Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Parents, Don’t Waste Your Lazy Summer Days

Summertime. The blissful time of year when the crazy schedules stop and kids can sleep in, stay up late around the bonfire, delve into good books, and enjoy lemonade stands by the side of the road. Yet as the end of the school year drew near, I was hit with a dose of the parental panic many of us feel. Would my kids be bored this summer if I didn’t have them enrolled in 10 different activities? “What camps are your kids doing? What kinds of lessons are they taking?” are questions that moms are often asking each other.

The pressure to keep our kids’ schedules filled to the brim can diminish the possibility of a summer respite. But is it really such a bad thing to have wide open spaces in our planners? Might this be the very thing we need in order to refocus our priorities and make the most of the short season of time we’re given with our children?

Point them to the Lord at all times

This has been a pivotal year for me in parenting. Our oldest child became a teenager. I’ve noticed a shift in my perspective when, in a movie or show or song, there’s a sentimental moment of a child heading off to college for the first time or a young woman getting married. Instead of relating to my own experiences of going to college or getting married, I’ve thought mainly of my daughter. Tears have filled my eyes on numerous occasions as I ponder what it will feel like when my firstborn leaves the nest, and I have been increasingly aware that in just five short years, she could be departing from our home.

Read the entire article by Stacy Reaoch here.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sorry, But We Won't Rewrite the Bible for Gays and Lesbians

"In response to my open letter to Isaac Archuleta, who describes himself as a bisexual Christian, Richard S. posted a lengthy comment on my personal Facebook page, including this statement: 'The logical conclusion to your theology (gays can change and if they don't it must be because they don't have faith or are deceived) is extremely damaging to the souls of gay people. That was the point of Isaac's letter. No amount of nice words will erase the damage. Only honest reconsideration of your theology will bring healing. Please don't discount/deny the faith of your gay brothers and sisters. They have much to contribute to the church.'

Of course, Richard has completely misstated what conservative Christians believe (we don't say or believe that if gays don't change 'it must be because they don't have faith or are deceived'), just as other parts of his comment not quoted here were also based on serious misunderstandings.

But that is secondary to the bigger issue, and Richard is one of many who are telling serious Bible believers that, 'Only honest reconsideration of your theology will bring healing.'

Friday, June 24, 2016

Reuinted at VBS!

Look who showed up to help with our VBS this week! Allie McNider was my youth pastor when I was in the 7th-9th grade in Greenville. Haven't seen him for 28 years 
until this month!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The American Woman's Bible

Thomas Nelson just released The American Woman's Bible, a solid contribution to helping us appreciate and understand the Judeo-Christian roots of the United States of America.  Readers will enjoy the various slick, color sections highlighting the role women played in various stages of our history.

The Bible includes quotes from notable women such as Anne Bradstreet, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Martha Washington, Catherine Marshall, and many others.  Interesting biographies of exceptional women can be found throughout the pages.  Be inspired from stories about Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Fanny  Crosby, Dale Evans Rogers, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and many more.
Topical notes appear in side-bars in the AWB.  These topics relate to issues facing women, such as love, courage, influence, trust, truth, and strength.  The Bible is in the NKJV of the Scriptures.  Articles, quotations, and stories remind us of how biblical virtues shaped our nation and of the courage of many women who influenced the USA.

I have given away two copies to women I know, and I will recommend it to others.  Get a copy of The American Woman's Bible today for you or someone you know.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Summer Memories

Spring is coming quickly to a close. Summer cometh! Technically, summer doesn’t begin until June 22, but for my family, summer begins when the school bells stop ringing. There’s something nice and needed about a slower pace in summer. I always enjoy knowing that my wife and children have extra time to rest and play, and we all love getting away on some vacations.

Time flies. In many ways it seems like just last year when my wife and I brought our firstborn home to our house on Hickory Street in Clinton. I vividly recall rocking him as a baby, wondering and praying about what life for us would hold. Now he stands almost as tall as me.

