Rusty Archives

So you want to see some sermons?

This coming Sunday, every Bible believing pastor, priest, and rabbi in the U.S. should preach on what the Bible has to say about homosexuality, and then send a copy of their sermon (anonymously) to the city of Houston.  #AnniseParker #Houston #PastorsSermons #BathroomBill

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    For those involved with college students, take a look at this promotional video about a campus outreach project run by a local Presbyterian church (and the students themselves!) near Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo, California. It’s a coffeehouse which also serves as a study hall / gathering center where people can interact at all levels. My friend Keith Plummer has dubbed it “L’Abri-Like”. 

    #LAbri #outreach #evangelism #21stCentury

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      Deadbeat Dads

      Imagine if being a “Deadbeat Dad” received the same level of national publicity – and scorn – as, say, the publication of private conversations where one sport’s team owner made racist and homophobic statements? From Joe Carter’s article,

      Men who have the ability to provide financial support for their children but refuse to do so should be among the most shamed groups in America. Yet there isn’t much stigma attached to being a “deadbeat dad”—and in some communities there is no disgrace at all to being an absent father.

       

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        Free Speech Rights and Pro-Life Teenagers

        Last March, two pro-life female high school students, in a free-speech zone [sic] on the campus of UCSB, had their display board stolen right in front of them by an associate professor. They were then assaulted as they attempted to retrieve their property. In August, the professor was convicted and given a slap-on-the-wrist sentencing (imagine, if you will, the results if it had been a conservative professor assaulting two underage gay-rights protesters).

        You can see video of them following the professor at the following link. Note the sophomoric attempt at logic some of the university students hurl at the girls (e.g., “you don’t attend this college” or “you don’t pay to attend here”).

        Take off your cultural blinders… This is the thinking of the next gen.

        #prolife #freespeech #abortion

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          Concealed Carry permits are up in O.C. after the sheriff quickly followed the court’s recent ruling on the matter and began issuing permits. Interesting to note, however, 

          “According to the analysis, permits are spread throughout the county, but certain cities — including Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Yorba Linda — have a higher concentration of licensees. Others, including Santa Ana and Garden Grove, have had much fewer approved permits.”

          For those not in the know, the cities comparison above is an excellent “affluence” variance demographic. Therefore, one reason for the disparity could be the added costs of classes and permit fees required by the county before issuance of a CCW. If the courts have ruled that 2nd Amendment rights extend beyond self-defense in the home, and if the gov’t is forbidden from “infringing” on said rights, then isn’t the requirement of classes and fees essentially an infringement / tax on what the courts have ruled is a right?

          #2ndAmendment #SecondAmendment #CCW

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            As home schooling parents, who happen to reside in California, it has always been our intention to give our children the opportunity to attend whichever university they desired and were qualified for. While private universities are certainly an option (an expensive option), we have also wanted our children to have the opportunity to attend a state supported school (primarily because of the lower cost involved). Yet, it wasn’t until our first child was in her junior year of high school that we seriously addressed the following question:

            How does a home schooled high school graduate properly apply and get admitted to either a Cal State University (CSU) or University of California (UC) school?

            Are you a home schooling parent, in California, who can relate to this question? Has the prospect of home schooling your child through high school caused you to have more than a few sleepless nights?

            Read the rest of this entry

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              In arguing for the deity of Jesus Christ (i.e., that he is, in fact, God), many Christians will point to places in the Gospel accounts where Jesus is referred to as the Son of God. For example,

              And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

              – Matthew 14:28-33 ESV

              or, more specific to the point,

              Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.”

              – John 19:4-7 ESV

              Yet, when presenting these apologetic arguments, many times Christians will face the response that Jesus never claimed to be God but merely ‘the son of God’.

              This, I think, is an unfortunate consequence of our current culture’s thinking (and, perhaps, most of Western culture). The mindset we are facing, and most times have ourselves, tends to see individuals rather than groups. When we meet someone who is introduced as so-and-so’s son we think along the lines of, “Oh, your name is Frank, and you’re John’s son.” Is it any surprise, then, that we have instances of surnames such as “Johnson”?

              We do this all the time. “Hello Mary. Yes, I know your mother Kate, and don’t you have a daughter named Rebecca?” In such a dialogue, despite understanding the familial relationship between the mother – daughter – granddaughter, we assign (inadvertently, perhaps) more importance to the individuality of each person. Hence, the argument that if Jesus is the Son of God, then he is God, carries little weight with us.

