Monday, June 30, 2008

How Very Sad. . .

I just happened to see this Google ad on a website a few days ago:

Home in safe Woodstock, GA (Atlanta)
Low Terrorism Threat Target

5BR 3B, 5 Acre; Gated Privacy $660K

Who ever thought that "Low Terrorism Threat" would be a selling feature for a home?

And yet, no mention of safety or the neighborhood's crime rate on the actual website for this home: The only mention of security refers to "double-sided key-access dead-bolt locks and a coded keypad entry"
Isn't it a sad commentary that our society has become so obsessed with safety and security - and so motivated by fear - that an advertisement like this would ever be possible/necessary?

Yes, we live in a dangerous world—a very different world from the one in which I grew up in the mid-'60s. But it seems our society (or a certain segment at least) wallows in - or even thrives on - fear. Not to mention the entrepreneurs who have built businesses by feeding on people's fears (the Taser company comes to mind, emphasizing the need for self-defense).
Of course, another obvious change based in fear is airport security - more time, more equipment, more personnel—and more expense.

Don't get me wrong. . . the world we live in today is definitely not as safe and secure as it once was. There's a need for self-defense, for security measures at the airport. I simply am commenting on the overall atmosphere of fear, fear-driven media programming, fear-based businesses (including the Y2K scare that had people buying/building underground shelters and stockpiling food).
Where else do you see evidence of fear in today's world?

And what ever became of trusting God in His sovereignty?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Yet Declaring Our Independence

According to Bill O’Reilly, these are the Commandments/beliefs of a group he calls the secular-progressive movement. The movement is resident in the United States, but their beliefs are as old as they are evil.

· Thou Shalt Not Make Any Judgment Regarding Most Private Personal Behavior. Man/Woman Is the Master! Mistress of the Universe and His/Her Gratification Is Paramount.

· Thou Shalt Not Worship or Acknowledge God in the Public Square, for Such an Exposition Could Be Offensive to Humankind.

· Thou Shalt Take from the Rich and Give to the Poor. No Private Property Is Sacrosanct.

· Thou Shalt Circumvent Mother and Father in Personal Issues Such as Abortion and Sex Education in Public Schools.

· Thou Shalt Kill if Necessary to Promote Individual Rights in Cases of Abortion and Euthanasia.

· Thou Shalt Be Allowed to Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor if That Person Stands Against Secular Humanism.

· Thou Shalt Not Wage Preemptive War in Any Circumstance

· Thou Shalt Not Impede the Free Movement of Any Human Being on Earth. All Countries Shou1d Be We1coming P1aces without Borders.

· Thou Shalt Not Prohibit Narcotics or Impede Personal Gratification in This Area.

· Thou Shalt Not limit the Power of Government in Order to Provide “Prosperity” to All.

pp. 69-70 Culture Warrior, Bill O’Reilly

As I read these tenants of a group, which has been around since the 1960’s, I was struck by the already endemic influence on our society and the resident dangers of the evil thoughts and the distortion of our democratic principles. This movement and others akin to it have intruded not only on democratic principles, but on our Christian beliefs, and I have a great concern on their continual intrusion, especially on our children, our greatest natural resource. Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote a song and lyrics which exemplify my concerns.

You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a different shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!

Unfortunately it is now 2008 and the poison has already taken it causalities. What we have left are the corpses of our Judeo-Christian ideals and the children still being “carefully taught”.

I tip my hat to Bill Phillips, whose steadfast position for our continual involvement in the fight against our spiritual and democratic destroyers. Indeed, voc me cum benedictus, I will speak of him amongst the blessed.

Let the conversation continue.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The State Budget - and Ours

As much as we enjoy the "conversation" here on the blog, I wanted to remind everyone that we also broadcast a weekly radio show. Saturday mornings at 7:00 AM, we broadcast Every Square Inch - The Arizona Christian Worldview Hour, where we discuss what it means to live all of our lives - every square inch - before the face of God. We help listeners discover a biblical worldview and integrate that view into every square inch of their lives. You can listen at KPXQ 1360 AM - or online. Listen live on Saturday mornings at, or listen to the archives at

In two weeks (Sat. July 12), we'll be interviewing Arizona State Treasurer, Dean Martin. Hopefully by then the legislature will have a state budget agreement worked out! We'll chat about the budget, the role of government, and how Biblical thinking plays a role - or should play a role - in financial decision-making. We'll probably also discuss the place of religion in the political arena. I hope you're listening!

Secondly, we'd like to expand the show to the Tucson area, but that takes more resources than we currently have. Like most radio programs, we have advertisers, but frankly, our advertisers only provide 28% of our broadcast expenses. The rest of our support comes from the listeners and friends of the ministry - people just like you! How can you help? I'd invite you to click here with a GENEROUS gift! And yes, we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so your donation is tax-free!

Many thanks!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Servants By Choice

2 Kings chapter 5 tells the account of Naaman the leper. In this story, we learn a lesson about the world of work.

Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, "Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy."
(2 Kings 5: 2-3, ESV).

