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Saturday Selections – July 3, 2021

Insects flying in slow motion (6 min) Kids will enjoy this cool video of 11 different bugs taking off, some elegantly, others not so much: it's great fun to see God's creativity on display! A small caution: elsewhere on his YouTube channel the videographer credits this astonishing creativity to evolution rather than God. How to preach against Critical Race Theory (10-minute read) "In this essay, I’d like to encourage pastors to oppose the errors of CRT, but I’ll suggest what might seem like an unusual approach: pastors should consider preaching against CRT without mentioning CRT at all..." How do you move a whole denomination to reaffirm biblical creation? Be inspired by how God used a grandmother to bring her denomination back to a 6-day understanding of creation. God loves LGBT people more than we do "...many professing Christians are tempted to disagree with what the Bible says about homosexuality and LGBTQ issues.....This is because many professing Christians believe they love LGBTQ people more than God does." "You still have to bake the cake, bigot!" Jack Phillips first got in trouble for not baking a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The day he won a Supreme Court decision on that fight, a transgender guy (male, pretending to be female) called him requesting a cake to celebrate his "sex-change." As before, Phillips didn't want to help someone celebrate their own destruction (in this case, the amputation of their genitals) and so he declined. And back to the courts Phillips was forced to go. Now he's written a book, which Jonathon Van Maren reviews here. When inclusivity becomes incoherence The LGBT movement is making "an ever-growing jumble of contradictory claims about sex, gender, and psychology, all of which lacks any uniting principle other than an opposition to what came before." Conservatives in 5 years... "O’Sullivan’s First Law" states: "All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.” Coined by journalist John O'Sullivan in 1989, it described the leftward tilt that we see happen among politicians, parties, and organizations of all sorts whenever they refuse to loudly and clearly establish their conservative bonafides. That same thought is captured in the video below – directed at US Republicans, it is far more broadly applicable. However, while the video is spot on, and O'Sullivan's First Law has proven itself time and again, neither goes deep enough. It is not simply a matter of being right-wing that stops liberal drift – to be rooted a group or an individual needs a firmer foundation than "conservatism." So, let me add an expansion to O'Sullivan, riffing off of Matt. 12:30. Perhaps we can call it O'Dykstra's First Law: "Those who are not unabashedly Christian, will over time – along with the organizations they make up – become unabashedly anti-Christian." God is our only firm foundation, but when we are ashamed in the public square to acknowledge Him as such, then whatever we stand on instead – whether that’s common sense, traditional values, natural law, capitalism, or conservatism – will offer only a sandy footing. It will hold only for a time, before we, unmoored, slide down the slippery slope. Let's remember it doesn't have to be that way. We serve a great God, who is sovereign and mighty and has already won. So why then would we ever be ashamed or afraid to profess His Name? ...

News

Saturday Selections – June 26, 2021

Motorcyclist who identified as a bicyclist sets cycling record (5 min) If the world insists feelings – and not the Father – defines reality, then insanity, and even hilarity, ensues. The burning of the wooden shoes Looking back at how the Christian Reformed Church slid down the slippery slope to liberalism, Chris Gordon issues a warning to other Reformed churches who are focusing on being more culturally relevant. Pro-gay theology invents a new sin This is a short but insightful analysis of textbook Scripture twisting – how clear teaching is muddied and then turned completely around. Confronting misunderstandings about money Jim Newheiser tackles a few common questions including: Is money the root of all evil? Is ministry good and making money bad? Were the early Christians communists or socialists? Is it doubting God to plan for our financial future? How not to debate ideas in the public square Kevin DeYoung offers up 8 ways to discuss things online in the worst way possible. 10 ideas to give your marriage a fresh start There are some good ideas here for couples, whether things are going well right now, or not so. The most effective technology on the planet to block pornography (5 min) That's quite the claim, and Justin Taylor shares the details in that article at the link above, while "Matt" explains it in the video below. ...

News

Saturday Selections - June 19, 2021

Happy Father's Day Rapper Shai Linne pointing his father to our Father. Yes, you can prove God's existence... ....but proof doesn't always persuade. Fatherhood as a vocation in Richard Scarry's The Bunny Book "'What do you want to be when you grow up?' It’s a question we are routinely asked as youngsters, with the more cliché responses ranging from 'fireman' to 'astronaut' to 'explorer.' Yet, as I’ve argued previously, we needn’t limit such contemplations to work outside of the home.... family needn’t be viewed as a 'capstone' to personal achievement, but should instead be seen as a 'cornerstone'" Kids' shows are pushing Pride Month Jonathon Van Maren wants Christians to opt out of a mainstream culture that is explicitly anti-God. But it's harder to opt out when you don't know what to opt into instead. So to help, we've got 243 viewing suggestions here. Canadian gov't to regulate (indirectly) what citizens post online "In its original form, Bill C-10 would not have regulated the speech of ordinary Canadians at all. The bill excluded “programs that are uploaded to… a social media service by a user of the service,” meaning that the CRTC would not have had the power to supervise the content of individual users. However, in April, the heritage committee removed this exception from the bill...." Should singles adopt? Children need a mother and a father, which is why it is selfish for single men and women to, via surrogates or IVF, create a child who will have just one parent. But one parent is infinitely better than none, so for singles considering adoption, rescuing a child is an entirely different thing. A miracle on the frontlines (5 min) While miracles aren't the norm, God will do what God will do. And in frontline ministries, where maybe the need is the greatest, God sometimes makes Himself very evident. ...

News

Saturday Selections – June 12, 2021

Ben Shapiro on Genesis 1 (6 minutes) The conservative pundit knows Hebrew but, as Todd Friel notes, he doesn't know how to understand the creation account. Remembering the worst mass murder in history It wasn't Hitler, and it wasn't Stalin – it was even worse than what they did. But like Stalin, it was a government, in the name of equality and advancement, and to pursue socialistic ends, killing its own citizens. Is the Bible color-blind? "Suppose you did not know humans came in different skin colors. Could you figure out that fact just from reading your Bible?" Tim Challies wants to know, are you all in? "If the Bible is wrong, I’m wrong about today’s most pressing cultural issues: homosexuality, gay marriage, transgenderism, abortion, climate change. If the Bible is wrong, I’m wrong about today’s most pressing theological issues: the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the nature of same-sex attraction, the authority and sufficiency of scripture. If the Bible is wrong, I’m wrong in how I relate to money, how I honor my body, how I use my time. I’m wrong over and over, again and again, through and through. I’m poor, pathetic, pitiable, and blind." Before you answer, consider the opposite possibility... This is a secular take on the benefit that comes with having multiple counselors (Prov. 11:14, 15:22, 24:6). Of course, multiple counselors can only take you so far – we don't want to simply take an average of culture's many opinions when it comes to whether the unborn are valuable. To get to the truth there you need to begin with the fear of the Lord (Prov. 1:7). Another politician acting on principle... When a bill to decriminalize abortion was introduced in Malta, the country's president declared he would "never sign a bill that involves the authorization of murder,” and would have “no problem” resigning instead. Aren't Alcohol and Tobacco deadlier than Weed? (2 min) The author of Devoured by Cannabis: Weed, Liberty, and Legalization weighs in on how this question misses the point. ...

News

Saturday Selections – June 5, 2021

When parenting gets overwhelming (3 min) In this episode of her "Pep Talks for Moms" series, author Rachel Jankovic shares what she calls "The 20-Minute Rule" for those times when nothing is going right, and it's just all too much. 4 ways the oceans show us a young earth There's too little salt, and too little nickel in our oceans for them to be millions of years old. Helping homosexuals in "Pride Month" The San Francisco Giants will be wearing rainbow-accented uniforms this month because they are "proud to stand with the LGBTQ+ community." The children's show Blue's Clues is also joining in "Pride Month" – they recruited a drag queen to teach preschool children about pride parades, and the "a's, bi's, and pans...nonbinary...trans..." and "kings and queens" who march in them. When everyone is affirming, "standing with," and celebrating homosexuals and transexuals, God's people can seem like bigots when we speak about God's standards. So how, in this prideful month, can we best offer some clarity and show God's love to any sexually rebellious friends and family? Alan Shlemon has some tips on how not to do it here. while in the title link, Amy K. Hall shares a message she wrote to someone trying to figure out if a "Christ-centered, monogamous homosexual relationship is just as godly as a heterosexual one." China's One-Child policy is now allowing up to three The Family Research Council, a Christian think tank, hopes that: "Both the American government and Chinese government should learn this lesson and implement policies that truly support, rather than undermine, families." But is that so? Do we want the government that so overreached its role it was dictating family size,  to now take on the role of supporting the family? The opposite of over-intrusive isn't to intrude in a different direction; it's to stop minding other's business. It isn't governmental support that families need, but rather an end to governmental tampering. The correct order to read the Chronicles of Narnia! Cap Stewart on why it matters... Not ashamed – a politician who openly professes the Lord "...few politicians say much today that is courageous, or even all that original. When every dissenting view, colourful remark, or provocative thought brings with it the threat of cancellation, you have to console yourself with the fiction that saying the same thing as everyone around you is a courageous feat. So when I say that Kate Forbes has done something courageous, I say it because she has done something no one around her is doing.... To pledge yourself so openly to Christ makes you sound like a bit of a freak..." Killing comedy (5 min) Seth Dillon, CEO of The Babylon Bee, explains how their critic's attempts to treat their satire as "fake news" have threatened their social media platform. ...

News

Saturday Selections - May 29, 2021

How to stop being addicted to your phone (4 min) This is a fun one to share and discuss with your kids, but that might not go so well if you aren't either, in control of your own phone usage, or willing to fight your own addiction. Since this is a secular take, you're going to have to bring the Christian perspective: it'll take not only willpower to beat this addiction, but repentance and submission. Repentance doesn't just involve turning away from our idol, but more importantly turning to God. So it isn't just, stop frittering away your hours with your phone; it's, start using those hours in ways that please and honor God. 3 biblical examples that disprove the Prosperity Gospel "Though a much more in-depth rebuttal is possible, these three examples from scripture provide sufficient grounds to reject the prosperity gospel..." Stand fast on the pronouns This is a Roman Catholic take, but one that accurately outlines just how far we can go in response to demands in our workplaces to call male collegues women, and vice versa. Christians are already being called haters, or transphobic, for holding to God's created order. No matter the insults, there is a line that we must not cross because to do would be to further confuse – and therefore harm – those who are already so confused. Why Noah's Ark makes no sense in an Old Earth scenario Christians who hold that the Earth is millions of years olds will refer to the Flood as being only a regional event. But if the Flood was local, then why an ark at all? Recovering the Lost Art of Reading: a review "I grew up with the blessing of books everywhere.  For most of my youth I inhabited 'the dungeon' -- a basement bedroom with no windows, but a full wall of bookshelves.  No, my father wasn’t an academic; he was a police officer.  He’d completed high school, but didn’t go to university.  Nevertheless, his many books filled my room.  Even though we always had a TV in the house growing up, I was almost always reading a book.  Reading wasn’t only natural, it was delightful.  When I was a teenager, I spent hours and hours every week at the local library, about a 30-minute walk from our home. "I wonder what would have happened to me if I’d grown up today rather than in the 1980s.  We had TV, but we didn’t have mobile phones.  We had cable and a VCR, but we didn’t have Netflix.  We had a Commodore 64 computer (with some pretty neat games), but we didn’t have the Internet.  So many less distractions back then!  It’s a wonder that any kids today still read.  Reading is on the rocks – and all ages are affected." – Dr. Wes Bredenhof The man who created Settlers of Catan (4 min) This is a charming account of how Klaus Teuber came to invent this very popular game. ...

News

Saturday Selections - May 22, 2021

When the Pilgrims first landed, how many jobs were there? And how much work? (3 min) The answer is to these two questions are, there were no jobs, but lots of work. There were no employers to hire them, but the Pilgrims could see there was a lot they could productively set their hands to. Christian college president Ben Merkle explains that students who look to university only as a way of getting a job are missing the bigger picture - they should be looking for what work needs to be done. Two opposing types of "justice" (10-minute read) Thomas Sowell contrasts the traditional ideas of justice – where the ideal is to treat everyone equally – with "cosmic" or "social" justice, which is more concerned with equality of situations or outcomes. Sowell takes a Jordan Peterson-type role here, defending the biblical standard of justice, not really as a Christian (maybe he is one, but that's not how he is arguing here), but more as an appreciative outsider. 4 defining moments for young marriages "How newlyweds respond to these moments determines whether they stumble along separately or move forward together." Does democracy need Christianity? (5-minute read) "Democracy is not an ideology. It is a process through which a community gives expression to a vision. If our community is dazed and confused, then democracy will create chaos. "By all means Christians should engage in the democratic process but perhaps their first responsibility and their first desire should be to speak their faith loudly and clearly, live by and help many others to live by the truths and values which their faith embodies." On online privacy, Google, and you being their product You'd expect this article to be biased, as it is from a Google competitor (Duck Duck Go), but there's useful information here on why and how you would want to protect your online privacy. Free film: Does it matter what we believe about Genesis? (20 minutes) In this short film we get to see a man live out his life, from childhood all the way to his deathbed, but in three different ways: first we see him as an atheist who thinks the whole Bible is lies, second as a Christian who thinks only some of the Bible is true, and third as a Christian who understands that all of what God tells in the Bible is true and valuable. While the point here is that there is a strong connection between our beliefs – whether we follow God's truth or the world's lies – and the outcome of our lives, this isn't about earning God's blessings – this isn't the prosperity gospel. It is, instead, about taking seriously what God tells us in the Bible, and having His expressed Word be the guide for our lives.  ...

News

Saturday Selections – May 15, 2021

I forgot my phone (2 min) Seven years old, and still worth sharing: how our phones get in the way. Looking at the RC Sproul biography Wes Bredenhof with his kudos (and a little critique) for the new biography. Making suicide easier makes suicide more "popular" Some people who wouldn't otherwise commit suicide, will when it becomes easier to do. $10 million prize exposes what evolution can't do A $10 million prize is being offered to anyone who can show how an unguided, undesigned process (i.e. chemical evolution) could create an information system. The prize will never be claimed because: "information, like what is stored and communicated in DNA, has only one known source – an intelligent agent. To produce a system like DNA through unguided processes would not only be to do something that’s never been done; it would be to do something never before observed in the history of science." How Facebook lets advertisers be two-faced Exxon has been caught tailoring Facebook ads to people's political sensibilities, saying one thing to Left-leaning folk, and offering a different, almost opposite position, to those on the Right. The lesson? Getting it straight from the horse's mouth is a different sort of thing in a social media age where your collected information lets companies know, before they reach out to you, what you would like them to say. Should Christians always obey the law? Some solid help offered here, even if it might not offer complete clarity... ...

News

Saturday Selections – May 8, 2021

Moms rock! (6 min) An ode, of sorts, to moms everywhere. <span data-mce-type="bookmark" style="display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;" class="mce_SELRES_start"></span> My 3-year-old son is now a girl (4 min) This is some jaw-dropping, hind-quarters-kicking, satire. While these folks are politically conservative (libertarian?) they don't seem Christian. That means, as brilliant as this is in pointing out the craziness, they can't get to the root of it: that in rejecting God, the world is rejecting not just male and female, not just parental authority, but reality itself. This skit isn't on the creator's public YouTube page, presumably because they'd get in trouble for it. But you can view it at the link above on Facebook, and here on their unlisted YouTube page. Free John Piper booklet: Don't waste your cancer A frequent RP contributor, Dr. Wes Bredenhof, recommends this 18-page, free e-book, as being "helpful for anyone dealing with cancer or any other serious life-threatening (or even chronic) illness." How secure is your password?  The linked-to graphic makes the disturbing claim that if you have an 8 character password, even if it is different cases and a mix of numbers, symbols, and letters, it can still be hacked in 8 hours. More disturbing: the graphic is from September 2020, and presumably hackers are only getting faster... Finnish politician facing jail for defending the biblical view of homosexuality Jonathon Van Maren interviews Päivi Räsänen about the charges laid against her. Multiverse myth frees atheists from real science If you have to admit the odds are incomprehensibly stacked against our universe being as finely tuned for life as it is, it isn't an evolutionary save to, on the basis of no evidence, propose there must be countless other universes out there - a multiverse of them - so as to even out those incomprehensible odds. Mark Penninga on the start of ARPA Canada (18 min) The Pro-life Podcast Guys interview ARPA Canada's executive director, Mark Penninga. ...

News

Saturday Selections - May 1, 2021

Metamorphosis (5 min) Something new from Tim Nijenhuis based on Col. 3:1-17... Mosquitos are wonderfully and fearfully made? We might not like how they bite, but they do reflect the brilliance of their Designer! Pixar to introduce first transgender character Your kid's favorite superheroes, movies, TV programs, and book characters are being used to push an agenda on them. Baptism: a personal journey (10-minute read)  Pastor David Robertson, on his journey from a believer's baptism-holding Brethern and then Baptist, to an infant baptism-holding Presbyterian. In California, hundreds of men are transferring to women's prisons This is a sad opportunity for Christians to contrast God's Truth – that He made us male and female – with where the world takes us when we reject His Truth. Tennis trick shots by Mansour Bahrami (8 min) You don't have to be a tennis fan to enjoy this! ...

News

Saturday Selections – April 24, 2021

Man describes criminal in 2021 (2 min) "In this first episode of Better Cops, a man who has just been robbed tries to describe his assailant to a police sketch artist. But these cops are better than normal cops - they require no exclusionary language of any kind be used." IntelligentDesign.com is your one-stop spot for ID A new website has all sorts of great, short, very clever videos touting the brilliant design evident throughout creation. And it has other materials grouped into Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced categories. This is the place to go to get introduced to the idea that evidence of an intelligently designed world is all around us. But there is a problem with the Intelligent Design movement: it never names who that Designer is; they never give God His due. Imagine a woman who praised "Man" but never had a thing to say about her husband – ID is weird like that. And because they aren't loyal to the God of the Bible, it leaves them vulnerable to some aspects of evolution, including an openness to long ages. So, it is a fascinating site, but discernment is a must. Will we work on the New Earth? We have good reason to think so. Why one small town hid Jews when so many wouldn't Earlier this year a Holocaust survivor left millions to the French town that hid him. But what was behind this town's World War II “conspiracy of goodness”? Live not by lies - orthodox and not In his review, Dr. Wes Bredenhof has some kudos and and also cautions to share about Rod' Dreher's latest book. On free trade, tariffs, and bananas (2 min) While the tune is catchy, and the bit is humourous, the topic is an important one. When tariffs are imposed to protect markets for homegrown producers they do so at the expense of homegrown consumers who will have to pay more. Because some of those consumers are also producers, tariffs make their input costs higher, which forces them to raise prices, and that, in turn, makes them less competitive. So tariffs protect some producers at a cost to other producers. Finally, some tariffs are imposed on the exports of poorer countries, protecting first-world industries at a cost to third-world industries. This video only offers the brief, practical case against tariffs, but additional points for Christians to consider would include: The proper role for government – Should they be actively picking one side over another, producers against consumers (Lev. 19:15, Prov. 28:21)? Implications here of the command to "do unto others" (Matt. 7:12) – Would you want the government to enact a tariff that would increase your business's costs? If not, should you push for a tariff that will protect your business by increasing others' costs? Our attitude towards the poor – Should we protect our industries at the expense of the third-world (Deut 24:17)? ...

News

Saturday Selections – April 17, 2021

In Canada, abortion is legal for all 9 months (1 min) This is a fantastic one to copy and paste to your own social media page... Pasteur was right: life from non-life is impossible! (10-minute read) "Louis Pasteur famously stated the Law of Biogenesis: life begets life. No experiment has ever refuted it. Evolutionists must believe it was violated in the past when life spontaneously originated somehow, somewhere." This is a longer read but a great overview of evolutionary explanations for how life began. For those that just don't have the time, here's the five-word summary: they don't really have any. How the Bible defines anxiety "Jesus knows that no one wants to be anxious, and that most often it feels as if it is happening to us more than we are actively choosing to be anxious. The Word of God first helps us by defining anxiety so that we will understand precisely what we are up against..." Big Tech deciding what the scientific consensus is YouTube recently censored the Florida governor's roundtable COVID discussion because his experts said children don't have to wear masks. "Ironically, the World Health Organisation (WHO) itself advises that children under five should not be required to wear masks and that those between ages six and 11 need only wear masks in areas of 'widespread transmission'." There are no egalitarians when the dog attacks A little boy stepped in front of the dog when it was set to attack his sister. Why? Because he figured, “If someone had to die, I thought it should be me.” Thomas Sowell...a Marxist until the facts turned him around (5 min) Thomas Sowell's great strength is that he understands Man is a limited creature, and that our intentions, however noble, can't simply eliminate those limitations. In short, he understands that neither Man, nor government, is God. His weakness? He rarely if ever acknowledges God. So for Christians who have embraced socialism, thinking it compassionate, Sowell can offer only a practical, not biblical, corrective: he won't tell us, "That's not what God intended" but will instead note, "That doesn't work." (If you want to know more about the man, you can see a documentary about him at the link above.) ...

News

Saturday Selections - April 10, 2021

Education as Warfare (1 min) While this is from a Reformed homeschooling curriculum company,  the overall message applies to Christian schools of any sort. Help for doubting Christians "Sooner or later every thoughtful Christian will feel the unsettling, soul-gripping claw of doubt.... In Mark 9, God helps His people process doubt by describing three kinds of unbelief." How would your child draw Noah's Ark? Even Christian kids have mistaken ideas of the size and dimensions of Noah's Ark and it matters. This article comes with two free coloring sheets at the end that you can print off for your kids. Humanists know something many Christians don't: that school teaches worldviews "Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism What can the theistic Sunday-school, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?" – Charles Francis Potter, founder of the First Humanist Society of New York (1929). Letter from a mourning mother: “When the trans movement discards my daughter, I’ll be here for her.” In the transgender debate, the Christian defense often comes off as being about our rights to use whatever pronouns we want. But the reason we want to be able to speak God's truth freely – that He determines gender and not Man – is because of our heart for the confused and rebellious people who desperately need to hear that Truth. An article like this shows that love and concern for these confused folk. Greg Bahnsen on evolution and the development of the eye (3 min) Apologist Greg Bahnsen talks about the foolishness of believing in evolution. ...

News

Saturday Selections - April 3, 2021

Bach, in the forest, on a really, really long xylophone (3 min) The phone this advertizes is long gone, but its commercial is standing the test of time. More on Rod Dreher's "Live not by lies" "Solzhenitsyn...told the Russian people that totalitarianism is built on lies and the people’s fear. The way to defeat it is to not live by lies." In other words, if you are scared to stand up for the truth, at the very least commit to not speaking the lie. Protecting minors from pornography This free 33-page e-book from the computer monitor company Covenant Eyes is aimed at Church youth group leaders, but there is lots here for parents, pastors, and elders to benefit from. Many college grads believe life has been created in the lab "...more than 41 percent of respondents thought that origin of life researchers had created 'complex life forms from scratch,' such as frogs, using simple chemicals and conditions that “approximate Earth’s early atmosphere.” .... To put it kindly, the respondents’ great expectations about the accomplishments of origin of life researchers are wrong. Wildly so. Origin of life researchers have not created a frog or a bacterium.... they haven’t created a functional membrane, or a ribosome, or flagella or cilia, or any of dozens of additional parts and molecular machines required for even the simplest living bacterium..." How Canada's government is supposed to work, and how it does (15-minute read) A very helpful overview of the state of things, by REAL Women of Canada. When good intentions harm children It's a no-brainer that we should ban child labor, right? But what if doing so leaves some children in an even worse situation? How did people live to be 900 years old before the flood? (10 minutes) Lifespans that passed 900 years have critics dismissing the reliability of early biblical genealogies. But as Dr. John Sanford has noted, the long ages then, and shorter ages now, can be attributed to genetic degeneration - accumulated mutations that have caused us to be far less fit than our ancestors once were. This one is very interesting! ...