              However, this does not seem to be the case with the culture with which Jesus interacted. Consider this excerpt from the book of John,

              The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

              – John 10:31-39 ESV

              Here we see that the Jews were ready to stone Jesus because, as they stated, “you, being a man, make yourself God.” In his response Jesus actually takes their charge and clarifies it so as to make it clear that, yes, he is in fact making himself out to be God. Note his reference back to his saying, “I am the Son of God”.

              So, how does this all tie in with CS Lewis, Narnia, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?

              At the beginning of chapter 2, just after the Faun (Mr. Tumnus) spots Lucy, we have the following,

              “Good evening,” said Lucy. But the Faun was so busy picking up its parcels that at first it did not reply. When it had finished it made her a little bow.

              “Good evening, good evening,” said the Faun. “Excuse me – I don’t want to be inquisitive – should I be right in thinking that you are a Daughter of Eve?”

              “My name’s Lucy,” said she, not quite understanding him.

              “But you are – forgive me – you are what they call a girl?” asked the Faun.

              “Of course I’m a girl,” said Lucy.

              “You are in fact Human?”

              In these few short lines of text Lewis wonderfully parlays the aspects of cross-cultural issues in how we understand textual meaning. Notice how when the Faun asked “Are you a daughter of Eve?” he was asking if Lucy was “in fact Human”. Lucy, “not quite understanding him” (in true Western form), immediately looked to the individuality aspect of her status as the daughter of her mother – that they were two distinct, and therefore separate, persons. Luckily, the Faun understood this confusion on Lucy’s part and stepped her through the process, first by asking if she was “a girl”, and then asking his initial question in a point blank fashion: “You are in fact Human?”

              The point here is that the title Daughter of Eve had nothing to do with the individuality of Lucy but everything to do with her being of the same species as Eve: Human. In like manner, when Jesus was referred to or claimed to be the Son of God it had everything to do with him being of the same “species” as his Father: God.

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                Links for Sunday, 27 January 2013

                Home School Edition (particulary for a couple of new homeschool moms I know)

                Homeschooling and Socialization
                Ah, yes. The question that won’t go away. From the post,

                And lets face it — the “Lord of the Flies” social scene in most schoolyards never occurs anywhere else in life. I never encountered anything remotely resembling it in college, grad school or the work place. Women in groups may at times verge on being a bit “catty,” but maturity has deadened the sharper edges of the claws they may have had as schoolgirls. And besides, maturity works both ways — women have thicker skin than young girls.

                ###

                Well, homeschooled kids ARE NOT well socialized
                Depending on how you define “well socialized.” From the post,

                I hate to be the one to break it to you, but there’s nothing “normal” about our kids. Your homeschooled child is odd compared to the schooled population because they have not experienced ongoing school-based socialization and standardization.

                When you consider that the homeschooled population makes up only 3-6% of the entire school-going population, you may begin to understand just how different your kids are or will be.

                ###

                Does Homeschooling threaten public school systems?
                From Glenn Reynolds,

                Traditional public schools haven’t changed much for decades (and to the extent they have, they’ve mostly gotten worse). But the rest of the world has changed a lot. The public who eagerly purchased Henry Ford’s Model T (available in any color you want, so long as it’s black!) now lives in a world where almost everything is infinitely customized and customizable. That makes one-size-fits-all education, run on a Fordist model itself, look like a bad deal.

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                Homeschooling: resistance is futile
                From The Atlantic, even “progressives” have been smitten with the allure of homeschooling.

                So we are making a different choice. Sure, we have philo­sophical reasons. Some of the parents in our circle are “unschoolers,” convinced that early education should follow a child’s interests and initiatives rather than shape them. Some of us aspire to offer something like a classical education: logic and rhetoric, mythology, Latin. Most of us are put off by the public schools’ emphasis on standardized tests and their scant attention to the visual arts, music, religion, and foreign languages.

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                Your homeschooled teen will be better prepared for college
                Due to their lack of socialization skills, no doubt. From the article,

                They’re also better socialized than most high school students, says Joe Kelly, an author and parenting expert who home-schooled his twin daughters.

                “I know that sounds counterintuitive because they’re not around dozens or hundreds of other kids every day, but I would argue that’s why they’re better socialized,” Kelly says. “Many home-schoolers play on athletic teams, but they’re also interactive with students of different ages.”