A captive Jewish maid was looking out for the welfare of her master. Why?

Her master was a Syrian, an enemy of the people of Israel. She had been captured and taken away by force from her family and friends. Why should she care if his leprosy was cured? Why should she care if her master lived or died? Perhaps the answer is found in the words of that famous Puritan commentator, Matthew Henry:

This little maid, though only a girl, could give an account of the famous prophet the
Israelites had among them. . . As became a good servant, she desired the health
and welfare of her master, though she was a captive, a servant by force;
much more should servants by choice, seek their masters' good.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary [2 Kings 5] cited at

As employees, we are "servants by choice." We should seek our masters' (employers') good in all that we do. That means, of course, not stealing paper clips or pens from the office. But more than that, we should desire to see the company prosper—not because of our own job security—but because it benefits our boss—another human being, one created in the image of God. We should always seek the good of others. As Christ said, "love one another" and as Paul instructs us, "serve one another," "comfort one another," "bear one another's burdens" and on it goes.

We are to follow the "one anothers" of Scripture—for those that we love, as well as those that are "masters" over us.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Power of Bumper Stickers?

I want to start this post with an apology framed in a set of excuses. The last few weeks have been among the most chaotic in my life. I have come to the end of my first three projects in my new job, and have had 70+ hour work weeks. At the same time my wife and I have been dealing with a somewhat messy purchase of a new home. We had all of the normal issues associated with closing on a home loan compounded by the fact that this is a bank-owned property which means that all decisions take at least a week, and a mortgage broker who “missed” a couple of critical but obscure VA related documents each of which threatened to delay or submarine the purchase. Needless to say free time to blog has been nonexistent. So I do apologize, and ask your understanding given the circumstances.

So what does this have to do with bumper stickers? Well – I am not one to cover my car in stickers. In fact – the only stickers that you will find on any of my vehicles is a “Len Munsil for Governor" sticker that I used to cover the “In the event of the rapture this vehicle will be unoccupied” sticker that came on the truck when I bought it. They are still there primarily because they seem to come off in small chunks and I have been too lazy to get out there with a heat gun and remove them. I guess you can say that I am not a “bumper sticker guy.” On top of them messing up the look of a perfectly good bumper, they have never struck me as a particularly effective communication mechanism – until last week.

You see, I was driving through San Bernardino on a Wednesday evening. I had just finished my third consecutive 17 hour day and I was a notch or two short of panic at the prospect that my first project was going to fail, and I’d be summarily fired leaving me, my family, and our shiny new mortgage all sitting in a room contemplating the decisions that I had made in the last months (can you tell that I tend to worry?). I notice something on the window of a car in front of me and when I read it I see:

Matthew 19:26

I said to myself, “W.G.A.T.P.? What can that mean?” Well, now I am curious – and the car is pulling away. I am sitting at a red arrow in the left turn lane and I know I have 30 seconds so I yank my bible out of my computer bag and start flipping pages. The light turns green; I turn through the intersection and find a place to park – I HAVE TO KNOW what W.G.A.T.P. means. I flip to the verse and read:

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”

Of course! – W.G.A.T.P means “With God All Things Are Possible.” Even my projects? No way… Now I will tell you that I had turned my work over to God; I had prayed for his glorification through my efforts, and his hand on my work, and his protection and provision for my family. I had done this earnestly but did I really turn this over? In the moments immediately before I saw that car I was certainly not focused on his sovereignty. I was focused on the dire condition of the first project, I was doubting that I could make it happen on the prescribed timetable. I was afraid. What a blessing this little verse was to me in that moment. I do not know that there could have been a better verse on a car window for me at that time. I thanked God for providing such extraordinary encouragement through that medium. I hope that somehow the young lady driving that car comes to know what a wonderful thing that verse is – I hope someone tells her – but I suppose she already knows.

Early this week, thinking back on the Matthew verse, I looked out my window and saw in bold letters on the back window of a car. It read simply:

Romans 10.

Well now - I have read Romans 10 a few times, but this spurred me to read it again and in the context of the earlier sticker there were a few things that really stood out to me. The first is at the heart of what ACWI and other Christian Worldview organizations truly understand. Verse 10:3:

“For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.”

Now I am not sure if this is the accepted meaning, but I immediatly went to the loss of the respect for God's law in this nation - and the substitution of "personal morality" for God's morality. Ideas have consequences and when we abandon, ignore, or have never heard God’s righteousness we attempt to build our own – and this does not work. How do we advance the ideas found in God's word? What can we do that brings his word into the public domain? Surely bumper stickers have no place in this plan - let's get serious about this - God wouldn't stoop to using bumper stickers - would he? I mean those are really just for other believers - these are just preaching to the choir - right?

