Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Advertising Principle

Madison Avenue has become a symbol of the advertising industry since the 1920's. Advertising is a huge business involving print, television, radio, the Internet, and much more. Any business that wants to grow takes it's advertising very seriously. The Church is no different.

What exactly is the greatest advertising strategy for the local church? Is it a big sign out front? Is it having ads in the local paper and on the local radio station? What about mass mailings? All of these are wonderful tools, but they pale in comparison to Jesus' plan for advertising. He said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34,35). Love -- so simple, yet, so powerful!

We can have the most impressive signs, the best articles in the papers, the most interesting commercials on the radio or television, and the largest quantity mass mailing in history, but without love, it means nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). If you want to give your local congregation the greatest advertising boost it can have, just love your neighbor as yourself. As John, the Apostle, approach the end of his life, it was said that he had to be carried about on a litter. At that point in his life, considering all the things he could have said, he would always preach the same five word sermon -- "Little children, love one another!"

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Professor Equates Bible To Mein Kampf

I just ran across this article and thought it was interesting. What are they teaching at Iowa State University? This professor sounds like a modern day Voltaire! Click here to read the article.

The Ripple Effect

Zheng Xiaoyu is a name we don't hear everyday. He is the former head of China's State Food and Drug Administration. He had been sentenced to death for taking around $800,000 from pharmaceutical companies. This may seem like a harsh sentence for the abuse of his position of authority and bribery. However, there is more to it than just the illegal aspect of his crime. Xiaoyu's criminal behavior became evident on the heels of the recent pet food poisoning of thousands of pets around the world. Of course, as attached as we are to our pets that would hardly be a justification for a death sentence even in China. The fact is Xiaoyu also approved a number of drugs and devices for use on humans that killed many people. These people died because of his covetousness and greed. Although his crimes were committed on the other side of the world many people were affected. He did not know these people and most may never know how he touched their lives in such a horrible way.

It is amazing how our actions have an impact on the lives of other people. This influence not only reaches those we know. It reaches those we don't know. It goes so far that people we have never met may be changed. Influence is a powerful thing. It has a ripple effect. Just as a stone dropped in the middle of a calm, still pool of water sends multiple ripples out from the source of the disturbance in the water, our influence ripples out into the lives of unsuspecting souls all around us. Sadly, there are those who don't care how their actions can hurt other people. They are only concerned with their own selfish interest. On the other hand, we have the potential to positively influence those same people if we will live our lives selflessly and righteously. We can add flavor to the lives of untold multitudes if we will allow the salt of a godly influence to permeate and preserve our lives. We can drive the darkness of sin and ignorance out of our little part of the world by being the lights God intends us to be (Matthew 5:13-16). Remember, your good influence has a ripple effect.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Christian's Memorial Day

Monday we will celebrate Memorial Day to honor the fallen soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom. Then the sixth of June will be the anniversary of the invasion of Normandy in WWII. This was the greatest military operation ever undertaken. It involved thousands of ships and over a million men. Within 11 months and one day of the invasion (May 7, 1945), Germany signed an unconditional surrender. There was a major difference between Hitler's invasion of France and the Allied invasion on June 6, 1944. Hitler's purpose was to conquer, but the Allies' purpose was to set free.

Against the backdrop of Memorial Day and the anniversary of D-Day, it would be good for us to also remember our bondage and liberation from sin, and the price paid for our freedom.

Sin started in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-6), and man became enslaved in it (Romans 6:16). Of course, sin still enslaves today. It burdens us with guilt, hardness of heart, helplessness, and hopelessness.

It is interesting that when we are set free from sin, we become servants to Another (2 Corinthians 5:14). "But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness" (Romans 6:17-18).

What is the Christian's Memorial Day? "This do in remembrance of Me" (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Our Memorial Day takes place on the first day of every week (Acts 20:7). We need to remember that freedom can be lost (Isaiah 59:1,2; 2 Peter 1:10). We also need to remember that we have been liberated from the guilt of sin by obedience (Romans 6:17). This "liberation" came at a dreadful cost (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25). We must remember the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. It is also a reminder to examine ourselves. Have I drifted? In view of His sacrifice, am I giving of myself and my means properly? Do I need to come back to the Lord?

