Sapphire Sky

March 31, 2011

Are you smarter than your right foot?

Filed under: entertainment — Anthony Biller @ 4:52 pm

While sitting there, lift your right foot and swing it in CLOCKWISE circles.

While still swinging your right foot in CLOCKWISE circles, draw the number 6 in the air with your right hand.

If your right foot continues to swing clockwise throughout the drawing, see your doctor because then you’re likely not human.  If instead your foot changes direction, return to whatever you were doing.  You’re normal.  I wonder whether our resurrection bodies will have this hard-wiring “issue” …

March 30, 2011

Worldwide War Reports and Gilgamesh’s Flood

Filed under: theology — Anthony Biller @ 5:56 pm

My mother’s father told of a great war in the 1940s and what it was like to be blown off the deck of a battleship in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  My father’s father would tell what it was like to be in the German Luftwaffe in Northern France during the late 1930s and labeled a traitor for criticizing Hitler in the 1940s in Germany during a great war.  My father’s uncle would tell what it was like to fight and freeze in Russian and be captured and sent to Siberia in a great war in the 1940s.  It was also told that another of my great uncles died in a battle outside Stalingrad in the 1940s.  All these different stories told about a great worldwide war in the 1940s.  Very different stories.  It would be absurd, however, for me to conclude that these stories were false because they reported different events from a great war.  It would be doubly absurd for me to conclude that these different stories indicate that in fact there was no great war.

Of course, that would be absurd if I was using such reasoning to disclaim that there was a historical cataclysmic worldwide war.  If, however, I was using such reasoning to disclaim the existence of a historical, cataclysmic worldwide flood, I would be a respected academic.  Steve Ham provides an excellent analysis on how ancient records to include The Gilgamesh Epic support the Scriptural history of the worldwide flood here.  A telling well worth the reading.

March 25, 2011

NC Supreme Court Rejects Bar Leadership’s Ethics for Sex and Gender

Filed under: biz, legal, and professionalism — Anthony Biller @ 3:51 pm

I previously wrote about efforts to stop the North Carolina State Bar leadership from passing and implementing “ethics” guidelines against taking a person’s sexual orientation or “gender identity” into consideration when working as a licensed attorney in North Carolina.  See Orwellian Sexual Ethics in NC Bar.  Those efforts failed.  The legal elite in NC, in a fit of tolerance and enlightenment, passed the resolutions, though with some healthy dissent from the ranks.

If passed, this amendment would prevent attorneys from taking “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” into consideration when hiring and choosing to represent clients.  It would be unethical to note that your legal candidate Bobbie used to be Bob and is the president for the local NAMBLA chapter.  Even though this post-modern moral garbage paraded as “ethics” would trample on the Constitutional rights of Christian attorneys, even though there’s no evidence of any need for such regulation or that it would promote a legitimate public purpose, and even though this “ethics” guideline would protect “sexual orientations” that are currently felonies to practice in North Carolina, the NC Bar “leadership” passed this resolution out of committee, where it was thereafter passed by the State bar counsel and leadership.  From there, the Bar leaders sent this “ethics” resolution to the North Carolina Supreme Court for final approval, where the amendment would then have the force of law.

Praise God for sanity from the North Carolina Supreme Court Justices.  Without comment, the Court rejected the proposed amendment.  The CAL’s article on this reprinted with permission:

N.C. Supreme Court Nixes Plan by State Bar to Add ‘Sexual Orientation’ and ‘Gender Identity’ to its Preamble

By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League

 RALEIGH — The N.C. Supreme Court has nixed a plan by the State Bar Council to add controversial language to the Preamble of its Rules of Professional Conduct that would have obliged attorneys not to consider “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” when deciding whom they represent or hire.

“The High Court’s decision not to approve the change is a victory for Tar Heel attorneys’ freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “Had they endorsed this misguided proposal, attorneys with Judeo-Christian beliefs would be caught in a no-win situation. Plus, the Bar would have set a bad precedent for other professional groups and given added momentum to the push to get this language introduced into state laws.”

The proposed amendment to the preamble, endorsed by the North Carolina State Bar in January, stated: “While employed or engaged in a professional capacity, a lawyer should not discriminate on the basis of a person’s race, gender, national origin, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. This responsibility of non-discrimination does not prohibit a lawyer’s advocacy on any issue.”

Many lawyers may not have paid much attention to the suggested change and still others who support the homosexual agenda may have felt it was needed, but Anthony Biller, an intellectual property attorney from Cary, points out that the proposed amendment went well beyond homosexuality.