Secondly, verse 10:17&20:

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing the word of God.” - “And as Isaiah is very bold and says ‘I was found by those who sought Me not, I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me.” So – the power of bumper stickers – is not in the bumper sticker - it is in the proclamation of the truth of God’s word, even to those who are not seeking it (either in total or in that moment). It is the power of HIS use of words, of cleverly placed acronyms, of bumper stickers, to draw those He chooses to Him. It is He that makes use of these things, even of bumper stickers, and today I am grateful that He does.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

This Is a Great Salvation

When was the last time you meditated on your salvation?

I do not mean mediating on how great its is to be saved, rather how sure and how great is your salvation. Examples to meditate on:
Being loved by God. forgiven and accepted and protected and strengthened and guided by Almighty God, the sacrifice of Christ's life on the cross, the free gift of righteousness imputed by faith, the removal of God's wrath and the reconciled smile of God, the indwelling Holy Spirit and the fellowship and friendship of the living Christ, the radiance of God's glory in the face of Jesus, the free access to the throne of grace, the inexhaustible treasure of God's promises. This is a great salvation.

Why should I mention meditating on salvation?

Heb 2:3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?

I believe that the author of Hebrews is conveying this necessity to meditate, think, or ponder our salvation in the above verse. To neglect, make light, overlook or ignore your salvation is not in keeping with our responsibility and focus as sons or daughters of God.

I wonder if our focus should be akin to the intensity of the loved expressed by Elizabeth Browning for her husband:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints,
I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

How intense should our desire to proclaim our salvation be?

Let the conversation continue.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hope and Wheel of Fortune

Tonight I was trying to get some homework complete before this weekend came. I am the type of student that needs to have audio going on in the background in order to properly study. My cat must have sat on the remote because the television had turned on without me doing so. Wheel of Fortune was on and it provided the background noise that I needed. However, as the game wore on, I started to watch instead of focusing on my homework. It was very fascinating to see the player's attitude while spinning the wheel.

As they gave the the spinner a spin, they proclaimed, "Big Money." I chuckled at this, even at the player who did so and landed on the bankrupt square. It got me thinking about the subject of hope. This television show promises to reward people for doing a skill that does not require much effort, but many of these people are "hoping" to win the rewards of either money or a vacation or a car. It was kind of sad to see the player land on the bankrupt square, but even after she had to give up her previous prizes, when it was her turn again, she said the same mantra.

As Christians, we have hope but it is unlike the players on a game show. We don't have to spin a spinner filled with possible redeemers for our souls, or where we will go when we die. We read in Romans that this hope that has been given to us was given to us by God Himself! "..hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

Many times we say, "I hope..." (fill in the blank) but is that truly hope? Later on in the book of Romans, Paul explains what hope is for us as believers of Christ,

"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."--Romans 8:19-25

Hope is not seen. In our world of things that we trust things that we can see, like incoming traffic, food on our table, a friendly face for when we return home, our main source of Hope is unseen. Later on in one of Peter's epistles, we see similar sentiments:

"Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory"--1 Peter 1:8

Let us live life as hopeful people, but also with a joy that inexpressible. The Redeemer of sinners, creator of heaven and earth is alive. He places hope inside of each one of us through His spirit and this hope will not be taken away because He placed it there. This hope is much more greater than anything that a television show will give, because the things of this world will pass one day, but one day He will return for His chosen and we will be with Him forever in Heaven!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Response to "You're Such a Flirt"

This post is a response to Coffee Snob's blog from Tuesday and the "flirting conference" that is referenced in that blog.

First- In Tuesday's blog, Coffee Snob posed the question: "Does the Biblical injunction against adultery extend to flirting? Is flirting—with someone other than your spouse—clearly forbidden? Or do we sometimes frown on it because of where it might—intentionally—lead?"---My initial response to this is yes, yes, and yes.

As far as I'm aware, flirting is not directly mentioned in the Bible. Even so, we are given plenty of warnings against adultery and calls to modesty. For example:

"...adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control." 1 Timothy 2:9

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:27-28

I don't think all flirting is necessarily anti-biblical, but that it falls under the category of heart-issues and spiritual maturity. Is flirting modest? Even if your intentions aren't blatantly sexual, are your intentions entirely pure? The principle applies in regard to flirting with people who are not your spouse. Just from a personal perspective, if I knew my husband were flirting with other women, I would not feel that he was fulfilling his biblical role as the leader of our family.

Second- I'd be interested to know the demographics of this "flirting conference." Times are changing, but I'd still be willing to bet that most attendees of this conference are women. The advertisement for this conference says,"How to Flirt for Success." How can we look back at all the work women have done to earn rights and privileges and respect and then go to a conference that teaches you to "flirt" for "success?" I'm actually pretty disgusted at this concept.

Third- This conference costs $20 and lasts about 1 hour. The following is a list of better things you could do with $20 in one hour:

  • go to the zoo
  • make about 100 sandwiches and give them to homeless people
  • go to church and tithe
  • go mini-golfing
  • take somebody to lunch
  • go to the movies
  • buy a book and read a chapter
  • buy about 20 cups of not-bitter coffee
  • save up and plan for your next vacation
  • attend an apologetics conference
  • go bowling
  • pay half of my electric bill

You get the idea...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

You're Such a Flirt! (not that there's anything wrong with that!)

