Saturday Selections - Sept 14, 2019
"The reason I write fantasy novels is because I am a realist." - Nate Wilson explaining how God's Creation is magical, and anything that depicts it as otherwise simply isn't realistic. The talk below is the 10-minute version, but you can click above for a 53-minute version.
One study is just one study, but this is an interesting result. Why might non-dating teens have less depression and better social and leadership skills? We can only speculate (that article doesn't get into it), but can do so as Reformed folks might. So we can note, as Calvin did, that the human heart is an idol-factory, and we may be able to recall how, in those teen years, we or others made having a boyfriend or girlfriend an idol of sorts. When our prom date becomes our god, we're sure to be let down. And it's no wonder, then, that we might not be as happy as teens who aren't worshipping false gods.
"I have seen him far too often. He is the man who rarely takes the lead in his home. He is the man who almost never calls the family together for devotions. He is the man who feels dumb when asking his wife if he can pray for her, or when asking if she would like to sit and read the Bible with him. He is the one who seems almost afraid of being godly.
"Why is he like this? In many cases it is because his wife is godlier—godlier than he is. She may have been a Christian for longer. She may have a deeper knowledge of the Bible. She may have read more books and listened to more sermons. She may be the one who loves to study the Bible and whose heart goes pitter-pat when she adds a new term to her theological lexicon. And when he compares himself to her, he feels inadequate."
One way to spot a bad prophet is if what he speaks doesn't come true (Deut 18:22). Therein lies a general principle that can be drawn to predictors of all sorts – if what they predict doesn't come true, then we have good reason to doubt their next prediction. This article looks at the track record of Catastrophic Climate Predictions, and how doomsday warnings of the past have led to millions of deaths via abortions.
Gage Arnold speaks to how garbage men can be more vital than politicians, and looks at Lean manufacturing through a Christian lens.
Rap artist Propaganda uses a six-letter acrostic to present the Gospel truth.
Saturday Selections - Sept 7, 2019
Is college worth it? (5 min) If you want to be a nurse or architect, college is vital. But if you don't know why you're going – if you're not going...
Saturday Selections – August 31, 2019
Real men are courageous Driving your car fast might get you an adrenaline rush, but it doesn't make you brave. Real courage involves doing the thing ...
Saturday Selections - August 17, 2019
What to expect when your kids head off to college "Hundreds of years of bad philosophy are about to immerse your child." World magazine's Andrée Seu Peterson warns parents that they better get ready to answer the challenges their child is going to come home with. Time to kiss New Calvinism goodbye While New Calvinism got a lot right, what it got wrong has been destroying it - its view of the church has been too ad hoc, taking more inspiration from the business world than it has from the Bible. The problem with "Just do something!" Another shooting in the US has people calling on the government to "do something." But this call assumes the government is both able, and competent to address what's wrong. And what's clear from the many debates going on right now is most people don't even understand what is wrong. Why I fell out of love with Marie Kondo's minimalism "Popular minimalist blogs give helpful tips for 'converting' one’s maximalist partner. To set an example, I downsized my own clothing in the hopes that he would willingly give up some of his ratty t-shirts, and I constantly donated books I never planned on reading. 'See!' I would shriek, while maniacally stacking old casserole dishes in a cardboard box because they didn’t 'spark joy.' 'See how happy this is making me?'” FREE BOOK: A modernized edition of John Owen's On the Mortification of Sin It's a favorite of John Piper, Tim Keller, and J.I. Packer. But John Owen's 1656 classic On the Mortification of Sin is also really old, and Owens was never known as a concise writer. So there was a pressing need for a modernized version. A few years back Aaron Renn did the work, and now, for the the next two weeks (until Labor Day) he's offering his updated version for free. You can download a helpful pdf outline here, and get the free Kindle (Mobi) version here, or the free EPUB version here. Why everybody is suddenly allergic to everything these days One possibility this secular video/article doesn't get into is whether the apparent increase in allergies is caused by accumulated mutations. As Dr. John Sanford has noted, each new generation has approximately 100 more mutations than the previous one. This is a point that a secular article wouldn't raise, because this precarious mutation rate doesn't fit with evolution's long ages. This rate would indicate that Man was fitter in the very recent past (a few thousand years) and is heading for demise in just a few thousand more. ...
