Friday, November 11, 2016

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye

Arizona Christian Worldview Institute (ACWI) is no more. We have re-grouped and re-branded. Please follow us at our new home on the web, where we provide resources and advice for church leaders.

Hope to see you there!

Thanks for following us these last few years.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Olympics, Singing, and Worship

My wife and I watched a LOT of the Olympics broadcasts this year: live events in the early morning while getting ready for work, some during lunch in the breakroom at work, and lots more in the tape-delayed evening broadcasts.

I noticed that many of the American gold medal winners would mouth the word to the Star Spangled Banner while it played. A few even shed a tear or two. The British winners proudly sang God Save the Queen, along with the Brits in the stands. Winners from other nations sang their country's anthem as well. (I assume they were singing their anthems; I didn't understand most of the words.) The athletes expressed a pride in their country by competing AND by singing.

Watching them sing along - however silently - made me think of singing in church. All too often, many people don't. Maybe they think they have a lousy voice. Maybe they don't know the words to the songs. Guys are especially guilty of simply standing there, expressionless and mute.

I have a question - for the guys, especially, but for anyone who chooses to remain silent during corporate singing as part of corporate worship: If Heaven had a national anthem, would you sing along?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Why Doesn't it Happen More?

Well, it's been AGES since we posted anything to the blog. Life has been incredibly busy, and as the ministry has taken a new direction, we've taken some time to get our new bearigs. Sorry for the absence (hope it's made your heart grow fonder for us!)

Anyway, I wanted to share this, which was sent by my pastor, Bill Phillips, of Fellowship of Grace, PCA (Peoria, AZ). Thanks, PB!

Aurora, Colo. theater shooter James Holmes makes first court appearance for

killing 12, wounding 58 at 'Dark Knight' screening” - these are the headlines as I

write this months personal Thanks and Prayer.

The big question is “why”? What would lead James to this horrible action? The press all look for secular psychological answers. No one, not even on FOX News, the conservative counterpart to the mainstream liberal media outlets, considers or makes mention of the Fall and man’s resultant depravity. Only the biblical world view gives us a satisfactory answer. The question isn’t so much why did this happen, but why doesn’t more of this happen?

God’s common grace is the answer.

The fact that we live in relative peace is not just happenstance. It could be Aurora all over
save for God’s common grace withholding mankind from the horror of his sinful nature.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Things to Consider in Two Recent Movies.

I recently watched the movies "Devil" and the "Last Exorcism" and thought I would share some things that a Christian might want to look for if he or she watches these movies.

My intent is not to give a full review of the move -- for full reviews I suggest -- but rather to point out some things that I think are worth considering in these movies. Therefore I will speak generally and try my best not to use any spoilers, but I cannot guarantee there will be none. I also do not claim that the makers/writers of the movies agree with my interpretations.

"Last Exorcism"

In this movie I was struck by two different worldviews represented by two of the main characters. The first main character represents a naturalistic worldview. This character has a worldview that cannot accept the supernatural so he has to force everything that he is experiencing into a framework of pure natural causes. When things happen that defy the natural, this character looks a little silly staunchly clinging to naturalistic explanations.

The second character represents a hyper-supernatural worldview. This character is unwilling to consider any possibilities of a naturalistic explanation e.g. the kind of worldview that leads to only praying for a sick child and not also taking them to the doctor or seeing a demon around every corner.

Both of these worldviews interact in the movie, and ultimately through a series of crises, both characters have a shift in their worldview where they come closer to the middle of the two extremes.

I thought the "Last Exorcism" was a good movie which could have been great with a different ending. The movie uses standard scare tactics at times but overall is based more on psychological play (the end of the movie veered from that which is one of the reasons I did not like the end). Last Exorcism is rated PG-13, which seems about right if you have the right 13 year old, but I would recommend more of a PG-15.


With "Devil" I would suggest considering how victory, or (dare I say) salvation comes in the end. I am not suggesting that the movie has a full Christian worldview of salvation, but it has aspects that really come close. I want to be more specific and what comes next could be construed as a spoiler. The only way of winning at the end of the movie is for a character to confront his true nature as a "sinner" without any claim to righteousness whatsoever. The character even receives forgiveness from the person whom he offended. Actually the only thing I thought it lacked was a substitutionary basis of forgiveness, but it is Hollywood. END OF POSSIBLE SPOILER.

I really enjoyed this movie and recommend it to any moviegoers out there. It is rated PG-13, but my personal recommendation would again be PG-15.

Enjoy the movies, and remember, please watch responsibly.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Future of Our Media-Saturated Culture

Here is the bad news: We live in the most media-saturated culture in history.