News

Saturday Selections - March 27, 2021

Greg Bahnsen on presuppositional apologetics and circular reasoning (4 minutes) Lots to chew on in this short 4-minute video. While it isn't for everyone, if you've heard the accusation that presuppositional apologetics is "begging the question" or circular reasoning, then you need to give this a listen. Why does it take so long to explain infant baptism? R. Scott Clark has a 15-episode series explaining infant baptism. But "why does it take so long to explain and defend infant baptism? If it is true, should we not be able to explain and defend it more briefly?" Well, if short is what you are after, Clark also has a 52-word explanation. But, what he explains/argues here is that our understanding of baptism is based on the way we understand the Bible in general... which is why it can be a big topic! What is Critical Race Theory? The folks at Breakpoint Ministries give their best go at a short answer in the linked article above, while James Lindsay digs deeper in a 1-hour presentation here. Why do algae "know" how to deal with rough seas? Single-cell algae have a plan for how to deal with rough seas that might otherwise destroy them. How does this plan get triggered...and where did this plan come from?  This is a bit of a technical read, but it is very short, and well worth the effort. Americans wildly misinformed about Covid dangers A majority of Americans surveyed overestimated the chances of Covid landing the average person in hospital by anywhere from 4 to 10 times the true danger. The study's authors concluded: "The U.S. public is also deeply misinformed about the severity of the virus for the average infected person.” Is it okay to do "x" on Sunday? A great succinct answer, from Sinclair Ferguson... What is your only comfort in life and death? (3 min) The Heidelberg Catechism's first question remains a thought-provoking (and an evangelism-helping?) one even today. ...

News

Saturday Selections - March 20, 2021

Gospel patrons: equipping others to spread God's name (7 minutes) Is being a minister or missionary the only way to do God's work? We know it's not, and what this short film shows is the vital role God calls businessmen to.  Businessmen provide for their own families and also create jobs for others. It is also through their efforts as "gospel patrons" that the other "missions" type work can even be done. Businessman Peter Thomas notes, "If you have a business that makes a profit, that's a special thing. That's very useful in God's kingdom." If evolution is true, how can Pepé Le Pew be bad? The Loony Tunes skunk Pepé Le Pew is getting criticized for perpetuating "rape culture" and the general conservative response has been to see this as one more example of "cancel culture." But Gary DeMar gets to the heart of it, asking how can a culture that says we're all animals - all just products of evolution - even object to rape? Ain't that what animals do? Pointing out the world's contradictory thinking is a helpful activity - it is tearing down idols and false arguments (2 Cor. 10:5) - but in our age of tweets and other brief social media posts, there can be a tendency to leave things only half said. So tear down lies, point out hypocrisy and contradiction, but then follow through and point your listeners – your social media followers – to God and the Truth He has to say. Evangelism starts with being able to really talk with people Some folks are natural conversationalists, always knowing just the right questions to ask. The rest of us can use some help, and this article has just what we're looking for! Pornography: you don't beat something with nothing "Naked flesh can’t hold a candle to beauty and curiosity and good music and danger and games and reading and fruitful work you get to sit back and gaze on with pride when you worked hard, you did it well, and you’re finished. The point is, saying 'no' to your children’s sin is necessary, but sort of pathetic. Why not enlist them in the joys and beauties and comedies of life, pushing it all on them so hard that they can’t help themselves as they laugh and sing and wonder at it all? Which gets back to the same thing we quoted from God’s Word yesterday: 'Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good' (Rom. 12:21). Yes, it takes a lot of energy to stop being a lazy dog; and even more energy not to raise a son to be as much of a lazy dog as you are. But souls are at stake." Why sperm donations should be banned  It's recently come out that an infertility doctor used his own sperm to father hundreds of children. His patients are outraged. But as John Stonestreet notes, the outrage should actually be that "Sperm donation intentionally creates fatherless children, treating both men and children as products to serve adult happiness." This isn't how God intended, and the harm that comes is predictable and inevitable, which is why sperm donations should be banned. Are bigger people worth more? (1 minute) Our worth comes, not from what we can do, where we are, or how big we are, but from being made in the very Image of God (Gen. 9:6). ...

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Saturday Selections - March 13, 2021

Our weird and wonderful brain (4 min) This is what Paul means when he says in Romans 1:20, that God's power and divinity are clearly perceivable in the things that God has made. You don't have to understand everything being said here to be awed by what God has done inside our brains. Christian adoption agency now serving gay couples Bethany's capitulation to cultural pressures is sad. But with 20% of gay couples looking to adopt and only 3% of Christian couples doing so, is one takeaway that the Church must do more for orphans? Are lockdowns one of the most catastrophic policy errors of the century? In many countries, there has been a systematic and mandatory paralysis of worship, schooling, work, leisure, mobility, and hospitality. And of the churches that are now worshipping in person, attendance is down. Water, water, everywhere! Lots to celebrate in this story of how Christians brought water to every village in Liberia! Why just two? What's coming next in the sexual revolution... God designed and defined marriage, and we know His way is best. So it's no wonder then that "children living with a mother and her boyfriend are eleven times more likely to be sexually, physically, or emotionally abused than children living with their married, biological parents." But as REAL Women explain, the push for legal recognition of polyamory is already happening... Cosmic child abuse? (17 minutes) An accusation sometimes leveled against God is that the atonement is an example of "cosmic child abuse" - the Father monstrously taking out his anger on his innocent Son. This excerpt from the excellent documentary American Gospel: Christ Crucified, answers this objection by showing that this isn't simply a child having punishment inflicted on it, but Jesus freely taking this one. And this isn't God inflicting this punishment on someone else, but in Jesus, taking it on Himself. It's worth noting that this "cosmic child abuse" accusation does have application to Jehovah's Witness theology (and maybe Mormons too?) that sees, not eternal God, but a created being taking on other created beings' punishment. You can find out how to rent and stream American Gospel: Christ Crucified here. ...

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Saturday Selections - March 6, 2021

Tim Challies on 10 books every Christian should read Challies is a Reformed baptist so it isn't surprising that Reformed baptists Charles Spurgeon, John MacArthur, and John Piper have a place of prominence on his list. What books would you put on your own list? British doctors order "Do not resuscitate" for the mentally handicapped Here's one to share, with the note that this is the logical result of denying we are all made in the very Image of God. If our worth doesn't come from Him, but from what we can do, then those who can do less are treated as being worth less. COVID charts that CNN forgot This is a free ebook offer for The Covid Charts that CNN Forgot by Tom Woods. It's just 30+ pages, and while it can be argued that any covid comparisons of one place to another are apples to oranges, I think, by weight of one comparison after another, Woods makes a good case for his position, which is: " admit that they don’t fully understand it, and that it doesn’t behave the way their mitigation guidance seems to suggest it does....Graph the results any way you like: lockdown stringency, people’s mobility patterns, mask mandate dates, whatever. The results are completely random. They absolutely do not show a clear pattern whereby ruining your life solves the problem." Woods is a libertarian Roman Catholic, and the libertarian comes out far more than any Judeo-Christian perspective. But what libertarians and Christians both know is that government isn't God, and thus it doesn't have God-like powers - there are things beyond its control. That's a point that seemed seldom raised over the last year, but it is a point this booklet drives home. To get it you do need to give your email, but you can unsubscribe easily (he's not a spammer). An Australian human rights tribunal is being given the authority to investigate prayers "...Parliament has outlawed praying and even talking with another person about sexuality and gender. People are free to discuss, pray, and counsel so long as their view of sexuality and gender conforms to the current set of theories being preached by activists." A boy who has a smartphone/laptop/TV in their bedroom has a fool for a father This pastor puts it plainly and that may offend some. But isn't repentance the better response? Jay Adams tribute (3 minutes) Jay Adams (1929-2020) can rightly be called "the Martin Luther of biblical counseling" because, like Luther, he was pointing people back to the Bible. Like Luther, others came after and built on his work, and differed with it. But these differences only underscored the importance of his initial insight – that we need to go back to the Bible! – so long as the discussions involved turning to God's Word for direction. ...

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Saturday Selections - February 27, 2021

Actors react to facts about the "wage gap" (3 min) These actors were asked to give a "cold read" – they hadn't previously had a chance to see their script – to a list of facts about the wage gap, and other male/female differences. The point of the video isn't explicitly stated though: that evidence of differences isn't evidence of victimization. Our modern culture largely treats the genders as interchangeable and if that were true, then if men make more on average, such a difference would have to be because of unfair discrimination against women. But if God made the two genders different, with different roles even, and equipped us to those roles, then there'd be another possible explanation – overall, men and women might have different priorities. Newspaper associates Free Reformed church's repentance message with shock therapy, so the pastor clarifies "To clarify, our church does not provide exorcisms, electroshock therapy, or aversion therapy. We only hold out the same hope God offers to all people:  forgiveness through Jesus Christ and grace to change.  Let me further clarify by quoting my submission to the Tasmania Law Reform Institute:  “…our church preaches and teaches what the Bible says, including what it says about sexual orientation and gender identity. We do this out of our ultimate commitment to God, our love for him, and out of love for the people around us. We counsel accordingly. We pray publicly and privately accordingly. According to the working definition the Issues Paper provides, we are involved in SOGI conversion practices." Covid absolutism and unintended consequences "...during public health emergencies, absolutism — the idea that people should cease any and all behavior that creates additional risk — is a tempting response. Times writer David Leonhardt gives various examples of this 'absolutism' on display in America today. 'People continue to scream at joggers, walkers and cyclists who are not wearing masks. The University of California, Berkeley, this week banned outdoor exercise, masked or not...'" What you should know about the arrest of Pastor James Coates James Coates, an Alberta pastor, has been arrested for defying Covid-related restrictions on public worship. "Christians can disagree in good conscience with this church’s specific contravention of public health orders. But those who support freedom of conscience and religion should oppose any disproportionate use of the law to criminalize Pastor Coates." Or, as someone else put it, it might be that Pastor Coates isn't being persecuted for your beliefs, but he is being persecuted for his religious beliefs. Do we need to agree with Pastor Coates, to defend his freedom to worship as he feels he is called by God to do? We condemn China for violating their Uighur population's religious convictions even though we don't share their Muslim convictions. We respect others' religious convictions, as far as we are able, because we know: we can't force people to believe anything. to try to force them to act contrary to their convictions is to try to force them to be hypocrites. So, are present circumstances so dire that they require the Alberta government to imprison this pastor for his beliefs? No. Alberta's stats aren't readily available, but one province over, in BC, just 0.25% of cases are traceable to religious settings. If you are a citizen of Alberta, the linked article above shows how you can send a letter to Premier Jason Kenney. 74 books I have read aloud to my children Lots of inspiration here for parents who are already, or want to start, reading to their kids each night. The porn playbook: deny, disinform, defame (12 minutes) Porn producers are taking a page from the old Tobacco Playbook to obscure the harm their "product" causes. These plays are also used by pro-choicers, by the transgender lobby, evolutionists, school choice opponents, and more. If this video has been a specifically Christian presentation they'd likely have realized that what they are talking about is actually the devil's playbook...although he has more plays than just these three. A caution: while nothing "adult" is shown, there is lots of adult material discussed, and in frank language, so this is not all ages viewing. ...

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Saturday Selections - February 20, 2021

Organ harvesting and more in China (7 min) What China is doing in its various prisons and "re-education" camps is slowly coming out. But why so slowly? Might it be that the evil done is so outrageous as to be almost unbelievable? If so, this video from David Kilgour might be of help – a few years back already, one of Canada's most respected politicians brought his credibility to the charges against China regarding Falun Gong And in the linked article above, the BBC reports on the credible charge of genocide that China is perpetrating on its Muslim Uighurs population. Australian church set to defy gay conversion ban bill "A law before the Victorian parliament seeking to outlaw parental, therapeutic or religious discussions on issues of sexuality and gender is the biggest threat to our democratic freedoms in Australia’s entire legislative history." In response, the Presbyterian Church of Australia is going to "preach the whole counsel of God." Why not cut off more? What's coming after the transgender revolution... Wesley Smith explains that since transgender breast and genital amputations are now being celebrated, the next inevitable step is for delusional people to start lobbying for a right to cut off their limbs. This lobbying is already happening, and after conceding on transgenderism, the world won't be able to marshal a logical argument against this "transablism." But we can. So it is up to us. This is why Christians can't speak someone's "chosen" pronouns, because we can't hurt them by going along with this destructive lie. God made us male and female, and if our minds think we should start cutting off healthy body parts, then it is our mind (and spirit) that needs help, not our body. The Aetherlight: a Christian online video game Our household isn't much for videogames but one game we've been playing – maybe once a month, a few hours at a go, with dad and the kids together – is The Aetherlight. The linked article above shares a lot of helpful specifics, but gives an overall middling grade to the game. I will note, however, that their grade is based on how an experienced gamer would view Aetherlight, and yes, for them it would be quite tame. But for us, with kids 5-9 when we first started playing, that "tameness" is a feature, not a fault. The story is also a Christian allegory though not all that overtly, which might also be a feature. I liked that the bad guys are robots, so there's no ethical problems in beating them up. For my girls, their favorite feature might be the different wardrobe options (all of them modest) that our character can change into. While you can start playing for free, we ended up putting some money down to continue the adventure - I think maybe $15 so far. Not bad for a couple of years' worth of play so far. Christian mom, others, gave up their liberty to protect her daughter A now Christian mom, originally in a lesbian relationship, had to flee the US to keep her child away from the LGBT lifestyle that her former lesbian lover wanted to expose the girl to. More than ten years later, now that her little girl is an adult and free from the threat of court-ordered visitations, her mom has turned herself in to the authorities. Some podcasts be like... (1 minute) https://twitter.com/jogdenUK/status/1346442437376552962?s=20  ...

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Saturday Selections - February 13, 2021

Who was Saint Valentine? The ads might make this day seem to be mostly about earthly love, but the fellow it is named after gained his fame for his love of the Lord. Soft tissue in 180 million-year-old ichthyosaur There is a joke told about a man who was convinced he was dead. No one could convince him otherwise, and so, in desperation, his wife took him to the doctor. The doctor grabbed a small pin and asked the man, "Do dead men bleed?" The man thought about it for a moment before answering, "No, dead men certainly don't bleed." The doctor then pricked his finger with the pin, and when a big red drop formed the man looked down and replied: "Oh doctor, I was entirely wrong - it turns out dead men do bleed!" When soft tissue was first found in dinosaur bones, mainstream scientists ridiculed the find since millions-of-years-old dinosaurs couldn't possibly still have soft tissues. Strangely enough, on that point, both evolutionists and creationists were in agreement. But as more of these soft-tissue finds were unearthed, evolutionists were faced with the choice of either backing down on the fossils actually being millions of years old, or backing down on soft tissues not being able to survive millions of years. They picked the latter. They concluded, in effect, that like dead men, long dead dinosaurs might well bleed. Ravi Zacharias seems guilty as charged An investigation conducted at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries' (RZIM) request has found lots of evidence that their late founder was guilty of sexual misconduct. Ray Comfort weighs in here, and, for those with Facebook, James White has some helpful thoughts here. How to show hospitality I loved the opening experiment, picking which of a dozen faces was a "neutral" expression. The one almost everyone picks is neither mad nor happy, but, as author Nick McDonald notes, how would we feel if someone greeted us with just such a face? Would we feel they were being neutral...or cold? BC gov't requests authority to detain folks who might be planning to go to church "Many politicians have gotten far too comfortable with far-reaching powers over the last year, and this is an extremely unsettling example." A return to multi-generational households This isn't a specifically Christian movement, but it's something Christians can get excited about...particularly as a means of living out the Fifth Commandment. About to start caring again (2 min) With a Democrat president now in office, a Republican congressman finds he's back to caring about the budget deficit once again... ...

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Saturday Selections - February 6, 2021

The jewels of winter (6 minutes) You might sort-of know how snowflakes are made, but how they are actually made is more amazing than you knew! If $2,000 stimulus checks are good, wouldn't $200,000 be better? (10 min read) We've gotten so used to the government handing out money it no longer seems crazy or outrageous. But what if we took the same logic behind the US $2,000 "stimulus" and used it to argue for $200,000 checks for everyone? To frame this another way, does God encourage us to help the world by spending and consuming? Or by producing? (Eph 4:28, Matthew 25:14-30, Gen. 1:28). Where Salome danced Archeologists make a fascinating find that verifies once again "the Bible is the best-attested book of antiquity, and nothing else comes close." Addictions: a banquet in a graveyard A solid review of an important book looking at addictions from an explicitly biblical perspective. Do as I say, not as I do? An American group has mapped out instances where political leaders have imposed COVID restrictions they haven't then followed. That raises the question of whether these politicians believe in the rules they have imposed. If they find the restriction too strict to be able to follow themselves, shouldn't they ease them for others? The two helmet act In light of the two masks talk... ...

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Saturday Selections - January 30, 2021

Should we erase income inequality? (5 minutes) Abraham was rich and Solomon too. So how should we respond when we're "in a conversation and someone says, 'In America, the richest 1% have 40% of all the wealth. This kind of inequality shouldn’t be tolerated.'” Never let a crisis go to waste The latest survey on persecution found that many governments are using the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to oppress their Christian populations. On the Enneagram personality test "...we have always known forever that there are different kinds of people in the world, some gloomy and some cheerful. This is the result of people having eyes in their head, and I am not complaining about that. But there is a clear tendency to take this way too far." – Douglas Wilson. And Kevin DeYoung weighs in on enneagram here. Still no evidence for an RNA origin to life When some evolutionists propose an RNA origin of life, that's more an acknowledgment that DNA couldn't do it than that they have any evidence that RNA could. In fact... "there is precisely zero evidence of any 'RNA World' organisms. Now or ever. There is no organism that does this. There is no organism that does anything like this. There is no controlled, laboratory, version of such a thing. There isn’t even a computer simulation of it, at least in any kind of detail." "But animals do it!" - the anti-science extremism of the Left "Here’s the premise: Whatever animals do in nature is natural. What’s natural is normal. What’s normal is moral....Homosexuals extrapolate that what animals do naturally in nature applies to what higher “animals” can do naturally without any moral judgments attached. But the lower animal/higher animal model breaks down when other so-called natural behaviors in animals are considered. For example, the Bible states, “It has happened to them according to the true proverb, ‘A dog returns to its own vomit’ (Prov. 26:1)..." Cookie monster is a rock! This is just fun...and it is real! ...

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Saturday Selections - January 23, 2021

The magical birth canal The state of things under Canadian law... How to enjoy wealth to the glory of God In 1 Tim 6:17-19, the Apostle Paul gives 3 warnings about wealth and teaches 4 purposes it can be put to. What they aren't telling us about electric cars The push is on to move from gas to electric autos, but what we're not hearing about are the downsides to electricity. Everything in life requires tradeoffs because we have limited time and resources: what we spend in one place can't then be spent in another. That's why, when one side presents their idea as trade-off free – as if it has no notable downsides – we should seek out further information. Pandemic parenting: why some kids are less stressed than usual COVID, coupled with the government's restrictions, has left some of us extra anxious. However, it seems that some children are actually less stressed than normal. How could that be? Might it be related to extra time and attention from mom and dad? A final assessment of the Trump presidency (15-minute read) How should Americans (and others) assess the Trump presidency? David Bahnsen offers this: 1) With gratitude that...we have bought ourselves time as it pertains to the Supreme Court’s protection of our most basic liberties; 2) With regret for the significant losses, embarrassments, and failures evident throughout the last four years; and 3) With renewed wisdom and understanding that the “character doesn’t matter” angle didn’t work for us... How to speak during the coronavirus A little levity to lighten the load... ...

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Saturday Selections - January 16, 2021

Sea shanties go viral (7 min) If you have boys who think singing is girly, there's a new viral trend of men singing manly. For more on this sea shanties trend, and the Nathan Evans performance that started things off, click on the link above. 50 countries where it’s most dangerous to follow Jesus Every day, 13 Christians are killed, 12 unjustly arrested or imprisoned, and 5 are abducted - so reports the 2021 World Watch List. Our politics are cracking under the weight of a thinning civil society "...agitators, after making their violent intentions clear on social media, successfully incited Trump supporters to mob the Capitol. Still, even the most-crafty agitator can only agitate a crowd that is agitate-able." This flower can "hear" bees Bees' buzzing can actually trigger a flower to increase its nectar output, and the flower's petals function as a type of "ear" to amplify the buzzing. Alternatives to Google Google makes its money by selling users' information. And it gathers that information a lot of different ways! Here's alternative services that can provide some of the same features. Annecdotally, it seems like MeWe is becoming an alternative to Facebook, at least for some Canadian Reformed folk. Is Capitalism all about greed? (5 min) This video is fantastic, even if it doesn't get to the root of the issue. Capitalism stands on property rights, which we find in the Bible as well, when God forbids us from stealing (Ex. 20:15). In contrast, socialism presents it as right, and even just, for me to look over my back fence and covet my rich neighbor's goods (Ex. 20:17). While capitalism has this spiritual benefit (that it can be practiced in a way that aligns with God's Law), this video highlights its material benefit. To give one more perspective, a quote from Walter E. Williams (1936-2020): "Prior to capitalism, the way people amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering, and enslaving their fellow man. Capitalism made it possible to become wealthy by serving your fellow man." ...

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Saturday Selections - January 9, 2021

It ain't not possible to be more wronger For the English teachers out there... Snowflake adoption is wonderful, but it is not the solution "For the most part, we have accepted the destruction of countless lives so that some infertile couples can have a child of their own genetic making. For the most part, many Christians have also accepted this." BC closing churches without clear explanation of why them specifically A secular take for why the government should be offering a better, clearer explanation for why churches are closed and Costco, AA meetings, and more, aren't. Dutch bike culture An intriguing look at a Dutch difference. Mosquito rights right now! There are crazy people everywhere, so does it matter that a few academics are pushing for bee rights? Only in that their argument is consistent with an ethic many more in the world claim to share: that animals are people too. Does the Bible say life begins at first breath? (6 min) Tim Barnett takes on this curious pro-abortion claim. ...

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Saturday Selections - January 2, 2021

Faster, faster! (5 min) Two friends race down a marble maze - it's some innocent fun for the kids. These buddies also appear in "Don't smash." Top 10 biblical archeological finds of 2020 Even as many and maybe most of the people doing the digging don't believe the Bible is the Word of God, the places, names, and details they uncover often show the Bible to be accurate history. 10 ways to foster gratitude in our kids' hearts Some great tips here for all parents...and to apply to ourselves as well. Seattle considers making it permissible to steal...if you really need to The intent behind the law is to help the desperate. but this should bring to mind the proverb that "the compassion of the wicked is cruel" (Prov. 12:10b). This will drive businesses out of the poorest districts if they can't afford the extra losses, or the cost of extra security, that would come with such a law. Their exist would means a loss of employment, and higher security would mean higher costs for goods for those who can least afford it. Good intentions, without good sense (Prov. 27:14), are not good. Rearrange, Remove, and Ruin – Evolution that isn't evolution at all  This is a fun one, something that mom or dad can read, and then use the illustrations to give their kids an easy-to-understand explanation of evolution's shortcomings. The 7 habits in 7 minutes (some discernment required) Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a very popular self-help book, and like many books of this type, there's a lot of common sense to it. And, as you might expect from a Mormon author who operates from a largely Judeo-Christian worldview, much of what he write lines up with Scripture, particularly what's captured in this 7-minute summary. This summary is actually better than the book, because in the book there's more of a specifically Mormon theology discernible. That's a long way of saying, there's common sense captured in this video that is well worth pondering...but it is valuable only in as far as it does line up with Scripture. ...