                Home-schooled students often spend less time in class, Kelly says, giving them more opportunity to get out into the world and engage with adults and teens alike.

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                  In many of the debates / flat-out-arguments regarding gun control, recently, it’s been interesting to see how some anti-2nd Amendment folk trot out the notion that gun owners who claim self defense as the basis for their right to own firearms must have some gender inferiority complex. What are you compensating for?, is the Dr. Phil-ish question that explains what these misguided gun owners are suffering from. Essentially, advocates of gun control claim that the supposed need for having firearms is inexorably linked to the fabrication of an essence, be it ever so false, of manhood.

                  Maybe they have a point. If I own firearms for self / family defense then what exactly am I compensating for? Well, I’ll tell you what:

                  Among other things, I’m compensating for the 6′-4″, 225 pound, 25 year-old thug who, after breaking into my home, would not think twice about shooting me in the head (or stabbing me or clubbing me) regardless of whether I was armed or complied with his demands. I’m compensating for the multiple assailants who, after training in prison*, would not think twice about slitting my throat, raping my family, and then strangling them to death. I’m compensating for the inevitability of civil unrest given a natural or man-made disaster in the metropolitan area I live in. And I’m compensating for the sheep-like mentality you display, insuring that your such departures from reality will not inhibit my right to defend the lives of those I hold dear to my heart.

                  In the meantime, let’s take a look at some stories which illustrate that there are many women who seem to have taken to “compensation”, regardless of whether they suffer from the gender-complex issues that gun grabber psychoanalysts say they do. And, as a sidenote, notice that not all defensive gun uses (DGUs) involved actually firing the weapon.

                  15 Million women “pack heat” in the US

                  And that was in 2011. From the article,

                  One mother named Elena who lives in Roseburg, Ore., explains how her job as a 911 dispatcher led her to overcome the discomfort she felt about owning a gun.

                  “Dealing with the calls that we field on a daily basis made me really aware of what people are capable of doing,” Elena writes. “I’m a single mom and I’ve got two kids, so I feel like if I’m ever put in a situation where I need to protect them, I’d prefer to have a gun.

                  Gun-toting Grandma pulls handgun on two men who tried to rob her

                  More women using guns for fun and protection

                  From the article,

                  Several factors are driving women to the gun range, experts say.

                  “The first and foremost reason is women no longer want to feel vulnerable,” Parsons says. “They want to feel responsible for their own personal safety and the safety of their families. Just by their physical size, the perpetrator is going to be bigger and stronger. A firearm is the great equalizer.”

                  More and more women…

                  From the article,

                  To those who say guns are masculine, Ellanson says, “It would depend on how you define femininity. I think a capable woman is the most feminine expression of power that there is.”

                  15 year-old girl scares burglars (note – plural) with dad’s… gun

                  From the article,

                  Officials said a teen in Texas City was alone when a pair of intruders broke into her family’s house, but she turned the tables on the suspects by grabbing her father’s handgun.

                  911 is a joke

                  In Detroit. From the article,

                  The people of Detroit are taking no prisoners.

                  Justifiable homicide in the city shot up 79 percent in 2011 from the previous year, as citizens in the long-suffering city armed themselves and took matters into their own hands. The local rate of self-defense killings now stands 2,200 percent above the national average. Residents, unable to rely on a dwindling police force to keep them safe, are fighting back against the criminal scourge on their own. And they’re offering no apologies.

                  More women…

                  From the article,

                  More women throughout the United States are buying guns and learning how to use them. And we’re finding that to be true in South Dakota. In fact, a 2011 Gallup Poll found that 43% of women say there’s a gun in their home. KSFY’s Courtney Zieller is finding out why numbers are at a new high.

                  21 year-old woman shoots and kills intruder who kicked in her door

                  Oh, and at least one of the intruders was armed with a gun. From the article,

                  Tweets sent from the official Dallas Police Department Twitter account said two suspects kicked in the door of the home at about 11:30 a.m. The resident was alone upstairs and heard the noise. She confronted the two burglars as they ascended the stairs and shot at them several times.

                  The two ran out the front door and one collapsed from a gunshot wound. Police later recovered a gun at the scene, “indicating at least one of the suspects was armed.” Nobody has been identified.

                  12 year-old girl shoots intruder

                  Yeah, this one kicked his way in as well. From the article,

                  A 12-year-old girl took matters into her own hands during a home invasion in southeast Oklahoma.