Some of the bloodiest fighting on D-Day took place at Omaha beach all those years ago. There is a guest book at the American cemetery there in which a guest once wrote "The price of freedom." That says it all. Yet, that sacrifice in a small way illustrates the great sacrifice Jesus made on Calvary's cross by the shedding of His blood. Have you been washed in the blood?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

"The Great Global Warming Swindle"

I just ran across this documentary on global warming. It is called The Global Warming Swindle (click here to view it), and it is an eye opener. It takes about an hour and 15 minutes to watch it, but it is well worth it if you are interested in this subject.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

...Because of Love

Michelle Boorman is not your typical student. She has not missed a day of school in 14 years. She started school at the age of 4 and now at 18, she has never missed a single day. What was her secret? '"There is no secret as to why I have not had a day off sick in the whole of my school life,' she said. 'I love school so have never been tempted to have a day off or use feeling unwell as an excuse not to come in."'

When we love someone or something, we cannot stay away. That is what love is all about. I can't help but wonder why so many Christians don't want to worship God or assemble with brethren every chance they get. Could the reason be the lack of love? Neglecting to worship God every chance we have indicates something about our hearts. It shouts out the secret that we lack love for Jesus and for His Church. Michelle Boorman said the reason she did not miss a day of school in 14 years was not a secret -- she loved school. Do you love the Lord and His Church? Jesus said, "“If you love Me, keep My commandments (John 14:15).

The Christian and Environmentalism

There was a recent article on that told of a California Hotel that was taking all the Gideon Bibles out and putting in their place a copy of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth." Global Warming seems to have become the religion of the left. It is accepted as proven fact by the media and many of the "educated elite" of the world.

However, there are many who completely disagree with the Global Warming crowd. William Gray, a Colorado State University researcher, has stated in an article posted on The Daily Telegraph that he believes the earth will cool on its own in five to 10 years. He attributes the warming trend to ocean currents. Dr. Gray is one of the foremost experts on hurricanes. Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote a recent article on saying that there is no perfect temperature of the earth. Just this past week,a meteorologist stated publicly that within five to ten years Global Warming will be a joke. In other words, this debate is not over by a long shot!

Where should the Christian stand in all of this. It is not this writer's intention to dictate where one should stand in the global warming debate, but a Christian perspective of the enviroment can be given. There are three general philosophies toward the environment. First, there is Despotism. A person who holds this view sees the environment as something to be used and abused. They feel mankind is a despot over the world. Second, there is Preservationism. Those who hold this view see man as being the only evil part of the environment. This world should be preserved in its pristine form at all times. Third, there is Conservationism. Conservation simply means "wise use." In other words, mankind can and must live in this world and respect it while also making "wise use" of its resources. Conservation is basically the Christain (or biblical) perspective.

God created the world and saw that it was very good (Genesis 1:31). He gave human beings dominion over the earth and all that is in it (Genesis 1:28; 2:15; 3:23). The earth belongs to God, but He has given mankind a responsibility to use it properly (Psalm 115:16). This is the Stewardship principle. Therefore, we must accept our responsibility to care for the earth. This does not mean we are to worship the earth for it is simply a part of God's creation (Romans 1:25). We must worship and glorify only the Creator rather than the creation.

There are two motivating factors concerning Christains and the environment. First, we must have respect for God. God created and owns all that is in the earth (Deuteronomy 10:14; 1 Corinthians 10:26). Therefore, we should respect His property. The second motivating factor is love for mankind. The Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12) applies to responsible conservationism. We should want to leave the world as beautiful and fruitful as it was when we came into it. If nothing else, we should want our children and grandchildren to have this kind of world. To refuse this factor is utter selfishness.

Yes, there are environmental problems on this earth, and as Christians, we should do what we can to remedy the situation. However, that does not mean we must fall for any hyped up theory or assertion that comes along. There will always be doomsday scenarios. The Christian has faith that God is still in charge of this universe and He still upholds it by His hand. Nevertheless, this does not take away from our responsibility to be good stewards of the environment.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Fewer Watching Television

Networks executives are running scared because of new statistics showing there are 2.5 million fewer viewers watching their TV shows this spring. The main reason they are upset is due to the loss of revenue generated by sponsors. They will not be willing to spend so much on advertising with so many people finding better things to do than to sit in front of the TV all the time. You can read more about it here .

