3) We watched the movie the Nativity Story as a family and discussed it (We pre-screened it so I could censor some of the more adult/intense parts. I told them what we skipped and why).

4) Whenever we talked about Christmas, we continually pointed out the fact that Christmas is about Jesus and not gifts.

5) We bought as many gifts as we could online after the kids were in bed and limited our shopping outings. Our children do not enjoy going shopping, so for one it is practical but also it helps us NOT demonstrate making big sacrifices for gifts.

6) I did a teaching on John 3:16 and James 1:17 (both of which the boys have memorized) before we opened gifts on Christmas Eve. We also sang songs after the teaching and prayed.

7) On Christmas morning I did a teaching on God as the giver of the ultimate gift from  Romans 3:22-25, 5:16-17, 6:23, 8:31-32.

8 ) We prayed before opening gifts. We prayed for our hearts to not lust after material things. We prayed for thankfulness for God for all His gifts most especially Jesus.

9) We limited our activities. It was easier this year because we were not able to go to Portland to visit my family (which was sad). We had people over on Christmas eve but took Christmas day as a SLOW celebration with our family.

10) We SLOWLY opened gifts. We opened gifts all throughout the day. We watched each gift opening, thanked God for the giver, and enjoyed each gift. This is a complete change from our usual tear-through-everything-as-fast-as-we-can (which fuels the material lust).

11) We ate a simple, healthy, delicious meal as a family on Christmas day night. We took communion as a family. We praised God together.

We thank God for all His help in this process. We praise God that poor sinners like us can still be used to point to the greatest gift of all: a justified, righteous, everlasting life in Jesus Christ with God.

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Santa as an alternative Savior - that's the theme of a new movie called Rise of the Guardians. Santa is a secular replacement for Jesus Christ.

Why we do not celebrate Satan Claus

Santa as an alternative Savior - that's the theme of a new movie called Rise of the Guardians. Santa is a secular replacement for Jesus Christ.

The other day our oldest asked me: “Can we learn more Christmas songs about Santa?” (He had recently heard one.)

I replied: “Santa is a big man in red clothes who comes into your house in the middle of the night without you knowing. What would you do if you came out of your room to find Santa out here in the kitchen?

Our middle child, who is 2, made a motion with a straw in his hand and said: “I’d hit him”.

I replied: “Normally we are peacemakers, but in this instance I think you’d be right to do that because Santa is a rival god. In the book of James it says ‘every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights’. Gifts do NOT come from a big red stranger who tries to break into our house. So no, we will not learn more about him. In this house we worship God.”

That said, let’s take a look at one of those songs:

He sees you when you’re sleeping.
He knows when you’re awake.
He knows if you’ve been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!
- From Santa Claus is coming to town

What is pictured here? Really think about it. It is often worthwhile to think through the things we blindly sing along to!

First, as my wife pointed out, we see Santa advocating behaviorism for the sake of moralism with the goal of materialism. Be good so you get stuff. That’s the message. That is a bit different than what the Bible says (see 1 John 2:15-17).

Second, here’s what we learn about Santa:

  1. Santa is omniscient. He is all seeing and all knowing. Whether you are asleep or awake he sees and knows what you’re doing! The Bible says: And no creature is hidden from [God's] sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13 ESV)
  2. Santa is judge. Santa knows what is good or bad. Now through experience we learn he is not a very good judge because not even the nastiest kid gets a lump of coal. The Bible says: There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. (James 4:12 ESV)
  3. Santa is provider. Later in the song it says “you better not pout, I’m telling you why… Santa Claus is coming to town”. Santa – the bearer of gifts – will provide for what we need/want. The Bible says: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17 ESV)

John Piper has a great article on Christmas symbols. I agree with him that Santa is a symbol that is not neutral but is explicitly contrary to the story of Jesus Christ. I will admit that we wrestled about this initially. Not because we loved Santa, but because its the thing everyone does. But Biblical truth and the Spirit’s guidance prevailed and we repeatedly emphasize Santa is not real and we will not let our children sit on some strange dude’s lap — it does not matter if he has a beard or red suit on, that doesn’t make it right!

 But it’s just all for fun right?

That’s what everyone says at least. Please finish this sentence:

It’s okay to willfully deceive your children when ________

Go ahead, fill in the blank. Is “when its for fun” a good answer?

But really, is Santa FUN? Really? Fun?

I remember it being awkward. I remember nervously watching my parents put on this whole charade about something I knew to be fake but was afraid to admit it because I wanted the presents. That’s not fun. That’s lying to your kids for the purpose of distracting them from celebrating the most amazing event in history, God Himself coming down into the world.

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)

From this verse we can indeed say that Santa is a scheme of Satan and he has tricked parents into lying to their children, thus becoming sons of the devil. So… is it really FUN to deceive our children and encourage their lust of worldly goods by having them be good for a false and imaginary god named Santa?

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
(John 8:31-32 ESV)

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We have made America a Rival God

America has become many people’s god. This is made readily apparent today – Election Day. Not because people are voting – by all means vote! – but because of the hopes and expectations people are putting in their leader and their government. I’ve spoken elsewhere about Americolatry (See my post on Justin Taylor’s blog). Americolatry is putting our hope and trust in our government and in our leaders, rather than God. Even our money tells us not to do that; instead it says “In GOD we trust”.

Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
(Psalm 146:3 ESV)

Samuel anointing Saul as King over Israel

Israel did the same thing. God was their King. And yet, they wanted a man to be their king, to rule over them, to judge them, to fight for them, to take care of them. They thought that if they had a king, all their worries would be resolved and their lives would be taken care of. They went to the prophet Sameul and demanded a King. Here’s what the Bible recounts of that event:

But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”
(1 Samuel 8:6-9 ESV)

It says clearly “they have rejected me from being king over them” and in doing so they have forsaken God to serve other gods. God warned them about all this earthly king would do, such as: take your sons to fight his wars (1 Sam 8:11), take your labor to feed his interests and fund his army (1 Sam 8:12), and take the best of what you produce and what you own as taxes to support himself and his kingdom (1 Sam 8:14-16). The price for a rejecting God for a human king was high.

Likewise today we seek our salvation in America, we seek to make heaven on earth. Our wealth has given us the illusion that we ourselves can make this happen, just like how God warned that Israel would forget God and rely on their own strength when they came into prosperity (Deuteronomy 6:10-12).

In America, the Left wants the state to do everything for them, taking care of them when they should be taking care of themselves and rejecting God’s laws to establish relativistic man-centered laws. And they are willing to pay heavily in taxes for it. The Right think that heaven will come to earth if we simply have the right form of government with the right moral underpinnings or with the right banking structure or with the right foreign policy or the right social services (or lack thereof).

What’s the reality? God is King. God reigns. He controls who is in Government (Romans 13:1). He is working all things for good for his children (Romans 8:28). Heaven will not come to earth by our own works or by our own hands but only when Jesus Christ comes to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 21:1-4).

So as we approach voting, let us do so with a faithful heart, entrusting our lives, our families, our cities, our nation to God, not fearing man or trusting in man who fails, but fearing God and trusting in Him. He sent His own Son to die for our sins, we can trust Him to never leave us nor forsake us!

Thus says the LORD:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
(Jeremiah 17:5-8 ESV)

 

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"Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion." – Ecc 4:9-10