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What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
Oldies but goodies...
What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
Courtesy of State Library of QueenslandMy one-and-a-half-year-old son imitates everything I do these days. “Hey, babes,” I said as I greeted my wife a number of weeks ago. “Hey babes,” he garbled from his high chair a few seconds later. When I left a garbage bag next to the front door one day, he toddled over to it and began attempting to tie the drawstrings together, just as he had seen me do minutes before. Now, to my amazement, he is feeding himself with a spoon. It brings me great joy to watch him carefully position the spoon in his fingers so that he can angle it correctly into his bowl and scoop up food, which he then brings to his mouth with remarkable control and efficiency. It’s as if he saw someone else doing the same thing.To see my son constantly imitate me is thrilling, humbling, and a bit frightening all at once. It’s exhilarating to know that another human sees me as such an influential presence and role model—I’m excited by the prospect of passing on the passion I have for reading, music, sports, and the knowledge and love of our Father up above. At the same time, I’m realizing more and more the extent to which my words and actions can influence his behavior, which means I really do need to watch what I say and do.As Father’s Day approaches, I’m reminded of all the ways I imitated my own father when I was growing up. I’ll never forget the Saturday he brought me along with him to the local rec center to play pickup basketball when I was around 10. I watched in awe and a little trepidation at how quickly the much larger men moved and passed the ball. I was soon thrown into the mix, and found myself panicking as I tried to keep up. “Stay between your man and the basket,” my dad said. I could tell by the way he played that he took pride in playing good defense. Something clicked for me after that, and I’ve loved playing basketball ever since.Then there was the beautiful sunny day my dad first showed me how to swing a golf club in our front yard. He explained the proper grip to take, how far away to stand from the ball, how to bring the club back, and the appropriate motion to take on the downswing. As I imitated his golf swing for the first time, I remember a feeling of comfort come over me. Playing golf has been a natural fit and a great source of fulfilment for me from that day on. What I am most grateful to my father for is his determination to keep his Catholic faith central in his life. He always wore a dress shirt and tie on Sundays while a large percentage of other men wore jeans and t-shirts. During Mass, he would always sing out the hymns with passion, while many other men in neighboring pews would stand silently with seeming indifference. The reverence he showed during Mass always struck me—his head was often bowed forward, his eyes closed, and his hands clasped together. After the gospel was proclaimed and the congregation took their seats, he would often remain standing for a beat longer than everyone else, as if to take an extra moment to let Christ’s words soak into his soul. I could feel the devotion emanating from within him during Mass, and it rubbed off on me.The car ride home from Mass would usually entail a heartfelt commentary from him about the priest’s homily. Countless conversations at home about the nature of faith and reflecting on the life of the Holy Family are some of my fondest memories. There were also numerous times that I recall him witnessing to friends and acquaintances who did not share his faith. This has always been something I have greatly admired in him—there was an energy and joy that his faith gave him that he did not want to contain, compelling him to share it with others. There was also fearlessness in the indifference he had to what others might have thought of him. Seeing him take his faith so seriously clearly made a great impression on me. I can see now that it was through my imitation of my father at a young age that I first began to make the Catholic faith my own.Every father knows that they set an example for their children, but what they perhaps don’t know is how much of an impact they can actually have on them. Part of the reason for this is that it is easy for parents to underestimate how observant their children are, which I have discovered with surprise at my own son’s remarkable ability to imitate me. I doubt that my dad knew the extent to which I was watching him as I grew up. What I have noticed is that this is a common experience. I remember numerous occasions where my sister and I have related our experience of a childhood memory, to which my parents have responded, “Really? You remember that? I didn’t think you noticed” or “That’s funny—I don’t remember it that way!” I have also seen this same interaction happen with my friends and their parents. I have no doubt that when I am advanced in years and I listen to my son’s experiences of childhood, I will be blown away.In the first verse of 1 Corinthians 11, Paul states plainly: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” For me, this is the perfect encapsulation of what authentic fatherhood should be. God created us in such a way that the father of a family is to be the image of Himself—God the Father. We see this in how a father and mother welcome a newborn child—with love. The first experience of God’s love that a newborn encounters is through the love of their father and mother. As Paul says, the model that fathers need to follow is Christ, the Incarnation of God Himself. But since Christ no longer physically walks the earth, His followers must imitate Him in order to allow His presence to abide in the world. Paul stood as an amazing model for Christ in the early Christian church, and his example was imitated by his followers, who were then imitated by their followers, and so the faith was passed down through the generations. This mission has been passed down to all Christian fathers today—to imitate Christ in order to lead by example for the good of their children and for the good of everyone they encounter.Thank you, Dad, for your example of Christian manhood. Your witness of faith is something I hope to pass down to my own son, just as you did for me. Happy Father’s Day!
