Thursday, December 31, 2009

Georgia's Super Speeder Law

My wife was returning from Atlanta a couple months ago. As she was making her way through all the construction going on in the Newnan area she looked in her rear view mirror and saw the dreaded blue lights flashing. The State Patrolman stated that she was going well over the posted speed limit for a construction zone. My wife admitted that she had failed to slow to the posted limit but she was simply going with the flow of traffic. If was 9:00 PM on a Sunday night and there were no construction crews at work. She called me on the phone very upset that she had been given a $400.00 fine. (We are keeping score, I’m ahead of her 8 to 1). I stated that the enforcement of that law at that time wasn't about protecting anyone, there was no one working at 9:00 pm, it was more about meeting a quota or raising revenue for the state of Georgia.
Starting tomorrow, January 1st, Georgia will enact a law unlike any other in the country. It’s called the "Super Speeder Law." The law states that someone going 75 miles per hour on a two lane road will be fined an extra $200 on top of the original fine. If the driver is caught going 85 miles per hour on the interstate he will be fined an extra $200 dollars also. "Super Speeders"? I think it’s quite a stretch to claim someone going 75 miles per hour is a "Super Speeder".
Our governor, Sonny Perdue, says that the new law is an “attempt to slow high-speed drivers and reduce high-speed crashes and trauma injuries.” Yea, right! Come on Gov, admit the real reason for such a law. Tell the residents of Georgia that your new law is going to raise over $23 million in 2010!
Who can argue with a law that saves lives but that may be difficult to prove? National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey has done research that suggests that traveling at high rates of speed accounted for only 5% of “pre-crash events”. A similar study from the state of Virginia concluded that speeding only caused 2% of accidents.
Wouldn’t we save more lives and prevent more accidents if we did more to discourage cell phone use? I nearly rear-ended an elderly gentlemen on the interstate last week. I think he was going about 25 mph in a 65 mph zone. I slowed to see what was the problem and observed that he was engrossed in a cell phone conversation and didn’t realize how slow he was going. Very dangerous!!
We know the “Super Speeder Law” is more about raising money through a type of tax that will be unfairly applied to the poorer segment of our society than it is about saving lives. What we don’t know is where will all that money go?
Georgia passed a state lottery years ago to improve education in the state. Last time I checked Georgia ranked 49th out of 50 in public high school graduation rate. So, where is all the money going? If it’s going to education than it’s quite obvious that increasing funds has no correlation with improving education. Saying it goes to education is a really good sell to the residents of Georgia. But, as we all know, where there are large amounts of available monies there usually follows unprecedented corruption.
Go ahead a tax us, Governor. But please call it what it is and tell us where the money is going.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Don’t Fold the Tents…Yet. (Part 1)

Jesus was the most popular man in Galilee. He was one of those, you know, whom you really love or you really hate. Jesus felt the resistance to his ministry growing so he left Galilee and crossed the sea to Caperneam. Just to make things interesting, his disciples rowed a boat and Jesus WALKED! The crowds sought him out and when he saw the great gathering he insisted they be fed. Over 5,000 feasted on two fish and five loaves. He had performed miracles, walked on water and fed the multitudes. Who could resist such a Savior?

But then Jesus began to set aside his miraculous works and he began to preach. His message in a nutshell….In order to experience eternal life you must be filled with my spirit. Eat my flesh and drink my blood. Embrace my teachings and become one with me. He was talking about making the ultimate sacrifice so they wouldn’t have to. The problem was their unbelief. John 6:60 “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” v. 52 “They were disputing and arguing sharply among themselves. v. 64 “There are some of you who do not believe.” v. 66 “Many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.”

The Capernaum Times may have reported: Extremist Who Claims to Be Messiah Finally Stumbles. In the beginning of chapter 6 Jesus has 5,000 followers. At the end of the same chapter he has only 11. Would that not be a loss of 4,989. Jesus ministry hits rock bottom. Thousands walk away. It all came crashing down in a moment. He may have felt like Tiger Woods. Looks much like failure. Looks like the resistance has won. Satan goes twelve rounds with Jesus and scores a T.K. in the final round.

Is Jesus discouraged? It sounds like he is when he asks his disciples this question: v. 67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Thank God for Peter, he steps up to the plate once more and hits a much needed home run. v. 68 “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

This chapter really stretches the mind. Why does the chapter end with failure? Why does it seem that Satan wins? Why does it leave us groping about in a dark valley?

Perhaps the purpose is to teach us that in spite of the dark times we face in our lives all is never lost. The chapter is difficult to understand but so too is our lives. When we find ourselves being overcome by quicksand, he becomes the solid rock under our feet. When the darkness smothers us he becomes the lamp that lights our way. When the mountain is too rocky and steep to climb he lowers his shoulder and lifts us.

Jesus’ followers were now only eleven. There was even a traitor among them. What is the message? I have put the devil right here in the midst of you and he is under my control. The message of this difficult chapter is that God is sovereign. When circumstances seem to overwhelm us, he is in control. When the resistance seems to be winning, he is in control. When Satan makes his presence known in our families and ministries….he is being controlled by the all powerful, sovereign God. God provides a sanctuary from the tormentor.

Jesus declared to them in verse 70, “Have I not chosen you…?” Am I not in control? Unlike the thousands, these eleven stayed. The thousands were attracted to the miracles and were in it for a free lunch. But when the tough words were spoken it was too hard to accept and so they drifted off. The eleven were much impressed by the miracles but when the tough words were spoken they believed. Being a true follower of Christ is not so much about what you know as it is about what you are willing to believe. It’s about faith, not knowledge.

Are you involved in a ministry that seems to be failing? Don’t be discouraged, Christ is in control. Are you having problems in a marriage or with family members? Are you distressed because of the direction your country has taken? Does it seem the resistance is winning? Do you find yourself asking, “Where is Jesus in all this?” He is right there, walking on water, willing to perform marvelous miracles, well qualified to be our Savior and Satan’s conqueror. Don’t panic, don’t fold the tents, just step back and watch the powerful, all-sovereign God work in your life.

Don’t Fold the Tents…Yet (Part 2)

Do you feel the same awkwardness I feel when you hear someone refer to the United States as a Christian Nation? When I read how many ‘Christians’ believe in reincarnation, how many ‘Christians’ are followers of Oprah Winfrey’s New Age and how many Christians believe there is a heaven but not a hell, I just don’t know what ‘Christian’ means to people anymore.

As we close out the first decade of the 21st century there is nothing too encouraging to contemplate. Pat Buchanan wrote an article describing our present economy to our economy ten years ago. In 2000 the U.S. produced 32% of the world’s gross domestic product. By the end of the decade we produced only 24% of the world’s gross domestic product. In 2000 the economy was in full employment, now we are 10% unemployed. Somewhere between ¼ and 1/3 of our manufacturing jobs have gone overseas. While median income for families remained the same (not a good thing) our national debt doubled! The dollar lost half of its value to the euro. We owe our soul to the Chinese government and they are becoming impatient because we haven’t started paying back what they’ve lent us.

All of this happened in the last decade, most of which was under the administration of George W. Bush. The dot com bubble burst in 2000 and the decade ended with the bursting of the housing bubble. Two simultaneous wars have drained us while we continue to develop more and more entitlement programs that we’ll have to borrow from China in order to finance.

Ten years later we are now fighting Al Qaida in Afghanistan although they now take up residence in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other northern African countries. Americans have believed that America is too strong to fall. Most of us now realize that we are the only ones who now believe that. Our enemies are inspired by weak leadership, indecisiveness and confusion in the White House. “W” certainly had his problems but at least we felt safe. We lost 13 innocent lives at Fort Hood and nearly lost hundreds more in Detroit recently. Our Homeland Security and our White House failed miserably to protect us. It’s troubling that our president is playing golf in Hawai’i while terrorists attack the country he leads and ‘loves’.

Our government seems to be ‘Obumbling’ along like a bull in a china shop, destroying everything it touches. No one in the Congress seems interested in or capable of balancing our books. We haven’t been able to win a war in fifty years. We obstinately or mysteriously refuse to protect our borders. We’ve sold our soul to China and we are more interested in passing out goodies to gullible voters to get reelected rather than do what is necessary to preserve the soul of a great country.

There is much reason for discouragement. Some are asking ‘Oh, what will God do without American?’ Don’t fall off your chair…God will be just fine without America. He will go somewhere else to reveal his glory. His plan will be realized with or without America. He will be glorified in China, in Israel, in Africa, in Korea. An all powerful, all sovereign God doesn’t need America but America surely needs him!