Saturday Selections - August 10, 2019
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Jane Goodall have a plan to save the planet Once again key figures in the environmental movement are treating children as a curse that needs to be avoided, rather than as the blessing that God says they are. Modesty at the pool (18-minute podcast) What women should wear at the beach and the pool is a hot topic in Christian circles, and one that can easily tip into either a pharisaical legalism, or an uncaring lawlessness. Martha Peace and Heath Lambert tried to guide us down the center path in this podcast episode. How fathers influence their daughters' romantic relationships One big influence: when a girl sees her father is committed to her mother, that influences what she looks for in a potential spouse. Disability and the body of Christ Joni Eareckson Tada speaks to the valuable place the disabled hold in the body of the Church. Today I hate foster care There are big problems with the foster care system. But that's not a reason to abandon it or the children in it. "We can't just opt out." The secret to family togetherness? (3 min) It's not radical; it just seems that way. ...
Saturday Selections - August 3, 2019
A very unique way to share the Gospel (5 min) Here's an inventive way that one church is reaching into its community. Josh Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, renounces God David French weighs in on Harris's Instagram announcement, and on the purity culture that Harris fostered. Reformation Wall in Geneva vandalized Europe's Christian heritage is being vandalized, including statutes of Calvin, Farel, Bèze and Knox that were recently covered in a rainbow of paint colors. The United Nations is still pushing the overpopulation myth "World Population Day ....instituted by the United Nations in 1989 to bring attention to high population growth. ts original purpose is now largely irrelevant – though you might not think so from some media reports." How Alberta became the gambling capital of Canada Is the Alberta government addicted to gambling? It's now getting more revenue from gambling than it gets from Natural Gas royalties. X-Men flub Evolution – mutations don't build anything new (8 min) In this Intelligent Design presentation, we see how Evolution's key instrument for change – mutation – doesn't do what they say it does. ...
Saturday Selections - July 27, 2019
Seal bearing name that appears in the Bible was discovered (3 min) It's tiny, but it's big – this recent archeological find is a seal is from the same time period as its namesake and includes a title that would likely match as well. How Matthew Vines turned "you will know them by their fruits" into a justification for homosexuality When Matthew Vines' book God and the Gay Christian came out in 2014, it didn't seem all that significant – the arguments weren't too different from any liberal Christian text: we need to radically revise what the Church has always agreed on, in this case, homosexuality. But the book has had a big impact in evangelical circles – in circles where folks say they take the Bible as authoritative – convincing many to completely flip their position. So it's worth looking at one of the key arguments in the book, where Vines appeals to what Jesus said in Matt. 7:15-20 about trees bearing bad and good fruit. How kids change dad Science is discovering that after a man has children, his body and brain changes in very different ways than his wife's, which underscores how God really did make us male and female (Gen. 1:27). So, "as Ryan Anderson is fond of saying, there is no such thing as 'parenting.' There’s only mothering and fathering." Defy culture: invite them to your wedding Have you thought about how many of your non-Christian friends, neighbors, co-workers and relatives you can invite to your wedding? Weddings are an opportunity to glorify God and evangelize by reflecting the coming marriage feast. Why it's important to read to our kids Reading with your children regularly sets up an opportunity for cuddling and, equally important, conversations. Chemist's challenge: “Show Me the Chemistry” of the origins of life. “It’s Not There.” (50 min) How did life first come to be? The impression is often given that Darwin answered this question, but he hardly touched it, only offering that it must have happened somehow in "some warm little pond" that had all the right compounds readily available. But there is no evidence for the spontaneous generation that Darwin's theory needs to start things off. As James Tours shows in this, brilliant, often hilarious, and frequently complicated (don't fret if you don't get it all) lecture, what Darwin thought could happen by chance can't even be planned by the most brilliant scientists, with the most fantastic equipment. This hour-long lecture isn't for everyone, but if this is an area of interest, or if you know an arrogant evolutionist or two, then this will be a treat and an encouragement. Presenter James Tours follows the typical Intelligent Design approach of keeping God out of the conversation, and instead adopts the secularist's own worldview ("Science is god") to blow it up ("but your god can't explain the origin of life"). The problem with this approach is that it doesn't take us past the point where we kill their god. Our purpose on Earth isn't to rob false god's of their glory, but rather to give glory to the one true God...and we can't do that if we won't say His Name. That said, James Tour is very clear where he is coming from, and points listeners to God in an indirect way. ...