by Phil Johnsonull disclosure: Here is the development that finally provoked my sense of consecrated indignation enough to motivate me to start blogging again:It's the latest "evangelical" superconference. As you see, their own ad copy tells us they are devoted to "supporting, encouraging, and empowering gay, lesbian, same-sex-attracted, and other LGBT Christians so they can experience the life-giving character of the historic Christian tradition." The conference is being organized and supported by a large cast of evangelical thought-leaders—including some people generally assumed to be sound and reliable spiritual guides.Fred Butler blogged about it yesterday, and it'll save me some work if you read his assessment of the actual conference itself. (You may need a translator for the cornpone-and-pot-likker dialect he slips into occasionally, but the cardinal points he makes are unassailable.)Anyway, I want to comment on the conference's underlying theory, because it strikes me as a Really Bad Idea (and a patently unbiblical opinion). Nevertheless, it seems to be gaining traction rapidly—even among many influential and hitherto trustworthy evangelical leaders. It's the notion that homosexual orientation is morally neutral. The claim being made is that gay desires are not really sinful unless they are acted upon. So a person can fully self-identify as lesbian, bi-sexual, gay, transsexual, gender-fluid, or otherwise "queer" and be a church member in good standing—as long as he, she, xe, (or whatever) remains celibate.I first began to realize realized how widespread that idea has become in the evangelical community two years ago, when the following Tweet was posted from the official Twitter account of The Gospel Coalition (TGC):"It's more masculine to be attracted to men yet obedient to God than attracted to women and disobedient to God."I referred to TGC's Tweet as a "hazy, misleading sophism" and added, "Lusting for something sinful is not 'obedien[ce] to God.'" A long argument ensued, with several friends on my FaceBook page and lots of my Twitter followers expressing shock and surprise that I would hold an opinion so egregiously out of step with postmodern political correctness. The "proper" postmodern opinion was succinctly stated by an exasperated commenter on my FaceBook page: "Desires are neutral until they are used sinfully," he wrote.I fear that idea is finding currency among leading evangelicals. But it is dead wrong and subversive to genuine holiness. Scripture is chock full of statements emphatically condemning evil desires—from the Tenth Commandment (Exodus 20:17) to Jesus' words about mental and visual lust in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:27-29). What, after all, is lust but raw, sinful desire?Those who argue that LGBT "orientation" is morally neutral often point out that an unmarried heterosexual man's attraction to women isn't necessarily deemed sinful, assuming he remains celibate. Why, then, should we consider a celibate gay man's attraction wrong, as long as he doesn't act on it?I'd like to suggest two replies to that. First, a celibate heterosexual's attraction to women might indeed be sinful, if, say, he is attracted only to married women or underage girls. It would likewise be sinful if he allowed his interest in a particular young woman to become a fixation that distorts his perception of reality. A perfectly innocent attraction can even become a sinful passion for the person who indulges in immoral fantasies. No sane and reasonable person would try to argue that heterosexual desires are always wholesome. Second (and this is pretty straightforward:) Scripture says inordinate affections are sinful and commands us to mortify them (Colossians 3:5). I didn't make that up.But my Bible uses the expression "evil desire" in Colossians 3:5. How do I know if a desire is "evil"?In short, Scripture teaches plainly that any desire is sinful if it entails a wish for what we cannot righteously have. Far from "supporting, encouraging, and empowering" people with perverse sexual desires, Scripture repeatedly urges us to repent of all sinful desires—especially those wicked sexual