“By extending the ethical guideline to ‘sexual orientation’ the authors draw a circle of protection … to include all forms of sexual orientation, which includes pedophilia, polygamy, bestiality, sadomasochism, necrophilia and every other form of sexual deviancy,” Biller wrote in a Feb. 10 letter to the Supreme Court justices reminding them that many of those forms of sexual orientation are in fact felonies under North Carolina law.” Since this draft was promulgated by a committee of intelligent and experienced attorneys, one can presume this broad classification was intentional and that these few attorneys intend the Bar to impose radical social philosophy regarding human sexuality on all practicing attorneys in North Carolina.”

In urging the justices to reject the proposal, Biller wrote that “gender identity is an anathema to the Biblical concept that God intentionally created men and women unique from each other and that God chose each person’s gender.” He said the amended preamble would mean that attorneys could not refuse to associate, hire or represent based on someone’s philosophy of gender and that it would certainly protect “cross dressers, transsexuals and men who would prefer to use the ladies latrine in my office.”

Biller was far from alone in his concern over the proposal. Jere Royall, counsel for the North Carolina Family Policy Council also submitted a letter to the justices asserting that not only would the change create a protected status for behaviors that “many understand to be harmful physically, psychologically and spiritually,” but that the addition of the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” neither of which are defined in North Carolina law, “would violate the United States’ and North Carolina’s Constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and religion, whether now as part of an ‘aspirational’ statement, or later when they may be included in a different part of the rules, and become the basis for disciplinary action against the attorney.”

 The Alliance Defense Fund had weighed in on the issue as early as 2009, pointing out the problems in a very similar rules revision that was proposed but then withdrawn in July of that year by a subcommittee of the N.C. State Bar Ethics Committee. The withdrawal came after hundreds of attorneys from across the state expressed their opposition, many mailing their own letters of protest and others signing onto the ADF letter.

 Still, the Bar brought the issue back to the table and gave its approval early this year sending it on to the High Court. And even though Lawyers Weekly reported in a March 16 article that the justices’ rejection of the proposed amendment “means the issue is dead,” Biller said he wouldn’t be surprised to see it pop up again.

“I would anticipate this issue or some variation thereof resurfacing at some point in the future within the state bar, though it could be in another form, such as from another committee opining on a substantive area of law,” he said.

In his letter to the N.C. Supreme Court he called the push to amend the preamble “a transparent attempt to obtain the credibility of a state bar organization to endorse one side in a disputed political and moral debate while suppressing the other side.”

The Rev. Creech agreed and urged Christian attorneys across the state to be vigilant in their efforts to keep the North Carolina Bar from being used as a vehicle for the homosexual agenda. He also suggested that residents from all walks of life keep an eye on this and other professional groups that are embracing this radical social agenda.

March 24, 2011

Great Help for Compromisers

Filed under: homeschooling — Anthony Biller @ 3:47 pm

If you’re going to call a well known someone an unspiritual sinner and permanently ban that someone and his ministry because they impolitely called out false doctrine at your event, please be so kind as to not continue marketing and promoting using the banned person’s brand to promote your own services.

As of today, the Great Homeschool Conventions, Inc. (“GHC”) is still promoting Answers in Genesis as part of GHC’s conference packages on their blog home page.  At first you would think it to be an oversight, however GHC disabled the purchasing links on the ad itself. They’ve removed the ability to purchase, but continue to use the AiG brand to promote the GHC conferences, even after banning the ministry in perpetuity from their future conferences.  GHC is still publishing the following on their blogsite promoting their conferences:

Fantastic Savings from Answers in Genesis & the Creation Museum

Posted July 11th 2010 at 6:07 am by bdean

We love the incredible work being done by our friends at Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum! If you’ve not yet had the chance to visit the Creation Museum, you are missing out on an incredible experience. This 70,000 square foot facility is really state-of-the-art, and it truly brings the pages of the Bible to life!

As we are such fans of the work of Answers in Genesis, you might imagine our enthusiasm when they approached us with an SPECIAL PACKAGE OFFER for our convention attendees that reflects a savings of 75%!! And so, we’re quite happy not only to provide you with this information, but to also recommend it sincerely.

See here and here. It’s difficult impossible to reconcile GHC’s marketing statements with their cursory treatment of Mr. Ham and the AiG ministry and GHC’s subsequent refusal to talk. “Friends” don’t fire friends via midnight emails out of the blue, particularly when the “friend” was doing what the friend has been doing for years: calling out and condemning false doctrine and attacks on scriptural authority.

GHC made a bad decision and then displayed institutional hubris in carying it out. Mr. Dean at GHC should call Mr. Ham directly, as a friend, and try to work this out with love.