Mom and dads, grandmas and grandpas, take some time this summer to make memories. I heard a man say years ago that wise people value people over possessions. What will you do in the next three months to invest time into the people who matter the most in your life?

Read my entire article, Summer Memories, here at the Just 18 Summers site.

Practically Perfect

Fabulous performance of Mary Poppins in Greenville, SC. 

Got to take two of my favorite girls. Love musical theater!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Pastors and Politics

One of the most misunderstood phrases in American history is the oft-quoted one from Thomas Jefferson regarding the separation of church and state.  In modern American society, that phrase has been twisted to mean the opposite of Jefferson's original intent.  

One of the results of that misinformation is the hesitancy for Christians to get engaged in the public square.  The AFA Journal addresses the role of pastors and politics during an election year . . .

"AFA Journal: How can pastors and church leaders address civic, moral, and political issues and still stay within the legal guidelines that qualify a church as a tax-exempt organization?
Abraham Hamilton: At this point in America’s history, pastors face challenges both socially and legally. Socially, because biblical authenticity is not as in vogue as it once was, and the cost of bold preaching could be a reduction in the size of their congregations.

Legally, because there are groups whose implicit or explicit purpose is to silence Christians. They imply a threat to a church’s tax-exempt status by claiming that engagement in the civic arena breaches the wall that they claim separates church and state."

Read this good interview between AFA Journal and Abraham Hamilton III here.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Jesus vs. Muhammad

Stay on Target

Target's slogan is "Expect more." And when it comes to safety, customers do. That's why Americans are so upset with the company's outrageous April policy that threw open the changing room and bathroom doors to anyone of either sex. Almost immediately, angry calls started streaming in to stores, eventually ballooning into a nationwide protest of more than 1.3 million people. If other CEOs were considering similar changes, they saw the heat Target was taking and backed off.

Now, almost two months into their transgender free-for-all, the outcry shows no signs of dying down. At yesterday's Target shareholders meeting in Costa Mesa, protestors filled the streets outside with signs to boycott the store. "We're not afraid of transgender people," one of the demonstrators explained. "I've got nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, and I'm worried that perverts will pretend to be women so they can get into women's restrooms." With its profits in the gender-free toilet, Target CEO Brian Cornell was on the hot seat with investors for the decision, which analysts say has cost the retailer more than $4.5 billion -- and counting.

Worried about crashing stocks, Cornell was pressed about the negative fallout from the unpopular policy. He insisted (with a straight face) that there was none. "Zero correlation, zero effect," he declared. That's a convenient response, but not a truthful one. As everyone on Wall Street knows, Target's stocks have taken a nearly 20-percent nosedive since April 19, when the change was announced. If there was zero correlation, why are Walmart and online retailers holding steady? Clearly, the boycott -- the most successful in American Family Association's history -- is having an enormous impact on Target's bottom line. But, much like Starbucks's CEO, who doggedly stuck by his company's anti-marriage campaign, Cornell made it known that he didn't care what consumers' think.

Read the entire update by Tony Perkins here.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

But God

I know not, but God knows; 
Oh, blessed rest from fear!
All my unfolding days
To Him are plain and clear.
Each anxious, puzzled “Why?”
From doubt or dread that grows,
Finds answer in this thought;
I know not, but He knows.
I cannot, but God can;
Oh, balm for all my care!
The burden that I drop
His hand will lift and bear,
Though eagle pinions tire —
I walk where once I ran —
This is my strength, to know
I cannot, but God can.
I see not, but God sees;
Oh, all-sufficient light!
My dark and hidden way
To Him is always bright.
My strained and peering eyes
May close in restful ease,
And I in peace may sleep;
I see not, but He sees.
- Annie Johnson Flint

American Women's Bible

Flowers from our Backyard

Friday, June 10, 2016

Is Hillary Clinton the Athaliah of Our Generation?

