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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. ...

News

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."  ...

News

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  ...

News

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. ...

News

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? ...

News

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. ...

News

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. ...

News

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. ...

News

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. ...

News

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. ...

News

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. ...

News

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. ...

News

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). ...

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Saturday Selections – August 31, 2019

Real men are courageous Driving your car fast might get you an adrenaline rush, but it doesn't make you brave. Real courage involves doing the thing you fear because you know it is important, and right, and someone has got to do it so it might as well be you. David Murray lays out God's call for men to be courageous. Environmentalists have gotten it wrong again and again This article shares some of the predictions made over the last 50 years, compared to how things turned out. I will note the article title speaks of "Greenies" getting it wrong every time and it would be nice if the rhetoric was tamped down just a bit. They'd have to be truly remarkable to be wrong a perfect 100% of the time. Why human rights and chimpanzee rights can't co-exist There is a push for animal rights that will turn human rights on their head. It comes down to this: the world, both Christian and gentile alike, view the topic of rights and equality through a largely Christian perspective. We believe all men are created equal and that only makes sense if there is some sense in which we are all the same. Christians know that we are all made in God's image. And the world has no alternative explanation to offer so they make due by avoiding the topic altogether: "We are all equal and let's just not talk about why, okay!" It is from God too, that our rights come - for example, we have the right to life, because He forbids murder. But those pushing for chimpanzee rights want to grant rights on a gradient: they aren't arguing for chimpanzees to have all the same rights as humans, but, because they are an awful lot like us, they think they should get some of our rights. Some? Based on them sharing some of our abilities? If we fail to recognize the difference between Image-bearers and animals, and start handing out rights based on abilities, where will that take us? We actually don't have to look very far to see. While individuals already born are treated in a generally equitable fashion  – no matter how able they are or are not – the same is not true for the unborn. Their murders are justified on the very basis of them not having abilities that you and I have. They don't have a heartbeat yet? They can be killed. They can't breathe on their own yet? Let's kill them. But what of the boy dependent 0n dialysis? If we're granting rights based on abilities, how is this disabled boy going to fare? Thus the push for animal rights is, on the one hand, incompatible with human rights, and, on the other, simply a continuation of the same lie behind abortion and euthanasia too - that the value of our lives lies in how able we are. The counter to that? Only God's own Truth: that we are precious because we are Image-bearers of the One True God. IVF and its millions of frozen embryos IVF is an issue the Church should be talking about, but isn't. The result? Christians, unaware of the implications, and at the encouragement of their doctors, may well create children they then freeze... How to stop praying the same old things "It doesn’t take long before rote prayers fragment your attention span and freeze your heart." Jordan Peterson: the deepfake artists must be stopped It is now possible to copy someone's image and voice so flawlessly that when it comes to digital video, we really can't trust our eyes and ears. The video below is of Obama making a speech he never made, and the article linked just above is Jordan Peterson detailing his experience with his own digital copies. He warns this technology has the potential to be enormously disruptive. ...

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Saturday Selections - August 24, 2019

The Joel Osteen sermon that changed Oprah's life (13 minutes) While we prefer to focus on what's good and right and true (Philippians 4:8), Joel Osteen's sermon here is of-a-kind with the "Christian" theology that's everywhere available: on blogs, podcasts, and yes, YouTube sermons too. That makes Tim Challies' takedown of Osteen's sermon instructive for us in our everyday reading, listening, and viewing. Canadian gov't is subsidizing the mainstream media to the tune of $600 million over 5 years Ted Byfield warns that he who pays the piper calls the tune. Should Christians be capitalists? (10 min. read) "In 2019, the absolute poor numbered 750 million, which is a lot but, proportionally, is less than 10 percent of the world’s population. 200 years ago, you couldn’t find close to 10 percent who weren’t living in absolute poverty." FREE E-BOOK: Titus for you This is a recommendation sight unseen but the company it comes from has published some great books. Titus for You is available for free until the end of the month. You do have to give them your email address but if you don't like getting emails from them it's easy to unsubscribe. Parents: pleasant words are healing words Christian parents know better than to insult their children, but just because we aren't saying really nasty things doesn't mean we're saying good things. "Do it because I said so" is adequate, from a justice perspective – children should listen to their parents simply because we are their parents – but is it a patient way of saying things? Quit social media (14 min) This would be a fantastic video for parents and teens to watch together and discuss. We might not make the same decision as this TED talk presenter, but he gives us lots to think about. ...