Saturday Selections - July 20, 2019
The programmer? (6 min) Our DNA is more remarkable than any man-made computer program. So who programmed it? When your kids complain, "That's no...
Saturday Selections - July 13, 2019
Fined $8.2 million for pro-life work, this pastor wouldn't pay Randy Alcorn's name is well known in Christian circles for the many books he's written...
Saturday Selections - July 6, 2019
Parents: don't squelch your kids' interest in Creation (1 min) Global warming hopelessness In response to climate-change cataclysmic predictions, ...
Saturday Selections - June 22, 2019
Preparing parents for the sex talk This 11-minute video from a conservative Christian group has some great thoughts for parents to consider, including quotes like this: Your kids will talk to you about the things you talk to them about. Your kids won't talk to you about things you won't talk to them about. And: To put it simply: children and adolescents do not need one 100-minute (awkward and painful) sexual health conversation. They need 100 one-minute conversations. They need sexual and relational education delivered in many, many sound bits, weekly, across their entire childhood and teen years. Controlled vs. controlling: the difference parents need to understand Our children need limits and rules for their safety, health, and spiritual well-being. But they also need to be able to experiment, grow, take responsibility, fail and recover, and learn how to learn on their own. So how can parents create a controlled environment, without crafting a micromanaged one? Why we need English class: reality isn't whatever we want it to be If students want to know why they have to study English, there is no better illustration than this article. The battle over the dictionary – how we use words, and how we define them – is a matter of life or death. Some try to use words to reshape reality, and while our words don't have that power (Ps. 33:9), we can use them to deny reality. We can call men "women" and vice versa, and babies "fetuses," and blessings "privileges," covetousness "justice," and more. However, as John Stonestreet notes, when we deny reality the victims pile up. The economics of climate change: what universities won't teach college students We don't often hear about the economic harm climate agreements may cause. And we rarely hear about how little impact these agreements – even according to their advocates – are expected to have compared to doing nothing. Pride parades: pros and cons A Manitoba Christian philosophy professor, writing in his local town paper, crafted this careful and courageous take on Pride Parades. You are more than your brain (7 min) When atheists deny the supernatural, that leaves them with only the natural – only the material – to explain everything around them. Thus the only logical conclusion for them to draw is that all we are – our personality, consciousness, preferences, opinions, etc. – is what we find in the three pounds of material that make up our brain. But as this creative video highlights, the evidence shows that materialism doesn't measure up. ...
Saturday Selections - June 15, 2019
Bigger than big! (5 minutes) God has crafted our universe on the grandest of grand scales! Pinterest permanently bans investigative pro-life group Live Action and American Life League have both been kicked off of Pinterest. Unplanned is coming to Canada The biographical film Unplanned, about abortion clinic director turned pro-life advocate Abby Johnson, couldn't find a distributor in Canada. But now it may start hitting some Canadian cities starting in July. Boycotts, both theirs and ours This past week 180 companies took out a New York Times ad endorsing abortion. Here are some helpful thoughts on how, whether, and why Christians should get involved in boycotts. Dying to donate The idea of killing volunteers to get their organs is gaining popularity. This "death by organ donation" is the logical extension of euthanasia and if it happens Christians are going to have to ensure any organs they receive don't come from "Medical Assistance in Dying." David Powilson (1949-2019) (10-minute read/ 6-minute video) David Powilson was a convert in his mid-twenties, and a pivotal figure in the biblical counseling movement. He passed away this past week, and this wonderful biographical article presents a chance to know him better. ...