                  It happened on Wednesday when the girl was home alone. She told police a stranger rang the doorbell, then went around to the back door and kicked it in. She called her mom, Debra St. Clair, who told her to get the family gun, hide in a closet and call 911.

                  * Not based on my own knowledge but as related by a retired LA County Sheriff and a current LAPD Police Officer.

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                    Happy New Year! And Happy 240th!

                    Today is January 1st, 2013. Happy New Year! It also happens to be the 240th anniversary of the sermon with which John Newton introduced his newly written poem, Amazing Grace. From Near to the Heart of God: Meditations on 366 Best-Loved Hymns,

                    On Friday morning, January 1, 1773, John Newton, former slave trader and infidel, preached a New Year’s message from 1 Chronicles 17:16–17 in his church at Olney, England. Newton opened his sermon, saying, “The Lord bestows many blessings upon His people, but unless He likewise gives them a thankful heart, they lose much of the comfort they might have.” He told his church to look back at God’s goodness, look around at God’s promises, and look forward to future usefulness. In concluding, Newton introduced a poem he’d written for the occasion, the hymn “Amazing Grace.”

                    – Morgan, Robert J., Near to the Heart of God: Meditations on 366 Best-Loved Hymns

                    The scriptural text that Newton referred to in his sermon, the setting just after the announcement of the Davidic Covenant,

                    Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and said, “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And this was a small thing in your eyes, O God. You have also spoken of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and have shown me future generations, O LORD God!

                    (1 Chronicles 17:16-17 ESV)

                    And Newton’s original six verses:

                    Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
                    That sav’d a wretch like me!
                    I once was lost, but now am found,
                    Was blind, but now I see.

                    ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
                    And grace my fears reliev’d;
                    How precious did that grace appear
                    The hour I first believ’d!

                    Thro’ many dangers, toils, and snares,
                    I have already come;
                    ‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
                    And grace will lead me home.

                    The Lord has promis’d good to me,
                    His word my hope secures;
                    He will my shield and portion be
                    As long as life endures.

                    Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
                    And mortal life shall cease;
                    I shall possess, within the veil,
                    A life of joy and peace.

                    The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
                    The sun forbear to shine;
                    But God, who call’d me here below,
                    Will be forever mine.

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                      Links for Monday, 31 December 2012

                      Exporting the “old and sick” to another place

                      But don’t worry – I’m sure it’s for “the common good.”

                      From The Guardian,

                      Growing numbers of elderly and sick Germans are being sent overseas for long-term care in retirement and rehabilitation centres because of rising costs and falling standards in Germany.

                      …with increasing numbers of Germans unable to afford the growing costs of retirement homes, and an ageing and shrinking population, the number expected to be sent abroad in the next few years is only likely to rise. Experts describe it as a “time bomb”.

                      Germany has one of the fastest-ageing populations in the world, and the movement here has implications for other western countries, including Britain, particularly amid fears that austerity measures and rising care costs are potentially undermining standards of residential care.

                      Something to think about as we travers the road towards nationalized healthcare.

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                      The Last Radicals
                      From the National Review,

                      There is exactly one authentically radical social movement of any real significance in the United States, and it is not Occupy, the Tea Party, or the Ron Paul faction. It is homeschoolers, who, by the simple act of instructing their children at home, pose an intellectual, moral, and political challenge to the government-monopoly schools, which are one of our most fundamental institutions and one of our most dysfunctional.

                      The author contends that opponents to homeschoolers have three core reasons.

                      The first is that progressives by their nature do not trust people as individuals and feel that, whether we are applying for a credit card or popping into 7-Eleven for a soft drink, Americans require state-appointed overseers.

                      The second reason for this hostility is that while there is a growing number of secular, progressive, organic-quinoa-consuming homeschool families, there remains a significant conservative and Christian component.

                      A third reason is that the majority of homeschool teachers are mothers. A traditional two-parent family with one full-time breadwinner and one stay-at-home parent is practically built into the model.

                      Long live independence!

                      ###

                      Safe, legal and… rare?
                      From Touchstone Magazine,

                      The Federal Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) released a report on the eve of Thanksgiving showing that there was an historic drop of five percent in the abortion rate, the most in a decade. The data is from 2009, the latest year available, and shows that there were only 789,000 abortions. [emphasis in original]

                      The author states that data from California was not included, so the number of abortions most likely was over 1,000,000.