"It is amazing to me that the American people would willingly choose an exceedingly wicked woman such as Hillary Clinton to lead them.

Perhaps this is just more evidence of how incredibly far we have fallen as a nation. There are many out there that are comparing Hillary Clinton to Queen Jezebel from ancient Israel, but to me there is another figure in the Bible that is much more appropriate. Somewhere around 2,800 years ago, King Jehoram of Judah was married to a very wicked woman named Athaliah. When Jehoram unexpectedly died, his son Ahaziah became king of Judah for about a year, but then he died too. At that point Athaliah seized power and tried to kill off all male descendants that might pose a threat to her reign. Fortunately, one very young male descendant did survive, and Athaliah was finally deposed after six horrible years. If you take a close look at the careers of Hillary Clinton and Athaliah, there are definitely some striking parallels between the two.
  • They were both initially married to the ruler of the nation.
  • They both had very prominent roles while their husbands ruled.
  • They both had an extraordinary lust for power.
  • They both exhibited extreme paranoia and dealt ruthlessly with anyone that was a potential threat to their hold on power.
  • Athaliah greatly promoted the worship of Baal in ancient Judah, and one of the key elements of Baal worship was child sacrifice. Since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, more than 58 million babies have been murdered in the United States, and Hillary Clinton has spent her entire career telling women that they have "a right to choose" to kill their children."
Read the entire article by Michael Snyder here.

Dolly: Hello God

Dolly ended her concert for her second encore on the Pure and Simple Tour with this powerful song called Hello God.

Dolly in Greensboro

My wife, Margaret Taylor, and I enjoyed Dolly Parton's concert last weekend.  Greensboro was the first stop in her new Pure and Simple tour.  Dolly has not toured in 25 years.  She played the piano, a dulcimer, a harpsichord, a tin whistle, a fiddle, a guitar, a banjo, and faked a sax to a crowd of about 10,000. About 1/3 of her songs were about faith in the Lord. And we laughed and laughed.  Dolly is a master entertainer and musician - and there's a lot of depth behind the plastic and makeup!

In the second half, she had the crowd on their feet, cheering, clapping, and singing along to familiar tunes like Here You Come Again, 9 to 5, Islands in the Stream, and Tennessee Mountain Home.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Cheers for Rep. Mike Pitts of Laurens

COLUMBIA — "Dozens of South Carolina legislators are calling on Gov. Nikki Haley and Attorney General Alan Wilson to join 11 other states that have sued the federal government over an Obama administration directive on transgender students and bathrooms.

Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Laurens, said his issue is not over the expansion of bathroom usage to the transgender community, but over the federal government’s intervention on issues that should be left to individual states to decide. 

'I don’t necessarily think the transgender issue is an issue in South Carolina because I trust our school boards to deal with it,' Pitts said in a news conference Thursday."

Read the entire article here by Cynthia Rolden.

Friday, June 3, 2016

When Christians Abandon the Public Square

David Lane of the American Renewal Project sends out weekly emails about the state of our nation and the responsibility of Christians to be salt and light in our culture.  This week's words were especially good, and I encourage you to read them in their entirety . . .

"Conservative Christians in America are undergoing a huge shift in the way we see ourselves in the world," Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Dr. Albert Mohler said. (NPR Story link here). "We are on the losing side of a massive change that's not going to be reversed, in all likelihood, in our lifetimes.'"
There is a reason for this. Politically, Establishment Evangelical leaders are firing blanks. A person who tells you that there's no difference between the political parties is tantamount to the person who will argue that there's no difference between Islam and Christianity.

How did America arrive here? Simply put, Christians in America have declined to wage war for ideological supremacy in the last century. They refused to believe that two opposing philosophies-Christianity vs. Secularism--produce two divergent cultures.

In my estimation, less than 1% of Evangelical pastors in America have more than an ounce of influence with their City Councilmen. What about School Board members? Mayor? State Representative and Senators? In all cases, the Evangelical influence is minimal or non-existent. How then can they have influence in the public square?