The greatest question is ‘Can the decline of America be reversed?’ If God’s plan is to lift this nation again as the ‘light on a hill’ then count on it, the decline will be reversed. Know this for certain, with or without us, God will be glorified and his name will be honored among all nations. What greater way to reveal his mercy and power than to take a wayward nation like ours and revive it! God always shines brightest in our darkest hours.

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Should I See Avatar?

Should I see Avatar?

I've not yet seen Avatar. It now costs an outrageous $30 plus to take my wife to see a movie so I don't want to waste money on a movie that promotes a worldview contrary to my own. I need to have some questions answered before seeing Avatar:

1. This movie was produced by a leftist liberal. Is he using this film to promote his Marxist ideas?

2. I agree with Aristotle who wrote that good entertainment contains first and foremost a good, intelligent plot followed by character, dialogue, idea and music. Last on the list is spectacle or sensationalism. Special affects in our world. Is this another movie to show off special affects while covering for a weak minded plot?

3. Are all of the Na'vis played by African-Americans and Native Americans? If so, what is the subliminal message behind that?

4. The surviving humans represent the oppressive, evil, white, capitalists who are destructive, conniving and greedy. The strange humanoids are always happy,they've experienced an "at oneness" with nature and are honorable and spiritual. Why would I want to see a movie that portrays 90% of Americans as greedy and evil?

5. Why is it that the strange humanoids are bright blue and look like cats? Strange. If you wear camouflaged you get hit, if you are bright blue they can't seem to hit you if they were firing ICBM's from the shoulder!

6. Liberals think poorly. They actually think that guns kill people and if we eliminate all guns people won’t get killed. They think SUV’s kill people. They always want to blame an object instead of an entity. So, people are evil and they will eventually, because of their capitalistic greed, destroy the earth. What to do? Eliminate guns, eliminate SUV’s and when all else fails, eliminate people. Isn’t the theme of Avatar “kill all the humans”?

If only the liberal mind could see how marvelously the human being can be transformed by the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ? Humans are ugly, greedy, evil people. But the solution isn’t to kill them all. The solution is to convert them to Christlikeness.

7. Isn’t Avatar New Age stuff?

8. Isn’t the producer suggesting we love nature and hate people?

9. Isn’t paganism and Marxism promoted while Christianity and capitalism are condemned?

10. Near the end of the film, Jake can only become whole by destroying the humans by sending them back to their dead planet and then leaving his human body and entering a Na’vi body. Would this movie fly if we switched races around?

11. This film seems to be full of Mother earth, Gaia stuff. Did Al Gore have any part in writing the script?

Unless someone out there can convince me, I don’t think it’s worth $30.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Obama's Christmas Tree

Obama's Christmas OrnamentsShare

Would you like a glimpse of the Obama's Christmas tree in the White House. Here is a quick look...I hope you aren't expecting to see Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph or a manger scene!

Picture #1 Christmas ornament #1 is in honor of of transvestite character, "Hedda Lettuce" Inspiring and uplifting for all the children who look on our president's tree.

Picture #2 Christmas ornament #2 goes to Mao Zedong...murderer of 50 to 80 million of his own people.

Picture #3 Christmas ornament #3 goes to Barack Obama himself. His face is added to Mount Rushmore. No narcissism going on here.


Fifty Years After Obamacare

Fifty Years After Obamacare.
Molly is a nurse in the Harry Reid Abortion Clinic in Reno, Nevada. This clinic, like millions all across America, was built with government funds raised by the passing of the Healthcare Bill of 2010. Molly’s job is to assist the numerous doctors there as they scrape life from the wombs of their customers. Life has never been better for abortion doctors. The cost of abortions has tripled in the last twenty years as American’s now contribute a good portion of their earnings to fund such procedures. Molly spends her days carrying the mutilated remains of unborn life to an incinerator where they are cremated. Those who pass by the clinic see a plume of smoke drift skyward every twenty minutes. The scene is repeated at numerous other clinics across the nation: the Pelosi clinic in San Diego, the Obama clinic in Chicago, the Murtha clinic in Philadelphia and the Dodd clinic in Bristol, Connecticut.
It is most difficult now for the unborn to survive. Very few make it out of the womb. It is estimated that those who build their own life by murdering the innocent have successfully aborted 120 million unborn babies since Roe vs. Wade in 1973 and about 80 million more since the passage of the Obama Health Care Bill in 2010. Those who predicted that white Americans of European descent would be the minority by 2050 were proven wrong. They failed to take into consideration the increase in the number of publicly funded abortions, especially in the inner cities of America where there is a large number of minority families. African-Americans now only account for 8% of the U.S. population and Hispanics have dropped from 13% to 10%. It is very hard to acquire well guarded statistics from the government but it seems that Margaret Sanger’s dream of limiting minority growth in the U.S. has finally come true.
Jeremy and Emily live in Hannibal, Missouri. They worked the family farm until they retired in 2047. This elderly couple enjoyed rearing five children on the farm. The boys put up hay, harvested crops and went on hunting and fishing trips with their father. The daughters helped as well in the many outdoor chores and also acquired baking and sewing skills from their mother. Their children all grew and went off to big city colleges and became very successful. They married ambitious spouses and focused on realizing the great American dream of acquiring great wealth. One of Jeremy and Emily’s sons returned home to live with his parents. He is now 43 and still single but lives a comfortable life. The other four children all married but none have had any children. Jeremy and Emily will never know that their four children shared eight abortions. Their dream of having a passel of grandchildren to gloat over in their older years will never be realized. Their children will live in huge, 5,000 square feet homes in which the voices of small children will never echo off the walls.
American society is old. There is an abiding emptiness that covers the land. Most can’t really put their finger on why they feel so dark and depressed. They didn’t realize how much the elderly need to hear young voices and feel the exuberant energy of youth. Elementary school buildings are now multi-purpose community buildings. Little league fields are overgrown with weeds. Nurseries and Daycare buildings are boarded up. It’s a rare treat indeed to hear the laughter of young children playing together.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Priest Advises the Poor to Steal!!

Priest Advises the Poor to Steal!
British Priest Tim Jones gave unusual advice to his congregation Sunday. During his Nativity sermon he broke away from his prepared words to advise the poorer members of his congregation to shoplift from large businesses if things got to difficult for them. A shepherd of the flock ordained to care for the dear children of God is advising them to grieve the heart of God by committing sin. Exodus 20:15 “Thou shalt not steal.” This is relativism at its worst. According to Father Jones it is okay to steal if you are poor. How do you measure the level of poverty which makes it okay to steal? He advised that his congregants not steal from small businesses but steal from larger franchises so the loss would be spread out among their many customers.
Father Jones insists that “society had failed many needy people and (he) said it was far better that they shoplift than turn to more degrading or violent options like prostitution, mugging or burglary.” How about another suggestion, Father Jones? There is a very appropriate verse in Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Or, how about the verse in Philippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” It is blasphemous, sir, that you would advise people turn to stealing in time of need rather than turn to God in time of need.
The parish priest of St. Lawrence Church in York refuted the idea that he was encouraging people to break the 8th commandment. “because God's love for the poor and despised outweighs the property rights of the rich.” Hmm, let me get this straight. God loves the poor so much he approves if they steal from national business chains.
I wonder, Father Jones, does God love the poor so much he approves if they help themselves to your offering plate as it goes by?

The Manhattan Proclamation

The Manhattan Proclamation

Finally, after hearing all of the brouhaha about the Manhattan Proclamation, I’ve read it in its entirety. This document was developed and adopted by a group of Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant Evangelicals who joined together to protest three basic issues that I feel very strongly about:

1. The Sanctity of Human Life

2. The Dignity of Traditional Marriage

3. The Rights of Conscience and Religious Liberty
I certainly agree with their listed reasons for protest regarding all these areas. But I’m wondering if we are selling our souls to ecumenicalism in an attempt to unify under a political or social banner. The more important calling of all Christians is to proclaim the unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ. While the goal of addressing these issues is admirable and noble are we not drinking the poison? When we lump ourselves together with denominations who deify Mary and base their salvation on works are we doing more harm than good? Are we helping to legitimize a system of belief that is contrary to the true word of God?
The differences between these three groups is fundamental and explicit. The lines of demarcation between the fundamental truths found in the gospels and the heretical apostasies are blurred. The document begins with these words: “We are Catholic, Orthodox and Evangelical Christians…” How can these three gather under the same gospel banner when their fundamental beliefs regarding the gospel have differed for thousands of years?