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Saturday Selections - August 17, 2019

What to expect when your kids head off to college  "Hundreds of years of bad philosophy are about to immerse your child." World magazine's Andrée Seu Peterson warns parents that they better get ready to answer the challenges their child is going to come home with. Time to kiss New Calvinism goodbye While New Calvinism got a lot right, what it got wrong has been destroying it - its view of the church has been too ad hoc, taking more inspiration from the business world than it has from the Bible. The problem with "Just do something!" Another shooting in the US has people calling on the government to "do something." But this call assumes the government is both able, and competent to address what's wrong. And what's clear from the many debates going on right now is most people don't even understand what is wrong. Why I fell out of love with Marie Kondo's minimalism "Popular minimalist blogs give helpful tips for 'converting' one’s maximalist partner. To set an example, I downsized my own clothing in the hopes that he would willingly give up some of his ratty t-shirts, and I constantly donated books I never planned on reading. 'See!' I would shriek, while maniacally stacking old casserole dishes in a cardboard box because they didn’t 'spark joy.' 'See how happy this is making me?'” FREE BOOK: A modernized edition of John Owen's On the Mortification of Sin It's a favorite of John Piper, Tim Keller, and J.I. Packer. But John Owen's 1656 classic On the Mortification of Sin is also really old, and Owens was never known as a concise writer. So there was a pressing need for a modernized version. A few years back Aaron Renn did the work, and now, for the the next two weeks (until Labor Day) he's offering his updated version for free. You can download a helpful pdf outline here, and get the free Kindle (Mobi) version here, or the free EPUB version here. Why everybody is suddenly allergic to everything these days One possibility this secular video/article doesn't get into is whether the apparent increase in allergies is caused by accumulated mutations. As Dr. John Sanford has noted, each new generation has approximately 100 more mutations than the previous one. This is a point that a secular article wouldn't raise, because this precarious mutation rate doesn't fit with evolution's long ages. This rate would indicate that Man was fitter in the very recent past (a few thousand years) and is heading for demise in just a few thousand more. ...

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Saturday Selections - August 10, 2019

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Jane Goodall have a plan to save the planet Once again key figures in the environmental movement are treating children as a curse that needs to be avoided, rather than as the blessing that God says they are. Modesty at the pool (18-minute podcast) What women should wear at the beach and the pool is a hot topic in Christian circles, and one that can easily tip into either a pharisaical legalism, or an uncaring lawlessness. Martha Peace and Heath Lambert tried to guide us down the center path in this podcast episode. How fathers influence their daughters' romantic relationships One big influence: when a girl sees her father is committed to her mother, that influences what she looks for in a potential spouse. Disability and the body of Christ Joni Eareckson Tada speaks to the valuable place the disabled hold in the body of the Church. Today I hate foster care There are big problems with the foster care system. But that's not a reason to abandon it or the children in it. "We can't just opt out." The secret to family togetherness? (3 min) It's not radical; it just seems that way. ...

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Saturday Selections - August 3, 2019

A very unique way to share the Gospel (5 min) Here's an inventive way that one church is reaching into its community. Josh Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, renounces God David French weighs in on Harris's Instagram announcement, and on the purity culture that Harris fostered. Reformation Wall in Geneva vandalized Europe's Christian heritage is being vandalized, including statutes of Calvin, Farel, Bèze and Knox that were recently covered in a rainbow of paint colors. The United Nations is still pushing the overpopulation myth "World Population Day ....instituted by the United Nations in 1989 to bring attention to high population growth. ts original purpose is now largely irrelevant – though you might not think so from some media reports." How Alberta became the gambling capital of Canada Is the Alberta government addicted to gambling? It's now getting more revenue from gambling than it gets from Natural Gas royalties. X-Men flub Evolution – mutations don't build anything new (8 min) In this Intelligent Design presentation, we see how Evolution's key instrument for change – mutation – doesn't do what they say it does. ...

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