I was reviewing several AZ-based press releases that had been posted online. This one caught my eye.

The Audacity of Flirt – A Message of Change and Hope
You can feel it in the air. A sense that things could be better, much better. Your
pulse is pounding; your senses tingle with anticipation – you are hopeful and
ready for change. No, you’re not watching a presidential debate – it’s

Hope springs eternal in the human heart, but many of us wouldn’t
recognize a budding romance if it winked from across the room. Flirting
expert and hopeful romantic, Joann Cohen, wants to change that. Enrollment
is underway for her introductory class, “Charming School–What They Didn’t Teach
You.” Don’t miss another Spring fling because you winked when you should
have fluttered, talked when you should have listened, pouted when you should
have puckered, or worse – you did nothing.

Sure, the strong silent types always won the girl in Hollywood’s
romantic vision. And shy and demure may have worked in Jane Austen’s
lifetime. But, if you’ve been employing those techniques, or others, to no
avail, Joann has a message for you: have the audacity to flirt! Make
that move, but be subtle. Better still: recognize when someone is
flirting with you! After attending Joann’s one-hour session, you will

  • How to Flirt for Success
  • Identifying Your Not-So-Secret Admirers
  • Who Is Most Likely to Welcome Your Attention
  • Flirt or Potential Stalker? Don’t Make Them Guess
  • Innocent Flirting to Innocent Dating, and then…
Besides being a "flirting expert," the woman who is leading this workshop claims to be "an accomplished life coach with a Masters degree in Human Relations and Counseling and advanced study at the International Coach Academy."

So just to be clear. . . this is a workshop on how to flirt, how to be a better flirt (so as to not be mistaken for a stalker!) and how to win friends and influence people by flirting (flirting for success).

I find it a sad commentary on our society when:
  1. People have to be given instruction in how to flirt. Seems most of us were pretty good at it in our school days. And if the other party wasn't interested, he/she said so. There was no confusion.
  2. Flirting is considered a means of getting ahead—"flirting for success." Whatever happened to work hard, put in your time, and pay your dues? Women—and men—using sex (or sexual innuendo) to get ahead at work. . . sounds like Hollywood's notorious "casting couches" of days gone by (hopefully). And how long before someone screams "sexual harassment"?
  3. People have to be given instruction in how to recognize "not so secret admirers." If they're "not so secret", just how dumb do you have to be to not recognize his/her advances?
I suspect this is another indicator of a "hook-up world," where sex is totally disconnected from love, where wide-open unadulterated hedonism rules the day, and where I flirt with you tonight, and your sister tomorrow, and maybe your mother the next night.

Does the Biblical injunction against adultery extend to flirting? Is flirting—with someone other than your spouse—clearly forbidden? Or do we sometimes frown on it because of where it might—intentionally—lead?

Let the conversation continue.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Colossians 4:6 always let your conversation be seasoned with salt, that is, with winsomeness (grace), so that you may know how to make a fitting answer to everyone. Williams Translation

Let the conversation continue.

But, do you really want the conversation to continue. It started out as casual, but the same story is again resurfacing from the other person and the sips are less out of their coffee cup and more frequent out of your coffee cup.

Inwardly you are bored and change the drift of the conversation. You do not want to hear their story again. But, you did not hear their story the first time and you don’t here the story now. It is akin to the prophets and the Apostles and disciples who rehearsed and rehearsed their story about God to the peoples and they listened less. The person across from you wants you to hear their “rehearsal” story. You are trusted by them and they want you to hear.

Hear, what?

Hear you ask the first question about their story. Which could be, “When you lived back then what was going on?” What are the facts?

Stop, because you must know the end results before you start. No, not the end results of their rehearsal story, but the end results in general. Those end results will be one of two disclosures made by the person, either their joy or their pain. You must know this, because the closer you get to their joy or pain, you might cut off hearing their story. Why? You are hearing the truth about them and you might hear the truth about your joy or pain.

People will tell you about their past, because they prepare for the future. As you hear their story you are one of the most trusted person’s in their life. I have found that even in a casual situation I have been elevated to “near and dear” because I heard the persons story. This has been true even of a complete stranger.

So, what is so big? Well, listening is a very neat personal ministry. It is an entry to evangelism, a time to repair sin issues and a time to pray for the joy and pain of your friend or friends.

Think about what resolution you can bring to a friend by listening to their rehearsal story, anniversary story, reinvestment story or I know someone or thing story. .

Next time you are listening to a rehearsal story, explore the story with the person. You may not have the process take place at one conversation, but you will be trusted and the person will tell you the story again and again, until you hear it all.

Go for it!

“Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.”
Fanny Crosby

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Listen, Read, Pray, Give - What's Your Part?