It is a dangerous thing when large numbers of denominations and those with different interpretations of the gospels all try to cram under one tent. Once the camel’s nose gets under the tent just about anyone is welcomed? Why are there not also Muslims and Buddhists and Mormons involved in this movement? They too have strong feelings about these issues.
As an associate pastor of a local Nazarene Church, my primary obligation is to be true to the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a shepherd of a flock we are too protect the sheep from the introduction of error at all costs. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life and there is no other way.” Rather than joining hands with those we consider apostate, why don’t evangelical Christians begin a movement of their own?
Some good and honorable evangelicals see it differently: Dr. James Dobson, Randy Alcorn, Kay Arthur, Gary Bauer, Chuck Colson, Josh McDowell, Joni Eareckson Tada, Dr. Michael Youssef, Dr. Albert Mohler, Dr. Wayne Grudem and Ravi Zacharias all signed the Manhattan Declaration.
Some equally good and honorable evangelicals failed to sign: Dr. R.C. Sproul, John Piper, John McArthur, Alistair Begg, James White, and Mark Driscoll.
I love how the document addresses the three social issues but I don’t feel the document defines what is the true gospel message. Therefore, I will not sign.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What the Expecting Mary did not Expect

What the Expecting Mary did not Expect.

a. She wasn't expecting the angel to tell her she was pregnant

What was her family going to say? She was engaged to Joseph? Surely, he would be very hurt. How could he possibly believe she was a pregnant virgin? Will Joseph cast her off? Will her family disown her?

No wonder Mary goes off to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, for nine months. Elizabeth will understand because there is a miracle going on in her life also. Mary pondered these things in her heart for nine months. She felt the baby growing in her womb. She felt the first movements. She wondered what he would look like. She wondered what his personality would be like. She wondered what sort of a handsome king he would be for all of Israel. She made clothes for him. She planned how she would decorate his nursery. She pondered the message of the angel.

b. She wasn't expecting to give birth in a barn.

I love Christmas cards with manger scenes. Have you ever noticed how everyone in the card is clean? The stable seems to glow. The animals are all standing there in perfect stillness as they contemplate the humans who have invaded their space. Baby Jesus is lying perfectly wrapped in spotless, white downy cloths and none of the hay seems to prickle at his perfectly soft skin. Baby Jesus never cries in a Christmas card. Mary is the most beautiful woman in the world and Joseph is tall, dark and handsome. The goats are not trying to eat hay from the stable, there are no insects or crawling varmints.

I remember days in my uncle's barn. Rats running about here and there. The milk cows were swatting at flies and leaving deposits that seemed to linger in your nostrils long afterward. Mary must have known while riding that donkey all the way to Bethlehem that her time for delivery was near. She expected a warm, clean room in the Holiday Inn but instead she gave birth in a barn.

She knew she carried the Son of God. Surely, God's plan was not for his son to be born in a stable! He is royalty! He is divine! But he came in great humility. Was Mary familiar with the verse in the Old Testament: Isaiah 55:9 ""As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." God doesn't always do it the way we expect him to. We are thrown off when he does something we don't expect. When things happen, when sorrows come, when we start to think, you know, God's not in this. Where is he? What did I do to deserve this?

How many young couples preparing to marry conjure in their minds a Christmas card image of marriage? "I'm marrying the most wonderful person on earth." But after awhile, the most wonderful person is not so wonderful after all. Faults rise to the surface. We live in a sinful world. Illness comes, debt accrues, conflicts arise. This isn't quite what I expected.

In those times we need to consider how Mary dealt with the unexpected: "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." (Luke 1:38) A weaker woman might have collapsed in fear, her faith might have crumbled to dust but Mary put her trust in God.

c. She wasn't expecting Jesus' ministry to be so difficult.

She expected Jesus to be well received. Who wouldn't love such a gentle, loving person? She expected him to be respected by all. She must have been hurt by the hatred, anger, jealousy. She never expected him to be persecuted, tortured and finally murdered. He was the Son of God. Why is he hanging on the cross?

Mary teaches us what do you do when unexpected things happen in your life? Keep trusting God. He sees the big picture. We are driving along behind the dashboard and we see no further ahead than the next curve. He has a bird's eye view of the whole landscape. He sees the bigger picture that we can't see. Mary played the angel’s words over and over in her mind: “Be not afraid, Mary.” Are things not quite turning out as you expected, be not afraid, repeat the words of Mary and make them your own, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"And a sword will pierce your own soul too"

“And a sword will pierce your own soul too”

When Jesus was but forty days old he was taken to the temple by Joseph and Mary to be dedicated. Simeon the Righteous was there to receive the child and he had words that would cause Mary to ponder. Eastern orthodox tradition says that Simeon was one of the seventy who translated scripture into Greek. While he was translating Isaiah he came upon the verse that says "Behold, a virgin shall conceive in the womb, and shall bring forth a Son" (7:14) He was flummoxed by the verse and thought an error had been made. As he was about to substitute the word ‘virgin’ with ‘woman’ an angel appeared to him and declared, “You shall see these words fulfilled. You shall not die until you behold Christ the Lord born of a pure and spotless Virgin." He was believed to have been well past two hundred years old when he died.

Imagine the relief when Simeon finally held the Christ child. As he blessed the child he made a vague prophesy concerning his crucifixion. And the words that cause Mary to ponder… “a sword will pierce your own soul, also.” (Luke 2:35)

Mary was a very strong-willed mother who was responsible for rearing a very strong-will child. Can you imagine the sibling conflicts that took place in Joseph’s home. James and Jude and the other siblings of Jesus had to cope with the perfect, sinless older brother. Was there jealously and accusations of favoritism? How does Mary explain to her other children that Jesus is never wrong? How did they react when they were punished for sinful behavior but Christ never did anything worthy of punishment? It was a sword that pierced Mary’s heart.

After the visit of the Magi, Mary learns that Herod the King is determined to kill her son, Jesus. An angel appears to Joseph in a dream and instructs him to take his family to Egypt to escape the danger. Joseph walked in the house one day and said, “Start packing, Mary. We’re moving to Egypt.” How must her heart been pierced! She must leave her home, her family, her friends, and all the things and places that were dear to her to go live in a strange and foreign land. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been had my father walked in one day and said to us, “Pack up, boys. We’re moving to Siberia.”

Herod, the evil king executed his plan. The haunting and terrifying sound coming from the community of Bethlehem was the wailing of mothers who had lost their children to a maniacal tyrant. Mary was able to take Jesus safely to Egypt but her heart must surely have been pierced by the screams of anguish caused by the birth of her son.

We know very little about the early childhood of Jesus. Scripture says he “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. At age twelve he accompanied the family on a journey to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover Feast. Joseph’s family spent about a week there before returning home to the carpenter’s shop in Nazareth. They traveled as a group in a large caravan. After traveling for most of a day they discovered that Jesus was not with them. I can only imagine how Mary’s heart must have been pierced with anguish.

“Mary, is Jesus up there with you?” Joseph asked.

“Why, no dear, I thought he was back there with you.” she replied.

“Oh, this is just great. This can’t be good! We’ve lost the Messiah, the Son of God!” Joseph must have been exasperated.

Every parent has experienced moments of panic when children are unaccounted for but three days must have been a nightmare for her. I remember feeling greatly panicked while Christmas shopping for my wife about a year ago. I had our three year old son along. What was I thinking? While I was trying to make a decision on an outfit for Shannon, he disappeared. Had he walked out the door? Had someone snatched him? How could he disappear like that? He was standing right here beside me just moments ago. He was hiding in the circular racks of clothing as all small children love to do. I was relieved but I reprimanded him firmly.

Mary and Joseph finally found Jesus. He was in the temple amazing the theologians with his vast knowledge of scripture. It seems Mary scolded him. “Jesus, did you not know that we have been looking for you all this time?!?”

Jesus replied, “Woman, I was about my Father’s business in my Father’s house.”

Mary’s heart was pierced over and over again. Though he is mine he belongs as much to others. His relationship with the Father trumps his relationship with me.

It seems Mary’s heart was pierced by the passing of Joseph because he is no longer mentioned . She was likely a single mother now trying to rear Jesus and his siblings.