UPDATE: someone pointed out to me that on the day GHC “expelled” AiG and said they were too busy to discuss it by phone, they called Dr. Bauer to inform her of their decision to ban AiG.  Interesting that GHC had the time to call her and felt the need to as well.  See Dr. Bauer’s statement re call here.

Additional posts on the topic:

False Piety by GHC, Inc.

A Time to Keep Silent, and a Time to Speak by Henry Morris III, D.Min.

Free Love Christians by Nathan Ham

Related: The Inerrancy of Scripture: The Fifty Years’ War . . . and Counting by Albert Mohler (reviewing Enns);  Creation vs. Evolution — The New Shape of the Debate by Albert Mohler

March 23, 2011

False Piety by Great Homeschool Conventions, Inc.

Filed under: culture, homeschooling — Anthony Biller @ 2:15 pm

Suppose a company, representing itself as Christian, hosted a homeschool convention featuring prominent Christian speakers and as is typically done, set up a large venue for vendors to present and sell their homeschool curriculum and wares.  Suppose further that one of the speakers and vendors teaches apostasy and sells homeschool materials propagating the false teachings.  Another Christian speaker and vendor talks on the topic of the increasing problem of compromise and false doctrine within the church and cites to the apostate vendor and his curriculum.  In short, one speaker criticizes another vendor for teaching and selling false doctrine.

What if anything would you expect the convention host to do? 

Would your answer change if the host had a policy against filtering the viewpoints of vendors and speakers?

I would not expect the host to ban the critic and continue hosting the apostate.  Of course, I would be and was mistaken.  In this case, the critic was Ken Ham who criticized the teachings and curriculum of Peter Enns and BioLogos.  The convention host is Brennan Dean, Great Homeschool Conventions.  In the real life story, it was not enough for Mr. Dean to ban Mr. Ham from further speaking engagements.  Instead, he permanently banned the entire Answers in Genesis ministry from appearing as a vendor at any future conventions hosted by Mr. Dean’s company.  Fire the critic, ban his ministry, and protect against criticism (and depressed sales) of the false doctrine.  You can’t make this stuff up.  See detailed article, to include Mr. Dean’s midnight email to AiG announcing his edict here

Dr. Enns is Senior Fellow of Biblical Studies for The BioLogos Foundation, which views Christ and scripture as follows:

If Jesus as a finite human being erred from time to time, there is no reason at all to suppose that Moses, Paul, John wrote Scripture without error. Rather, we are wise to assume that the biblical authors expressed themselves as human beings writing from the perspectives of their own finite, broken horizons.

See here.  Dr. Enns openly teaches that the Old Testament does not provide a reliable or accurate account of origins.  He explains,

When it comes to the science/faith discussion, the presence of the cosmic battle motif in the Old Testament should send us a strong signal: don’t expect the Old Testament to inform, let alone guide the scientific investigation of origins. If we approach the Old Testament expecting from it a “literal,” “historical,” “accurate” account of creation, we will (1) misrepresent reality in the name of faith, and (2) miss the theology that the biblical authors were so intent on putting there.

See here.  Dr. Enns teaches that the Creation account in Genesis is simply a metaphor and that Adam did not exist; Adam is a metaphor for the nation of Israel. See links to Enns’ BioLogos teachings here.  Dr. Enns’ homeschool curriculum reportedly dissuades parents from teaching their children about sin, grace, or the Old Testament.  See here.

For years, Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis have defended the integrity, reliability, and relevance of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.  I agree with this and serve the AiG ministry. Many families homeschool precisely because they also believe this and the public schools are prone to undermine such a worldview.  When it was announced that Mr. Dean and his company GHC were banning Mr. Ham and AiG, there was an outpouring of protest.  In hours, hundreds of people posted gracious words of support and encouragement on Mr. Ham’s FaceBook page and criticized GHC on their FB page.  This morning as hundreds of posts turned to thousands, GHC disabled and deleted all comments on their FB page and posted an “explanation” on their website.  They claimed that actually, they agreed with Mr. Ham’s “position,” but disagreed with his “spirit.”  See here

There are a few problems with Mr. Dean’s attempt to justify his suppression of Mr. Ham and AiG.  Foremost, neither Mr. Dean nor anyone else at any point during the prior convention or thereafter approached Mr. Ham or any of the leadership (or anyone lese) at AiG to discuss this “spiritual” problem. In his midnight email, Mr. Dean accused Mr. Ham of divisiveness and of defaming the convention and “other speakers.”  See here. It smacks of post-hoc rationalization.  Does the Bible support addressing a “spiritual” problem via a midnight email and then refuse to return calls to discuss the allegations? Is that “spiritual”?  Second, Mr. Dean provides nothing to substantiate his accusation and public defamation of Mr. Ham.  Third, even if Mr. Dean’s slander were true, how would that justify permanently banning the entire AiG ministry as a vendor.  Are AiG’s books, movies and curriculum “unspiritual”?  Hardly.  Mr. Dean’s explanation lacks content and merit.