We at ACWI want your help. We'd love to have more people reading this blog and participating with their comments. We'd love to have more people listening to Every Square Inch (Saturdays at 7:00 AM on KPXQ, 1360 AM).

And we'd love to have more of you receiving our (almost) monthly newsletter. Are you reading it? (Not right this minute. . . I mean do you receive it?) If not, and you'd like to receive the newsletter, email us at with the word "SUBSCRIBE" in the subject line.

Why am I telling you this? Simply to encourage you to help spread the word. Tell your friends and family about us. Point them to the blog and to our website,

We'd love to have more of you supporting us with your prayers - and if the Lord leads you, financial support, too.

Maybe you're a business owner. Or maybe you KNOW a business owner. We could benefit from more business sponsors for Every Square Inch. (Then I wouldn't have to come to you so often asking for support! ;~)

If you'd like to be on our mailing list for prayer requests, simply drop an email to with "ACWI PRAYER LETTER" in the subject line. If you join our prayer team, you'll receive an email prayer letter approximately monthly to use as a guide while praying for the ministry. This will include more specific and detailed information than the regular newsletter.

Hope I haven't been too obnoxious in asking for your help.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Fresh Set Of Eyes and Fathers

A couple of days ago I was taking a much needed break from my three hour summer school class. I had one thing on my mind and that was that I needed to find something to drink. It was 108 and even though I am an Arizona native, I strongly believe must be properly hydrated during the summer months. After my search of what seemed like hours (which was more like seconds), I found a vending machine for bottles of water. However, I had to wait in line because there were two students in front of me. As I waited my turn in line they were discussing their plans for avoiding the heat this weekend. One student remarked, "I don't want to go to the Grand Canyon again, it's just a giant hole in the ground. "After they left I got my money out of my wallet and was still stunned of these words even as I headed back to my class.

As Christians, we have been given a new life because of the work of Christ on our behalf. It transforms everything that goes on in our lives. One of the ways it transforms us is we are able to see the purpose of creation and our fellow man. Everything in this life in one way or another points back to their Creator. The man who was known as one after God's own heart, wrote that the Heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim the works of His Hands. We can see that the Grand Canyon is not a big hole in the ground but it is a testimony of the faithfulness of the Lord but also of His creativity through creation.

On Sunday we here in America will be celebrating for the 36th year, Father's day. What a great opportunity for honor and encouragement to the men of our lives, but also to express thankfulness and joy that God does not view us as slaves or servants. Because of the work of His son, we are seen as His children and He, our Father. Jesus told us that we when pray, or talk to Him, we start it out, Our Father. We have direct access to the God of the universe who not only created the Grand Canyon but also created us and formed us in our mother's womb, and we can view Him as Father because of Jesus's work.

It was always difficult to grasp God as my Father because my father is not a Christian and has not had active part in my life. However, God is faithful, He has become the father that I always wanted and needed. He has never left me nor forsake me. It is encouraging to me that people have come up to me and said that they think that I will make a good father some day. I smile because everywhere there is a void left in my life from my father, God has fulfilled that void and has brought Godly men into my life to help with many of the practical things that a man should know.

Let our conversation continue, let us discus the works of our Lord with others, not just the ones we can see with our eyes but also the great love of our Father!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

When will people learn?

Within the past couple of weeks, during the time I've listened to the radio, there have been three reports of children who have drowned in pools, as well as, one baby who was left in a car, and inevitably died. I rarely listen to the radio, usually when my husband and I are in the car together, which isn't every day. Realizing that, who knows how many reports of these incidents I have missed, Since I was a little girl in elementary school, there have been numerous reports every summer on children drowning and being left in cars to die. Every time I hear these tragedies in the media my heart breaks, I cry, and then become enraged at the irresponsible parents.

When will people learn that if you have a pool you cannot take your eyes off of your children? It only takes seconds to lose a child to drowning. If a family has younger children, their pool should absolutely have a fence around it, no excuses. The fence should also have very little space in between each bar, so that a small child cannot fit through it. The gate latch should also be completely out of a child's reach and have a lock as well. This will help to ensure that children do not have access to the pool. Along with this, parents need to teach their children that opening doors in the house without permission is not permitted. "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). I realize that children do not always listen, and this is exactly why they MUST ALWAYS BE WATCHED! "The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother" (Proverbs 29:15).

When will people stop being selfish and/or absent minded when it comes to leaving their child or children in the car? First off, children are a parent's first priority over anything and everything in their life. Therefore, no matter how busy or preoccupied a parent is, there is no excuse to being absent minded when it comes to the safety of their children. Now, there are many people whose minds are constantly running and being forgetful comes naturally. I happen to be one of those people. However, there are ways to avoid ever leaving a child in a car by accident. For example, one can put a post-it on their steering wheel as a reminder or talk with the child continuously while driving, to make oneself aware that the child is present.

I cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, relate to the pain that one experiences when dealing with the loss of a child, no matter how the child died. So PLEASE, parents, PLEASE look after your children as God has instructed us to do so. They are a beautiful and precious gift that cannot be replaced!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Of Evangelism and Bikini-Clad Beauties

For those who haven't heard, I recently returned from a 2-week mission trip to Uganda. We were there mainly for a series of teaching conferences. However, the local churches that we worked with are very involved with door-to-door evangelism, and our team was invited/encouraged/expected to join the locals each afternoon after the conference to take part in evangelism.

I'll be the first to admit that my own evangelistic efforts, like the efforts of most of the American church, leave much to be desired. But after teaching for three hours or more each day, I wasn't really in the mood to go out knocking on doors for another hour or two in the afternoon.

For a variety of reasons, door-to-door (DTD) evangelism has gone by the wayside here in the U.S., except for the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses - and we certainly don't want to be associated with them, right?

There's a big difference between door-to-door evangelism and what we in the States usually call "friendship evangelism" (make a friend, build a relationship, earn their trust, and THEN share the gospel). DTD feels to me like a "hit and run" approach, with no guarantee of follow-up or discipleship, so I'm less confident that real conversion and transformation takes place. On the other hand, the "friendship" approach has no guarantees either, considering that we often end up with great friendships and deep relationships. . . but, cowards that we are, we somehow never get around to the gospel.

But in Uganda, DTD still a common method. It's a culture where people tend to be more open and receptive to hearing the gospel - at least for now. But some resistance is beginning to be felt. Some of our Ugandan friends explained that not all their countrymen are as willing to listen as they once were. Some have even had confrontations when sharing the gospel. BUT, they said, "when Americans are with us. . .we have a way in. People are willing to meet with us simply because we have an American friend with us."

At some point it dawned on me that we Americans were being used - as an attention-getter, as a hook, as the bait in a bait and switch ad. It made me think of sex in advertising, of the bikini-clad women used in an ad to sell, say, car wax. The bikini babes have nothing whatsoever to do with cars or car wax. They're just there prostituting themselves to get the attention of the most likely customers - young guys who are car fanatics.

What do you think? Am I overreacting? Should I be pleased - even honored to be used for the sake of the gospel? Does the importance of the gospel outweigh the methods used by our Ugandan friends? After all, didn't Paul say

"I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. . . .
I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.
I do it all for the sake of the gospel. . . "
(1 Cor. 9: 19-23 ESV)
Does the end justify the means?

Let the conversation continue.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Away with the atheists!!

For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake." Philippians 1:29

Polycarp lived in about 69-155 A.D., and was the Bishop of Smyrna. He was the leading Christian figure in Roman Asia Minor. On a February day in 155 A.D., Polycarp departed with the honor of the crown of martyrdom to the Church of Heaven.


The Church of Smyrna prepared a full account of the martyrdom of Polycarp, perhaps to be sent to other churches.

When Polycarp heard the news about his sentence to death, he did not want to leave, but rather stayed in the city. His brethren begged and persuaded him to withdraw quietly—he withdrew to a farm not far away from the city, where he stayed with a few friends. He did nothing day and night but prays for all the men and churches throughout the world, which was his custom. While in prayer, he had a vision, three days before he was arrested, in which he saw his pillow burning with fire, and he turned and said to those with him: “I must be burned alive.”

The policemen and horsemen went to the farmhouse, where Polycarp was lying down in a little room upstairs. When he heard the news of their arrival, Polycarp went downstairs to converse with them, while those who saw him marveled at his age and courage. He ordered that they eat and drink as much as they wished, and he asked them to give him one hour to pray undisturbed. They permitted him to do this, and Polycarp stood and prayed so filled with the grace of God that for two hours he could not stop speaking. Those who heard him were amazed, and many regretted coming after such a holy and old man. After praying for every person he had ever met both small and great, and all the catholic church throughout the world, the time came for him to leave. He was taken into the city, and advised by the police captain to declare, “Caesar is Lord” so that he may be saved—but Polycarp, of course, refused.

As Polycarp was led into the stadium, the uproar was so loud that many did not hear the announcement. A voice from heaven came to Polycarp as he was entering the stadium: “Be strong, Polycarp, and play the man!” No one saw the speaker, but many witnesses heard the voice. The proconsul attempted to persuade Polycarp to worship Caesar and say “Away with the atheists”—Polycarp looked up to heaven (some said that he looked to the stadium crowd and waved his hand at them) and groaned “Away with the atheists!” The proconsul asked him to revile Christ, and Polycarp replied: “I have served Him eight-six years and in no way has He dealt unjustly with me; so how can I blaspheme my King Who saved me?” Polycarp declared his Christianity and refused any persistence by the proconsul.
Many threats were made against him: wild beasts, fire, and any torture possible. Polycarp’s response to these: “You threaten fire which burns for an hour and is soon quenched; for you are ignorant of the fire of the coming judgment and eternal punishment reserved for the wicked. But why do you wait? Come, do what you will!” As Polycarp spoke, he became filled with courage and joy. His face was covered with grace so much so that none of the threats stirred terror in his heart. The crowds shouted that Polycarp should be burned alive—they gathered wood and fuel from shops and baths; the Jews were especially energetic in helping with this task. As they were about to nail Polycarp, he said: “Let me be as I am; for He who makes it possible for me to endure the fire will also make it possible for me to remain on the pyre unmoved without the security of nails.” Thus, they only bound him, but did not nail him.