Twenty one years after the experience in the temple Mary would stand with others at the foot of a cross just outside the city. Her heart would be pierced one last and final time as she watched her beloved son die on a cross for the sins of humanity. So many wonder why this young, poor, peasant girl of Bethlehem was chosen to mother the Son of God. It was because she was strong enough.

Some Take Global Warming More Seriously Than Others

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ivy League Grad Should Know Better

Ivy League Grad Should Know Better

Mr. Obama's acceptance speech for his Nobel Peace Prize included praises for a couple of previous presidents on the other side of the aisle, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon. He offered a justification for the War in Afghanistan although, it was a bit awkward to hear a war president defend war while accepting a prize for peace. Seems the world really has gone mad!

As a history teacher, I'm always on alert for those who would revise history to promote their own agenda. I'm wondering if Obama learned his history from Occidental, Columbia University or perhaps Harvard? Here is a quote from his speech: "Most dangerously, we see it in the way that religion is used to justify the murder of innocents by those who have distorted and defiled the great religion of Islam, and who attacked my country from Afghanistan. These extremists are not the first to kill in the name of God; the cruelties of the Crusades are amply recorded." Do I interpret this correctly? Obama's war in Afghanistan is justified but the Christian's war against Muslim oppressors was not?

Obama insinuates that the Crusaders attacked the Muslims without provocation. Revisionist historians would like us to believe that the Crusades were all about plunder and forced conversions to Christianity. Some plunder is acceptable for the spoils of war go to the victor. But is astoundingly ignorant to insinuate forced conversions. Forced conversion is a concept incompatible with Christianity. I've never heard any Christian declare that he was forced to accept Christ as his Savior!

The Crusades were as just as any war ever fought! Each crusade was a reaction to an attack against Christians by Muslims. The first crusade in 1095 was a reaction to the Turkish invasion of a dominantly Christian Asia Minor. In 1144 the Muslims conquered Edessa and the second crusade was a response to that invasion. In 1187 the Muslims descended on Jerusalem and Christians from throughout Europe traveled to the Holy City to defend it from Islamic invasion and occupation.

Jihadists were marching through Spain in an attempt to conquer all of Europe in the 8th century when they were met by The Hammer, Charles Martel, in one of the most culturally significant battles in all of history. The Christian victory in the Battle of Tours preserved Christianity in Europe. Had the Muslims conquered Europe we would never have enjoyed the liberties we value so dearly; freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, freedom to worship and equality of genders

It's disturbing that a U.S. president, a Harvard graduate, would be so ignorant in his interpretation of history. It's especially disturbing that he be so willing to besmirch his own faith, Christianity, in defense of a religion that teaches that violence and deception are virtues.

Monday, December 14, 2009

So, Who's Mad at Obama?

So, who's mad at Obama?

Presidents who ascend to the White House from the far left and the far right finally realize that in order keep their hope of reelection alive they must govern from some where near the middle. One thing we can all be sure of: Obama wants another term, badly!

In order to position himself and avoid getting walloped in his attempt at reelection he is now alienating his far left, liberal base. So, who's mad at him? Conservatives are very angry that Obama is making government bigger than ever by taking over Wall Street, General Motors and the mortgage industry. Illegal immigrants are angry because they were promised an amnesty bill that hasn't happened yet. The Global Warmists are angry because it doesn't look like the sky is falling after all and the attempt to limit CO2 emissions died in the Senate.

Those who want the government to decide and provide for all their health needs are angry because Senator Lieberman seems to have stuck a knife in that turkey. All of the anti-war activists are enraged because Obama opposed Bush's surge in Iraq but decided on a surge of his own in Afghanistan. In the mean time, Obama's approval ratings have plummeted to 44%! Many African-Americans are very angry because they have large numbers in poverty and who are unemployed. They are hurt most by a sluggish economy floundering in recession. Many who voted for Obama are embarrassed a year later because they feel they were duped by Obama's charisma and his empty promise of hope and change. They have enough sense to realize that something is very wrong, very, very wrong when our president tries to lift the economy from debt by going on a spending spree that would make the world's worst shopping addict look like a moneygrub.

Many conservatives sympathize because they fell like they have "been there, done that." They were disillusioned by George W. when he promised to address their conservative domestic concerns. He did little, if anything at all to advance the ideology of the his conservative supporters. Was George W. anti-abortion? I can hardly remember. His followers were convinced something was amiss when George teamed up with Ted Kennedy to pass the "No Child Left Behind" bill which assured Americans that they would continue to dump money in the bottomless well of a behemoth bureaucracy of education while our student's test scores continued to plummet.

Bush signed his name to a farm bill and American farmers were all to willing to drink the poison of government subsidies that would make them overly dependent. While government sponsored entitlements are the hallmark of the Democratic Party, Bush signed into law the largest entitlement expansion since LBJ's War on Poverty, the Medicare drug bill.

"W" also sent out "free money" to stimulate a failing economy. It seemed he was willing to compromise his fiscal conservatism in a feeble attempt to save his legacy. He didn't want to be the man in the White House when the economy plummeted but plummet it did and it was on his watch. It seems like any president, regardless of political affiliation, follow the old adage "when in Rome, do as the Romans do" once they get to the White House.

“The difference between Democrats and Republicans is: Democrats have accepted some ideas of Socialism cheerfully, while Republicans have accepted them reluctantly” - Norman Thomas

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Why the Inn Keeper Missed Christmas

Why the Inn Keeper Missed Christmas

Luke 2:7 “And she gave birth to her firstborn, as son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

My two older sons and I drove from Columbus, Georgia to New York City to see the Yankees play one of their last games in Yankee Stadium. After a 16 hour drive we were pretty exhausted. We stopped at a motel in Jersey and were told there was no room available. There was a concert in town and rooms were scarce. The motel manager began calling around to other motels to see if he could find us a room.

Mary and Joseph approached the inn in Bethlehem. It was tax time and thousands had come to pay their taxes and participate in festivities. The inn keeper looked Christmas in the face that night and missed it entirely. “I have no rooms, but there is a stable…” He was too busy to be concerned for this desperate couple. It was obvious Mary was due to deliver very soon. Yet, the inn keeper was so busy he didn’t even call around to see if any other rooms were available, he didn’t even call for someone to help the young mother. He was busy living, busy earning money, busy saving for retirement.

How difficult it must have been for Mary. Could her loneliness been any more intense than it was that night? Her birth pains were intense, she was alone with Joseph in a strange, smelly stable. I’m sure Joseph did the best he could but Mary needed someone who had been there and done that. She needed a midwife, female company to sympathize with her and encourage her during her first birth. Alone, very alone. The worried lines on Joseph’s face were not reassuring to her. The occasional bleat of a sheep or the restless cluck of a chicken offered her no comfort.

Years ago in a small town on the east coast of the United States, a dozen people met for a town meeting. There was a man there that night whom no one seemed to know. He rose to make a comment about some of the projects they were considering and was rudely interrupted so he quietly sat down and did not speak again.

After the meeting was over, a man who had arrived late, asked the others, “What was he doing here? Is he here to help us?” The rest of them said, “What are you talking about?” The man said, “You don’t know, you mean to tell me you don’t know the man who must walked out? That was John D. Rockefeller, his yacht is in our harbor, did you get his help?” In despair they cried, “No, we didn’t get his help, we didn’t know who he was.”

Had the inn keeper only known who he was? This baby born in a nearby stable was the Lamb of God, the Savior of the world. Many of us, like the inn keeper, miss Christ because we are so busy, too busy to get to know him. We make no room for the king born in Bethlehem, no room for the lamb who died on the cross, no room for the savior who rose from the dead.

If we miss Christ we miss Christmas. It’s not about the cookies, the presents, the decoration…it’s not even all about the children. We live in such a child-centric culture that children often feel they are more important than the adults. Our children need to know that it’s not all about them, it’s about Christ.

We dare not miss the whole point of Christmas! The Christ of glory was born miraculously, he lived perfectly, he died vicariously (in our place), he rose victoriously and he reigns eternally. This is the true meaning of Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"I am Tiger Woods" by Kevin Probst

"I am Tiger Woods"

By Kevin Probst

     I recently watched Tiger's first Nike commercial. Do you remember, all the sweet, cute little kids saying, "I am Tiger Woods"?  I felt sad. Sad that Tiger lived such a destructive lifestyle and yet allowed himself to be emulated by these innocent children. Sad that mothers will now disapprove when their little ones say "I am Tiger Woods." Sad because a man who seemed to be very skilled in making the right decisions on a golf course was so foolish in his private life.