What is nearly certain is that Mr. Ham’s criticism of Dr. Enns adversely affects sales of Dr. Enns’ new homeschool curriculum.  Dr. Enns’ curriculum is published by Peace Hill Press, the publishing arm of The Well-Trained Mind.  Peace Hill Press is owned and operated by Dr. Susan Wise Bauer and her family.  Ms. Bauer is the corporate Vice President.  Mr. Ham’s criticism is not good business for a major homeschool vendor and a prominent speaker within the homeschool community.  It appears to me that Mr. Dean made a decision to protect vendor sales at his conventions. Ken heavily criticized many compromisers of Scripture. Mr. Dean’s midnight email explanation only took issue with Ken’s criticism aimed at other vendors though. It’s Mr. Dean’s right to make this decision to protect his sales forum and vendors.  He should not, however, dress this decision up in “spirituality.” 

Mr. Dean attributes his decision to his “board of directors.”  Yet, neither his midnight email nor the subsequent public accusation this morning against Mr. Ham identify these individuals.  If Mr. Dean is going to invoke the decision and judgment of others, they should step out of the shadows and acknowledge their role.  

I think Mr. Dean made a business decision to ban Ken Ham and AiG.  The market should respond accordingly, to both the banning of Ham/AiG by Mr. Dean’s GHC and to the decision by Peace Hill Press and Dr. Bauer to publish Dr. Enns’ homeschool curriculum.  In the end, we should remember to pray for each other – to include for Mr. Dean, Dr. Enns and the folks at PHP – and do our best to honor Christ while defending and debating the centrality and reliability of Scripture.

Related: Great Help for Compromisers 

UPDATE June 10, 2011: Answers in Genesis Board of Directors’ Statement on Allegations by Great Homeschool Conventions, Inc.

March 20, 2011

Christian Marriage

Filed under: love, marriage and family — Anthony Biller @ 2:11 pm

Wives submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord … Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her … .  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. Ep. 5:22, 25, 28

Let marriage be held in honor among all … Heb. 13:4

Love bears all things, … endures all things. 1 Cor. 13:7

A post I wrote last year about Christians and divorce receives the most traffic on this blog, thousands of hits.  See here.  It occurred to me recently that some of this traffic might be Christians struggling with thoughts of divorce and perhaps I should write some encouraging words about marriage, particularly about sustaining marriage through difficult times.  Thinking about this, I realized that most of the useful stuff I know about marriage I learned from others who shared with me and my wife marital truths from and premised in scripture.  Our learning started with lots of advise and insight on dispute resolution mechanisms from an Army chaplain prior to our military marriage (pre-marital counseling from the chaplain was mandatory), and our learning continues.

My wife and I recently celebrated our 18th anniversary so our marriage has “matured” to a young adulthood of sorts.  We’ve been married long enough that we can look back and figure out some stuff we did wrong and some stuff we did (and will hopefully continue to do) well and what works.  So we put down a “top 10” to do list for a healthy marriage.  Several of these overlap.  And no, my wife did not ghost write this; she’s just further along the path on most these virtues and techniques than me!  We are both fellow journyers with many of you on the marital road. Arrival is on the other side of the divide.  Please feel free to share any encouraging words or advice about marriage in the comments …  Here goes:

1.  Purpose. Remind yourself daily of the Biblical purpose for marriage. Although I’m blessed to find happiness in my spouse, the purpose of Christian marriage isn’t happiness; the purpose is to become more like Christ.  This does not mean Christian marriage isn’t intended to romantic or pleasurable, quite the contrary, God is love and in Christ is eternal satisfaction for those who pursue him. Pursue Christ first, and everything else starts falling into place.  The presence of Christ in us should become increasingly noticeable the better someone knows us.  No one is closer than our spouse, whom scripture describes as our same flesh.  Our marriages should be the starting point for lives of grace, love and service.  Both submit to Christ.  The Bible calls on the wife to submit to the husband and the husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church.  Christ was nailed to the cross for the church.  For more on this point, read the excellent book by Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage.

2. Priority.  A simple tool to practice living like Christ: put yourself last.  Put J.O.Y. priorities in your marriage – look to serve Jesus, Others, then Yourself, in that order.