Saturday Selections – June 8, 2019
Dude Perfect's does more than bottle flips If you and your family don't already know about Dude Perfect, these guys provide some good clean and free fun with their creative videos. FREE COMMENTARY ON JAMES We haven’t read this commentary, but others in this commentary series have been well worth recommending. The ebook of Sam Allberry's James For You is free all June (but you do have to give them your email address). The theological legacy of Rachel Held Evans The popular blogger made it easier for people to express their doubts. But she didn't help them find answers. How to talk to your children about climate change This article highlights two important points we need to pass on to our children: wishing doesn't make it so, and the government does not have God-like expertise. Young people calling on the government to fix things need to understand that even the US's best-known proponent for government-directed environmental intervention, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, doesn't know what sort of change is needed, or possible, or at what costs. Eve was just like Adam, except completely different This is a fun short piece on the meaning of the Hebrew word kenegdo, translated as "suitable" in Genesis 2:18–21, but which more literally means "like" and "opposite." So, when this passage speaks of Eve as a "suitable" partner for Adam, we can understand it as saying she's a "similar" but "opposite" partner for him. And isn't that a great description of what spouses are in a good marriage: like-minded, yet completely different? Rent control is a feel-good policy that does bad (5 min) Christians will sometimes support rent control – the government legislating whether and how much rents can increase – thinking that it is a compassionate way to provide affordable housing for poor people. But rent control means that the government wrests control of these rental properties from their owners and decides for them what they are worth. If that's not what we'd like the government to do with our own property (our house, our car, our business, etc.), then, as Jesus instructs in Luke 6:31, we shouldn't ask the government to do that to others. And what this video shows is that "compassion" like this actually hurts the poor. That brings to mind another lesser known passage: "...but the mercy of the wicked is cruel" (Proverbs 12:10b) – politicians may continue to back it, even understanding the harm it does, because it makes them seem compassionate. ...
Saturday Selections - June 1, 2019
Six ways not to read the Bible (4 min) Dr. Dane Ortlund shares 6 ways that we do, but shouldn't, read the Bible. When GMO children have children In crafting genetically modified children, are we thinking of the lasting repercussions of this human experimentation? What makes people have babies? The link between cultural values and fertility rates (10 min read) Women need to average 2.1 babies each to maintain a stable population, one to replace her, one to replace her husband, and that .1 to address the sad reality that not all children survive to adulthood. But in the US last year the average total fertility rate dropped to just 1.728 babies per woman. Why so low? Some were blaming the economy in years past, but it has improved now. The doom and gloom message of the environmentalists, that portray children as a curse on the planet rather than as the blessing God says they are (Ps. 127:3-5, Prov. 17:6, Ps. 113:9, etc.), might be part of it. This article provides additional reasons. The foundation of the abortion debate "There is no way to guarantee, as some pro-life people seem to want us to do, a world safe for the unborn child that is also a world of total sexual and economic autonomy. In any world in which autonomy is the highest ideal, the child — that incarnate sign of our dependence and existential poverty — must go." A parent's guide to failure (9-page e-booklet) We've all learned some lessons from failure, so are we as parents hurting our children when we shelter them from failure? Monopoly is not a realistic game (3 min) It might be one of the most popular games in the world, but Monopoly perpetuates a faulty understanding of economics: the fixed pie fallacy. This fallacy says there is only so much wealth to go around (a fixed pie) so the rich can only increase their wealth at other people's expense. But as this video explains, it's not true – the pie can grow! ...
Saturday Selections - May 25, 2019
Ordinary amazingness (2 min) It's a dandelion. And here, too, the Creator has crafted his magic, putting it on display for all who have eyes to see. ...
Saturday Selections - May 18, 2019
Caterpillars feeding on an explosive treat (3 min) BBC Earth is all about getting viewers closer and deeper into Nature than we've ever been before. ...