For those who say, "Christians shouldn't be involved in government," read the words of Oklahoma Senator James Lankford: "Consider that all but possibly two of the Old Testament books (Job and maybe Ruth) were written by a political leader, to a political leader, or about a political leader."

God is knee-deep in politics; He swings big doors on little hinges.
Do you know what the two largest denominations of political currency are?
1) How many votes can one bring to the table.
2) How many dollars can one raise that brings votes to the table.

Speechifying is way down on the list, maybe worth a nickel. A Sunday sermon is not a denomination of political currency.

If America is to be saved, Evangelical pastors--in addition to feeding the "whole counsel of God" to the flock and "making disciples"--must begin advancing disciples to the public square. Salt and light needs to go where it is most needed.

"Politicians will not change the way they act, or leave the stage, without receiving written instructions from the audience. Script changes are best given to politician, in the form of ballots, completed and delivered, in a voting booth."

Dr. Mohler and Dr. John MacArthur spoke recently to an audience of pastors and offered their opinion on the spiritual condition of America.

They demonstrated that they don't have a clue on how to regulate the temperature of America in the arena of civil government. America needs Christian thermostats, not Christian thermometers.

Evangelical leaders need to be schooled in Russell Kirk's truism, "Politicians are actors performing a script that is written by the audience." Real political know-how and spiritual discernment is mandatory (men and women of Issachar) as we navigate the treacherous waters produced by Christian disengagement and withdrawal from the public square over the last century. Liberty is at stake, for virtue is a key component of freedom.

Elected officials represent those constituents who vote. And polls reveal that of the estimated 65M-80M Evangelicals who read their Bible, attend church and pray, only half of those being registered to vote. And, half of that half don't vote!
Christians have minuscule influence and representation. Is it any wonder that President Obama, through executive orders and "Presidential memoranda," bypasses Congress to impose his immoral agenda-without a peep from the pulpits of America?

President Obama has birthed anarchy with executive orders. When anarchy is touring, tyrants are in power and every citizen is subject to the law except, you guessed it, the President and his sycophants. The ruler is above the law.

The fault for the crisis in America proceeds from a Biblically illiterate people, not the politician. In vain do we blame others. Plainly, Christians oppressed by the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent federal government and judiciary need someone to blame besides themselves, and their apathy.

The current state of the union is the consequence of Christians abandoning the public square in the last century. America needs the Mohler's and MacArthur's to move out from behind the pulpit and camera and move into the civil government arena, "Putting on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."

"When the wicked are in power and control the affairs of state, violence and injustice are actively encouraged and flourish unchecked (Proverbs 29:16), and the people groan under an intolerable burden of oppression and make themselves scarce for fear of life and limb." -K.T. Aitken

"Power and control the affairs of state" are not done by speechifying, but by organizing and mobilizing an army of like-minded constituents. Somebody's values are going to reign supreme. If secularists and homosexual activists recruit and elect those who align with their values, those elected officials are going to impose secular and pro-homosexual values through legislation. This is not rocket science.

Here is the good news, with just a small increase in voter turnout at the voting booth for the estimated 65M-80M Evangelical constituency, the political landscape can be changed dramatically-overnight.

God is on our side, so we will not be discouraged. There is no worse projectile in all of the ammunition depots of hell than, "God has forsaken [them]" (Psalm 71:11).

If we will engage, He will deliver us.

We need a Gideon or Rahab to stand.

David Lane
American Renewal Project

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Quote of the Day

"God's promises are connected to His commandments and are conditioned on obedience in a believer's life."  - Pastor Johnny Hunt

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Quote of the Day

"Why dost thou worry thyself? What use can thy fretting serve? Thou are on board a vessel which thou couldst not steer even if the great Captain put thee at the helm...Oh be quiet, God is Master!" - C.H. Spurgeon