passions that so easily entrap young minds (2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Peter 2:11). All of us—not just LBGTQ folk—are commanded to renounce and mortify every desire for anything God has forbidden. Those who think people beset with perverse desires can wear their peculiar lusts as badges of group identity merely demonstrate that they haven't a clue what repentance means. Furthermore, to omit or purposely obscure the Bible's clear call to repentance is to show contempt to one's unbelieving neighbors.Let me be clear: I, too, have friends and close neighbors who identify as LGBT, and I abominate the way some Christians seem to think it's OK to heap unbridled scorn, mockery, or insults on them. All our neighbors should be shown Christlike, loving compassion with the dignified respect that befits anyone who bears God's image.But to encourage them in their sin or offer them the false comfort of approval for their sinful desires is a serious breach of the Second Great Commandment.Let's not try to make any sin seem less wicked than it is.I would not necessarily single out homosexuality as the chief example of abominable sin if our culture didn't constantly insist on treating homosexual desire as a privileged category. Sodomy is only one of several notoriously odious abominations, and Jesus expressly said the hard-hearted unbelief of those who have actually seen and know the truth is a worse sin than all the evils of Sodom (Matthew 11:24).Furthermore, I'm happy to assert, emphatically, that any evil attraction is appallingly sinful, including that heterosexual tendency to want to click on clickbait when the link features a picture of some scantily-clad tart.But this one class of sins (LGBT etc.) is the only one that demands special status and unconditional affirmation.So perhaps the main point I want to make will perhaps be clearer if we consider one of the sexual perversions that hasn't yet successfully lobbied for social acceptance and special rights.Here's a real-life example:During my first year at Grace to You (1983), a man wrote our ministry looking for affirmation and encouragement. He wanted us to agree with his belief that mere attraction to a forbidden object is not inherently sinful. He gave a convincing testimony about his conversion from a life of sin and rebellion. He said he was now serving as an AWANA leader in his church. Then he got specific about what he was asking us to sanction.He said he felt sexually drawn to "large farm animals." (Those were his exact words.)I wrote back, citing Matthew 5:28, and told him it is our position that the desires he was describing are not morally neutral at all but a sinful perversion that he needed to repent of and vanquish through the means of grace. I'd give him the same answer today, even after reading reams of sophisticated evangelical reasoning trying to argue that "attraction" and "lust" are categorically different.One other point needs to be made before I wrap this up.People sometimes suggest that all sin is equally vile. That's simply not true. It's true that all sin is damnably wicked, but Jesus Himself made clear that some sins are worse than others (John 19:11; Luke 10:12-14). And Scripture clearly portrays certain sexual perversions (lesbianism and bestiality among them) as unusually and unnaturally perverse. (See, for example, Romans 1:26-28.)All of this raises an important question: How far do the culturally-engaged evangelical trend-setters want to take the notion that mere attraction is morally neutral? I hope we'd be concerned about the sanctification of someone who insisted on self-identifying as a pederast living a celibate life. Or my cowboy correspondent who harbored a secret desire for a closer relationship with his livestock. Or people drawn to any number of kinky fetishes too perverse to even talk about (Ephesians 5:12).Yes, all of us struggle with evil desires. That's part of our fallenness. Even Paul struggled with covetousness—evil desire (Romans 7:7-25). But Paul's whole point was that those desires (even if never acted on) are sins to be mortified, not prize ribbons to be worn as badges of one's identity.