     The website Roll Models on the Web says "Tiger thinks that being a good role model to others is even more important than his golf. He thinks his golf is just a vehicle for him to influence people. He wants to influence kids in a positive way. Tiger feels that's what it's all about." Obviously this was just a marketing gimmick for his Tiger Woods Foundation.

     I've never seen such a meteoric fall of any athlete like that of Tiger Woods. Kobe Bryant transgressed, bought his wife a multi-million dollar diamond and all was forgiven. Pete Rose transgressed and sacrificed his hopes for Hall of Fame induction. A-Rod transgressed but his post-season performance covered a multitude of sins. Michael Vick served time for dog-abuse. But none of these even come close to the fall of America's squeaky clean, Boy Scout like god of golf.

My father always taught us growing up that one's reputation is far more important than the accumulation of riches. Tiger will always have riches but his reputation is in shambles. When will he play golf again? Will he ever play again? Will he be able to salvage his marriage? Does he still want to be married? Would he rather walk away from a beautiful wife and two lovely children to pursue his playboy lifestyle?

     Tiger needs a new start. He needs to break with all the people who assisted him in the cover-up of his adulterous lifestyle. A real friend would have approached Tiger with sound advice, "Walk away from this before you destroy yourself and your family." Did anyone give him that advice? Does Tiger have even one friend who would do that for him? He should fire all the people around him who assisted him. His manager should go, his sponsors should go, his fast-lane friends should go and his bulldog snarling caddie should go. Clean the slate and start anew.

     Tiger needs to start being honest, especially with himself. He must decide if he wants to love the honorable life that goes with fidelity and faithful fatherhood or would he rather choose play bunnies over family. Tiger has had pretty much everything in life handed to him on a silver platter but integrity and honor are not delivered on a platter. They require sacrifice, they must be earned.

     I think its sickening and narrow minded when I hear professional athletes excuse their immoral and immature behavior by declaring they are no one's role model. Denying the truth doesn't change the truth. Of course they are role models. Nike understood that clearly when they made the "I am Tiger" commercial. When you sell your reputation to a sponsor for millions and millions of dollars you agree to a certain degree of behavioral expectation. Tiger would like to argue that he has a right to privacy. Now we understand why he fought so hard for his privacy. I would argue that the price one pays for becoming the first American billion dollar athlete is a very large measure of his privacy. A very private famous person is an oxymoron. If you are going to allow Nike to market your face and reputation into the homes of millions of Americans and influence them to spend their hard earned money to buy the product you promote, then they deserve to know who you are. Tiger is a role model and he has sacrificed his right to total privacy.

     It's very sad. Shame on those who, in some sick way, are gleeful to see the self-destruction of Tiger Woods. Shame on those who would seek profit from exploiting his downfall. I'm not defending Tiger, I think he deserves to be penalized for playing out of bounds. What's so sad is to see how cheaply he sold his wife and kids. What's so desperately sad is that the god Tiger turns to during the difficult times in life is Buddha.

     He serves a powerless god. Obviously his friends are few or none. The press feed on him like a school of piranha. The father he loved and depended so strongly on is now deceased. Maybe Tiger will learn what many of the rest of us have learned…when there is no one else to turn to, Christ stands knocking at the door.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

“I Must Find a Way to Stop Christmas From Coming”

“I Must Find a Way to Stop Christmas From Coming”

I stopped by the library yesterday and picked up a Christmas story to read to my four year old son. Shannon had mentioned that we should try to expose him to some of the Christmas classics. So, I remember seeing a Jim Carey movie a couple years ago and I thought I would read Dr. Seuss’s classic, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, to Kameron.

Needless to say, he loved it and I had to read it through twice last night. The Grinch is a grumpy creature who feels no happiness and has no joy in his heart. He is deeply envious when he sees the Who’s of Whoville preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ. So, he devises a devious, dastardly plan to destroy the season by declaring his intent to “stop Christmas from coming.”

During the course of events the Grinch realizes that Christmas is much more than just Christmas trees, wreaths, cookies and lights. If Christmas is simply a babe in a manger then we’ve missed it because no babe in a manger ever saved a lost soul. The babe grew, he lived a perfect life and thirty-three years later he hung on a cross so that we might experience salvation full and free.

A mistake my high school apologetics students often make is attributing to Satan some of the attributes that belong to God alone. Satan is not omnipresent (being in all places at all times), he is not omnipotent (all powerful), nor is he omniscient (knowing all things). Satan only knew that Christ would come and that he would be empowered to save mankind from destruction because he was told, he learned it from the Old Testament and the voices of the prophets. He believed it.

So, Satan, like the Grinch, set about to “find a way to stop Christmas from coming.” The first prophecy of the coming Messiah is found in Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." Satan went on a mission to destroy the family (Christmas) tree. He tempted Cain to kill Abel but his plan was foiled with the birth of Seth, who replaced Abel. All of mankind descended through Seth by way of Noah. Satan succeeded in corrupting the hearts of all of mankind and God in his anger destroyed them with a flood except for one family who managed to preserve man because they lived in righteousness.

Satan sent world-wide famine but God had Joseph in place. Satan employed Pharoah to kill all the Israelite males but God had Moses in place. Satan recruited the wicked queen, Athalia, to destroy the Davidic line by murdering all her grandsons and introducing the worship of Baal but God had Joash in place. Satan construed a plan to eliminate all the Jews during the reign of Xerxes but God had Esther and Mordecai in place.

In order for Christmas to happen Jesus had to be born of a virgin. Satan tried to steal Christmas by tempting Joseph to make a public spectacle of Mary but he chose not to. I’m sure he was tempted to have relations with her before their actual marriage but he refused. Satan tried in every way to throw a cog in the wheel. There was no room in the inn. Herod was determined to find the child and destroy him but Joseph obeyed the voice of the angel and swept his family away to seclude themselves in Egypt until the danger had passed.

Satan’s attempts to steal Christmas had all failed. Dr. Seuss writes this line in his classic, “He Hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same!”

There was a birth, there was a perfect life, there was a death, there was a resurrection, there was an ascension. Just as surely, there will be a second coming and an earthly kingdom to parallel the spiritual kingdom and these will evolve into an eternal kingdom and Satan will mull over it for all of eternity, “IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same!”

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Skeletons in the Closet Reveal the Grace of God

The Skeletons in the Closet Reveal the Grace of God

If you were writing a book in hopes of making the best seller list, I doubt you would begin by putting a genealogy on the first page. But, that is exactly what Matthew did. Why provide the boring list of names in Jesus’ family history? Matthew was validating Christ as King by proving his royal line through his father David and his racial line through his father Abraham. He was without doubt prompted by the Holy Spirit to write this record because all genealogy records were destroyed in A.D. 70 when the Roman, Titus Vespasian, sacked Jerusalem.

Had there been a king in Jerusalem during the days of Jesus it would likely have been Joseph, the man who adopted him. Joseph was a direct descendent of David. But Mary was also a descendent of David so Christ had the royal blood running through his veins. Christ was therefore, the son of Joseph which gave him the legal standing to be king and he was the son of Mary which gave him the royal right to be king.

The genealogy has some interesting nuggets of truth if you dig deep enough. Matthew 1:10-11 tells of Jeconiah who was the son of Josiah. If you refer to Jeremiah 22:30 you find that Jeconiah, also called Coniah, was a very evil man. The Lord cursed him and declared him childless. “no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David.” If Jeconiah is in the direct line and the line is broken because of the curse, then how can Christ be king because the line has been broken?

The sovereign plan of God cannot be frustrated or compromised by the failures of men. The curse of Jeconiah was bypassed by the virgin birth. Joseph carried within him the cursed blood of Jeconiah but Mary did not so Joseph was bypassed and the seed in Mary was planted there by the Holy Spirit of God.

Of the forty two names mentioned in the family history, there were at least four women mentioned whose reputations were severely tarnished. Matthew 1:3 speaks of Tamar. Genesis 38 teaches us that Tamar was a prostitute. Perez and Zerah were born to Tamar as a result of the incorrigible sin of incest. All three are listed in the genealogy!

Matthew 1:5 speaks of Rahab. She was a prostitute who ran a house of whores in Jericho. Not only is she in the messianic line, she gave birth to Boaz who is a symbol of Christ himself.