3. Love.  Love is a feeling and a verb.  So even if you don’t feel lovey, we’re called to do love.  Christ likely didn’t feel in love when being beaten and nailed to the cross.  In fact, he was quite open about not wanting to drink from that cup of misery. Yet out of the action of love for us, he did it.  I am certain he was not feeling giddy and “feeling in love” when they drove the spikes through his hands and feet, yet it was love and obedience to the Father’s will that held him there. The sacrament of marriage continually requires the Christian application of selfless love and obedience to God.  In marriage, two become one.  There is no better place to regularly practice and witness the presence or absence of Christ-like love.  With unconditional love, the marital union blossoms with commitment, trust, happiness, and peace.  Without it, the relationship and spouse withers.  Sadly, many couples endure dead relationships.  Just do love.

4. Knowledge. Know how to love your spouse.  One of the biggest revelations to me, after we’d been married for over ten years, was that love has its own languages.  Plural.  I had no idea.  I thought there was one love language – the one I spoke and understood.  I had often felt kinda rejected when my sweet wife didn’t seem to hear or speak my language.  Come to find out, I had no clue how to speak her love language.  I’ve since come to learn and appreciate that we each feel and convey love quite differently.  Dr. Gary Chapman, whom we discovered through our church, explained the 5 dominant love languages people speak and understand.  There are explanations and free tests at his website here and his bestselling book The 5 Love Languages is a must read if you’re not familiar with these concepts – a must read for marital bliss (see also Dr. Chapman’s book on the same topic for parenting here).  Most of us respond to and naturally understand just one of these languages.  My wife and I had entirely different languages – what an eye opener and blessing to discover.  This is one thing I wish we had learned at the outset of marriage.

5. Dare to be intimate.  The Bible advises spouses to not deny themselves to the other.  There’s an obvious and sometimes neglected sexual side to this affirmative duty.  There is also a spiritual and emotional side.  There is much said and written about sex in marriage.  It’s obviously an important component that we’re directed to not neglect.  Enough is not, however, said about the necessity for intimacy beyond sex, and this is far more challenging for most of us.  It’s often easier to share our bodies than our feelings.  Spiritually, it’s easier to pray alone or superficially than to close hands together and bare your soul before God, together, in prayer.  Candor and prayer.  Help each other to dare to bare more than just your bodies.

6. Prime Time. The Army chaplain told us to “hold our fire” until “prime time.”  This was excellent advise.  The time to raise a disputed issue is not when our spouse first walks in the door.  Give each other time to unwind from the day and recuperate.  “Prime time” for TV is also a prime time to engage our own biggest issues, after we’ve had a time to settle down from the days activities.

7. First Person.  That same Army chaplain also advised us that when we “open fire” against the other, to do it in the first person tense.  Speak from the perspective of how the accused issue affected you.  Instead of saying, “You were wrong in how you talked to me,” try “The way you talked to me made me feel like [fill in the blank].  I was really hurt, embarrassed, etc.”  Explaining how someone’s actions made you feel or otherwise affected you makes the same point as attacking the accused action/flaw, but it’s far less antagonistic.  This technique works. (My wife has shared a lot of such “feelings” with me …)

8. Peers. Hang out with people who support and encourage your faith and believe passionately in marriage.  Hanging out with single friends at the singles club is a recipe for disaster, for even the best marriages.  Equally dangerous, be discerning in your “friendships.”  Most affairs don’t originate in clubs.  They start with emotional bonds formed around the water cooler or community events.  Spiritual bonds can be a significant trap for those in ministry. Be careful with whom you grow close ties.

9.  Patience.  Marriage isn’t about “helping” your spouse improve, changing their minds, or winning arguments or anything else about the other.  Wrong paradigm. See number 1 above.  If you want to change something about your spouse, spend a lot of time praying about it and for them before even raising the issue, unless, of course it’s a clear spelled out in scripture sin issue.  Even then, particularly then, pray even more.

10.  Forgive.  Love keeps no record of wrongs.  Live grace.

Related articles: Sacrificial Love by Matthew White; Marriage Gems by Lori Lowe; Is Religion an Answer? Marriage, Fatherhood, and the Male Problematic by W. Bradford Wilcox;  Why Monogamy Matters by Ross Douthat; Marriage as Witness to the Culture by JC Sanders.

March 18, 2011

Save the planet!

Filed under: culture, entertainment, theology — Tags: , — Steve Knaus @ 12:09 am

Save the planet!

Be kind to the earth!

This common theme runs throughout contemporary American culture.  You see it all the time in popular music,  movies, and television shows.

This issue gets hotly debated, especially across political lines.

But how often do we look to see what God has to say about the issue?

I came across this passage in Leviticus:

“Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations … lest when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you.

So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God.”