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Saturday Selections – December 26, 2020

Do college kids know the difference between men and women? (4 min) It takes a lot of education to get things this wrong (and this is even from 4 years ago!). Physics and free will "Materialists have long insisted, because they kind of have to, that human actions and decisions are determined, not free." It's another example of how the real world doesn't fit with the atheists' theories. Co-parenting by contract and design? "Ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have victims. Disconnecting sex from childbearing gave us abortion and abandonment. Disconnecting childbearing from marriage gave us a generation of fatherless children. The idea that we can have children without sex gave us rented wombs and robbing them of either a mom or a dad. That children should be created out of contractual arrangements without the burden of mutual love is also a bad idea. Once again, the victims are children." A tribute to economist Walter Williams (1936-2020) In this tribute, Bill Muehlenberg compiles a number of "best of" quotes from the economist, including: "...for those of us who are Christians, I’m very sure that when God gave Moses the commandment Thou Shalt Not Steal, he did not mean …unless you get a majority vote in Congress.” Speak the truth in love Sometimes we need to be encouraged to speak truth in love rather than in exasperation. Other times, as in this article, the encouragement is to speak truth in love – if we love our neighbor, child, friend, we will actually speak the truth to them rather than leave them in their destructive sin. The great chicken war...or how tariffs hurt innocent consumers To protest the way that European countries' tariffs were hurting US chicken farmers, the US decided to hurt European truck manufacturers and hurt US truck buyers. Tariffs shelter a country's producers by making goods more expensive for that country's consumers. That's the logic of tariffs: favoring one group at the expense of another. If we don't think the government should make it their business to make our favorite goods and services more expensive, then we shouldn't ask them to do so even when it might be to our company's benefit (Matt. 7:12). ...

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Saturday Selections – December 19, 2020

Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah is not a Christmas song (1 min) Like many a pop song, the lyrics of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah are hard to decipher but a close listen shows this isn't the Christian song it might initially appear to be. The story behind Handel's Messiah  "Two-and-a-half hours of the world’s most magnificent music was composed in less than twenty-five days." Why (some) Reformed pastors won't use COVID to preach the gospel You don't have to agree with Tim Bayly's take 100% to think there's something here we all (not simply pastors) could benefit from considering. For the many in the world who are scared COVID might kill them, are we pointing them to their only hope in life and death? A creationist take on RNA vaccines (15-minute read) This is sure interesting but also involved, so to give it the attention it warrants, you're going to need to block out some time. Parents should focus on humility Rev. Tim Schouten – and C.S. Lewis – pass along a helpful warning against a parenting "tool" most of us have used at one time or another. ARPA Canada on governmental authority and Christian submission (30-minute read) Here are wise folk, working together, to think how best to honor God in the face of government lockdowns on churches and God's command to honor our authorities. It's a 4-part series, with each part well worth reading slowly. Part 1 - God's commission to the civil government and the Church Part 2 - Biblical freedom ≠ personal autonomy Part 3 - So what if we have legal rights? Aren't we called to submit to government? Part 4 - The freedom to do as we ought Modern child sacrifice (3 min) In the past babies were sacrificed to secure prosperity: they were burned on altars to get rain, or victory in war. Today we abort babies to secure prosperity too: they are torn limb from limb to secure a career, or freedom, or to pursue sex without consequences. While the visuals in this video are muted, this is not an all-ages video. It is well worth sharing on social media. ...

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Saturday Selections – December 12, 2020

John Piper and Tedashii on the need for Christians to make war Not everyone will love the musical genre, but it's a good match to the message that we should not be complacent about our sins. Endlessly twitterpated? What does real love look like? "A TV drama recently set off my baloney-meter. A character was talking about how he knew he was still in love with his wife by the way his stomach still did flip-flops when she walked in. Hmm. Call me a cynic, or maybe just deprived of that level of marriage, but stay with me..." The sexual revolution's next frontier In the hole created by parents relinquishing their God-given educational role, schools are being used to sexualize childhood. Why the scientific consensus can be unreliable If ten people, with no connections, in isolation from one another, agreed to the facts of a car accident, their consensus would give us good reason to trust what they are saying. But not all consensus is so trustworthy, because it is not so independently arrived. This article details, in Fidel Castro's Cuba, how the Communist Party got overwhelming support at the ballot box each "election" but that was a coerced consensus due to limited choices, and fear. When we hear of a consensus around evolution, it is more the second type of consensus than the first, with those who point out Darwin's deficiencies risking their livelihood to do so. This is an article that rewards the effort invested. How Christianity is the basis for rights, science, and civilization (10-min read) Tim Keller is a mixed bag, but here he gives a fantastic review/summary of Tom Holland's book Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World, making the case that it is God's Truth that stands as the foundation for so much of what even the secular culture celebrates as good and right in the world. Tim Challies on why his family didn't do sleepovers (6 min) While Challies doesn' think there is any sort of biblical command against sleepovers, he explains why his family decided against them. ...

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Saturday Selections - December 5, 2020

Living clouds (5 min) How do they do it? Thousands of starlings, flying at speeds of 50 miles per hour, moving in such precision together that they look like living clouds! We can't control COVID (or much of anything else) "How quickly we went from the 'we acknowledge we can’t control this' of the UCSF panel of experts to the 'we absolutely can and will control this' of elected officials. The shift from 'most of us are going to get sick but let’s care for and protect the vulnerable' to 'everyone must avoid getting sick at all costs' is a significant one. Now, if anyone contracts COVID, it’s not because it’s a novel virus we don’t understand, but because someone failed. Practical atheists want control. When control is lost, someone is to blame." A less controversial way to reduce gun deaths? Guns are used to kill, but also to save lives too, so any time a government tries to impliment any form of gun control, it is controversial. But is there a way to reduce gun deaths that would be far less controversial? Blessed are the unoffendable This is an article that will greatly help a great deal of us. 5 biggest little ways to improve your marriage This post is based on a 1992 book, very popular in Christians circles, called The 5 Love Languages, which proposed that there are 5 different ways that people like to be loved and like to express love. While this isn't an idea that should be put on par with biblical revelation, it does have a common-sense appeal: we all know that some folks really like gifts no matter how small, and others who respond to touch, and some who best appreciate words of encouragement. And the Golden Rule, as spelled out in Matthew 7:12, is a biblical grounding for the general underlying principle that just as we would like people to show affection for us in the way we best like to receive it, we should offer the same consideration in how we express love. Thomas Sowell on the difference between conservatives and liberals (4 minutes) While Sowell is not making a specifically Christian argument here, his definition of the conservative understanding – that Man is intrinsically flawed – lines up with what the Bible says about our fallen nature. He also speaks to the very biblical notion (Prov 27:14) that good intentions are not enough, and that utopia is an impossible ideal (so long as we on this side of heaven). That last point might be misunderstood as being apathetic, or an uncaring response to evil, as if he is saying "We can't do anything, so why bother!" But his point is, we can do many things, but we can't do everything, so choices need to be made. And possible good achieved is better than impossible good intended. (To clarify the conservative and liberal labels used here don't reference Canada's political parties, though the Liberal Party does largely align with Liberal values as Thomas Sowell defines them.) ...

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Saturday Selections - November 28, 2020

Lockdowns: if it saves one life? (3 min) It's not simply lives vs. money. Some lives are being endangered by the lockdowns to the extent that, worldwide, 150 million people could be thrown into extreme poverty this year. It's not as extreme in the West, but there are crucial surgeries and diagnostic doctor visits being postponed, as well as an increase in mental health issues caused by the business closures and enforced isolation. There are no solutions, only trade-offs, so we need to count the actual cost. Free book: Randy Alcorn's Pro-choice or Pro-life This short, fantastic e-book ably dismantles 15 pro-choice arguments. The only flaw: this is largely a secular presentation. The end result is that even as author Randy Alcorn can show the pro-choice position to be unreasonable, contradictory, or inconsistent, readers aren't confronted with the clear contrast that exists between the pro-choice position and the Christian position...or at least not until chapter 15. The book remains valuable because the arguments can be improved simply by stacking them on the foundation of God's Truth. So, for example, that the unborn aren't all that different than the newborn is a good point, but unless it is rooted in the biblical truth that all of us are made in God's Image, that argument could be turned around and used as a reason to "abort" newborns...as has been done! It is by arguing as Christians – by stacking our arguments on God's Word and His Truth – that we can be sure we have a solid foundation. Happily married? A 10-step relationship assessment While the article doesn't contain anything we haven't heard before, this 10-item list is a good encouragement to invest energy and effort into our spouse and marriage. A creationist take on global warming (30-minute read) It's a long piece, matching its importance. There's no such thing as "safe sex" for kids The lie about government sex-ed is the presumption that sex outside of marriage can be safe. It leaves kids open to heartbreak and disease, and is an act of rebellion against a holy, righteous God. Quite the lie indeed, to call that safe. A call to divine obedience over civil obedience (10-minute read) This is a strong stand against the latest state-imposed limitations on worship services. In that it is a strong stand, it is controversial too: most everyone could find at least a point or two of disagreement. My own disagreement is with a concession that author Aaron Rock didn't explicitly make. He notes how churches aren't getting treated as well as schools. That is a good point: a government that treats worship as less important than school has gotten things backwards. But if and when churches are treated no different than schools, movie theaters, bars, and businesses, that shouldn't satisfy us. To our government, congregational worship is just another service provided, or another entertainment option. While it's understandable that they think so, that doesn't make them any less wrong. Shuttering God's Church is a big deal in a way that shuttering Ciniplex Odean just isn't. We don't want the worship of God to be given equal treatment; we want the government to understand that shutting a church should be the last thing they'd consider doing. The Marxist Trojan Horse (15 minutes) Larry Alex Taunton on "the Marxist Agenda in America...and how it relates to Black Lives Matter, Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, and White Privilege." This is a longer video, at 15 minutes, but worth the time invested. ...

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Saturday Selections - November 21, 2020

Can God make a square circle? (5 minutes) Apologist Tim Barnett offers his own great answer in the video below, and if you want a unique alternate take, click on the link above for Rob Slane's answer. Live not by lies: the least we must do When it comes to cultural conversations where God's views are hated (think: abortion, gender, homosexuality, origins, etc), if we don't have the courage to shout the Truth,  can we at least refuse to speak any lies...no matter the pressure? 7 books to help you understand the times Tim Challies weighs in with some fantastic recommendations to better understand all the crazy that's going on. Jay Adams, pioneer of Nouthetic Counseling, dies at 91" "Adams was following in the footsteps of Cornelius Van Til.  Van Til argued that Reformed principles, drawn from Scripture, must be consistently applied in apologetics.  Jay Adams took that approach and applied it to pastoral theology." America's first, brief, socialist experiment went badly As Americans prepare to celebrate their Thanksgiving Day, let's remember that the Plymouth Pilgrims had a number of very bad years at the start of their settlement, and things only improved when they returned to the biblical idea of property rights. Matthew's begats... This is a fun little ditty by Andrew Peterson that your kids may just manage to memorize. ...

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Saturday Selections - November 14, 2020

Flash mob singing Handel's Messiah (5-min) We're going back ten years to one of the first flash mob performances, with a chorus of 100 surprising Christmas shoppers with the Hallelujah Chorus. Tim Keller, John Piper, & Donald Trump (10-minute read) With the voting done (even if the counting isn't) this isn't so much about Donald Trump as it is about Tim Keller, social justice, and conservative churches' theological drift. The representative paragraph below is on one way the world suppresses truth (Romans 1:18-23): by pretending simple things are complicated. "When my eldest son, Michael, was a student at Yale Law School a few years ago, he says that Yale inculcated a specific progressive strategy for the deconstruction of otherwise simple moral issues like, say, abortion or the oxymoronic notion of “gay marriage.” They even had a term for it: “complexify.” In other words, obscure the issue at hand with data, highly selective science, and emotion to such a degree that your opponent no longer feels competent to adjudicate the issue." A year of living safely Andy Wilson reviews a book being much discussed, The Price of Panic, about the mostly uncounted costs – in money and lives – that resulted, not from COVID, but from governmental responses to it. What about when the life of the mother is in danger?  Being pro-life doesn't mean valuing babies' lives over mothers' lives. It means recognizing that there are two people. The unscientific roots of conversion therapy bans "There are many and varied reasons why same-sex attracted people want to move away from homosexuality. There is evidence that they can do so, often incurring significant benefits with no serious evidence of harm." Jeff Durbin confronts the Woke Church Jeff Durbin wants to wake up the Woke Church. And in this clip he uses strong language to confront them...but it is language that reflects and mirrors language that the Bible itself uses in a similar fashion, for a similar purpose. It is language that might confront churches, and members, that while not Woke, are starting to drift with the cultural current. This, then, will be a slap to the face, and a call to start fighting, to God's glory. The clip below is just 6 minutes, but you can see the full presentation on what Durbin calls "Van Tillian kill shots" by clicking on the title above. ...

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Saturday Selections - Nov 7, 2020

What cobras can teach us about incentives Prov. 27:14  teaches that good intentions are not enough. And yet many a government policy is implemented, not because it has been shown to be effective – not because of evidence – but simply because the policy's drafters mean well. But, as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with such good intentions. Operation Manna - a story for Remembrance Day In the winter of 1944-1945, the northern Netherlands were facing starvation. And they were still occupied by the Nazis so the Allies couldn't reach them with relief supplies. In episode of the History.icu podcast we get to hear how "manna" of a sort was delivered from the skies. "Born this way" is old science During her US Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Amy Coney Barrett used the term "sexual preference" instead of "sexual orientation" and in what seemed a response (it happened the very next day) Merriam Webster changed their definition for that term to now describe it as an offensive term. Why the fuss? Well, as Senator Mazie Hirono declared at the confirmation hearing, “Sexual preference is an offensive and outdated term…used by anti-LGBTQ activists to suggest that sexual orientation is a choice—it is not.” Except that newer science says preference is probably the better word choice after all. How an affair really begins "One of the great misconceptions about affairs is that they begin with sex. Affairs do not begin with sex.... Instead, it is a culminating decision in a long list of terrible, self-centered decisions." A sensible and compassionate anti-COVID strategy What's most striking about this article is its calm tone. But calm doesn't mean insignifigant, as it highlight the importance of correcting a lockdown strategy that the UN estimates might lead to 130 million more deaths by starvation this year. Biblical vs. Christian counseling: What’s the difference? (3 minutes) Dr. Heath Lambert provides a brief, general overview of the difference between Biblical counseling and Christian counseling. ...

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Saturday Selections - October 31, 2020

Robot hummingbird spies on half-billion butterflies (3 min) How do you get the inside scoop on 500 million wintering Monarch Butterflies? Send in a very small spy. How to have more fun with your kids: 10 suggestions There'll be something in this list that any parent will enjoy doing with their kids. Making progress: Intelligent Design paper passes peer review  Mainstream science has rejected, for decades, that God's creation gives evidence of having been designed. This rejection was not due to any lack of evidence, but due instead to Science's a priori commitment to materialism, the belief that matter is all there is and that, therefore, a non-material Creator must not be. However, Materialism can't be proven, and is actually disproven any time scientists use the non-material rules of logic to drawn their conclusions. So it is a step forward that now – finally – an Intelligent Design paper has made it past peer review and been published in a major journal. Poll: 30% of US women under 25 now identifying as other than heterosexual? Any shocking poll should be taken with a grain of salt. And yet this is far from unbelievable. Do not repay racism with racism "God doesn’t instruct us to repay evil for evil or racism for racism. God doesn’t instruct black people to assume the worst of white people because some white people assume the worst of black people...." Why Atheism can't account for morality (5 minutes) Jeff Durbin breaks down the 3 explanations atheism gives for morality. Generally speaking they are: 1) preference 2) societal convention 3) the desire to survive and flourish ...

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Saturday Selections – October 24, 2020

Is Canada systematically discriminatory? The Christian Heritage Party's Vicki Gunn gives an answer to that question that you might not have been expecting? Chinese Calvinist revival? (10 minute read) "...There is even diversity in the Chinese Calvinist movement. Some are nearly identical to Stephen Tong’s approach, combining neo-Calvinism with evangelicalism, whilst others such as the Wenzhou Reformed churches led by Zhou Dawei are far more similar to the fundamentalist orthodox Reformed churches in the Netherlands, banning television and practising exclusive psalmody (only singing hymns found in the Book of Psalms, a practice foreign to China)...." Porn is a tempation for women too It once was primiarily a temtptation for men, but with our porn-saturated culture, and instant access to it in everyone's backpocket, we need to realize that it a problem for women too. "One recent study indicated that 73% of women between the ages of 18 and 35 used pornography in the previous six months." 11 reasons Christians don't vote, and why they're wrong Gary DeMar dismantles these 11 objections to voting. The Night Watch brought to life The Dutch Rijksmuseum closed in 2003 for what would turn out to be a ten-year renovation. When they re-opened again in 2013, they celebrated with a live "re-enactment" of one of the museum's most famous works, Rembrandt’s 1642 The Night Watch. (If you understand Dutch you may enjoy a behind-the-scenes video at the link above.) ...

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Saturday Selections – October 17, 2020

What color is the balloon? (2 min) "The funny things about truth is, it's true...whether you believe it or not." Teens did surprisingly well in the COVID lockdown (10-minute read) Many adults have struggled during the COVID lockdown, whether because of job loss, or fears of death. Surprisingly teens's mental health has seen improvement over this same period. But why? "More sleep and family time – and less social media – may have made the difference." Life on Venus? Why "settled science" is so often hot air. It's in the interests of the media, and scientists, to hype up their findings. Car seats as contraceptives? By one estimate, US child safety seats save 60 children a year. Some economists are arguing they may also lead to 8,000 fewer births a year. How so? Only two of these seats fit in a car, so for parents to have a third child they'll need a new, bigger vehicle, raising the cost of that third child considerably. That might force some families to delay growing their family, and those delays can lead to smaller families over all. As the article author writes: "The point of this is not to launch a campaign to do away with child safety. It is to remind us that laws made with the best of intentions have unexpected consequences. Legislators need to bear this in mind when they impose restrictions which are simply 'common sense.' This has an obvious application to the Covid-19 lockdowns." A psalm for every day When Lindsey Tollesfson was 8 weeks pregnant, the doctor gave her a devastating diagnosis for her unborn son. "A verse kept ringing through my head: 'Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds' (James 1:2). How could I count it joy that my doctor told me my son would soon die? James wasn’t just saying 'rejoice despite your trial'; he was saying 'rejoice because of your trial.' Where could I turn to help me obey this command from the heart? I turned to the Psalms for comfort and wisdom, and I invite all who are walking through difficult circumstances to do the same..." Good news you probably haven't heard (5 min) It might not seem like it, but even this year there are positive global trends making life better in dramatic ways. While the video below is a secular presentation that credits the Englightenment for the progress being made, these improvements are a fruit of biblical principles like property rights and the free market, freedom of speech, stewardship, recognition of the Imago Dei, and doing to others as we would want done to us. ...

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Saturday Selections – October 10, 2020

3.5 billion miles of DNA in just little ol' you (6 min) We each have enough linear length of DNA in us to stretch to the sun and back again more than 18 times. Wow! Evolution examples are just examples of world's brokeness... Christians sometimes think that because evolutionists believe in natural selection, we shouldn't. The truth is, creationists also hold to natural selection, but what we don't hold to is the idea that mutation + natural selection = the path up from molecules to man. In the examples examined here we see instance after instance of a mutation that, while helping the creature in some fashion, is actually a loss of function. This might start a road from man down to molecules but could never explain the upward trend. How to love the co-worker you just can't stand C.S. Lewis has some helpful advice... Social isolation is damaging a generation of children Titles are often overwrought and that is the case here too, but were we to rephrase this as a question it would be well worth considering, is social isolation damaging a generation of children? Dutch euthanasia doctor warns the British against...euthanasia Dutch doctor Bert Keizer was euthanizing patients 20 years before it was legal. Now he's warning Britain about the slippery slope that comes with legalized euthanasia. Tim Challies on the problem with "love languages" (3 min) ...

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Saturday Selections – October 3, 2020

What is hate speech, and why should we be leery of banning it? (5 minutes) Most everyone agrees that some sorts of speech need to be limited, with the obvious example being threatening speech. But there's a real danger in demanding that government – or social media platforms – regulate what can and can't be said. For a secular take, see the video below, and for a Christian perspective, click on the link above. FREE: A parent's guide to "Cancel Culture" Axis is a generally conservative Christian group trying help parents keep up with teen culture. They do so by writing short 10-20 pages guides – cheat sheets – to get us up to speed on everything from social media apps, to hit TV shows, the latest pop bands, trending teen books, or even topics like helping teens deal with failure. The guides go for $4 US, but they also give some of them out for free. To get their cheat sheet on Cancel Culture, click on the title link above. To check out their other guides go to Axis.org. Money in the first years of marriage "Many marriages have been ripped apart over riches. Many newly married couples don’t know how to handle their finances in a way that honors God. I don’t want you to be one of them. I don’t want you to be caught off guard." Man drops battle to force salons to wax his nether regions Common sense does sometimes beat craziness...especially when you have a good lawyer in your corner. If the future belongs to the fertile, we might not have one On average every women needs to have two children to keep the population stable from one generation to the next. Ten years ago New Zealand's birth rate was averaging 2.18 children for every woman, but today it is just 1.69. And the same type of drop is happening the world over. In a pandemic, dogmatism is the real enemy What does the science tell us about how to respond to COVID-19? John Jalsevac argues that if we think there is a clear scientific answer then we don't really understand how science works. Even as we can benefit from doing careful, cautious science, to look to it as the the one clear guide is to fall for scientism. Dismantled: new documentary shows how "the evolutionary model is getting more biblical" (2 minutes) A new documentary debuting in a week's time looks like it is going to be a good one. Dismantled shares new discoveries that highlight how even mainstream science is having to move towards the biblical model. There is a free one-time premiere Oct. 9-11 that you should plan for, available via the link above. ...

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Saturday Selections – September 26, 2020

A Christian take on Jordan Peterson the man, and the phenomenon (5 minutes) There's much to admire about Jordan Peterson...but we don't want to leave people where he's leading them. People deficient in vitamin D 54% more likely to get COVID-19 ...or to put a more positive spin, folks who get enough Vitamin D have a lower chance of getting COVID-19. There is also such a thing as getting too much Vitamin D, so this is a good one to bounce past your doctor. Texts to tell theistic evolutionists Gen. 1:29-30 and Gen. 9:3-4 are problematic texts for theistic evolutionists. Why are there so many wildfires in California, but not in the southeast US? Christians understand we are to steward God's creation – we are to actively take a role in managing nature – while the secular approach to the environment too often sees Man as only a problem, and therefore his absence as the solution. But that hands-off approach hasn't worked out well in California. WORLD magazine's Julie Borg also weighs in here. Legalizing "assisted dying" can lead to an increase in suicides Assisted-suicide proponents didn't expect that legalizing assisted suicide would increase the number of people taking their lives without assistance. But that's how it seems to be, and that shouldn't have surprised anyone: when legislation tells people that life is not sacred but disposable, people might just believe it. Embarrassing testimony (5 minutes) Tim Barnett offers up this interesting defense of the Gospel's trustworthiness: because they make the disciples look bad. ...

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Saturday Selections – September 19, 2020

Chickens are fearfully and wonderfully made too! (4 minutes) This incredible video shows how a fertilized egg becomes a chicken and it is amazing! Should parents spank their children? While spanking isn't the only tool in the discipline toolbox, Sam Crabtree of DesiringGod.org explains why it is an important one. Creation scientists debating their Flood models If you follow the creation/evolution debate you've come across creationist critiques of holes in evolutionary theory. But did you know creationists critique each other's theories too? This is an intriguing overview of some different Flood models creationists have proposed. The economic stimulus program that won't cost taxpayers trillions As the article explains, if President Trump (and Prime Minister Trudeau) would simply cut their tariffs on incoming goods, they could quickly and greatly increase their citizens' wealth and opportunities for investment and job creation. But doesn't cutting tariffs cost local jobs? Tariffs do protect some jobs but at the expense of other jobs. By making all of a country's consumers – including manufacturing companies – pay more for a good they could have bought cheaper from overseas, those extra expenses represent money that these companies can't use to invest in their own business. That's why tariffs cost jobs too. Tariffs are the federal government interfering in the economy to favor some companies at the cost of all consumers...which include some other companies. Would we want them to take from our company to favor another? Then Matt. 7:12 – do unto others as you would want done unto you – tells us we shouldn't be asking them to do it for our benefit either. RedeemTV.com offers free Christian films and TV shows RedeemTV is the latest free streaming service and while Christian films do often suffer from a lack of quality, there are a few offerings here worth checking out: C.S. Lewis Onstage: The Most Reluctant Convert  - a fantastic one-man stage production with Max Maclean as C.S. Lewis Tortured for Christ - a well-done drama about Pastor Richard Wurmbrand's stand against the Romania government Martin Luther - this 1950s film was nominated for an Oscar Francis Schaeffer: How Should We Then Live? – This 1970s documentary series remains very relevant today Torchlighers - this series about "Christian heroes" features some figures we might admire for their bravery even as we don't want to present them as "heroes" to our children. Another caution: though animated, some episodes are too intense for younger children, as sometimes martyr's deaths are depicted. Parents should be sure to preview. The Jenny Geddes Band: Hold your peace (5 minutes) Romans 9...with a beat. ...