Matthew 1:5 also speaks of Ruth the Moabitess. The Moabites were a whole race of people that had been produced by incest. They were cursed and despised by their neighbors. Ruth was a pagan who married Boaz and became the great-grandmother of David.

Bathsheba’s name is found in verse 6. She is well known as the adulteress who answered David’s call while her husband was off to war. She gave birth to Solomon who followed David to the throne. She ran into the arms of the man who had her husband murdered.

So, what was God thinking? He plugged into the family tree of Jesus a most evil man cursed of God, two prostitutes, a pagan and an adulterous woman. Why are they there and what does this say about God? It reveals him as a God of grace. 1 Corinthians 1:27 “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.”

The genealogy of Christ validates the truth of the word of God. Any other king would go to extreme means to hide the skeletons in his closet but Christ exposes all the dirty laundry so that we might see the wonder of the grace of God.

I relate more with the weak than the strong. I’ll never write an autobiography. There is too much in my past to be ashamed of. But, by the grace of God, I now minister to youth in a Christian high school and I’m an associate pastor of a Nazarene church. Living proof that God can use the foolish as well as the wise, the weak as well as the strong. He isn’t looking for perfect character, he is looking for perfect willingness.

So, if you see yourself as least likely to be qualified to minister for Christ and you identify more with the skeletons in the closet, should your heart be willing, you may very well find yourself standing in a pulpit or trudging toward a mission field one day because “The harvest is great and the workers are few.” (Matthew 9:37) kpprobst

Friday, December 4, 2009

Can a Conservative Opppose the War in Afghanistan?

Can a Conservative be opposed to the War in Afghanistan?

We now fight a war for which it is obvious our Commander-in-Chief has no heart. He said during his campaign last year that the real war should be in Afghanistan and not Iraq. But now it is very clear that he hasn't the intestinal fortitude to fight this war. A narcissistic president who wants to be loved and accepted by everyone just can't give himself to conflict.

When trying to justify the war in Afghanistan one must determine just how important the country is. Does the country have a great influence on its neighbors? In the region? Is the country a real threat to regional stability? Does the country have natural resources that need to be protected? Is the country strategically located geographically?

Our motivation for going into Iraq was to remove a dictator who threatened his own people and neighboring countries. Iraq is located on the Persian Gulf, a chief waterway that provides a means to transport a resource (oil) the world must have. We were justified in capturing Saddam Hussein and executing him.

Our motivation for going into Afghanistan was to punish a country that harbored the terrorists who attacked us. We overthrew the Taliban government and Al Qaeda fled the country. What is our purpose in Afghanistan now? Does Afghanistan have any strategic value? It is landlocked and has no access to any important waterway. Instability in Afghanistan does not necessarily threaten the region. Does Afghanistan have any natural resources necessary to keep the world's industries operating? No resources unless you count opium.

There is a common argument that if Afghanistan falls into the hands of the Taliban and Al Qaeda then Pakistan will be threatened and the region will become unstable. But, the Taliban and Al Qaeda ruled Afghanistan for decades and Pakistan was not destabilized.

Obama offered no real motivation for staying in Afghanistan in his speech to the West Point Cadets. The goal is to make it to June, 2011, when we will withdraw win, lose or draw. This is a wimpy way to fight a war. Should Obama not have said, "The goal is to establish a terror-free government and society in Afghanistan and we're not leaving unto we accomplish this task!" It seems Obama was telling our cadets, "I'm sending you to Afghanistan in hopes you can survive until June, 2011. Good luck!" Dumb!

Perhaps the only real reason for staying in Afghanistan is that to leave is to admit defeat. How can we maintain our credibility among our allies and in the eyes of our enemies if we leave with our tails between our legs. Failure and the loss of honor go hand in hand.

We went to Afghanistan to 'whup' the Taliban and punish al Qaeda. We accomplished that. Setting up a democratic government may be most difficult if not impossible. Afghanistan is no Iraq. The country is much larger. The mountains are rugged and endless. The literacy rate in Afghanistan is only 33%. Are these people even capable of understanding democracy or electing a democratic government?

If we withdraw now we will suffer hearing the jeers and cheers of our enemies. If we withdraw in June, 2011, we will suffer the folly of sacrificing even more lives in an effort that our Commander has no heart for. Obama should have offered 30,000 more troops only after defining a clear path to victory or he should have brought the troops home. He did the worst thing a leader can do during war, he sent troops into battle with no motivation and no hope of victory.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Water That Brings Life

The Water that Brings Life.
by Kevin Probst

When Jesus met the woman at the well (John 4) he had a private conversation with her. She was amazed he was willing to ask her for water and to even speak to a Samaritan woman! As the conversation progressed, it was obvious she wanted to talk only of surface issues and then be well on her way. But Jesus wanted to dig deep into a heart that has been made cold and calloused by years of serial relationships that had left her empty and void of any feeling.

They talked about water, living water. She had no understanding of such a concept. They talked a bit about the religious differences between the Jews and the Samaritans. She told him how much she hated hauling all her water pots to the well every day in the mid-afternoon heat. Then, rather abruptly, Jesus asked her a question that made her feel very uncomfortable….it was a “let’s put it all out on the table” kind of question. “Will you go get your husband and bring him here?”

She had learned some things in life the hard way. She had learned that real satisfaction doesn’t come from sexual relationships. She learned that some men try to validate themselves by pursuing attractive women but after each conquest they get bored with her because the world is filled with thousands of attractive, sensual women and so off he goes to find his next conquest. Her lifeless eyes and her pre-maturely aged face indicate a heart that has been wounded over and over and now the remaining scars make it very difficult for her to feel emotions any more.

The males in her life were seeking satisfaction in sexual relationships. It’s like the water Jesus was talking to her about. You drink deeply from the well at Sychar but you will come back again and again because your thirst always returns. You can drink from other wells, you can choose to use other vessels but the thirst relentlessly returns. A man’s true self-worth is found in the love and respect he gets from his family. Men were created to be monogamous. A man who has learned to be content is one who has learned the mission God had in mind for him when he put him on this earth and he is diligently working to accomplish that mission.

She sometimes gets so wrapped up in the cultural deception that if she is beautiful enough and sensual enough he will love her and stay with her forever. But, there are millions of beautiful and sensual women in the world. If that’s all she can offer he will get bored eventually. Her real beauty and her sustaining attributes are her warmth, her sensitiveness to the needs of her husband and her children, her grace and charm, her modesty and her love for her Creator. These features are God-given and they are the ropes that bind her to her husband and family.

He will go to the gym daily and endure long hours of painful workouts in order to achieve the athletic look that will catch her eye. There is certainly nothing wrong with staying healthy and strong. But, there is a reason for the ‘dumb jock’ syndrome. She will eventually get very bored with a good looking jock who only has one thing on his mind. Our culture is filled with sexual nomads who are frustrated because real, true satisfaction in their lives is so elusive. They haven’t the time for building relationships and eventually marrying.

I thought it was downright pitiful a few years ago when I read in a book written by a prominent FOX news correspondent his braggadocious claim to have bedded hundreds of women. About that same time a very famous professional basketball player also wrote of his multiple conquests. They thought this was reason to be admired. They’ve certainly drunk often from the well but they’ve never drunk the living water that satisfies forever the thirst in an empty soul.

She is not looking to be a number on his list. She wants a monogamous relationship. She wants to trust a man who is dignified by his trustworthiness. The relationship or the marriage will struggle when it’s all about him or all about her. The true secret to successful marriage is to make it all about God. When God is centered in the marriage then the two of them can build a web of love around their family and friends that is enviable and indestructible.

Is not the chief end in marriage to present to the world an earthy display of the divine love Christ has for his church?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

If They Find a Cure They Won't Have a Job

Why will no one in the mainstream media investigate the swine flu? Why are they no longer ‘testing’ for the swine flu? How will we know who had swine flu and who had regular flu?

What are the results of this study? Give 100 people the swine flu vaccine. Compare that group to 100 people who did not receive the vaccine. Which group exhibited more cases of swine flu. You’ll never see the results of such a study because no study has been done and never will be.

Claims that 80,000 Americans will die of Swine flu this year seem utterly absurd when considering the flu’s slow start. So, what is going on? Why are they pushing the vaccine?

Millions of vaccine have been sold. There hasn’t been time to sufficiently test the vaccine. We sell massive amounts to other countries with the understanding that the pharmaceutical companies will be entirely protected from any lawsuits.