                      As for the demographics, this unsettling note,

                      Approximately 85 percent of women who aborted their babies were unmarried. The majority of abortions are performed by the eighth week of pregnancy. White women had the lowest abortion rate, at about 8.5 per 1,000 women of child-bearing age; the rate for African-American women was about four times that; and the abortion rate for Hispanic women was about 19 per 1,000.

                      The liberal mantra of being there for the disadvantaged seems to get turned on its head.

                      And to put some perspective on the killing of 1,000,000 unborn children every year, it’s like having 137 Sandy Hook mass killings EVERY DAY.

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                      A belated Christmas Light Painting link for you all
                      Here’s a great example!

                      Merry Christmas Everyone!

                      © Michael Ross

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                      Doctrine vs. Methodology?
                      From The Gospel Coalition,

                      Pastors constantly face temptation to devote more time and energy to methods rather than to doctrine. If that includes you, then give heed to Paul’s instruction in 1 Timothy 4:16: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

                      Following the imperative to keep watch on himself, Paul further instructs Timothy to keep watch on his doctrine. My observation, however, is that most ministers aren’t doing this. They don’t talk about doctrine. They don’t read it. If they’re paying close attention to anything, it is their methods and psychology. What’s the result? Less biblical fidelity. Less interest in truth. Less seriousness. Less depth.

                      Neglecting doctrine results in less capacity to offer a compelling alternative to the thinking of our generation. I often hear the excuse that pastors aren’t studying theology because they’re too busy trying to reach more people. Ironically, this pursuit of identification often comes with a corresponding loss of communication. We put forth all this effort to make people feel comfortable and at home so they don’t feel the difference between life in Christ and life without Christ. Problem is, it is supposed to be different when you come to Christ. That is the point.

                      [emphasis added]

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                      From Radicals to Oddballs
                      Oh, those homeschoolers,

                      There are two facets to educating a child well. The first is to recognize that education is not merely the accumulation of facts, but that it has an unavoidably moral aspect. A suitable education must do more, therefore, than simply teach facts, even moral facts. Education must seek to cultivate the moral imagination of the child, for reducing moral education to a list of rules is bound to fail.

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                        Links for Sunday, 30 December 2012

                        No, despite America’s obsession with guns, the U.S. isn’t the most violent country
                        It’s the U.K. From the article,

                        Britain’s violent crime record is worse than any other country in the European union, it has been revealed.

                        Official crime figures show the UK also has a worse rate for all types of violence than the U.S. and even South Africa – widely considered one of the world’s most dangerous countries.

                        In terms of violent crimes per 100,000 residents, the U.K. comes in at 2,034 per 100K (with the U.S. listed at 466 per 100K).

                        For those who may be unaware, the U.K. has effectively banned the general public from owning firearms.

                        ###

                        Besides that, gun control doesn’t reduce crime – just ask the U.K. or Australia
                        From the Wall Street Journal,

                        We aren’t alone in facing this problem. Great Britain and Australia, for example, suffered mass shootings in the 1980s and 1990s. Both countries had very stringent gun laws when they occurred. Nevertheless, both decided that even stricter control of guns was the answer. Their experiences can be instructive.

                        The results have not been what proponents of the act wanted. Within a decade of the handgun ban and the confiscation of handguns from registered owners, crime with handguns had doubled according to British government crime reports. Gun crime, not a serious problem in the past, now is. Armed street gangs have some British police carrying guns for the first time. Moreover, another massacre occurred in June 2010. Derrick Bird, a taxi driver in Cumbria, shot his brother and a colleague then drove off through rural villages killing 12 people and injuring 11 more before killing himself.

                        Read it all.

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                        Enacting “Gun-Free [sic] School Zones” increases the frequency of active killer events
                        So says David Codrea, and he links to an interesting graphic provided by GeorgiaCarry.org.


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                        The Mayor of Newark gets it
                        Mayor Cory Booker,

                        I’m not afraid of law-abiding citizens who buy a gun… Listen to me, the people dying in Chicago, the people dying in Newark are not being done with law-abiding gun owners.

                        ###

                        The World according to murder
                        An interesting infographic (have not vetted the accuracy of it).

                        murder
                        Provided by Survival Goods

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                        Be careful what you ask for
                        CNN asked its “iReporters” the question, “Was your gun banned?”, and also asked them to “upload a photo of your gun and share your thoughts on gun control.