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Saturday Selections - September 12, 2020

Who has measured the heavens with His fingers? (2 minutes) This video unpacks what's contained in an area of space that you can cover with just the tip of your finger. God's universe is bigger than big! &lt;span data-mce-type="bookmark" style="display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;" class="mce_SELRES_start"&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span data-mce-type="bookmark" style="display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;" class="mce_SELRES_start"&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span data-mce-type="bookmark" style="display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;" class="mce_SELRES_start"&gt;&lt;/span&gt; Why Bibles given to slaves omitted most of the Old Testament While the Bible teaches we should be in submission to God – slaves even – His Word is all about freedom too, which seems to be why slaves that were given the Bible were given an abridged version. You need to know what your kids are listening to (10-minute read) The lyrics of the mega-hit WAP celebrate promiscuous, loveless sex in a ruder, cruder form than anything Madonna ever managed... and it is the #1 song in the world right now. So what are your kids listening to? Is it ethical to use data from Nazi medical experiments? The Nazis performed research on imprisoned Jews, and today we do research using the remains of aborted children. The justification given for this experimentation, in both cases, is that the subjects weren't fully human. If that is a reason not to use cruelly-derived  Nazi research – which is universally condemned and unlikely to ever be otherwise – isn't there all the more reason to steer clear of the results of experimentation on aborted fetuses? After all, abortion is an evil still with us. This is an especially relevant question today considering that some of the COVID vaccines in the works are being developed with the remains of aborted children. "Respectable sins" of the Reformed world "Respectable sins" are the ones that we justify and might even defend...if we talked about them at all. Tim Challies lists several specific to the Reformed world, including suspicion, gossip, and slander. The OT chapter Jews don't read: Isaiah 53 (10 minutes) Christians think Isaiah 53 is about Christ. But what do Jews think? This is a wonderful video, with the interviewer, a Jewish "Ray Comfort," sharing the chapter with Jews, and then lovingly confronting them with their sins and need for the Saviour. ...

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Saturday Selections - September 5, 2020

Well-intentioned racism is racism still (5 minutes) Uncle Tom is a new documentary about how American black conservatives are ridiculed as being traitors to their race. Why? Because they don't think as the Left say they should think. Telling blacks how they should think is, of course, racist, but the irony is lost on the Left. What this deleted scene shows is that racism can come in all sorts of flavors, including a compassionate patronization. In biblical justice, there is a distinction between equality and equity "1 Kings 3:16-27 provides an excellent example of the biblical distinction between equality and equity. One woman wanted equality whereas the other woman wanted equity. King Solomon judged with equity, not equality, which meant that one of the women went home without a baby. Biblical justice is a matter of equity, not equality. Yes, there is a difference—and it’s not an insignificant one." Slavery was everywhere in the world. A white Christian man abolished it. "Every society on Earth in all of history had slavery. Every single one. The Europeans/ Americans had slavery. The Arabs had slavery, massive slavery. The word for black person in Arabic is “abeed” which means slave. That’s how common slavery was. Slavery in Asia, obviously. Slavery in Black Africa. Black Africans had Black Africans as slaves. Indigenous Native Americans had slaves. Every society in history had slavery. So the only question that is honest is not 'who had slavery?' It’s 'who abolished slavery?'" Was Jesus a socialist? The former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev declared "Jesus was the first socialist, the first to seek a better life for mankind." And many a Christian seems to agree... "Transitioning" doesn't seem to improve mental health after all The study, as it was first reported, showed that transgender folk who get surgeries feel better about themselves. And this got a lot of media coverage. Now a closer look at the data shows no such mental health benefit. And that is not getting the same coverage. Darwin's impact on society in under 3 minutes Sometimes apologetics is simply about clarifying the difference between what God tells us is true, and what the world says is true. Here we see how, in contrast to God's grace and sacrificial love, Darwin offers only meaningless. ...

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Saturday Selections - August 29, 2020

50 Christians around the world sing Amazing Grace together This is something special, a glimpse of what it might sound like when "from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages" (Rev. 7:9) God's Church gathers to sing His praises. Spurgeon vs. Marx Karl Marx and Charles Spurgeon lived in the same city at the same time, engaged in "an epic battle for the souls of men in 19th century London." We must not become useful idiots for Erin O'Toole While the new leader of the Conservative Party, Erin O'Toole, is pro-choice he's said he'll allow pro-life members to bring forward bills. But as CHP leader Rod Taylor argues, that may not mean much. "In 2008, MP Ken Epp presented the Unborn Victims of Violence Bill, intended to protect pre-born babies from violent assaults perpetrated against their mothers. In 2010, MP Rod Bruinooge tabled his anti-coercion bill, Roxanne’s Law, meant to protect women from violent and abusive pressure to abort against their wills. In 2012, MP Stephen Woodworth presented Motion-312, his Personhood Motion, asking Parliament to establish a committee to explore when human life begins. Every one of these was defeated by a Conservative Prime Minister and a Conservative Government. When former MP Mark Warawa (now deceased) attempted to pass Motion-408, protecting babies from sex-selective abortion, his motion was deemed “non-votable” by the hand-picked committee. When a party leader or Prime Minister is not in favour of a bill, the chances of it passing are slim indeed." O'Toole's motivation for allowing pro-life bills is to secure pro-lifers' votes; that's what he gets out of this relationship. But what are we actually getting from him? If the answer is nothing, or next to it, then we are simply "useful idiots" helping O'Toole achieve his ends. Christians involved in the Conservative Party need to consider if – and then how – their involvement can further God's ends. No Christianity? Then no human rights There is no foundation for human rights apart from us all being made in the image of God. Have you heard of QAnon? (15-minute read) QAnon is a wide-ranging conspiracy theory, built around posts by an anonymous Q figure, which his expanding group of followers then pass along. Some of these posts have a Christian veneer, attracting Christians who know that there are indeed lies being spread by the mainstream media, whether that be transgenderism, evolution, socialism, or the denial of the personhood of the unborn. But that the media lies is not some great insight, and that a shadowy figure says it too doesn't make him credible. One appeal of conspiracy theories is that they are right about there being a malevolent force working behind the scenes. But it's not simply the Russians, or the bankers, or the Deep State; the real hidden force is the Devil...and of course our own rebellious hearts. And while the Devil might like to stir up conflict, is his agenda primarily world-domination? Or to get everyone vaccinated? 5G implementation? Or would he be happier still to have people worried about maybes, supposedlys, and possiblys, even as we ignore the actual tasks God has given us to do? The more credible overarching conspiracy might well be a devilish desire to distract us with things outside our control, rather than contend with our own envy, impatience, gossiping, and other sins. Joe Carter also weighs in on QAnon here. Can a short white guy be a tall Chinese woman? "It shouldn't be hard to tell a 5'9" white guy he's not a 6'5" Chinese woman..." ...

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Saturday Selections - August 22, 2020

Stirring up trouble on behalf of the unborn (20 seconds) This week a pro-life group flew a "Black Lives Matter" banner over the site of the 2020 Democratic National Convention showing a giant picture of an aborted black fetus. A spokesman explained that sharing "victim photography" has long been a way of fighting evil and, since newspapers and other media won't allow them to share the graphic image, this group took to the skies. Two takes on masks and whether Christians need to wear them Both articles are intense, gracious, and biblically-grounded. In the first ARPA Canada's André Schutten answers a dozen mask-related questions, tackling topics like sphere sovereignty, Romans 13, and a Christian way of disagreeing with the government. In the second, one Reformed pastor and elder, Joseph Bayly and Brian Bailey, address the anti-mask arguments by another Reformed pastor, Douglas Wilson. This one is a little like coming in halfways on a conversation so at the start it is a bit hard to figure out what's going on. But the insight offered is worth the effort required. Socialism is force “'Why not socialism?' It’s force, pure and simple. If it were voluntary, it wouldn’t be socialism. It would be capitalism." On the art of dying well One of the ways Christians can be a light to the world is by dying differently. While the world hopes for a quick death, our goal can be a holy death. Our kids seem less safe but appearances are deceiving... Our children are a blessing from the Lord, and so we treat them as such. But there is a reason for moderation, even in protecting them. Bubble-wrapping them before they head out the door brings with its own harms: that we will raise fearful children who jump at every noise, shy away from every shadow, and are so risk-averse that they don't dare ask out that special girl, or start that company, or apply for that position...or venture out of the house at all. While this article is from a time before COVID, what it highlights – that our parental fears may not be a proportionate match with reality – is particularly relevant right now. Captain Literally When people misuse the word "literally" this superhero is here to save the day! And if you liked Captain Literally, you may also appreciate Captain Irony and the whole Grammar League. ...

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Saturday Selections - August 15, 2020

Thomas Sowell on the benefit of the 10th Commandment While Thomas Sowell doesn't mention the Bible, the point he makes here is a biblical one. Correcting "income inequality" requires us to do as the 10th Commandment forbids - it makes a virtue out of looking over the back fence and making plans for what our neighbor has. It's only when we forget about redistributing his wealth that we are free to mind our own business, and use and invest and grow what God has entrusted to us for our own good, and the good of 4 principles for talking to your kids about sex (3-minute read) Talk positively, talk often, talk freely, and talk soon... Netherlands contemplating assisted suicide for any over 75 who are "tired of living" While there probably isn't enough time to pass the bill before the next election, it is significant that there is now a push for euthanasia of the healthy. And once it is allowable for those over 75 what reason would there be to refuse it to those under 75? What reason is there for any limits once we ignore that life is created by God, and is not ours take? Morally speaking, not all COVID vaccines will be alike Some of the perspective offered in the article is specifically Roman Catholic, but the problem it points out – that some vaccines are being developed using cells from aborted children – should concern us all. 3 questions to ask before we fill up the family schedule again The summer break, along with COVID craziness, have cut into family busyness: we aren't running from soccer practice to piano recital to playdate pickups like many a family is when the school season is on us. So before all the busyness arrives once again Lauren Miller has 3 questions for us to consider before we add an activity on to our weekly schedule. Even cell death is amazingly designed! (10-minute read) Over the course of 7-10 years, every cell in your body gets replaced. That's amazing, but it also presents a problem: what to do with all the dead cells that are being replaced? Well, it turns out, your body has an amazing recycling system! While this is a somewhat technical read, even just skimming it over will give you a deeper appreciation for God's brilliance. Upcoming documentary on the Red Sea crossing This looks like it will be really interesting. The team behind this film has made three others about Israel's time in Egypt, and in an interesting wrinkle, a secular expert they consulted in the first film, who thought the Bible a great archeological text, in this film thinks the Red Sea crossing must have happened somewhere shallow because he assumes it must have occurred via natural (even if unusual) circumstances. He rules out miracles because he has ruled out God...even as he knows the Bible to be validated by archeology time and again, and believes, therefore, that Israel's crossing did happen. But what happens when we go searching where only a miracle could have permitted the crossing? The trailer seems to show there is evidence of chariots on the seafloor.  ...

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Saturday Selections - August 8, 2020

Our Kids Online: Porn, Predators & How to Keep Them Safe A new documentary making the rounds is an eye-opener and can be rented for $5 US at the link above. Read our review here. What do you believe? The value of knowing...in words "You say one picture is worth a thousand words? Well, let’s see about that. You give me one thousand words and I’ll give you the Lord’s Prayer and the 23rd Psalm; and the Hippocratic Oath; and a sonnet by Shakespeare; and the Preamble to the Constitution; and Lincoln’s Gettysburg address; and I’ll still have enough words left over for just about all of the Boy Scout oath. And I wouldn’t trade you those things for any picture on earth." Why science and atheism don't mix "Science proceeds on the basis of the assumption that the universe is, at least to a certain extent, accessible to the human mind. No science can be done without the scientist believing this, so it is important to ask for grounds for this belief. Atheism gives us none, since it posits a mindless, unguided origin of the universe’s life and consciousness." While John Lennox is not a six-day creationist he does solid work here pointing out this gaping hole in atheistic evolutionary thinking. Two fantastic responses to racism Black conservatives are frequent targets of racism. These two Christians show how to respond with grace and power. The most frightening text in the Bible? Michael Kelly weighs in on Matthew 7:21-23, and the Church's role in addressing self-deception. When they say "Assisted Suicide is compassionate" (6 min) Why is suicide wrong? For the same reason that murder is: because we are taking the life of an image-bearer of God, and that is His, and not ours to take. This video overlooks this Christian foundation, and lists four practical problems that often result when a nation accepts Assisted Suicide. The four points are fantastic, and the video important viewing. But when we miss out on the Christian foundation, then any arguments we build won't have a firm footing. If it is only practical problems that prevent us from supporting Assisted Suicide, then that is where the debate will be had, and the other side will offer practical solutions. So, for example, if "sometimes a terminal diagnosis is wrong" there is an easy solution to that: a second opinion (or even a third, and fourth). Practical problem solved! Why won't such a practical solution actually work? Because once we think life something that is ours to take, then we won't value it enough to protect it this adamantly. The core problem is not a practical one, but whether we are going to treat life as given by God. When we understand that is the core issue, then we can point out the practical problems that result from seeing life as anything short of sacred. But those practical arguments will only stand if they rest on a foundation of Rock (Ps. 78:35). This post has been edit to correct a wrong link for the Michael Kelly article, which in its original mistaken form, took readers to what seems to be a cult's page. So, yeah, not the intended destination. Our thanks to the reader who caught this mistake - it is now fixed!...

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Saturday Selections - August 1, 2020

Why this valedictorian regrets finishing on top (6 minutes) It took him a whole year to learn this lesson, and he's happy to share it. Free episode from Tim Challies' new documentary EPIC (25 min) In his 10-episode documentary EPIC, Christian blogger extraordinaire Tim Challies takes us around the world to investigate Church history by looking at a variety of key historical objects. In this first, free episode, we head to Israel to see what may (or may not) be Jesus' tomb, and go to Italy to see some ancient anti-Christian graffiti. NBA player wanted his jersey to highlight the national debt Now that the NBA has resumed play, we're seeing jerseys that, instead of the player's name, feature one of several approved "social justice" messages. A message that didn't make the cut was Spencer Dinwiddie's request for "trillion" which, coupled with his jersey number 26, would have been the current US national debt. 8 lessons from a friend whose life (and death) preached Christ A young pastor who was never famous passed away this past month. Part of his legacy was teaching a small group of men how to be godly men. "No Justice, No Peace"? Do two wrongs now make a right? (10-minute read) A 70-something-year-old waving a "No Justice, No Peace" sign at a BLM protest probably doesn't understand the threat implicit in that slogan. But the rioters do. Intent on burning down the system, they are acting as if two wrongs can make a right. But as Hendrik van der Breggen explains, that simply isn't so. Pornography is harmless. What would you say? (4 minutes) This is a great video laying out some practical problems that result from pornography use. But where the video falls short is that, even as it is produced by Christians, it fails to address pornography as the spiritual issue it is. The real problem with pornography is that it breaks the 7th Commandment (do not commit adultery). Sinning does bring with it practical problems, but if that was all there was to it, then we could address those problems with practical solutions. For example, if porn use makes someone lonely, only using it with someone else. Practical problem solved! What we need to do, then, is to stack these practical objections on top of a solid Christian foundation. Then our argument might sound something like this: Pornography isn't harmless; it's a sin against God. As a sin, it is destructive, causing – as this video describes – loneliness and sexual disfunction. ...

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Saturday Selections - July 25, 2020

Don't agree with me? I know why! It must be because you want people to die!  When the economy was shuttered it was presented as being about lives vs. money, and anyone who had a problem with the closure must have wanted people to die. Or maybe there was more to it. What follows is a humorous appeal for everyone to tone it down and use reasons rather than empty rhetoric. The Left continues to eat its own The bisexual, pro-choice Bari Weiss, and homosexual Andrew Sullivan (one of the most vocal voices in favor of gay "marriage") both recently felt the need to resign from the Left-leaning New York Times. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood – the world's largest abortion network – is scrubbing the name of its founder, Margaret Sanger from their New York clinic. It's shades of 2 Chronicles 20. Defund the police? I do not think that word means what you think it means The battle in our culture is in some ways a battle over the dictionary, and what words actually mean. As Calgary's Chief Constable Mark Neufeld recently noted, "everyone has a different idea of what defunding police means. 'For some, this is about diverting money, for some this is about dismantling police and for others, it’s about disarming police...'" Counting the cost of COVID ARPA Canada's Levi Minderhoud has written a thought-provoking series on the Canadian government's response to COVID-19. You can find the four parts here: A Christian introduction Comparing to past crises Evaluating Canada's current deficit Forecasting our financial future John MacArthur on defying church closure requirements, and Keith Mathison on submitting to mask-wearing mandates  When do we submit to the government, and when do we have to defy it? To find out we need to go to the Bible, and that's what these two Reformed leaders do. While on first read they might seem to be totally opposing each other, it's important to understand they are talking about two different situations: church closures and the wearing of masks. Environmentalist: Sorry for the hysteria! (10-minute read) Michael Shellenberger was named one of TIME magazine's 2008 "Heroes of the Environment," and is now issuing an apology on behalf of environmentalists as a whole, for their tendency to hype the dangers of climate change. He's not Christian and a logical question to ask is, why should we believe this environmentalist over the ones prophesying doom and gloom? He's more credible because his perspective gets one thing right that the other environmentalists regularly don't: he is measuring proposals first and foremost for what they would do for people. He recognizes that Man is special, and that has him evaluating how best to preserve the environment in a very different way than those who view Man as being a curse on the planet. Should we bake the cake? An Ontario videographer is in trouble for being unwilling to video a same-sex "marriage." Why she declined is unclear, but, from a Christian perspective, are there good reasons to decline to participate in a gay "marriage"? Yes, as the video below notes (one warning: there are a couple of brief visual depictions of Jesus). John Piper also weighs in here. ...

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Saturday Selections – July 18, 2010

Andrew Peterson's Is He Worthy (5 minutes) When the words and music are perfectly paired... Learn how to defend the unborn (15-minute read) Apologist Greg Koukl shows us how to get the abortion debate down to just one question: What is the unborn? This is an incredibly valuable article that'll equip you to speak up for the unborn. One other question should also be asked: Where does our worth come from? While the biblical answer can be found in places like Gen. 1:26-27 and Gen. 9:6, the world doesn't have an adequate answer. Tim Bayly (and John Piper) on calling sodomy by any other name... With there now being a movement of Christians self-describing themselves as gay (though celibate) it is worth questioning the particular word choice of gay vs. sodomite. We don't use the latter because it seems overly harsh. But when we use the former it leads to people naming and claiming it as integral to their identity. In this article Pastor Tim Bayly explains why he started using the term sodomy. "The word sodomy …still carries the stigma of shamefulness. Those who love people with same-sex attraction should want to preserve the stigma of shameful practices which destroy them — just as we should try to preserve the stigma of stealing and perjury and kidnapping, and fornication, and adultery. It is a gracious thing when a culture puts signs in front of destructive behaviors that read: Don’t go there; it is shameful." Best example of evolution happening is evolution in a death spiral (10-min read) If you ask for the very best evidence of evolution in action today, the example that's most likely to be raised is Richard Lenski's decades-long experiment with E. coli in which the bacterium was said to have evolved a new ability. But as Michael Behe explains, this example of evolution doesn't start to explain how gains in complexity could occur, as this new function was accompanied by a general loss of fitness. Sexual difficulties in marriage (15-minute read) "What did God create sex for? ....Many couples say, 'Okay, sex is not with someone of your same gender: Check. Sex is not with someone who is not your spouse: Check. Sex is not pornography: Check. Okay, I seem to have gotten all this right, so why is this so hard? Why do we continue to struggle? Why does this continue to be a significant place of tension in our relationship?'” This is written specifically to biblical counselors, but the insights are useful to all. The astonishing walking, self-planting seed (5 minutes) That we can orate, salivate, masticate, matriculate and replicate is a wonder that we really understate. But when a plant can ambulate? Then, once again, we recognize the hand of the Ultimate! ...

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Saturday Selections - July 11, 2020

Miracles happen... John Barros has been walking back and forth outside an Orlando abortion clinic, reaching out to the mothers, long enough to wear a mark in the concrete. In this video Barros shares how God used him to reach a Spanish-speaking couple, even though he was speaking English. The devil's favorite punctuation mark Where God puts an exclamation mark, the Devil puts a question mark: "Did God really say...?" REAL Women endorse two/reject two in Conservative Party leadership race Canada's Conservative Party leadership race is using a preferential ballot. What that means is that if your top choice is eliminated after the first round of counting, then your vote will shifted to your second choice, and so on. What this also means is that there is no strategic reason not to vote for the best candidate, even if they might not seem to have a good chance of winning. Make him your top choice, and if he does indeed lose, then your vote will shift to your second choice and still be counted. Why then are some Christians considering voting for the pro-choice Erin O'Toole? Because he is more likely to beat Trudeau than either of the pro-life candidates, Leslyn Lewis or Derek Sloan? That prompts a question: why is it even important to beat Trudeau? He might be bad for business and the economy, but is that the real problem with Trudeau? Canada's national psalm, Ps. 72, from where we get our motto "From sea to sea," provides a job description of sorts for a ruler. He is to: ...deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight. What makes Trudeau evil is not his handling of the economy but his support for the slaughter of "the afflicted who have no one to help." So what improvement is it to replace him with another who supports this same evil? Another reason given to support O'Toole is because he has promised to let all voices be heard. But is he going to award prominent positions to boldly pro-life MPs? Is he going to welcome the media storm that'll result each time they do speak up for the unborn? Or is he going to relegate loud pro-life Conservatives to the backbenches where, as one of 337 other MPs, they will seldom be heard? It doesn't take a prophet to know that any pro-life MP who is given prominence in an O'Toole government will be under intense pressure to act as if the death of 100,000 unborn children a year isn't worth making a fuss over. And certainly not worth losing a cabinet position over! What a blessing it is, then, that we have two pro-life candidates to choose from in Derek Sloan and Leslyn Lewis. What parenting style works best? A secular study defined 4 broad parenting styles as Disengaged - neither demanding nor responsive Permissive - responsive but not demanding Authoritarian - demanding but unresponsive Authoritative - demanding and responsive It is this fourth approach that most clearly matches up with God's call on parents in verses like: a) Ps. 127:3 - "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward." b) Prov. 29:15 - "The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother." c) Col. 3:21 - "Fathers do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged." It not surprising then, that it is this fourth approach that most lines up with what even the world recognizes as the best results. God loves us, and His commandments are a help and protection for us when we listen...and in parenting too. "95 million-year-old" octopus's ink used for self-portrait Here's a fun story. The "preservation of an octopus as a fossil is about as unlikely as finding a fossil sneeze" and yet one such fossil is so well preserved that ink from the octopus's ink sac was used to draw a portrait of the animal. The ultimate Rube Goldberg Machine...aka the 3-minute-long basketball shot! A fun one to watch with the kids that might serve as inspiration too! ...