Paul is frustrated! He is such a staunch defender of the Gospel of the Grace of God! And his congregations (plural, in several cities) in the area of Galatia have been duped into accepting (or are on the verge of doing so) the Law of Moses as an adjunct (integral companion, vital aid) to salvation! […]
Today's category: ChurchThree Hymns One Sunday a pastor told his congregation that the church needed some extra money and asked the people to prayerfully consider giving a little extra in the offering plate. He said that whoever gave the most would be able to pick out three hymns. After the offering plates were passed, the pastor glanced down and noticed that someone had placed a $1,000 bill in offering. He was so excited that he immediately shared his joy with his congregation and said he'd like to personally thank the person who placed the money in the plate. And there sat our Rosie all the way in the back shyly raised her hand. The pastor asked her to come to the front. Slowly she made her way to the pastor. He told her how wonderful it was that she gave so much and in thanksgiving asked her to pick out three hymns. Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation, pointed to the three most handsome men in the building and said, "I'll take him and him and him!"View hundreds more jokes online.Email this joke to a friend
Dear Friends,Bishop Robert Barron recently wrote a concise yet profound reflection on John 17:1-11. Here it is in full (emphasis mine):“Friends, Jesus’ prayer in today’s Gospel sums up his wonderful work as he is about to return to his Father. Jesus was, in his very person, the meeting of heaven and earth. God and humanity came together in him, and his entire ministry was the outward expression of that inward identity. By calling a scattered Israel to unity, inviting the poor to table fellowship, healing the sick in body and heart, and embodying the path of forgiveness and love, Jesus was bringing God’s will and purpose to earth.Now, in his Passion and Death, Jesus brought heaven all the way down into the world. He carried the divine light into the darkest places of the human condition—hatred, cruelty, violence, corruption, stupidity, suffering, and death itself—and thereby transformed them. And the proof that heaven is able to transform earth is, of course, the Resurrection. Now we know that cruelty, hatred, violence, fear, suffering, and death are not the most powerful forces in the world. Now we know that the divine love is more powerful. God’s kingdom has, in principle, broken the kingdoms of the world, which thrive upon, and in turn produce, those very negativities.”This is a great reminder for believers to not be afraid of witnessing this divine love to those who do not believe. Christ has transformed even the worst thing that can possibly happen in life—death. We truly have nothing to fear.Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.Sincerely,Dan Hart Managing Editor for Publications Family Research Council FRC MediaOne Year Later: The Impact of President Trump’s Executive Order Protecting Religious Liberty – Travis WeberFairfax County School Board to Teach Kids: “Biological Sex Is Meaningless” – Cathy RuseRemembering the Little Ones Up Above on Mother’s Day – Dan HartSponsors of California’s AB 2943 Claim It Wouldn’t Ban the Bible. Maybe. But What About These Books? – Peter Sprigg“Death Panels” Are Now a Reality – Patrina MosleySpeaker Series: NIFLA: Preserving Free Speech for Those Who Advocate for Women and the Unborn – Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.)Religious Liberty and National Security Go Hand in Hand Religious LibertyReligious Liberty in the Public SquareHow a ‘Far-Left Propaganda Machine’ Got a Respected Legal Group Expelled by Amazon – Greg Scott, The Daily SignalStudy: Trump Religious Freedom Order Helps 13.7 Million Receive Health Care and Social Services – Tyler O'Neil, PJ MediaTony Perkins appointed to US panel on international religious freedom – Jack Jenkins, Religion News