Polycarp looked up to heaven and said a last prayer. When he lifted up the Amen and finished the prayer, the fire was lit. When the flame shot up, a miracle was witnessed: The fire took the form of an arch like the sail of a ship filled by the wind and encircled the body of the martyr like a wall. He was in the center of it not like burning flesh but like baking bread or like gold and silver being refined in a furnace. Those who witnessed this miracle also smelled a fragrant odor like the scent of incense or some other precious spice. When the pagans saw that his body could not be consumed by fire, they ordered the executioner to plunge a dagger into him. When he did this, a large quantity of blood came out—so much that it quenched the fire. Everyone was amazed that there was such a great difference between the unbelievers and the elect, of which Polycarp was a member.

“Blessed are those who suffer persecution for being and doing right, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. Blessed are you when people abuse you, and persecute you, and keep on falsely telling all sorts of evil against you for my sake. Keep on rejoicing and leaping for ecstasy, for your reward will be rich in heaven; for this is the way they persecuted the prophets who lived before you.” Matthew 5:10-12 Williams Translation

Let the conversation continue.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Generations and Landmarks

This last month has been one of the busiest but also rewarding months that I have had in a long time. Two days after my last final, I went with a friend of mine to a road trip to Missouri for his father's birthday celebration and to St. Louis for a visit with some friends of ours. Upon returning to Phoenix, I got on an airplane and flew out to Louisville for the New Attitude Conference and then once I got back I started summer school at ASU. While I was in St. Louis, my friend and I visited the famous St. Louis Arch that is a landmark not only in Missouri but across America. I had previously seen pictures of the arch but seeing pictures do not to it justice. Since we had the time to kill, we decided to do the arch tour where the conclusion of the tour is being inside the top of the arch. Our tour guide mentioned that the arch was suppose to be a landmark for generations upon generations to see this as the "Gateway to The West."

I think it is safe to say that as human beings we are proud of our history and our memorials. People flock to landmarks and monuments to see a part of history that we have only heard about in school or heard from previous generations. However, as Christians, we are part of something that is much more remarkable and amazing than any national monument or historical landmark built by human hands. The fact that over the last two thousand years, the story of Jesus Christ, dying and crushing the grave is told through out all history. This story was spoken in times of peace, times of war. It was told to kings and beggars, people in America and spread across the world. There might be beautiful landmarks that are breath taking but they will pass away. We have the truth of the gospel written on our hearts and minds and it will never pass away.

I think it is difficult to see the effect of this work of the Lord because we have a limited view on everything goes on. We cannot be at many places at once and see sinners being saved by the power of the Gospel, but when there are opportunities for Christians to gather together and rejoice in the fact that their sin is paid for, we have a glimpse of what we will be doing for all of eternity. When I was at the conference in Kentucky there were over three thousand young people from across america and the world, singing praises to our Lord and growing in a love for scripture. There were several times during the singing times, I stopped to hear the chorus of voices that were around me. Mostly because I am not gifted in the singing department but also to hear the unity that was expressed through the songs that were being sung.

I made it my personal goal to try and meet at least one hundred people, so I could see how the conference was effecting them but also so I could get out of my comfort zone and meet new people. I decided that one way that I could keep track of these people was asking them how I could pray for them but also take my picture with them. Since I recently purchased a Polaroid camera, I took my picture with roughly around one hundred and ten people who I had not met before the conference. Hearing what the Lord was doing in the lives of these people but also hearing how they would want to be interceeded before the throne room of God was very encouraging. The picture I included in this entry is all the photographs in my room, which I carry around with me to remind me to pray for these brothers and sisters.

God is at work, not only in the lives of people in Arizona but all around the world. We might have grand monuments that cause us to stop and be captivated in awe and wonder. However, the things of man will one day pass away but the God is still on the move, opening the eyes of people to see the glorious work of the cross. I think that the following Psalm captures the emotion and truth that the Lord has taught me over the these last couple of weeks. I later found out through Mr. Spurgeon's commentary on it, it is the only Psalm,

".. bearing this precise inscription. It is all ablaze with grateful adoration, and has for this reason been a great favourite with the people of God ever since it was written. "Let us sing the Old Hundredth" is one of the every-day expressions of the Christian church, and will be so while men, exist whose hearts are loyal to the Great King. Nothing can be more sublime this side heaven than the singing of this noble psalm by a vast congregation."

Psalm 100:
A Psalm for Giving Thanks

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Take two and call me in the morning!