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Saturday Selections - July 4, 2020

Reformed College ad causes a wonderful fuss When a Reformed college put out the recruitment ad below – starring their small town's newly built washrooms – the town's mayor felt the need to issue an official statement. He wanted everyone to know the ad, touting that there are two distinct genders, didn't represent their little town. But as local pastor Douglas Wilson noted: That bathroom, for those of you who do not live here in Moscow, is brand, spanking new. It was built on Mayor’s Lambert’s watch. He was the one who built that brand new segregated bathroom, that brand new “girls go this way, boys go that way” bathroom, that brand new Hate Space. He is the one who built that standing affront to Moscow’s world-famous inclusive values. And then, when the ad spot shows a young man going into the side ASSIGNED TO HIM BY THE CITY OF MOSCOW, and a young lady going into the side ASSIGNED TO HER BY THE CITY OF MOSCOW, our mayor calls US out for our lack of inclusiveness. All we did was indicate — in that endearing little way we have — our agreement with the mayor in having built what he built. We are sorry that he feels bad about what he did now, but there it is. In today's culture wars Christians too often act as if we're actually worried God might lose this thing. We are so angry, annoyed, and fearful about what's going on. The folks at New Saint Andrews College want to show us what it would look like if we were eager to jump into the fray because we understand – because we are certain – that God had already been won. (Another example: their latest ad "Why All Black Lives Matter"). Home is underrated For family's that are able to do it, there are many advantages to having mom at home. Big Science needs to repent In a recent Nature article, two dozen scientists joined together in a "manifesto that calls for sweeping changes in the way scientific modeling is done." Though it isn't the Nature article's intention, the manifesto highlights how Science isn't unbiased – there are so many ways that findings can be twisted to fit particular ideologies. And it's only once we understand there is no neutrality that we can best assess the "facts" we are given by viewing them in light of the biases that were involved in their production. 5 things I learned debating a professor who wants to ban homeschooling There are those who want the State to be our "co-parent" and who, despite the State's dismal track record running their own schools, want to make sure no is "allowing some parents to escape" the public system. Pro-life group denounces Peter MacKay, Erin O'Toole as "Trudeau Tories" Canada's Conservative Party leadership race is drawing to a close, and there are 4 candidates on offer, two of whom – Derek Sloan and Leslyn Lewis – have been endorsed by the pro-life Campaign Life Coalition. The other two have been denounced as "Trudeau Tories" because, like Trudeau, Peter MacKay and Erin O'Toole endorse the greatest evil of our age: the slaughter of unborn babies crafted by God in His very Image. When we consider the outrage over the brutal death of another such image-bearer, George Floyd, were we then to multiply that outrage by 300 – the number of babies murdered each day in Canada – and then consider that this happens to 100,000 babies each year, we would begin to understand how outraged we should be when Justin Trudeau, Peter MacKay and Erin O'Toole say "Unborn lives don't matter." 81% of Canada's COVID deaths were long-term care residents Do we need to rethink old age homes? The wonder of the hummingbird's tongue (3 minutes) While the video doesn't specifically mention God, narrator Paul Nelson notes: "I think in some respects the wonder of a hummingbird almost transcends language.... It's almost like responding to the work of an artist. You just stand there and applaud." ...

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Saturday Selections - June 27, 2020

Is Critical Theory Biblical? (6 min) If you haven't heard of Critical Theory, you've likely encountered aspects of it: wokeness, white privilege, identity politics, and even the #MeToo movement's slogans "believe all women" are all elements of Critical Theory. It's being embraced by some Christians because it seemingly helps the poor and oppressed. But as Joseph Backholm describes in the video below "critical theory reduces human beings to categories according to race, gender, sexual preference and orientation, income, and on and on." And in doing so, our worth is based, not on in Whose Image we are made, but according to our category. One nit to pick with Backholm's terminology: he says we are all equally sinful. That makes it sound like we've all committed exactly the same amount of sins, but Backholm's point is that we all share the same need for a Saviour. That nit aside, this is a fantastic summary of an ideology that we're going to need to understand. A devil offers advice on evangelism In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis shared letters from a senior demon to a junior demon advising how best to keep their "patients" from being saved. In Lord Foulgrin's Letters, Randy Alcorn shared more devilish correspondence, including Letter 30 shared here, about how best to distract and misdirect a Christian from ever actually sharing his faith. Sweden gives some elderly morphine, rather than the oxygen, to "treat" COVID “Elderly people were not taken to hospitals—they are given sedatives but not oxygen or basic care.” Euthanasia is not legal in Sweden, but, as Michael Cook reports, that didn't stop doctors without consciences from "throwing their patients overboard." That's the key for us in Canada to understand and share: this is what happens when we stop caring about every life. Who is discipling your children? David Murray explains, "Our children are being discipled. The only question is, who’s discipling them? You or the world?" Bad cops - bad unions? This lacks depth, but the point it raises – that some police unions have been defending bad cops – is one worth raising. As Calvinists, we know that Lord Acton's adage, that "power tends to corrupt," is based on a solid understanding of human nature. That is a reason, then, to hand over only as little power as necessary – it is a reason to have small government, including not overly large police forces – and a reason to be on guard for when, and not if, abuse happens. Police are a necessity, and the reason we want to defend them is that we have an inkling as to how hard their job can be, and we are grateful to find people willing to do this difficult dangerous job. But defending the police doesn't mean pretending that bad cops don't exist. Figuring out how best to weed out the bad apples is one part of defending the police. Looking closely at police unions might be a place to start. For those with more time, be sure to check out two ten-minute podcasts from WORLD magazine (a Christian, and often times specifically Reformed publication), the first on the Democrat police reform proposal, and the second on the Republican proposal (both podcasts are also available as transcripts at the links). The story behind the Bible app that's been downloaded nearly 500 million times (15 min) It was almost an accidental success - the YouVersion Bible app was an afterthought to what was meant to be a Bible website. But when the website got mild interest, one young programmer suggested getting something on the Apple's App store, which was opening shortly. Since then it has been downloaded almost a half billion times! There's so much more to the story - this is a fascinating peek at what God is working at behind the scenes. ...

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Saturday Selections - June 20, 2020

Homosexuality vs. transgenderism This video below is fantastic, but there's a lot packed in here, so the argument is worth writing out as well. What the narrator, Joseph Backholm, is explaining is that there is a fundamental conflict between homosexuals and transgenders. Whereas homosexual men say they are attracted to men, transgenders say you can't even know someone is a man by looking at him because gender is not tied to biology. Or, in other words, maleness and femaleness can only be known by asking not by seeing. It then makes no sense for a homosexual to say they are physically attracted to one gender or the other, because there are no physical attributes unique to one gender or the other – ie. men can have breasts, and women, penises. So transgenderism and homosexuality can only remain allies so long as they don't discuss their foundational assumptions. While homosexuality and transgenderism can't both be right, they can both be wrong. Backholm notes that "Our fundamental identity is not found in our sexual attractions, or in our feelings about how masculine or feminine we are." But he leaves it at that. Christians need to carry on and note that attractions may fade, and feelings may change, so grounding our identity in either of those is going to be disappointing. But we can find our true identity by turning to the One who made us.  Does systemic racism exist?  "Systemic racism isn’t whatever I – as a black man – says it is. My perceptions are not proof. My experiences are not authoritative. I am not God. "....Therefore, if we’re going to accuse our governments of participating in systemic racism today, we should be able to list examples of systemic partiality against black people today. ...Social justice proponents are unable to list racist laws or policies to support their accusations, so they usually resort to perceptions and racial disparities as evidence for their accusations.... Systemic racism theory essentially demands groups to prove they’re not systemically racist – instead of demanding social justice proponents to prove the legitimacy of their accusations." Deepfakes show the need for knowing your sources are trustworthy Deepfakes are faked videos of celebrities or political leaders that can't be distinguished from the real thing. We live in a world in which Justin Trudeau can be made to say anything, the video posted on YouTube, and the viewing audience would not, just from seeing and hearing it, be able to tell it from the real thing. The only way to discern whether it is true or not would be whether it was received from a trustworthy source, or not. But with trustworthy sources at a minimum these days, it underscores the need for higher standards in our media consumption. We can't believe everything we find in our social media feed...and we shouldn't be passing on what we ourselves don't know is reliable. Vaccines that use aborted fetuses' cells draw fire COVID-19 vaccines are being developed using cells from aborted fetuses. These fetuses were aborted long ago – more than 30 years ago – so the question is raised, does it really need to concern us now? Pastor Douglas Wilson proposes that before answering that question we should reframe it properly and ask: "Is it lawful for Christians knowingly to use vaccines that were grown in the cultivated remains of a murder victim?" Men: don't let chivalry die on your watch J. Aaron White (and the apostle Peter) on how gentlemen should be studying our wives, serving our wives, and enjoying our wives. Romeo and Juliet 2020 remix For all the English teachers out there... ...

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Saturday Selections - June 13, 2020

Dandelions: more amazing than you knew! (4 minutes) I've shown this to all my kids - same reaction from all of them: "Wow!" When someone says "There is no truth..." As Greg Koukl explains, uttering the statement, “There is no truth,” in itself establishes the truth of at least 17 different things. So when we meet radical skeptics – those who doubt everything – we should challenge them to be "intellectually honest skeptics." "...we must be as skeptical about our skepticism as we are about our knowledge. We should take the burden of proof to defend our skepticism instead of simply asserting our skepticism. Anyone can assert disbelief. Whether they can make sense out of it is a different thing." This is how we do it here With so many wanting just to tear down and destroy, here is an example to inspire: this is a town where police, churches, and Black Lives Matters protesters marched together. Why the media is biased, even when they don't mean to be It's the nature of the business for journalists to give more coverage to scandal, failure, and conflict, than for success, calmness, and competency. And what they cover, they encourage. Pursuing godly manhood "Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with beards, flannels, bonfires, work boots, pocket knives, pickup trucks, or hatchet throwing. In fact, it might do some of us a lot of good to put our phones down and spend some time in the woods. Nevertheless, God’s Word is more concerned with character than charisma..." On the age and origin of Pluto (11 min) While working as an engineer for the US military space program, Spike Psarris examined the stars and planets. The evidence drove him to first become a creationist, and then a Christian. To share his findings, he crafted a series of 3 DVDs that explore Astronomy and the creation of the universe. While he is a soft-spoken man, his facts pack quite the wallop. And now he has turned his gaze to Pluto: "I am in the process of updating my Solar System DVD. One of the major topics that needed updating was Pluto; my DVD was published several years before the New Horizons probe visited Pluto, and that spacecraft made many fascinating discoveries....This chapter is now finished, and you can watch it online for free here" "Just Thinking" Instagram goodies Are they devotionals, or doodles, or a wonderful combination thereof? For the last few years now, Reformed artist Jason Bouwman has been sharing thought-provoking pictures like the one below, and you can find hundreds more on his Instagram page. ...

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Saturday Selections - June 6, 2020

Stepping up by stepping away Warren Barfield was once best known for his songs The Time is Now, and the one below, Love Is Not a Fight. But then, in 2017, the Christian singer, songwriter, and public speaker stepped away from the spotlight because, in his words, he didn't want to: "...be out building a career and wealth while my wife and kids built memories and a life without me. With my wife’s full support I walked away from the promise of material success, to pursue something priceless with her, a life.... Bottom line, I’m more interested in being an intentional husband and father and a good man rather than just playing one on stage or social media." And for three years now that's the last we've heard of him. Is there a settled scientific consensus about wearing masks? Should everyone in public wear a mask? Even as some call it "settled" science that we should, other experts disagree. While that tells us very little about the effectiveness of masks, it does tell us something about those who proclaim things settled when they aren't. Keep the good from the COVID quarantine Being forced to stay at home has brought with it some positives. When it is all over, will we be able to take those with us? Focus on the Family offering free movies/audiobooks Focus on the Family has produced some fun family-friendly material like a dramatized audio version of C.S. Lewis' Narnia books, the Last Chance Detectives films, and the Adventures in Odyssey radio series. And they are now offering a lot of this content for free, with the only requirement being your name and email address. Parents should note that this Christian group, though conservative, is not Reformed and on occasion Arminian tones will pop up in their materials. Frontal lobotomies: a Darwinian mental health holocaust (15-minute read) Before the procedure was discredited, as many as 35,000 were subjected to frontal lobotomies. This "psychosurgery" was based on evolutionary beliefs, and it was those beliefs that led to harmful conclusions. There is a relevance to today because many secular psychologists are also evolutionists, and if they don't understand who we actually are and why we are here, that will have implications for how they try to restore us. Why Christians shouldn’t jump on bandwagon of progressive groups like Black Lives Matter "I can say, heartily, that black lives matter....however, I cannot support the organization Black Lives Matter. As I’ve noted before, their guiding principles include the promotion of the LGBT agenda and new and radical interpretations of gender (they want to “dismantle cis-gender privilege,” for example.) Their leaders are, without exception, radically pro-abortion..." What an NBA reporter's tweet reveals about Christianity (6 min) On May 25 a Minneapolis police officer killed an African American suspect, George Floyd, by placing a knee on the handcuffed Floyd's neck for more than 8 minutes. Some protests in bigger cities turned into riots, with police vehicles and businesses being set on fire. On May 29, the officer, Derek Chauvin was charged with murder. In this video, Whaddo You Meme's Jon McCray looks at what one reporter's reaction to the riots reveals about how if God were to judge us by even just our own standards, we would never measure up. ...

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Saturday Selections - May 30, 2020

Dolphin sonar is incredibly designed! (4 min) The many different components of dolphins' echolocation system allows it such a level of precision it can tell the difference between a golf ball and a ping pong ball. The closer we look at God's creation, the more we have to praise Him about! This is an excerpt from the fantastic documentary Living Waters. How David Livingstone's brave publicity stunt helped end slavery (15-minute read) John Piper writes about how David Livingstone's famed expedition, supposedly to find the headwaters of the Nile, actually had a very different purpose – Livingstone wanted to bring British attention to the horrors of the Slave Trade. Are purebred dogs ethical? God calls us to be stewards of creation, and that includes the creatures in it. When we breed a creature for a particular look, knowing that this look also leads to specific health problems – as happens with many purebred dogs – aren't we being bad stewards? Cessationism: what it is, and the case for it, in just 10 minutes While most Reformed folk hold to cessationism – the belief that the gifts of tongues, and prophecy, and miraculous healing have passed (even as we acknowledge that miraculous healing itself has not) – but don't know why. Professor Robert Rothwell lays out the cessationism case here. Scientists often lie Every time we read another headline about "millions of years," or this evolving into that, conservative Christians are reminded once again of how mainstream science can be very, very wrong. Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, some are encouraging us to "Just trust Science" and we know that's more than a little naive. Is Science now our infallible guide? There's good reason to be grateful for the guidance scientists can offer (Prov. 11:14, Prov. 15:22), but if we treat them as our one sure guide (ignoring, for example, the input of economists) – if we treat them as if they were God – then they are sure to disappoint. On the other hand, we shouldn't forget why we can be so certain scientists are wrong in some cases, and yet not be as certain in others. We can know they got it wrong when scientists' conclusions run right up against the Bible as they do on the subject of origins. Then we have God's infallible Word vs. fallible Man and it shouldn't be hard to know who to believe. But when scientists make declarations about things that God hasn't spoken to directly – like how harmful COVID-19 actually is – we might still have reasons to doubt what is said but not with the same degree of certainty. This is not what Man says versus what God says, but rather one group of experts vs. another. BC pastors appeal to government to free Christians to worship Occasional RP contributor Rev. Rob Schouten was one of those behind an open letter to BC Premier John Horgan asking for churches to receive attention as to when they can start to safely worship together once again. The letter is considerate, and well-argued, asking only for the same sort of accommodation as is being given to businesses and others. So far 85 churches have given their support to the letter. If you want to find out how you can too, or if you live outside BC and want to see a wonderful example of calm, winsome, yet persistent interaction with the authorities, then be sure to check out the website: ExpandBCWorshipServices.ca. The man behind Ravi (15 min) On May 19, the well-known apologist Ravi Zacharias died of cancer. God used him to "tear down arguments and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God" (2 Cor. 10:5) via public events, often times on university campuses, around the world. God used Ravi in a big public way, but in this wonderful, tear-jerking (God is so amazing!) short film we get a glimpse at the "man behind the man," D.D. Davis, who God also called, but to work behind the scenes to equip and encourage Ravi. Few of us are called to be on the stage, in front of the mike, but all of us can be "Gospel patrons" – equippers, encouragers, and in smaller ways too, proclaimers – who can help those called to lead. ...

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Saturday Selections - May 23, 2020

Surfin is illegal in the USA: A Beach Boys parody (2 min) There's no better way to kill the funny than to discuss a joke. But with all the vicious memes, and cruel editorial cartoons circulating the Internet, before I pass along this bit of parody it's worth considering what Christians can, and must not, say about our elected officials. Romans 13:6-7 instructs us: "Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor." That rules out the careless insult, and the casual disobedience. We can't call our Prime Minister names, and can't disobey his lawful orders without being able to show how those orders violate God's commands. But in our democratic system, our elected authorities are also our employees, and one of our roles is to evaluate their performance – we could even describe that as an authoritative role God has given to the electorate. So there may well be a time when, in the process of a"performance review" on our authorities, we have to use language they'd rather not hear. But it isn't disrespectful or dishonoring to explain why Joe Biden is a hypocrite for insisting we should believe women except when one accuses him. And it isn't violating Romans 13 to question the intent of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recent gun ban. That's legitimate job performance review material, even if the "interviewee" might prefer we don't go there. When it comes to our current COVID-19 crisis, we also aren't violating Romans 13:6-7 when we highlight governmental excesses, even when we do so with a dose of humor. The fellow behind this video below may or may not be a Christian, but his Surfin USA parody illustrates an important point: some of our authorities are not exercising their powers with restraint. These are the questions I asked about the viral "Plandemic" video An investigative journalist tracked down the documentary's producer and asked him some key questions. Michael Cook offers some sage advice as well, in his "How should we tackle conspiracy theories about COVID-19?" UN provides us some unintended comedy This week the United Nations tweeted out a request to have folks ditch the words "husband" and "wife" to "help create a more equal world." As Jonathon Van Maren shares, "the global community united in side-splitting gales of laughter." Why surrogacy is oppression "...surrogacy exploits the vulnerable....Increasingly, surrogacy is about two wealthy men using a woman for her body, while appropriating a role that only she can fulfill." John Stonestreet and Maria Baer followed up their article above with: "Adoption is beautiful; surrogacy isn't." Frog fossils found in the Antarctic Does a warmer earth spell our doom? Frog fossils in the land of ice and snow would seem to say no. Parents: slow down and listen Tedd and Margy Tripp with important advice for parents: "If your children are saying 'You never listen to me,' it is because they feel you never listen to them. Slow down and listen." The spread of the Gospel (2 min) "Every frame is one year in the last 2000 years of the Great Commission....It shows everywhere the Gospel has been preached, where churches and Christian gravestones first show external evidence of that work, and where churches and Bibles are accessible today." ...

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Saturday Selections - May 16, 2020

What's the Reformed perspective on the UFO videos? (1-hour podcast) Last month the Pentagon declassified three videos of what they termed "unexplained aerial phenomena." The videos had previously been leaked to the Internet back in 2017, so what was newsworthy now was the official confirmation of their authenticity. What should Christians think of claims that we are being visited by alien civilizations? Pastor Jeff Durbin and his crew at Apologia Radio offer a fascinating take. If their 1-hour podcast is a bit too long for you, a Reformed perspective on UFOs can also be found in our review of Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection. The problem with mailed-in ballots With COVID-19 keeping people in, there's been pressure in the US for more States to switch from in-person voting to using mail-in ballots instead. While voting by the post might be more hygienic, it has a downside: mail-in ballots aren't secure. When we go into a voting booth, no one knows what choice we make, so no one can threaten or bribe us to vote as they want us to. But when someone can watch you fill in your ballot, then pressure can come from spouses, parents, friends, careworkers, and others. The false dilemma of Science vs. Faith  Dr. John Byl has a fascinating summary of a debate over Science and Faith that took place in the pages of the Dordt University publication Pro Rege. It began with an explanation as to how "Science vs. Faith" is "the Great False Dichotomy" (because the real battle is not Science vs. Faith, but actually between the Christian worldview and an anti-Christian worldview). and then heated up when Dr. Arnold Sikkema wrote a letter to the editor, against the original article. And then his letter garnered its own reply. 5 ways to protect your kids from pornography The most important way? Talk to your children early – be their first teacher, and therefore their go-to, for this topic. Don't let a video, seen on their friend's phone, be their first exposure to what sex is. Parents: don't shame your kids Tedd Tripp on how we parents have to come alongside our kids as fellow sinners, and not simply as judges. Quarantine stereotypes (10 minutes) The 5 friends at Dude Perfect offer up a slice of quarantine life. ...

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Saturday Selections - May 9, 2020

A whale of an evolution tale (10 minutes) The evolution of whales has been touted as "one of the best examples of an evolutionary transition." This short, very amusing, animated presentation, uses evolutionists' own findings to ask "if this is one of the best evidences for evolution what does that mean for their other evidence that's not as good?" ‘My 15-year-old transgender son is going through menopause’ Christians need to hear and pass along stories like this, stacking them on the biblical foundation that God made us male and female: "The lunacy of allowing a child – a 15-year-old is still a child who cannot drive or vote – to destroy her capacity for bringing new life into the world suggests that we are witnessing a crisis of parenting, not necessarily a crisis of gender identity." A creationist responds to Plandemic (23 minutes) Creation.com's Dr. Robert Carter takes on what was this week's popping-up-everwhere excerpt from an upcoming documentary, Plandemic. That excerpt pitches a collection of claims about COVID-19 (as well as claims about other sort-of, but-not-entirely, related things). Plandemic is being shared widely and is being, if not wholly believed by many, at least seriously considered by many, including those who don't normally pass along these types of conspiratorial claims. That's because Plandemic looks good – this is professionally produced. And it is compelling, in large part because it makes lots of points, even as it leaves viewers with little time to evaluate each claim made. In critiquing this video, Dr. Carter is not trying to argue that everything said is untrue. His point is more limited: simply that this is not a reliable source. If you haven't already seen the Plandemic excerpt, you might no longer be able to – YouTube and Facebook have been actively taking down the video, in a paternalistic approach that will only, and ironically, feed the documentary's conspiratorial narrative. Abstaining from everything during the pandemic, except...promescuity? COVID-19 is transmissible via human contact so our governments shut down...everything. But when it comes to sexually-transmitted diseases, these same governments won't encourage abstinence. In fact, they often won't share the real risks, encouraging children to continue in risky behaviors that are sure to leave them with one STD or another. Michael Moore's new documentary knocks the halo off the environmental movement In a surprising twist, Michael Moore's new (and free) documentary takes on environmentalism. But while Planet of the Humans sees through the hypocrisy of the Green movement, the solution it offers is far from insightful.  The film pitches people, not carbon, as the problem. But this people-are-a-plague-on-the-planet perspective is the same anti-Christian, overpopulation-hype we've been hearing since Thomas Malthus and Paul Ehrlich. Dutch Supreme Court allows euthanasia for people with dementia Euthanasia is supposedly a person choosing for themselves when they are going to die. The idea that our lives are ours to dispose of as we wish stands in contrast to recognizing that God, as the giver of life, is in charge of it. It is on this Christian basis that we can tell the suicidal man that his desire is wrong – his life is not his to dispose of. But on what basis could those who worship autonomy condemn his wish? What the Dutch Supreme Court has approved now, is the killing of patients who have previously requested euthanasia but who presently lack the capacity to make that request. The case in question involved an elderly woman in advanced stages of dementia who had previously requested euthanasia but who, when the killers in white coats came, actively fought their attempts. So they held her down and injected poison into her veins...all in the name of self-determination. This isn't simply irony – this is a false god, autonomy, now being exposed as a sham and a lie. The world might not want to hear God's Truth, but if we are going to offer them genuine help, then we need to share that it is He, and not we, who owns our lives. What good does it do to merely expose the lie? There are any number of lies to follow, so if we leave it that then the world can simply switch from following one lie to following another. However, when we lead with God's Truth, and then expose the lie of autonomy, those who have ears to hear will know in Whose direction they should turn. Fear no one - a short documentary (7 min) On May 5, 1945, the whole country of the Netherlands was finally completely free. This year and this month mark the 75th anniversary of that final liberation. In the video below we are introduced to Jake who lived through it all and wants to give glory to the God he knew he could trust in the most trying of times. ...