-Leviticus 18:24-30

WARNING: This chapter in Leviticus contains a list of some of the most disgusting, vile, and deviant practices to ever be recorded in Scripture. But what is the warning? Don’t do these things “lest the land vomit you out“!

Few of us would even think to stoop to the level of depravity in Leviticus 18. But let’s celebrate the earth that God has given us by keeping our lives pure!

March 16, 2011

Soli Deo Gloria – Restoration

Filed under: encouragement, praise — Anthony Biller @ 9:39 pm

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:4 -9

Jesus is my Savior and Rescuer.  He restores us to God.  He shall restore all of creation to God.

Jesus Christ is returning, sooner than most think, to rescue us, to restore us to the place and existence for which our soul longs.  Nature groans under the curse, waiting for that day.

He will return for us, to take us to a place where there will be no more tears, no more suffering, no more death.  We will live in the presence and glory of the almighty God.

John 6:38-40 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

We will be in heaven, with God, forever, only because of Jesus.

Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever.  For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints.  They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.  The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever. Ps. 37:27-28.

We have faith in what God accomplished in the past.  Our hope is in what he promises for our future.  He promises a perfect and lasting peace for those that put their trust in Him.

knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. … So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.  For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Cor. 4:14-18

God, give us the eyes to see and the strength to truly believe in your eternity for us, and to live in that hope.

“… He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Rev. 21:4

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  Praise Him all creatures here below.  Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  Amen.

We praise you God for your Glory.  We REJOICE in you Lord.  Forever.

“Surely I am coming soon.” Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus!  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.  Amen. Rev. 22:20-21

March 15, 2011

Parental Rights True/False Quiz

Filed under: homeschooling, marriage and family, politics, economy, etc., Uncategorized — dadofmultiples @ 7:26 pm

Are your rights as a parent free from governmental interference?

Do you believe that the government will only involve itself in cases of abuse and/or neglect?

The following ten questions are designed to test your knowledge of events that have affected the parent-child relationship in the United States. The last 5 questions pertain, specifically, to a treaty that has been ratified by many U.N. countries around the world.

TRUE or FALSE

  1. Child protective services forcibly removed a 13 year old boy from his parents after he complained to a school counselor that they took him to church too often (twice on Sunday and once on Wednesday).
  2. You have a legal right to know if your teenage children will receive or have received medical treatment through the public schools.
  3. In most states parents are held liable for public library fines issued to their children, but, they are denied access to information about the titles of the books.
  4. A 13 year old girl was ‘liberated from her parents’ after she complained of being grounded for smoking marijuana and having sex with her boyfriend.
  5. A mother in Illinois was twice refused her request to opt her daughter out of sexual education lectures that she found objectionable.
  6. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC), which would allow the government to determine the “best interest of the child” (even in cases where there has been no parental neglect or abuse) and supersede all parental power, has been signed by the United States.
  7. If the UN CRC is ratified, religious schools would no longer be allowed to teach that Christianity is the only true religion and would be forced to teach “alternative worldviews.”
  8. Under the UN CRC, a child’s “right to be heard” would allow them to seek governmental review of any parental decision with which the child disagreed.
  9. Parents would still have the right to “opt out” their children from sex education.
  10. Proponents of the treaty are on the move and claim to be near victory.

ANSWERS

  1. TRUE. The child was placed in foster care until the parents agreed to a Superior Court Judge’s demands that the child be taken to church no more than one time per week.
  2. FALSE. Schools are not required to notify, request permission, or inform the parents of any medical treatment their children receive. In some states, this includes abortion procedures.
  3. TRUE. Many states have laws that protect the “right to privacy” in children 9 years old and older, so parents cannot see materials that their children have checked out.
  4. TRUE. In the early 1980s, 13-year-old Sheila Marie Sumey, whose parents grounded her, went to her school counselors complaining about her parent’s actions. She was advised that she could be liberated from her parents because there was “conflict between parent and child.” Listening to the advice she had received, Sheila notified Child Protective Services (CPS) about her situation. She was subsequently removed from her home and placed in foster care. Even though the judge found that Sheila’s parents had enforced reasonable rules in a proper manner, the state law nevertheless gave CPS the authority to split apart the Sumey family and take Sheila away. (In Re: Sumey, 94 Wn. 2d 757, 621 P. 2d 108 (1980))
  5. TRUE. 35 states require sexual education as part of the curriculum. Of these, only three states require parental consent and 11 states do not permit opting out of the course at all.
  6. TRUE. President Clinton signed the UN CRC in 1995, however, the Senate has not voted on ratification. If ratified, it would supersede all current family law on the books and a committee of 18 U.N. ‘experts’ from other nations would have the authority to issue official interpretations of the treaty which would be entitled to binding weight in American courts.
  7. TRUE. Religious schools that teach that theirs is the only true religion “fly in the face of article 29” of the treaty according to the American Bar Association.
  8. TRUE. The treaty specifically outlaws all corporal punishment and has been interpreted (in Sweden) to disallow any punishment without the consent of the child (including “time out”).
  9. FALSE. The notion of “opting out” has been held to be out of compliance with the treaty. Today, even in states where “opting out” is allowed for sex education, parents have no right to oppose specific parts of a curriculum. In Parker v. Hurley, 514 F. 3d 87 (2008), a federal appeals court found that parents who opposed a part of a school curriculum related to homosexual rights and practices did not have the right to opt their kindergarten child out or be informed in advance of the curriculum content.
  10. TRUE. A meeting was held at the White House recently to discuss ratification, and the Campaign for U.S. Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child claim they are near the 67 Senate votes needed for ratification.