And now the good news:

We live in the most media-saturated culture in history.

This is good news because there is a movement afoot among young Christians – especially those who are (or were homeschooled). It's a movement that is taking advantage of today's less-expensive digital technology, video cameras, computers, and audio equipment.

ALL the prices are coming down, down, down.

And there are training programs, boot camps, and workshops for young people. They are being prepared to become the next generation of great filmmakers.

They are wrestling with the issues of art and media, aesthetics, trying to answer for themselves the questions like

  • What is a Christian film?
  • What makes a great film?
  • How can believers influence society for the cause of Christ using media?
And I'm glad to report that they don't all agree. That means they're thinking critically about quality, about beauty, and about being obedient to God's call on each of their individual lives. . . not trying to be a cookie-cutter of every Christian film that has gone before.

I've met a few of them. I've chatted with more of them online.

I've seen some of their work.

And I'm hopeful for the future of our media-saturated culture.

Here are just a few reasons why (in no particular order):

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Reforms of Josiah in the 21st Century

II Kings 23 tells us about the reforms of Josiah:

4And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second
order and the keepers of the threshold to bring out of the temple of the LORD
all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven He
burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and carried their
ashes to Bethel.5And he deposed the priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained
to make offerings in the high places at the cities of Judah and around
Jerusalem; those also who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and the moon and
the constellations and all the host of the heavens. 6And he brought out the
Asherah from the house of the LORD, outside Jerusalem, to the brook Kidron, and
burned it at the brook Kidron and beat it to dust and cast the dust of it upon
the graves of the common people. 7And he broke down the houses of the male
cult prostitutes who were in the house of the LORD, where the women wove
hangings for the Asherah. 8And he brought all the priests out of the cities of
Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had made offerings, from
Geba to Beersheba. And he broke down the high places of the gates that were at
the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on one’s
left at the gate of the city. . .10And he defiled Topheth, which is in the
Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no one might burn his son or his daughter as
an offering to Molech. 11And he removed the horses that the kings of Judah had
dedicated to the sun, at the entrance to the house of the LORD, by the chamber
of Nathan-melech the chamberlain, which was in the precincts. And he burned the
chariots of the sun with fire. 12And the altars on the roof of the upper chamber
of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars that Manasseh had
made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, he pulled down and broke in
pieces and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron. . .14And he broke in
pieces the pillars and cut down the Asherim and filled their places with the
bones of men. 15Moreover, the altar at Bethel, the high place erected by
Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, that altar with the high
place he pulled down and burned, reducing it to dust. He also burned the
Asherah. . .19And Josiah removed all the shrines also of the high places that
were in the cities of Samaria, which kings of Israel had made, provoking the
LORD to anger. He did to them according to all that he had done at Bethel. 20And
he sacrificed all the priests of the high places who were there, on the altars,
and burned human bones on them. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
So. . . what are the idols of our day? Where are the "high places"? And more importantly, what is the appropriate response by the man--or woman--of God in the 21st century?

Do we "go Josiah" on our society and begin to tear down buildings and other structures?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Thing That Most Perplexes Me about Naturalism

I once had a conversation with my wife where I was trying to explain to her one of the main reasons I find the naturalistic worldview to be untenable. She was not understanding what I was trying to communicate so I drew a box and had an arrow pointing toward the box and an arrow pointing away from the box. I labled the box "human brain" and the arrows I labled input and out put. Clearly my point has been made right?

However, my wife was still not understanding, so being the genius that I am I drew the exact same picture, only larger, and began to pound the eraser of the pencil on the picture. Thankfully despite my inept communication attempts, my wife's actual brilliance kicked in and she understood my point. My wife looked at me and said something along the lines of "so your saying conscience thought always comes after the brain has done its thing not before."

This is one of the most perplexing things I find about the naturalistic worldview. Our brains are only physical, and without a soul, our thinking can only be the operation of chemical and electrical reactions. It would follow, then, that no one believes what they believe based on rational thought. Rather people have to believe what they believe because their brain just happened to fire a certain way.

Rational reflection would be impossible because by the time we have thought "I wonder if this is true" our brains have already undergone the chemical electrical process that produced that thought. Maybe I am missing something, but for now, I will file this under things that make me go ummm.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More Thoughts on Zombies.

Awhile back Coffee Snob had a blog about zombies and the Christian worldview. After watching the zombie movie "Quarantine" I would like to pose a question about why zombies frighten us. Is it possible that part of the fear struck by zombies flows from confronting something that so closely resembles human beings, but clearly does not bear the image of God?