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Saturday Selections – May 2, 2020

An unborn baby kicking up a storm (30 seconds) Our value doesn't come from what we can do – it comes from in Whose Image we are made – but for those who say otherwise, this clip of a baby doing all sorts of things that newborn babies also do makes it hard for them to deny that this is, in fact, a baby. This active, energetic (mom is going to feel that!) unborn and unprotected child is busy showing off his or her many abilities! A podcast about John Calvin dealing with disease (10-minutes) While the two hosts of this podcast are likely not Reformed, their discussion on how "epidemics tore through John Calvin's Geneva five times" is interesting. The interview is just 10 minutes long, followed by 5 minutes of dated news that you can give a miss. Harvard prof wants a "presumptive ban" homeschooling An interview critiquing homeschooling portrayed the poor homeschooling student imprisoned inside a house built out of, among other books, a Bible. As Forbes' Mike McShane noted, it was as if the article's author and editors had never met homeschoolers. After all, it is not home schools, but public schools, some complete with metal detectors, that most look like prisons. Then there was the irony that the presumably public-school-educated editors didn't notice that another of the books imprisoning the child had a misspelled "arithmatic" on its spine. But these were only symptoms of the interview's underlying flaw – as John Stonestreet shared, the arguments were "ideology dressed up as advocacy." What skeptical scholars admit about the Resurrection (10-minute read) Even the skeptics acknowledge that something special must have happened. Psalms 101: congregational psalm-singing for those in withdrawal If the quarantine has you missing the sound of congregational singing, this site has 16 psalms as sung by various congregations around the world. The site also has a vast array of other psalms-related materials, including choral performances too. And if you want a strictly instrumental version of the 150 psalms, perhaps to sing along with, check out Dr. Ernst Stolz's YouTube channel here. (H/T to Marlene VanRootselaar and Thea Dora.) Is space travel our destiny? In his book and documentary, Privileged Planet, Guillermo Gonzalez argued that the Earth was not only uniquely suited for life but unusually suited to explore the rest of our Universe. In this article, he reflects on two recent studies that make the point that Earth is quite unusual in how our Sun is the right size, and our planet the right size, to allow for rocket travel. Some might call this a long string of coincidences, but Christians would be right to wonder if these might simply be preparations, with God so positioning us that we could, one day, go into the great beyond and explore even more of His amazing Creation. Why are fossil footprints curious evidence for the Flood? (3 minutes) The folks who brought you Is Genesis History? share how fossil footprints are evidence for Noah's Flood. ...

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Saturday Selections - April 25, 2020

Earth Day? Nah. (2 min) It was Earth Day this past Wednesday and once again the world celebrated creation even as it denied the Creator. Dr. Gordon Wilson encourages Christians not to hitch our wagon to the environmental movement and to, instead celebrate the Creator, not the creature. When a vaccine arrives, will it be ethical? ...or will it be developed using the cells of aborted fetuses? A defense of infant baptism (10-minute read) There's a lot of confusion in the debate over adult-only versus adults-and-babies baptism. In this 10-minute primer, Dr. Guy M. Richard clears a number of them away. Coronavirus and Christ: a poem by John Piper The Bible gives buckets of answers about COVID-19. You may not like them. Time magazine recently published an article by N.T. Wright with the title: "Christianity offers no answers about the coronavirus. It's not supposed to." Dan Phillips offers this corrective. Why Christian parents need to be extra careful about what shows their kids watch in quarantine Jonathon Van Maren highlights how Disney and others really are trying to corrupt our children. Is corporate worship "essential"? ARPA Canada weighs in with some biblical considerations for churches, as well as points to raise with our elected leaders. What's inside a caterpillar "cocoon"? (3.5 min) Did you know butterflies might be able to remember things they learned when they were caterpillars? ...

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Saturday Selections – April 18, 2020

Are you tolerant? (4 minutes) This is as funny as it is informative! Environmentalism has killed its millions Earth Day, April 22, is upon us once again, and while it may have a different feel this year we can be sure all things environmental are still going to be celebrated by the secular media. However, there as an important aspect of environmentalism that is not praiseworthy: placing the interests of plants and animals either alongside or above those of people. This is a difference that distinguishes environmentalism from biblical stewardship, where we are entrusted with the responsibility of caring for creation (Gen. 1:28) but are also the pinnacle of it (Gen. 1:26-27, Ps. 8:3-9).  This article highlights the enormous damage done when that is forgotten. How long does it take to read each book in the Old Testament? (infographic) Would we dive into our Bibles more eagerly if we understood just how little time it takes to dig deep? Click for the full chart. Babylon Bee encourages us to hold our medical opinions with humility... The Christian satire site, in their own unique way, made their point with the headline: "Facebook to award everyone printable medical degree." FREE MAGAZINE: Ezra Institute's Jubilee Looking for a good deep read? The articles in Jubilee, a conservative Reformed publication, often require some investment but diligent readers will be rewarded. And while the print subscription is $25 a year, past digital issues can be enjoyed for free. As always, readers should practice discernment. Is opposing same-sex marriage like opposing interracial marriage? (4 minutes) You're in a conversation about marriage, and someone says, "The Church opposing same-sex marriage is like how the Church used to oppose interracial marriage" How would you respond? ...

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Saturday Selections - April 11, 2020

Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra: quarantine edition In this rousing, at-home rendition, the RPO plays Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," better known to many by the lyrics Henry van Dyke wrote for it in 1907: "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee." Freud the fraud He is one of the most influential figures of the modern age. But this past month a secular science magazine headline asked, "Was Freud right about anything?" The answer given? A decided, "No." So why did so many buy what he was selling? Was it because of the materialistic – the atheistic – worldview that came with it? Might it be, as Chesterton has sometimes been credited with saying, that, "When men stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing. They believe in anything"? Martin Luther on the coronavirus (20-minute read) The bubonic plague hit Wittenberg in the fall of 1527. It was highly contagious, painful, and in an earlier 1347 outbreak, might have killed as much as 60% of Europe’s population. While they didn’t, at the time, know what caused it, they were aware it involved being around sick people. So when the plague struck, healthy people would flee. But Luther did not. When another pastor asked him "whether it is proper for a Christians to run away from a deadly plague,“ Luther wrote a letter in reply, titled “Whether one may flee from a deadly plague,” that is applicable to our own situation. While the whole letter is worth reading, one excerpt, in particular, has been making its way around the Internet: "I shall ask God to mercifully protect us. Then I will fumigate, purify the air, administer medicine, and take medicine. I shall avoid places and persons where my person is not needed in order not to become contaminated, and thus perchance inflict and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God shall wish to take me, He shall surely find me. But, I have done what He has expected of me, and so I am not responsible either for my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person, but shall go freely. This is a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy, and does not tempt God." Should we outlaw child labor? Before you answer... The article title is, "When good intentions harm children" but the lesson it preaches is one that can be applied more broadly: everything comes with tradeoffs, so before we make any big decision, we should find out what the possible downsides are – we should count the cost (Luke 14:25-33). What I didn't learn in business school... "What I didn’t learn in business school is that good business principles didn’t originate in the halls of academia; they are in fact biblical principles." How can I explain sin to an unbeliever (1 minute) Sometimes sinners will dispute the obvious, and before we reply we need to hear Proverbs 26:4, where God warns: "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him." If we treat a foolish question with respect, acting as if it really is a legitimate concern, then to onlookers we can look as foolish as the questioner. For example, if someone were to say, "Prove to me gravity exists!" the exact wrong sort of response would be, "That's a really good question - let me think about that." In this clip, Dr. RC Sproul is asked how to explain to a sinner that sin really exists. That fact sin exists is written on this unbeliever's heart (Romans 2:15) so he knows better and this is a question along the lines of "Prove to me gravity exists." Then RC Sproul shows how not to answer a fool in his folly – his answer treats the questions with the amount of respect that it is due. Brilliant! ...

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Saturday Selections – April 4, 2020

3 things to remember when you're feeling anxious (3 min) "It's striking that the most frequent command in the entire Bible is to not be afraid. Don't fear. Don't be anxious. And it's a very unusual command because it doesn't say, 'Repent,' or 'Try harder.' It's a command, but then the next thing said is a promise: 'I will be with you. Don't be afraid.'" – David Powlison New free Christian streaming service Looking for some good Christian viewing? Vision Video and the Christian History Institute have just started a new, free (donor-supported) streaming service (H/T Tim Challies). You have to give your name and email, and then you are good to go. A lot of it is middling content, some is Roman Catholic, but there are some gems worth checking out including a great children's film... Storm and Luther's Forbidden Letter  ...5 biographical dramas (I've ordered them from best to not bad)... C.S. Lewis Onstage Martin Luther Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace  John Hus - A Journey of No Return God's Outlaw: The Story of William Tyndale ... and, for the even more studious, a classic apologetics series from Schaeffer, and a series from James Kennedy... Francis Schaeffer's "How Should We Then Live" James Kennedy's "What if Jesus had never been born?" There's also the Torchlighter animated biographies, where some episodes are quite good (like the Martin Luther one). But despite being animated, these are not all-ages viewing - The Jim Elliot Story, for example, includes a brief depiction of his death by spearing. So, as always, parents should preview. We can't spend our way to prosperity This is not a Christian article but it makes a Christian point: it is not spending, but investment, that grows an economy. We see in the Parable of the Talents (Matt. 25:14-30) the lazy servant is taken to task for not investing his talent, while the two others are congratulated for making more out of what their Master gave them. The idea of "stimulus spending" flips this on its head, calling on us not to create more, but to spend what we have. To be clear, this article isn't critiquing aid to those in need – that's a different discussion. What's being critiqued here is sending cheques out with the goal of getting people spending. As the author notes, this has been tried repeatedly, and it has failed repeatedly: "More spending is a consequence of economic growth, not the trigger for economic growth." Fear of dying There's nothing like a pandemic to bring our mortality close to home. Lou Priolo lists 6 common reasons we're afraid of dying and lays out a "brief biblical remedy for each of them. Christian Psychology: an introduction & biblical analysis (15-minute read) This is a helpful article, highlighting the differences between secular psychology and two types of Christian psychology. It's not a quick or easy read, but it is an informative one. A Christian and a feminist almost agree (5 min) The world can often be spot on about what the problem is, and still be completely wrong about what the solution is. And unless someone tells them God's answer, they aren't going to figure it out on their own. ...

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Saturday Selections - March 28, 2020

John MacArthur on the coronavirus crisis (17 minutes) While the coronavirus quarantine led to the canceling of the Ligonier conference, it freed up some time for one of the featured speakers to address how Christians can respond to this crisis and use it as an opportunity to witness to how the Gospel is good news to us, as well as to any who respond to Christ in faith. Tips for talking to your kids about sex I once heard a pastor share what he called "The Law of First Explanations" – that one reason parents have to be the first to talk about sex with their kids (and be the first to talk with them about any other important topics) is because our kids will sift all subsequent information they get on that topic through the filter of the first explanation they get. Parents will often notice the impact of this law when they come in second (or third, or fourth...) because now, whatever we have to say, is going to be tested against the filter of "But my teacher said..." or "But my friends all think..." But it works in our favor too, when we act early. Or, as the article author puts it, "Better a year too early than five minutes too late.” In addition to the article above, a helpful book series – one you can read along with your daughter or son, with different books for different ages – is the "Learning about sex for the Christian family" series put about by Concordia Publishing House. Getting creative... When government restrictions made it impossible to gather inside our church buildings, one congregation came up with a creative way of still meeting together at their usual time. This past Sunday, the Christ Community Church in Blaine, WA met outside, singing and listening to the sermon from inside their cars, assembled in their parking lot. Teaching our kids how to manage their devices Tim Challies titled this article "When Parents Feel Like We Are Mostly Failing Most of the Time" because, when it comes to helping out kids figure out how to use their phones, tablets, and computers to best effect, we know we aren't doing it right. There's plenty of reasons for it, not the least of which is as trailblazers in this area (this is not something our parents could teach us how to teach our kids) we are bound to get it wrong. But that also means there is plenty of ways to improve. So, for the love of our kids, let's be the parents and take that leadership role. And Challies has some wonderful help to offer. How the coronavirus has revealed what's core to Roman Catholicism An Italian pastor explains how the Catholic Church's response to the coronavirus is revealing what's core (and consequently what's deficient) in their doctrine. In related news, the Pope has said that, due to the crisis, Catholics can confess their sins directly to God...at least until they can reach a priest once again. Choice42 with another tool for the pro-life toolbox (1 minute) There is a truth about the unborn that needs to be shared – that they are every bit as valuable as you and I because, just like you and I, they are made in the very Image of God (Gen 1:26-27, 9:6). And there are also lies that need to be knocked down – many, many lies. And as she shows here once again, Laura Klassen, and her crew down at Choice42, are among the very best at knocking down those lies. ...

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Saturday Selections - March 21, 2020

How is the moon's design evidence for creation? (6 minutes) The unique characteristics of our moon – its size and distance from us relative to the sun's size and distance, the plane of its orbit, the ratio of its mass compared to the Earth, and more – make it a perfect aid to study our sun's corona and to stabilize our planet's rotation. RC Sproul's Ligonier Ministries makes all their teaching series free The best response to coronavirus fear? Learn more about our good, trustworthy, sovereign God. So as their response to the coronavirus crisis, RC Sproul's Ligonier Ministries is making their entire library of hundreds of teaching series free to stream online. C.S. Lewis on Modesty Lewis chips in on the Christian modesty discussion/debate. There's more to be said, but this is a helpful contribution. Eviction rights: "My building, my choice"? In this spoof of the abortion rights argument, reporters ask a political candidate about the "My Building, My Choice!” campaign that has the US government proposing rules to make it easier for landlords to evict tenants. How far is too far? When Christian young people are dating, "The question, 'How far is too far?' is often asked with the wrong motive. The real question usually being asked is, 'How much can I get away with?' Purity doesn’t ask that; purity asks, “How can I honor God in this relationship?” Many a reader won't agree with one of the suggestions in this article: no kissing before marriage. But whatever you think of that particular outworking, there are biblical principles here well worth discussing. 15 Reformed theologians on anxiety and fear The folks at the Westminster Bookstore have done something special, collecting key chapters from 15 Christian authors addressing the topic of anxiety and fear and then distributing those chapters for free (at the link above). These chapters include, in order: EDWARD WELCH - A small book for the anxious heart (4 daily readings) PAUL TAUTGES - Anxiety - Knowing God's Peace (4 readings) SARA WALLACE - Created to Care: God's Truth for Anxious Moms (Chap 8) MARK VROEGOP – Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy (Intro/Chap 1) JOHN CALVIN - Everyday prayer (Ps 130, 143) DAVID POWLISON - God's Grace in your Suffering (Intro) DALE RALPH DAVIS - In the Presence of my Enemies (Ps 29 - Chap 6) DAVID GIBSON: Living Life Backwards (Chap 1) JOHN MURRAY - O Death, Where is Thy Sting (Chap 13) PURITANS - Piercing prayers ALISTAIR BEGG - Pray Big (Chap 2) CHARLES SPURGEON - The Promises of God (5 daily readings) PAUL DAVID TRIPP - Suffering (Chapter 11) IAIN M. DUGUID - The Whole Armor of God (Chap 1) GROVES + SMITH - Untangling Emotions (Chap 13) TIMOTHY KELLER - Walking with God through Pain and Suffering (Intro) Crisis, Christ, confidence and the coronavirus (27 minutes) Two professors from the Westminister Theological Seminary, a doctor, and Martin Luther, weigh in on how God would want us to respond to the coronavirus crisis. ...

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Saturday Selections - March 14, 2020

The only question that matters in the abortion debate Greg Koukl shows how to simplify the abortion debate Christian myths and other famous quips (26-minute podcast) In this episode of the Abounding Grace Radio, Pastor Chris Gordon addresses three Christian myths: God helps those who help themselves God will never give you more than you can handle God is a gentleman who would never force Himself on anyone How to make your marriage blossom Ray Comfort, evangelist and closet comedian too, has 7 great tips. Coronavirus may lead to a mass homeschooling experiment? With school years being disrupted all over, will parents find out they don't need the government to teach their kids? Polyamory and the Overton Window How did homosexuality start getting "normalized" in evangelical Christian circles? With Christian leaders muddying what homosexuality entailed, giving them the opportunity, then, to condemn it only in part (the physical act itself), even as they praised what they called other aspects of it. Now we can see this same approach being used with polyamory. Don't be fooled! (Since posting this, it has been noted there has been some back and forth dialogue going on online. The article linked to in the title, by Denny Burke, critiqued this one by Preston Sprinkle and Branson Parler. And now Sprinkle and Parler have responded to Burke and other critics here. And one of the critics they respond to, Douglas Wilson, responds to their response here. Lots to read, but it is well worth the time invested - this is the newest front.) C.S. Lewis on the Coronavirus "Lewis never faced the coronavirus, of course, but in the late 1940s, the world was coming to grips with another threat..." Are women more important for business than family?  Joseph Backholm went to the Women's March to ask, do businesses need to have both men and women on their boards, and "is it equally important for men and women to be represented in the lives of children?" (ie. do kids need a mom and dad). His interviewees thought equal representation was important in only one of those situations. ...

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Saturday Selections – March 7, 2020

Caterpillars feed on exploding seed pods! (3 minutes) Wait for it....wait for it..... Don't leave kids to their own devices Should we trust kids with online privacy? No, says Breakpoint Ministries' John Stonestreet: "the least loving thing you can do as a parent is to leave your kids to their own devices on the Internet." How J.K. Rowling outsmarted the LGBT mob when it came after her The Harry Potter author simply stood her ground unapologetically... Euthanasia is increasing organ donations. What should we do? "'Medically assisted death' comes down to people at their most vulnerable trying to hold on to a sense of control. Organ donation gives one more illusion of control: the illusion that this apparent altruism will give your life and death a meaning it otherwise would not have. This illusion further masks the inherent dignity each human being has as an image-bearer of God – the God who, in health or sickness, is in control." University: to go or not go? One consideration Is college worth it, financially? There are many things to consider, and here is just one. US college students graduate with an average of $30,000 in debt. This article argues that, if instead of having to pay that off over the next ten years, they could instead be investing in the Stock Market each of those years at just a minimal amount of $3,648 per year, they could end up with almost a million dollars more in their retirement bank account. The lesson? Invest early (Albert Einstein called compound interest the "eighth wonder of the world") and consider only going to college or university if you have goals that require it. What is a worldview? (5 minutes) Everyone has one. But what is it? And why does it matter? ...

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Saturday Selections – February 29, 2020

Could giraffes fit on the ark? Answers in Genesis has made a 30-second commercial for their Ark Encounter in Kentucky. It's based on all the children's bible storybooks that depict Noah's Ark with giraffes that have to stick their necks out a window. As the Giraffe family discovers, those pictures don't capture the true scale of things. If you've ever thought of visiting the Ark Encounter this might be the year to go – in 2020 kids 10 and under are free. Catholic mass to be offered to Protestants in Calvin's Cathedral today As Adam Ford noted, this is something that should not only get Protestants angry but even Catholics. There are real differences between us about who God is and what He has done for us. Rather than addressing those differences, this pretends that the truth of the matter is inconsequential. So this isn't Catholic theology sneaking into a Protestant church; this is relativism and apathy showing they already run the place. Christian atheists? Though they won't worship God, some prominent atheists still recognize that Christianity is good for the world. Is Transhumanism uncomfortably tempting? Is Transhumanism – the idea that we can use technology to reshape ourselves – the next thing coming? Transhumanism includes things as minimal as a pair of high-tech glasses that access the Internet. It can also be much more radical, involving the replacement of body parts with cybernetics. Artificial limbs designed to help those who have lost their own arms or legs via accident or disease might be grafted onto people who want to substitute their healthy arm for a bionic one. Inconceivable? Not in a world in which men are being told that they can become women, and vice versa. What is the Christian response? Denyse O'Leary provides a partial answer. Reformed sermon site has 1,500+ TheSeed.info has collected 1,679 sermons from pastors in the Canadian and American Reformed Churches and their sister denominations. It can be searched by biblical text (with at least one sermon available for every book of the bible except, somewhat mysteriously, 1 Chronicles) so it's a great study resource and quite the source of reading sermons. All Bob's money.... (3 min) Now that Bernie Sanders is the Democratic presidential front runner, this spoof of the Beatles' "All my loving" is making the rounds again. Sanders has spoken of banning billionaires, not for any specific evil they've done but simply because they have more money than he thinks they should have. This is what breaking the 1oth Commandment looks like at a governmental level – he's peeking over the back fence at what the billionaires have, and he's coveting. But is that the only Commandment that Sanders is breaking? If you have libertarian friends you may have heard one claim that "all taxation is theft." Libertarians believe the government derives its authority from the people, and thus only has the same powers that we as individuals have. And since we can't force people to give us money – that would be stealing – it's still theft even when the government does it. In contrast, Christians know that governments are put in place by God, and derive their authority from Him. They can tax us because, as Roman 13:6-7 shows, God has given them the authority to do so. So, no, not all taxation is theft. But where Christians can go wrong is in believing that since the government is allowed to tax that means taxation is never theft. However, when King Ahab wanted his neighbor Naboth's vineyard (1 Kings 21) he couldn't simply take it, even though he was the king – even though he was the government – because that would have been a violation of the 8th Commandment, Do not Steal. So he found a couple of men to bear false witness against Naboth, accusing him of blasphemy, and then had him stoned to death, and only afterward took his vineyard. Do we imagine, as Douglas Wilson recently asked, that "if Ahab has done what he did to Naboth via a program of land reform, or eminent domain, or zone redistricting Elijah would have nodded to himself saying, 'That's more like it'?" Whether we think Sanders' billionaire ban violates the 8th Commandment or not, it breaks the 10th. God made Abraham wealthy, and Jacob, and Solomon too. While Jesus warned that wealth comes with temptations (Matt. 19:24), being rich is a responsibility that God gives, and is not an injustice the government must correct. ...

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Saturday Selections - February 22, 2020

Roe vs. Wade trailer Coming soon, a film about the politics, ignorance, and deception behind the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision (this is the court ruling most responsible for abortion in the US). Based on this trailer it looks like it could be as impactful as Gosnell. "I have three minutes to live!" Witnessing to cults Ray Comfort has an interesting response for cultists when they come knocking at his door. "I warmly ask for their names, and then say, ‘Someone stabbed me in the back. I am dying and have only three minutes to live. What do I need to do to enter heaven/paradise/the kingdom of God?’” Is evolutionary tail-telling affecting Bible translation? In Job 40:15-18 the Lord describes a beast with a tail that "sways like a cedar." What sort of creature might that be? Would you believe some translators rendered is as a hippopotamus? Why would they do that? Might a compromise with evolutionary thinking have blinded them to a more likely possibility? The euthanasia slippery slope is real Once killing patients is deemed medicine, then on what basis are we going to withhold this "treatment"? It turns out that once we give up on all life being precious – given as it is by God – then any subsequent lines we draw are arbitrary, and it is a simple matter to erase and redraw them further down the slope...again and again. Biblical history in broken pots "Stop me if this sounds familiar: Archaeologists digging in Israel discover artifacts buried for about three millennia. Upon close examination, their find either confirms the biblical narrative or at least undermines a long-accepted dismissal of a biblical claim. Okay, don’t stop me. After all, it won’t matter if you try, because I never get tired of telling stories like these...." My 3-year-old son is a girl now "Who am I to question my three-year-old?" ...