Current law on parental rights tells parents that they have no say over their children once they enter the door of a public school.

In Fields v. Palmdale School District, 427 F. 3d 1197 (2005), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals “affirm[ed] that the [fundamental parental] right does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door.” Numerous school boards have determined that parents do not even have a constitutional right to be present on the school grounds where their child attends. See http://www.erusd.k12.ca.us/ERUSDPolicies/1250.pdf

What can we do?

Senate Resolution 99 is currently being considered as a statement against the ratification of the UN CRC Treaty. There are 31 co-sponsors to date. If 34 sign the resolution, the chance of ratification during this congress decreases significantly.

The Parental Rights Amendment has been submitted as an amendment to the Constitution to grant parents the fundamental right to the upbringing and education of their children. This would prevent treaties from superseding, modifying or interpreting these rights.

Learn more at ParentalRights.org

or

View the Documentary

“The Child”

at

Cary Alliance Church (Room 115)

March 28, 2011

7:00 pm

March 4, 2011

Gay Testimony

Filed under: culture, marriage and family, Ministry — Anthony Biller @ 4:53 pm

Several years ago, Tim Wilkins was a guest speaker for a Sunday service at the church where my family and I attend.  He was introduced to our large congregation with his darling wife with babe in arms.  With thousands of people in attendance, Tim talked about being gay.  Our church is a conservative, independent Baptist church. Very conservative.  People don’t typically stand up in the pulpit and talk about being gay there, ever.  I also wasn’t too far removed from serving in the Airborne Infantry where being, acting, or in any way resembling “gay” was … looked down upon, to put it mildly.  Seemed kinda akward to stand up in front of a thousand conservative Baptists on a Sunday morning and talk about what it’s like being gay.  But I soon came to realize that Tim is a brave man. He explained his homosexuality and gave a moving and powerful testimony, which can be read here, about growing up gay and how through his pursuit for Christ, he fell in love with a woman and left homosexuality.

His wife convinced him that God would use Tim’s past to reach men like himself for Christ.  Tim was a pastor and friends advised him he would ruin his pastoral career.  Tim listened to his bride and formed Cross Ministry to reach gay men with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  As I said, Tim is a brave man.  There are presently few if any areas more charged and filled with rancor than the intersection of Biblical Christianity and homosexuality.  Homosexuals insist that society normalize and recognize same-sex relations and punish those that would discriminate against homosexuals.  In numerous books of the Bible, Apostles and prophets expressly condemn and prohibit homosexuality and its concomitant acts.  Having been torn between these worlds, Tim stands at the crossroads to minister to homosexuals, to reach them with Jesus’ transforming love.

Tim recently sent out the following, which I think is an excellent testimony on what it means to rely upon and be transformed by Christ.  Tim’s lessons is applicable to each one of us:

A New Leash on Life

-Tim Wilkins

Man’s best friend had his or her day when the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show occurred the middle of February in the “Big Apple.” This was an occasion where one could honestly say “Madison Square Gardens had gone to the dogs.” And though the spotlight was clearly on the four-legged fidos, the most overlooked part of the show was that thing that connects dog to his or her master – the leash.

The master knows what he want his dog to do and the leash is his tool.

The Master, the Eternal God of all creation knows precisely what He wants us to do, but we – like those uncomprehending canines – think we know best.

Having reached puberty with the shocking awareness that I had same-sex attractions, I felt as if I lay at the bottom of the Mariana Trench – a body of water measuring almost seven miles deep. Raised in a Bible-believing church, I knew homosexuality to be wrong. What I needed to know was how to escape from this “thing” that pervaded my every waking thought. Thank God sleep allowed me a brief respite to my bewildered brain, but I could not sleep my life away.