ServiceCatholic Marriage Counselor Fired Because of her Religious Beliefs – ToddStarnes.comLGBT Activists Falsely Smear Those Protecting Children in Need – Monica Burke, The Daily SignalBusinesses to Avoid If You Can – Mark Bauerlein, First Things5 Reasons The Southern Poverty Law Center Is A Hate-Mongering Scam – Joy Pullmann, The FederalistTrump Religious Freedom Order Helps Charities Serve Over 13.7 Million in Need, Analysis Finds – Samuel Smith, The Christian PostCollege demands student remove Jesus, Bible references from graduation speech. Then she fights back – Dave Urbanski, The BlazeFight over cross at Florida public park resumes before appeals court – Kim Chatelain, The Times-PicayuneInternational Religious FreedomNorth Korea’s Prisoner Release: 3 Down, 119,997 to Go – Olivia Enos, The Daily SignalExplosions at 3 Indonesian churches leave at least 2 dead: reports – Max Greenwood, The HillArrested in Chengdu – June Cheng, WORLDState Department knocks China over church harassment – Joel Gehrke, Washington ExaminerMilitary Religious FreedomLawmakers Say Army May Have Violated Law by Targeting Baptist Chaplain – ToddStarnes.com LifeAbortionIowa legislature votes to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected – Nancy Flanders, Live ActionPlanned Parenthood sues Iowa for banning abortion of babies with beating hearts – Claire Chretien, LifeSiteNewsNew Device Lets Pregnant Moms Take Ultrasound Pictures of Their Baby on Their Phone – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNewsThousands protest Trudeau’s abortion agenda at Canadian March for Life – Lianne Laurence, LifeSiteNewsI Had an Abortion. Here’s the Message I Want to Share With Other Women. – Victoria Robinson, The Daily SignalAdoption4 Things a Birth Mom Wants Adoptive Families To Know – Adrian Collins, Her View From Home10 things that will kill your orphan care ministry: Part 4 – Rick Morton, Ethics & Religious LibertyCommissionWill Placing Fewer Children in Foster Care Fix the System? – Naomi Schaefer Riley, Family StudiesThe Ache While We Wait to Adopt – Caroline Saunders, Her View From HomeBioethicsJudge Overturns California Law Legalizing Assisted Suicide – Steven Ertelt, LifeNews FamilyMarriageDaily Rituals Cultivate Lasting Love – Amber Lapp, Family StudiesHe’s My Husband, Not My Savior – Kelli Bachara, Her View From HomeEncouragement for New Moms – Alysse ElHage, Family StudiesEconomics/EducationNew Data Show California Kids’ Math Achievement Took A Nosedive After Common Core – Joy Pullmann, The FederalistWhy Employers Are Ignoring The Untapped Potential Of Stay-At-Home Moms – Joy Pullmann, The FederalistThis Is a Bad Look: In Current Farm Bill, Conservatives Prop Up Rich Farmers – Daren Bakst, The Daily SignalStraight Talk About the Success Sequence, Marriage, and Poverty – W. Bradford Wilcox, Family StudiesFaith/Character/CultureThe War on Wisdom – Dennis Prager, The Daily SignalYou Can Pursue Your Dreams and Love Your Family – Katie Warner, National Catholic RegisterThe Democrats’ God Gap – David French, National ReviewNevada bank robber, FBI agent who arrested him, pray at White House – Debra J. Saunders, Las Vegas Review-Journal‘Every Day With Her Was the Best Day:’ Remembering My Mom – Armstrong Williams, The Daily SignalThe Childhood Quality That’s the Best Predictor of Health, Wealth, and Happiness – Annie Holmquist, Intellectual TakeoutHuman SexualityMale Sexlessness is Rising, But Not for the Reasons Incels Claim – Lyman Stone, Family StudiesWhy A Compromise On Transgender Politics Would Be Capitulation – Walt Heyer, The FederalistConsent is No Cure – Craig Michael White, Ethika PolitikaHuman TraffickingUncovering The Silent Sex Trafficking Epidemic In New York City – Fight the New DrugChristian Rocker Risks Life in Undercover Mission to Rescue Victims in Sex Trade – Jeannie Law, The Christian PostPornographyYou Can Write An Open Letter to the Pornography Industry – National Center on Sexual Exploitation
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