The article also quoted one person as saying, "'We let them get out of the habit of watching television a little bit, and it's going to take some time to get these people back in front of their television sets,' said David Poltrack, chief researcher for CBS (owned by CBS Corp.)." I don't know about you, but the first part of that statement sounds rather sinister to me. "We let them get out of the habit." It sounds like they want to control us! Guess what, they do control far too many people. They feed people their own godless philosophies and make them covet whatever they happen to be selling at the moment.

Of course, there are many reasons they may be losing viewers, but would it not be wonderful if this trend continues? It would be good for every individual, for homes, and for the nation as a whole. May each of us determine to spend more time studying God's Word and spend more time with our families.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Hemlines and Hearts

It is that time of year again! Why is it that so many people want to display their bodies in such an immoral way? The answer to that question can be summed up in the word "Worldliness." Of course, Christians are told not to love the world (1 John 2:15). We are told to be transformed rather than conform to the world (Romans 12:2). This should not be a major issue for Christians, but it obviously is.

In the fourth century A.D., John Chrysostom wrote about the problem of immoral dress.
"You allege that you never invite others to sin. You did not by your tongue, but you have done it by your dress and deportment more effectively than you could by your voice. When you have made another to sin in his heart, how can you be innocent? You sharpened and drew the sword. You gave the thrust by which the soul is wounded.... Tell me whom does the world condemn? Whom do judges punish? Those who drink the poison, or those who prepare and give the fatal draught? You mingled the execrable cup; you administered the potion of death. You are so much more criminal than poisoners, as the death which you cause is the more terrible; for you murder not the body, but the soul.... Nor do you do this to enemies: not compelled by necessity nor provoked by any injury; but out of a foolish vanity and pride."

Chrysostom certainly let people know where he stood on the subject!

I want to recommend a website for parents and teens. First, let me say that I do not endorse any denominational material on this site. However, it is an excellent site for imformation on how one (esp. girls) can dress modestly and still be "fashionable." The site is Just click here to go to this site. One great thing about this site is the "Truth or Bare" modesty test. It helps girls and parents know if articles of clothing are modest. This site was developed by Dannah Gresh. She saw a real need for young girls to understand the meaning and power of modest dress. I have not read her book "Secret Keeper", but based on her website, it must be excellent. You can find a link to this book in this blog (on the left side of the page).

It is no secret that immodest, immoral dress is linked to promiscuity among teens. Parents, we must take a stand. We must practice it in our lives, and we must preach it to our children. Don't wait until it is too late. We must be the adults in this matter. Our children's spiritual welfare is at stake!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

$67 Million Pants

A Washington D.C. lawyer is suing an area dry cleaners for losing his pants. To read the story, click here. He wants $67 million because he did not get to wear his favorite pants on his first day as a judge. The owners of the dry cleaners have the pants and have tried to give them back to the lawyer along with thousands of dollars. However, the lawyer wants the big money.

Can you say "GREEDY?" It is amazing that people allow covetousness to so completely control their lives. "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have (Hebrews 13:5). Who among us can't use a little extra money? But, $67,000,000?

While the world will always be covetous, we must learn contentment (Philippians 4:11). Let us seek the abundant life Jesus offers (John 10:10). "Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out (1 Timothy 6:6,7).

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Watch Your Words

Words are very powerful things. The ancient Hebrews felt that once a word was spoken, it took on a life of its own. It was impossible to take back something once it was spoken. As a matter of fact, the Hebrew word DABAR can be translated "a word, a matter, or a thing." Notice that DABAR implies that a "word" is just as real as an actual "thing."

We can still learn something from the ancients. It has been said many times, but it bears repeating -- We must think before we speak!

1) What we say reveals what is in our hearts (Matthew 15:18-19).
2) It affects innocent people (Matthew 14:7-8). Herod's promise cost John the Baptist his head.
3) It may cause us to reveal our ignorance by not thinking through what we are about to say (Psalm 29:20).
4) It may cause us to stand in opposition to God (Ecclesiastes 5:2).
5) It is impossible to call back words spoken in the "heat of the moment." Even if we repent and ask forgiveness, the words are out there and the damage has been done (James 3:5-7).

All of us will continually stuggle with the tongue (James 3:8-9). Of course, this is not a justification to say absolutely anything that pops into one's head (James 3:10-12). It is a command to "think before we speak."

"So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath" (James 1:19).