I set out with preconceived notions as to how I would achieve freedom. When one idea fell flat, I moved to the next one and on and on I went. But I found myself still burdened under a profound adversity. Every which way I moved proved the wrong direction.

In his classic Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis addressed adversity using an illustration drawn from the domesticated but dumb dog. “If the dog gets its leash wrapped around a pole and tries to continue running forward, he will only tighten the leash more. Both the dog and the owner are after the same end: forward motion. But the owner must resist the dog by pulling him opposite of the direction that he wants to go. The master, sharing the same intention, but understanding better than the dog where he really wants to go, takes an action precisely opposite to that of the dog’s will. It is in this way that God uses adversity!”

Having first read that paragraph many years ago, I began a different path in finding freedom from that despair beyond description – same-sex attractions. Notice I wrote “same-sex attractions” not “same-sex activity.” Yes, while I had given into the temptation at a point in time, the despair, the horror, the emotional quicksand that preceded my involvement in homosexuality was the closest thing to hell I knew of – though I have never visited the place.

Based on Lewis’ illustration and my story, let me list a few tips for those persons wondering “how in world do I get out of here?” or “how in the world can I help my friend out of there?”

Relinquish ALL those preconceived ideas as to what YOU think the solution is. That means stop telling God what you want Him to do. He doesn’t need your advice. He really is “THE KNOW-IT-ALL!”

If your view of God is Him pacing His throne room, beads of sweat running down His brow and wringing His hands over this issue, be of good cheer; God is neither befuddled nor dismayed. Ask God what He wants you to do, not just about this particular issue but all of life. But beware of asking God what He wants you to do if you have no intention of doing it. You’re wasting your time, not His – because He is eternity. This unique concept of doing what God says is called “obedience”. You ask “Has it really come to that?” Yes, as Oswald Chambers wrote “God will task the last grain of sand and the remotest star to bless us when we obey Him.” Try it. Obedience is more refreshing and productive than giving God orders. I ought to know.

But you say “I don’t hear God telling me what to do.” He speaks to those who listen and as John Lloyd Ogilvie writes “You can not have the will of God in your life till you have the Word of God in your life.” Read more than the half-dozen or so classic Bible passages that address homosexuality. You need the whole counsel of God. Reading only the prohibitions to homosexuality provides a diagnosis (it’s a sin), but you need a prognosis.

Ask yourself what you really want. If your answer is to become a “former homosexual” or an “ex-gay”, you’re trudging the wrong road. (The previous answer would be correct if you want to be known for what you USED to be.) Let’s take this another step; if your answer is to be “heterosexual” you’re still off target. If your answer is – more precisely – to be attracted to the opposite sex, you’re still missing the boat. “Heretical” you say? Your answer should be “I —want— to— become— a— follower— of— God’s— only—- Son.” You say “well of course I want that” but do you – really? Chambers cut me to the quick and knocked the wind out of me when I read these words “Getting in a right relationship with God is the easiest thing in the world— unless it’s not God you want, but only what He gives.” Jesus said it this way. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) Peter Marshall said that verse is the most unbelieved verse in the Bible.

Freedom for me results through a rigorous reading of Scripture and a relentless reliance on Jesus Christ. No, I used the correct verb tense in the previous sentence. You think I should have used “resulted.” I depend on Him everyday. And I know what you’re thinking “you mean this is an ongoing effort?” I know of no better way to answer that question but to say this—while actor Harrison Ford played the role of Indiana Jones in a few movies, I live the adventure of Indiana Jones every day. I’m having a blast and I’m not even from Indiana. Why would I give up the adventure; that’s what God made me for.

Lewis continues “We truly can trust in the God who loves us with an everlasting love because He knows the direction we need to go, AND He knows exactly how to get us there!”

Did you know that another word for leash is “lead”?

(Permission granted to reprint; www.CrossMinistry.org )

March 1, 2011

Top 10 lessons for a swim coach

Filed under: humor, sports — Steve Knaus @ 11:00 am

My top-10 list of lessons I learned from coaching swim team this season.

10. You don’t know it all. The minute you think you have it all figured out, something is going to make you look really dumb.

9. The best technique cannot replace poor fitness.

8. The best fitness cannot replace poor technique.

7. 79-degree water feels much colder!

6. There are no rest areas between Cary and High Point.

5. The most encouraging away meets are at schools with the same mascot. Everyone cheers for you!

4. Make sure you have enough room for everyone at practice.

4. Learn to count!

3. Don’t be afraid to push for the next level. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish!

2. Don’t forget why you are there.

1. Remember: you are not alone!

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