F.R.E.E.D. – an acronym to help us defend and use our religious freedom
If you're pro-life, you know the value of a good acronym. For years S.L.E.D. has helped us remember there are just four differences between the unborn and us, and none of them would justify killing the unborn. Size – They are smaller but so what? Smaller adults aren't seen as less human. Level of development – The unborn are less developed than adults, true, but so are prepubescent children. Why would that make either of them less human? Environment – The unborn are in a different environment but since when does where we are determine who we are? Degree of dependency - They are highly dependent, but so are people who need dialysis and that doesn’t make them any less human. For years John Stonestreet has wished there was a similarly useful acronym to help Christians remember what to say when it comes to defending our religious freedom. In his May 16 Breakpoint column, he shared how his colleague Shane Morris has done just that with the acronym F.R.E.E. with each letter representing one point in a compelling argument for religious freedom. Forcing – Many in the world still recognize that “forcing people to go against their beliefs for no good reason is a bad thing.” Reason – “Is there a good reason to force a religious person to go against his or her belief in the case you’re discussing? And are there less burdensome alternatives to squashing this freedom, like using a bakery down the street or an adoption agency across town?” Examples – Offer examples that make your point. “Should a Muslim t-shirt designer be forced to create shirts mocking the prophet Muhammad? Should an Orthodox Jewish club at a university be forced to admit Christians as officers?” Equality – Complete the argument by asking, why shouldn’t Christians get the same freedoms we’d give to the Muslim t-shirt maker or the Orthodox Jewish club? It’s a helpful tool, made even better with one addition. Underpinning these four points is the idea that we should do to others as we would want done to us. That’s from the Bible (Matt. 7:12) and that worth noting because, as much as defending our freedom of religion is important, it’s even more important to actually use it. So let’s give God the glory with a fifth point that we can call “D, as in Divine.” That’ll be a reminder for us to show how the core of our argument rests on a solid biblical principle. And in explaining that this is not our insight, but God’s, we can point our listeners to Him. Let's never forget to use our liberty to tell people how they too can be freed....
Saturday Selections - May 11, 2019
The world is rated R (50 minutes) It is a parental impulse to shelter our children. But is our end goal to give our children comfortable lives? Or do we want children who can take a hit, who'll talk smack with giants (1 Sam 17:45-47), who'll demolish inflated opinions (2 Cor. 10:5), and who'll just generally be itching to get out there and glorify God no matter how many bruises will result? How to say "This is cr-p" in different cultures If you can overlook the crudity in the article's title, it offers an insight useful to "plain-spoken" Dutchmen who are surprised when folks from other cultures find us brusque or rude. Rachel Held Evans (1981-2019) This article has been pulled, so an additional item has been added below. How the government might take your children This is not a clickbait headline. "Imagine if tomorrow, a judge in the most liberal state in the country announced children no longer belong to their parents... From henceforth, says the decree, kids belong to the state. Outraged parents would take to the streets! Angry and refusing to capitulate. "Well, that’s not how it goes. Instead, parental rights are taken a little at a time." McDonald's and the minimum wage Unskilled workers used to always be able to find a job at the fast food giant. But after the US government mandated increased benefits and salaries for McD's workers, the restaurant chain has had to get more out of each employee to pay for those increases. That's meant turning to automation. And that's meant a dramatic drop in the number of McDonald's employees. Christian: If evolution is true, life is meaningless Evolutionist: How dare you sir! Eric Metaxas recently said, "If you actually believe we evolved out of the primordial soup and through happenstance got here, by accident, then our lives literally have no meaning.” In response, a prominent evolutionist said that was a "crock" and that he had hundreds of people giving him responses explaining the meaning and purpose they find in their lives. But a look at those responses makes Metaxas's point. A wonderful example of getting the unborn heard! When New York State passed a law increasing access to late-term abortions the question for pro-lifers was, how can we protest as loudly as possible? Focus on the Family responded by broadcasting a live ultrasound in the world's busiest intersection, Times Square. They called the event "Alive from New York." https://twitter.com/FocusFamily/status/1124798996818612225...
Saturday Selections – May 4, 2019
The 16 most amazing nests built by birds The amazing tailorbird crafts camouflage for its nest by using grass or spider silk as thread, and then it actually sews leaves together. But that's not the only crafty bird God has made – here's 15 more with the unique nests they build or borrow. In 2018 at least 1.12% of deaths in Canada were due to euthanasia "According to the latest figures, about 3,000 Canadians were euthanized in 2018." 6 biological evidences for a young earth Here are 6 very fun, very quick, evidences that point to a young age for the earth. Sabbath rest: not just for grown-ups (10-minute read) Our kids need to understand that we aren't saved by our output. 18 spectacularly wrong predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day 2019's Earth Day has come and gone, and in the lead-up to it we heard dire predictions like this one from congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez: "...The world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change..." This 12 year figure is being batted about so it's important that we: Mark their words. They are prophesying, and the way to tell a false prophet from a real one is whether their words come true. Remember – as the linked article does – all the false prophesies of the past. FREE FILM: The Fool – the true "banana man" story (65 minutes) This is the true story of how evangelist Ray Comfort was mocked and ridiculed by atheists the world over for a silly joke he made that fell flat. But even as Ray was brought low, God was using Ray's humiliation: these same atheists started inviting Ray onto their shows, podcasts, and stages sand they let him say anything he wanted. So he used these forums to share the Gospel with hundreds and even thousands of atheists at a time. Some atheists even took Ray's books and read through them on their YouTube channels, all in attempt to mock him. But the end result was they themselves read out a Gospel presentation to their listeners. As Ray asks, "Who but God could take atheists and not only have them listen to the Gospel, but have them proclaim it?" ...