                        An intrepid young iReporter decided to have a little fun with the assignment, and uploaded a photo of a nerf gun* (shown below), stating,

                        My ak 47, 5th generation model. This one uses the 9.88x33mm round. I believe the only nation that uses it is Canada. They need this kind of firepower actually. I got mine in yellow because nothing says, “I’m big, bad and scary like yellow”…banana yellow.

                        This gun is actually at the top of the ban list. I don’t like that. We have rights to bear arms. Don’t take that away from me, don’t take that away from us. Guns are a part of our heritage, or history, our roots, our blood.

                        What happens if tyranny arises? What if North Korea invades? What if a meth head randomly walks into my house? The only thing between life and death, survival, and non-survival, freedom and slavery is this baby.


                        * “Not vetted by CNN”

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                          Just like Mary, you too can give birth to Jesus!

                          What, you say? How can this be? Simple, just check you Cable listings for the Casting Crowns Christmas Celebration and listen to the sermon [sic] from Max Lucado (about 30 minutes into the program). After reading the scriptural account of the angel Gabriel visiting Mary, Lucado then launches into one of the strangest evangelistic talks I’ve ever heard.

                          Here are some direct excerpts:

                          “The virgin birth – more than just a Christmas story, but a heavenly promise that what God did for Mary, he will do for you.”

                          “The virgin birth – the core of the Christian hope, that God could work such a miracle in those that would trust and obey him, that Jesus himself would be placed within them, so that they could do what Mary did – deliver hope into a dark world.”

                          “And John was clear that those who obey his [Jesus'] commands live in him and he lives in them. And the sweet invitation of Christ is this, “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come-,” not just near, and not just around, but “I will come in.” Jesus’ invitation to all people is this, “If you’ll let me, I’ll move in.” And what Christ did for Mary, he’s willing to do for you. To grow in you, until he has to come out – until you deliver him. Until he comes out through your speech – through your touch – through your eyes – through your love. Every place you live will be a Bethlehem, and every day you live will be a Christmas. And you, like Mary, will deliver Christ into the world.”

                          “And the day you deposited your faith in Christ he performed an irrevocable yet undeniable miracle – he moved in. And he took up residence, deep within you, until he grows and he grows and he grows, and he must be delivered. You do not have a choice – you are third trimester heavy, with the presence of Christ. And you deliver him into the world.”

                          I think this takes metaphorical analogy, with a personal application, to a whole new level.

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                            1st Sunday of Advent – Love

                            Love

                            The 1st Sunday of Advent was December 2nd. I’m late. I know.

                            This year we’re celebrating Love for the First Sunday of Advent. You may have heard of the saying, “God is Love.” Indeed, reference 1 John 4. But what exactly is that supposed to mean? In English, the word ‘love’ has a variety of applications which can run from the erotic to gastronomical. I ‘love’ green chile cheeseburgers, for instance. Not to worry, though, because we have the Word of God to explain this to us.

                            In Romans 5 we are told of the depths of love which was expressed for us.

                            For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

                            (Romans 5:6-11 ESV)

                            And in the well known John 3:16 passage we are explicitly told of God’s love for mankind as well as the implications of such love. Hence we celebrate the Advent of Love, a pre-existing love, which by its very nature, cannot have existed in a singular state – for who would God have to love?

                            One admonition I’d like to leave you with is that as you reflect on the Love of God, particularly in the Advent of the Incarnate Jesus, don’t make the mistake of trivializing said love by over-personalizing the concept. While God loves each and every one of us, the phrase “For God so loved the world…” should not be translated “For God so loved ME…” In our self-centered culture, that’s an easy trap to fall into. I recently heard an evangelist prompt the audience he was speaking to to repeat the phrase, “Jesus was born, just for me.” Besides being wrong on so many levels, such a phrase only serves to reinforce the individualistic mentality so prevalent in society. Remember Romans 5:8, “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

                            Happy Advent!

                            And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

                            “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

                            (Luke 2:8-14 ESV)

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                              Piers Morgan on the 2nd Amendment

                              A Twitter post from Piers Morgan,

                              The 2nd amendment was devised with muskets in mind, not high-powered handguns & assault rifles. Fact.

                              A WordPress response from me,

                              And the 1st Amendment was devised with movable type ink printing presses in mind, not internet websites, much less Twitter postings. Fact.

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