It seems to me to be marketing 101. Pretty simple. When Coca Cola wants to boost sales they come out with a brand new product. They advertise the living daylights out of it and they make billions. When a pharmaceutical wants to make lots of money they come up with a new disease. They market the living daylights out of it and they make billions of dollars. Millions are petrified this year because of the way the media is handling this. It’s not unusual to see a report that five people have died in Seattle of the Swine Flu. It’s tragic when anyone dies but they fail to report that 15 people have died of the regular flu.

Imagine what would happen if someone found a cure to cancer tomorrow. Can you even possibly perceive of the billions of dollars that would be lost by pharmaceuticals and other medical entities? Why can they find drugs that will reduce cholesterol and regulate hearts, drugs that will enable older men to have the sexual prowess of a twenty year old but they can’t seem to find a cure to the common cold. Do you know how much money they would lose? Finding a cure would eliminate the billions of dollars made on treating the symptoms.

Why are they claiming a normal flu season as pandemic? Will someone explain why Ahlzheimer’s is now so prevalent, why autism has increased drastically and why most of the kids I teach in school are taking some kind of drug to inhibit their behavior? Is this all about making money? Is it about controlling the masses?

I suppose the CDC (Center for Disease Control) gets huge amounts of grant money from the federal government. Is it necessary to create pseudo-pandemics to justify their own existence?

Previous generations were able to survive the flu using their grandmothers home remedies. Why do we spend millions of dollars on medicines that simply treat the symptoms, perhaps no better than mom’s cod liver oil!

It just seems somehow we are be deceived and losing our way.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Evan the Elf

Evan the Elf

By Kevin Probst

“Have you ever wondered how Santa could know if you’re naughty of nice each year as you grow? For hundreds of years it’s been a big secret. It now can be shared if you promise to keep it.” So begins a book, Shannon, my wife, read to our son Kameron tonight. The book is called The Elf on the Shelf and we now have a little elf in our house whom we’ve named Evan.

The whole concept of the book is for Kameron to wake up each morning between now and Christmas and look for the little elf. He will be up high where he cannot be reached. If Kam touches him he loses some of his ‘magic’. The elf watches Kameron every day and then reports to Santa Claus on his behavior.

As I listened to his mother read him that story I thought of a verse in Hebrews (4:13) “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Now it’s just a story, just a fun fantasy for Kameron, but one day we want him to realize that God is always watching, is always aware of his thoughts, words and deeds. We pray often and earnestly that Kam will give his heart to Jesus and live his life in a way that pleases his Savior.

Jesus sat at the well when the Samaritan woman approached him. At one point in the conversation he asks her to “Go, call you husband and come here.” She replies, “I have no husband.” But Jesus couldn’t be thrown off so easily. She was covering up the truth by telling a truth. Jesus cuts to the chase, “”You are right in saying ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” Jesus is using irony. He knows the lie she is trying to cover.

This woman is skilled in using manipulative language so she changes the subject. “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus must have been amused. John Piper says that an animal will gnaw off its leg to get out of a trap and this woman’s mind was mangled trying to escape her trap. “Now that we’re talking about adultery, where is the proper place to worship?”

She was astonished that Jesus knew all there was to know about her. He knows about her five failed marriages, he knows about her ravenous thirst for something that will satisfy. He knows about her dark, depressing moments and her struggle with guilt and emptiness. He knows about her habits and addictions. And though he knew all of these things, he was not repulsed by her, he persisted in trying to break through her cold and calloused heart.

Jesus was revealing to her….I understand you. I made you. I know why you’ve been running from man to man. It’s because you can’t find any satisfaction. I have living water that will take care of that problem forever. This is water you can’t drink with your lips, you must drink with your soul. You don’t sip it, you draw freely to feel it’s satisfying affects.

Don’t run back home to your television, your trashy books, your I-pod and your computer games. Don’t spend your money on trivial things in a vain attempt to find satisfaction. Don’t turn to a lover or a new hobby or a new hubby. Allow my eternal light to shine on the darkest recesses of your soul.

In The Little Elf on the Shelf my son learns that someone is watching and that someone wants to reward him. The next lesson Kam will learn is that because of his boyish nature he will misbehave, probably many times before Christmas. Santa rewards good behavior but God’s gift of forgiveness is free to all who will ask. Not only does he watch everything we do, he knows everything about us. I know that can make one feel uncomfortable but once you know the true nature of God is becomes reassuring.

Friday, November 27, 2009

We Don't Know Who We Are

We Don’t Know Who We Are?

By Kevin Probst

I’ve never been in the military so I am ignorant of a lot of things pertaining to military strategy and philosophy. I’m struggling to understand our mission in Afghanistan. Obama is about to announce he will send thousands more of our precious young men to a primitive land to risk their lives. As a result of his decision many, too many, of those young men will never return to their families.

Are we fighting al Qaida? Are we fighting the Taliban? Are we trying to prop up the government of Karzai? Is he a worthy ally or are we investing the lives of our young men in a corrupt leader?

The enemy is al Qaeda. They are a world wide organization intent on bring about an apocalyptic end to all infidels (Jews, Americans, Christians). They have no geographic location. They are well organized into cell groups infiltrated into almost every major nation. Their goal is worldwide annihilation of the infidel who, by his very existence, is prohibiting the coming of their great Imam. The Taliban has no such lofty goals. They are a localized group intent on acquiring power in a primitive country. Why is Afghanistan so important to us? We punish the Taliban for harboring al Qaida but now that al Qaeda has moved on is it not time for us to move on also?

It seems we want to limit al Qaeda to some certain geographical location. We’ve never fought a war against an enemy that is so elusive. It is like fighting an army of spirits. They are surreal and will not be confined by our chosen boundaries. All one needs to fight for al Qaeda is an apartment, a computer and a fax machine.

Many believe the next step is to focus on Pakistan. The threat of Pakistan is real. They harbor nuclear weapons. But who is willing to believe that Pakistan is where most of the al Qaeda operatives are trained? They are trained throughout the world, even here within our own borders.

Al Qaeda is not political nor are they geographical, they are ideological. This isn’t a war that can be limited to a location, nor is it a war that can be won by defeating an insignificant group calling themselves the Taliban. Ideologies are not won or lost in military battles. I favored the war in Viet Nam. I favored the idea of trying to contain an ideology (communism) that was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions in the last century. I favor the use of the military to check the spread of radical Islam. But, we didn’t win the war on communism. It is alive and well, actually thriving in some parts. What is our strategy in dealing with the ideology.

Military force is certainly one option in trying to stop the spread of radical Islam but can a more effective way of checking this disease be found in converting those who embrace such a worldview to a better idea. Like the overwhelming march of white blood cells in the body to fight a disease, we must out number them by reasserting our belief in our own convictions and then going on a mission to convince the multitudes that our system works much better than theirs.

Therein lies a major problem. We don’t know who we are anymore. We don’t know what we believe. We embrace and celebrate the immorality pumped into our homes from Hollywood and the hate us for it. 80% of Americans claim to be Christian but most can’t answer the question about being born again because they don’t understand it. We love democracy and our constitution but we now we are governed by an administration intent on experimenting with socialism and downplaying the great document upon which our country was founded.

We need to reestablish what it really means to be an American. We need to define ourselves as a people. We need to put a check on political correctness because it is causing us to lose sight or our mission and it is blurring the definition of who we really are. When we win the battle within ourselves then we can march boldly toward a well defined enemy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Just Say It, Sarah.

Just Say It, Sarah!!

Sarah Palin came charging out of Alaska last year from a life of relative obscurity to become the great hope of the GOP. Someone asked me the other day what I thought of her. I retreated and said I didn't really have an opinion yet.

So many seem to get pretty emotional about her specific distinctions. She has done an admirable job of navigating around Levi, the hormone driven teen who impregnated her daughter, Bristol. She juggles the possibility of becoming president nicely without threatening the masculinity of the other men in her life, her husband, Todd, and her father. She is much admired because she chose "not to abort" her Down's Syndrome child, Trig. I have great respect for her as a mother willing to accept her responsibilities but shouldn't we expect the same decision of any mother with a Down's Syndrome child? It's unfortunate that a mother who chooses life for an exceptional child is unusual. It's sad when a mother's deep love for a special child is an unusual spectacle.