SI’s swimsuit edition: from barely-there to burkinis
The annual Sports Illustrated (SI) Swimsuit Edition is best known for the next-to-nothing that models wear. So why would this year’s issue feature a model who’s covered up from head to ankles? It doesn’t seem to fit the swimsuit issue’s long history. Most of the year SI is a magazine that could be found without controversy on the coffee table of a sports-minded pastor. But in a bid to boost sales it has been featuring an annual swimsuit issue since 1964. Each year again editors try to figure out how they can display as much skin as possible, while still giving its mostly male readership some means of denying that what they have in their hands is mere smut. That’s why the models almost always wear something, though it’s the sort of something that leaves nothing to the imagination – body paint, fishnets, strategically placed hands, floss. Again, why has an annual issue devoted to ogling decided to include a model wearing a swimsuit that has more material than everyone else’s combined? Halima Aden is Muslim, and the swimsuit she wears is a “burkini” – an ankle-to-wrist wetsuit combined with a head-covering hijab, its name a combination of “bikini” and “burqa.” As SI shared and hundreds of mainstream media outlets passed along, this was a “historic first” – the very first time SI has featured a burkini-wearing model in its pages. The magazine has touted other “historic firsts” in the past: the first African American to be featured on the cover, the first plus-size (ie. regular-size) model, and the first amputee. But while they might have been innovations, a barely clad black, or disabled, or regular-sized woman remains a barely-clad woman, and all fit with the issue’s objectifying theme. A covered up woman doesn’t. So what’s going on this year? SI editor MJ Day offered an explanation of sorts, saying that her and model Halima Aden: “both believe the ideal of beauty is so vast and subjective….Whether you feel your most beautiful and confident in a burkini or a bikini, YOU ARE WORTHY.” But what if you aren’t wild about either sort of swimsuit? SI has embraced these two choices, but their issue won’t show any others. If this was really about diversity then SI would get inspired by and follow through on Babylon Bee’s satiric headline: “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Features First-Ever Baptist Model In Floor-Length Denim Skirt” It’s clear then that this was more publicity stunt than anything else. From a Christian perspective what’s interesting is how both Aden’s burkinis and everyone else’s buck-nakedness share something in common. They might be polar opposites but both are rejections of God’s Truth. The one type of rebellion is obvious: you only have to get three chapters into the Bible to know God doesn’t want fallen woman and man displaying all He gave us for any and all to see. God’s design for sexuality involves modesty. SI’s swimsuit issue does not. The problem with the burkini is that in addition to modesty and charity, God also calls us to self-control (Prov. 25:28, Titus 2:6). The burkini – and the burqa it is based on – cover up women in a way that no man is required to dress because this style of dress presumes women have self-control and men really don’t. Thus women have to cover up to save us males from acting on our animalistic instincts. Sadly this man-as-a-Cro-Magnon view is echoed in some Christian circles when lustful thoughts are excused as the unavoidable offshoot of fashion that trends towards tighter and curvier. But make no mistake men, we are called to control ourselves and there is no putting off that responsibility on others. From a worldly perspective, the latest SI swimsuit issue doesn’t make sense. It’s an incoherent muddle, celebrating both brazen and repressed sexuality. But the incomprehensible becomes understandable when we view it through a Christian lens. When we know there is a God-given Truth, and there is an Adversary trying frantically to undermine it, then it’s no surprise when we see him, in desperation, launching attacks from two opposite directions at once....