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Saturday Selections - February 15, 2020

Newsies learn to clickbait (4 minutes) Who knew that fake news could be so toe-tapping? Canadians waiting longer to receive healthcare Free healthcare comes with a cost, and it isn't just the taxes we pay – when the government is the only provider, then there is no competition to push innovation or efficiencies. It shouldn't surprise us, then, that by the Fraser Institute's estimates, Canadian wait times to receive healthcare have more than doubled since 1993. You can see the infographic at the link above, or the longer Fraser Institute report here. Yes, you can trust the gospels...even when they seem to conflict (10-minute read) Some scholars argue that the gospel writers didn't care about the facts, but were just trying to send a message. Christian philosopher Lydia McGrew explains the message only has meaning if it is factual, and shows a way how alleged discrepancies can be resolved. 5 ways you are probably not a Calvinist Dr. Wes Bredenhof lays out 5 views that John Calvin held that most Reformed folk probably don't... Follow your passion? The Christian vision of work We've been telling young people to "follow your passion," but is that a biblical view of calling? Separating Church and State? (3 minutes) The Devil is all about twisting truth right around so that what is good and right is then used for evil. So it is with the separation of Church and State. As Dr. Michael Wagner explains here, Church and State should be separate. But it is a very different thing to say that the government should be separated from Christian beliefs. Of course, the Devil would like God's truth silenced. And our godless government doesn't want Christians shining their reflected light in the halls of Parliament. That's what they're after when they speak about the separation of Church and State. However, by their own standards, they have no basis on which to shut us up. We don't ask anyone else to abandon their beliefs when they pursue political office, so why should Christians be expected to? Everyone hates double standards (Matt. 7:2). ...

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Saturday Selections - February 8, 2020

Long story short: Homology (8 minutes) One of the main arguments Darwin used for his theory was homology – that very different animals have some odd similarities, like how a whale, human, and bat have similar "arm" bone structures. Darwin asked, how could these similarities exist other than that we're all related? But it turns out, homology is no proof of evolution! Time to hit pause on gene-editing When it comes to human gene-editing, China is acting more responsible than the West, where "we insist on charging ahead despite our imperfect knowledge with an unbounded confidence in our abilities." Woodpeckers are freaky cool! Football players get concussions at impacts of 80 g, but woodpeckers deal with impacts amounting to 1,200 g. How do they escape brain injuries? This article is not from a Christian perspective, but in laying out how wonderful these critters are, it points us to their amazing Designer. Watch the embedded video to see the impacts in slow motion! (h/t to Crev.info) Your face was designed to show emotion Did you know about half the muscles in your face are there to make facial expressions? A license for your thoughts? "You need to get a government license for many things in Canada; so far, publishing your thoughts is not one of them. But in recent weeks two warning shots have been fired…" The Riot and the Dance: Water (3 minutes) Riot and the Dance: Earth (reviewed here) was one of the most original nature documentaries made, exploring not just the beauty, but also the "riot" of what is going on in this created, marvelous, but also fallen, world. Now there is a sequel coming out, and the trailer looks good! ...

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Saturday Selections – February 1, 2020

World's largest pro-life march, in 60 seconds This past week hundreds of thousands came to march in Washington D.C. to highlight the need to protect the unborn. May God bless these efforts on their behalf. Roger Scruton on beauty Philosopher Roger Scruton (1944-2020) was a favorite among many Christians, though he was not one himself, disputing the resurrection. But in the same way that Jordan Peterson gets many things right because, even in his unbelief, he takes much of the Bible seriously (and more seriously than many self-professed Christians) so too Scruton has some valuable insights on art that are discussed here. 3 ways boys can benefit by reading "girl books" "Reading about women will not lift the veil and reveal all the mystery that women will always have for the young man. It can, however, help a young man know the difference, to borrow characters from Pride and Prejudice, between an 'Elizabeth' and a 'Lydia.' If it helps in this way, it is worth so much." Sesame Street pushing an agenda Billy Porter, a cross-dressing LGBT activist, will make an appearance on the upcoming 51st season of the children's show. Free Documentary: By what standard? The Southern Baptist Convention is a large American denomination with a Calvinist leaning, it is the home of Albert Mohler and also Beth Moore, and it has been wrestling with the issues of complementarianism, social justice, and also something called "Critical Race Theory." This 2-hour documentary certainly isn't for everyone, but it is eye-opening in showing how troubling worldviews can sneak into the Church via the best of intentions. CNN helps Christian satire site grow... (5 minutes) It's amusing to see how attacks by Snopes.com and CNN have only helped the Christian satire site Babylon Bee grow. It's also instructive to watch how Babylon Bee enters the fray. Christians needn't be fearful – after all, we know God has already won! – so we can contend with a spirit of joy. This is what winsome looks like. ...

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Saturday Selections - January 25, 2020

The Gospel vs. Sorcery in Papua New Guinea (30 minutes) In Papua New Guinea the fear of  "sanguma" – sorcery – is such that it leads people to stone and kill supposed witches. What is the answer to such fear? We know Jesus can defeat demons both supposed and real. But how can the people of Papua New Guinea know unless someone tells them? In this half-hour video, we get to follow along as seven men squeeze themselves into one Land Cruiser and, over the course of one week, take the Gospel to thousands who show up and listen in the marketplaces. As Pastor Ryan Dejonge notes at one point, "We have this window of opportunity in Papua New Guinea. You can't do this in Australia...you can't do this in Canada. You would just get people fighting you – you're not going to get people hearing the Gospel . God has given us a window of opportunity. He's given us this open door. And we've realized this is a real and a useful way to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ....Our moment is now." (The link below might look broken but give it a click because it does work.) If you won the lottery, would you be at work tomorrow? Most people, if they came into a fortune, would quit their job instantly. But what about Christians? Harvard study shows the dangers of early school enrollment The Foundation for Economic Education's most popular article this decade wasn't about economics. Instead it asked: "Are ADHD rates rising because we send children to school at younger ages?" Man to "woman" to "non-binary" and back again James Shupe declared himself a woman, then declared himself non-binary, but has now asked to be legally recognized once again as the man he is. The Darwin Dictionary Seemingly inspired by Ambroise Bierce's Devil's Dictionary, Keaton Halley has crafted his own Darwin's Dictionary to highlight the creative ways evolutionists employ language. Here are a couple of examples: Abiogenesis, n. – Rocks begetting life, in violation of the most basic, observed law of biology. Big bang, n. – The logic-bending theory that everything was produced when nothing at all exploded. Each entry includes a link to a great article explaining the creationist perspective. How does the Women's March define what a woman is? (3 minutes) Joseph Backholm has a history of asking questions the Left can't, or won't, answer. A few years back he hit a college campus asking "Am I a 6-foot-5 Chinese woman?" This time around he went to the 2020 Women's March in Washington D.C. to ask the marchers three things: How would you define what a woman is? Are there any innate differences between men and women today? Do you think anyone can be a woman? They found these tricky questions. Why? Because the modern feminist movement celebrates women as something special, even as it holds that men and women are identical which means there has been a longstanding conflict between the answers feminists give to questions 1 and 2. Question 3 only exasperates the problem: if men can now become women, it makes it all but impossible to celebrate the distinctly feminine. In fact, when there are no differences between men and women, and men can become women, then the term woman is rendered meaningless – a word that can mean anything at all means nothing at all. There's one other reason his interviewees were reluctant to chat. I think, on some level, they were worried about the question that would come next: this white male asking them, "Can I be a woman?" And what could they answer to that? (WARNING: One of the marchers in this video takes God's name in vain.) ...

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Saturday Selections - January 18, 2020

Pine tree fire vaults (2 minutes) God has designed these trees to preserve their seeds until after a forest fire passes. BBC: Most scientists can't replicate studies by their peers When so many treat science like it is the one sure source of Truth it's worth noting how science is nowhere near as unerring as it has been made out to be. 10 ways porn culture will target kids in 2020 The folks at Protect Young Minds offer this to prepare, not scare, parents. CNN reporter thinks Babylon Bee satire is too believable A reporter who is quite the fan of the leftward satire site The Onion thinks the Christian satire site Babylon Bee is tricking people with  headlines like: "Democrats Call For Flags To Be Flown At Half-Mast To Grieve Death Of Soleimani." FREE BOOK: 7 Considerations in the age of video games In this 29-page booklet, an old-school media expert encourages parents to teach their kids how to work with wood, or paint, or read, rather than spend their time on video games. Why? Here's one of his reasons: "In his book, Boys Adrift, Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D. gives five factors driving the decline of boys from growing up to fulfill their potential. Can you guess the number one factor? 'Video Games. Studies suggest that some of the most popular video games are disengaging boys from real-world pursuits.'” Islam's 99-1 rule (14 minutes) Apologist David Wood explains how Islam uses the unquestioning 99% of its adherents to pressure and intimidate into silence the 1% who have done the research and have questions. ...

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Saturday Selections – January 11, 2020

If conversion therapy is bad why is "sex reassignment" good? It's been said that our culture wars are really just a battle over the dictionary. "One trick of LGBT activists is changing the meaning of words. We see this in the way they celebrate 'sex reassignment' as 'gender affirmation' but condemned conversion therapy as 'sex reassignment.'" Impeachment: Quid Pro-choice Christianity Today's editor, Mark Galli, sparked controversy last month when he came out in favor of US President Donald Trump being impeached. Is the President guilty? Galli acknowledged the process wasn't fair: "No, Mr. Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on impeachment. But the facts in this instance are unambiguous..." Two Scripture passages leap to mind – Prov. 18:17 and Matt. 7:1-2 – and the question, is Galli judging here by a standard that he'd want directed his way? Carl Trueman and Peter Jones weigh in. Untangling the theology of Star Wars This 300-word read gives a quick overview of the confusing and empty theology of George Lucas' space trilogy². Evolutionists are playing word games Both evolutionists and creationists believe animals change over time – we all believe in that sort of "evolution." The controversy is over how we got from molecules to man – i.e. how simple early cells gained information over time to eventually produce the incredibly complex creatures that we are. When evolutionists demonstrate wolves can beget Chihuahuas if you break the right genes – when they show change over time that involves a loss of complexity – and then pretend this is evidence for the molecule-to-man sort of evolution, we need to recognize this for the dishonest word game that it is. As evidence of evolution, they are presenting devolution.  And as the author writes, much of the changes we see in animals comes from broken genes, not new genes. "Behe... learned that one of the favorite examples of evolution — the change from the brown bear to the white polar bear — was also an example of breaking genes: 17 genes in this case." US Park to remove all "glaciers will be gone by 2020" signs Turns out things are "much more complex" than they knew... Extreme poverty in a historical context "On every day in the last 25 years there could have been a newspaper headline reading, 'The number of people in extreme poverty fell by 128,000 since yesterday.'” But you haven't seen those headlines, have you? Why not? Because it's harder to foster envy and ingratitude when things are getting objectively better. God has blessed us materially, and we're being tricked into believing that our rise in population is dooming more and more to poverty. Don't be fooled. This article has charts and diagrams, and while not a difficult read, it is a somewhat dry one. But it is one well worth reading, or even skimming if that's all your time permits....

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Saturday Selections - January 4, 2020

A Mighty Fortress is our God (8 minutes) This is a pretty amazing performance of Martin Luther's most famous hymn. Gender identity and the infamous John/Joan case revisited In 1967, a botched circumcision left a baby boy without his penis, and his parents were told to raise him as a girl. John, afterward called Joan, was hailed as proof that it's how we're raised, and not how we're made, that determines our "gender identity." But in this column (from a 1997 issue of Rolling Stone magazine...so, not a Christian perspective) it makes clear that was not at all so. The Netherlands to stop using Holland "nickname" in its tourism materials "The Dutch government has announced it will stop using the moniker Holland in favour of its official name the Netherlands." Free commentary on John 1-12 While I'm not familiar with author Josh Moody, the publisher, The Good Book, is broadly Reformed, publishing John Piper, Albert Mohler, and Sinclair Ferguson. That has me thinking this could be a good one, though I've only just started reading it. They will ask for your email address, but you can easily unsubscribe from their updates. How to approach new medical research (26-minute podcast) How should Christians approach and evaluate new medical research? Dr. Dan Gannon offers insights based on his experiences with the pharmaceutical industry and his biblical understanding of human nature. This is a real eye-opener into how research overall, is done. Anyone interested in how bias impacts medical research, and even the scientific studies we read about in the media, should check this one out. Ark of Noah virtual reality tour (5 minutes) A few years ago Dutch carpenter, Johan Huiber, completed a life-size replica of Noah's Ark. A virtual reality tour of the ark can be viewed below which allows you to move the screen around a full 360 degrees. So don't just hit play - use your mouse or, on a tablet, your finger, to explore up above, down below and all around. ...

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Saturday Selections - December 28, 2019

John Piper: You are not addicted to pornography (5 minutes) "The fact is 99 percent of those who give way to lust in pornography or fornication or adultery are not decisively controlled by their sexual desire. They are decisively controlled by what they believe..." Building friendships with your young children This article shares eight ways we can foster friendship with our children (and none of them involve being a pushover). The inner workings of your cell are as complicated as a city! (10-minute read) We need DNA to make proteins and proteins to make DNA. So which came first? Ann Gauger gives a fascinating overview of just how brilliantly even our cells have been designed. Conservatives face off: should we ban porn? (10-minute read) Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could ban pornography? Strangely, some conservatives don't think so, worried that if we impose our morality on others, the Left will try to impose theirs on us. Jonathon Van Maren lays out the contrasting conservative positions here, and it is certainly worth reading. But what we don't hear is an explicitly Christian position: that we shouldn't impose our morality, but God's. We get our morality from God, so that might not seem all that different. But consider this: when Christians try to impose God's morals without making mention of God, then we seem to be doing exactly what the Left does. We seem to be imposing our arbitrary standards – merely our own opinions – on everyone else. So we have to stop presenting God's standards as if they are simply our own, or simply a good practical approach – we need to argue for God's standards as God's standards, which is the reason they are applicable to all of His creation. Pornography is, of course, a health issue – flouting God's Law often results in bad health consequences (ex. drunkenness, promiscuity, homosexuality, all lead to health issues). But it is first and foremost a sin issue. If we lead with the health aspect, we're not standing on God's solid foundation, and then we shouldn't be surprised when we find we're on shaky ground. One example: pornography might result in some health issues, but frequent users have been found to be more tolerant of "alternative lifestyles" like homosexuality and transgenderism. So, from a secular perspective, sure, it might have downsides, but this upside too! The key then is that we need to address this issue (and all others) not as conservatives, but as Christians. In this case, that means speaking of why God created sexuality, and how He has made each one of us in His very Image, and how, when we depart from our Maker’s plans for us, it is to our own hurt. That’s a harder conversation to be had than: “Porn use leads to erectile dysfunction!” But it is the conversation that brings honor to God in a way that trying to impose Christian morals via non-Christians conservative reasons doesn’t. And only then are we addressing the heart of the issue: rebellion against God. Does that mean we have to start quoting chapter and verse when the speak to this issue? No. But it does mean that we need to lead with God, our Solid Rock. That might look like this: "God says that sex is something special, saved for marriage, and a private act. That's why social science also shows that sex, in that setting, binds hearts closer together, helps keep families intact, and ensures the children that may result will be born with a mom and dad. Pornography treats sex as cheap, dirty, and a throwaway. And that leads to promiscuity, disease, unexpected pregnancies,  erectile dysfunction, addiction, and so much more. God made us, so He knows what's best for us. And pornography is just so very harmful..." How I was (temporarily) deceived There's a lot of impressive-seeming "scholarship" out there that attacks God's Truth, and as a young man Dr. Wes Bredenhof got stymied by one bit of it – the Documentary Hypothesis. He soon discovered, though, that there are answers to be found for the Bible's many critics...if we'll look for them. How long does it take to read each book of the New Testament? Sometimes it might seem like reading the Bible front to back is an intimidating task. But would we dive in more eagerly if we understood just how little time it takes to dig in deep? For the full chart click on the link above or the picture below. And for a number of different Bible reading plans (from Ligonier Ministries) click here. ...

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Saturday Selections - December 21, 2019

Worldview 101 (4 minutes) Chuck Colson on why worldview matters – it's only by understanding our own Christian worldview that we can compare and contrast God's Truth with the lies that others believe. So to be a light in the world, we need to understand the world as God has really made it – we need to view the world rightly. Psychoanalyst suggests atheists comfort their kids by lying to them Trusting in God is a comfort, so one psychoanalyst has suggested atheist parents teach their children to believe in life after death. But "as C. S. Lewis observes in The Screwtape Letters, the Creator of the universe will not be used as a convenience: 'Men or nations who think they can revive the Faith in order to make a good society might just as well think they can use the stairs of Heaven as a short cut to the nearest .'” The origin story of Handel's Messiah We refer to it as "Handel's Messiah" but he thought of it as Charles Jennens'. 9 out of top 10 of the world's wealthiest are self-made In the past, many of the wealthiest people in the world were "conquerors or political rulers" who gained their wealth by pillaging and taxing. In other words, they gained their wealth by taking it from others. Today's advocates of "wealth redistribution" and those who say "billionaires shouldn't exist" act as if our generation's wealthiest have kept up the pillaging. They treat it as self-evident – no proof needed – that the only way the top 1% could have become so rich is by oppressing the poor. However, 9 out of the top 10 richest people in the world made their money by selling something others wanted. That's significant because whenever any sale is voluntarily made, it only happens because both parties think the trade benefits them – I'll only give up $10 for a book if it is worth more than $10 to me, and likewise, the merchant will take $10 for it only if he values the money is worth more to him than the book. In a very real way, any voluntary exchange makes both parties to it wealthier. And thus an entrepreneur who gains his wealth via many millions of such exchanges has made many millions of others wealthier. That's the very opposite of oppressing. So when you hear someone saying "Down with the 1%" – when the only accusation mentioned is that of being rich – understand that they are attacking people who might have gained their billions by giving others even more. Why sexual morality may be more important than you ever thought (15-minute read) This is a fascinating look at how a 1930s researcher, J.D. Uwin, found that societies that hold to monogamy and sexual restraint – those that hold to a Christian outworking of sex and marriage (though the researcher doesn't draw that connection) – flourish, well those that don't, don't. As the article's author, Kirk Durston, puts it: "...it has been my thinking that God’s moral laws are not simply a bunch of arbitrary rules given to restrict mankind's freedom. Instead, they are like operating instructions designed to spare people from suffering while maximizing human flourishing. Unwin’s and Eberstadt’s research provides strong rational justification for the inference that God’s moral laws pertaining to our sexuality, although they may restrain us from some immediate pleasure, protect us from enormous long-term suffering while maximizing our long term flourishing." Laura Klassen: it's time to get more intense (2 minutes) Laura Klassen, she of the fabulous Magic Birth Canal video, sees a need for pro-lifers to be more explicit about what abortion is: killing, child sacrifice, murder. And she's seeing how the truth, clearly told, is helping many children and their mothers. ...

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Saturday Selections - December 14, 2019

Hummingbirds are way cooler than you knew... (3 minutes) Did you know their tongues aren't straws so much as skinny unfurling claws? This is freaky cool stuff designed and crafted by our great God! Was Christ actually born on December 25? (10-minute read) You may have heard that Dec. 25 was originally a pagan sun-worshipping festival marking the winter solstice, and then the Church co-opted it to celebrate a very different Son. But Dr. William J. Tighe argues that while it is highly unlikely the 25th is actually when Christ was born, the Christmas celebration came before the pagan one – Christmas was the original, and the co-option was actually a pagan attempt to subvert the Christian celebration, not the other way around. World's first "detransition" conference (3-minute read) Feminists organized a conference of medical and health personal, and women who have used surgery and drugs to attempt to become men. The conference included testimony from some of the women about how cutting off their breasts and taking puberty blockers only led to later regrets. And yet even at this conference some expressed more, and others expressed less, regret – confusion remained because no one was pointing attendees to Christ, where they can find their identity as forgiven, as worshippers, and as male and female made in God's very Image. Smartphones for the kiddies this Christmas? Weighing the pros and cons (5-minute read) The subtitle for this one is: "Reasons to wait." Reports of the apostrophe's death have been greatly exaggerated Few seem to know when it should be "its" versus "it's." And that's why the Apostrophe Protection Society was born. But science says... (2 minutes) If you're older than 40 you'll remember a time when butter was bad and then good for you, red meat was hazardous and then became a key part of paleolithic diets, and, as Dr. Wells shares below, eggs were good and then bad for you, and then not so bad for you. Why does this matter? Because we need to understand that, despite acting like their pronouncements are beyond question, scientific experts get things wrong all the time. So, for example, prior to 2012 we were told that 98.5% of the human genome was junk and that this demonstrated the messy haphazard nature of our evolutionary origins. As Richard Dawkins wrote in his 2009 book The Greatest Show on Earth: The evidence for Evolution:  “it is a remarkable fact that the greater part (95% percent in the case of humans) of the genome might as well be not there for the difference it makes.” Just a few years later the ENCODE project discovered this “junk DNA” was anything but. It was getting transcribed into RNA, and may have a role in regulating protein production. The "experts" were, once again, wrong. So when experts dispute the  Bible, we don't need to be worried – this is the infallible Word of God versus the very fallible word of folks who, time after time, end up with "egg on their face."  ...

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Saturday Selections - December 7, 2019

FREE E-BOOK: Why sex is the best argument for creation The folks behind the fantastic documentary Is Genesis History have created a short 115-page e-book with ten of their most popular essays, including the title essay. You can download the pdf for free here, the Mobi (Kindle) version here, and the Epub version here. Should we use "preferred pronouns"? (10-minute read) J.D. Greear, a prominent US pastor, recently told listeners that he will use a transgender person's "preferred pronouns" out of a “generosity of spirit” – i.e. Greear will call a guy a she, if that's what the guy asks Greear to do. Now, there is some nuance to be had in this but also a clear line that shouldn't be crossed. The clear line? We should not lie, even if people ask us to, so we cannot refer to men as women. The nuance? If we meet a transgender fellow, our opening line doesn't have to be: "You need to stop wearing dresses." We can start with "Hi" or "How's it going?" And if that fellow asks us to call him Sue, we can even do that, because, while it is an odd name for a guy, we can pick our names, even as we can't pick our gender. This Rod Dreher article is fantastic in that it includes a lot of other's thoughts as well. How I make a sermon (3-minute read) Dr. Bredenhof gives us a peek behind the curtain to see what's involved when he crafts his sermon. No Canadian Anglicans by 2040? And no United Church either? (10-minute read) This article, by a veteran religion reporter, collects a few other articles to explore whether mainline denominations in Canada and the US might be gone by 2040. And while this is far from certain, this isn't simply hype from some journalist trying to get click-thrus – we're hearing this straight from the horses's mouth: "A 'wake-up call.' That’s what Archbishop Linda Nicholls, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, called a new report showing there may be no members left in the mainline Canadian denomination in 20 years." Praying backwards (2-minute read) We'll often conclude our prayers with the words "...but Your will be done." What if we began our prayers that way, putting God's desires first? Your eyes are AMAZING!!! (9 minutes) The funnest bit starts just after the 4-minute mark when Dr. Wells spells out an evolutionary critique of the design of the eye. But what evolutionists present as an example of bad design (and therefore as proof of unguided, undesigned evolution) is actually an example of genius. Or, rather, Genius. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kboUBQnMP8w  ...

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Saturday Selections – November 30, 2019

Is surrogacy the same as adoption? (4 minutes) This short video offers three ways in which surrogacy is different than adoption: 1. Adoption seeks to mend a family wound. Third-party reproduction creates a family wound. 2. With adoption, the child is the client but with third-party reproduction- the adult is the client. 3. With adoption, adults support the child. With third-party reproduction, the children support the adult. The why behind Christian education Trevin Wax shares 4 reasons to turn to Christian, rather than public, schools. Transgender teen regrets his "Frankenstein" transition Here's the story of one 19-year-old who regrets what doctors and others encouraged him to do to himself. His is a sad story, but an important one to know about so we can share it with confused friends, family, or neighbors. When your child looks at porn Four thoughts on how to help our children when, not if, it happens. How beauty in art points us to God There is a tension in great art. So will there be art in Heaven once the tension between good and evil has been resolved? How Big Government hurts women (6 minutes) God says He made us male and female, we're made in His Image, and it matters (Gen. 1:27, Deut. 22:5, Eph. 5:22-33). So, of course, our God-hating world says no He didn't, no we aren't, and no it doesn't. But their contrarian stance leaves the world scrambling to explain the equality of the sexes (what do we all equally share, if it's not being made in God's Image?), and to explain away the obvious differences that exist between the genders. The most obvious difference is that only women can carry and sustain a child for nine months and for the weeks that follow. Obvious, too, is that a woman who is away from the office caring for her child is not being as productive for her company as the man who continues to put in his 8-10 hours every day. So how does the world address the glaring holes in their worldview? By papering over them with government policies like mandatory maternity leave which requires an employer to keep a woman's position available for her while she is away recuperating and caring for her new little one. It means a woman won't have to quit her job to have a child, and won't have to start from scratch again when she gets back. But such a policy is premised on the idea that a woman at home is a wrong that must be righted, and that women are only doing productive work when they are working outside of the home, so we have to get them back out there. This policy also pretends that a woman who is away from her job for weeks or months is just as valuable to her employer as the man who never left. None of it is true, and as the video demonstrates, reality-denying policies like government-mandated maternity leave make women more expensive, less desirable employees. A better approach? We need to keep preaching, teaching, and living the truth that male and female are equal, not because we are interchangeable, identical, and called to the same roles, but because we are made in God's image. ...