She is unusual in other ways. How many women in your life are talented moose hunters? She has also been greatly admired for going after corruption in her own party in the state of Alaska. But shouldn't that be expected of any politician who has any measure of dedication for what is right? Why is it that she is being elevated for doing what any decent law abiding individual should do? Is it because we have become so accustomed to the immoral behavior of our politicians that we consider the party with less sin than the other to be the superior party?

I guess the question that causes me hesitation when it comes to Sarah is this: Will she follow the broad political road and just say the right things to the right crowds in order to get elected or will she follow the narrow road of integrity and just simply call a spade a spade? My concerns were exacerbated after watching Hannity interview Sarah on Fox News the other night. Hannity threw her some 'softball' questions that she seemed to sidestep because it would be politically expedient for her.

Hannity gave Sarah multiple chances to peg Obama as a socialist but obviously she thought being so bold with the truth might not fly with her more moderate supporters so she sidestepped. Hannity then softened the question and asked her if she thought Obama was a radical? Again, she sidestepped and refused to identify Obama as the radical he is. Sarah, just look at the people he has appointed as his Czars! Look at his policies and the bills he is promoting, they have SOCIALIST and RADICAL written all over them.

So now I'm trying to decide which interview was more disappointing: her travesty with Katie Couric or the timidity she revealed with Sean Hannity. Come on Sarah, you've shown plenty of courage when confronted with the Alaskan moose, how 'bout showing the same courage by opposing a political enemy who won't hesitate to annihilate you with his Chicago style politics just like he did Hillary!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

An Apology May Be In Order

I earlier posted a picture of President Obama under the caption, "What is wrong with this picture?"

After investigating this picture further, there seems to be a discrepancy. This picture may have been take at a wreath-laying ceremony several months earlier at Arlington National cemetary. Obama is not saluting in this picture because "Hail to the Chief" is being played. The other men are defering to him but he is following proper protocal by taking a proper stance.

Barack Obama displayed a proper salute at the Memorial Day Service at Arlington National Cemetary on May 25th, 2009.

Watch the following video to understand why Obama is not saluting.

I may have inaccurately concluded that Obama was revealing anit-Americanism. Apologies are in order.

Angry Housewife in New Brunswick

Angry Housewife From New Brunswick

Written by a housewife in New Brunswick , to her local newspaper. This is one ticked off lady.

‘Are we fighting a war on terror or aren’t we? Was it or was it not started by Islamic people who brought it to our shores on September 11, 2001 and have continually threatened to do so since?

Were people from all over the world, not brutally murdered that day, in downtown Manhattan , across the Potomac from the nation’s capitol and in a field in Pennsylvania ?

Did nearly three thousand men, women and children die a horrible, burning or crushing death that day, or didn’t they?

And I’m supposed to care that a few Taliban were claiming to be tortured by a justice system of the nation they come from and are fighting against in a brutal insurgency.

I’ll start caring when Osama bin Laden turns himself in and repents for incinerating all those innocent people on 9/11.

I’ll care about the Koran when the fanatics in the Middle East start caring about the Holy Bible, the mere belief of which is a crime punishable by beheading in Afghanistan .

I’ll care when these thugs tell the world they are sorry for hacking off Nick Berg’s head while Berg screamed through his gurgling slashed throat.

I’ll care when the cowardly so-called ‘insurgents’ in Afghanistan come out and fight like men instead of disrespecting their own religion by hiding in mosques and behind women and children.

I’ll care when the mindless zealots who blow themselves up in search of nirvana care about the innocent children within range of their suicide bombs.

I’ll care when the Canadian media stops pretending that their freedom of speech on stories is more important than the lives of the soldiers on the ground or their families waiting at home to hear about them when something happens.

In the meantime, when I hear a story about a CANADIAN soldier roughing up an Insurgent terrorist to obtain information, know this:

I don’t care.

When I see a wounded terrorist get shot in the head when he is told not to move because he might be booby-trapped, you can take it to the bank:

I don’t care.

When I hear that a prisoner, who was issued a Koran and a prayer mat, and fed ‘special’ food that is paid for by my tax dollars, is complaining that his holy book is being ‘mishandled’, you can absolutely believe in your heart of hearts:

I don’t care.

And oh, by the way, I’ve noticed that sometimes it’s spelled ‘Koran’ and other times ‘Quran’. Well, Jimmy Crack Corn you guessed it,

I don’t care!!

Only five defining forces have ever offered to die for you:

1. GOD

2. The British Soldier.

3. The Canadian Soldier.

4. The US Soldier, and

5. The Australian Soldier
One died for your soul, the other 4 for your freedom.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Are You Happy, Daddy?"

"Are You Happy, Daddy"

by Kevin Probst

My four year old has been experimenting lately with disobedience. The issue is always a confrontation between his will and mine. Kameron would have no obligation to be obedient if there were no commands to obey. I'm perplexed when my theologian friends accuse me of legalism. We obey God, not because we think we are buying any favors from him, but because he has some very important commands, especially the ten he gave to Moses. Our motive for obedience is because we love him and we want his approval.

When Kameron thinks he may have done something to displease me he will turn his head upward and ask, "Are you happy, Daddy?" or "Are you disappointed, Daddy?" I often have to tell him that I am unhappy and disappointed. The heart that is determined to please God will often look up and ask, "Are you happy, God? Are you disappointed?" Isn't that what David was doing when his heart cried out in Psalm 139:23 "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts."

Does God not discipline us in order to encourage us toward sanctification? How would we ever experience holiness were we never chastised? Why do so many Christians believe that this pursuit of holiness is an option? Does not God's word say, "Be holy, because I am holy?" (1 Peter 1:16). Are we not instructed to be "imitators of Christ"? (Eph. 5:1) God's directive to be holy is not an invitation, it’s a command.

The word 'holy' refers to a separation. There is so much confusion in the church today because so many people will claim to enjoy the gift of full salvation and still enjoy the fleshly pleasures of the world. Paul stated clearly in Romans that if you feed the flesh you will starve the spirit, if you feed the spirit you will starve the flesh.

I work every day with young people in a Christian school. They often anguish over the fact that they want to draw close to God but can't seem to. Sometimes the problem is that they don't want to deal with the separation factor. Drawing closer to God means separating from the things he hates. Holiness causes people to hate the things which steal the heart away from God. Romans 1:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world (we hate the things we once loved), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (we now love the things we once hated). We often fail in our attempt to be holy because we give our heats to that which is against God.

When we are truly transformed we discover that "others can, we cannot." God has a different standard for those who would follow him. There are now some things you can't do, there are some things you cannot say, there are some places you cannot go.

When God asks us to "be holy" he is asking that we yearn for him. I want to yearn for God like David yearned for God. "How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faint, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." Are we hungering for God or are we hungering for the trashy, filthy things in life that satisfy the flesh?

"Search my heart, O God!"

Obama's World

by Kevin Probst

The bizczar world of Barack Obama:

The latest Czar to exit Obama's administration was Anita Dunn. She led the war on Fox News and declared the mass murderer of millions, Mao Zedong to be one of her favorite philosophers. I think declaring Zedong to be a philosopher is quite a stretch.

Jobs Czar Van Jones was a disgraceful appointee who readily admitted he "was a Communist".

Regulatory Czar Cass Sunstein once wrote a book in which he claimed that the government, "owns the rights to body parts of people who are dead or in certain hopeless conditions, and it can remove their organs without asking anyone's permission." He is the same one who suggested that animals should be afforded the rights of humans and may be represented by lawyers. (Are these people on drugs?)

EEOC nominee, Chai R. Feldblum, endorsed polygamy and promoted same-sex marriage.

Safe Schools Czar, Kevin Jennings, was founder of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network and was a strong activist for homosexuality, even teaching high school students how to perform various homosexual acts at Tufts University in 2000.

David Hamilton, Obama's appointee for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was district judge when he prohibited the governing body in Indiana to mention the name of Jesus Christ in their invocations. Mentioning Allah was not prohibited.

Obama's chief lawyer at the State Department is Harold Hongju Koh. He openly advocates integrating international law into U.S. domestic law and making it binding on U.S. citizens.

Obama's replacement on the Supreme Court for David Souter was Sonia Sotomayer who declared that a "Latina woman" would make better judicial decisions than "a white male."

It’s a circus! It's a tragedy! It's a joke! It's a travesty! It's troubling! It's frightening!

Shouldn't the Democratic Party try to regain control from the far-left kooks who have hi-jacked their party?? Can the radical agenda of the far left faction be successful in leading the party in its bid for reelection in 1012??