Lately my husband and I have been discussing the "triumphant power of inner beauty and strength" doctrine. This is definitely the favorite philosophy of our culture. Prominent media personalities (including presidential candidates) are always pulling this card to incite a little excitement and support. The idea is that the "human spirit" is inherently good and that humans are capable of changing the world with unharnessed positive energy. Ultimately, goodness and beauty does not come from God. As a matter of fact, many people who believe in this idea either deny the existence of God altogether or dismiss the issue and unimportant. My husband said this much more eloquently but here's what I'm thinking:

a) What exactly does the "beautiful human spirit" triumph over? All the horror that was in the world 1000 years ago is still here today. We have not "triumphed" over evil, we've just given it a new name.
b) In my experience, people are not good. Yes, some people are nice and do "good" things, but I have yet to meet an infallible human. Even those of us who are covered by grace are "prone to wander." All you have to do is drive on any freeway in Phoenix during the week to witness the inherent sinfulness of man.
c) This idea of beauty and goodness (especially as it applies to humans) would not be known to us at all if we had not been made in the image of God. God is the origin and embodiment of goodness and beauty and strength. The fact that we are His image bearers is why we even are able to know of those things. Where we go wrong is when we apply the concept of beauty and goodness to our "spirit"without acknowledging our Creator. His grace alone can make us beautiful and strong.

This leads me to another point that is moderately related:

The idea of inherent goodness (apart from God) in man logically sets a very high standard for human behavior. . The reasoning is simple: if men are inherently good, then their behavior should be nearly perfect. Obviously, this is not the case. Not only do humans not exhibit perfect behavior, we revel in poor behavior (just turn on your TV). Humans in general have relatively poor control over their emotions and actions. People who deny the sinfulness of man often can't understand why they feel depressed or sick, or guilty. We usually blame this on low self esteem or some kind of "chemical imbalance." Children who misbehave are labeled with a disease and given pills to "modify" behavior that love and discipline could easily correct. Our culture says everything goes and no to "normalcy," yet we pump pills into ourselves and any other person who exhibits undesirable (aka abnormal) tendencies.

In conclusion, I believe (as I'm sure many readers of this blog would agree), Christians should be setting the example by developing a consistent worldview that has a right understanding of the condition of man. Our culture should be learning from us to not cling to the facade of supremacy and autonomy, but to take the path of reason that will ultimately lead to the Creator.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Insurmountable Opportunities

Michael Hirsh from Newsweek reports that, “Scott McClellan says, "History appears poised to confirm what most Americans today have decided—that the decision to invade Iraq was a serious strategic blunder. No one, including me, can know with absolute certainty how the war will be viewed decades from now when we can more fully understand its impact. What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary."”

“The question,” Hirsh goes on, “why do we have to hear this from him?”

My constant struggle is to understand the environment in which I am seeking evidence to make decisions. It is important to me, as a Christian, to weigh the evidence in any circumstance on the principles of Scripture and a biblical worldview. Then I believe I can make decisions and voice opinion and beliefs on the evidence. The more I trust the provider of the evidence and the more reliable his or her information the better I can make judgments. This is an on going cognitive rehearsal.

So the question, “Why do we have to hear this from him?”, “him”, being Scott McClellan. We need to hear because his story has changed. A story rehearsed day in and day out for the time he served the President has changed. What then is the truth?

“History appears poised to confirm,” very powerful words and the beginning of a new story. Why does he say this?

The very “famous” Mike Barnicle of Boston says, “It is payback.” McClellan was used and abused and he owes “pay back”!!

The Washington Post reports, “The scales dropped from his eyes, leading him to write a book that accuses his former boss.” “Over time, as you leave the White House and leave the bubble, you're able to take off your partisan hat and take a clear-eyed look at things." "I was caught up in the Washington game, just like everybody else," The scales dropped from his eyes!!

Hirsch says, “Scott McClellan seems to have undergone a genuine reckoning with himself, one that has eluded many of the lords of the media. In the opening words of his book McClellan notes that carved above the south entrance to the tower at the University of Texas—where McClellan went as an undergraduate and where his grandfather was dean of the law school—is a quote from the Gospel of John: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." McClellan writes of those famous words: "Not until the past few years have I come to truly appreciate their message. Perhaps God's greatest gift to us in life is the ability to learn from our experiences, especially our mistakes, and grow into better people." Hirsch again, “Better pundits, perhaps, are too much to ask for.”

So in my struggle to know the truth I am again caught up in the "spin and political manipulation".

I wonder, should I listen to the words of the “great theologian” of the 1960’s, Pogo, who said,
“We are confronted with insurmountable opportunities.” Walt Kelly “ It must be that Mr. McClellan is confronted with insurmountable opportunities. How awesome!!!

I still struggle and will continue to do so. I seek to be honorable and honoring to my Lord. Am I to believe we are in a “war of choice” or a “just war”?

“So Jesus said to the Jews who believed in Him, “If you live in accordance with what I teach, you are really my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32 Williams Translation

The U.S. death toll in Iraq in April 2006 was 71.

Let the conversation continue.