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Saturday Selections - November 23, 2019

The power of words One of the greatest challenges of marriage is how you speak to your spouse. Science says Adam and Eve are impossible...or does it? Science is often portrayed as entirely unbiased and indisputable. So when scientists say that mankind's genetic diversity couldn't have come from a single original couple – when they say they've disproven Adam and Eve – many, Christians among them, will treat that as the final word. But this ignores the assumptions that underly scientists' conclusions. Science doesn't make pronouncements; some scientists based on their assumptions make pronouncements that other scientists might well dispute. Recently two Intelligent Design (ID) proponents used their own starting assumptions and discovered – voila! –  that the data can be made to fit easily enough with an original starting couple. Their findings still don't fit with a recent creation – they put the date for this common couple as being half a million to two million years ago – but, of course, ID proponents and creationists also operate from different starting assumptions. Christians have to remember and remind the world that there is a huge difference between unchangeable, unassailable truth, and what some scientists conclude based on their data and starting assumptions. The most politically incorrect Bible passage Alan Shelmon nominates 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 and explains why politically incorrect is also powerfully correct. Greg Koukl lays out his "Inside Out" tactic This 10-minute read is well worth your time, as apologist Greg Koukl demonstrates how we can use truths people already know – God's law written on their hearts (Romans 2:15) – to point them to God. When there are no more volunteers In showing how Christians can, in their volunteer roles, be a light to the surrounding community, John Stonestreet is inadvertently making the case for single-income families – after all, it's hard to volunteer when both mom and dad are busy with their day and maybe night jobs. So is this an attack against families who have to have both mom and dad working full time? No, parents need to provide, and if that's what it takes, then that's what it takes. But, the thing is, for many that isn't what it takes and yet we still do it. Why? Part of it might be because the world judges worth by the size of a person's paycheck, or by the status of their career. Thus many women are influenced to then choose to work full time outside the home to prove their worth. Part of it is due to our young men settling, early on, for jobs that might well provide a plush income for a single man, but won't be nearly enough for a family man, which then necessitate double incomes. If we want to be a community of volunteers, part of it will involve being a community in which young men are taught they should start businesses or seek out jobs and careers that will provide for all the financial needs of their family. That often isn't possible. But when it is, it opens up possibilities..like letting our light shine through volunteering. How do transgender activists view sex and gender? (5 minutes) If "man" and "woman" have no set meaning, then how can transgender advocates argue that a man can feel like, and actually be, a woman? ...

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Saturday Selections - November 16, 2019

How do starlings flock in murmurations? (4 minutes) These living clouds are jaw-droppingly astonishing. God is awesome! Rosaria Butterfield on "gay Christianity" (25-minute podcast) This past summer Abounding Grace Radio interviewed Rosaria Butterfield about her life story – from unbelieving homosexual advocate to Reformed Christian writer – but also on the issue of whether one can identify as a "gay Christian." The interview was wonderful but only caused a stir when, this past week, a pastor tweeted out a couple of sentences from it. “Gay Christianity is a different religion. I’m not standing in the same forest with Greg Johnson and Wes Hill and Nate Collins looking at different angles of the trees, I’m in a different forest altogether.” This quote was Rosaria calling out a number of Christians who, on the one hand, say that homosexual sex is sin, but who, on the other hand, are promoting the idea that one can be a "gay Christian." This is a somewhat subtle error, but the problem is more obvious when we try the same approach with other temptations. Should someone identify as an "angry Christian" or "adulterous Christian"? Clearly not – a Christian shouldn't identify with their anger or wandering eye. This podcast is an important one, spelling out a current controversy happening even in conservative Churches over how we should fight homosexual temptation. Keith Getty: The modern worship movement is "utterly dangerous" “Over 75 percent of what are called the great hymns of the faith talk about eternity, Heaven, Hell, and the fact that we have peace with God. Yet, less than 5 percent of modern worship songs talk about eternity.” Biblical Edom unearthed Secular archeologists treat the Bible as just another ancient book. But the Bible isn't just another ancient book – this is real history – leaving archeologists repeatedly surprised when findings verify aspects of the biblical account. How to make your Gillette Mach 3 (or any other expensive) razor last 6 months Gary North shows how some olive oil and an old pair of jeans can save you a lot of money in replacement razor blades. A helpful tip for family Bible reading (2 minutes) Dr. Calvin Beisner speaks of why he would read passages of the Bible with his family even when he didn't feel fully capable of explaining them to his children: it was because he was convinced that God uses His Word. Parents will fall short (which isn't to say we shouldn't study) but we can trust God will act through His Word. ...

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Saturday Selections - November 9, 2019

Humans don't earn their value In this video, Amy Hall makes the vital point that our value is not earned. But she pulls up just short of the finish line when, at the end of the video, she bases our worth on us all being human. But that begs a question: why is being human more valuable than being an animal? The world has no answer to that question: why would we treat one creature any more special than any other? But God tells us we have a special value that comes from being made in His Image (Gen. 1:26, Gen 9:6, James 3:9). This is not only an argument for the unborn's worth but the only basis for equality. Humans come in different shapes, sizes, colors and have vastly different abilities and interests, so in what sense are any of us "equal"? Only this: we are all made in God's Image. Even as Christian and non-Christian alike believe in equality – God's law seems to have written that on our hearts (Rom 2:15) – it is only the Christian who has an explanation for it. Hall would have done better to clearly base her argument on God's Word. As would we. How evangelicals ended slavery all over the world...and in Canada While God allows slavery in the Bible, He forbids the dehumanizing slavery as we have known it in North America and around the world. Just consider these passages: “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.” - Ex. 21:16 “You shall not give up to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. He shall dwell with you, in your midst, in the place that he shall choose within one of your towns, wherever it suits him. You shall not wrong him.” - Deut. 23:15-16 "...but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant..." - Ex. 20:10b That bears very little resemblance to the way the slave trade was run in the Western world. And no wonder then that Christians – those who read God's Word and took it seriously – lead the fight against that form of slavery based, as it was, on a denial that blacks were also made in the very Image of God. Phillip E. Johnson (1940-2019), the man who put Darwin on trial "In many ways, Phillip Johnson was a Luther-like reformer....Johnson, who passed away peacefully in his home over the weekend, is widely considered the godfather of the modern Intelligent Design movement. His 1991 book Darwin on Trial revealed how Darwinian evolution was plagued by worldview-level problems: most importantly, its reliance on philosophical naturalism." Prominent abortion photographed with placard reading “Even on my worst days, I’m killing it” Do abortionists know that what they are doing is murder? Very often, the answer is yes. The power of touch Cuddling on the couch, sitting close together at church, holding hands on a walk – all of them are wonderful ways to connect with your better half. And yet many couples shy away from this regular physical contact, in part because one spouse might hope this physical contact leads to another sort, and maybe the other fears it will lead to the other sort. But what if physical touching was just that and nothing more? Here are 25 suggestions for increasing the physical contact in your marriage in ways that will bind you together even if they don't lead to anything more. Dusty Marshall on the American Holocaust There's a lot of Christians artists using rap to make powerful statements. American Holocaust is a call out to be both those killing babies and those sitting on the sidelines to change their ways. ...

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Saturday Selections - November 2, 2019

Male and females are different (6 minutes) The Bible tells us that God created us male and female (Gen. 1:27) and gave us different roles (Eph 5:24-33, Genesis 2:18, Titus 2:3-5) so the world, of course, says the opposite: men and women are actually identical. But that's hard to believe for anyone with eyes....including John Stossel. How the creator of the ‘Magical Birth Canal’ viral video is saving unborn babies Laura Klassen punctures pro-choice arguments with biting wit and a bright pink wig. In this article and accompanying podcast, we get a chance to meet one of the unborn's most creative defenders. This Cartoon Shows How the Minimum Wage Works If hamburger was $4/pound and sirloin $8/pound, what would happen to hamburger and sirloin sales if the government mandated a "minimum beef price" of $8/pound? Would anyone buy the now $8/pound hamburger? Or would we all instead get the $8 sirloin? What does this have to do with minimum wage laws? Click on the link to find out. The Reformation's African roots Long before Luther, reforming forces were already at work. Mom, is Kanye a Christian? Kanye West has come up with a gospel album, and our kids might have questions. This article contains some explicit language, as it shares Kanye West's lyrics from previous albums, but it also contains some great advice for how to deal with the title question. If we want to get our kids thinking we should consider answering their question with some of our own. Real men fail well...by learning from failure The only way you can avoid failing is by never trying. So real men are going to fail. But when we understand that Jesus covers our failures with his sacrifice, and when we understand that God calls on us to develop our talents, and wants us to be both bold and courageous, then we won't be so fearful as to run from the possibility of failure. ...

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Saturday Selections - Oct 26, 2019

The Mischevious Protestant's guide to Catholic Rome (10-minute read /6-minute video) Did you know there are two statues of Martin Luther (at least) in Rome? In both cases, Luther is getting stepped on, and in one a little cherub angel is tearing out the pages of his Bible translation. Tim Challies shares more on these statues as well as info on a couple of other spots that Protestants will find interesting in Rome. 10 things you should know about Christian hospitality Rosario Butterfield, author of The Gospel Comes With a House Key, with 10 insights on welcoming others into our homes. Sorry, banning plastic bags won't save the planet Bjorn Lomborg, the "skeptical environmentalist," highlights how banning plastics is more for show than for good. When abstinence is wrong "I want to offer some tips for husbands and wives on how to promote physical intimacy in marriage..." Readers should note that even as the article's biblical principles are authoritative – what God says, we should do – the specific outworking of those principles may look very different for different couples. Heroic animals in the Great War With Remembrance Day approaching, here's a 6-page comic commemorating Sergent Bill, a goat who served as mascot to a Canadian regiment during World War I Abortion: it comes down to just one issue (2 minutes) We can greatly simplify this debate by getting it down to the one question: what is the unborn? Greg Koukl shows us how. ...

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Saturday Selections – October 19, 2019

Beauty, Darwin, and design (8 min) "Charles Darwin once wrote that the sight of a male peacock’s tail made him physically ill." Why did its beauty make Evolution's father ill? "Because he knew that the gratuitous beauty so prevalent throughout the living world points unmistakably to intelligent design, foresight, and plan." Be sure to check this stunning video out! How to overcome our digital addiction This secular piece doesn't mention the need for repentance or prayer. But it is quite the eye-opener, and for a Christian committed to change, the strategies offered could be helpful. Free Tim Keller commentary on Judges This freebie is being passed along sight unseen and with this notable caution: Keller doesn't hold to a six-day creation, so you wouldn't want to turn to him for a commentary on Genesis. But he also tends to treat the rest of the Bible with the respect it deserves so this could be fantastic. You do have to give your email address to access the free e-book, but they won't spam you. Strategies for fighting depression well A good read for those who suffer with depression, as well as for all who want to be a help for them. How to homeschool...for those of us who will never homeschool Not all Christians are homeschoolers, but all Christian homes should be schools. Here's how to create teaching opportunities with your kids. How the government made us fat Note a problem in the world and someone's sure to ask: "What's the government going to do about it?" What this overlooks is that the government is neither all-knowing nor all-powerful, and when we expect it to solve all the world's problems, we are setting it up as a false god. And false gods always disappoint. Also, the government "solves" things on a grand scale - millions are impacted. So when they get it wrong, millions are hurt.  This is another example of how the government did damage when it tried to do something we should never have looked to it to do. ...

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Saturday Selections – Oct. 12, 2019

Why not give in to peer pressure? After all, everybody's doing it. (2.5 min) This is an old commercial on the power of peer pressure. There is such a thing as positive peer pressure – an example is God's call to encourage one another (1 Thess 4:18, 5:11). But we should recognize how liable we are to just go with the flow...even when it turns us right around in the wrong direction (Rom 12:2, Prov. 13:20). Envy is the root of many modern evils Envy, along with covetousness, are still generally condemned, even as specific instances are embraced. Society rails against income inequality (rather than poverty) and speaks of the 1% as being self-evidently wicked. Bernie Sanders went so far as to tweet that "billionaires should not exist" while proposing to tax, not simply their income, but their overall net worth. Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren is planning on doing the same. Misguided Christians, impacted by the rhetoric, and not familiar enough with the Tenth Commandment, and the rest of God's Word, are swayed into thinking that covetousness and envy can somehow be portrayed as noble. But as Lawerence Reed shows, it ain't so. 6 year old asks mom for a shirt that says "I will be your friend" If one of your children has come home from school sad because no one played with them during recess, then you know just how precious it would be to have a boy like this in their classroom. Even better: if our child had aspirations to be like this boy and help others! More dinosaur soft tissue found There is an old joke told of a man who thought he was dead. His doctor tried everything to convince him otherwise, finally resorting to a medical textbook on the circulatory system. After they studied it together the doctor asked the man, "Would you agree dead men don't bleed?" “ I do,” the man replied. The doctor then took out a needle and poked the man's thumb. Out came a drop of blood. The doctor pointed to the blood and said, "See, you were wrong" to which the man replied, "I was wrong – dead men do bleed!" When dinosaur soft tissue was first discovered, secular scientists discounted it, because everyone knows soft tissue can't survive 60 million years. Creationists agreed, but noted that it might survive a few thousand. But as evidence of dinosaur soft tissue keeps increasing, secular scientists have changed their tune. They now say dinosaur soft tissues can survive 60 million years. Yes, and dead men do bleed. 50 years of failed climate predictions It's understandable why a 16-year-old like Greta Thunburg would be very worried about the climate. She's taking her teachers at their word and they're telling her the world is coming to an end. But for those who are maybe 50 and up, what we know that she doesn't, is that sometimes people speak with a lot more certainty than is warranted. As this article demonstrates, folks have been predicting climate apocalypse for quite some time now, and they've gotten it wrong for just as long. More significantly, some of those making the doom and gloom predictions now, are the very same folks who have gotten it wrong before. Real men offer forgiveness to all, but only give it to the repentant As young men turn to Jordan Peterson for advice, David Murray is trying to offer them better – because it is biblically-grounded – direction via his Christian Man Academy. ...

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Saturday Selections - Oct. 5, 2019

Man embraces woman who killed his brother, urges her to give life to Christ The brother of Botham Jean – a man killed by his neighbor in what she's says was a tragic mistake — extended forgiveness to his brother’s killer. And to add to the wonder, the judge then went on to give the killer a bible. Research into happiness echoes what the Bible has always said  Randy Alcorn shares how research into happiness has discovered 8 factors that are also found in God's Word. BC pays for euthanasia but not full homecare This is what happens "when euthanasia is legal and the money runs out" – the BC government recently forced a man to choose between being institutionalized or being killed. He chose death. Why isn't there online voting in Canada's federal election? How do you make an electronic vote both anonymous and verifiable? How can our ballot be secret, and yet still leave a trail to preclude fraud and errors? To say this is a tough problem understates it. Might the security and anonymity that is easy to do with paper be simply impossible to do online? The title link is to an in-depth look, while a briefer case for paper is made here. 40 lessons we tried to teach our children You only have them for a little while - what do you want to teach your children? Snopes.com fact-checks Christian satire site Babylon Bee's jokes (5 min) Snopes.com is the go-to fact-checker for many online, so it's important Christians understand they too have their biases and glaring blind spots. ...

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Saturday Selections – Sept. 28, 2019

South of Royal: You remain faithful While their indie-synth-pop stylings might not be to everyone's tastes, South of Royal's lyrical, biblical depth is impressive. The link above is to the website for their first album, Deliverance and Doubt, where you can find lead singer Daniel Clay explaining the thinking behind the album. And you can listen to the album on Youtube here. What would life look like if there were no smartphones? Photographer Eric Pickersgill has taken everyday settings and pulled the smartphones out of them, showing us just how little we're looking at each other. Gather the kidlings around, flip through these 100+ pictures together, and discuss. Half beluga, half narwhal? What's a belwhal? It turns out that beluga whales and narwhals (the ones with the long unicorn-type horn) can interbreed. And that's surprising to evolutionists, who believe the two species have been evolving independently of one another for more than a million years. I have forgotten how to read "For a long time, I convinced myself that a childhood spent immersed in old-fashioned books would insulate me somehow from our new media climate – that I could keep on reading and writing in the old way because my mind was formed in pre-internet days. But the mind is plastic – and I have changed. I'm not the reader I was." Study: gullible folks can't tell truth from Babylon Bee satire The Christian satire site Babylon Bee has gotten into a tiff as of late with the liberal fact-checking organization Snopes.com, which was accusing them of passing on fake news. But that some people believe these obviously fake stories wouldn't seem an indictment on the Babylon Bee, but rather on the public education system. Environmental "solutions" and the tradeoffs we don't hear about Economist Thomas Sowell once noted, "There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.” He spoke of this as being a conservative understanding, but in acknowledging the imperfectibility of our world, and the limitations of man, it is also a Christian position. On the other, liberal, side are those who speak of solutions and who either entirely, or largely, neglect to mention any downsides. So even as we hear increasingly heated rhetoric about how our planet is coming to a tipping point, or there is a climate crisis only a dozen years out, what we don't hear much about are the costs, both environmental, and economic, for the "solutions" they propose. This video details some, and the article in the link above details others. The reasons Christians should care is that if a solution is had by afflicting the poor, then that is not a solution we should pursue. And the more such an oblivious-to-the-poor solution is presented as something that must be done, then the more we have reason to doubt the legitimacy of the "crisis" that necessitates such an ungodly solution. ...

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Saturday Selections - Sept. 21, 2019

Real men know when to cover an offense (4 minutes) When we're sinned against, we have two options: to lovingly confront the sinner, or, to loving "cover" or overlook the offense. In this video, David Murray looks at when to overlook an offense, including how we can tell whether our "overlooking" is not about love, but laziness or being too uncaring to confront a loved one who really needs to be confronted. (For a transcript of the video, see the link above.) British government fights genital mutilation among Muslims, encourages it among others The British government is setting up support centers for victims of female genital mutilation, a practice done in some Muslim-majority countries that can involve cutting off a woman's clitoris. But even as the government is, in this limited way, discouraging one form of genital mutilation, it is encouraging it in another: funding irreversible "transgender" surgeries that involve cutting off men or women's genitals in an attempt to make them what they can never be: the other gender. They are lying to us In 2002 Jonathan Wells published Icons of Evolution in which he asked why evolutionists continued to use certain arguments and evidences even after they'd been discredited. He showed how decades afterward "proofs" like the Miller–Urey experiment would still be taught in school textbooks, though the experts themselves knew better. In this short article by philosopher J. Budziszewski, he gives an answer: they know better, but they know they can fool folks who don't know better. And they've come up with ethical justifications for fooling them. Seeing through a university prof's attack A university professor can confound a student by asking them one question after another. But that you don't know every answer to every challenge to God's truth doesn't make that truth any less true. The Cobra Effect – Big government brings with it a lot of unintended consequences (10-minute read) An Indian government intended to curtail cobra infestations, but their bounty on cobra tails incentivized citizens to start raising cobras to collect on the bounty, leaving the region with even more cobras than before. This scenario – a good-intentioned government incentivizing harm – is so oft-occurring it's been given a name: "the cobra effect." This article explores historic examples of this effect, and makes the point (as does Proverbs 27:14) that good intentions are not enough. It argues that, since unintended consequences are so hard to anticipate, governments should approach the creating of legislation with great humility and restraint – meaning well doesn't mean you will do well, so don't make a law unless it is vitally necessary. Hard as it is to believe, hummingbirds actually get cooler in slow motion Hummingbirds must be why super slow motion film was invented. At full speed they are jaw-droppingly amazing – watching these little zipsters is prayer-inducing. And then seeing them in slow motion offers a whole other appreciation of what God has packed into these littlest of the beasties. Wow! Just wow! ...

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Saturday Selections - Sept 14, 2019

The lie of realism (10 minutes) "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. Teens Who Hold Off On Dating Have Better Social Skills, Less Depressed 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. The curse of a godly wife "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." 4 Catastrophic Climate Predictions that Never Came True 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. Why blue collar work is glorious Gage Arnold speaks to how garbage men can be more vital than politicians, and looks at Lean manufacturing through a Christian lens. Life in 6 words: the Gospel (5 minutes) Rap artist Propaganda uses a six-letter acrostic to present the Gospel truth. ...

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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 in with a plan – then this fellow below argues that it isn't a good investment of your time or money. The dollar figures are US, but on both sides of the border, the investment of time is always considerable. If the link above and the video below are about why not to go (or why to wait) here's a link to help make it possible. There should be something to help everyone here: 68 ways to save money in college Facebook experimenting with removing "Like" counts? The social media giant shared that it has been experimenting with removing Like counts on Instagram posts and is considering it for Facebook too. Gun violence: Prov. 18:17 and the other sides to the story... Mass shootings south of the border fill the news, and each time one happens there are calls to ban guns. Most of those proposed bans are directed at military-looking rifles, but as the Daily Wire's Ryan Saavedra noted this past week, the number of homocides by rifle is comparatively low. What he shares below are the average number of deaths per day in US caused by: Abortion: 2,408 Heart disease: 1,773 Cancer: 1,641 Medical error: 685 Accidents: 401 Stroke: 401 Alzheimer's: 332 Diabetes: 228 Flu: 150 Suicide: 128 Opioids: 115 Drunk driving: 28 Underage drinking: 11 Teen texting-and-driving: 8 All Rifles: 1 This additional information is in keeping with Prov. 18:17, where we learn that to discern the Truth it helps to hear the two sides questioning each other. So, still in keeping with this verse, it's worth noting that Saavedra didn't share the overall number of gun-related deaths per day – those that involve not just rifles, but handguns and other guns as well – which gives us a considerably higher number: 30 per day. That's comparable to drunk-driving (though far less than abortion) so if gun bans could lower those numbers, shouldn't we try? Well, to go all Prov.18:17 again, another important side of this discussion is to consider how effective previous gun control legislation has been (can the gov't even do what it is attempting to do?), and how often do people use guns to defend themselves (how many lives are saved by guns)? When trying to track down those numbers Prov. 18:17 needs to be our guide once again because the different sides of this debate provide very different numbers that have to be questioned to get any sort of understanding of them. Female soccer player says she could definitely play in the NFL. No, she could not. Just because your three-year-old knows it doesn't mean adults don't need to hear the Truth stated clearly. Matt Walsh helps out here by explaining women cannot play football at the NFL level for the it-should-have-been-obvious reason that men and women are different. Faithfulness is not theologically complicated (10 minute read) Confused Christians don't know what to think about abortion, marriage, gender, homosexuality, and Jesus' exclusive claims because they aren't looking to Scripture. But, as Greg Koukl shares here, in His Word God is very clear on all these issues. Is sex assigned at birth? – what would you say? (4 min) The Colson Center is a conservative Judeo-Christian think tank (with some Reformed influences to it) that's probably best known for their daily audio Breakpoint commentaries on 1,200 radio stations across North America. Now they're expanding into video, with short "PragerU" type videos tackling controversial issues under the theme: "What would you say?". So far they have three videos, with this one tackling the topic of gender fluidity. As good as this video is, it would best be characterized as a secular presentation because God is never mentioned, which is a strange omission for a professedly Christian think tank. So watch the video, but when you share it be sure to add what they missed: that even when the activists, celebrities, politicians, and scientists are confused, we can turn to God's Word for the unchanging Truth. And when it comes to gender, the Truth is God made us male and female (Gen. 1:27). ...