Scripts and Samples

What's Your Worldview

What do we mean by worldview? It's how you interpret the world around you. Worldview has three parts. The spiritual, belief in God or trust in man. The natural, God created everything or it happened by chance. The social, we rely on God's providence or we depend on entitlements from human government. These are not just beliefs. It is how we live. If a person doesn't approach all three areas in an integrated way, he has a divided mind and won't find peace. The question is what believers ought to believe. God's Word reveals how Christians should live in all three areas. Psalm 86:11 says, "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth. Give me an undivided heart." The challenge for believers is to read the Scriptures to learn what God has said so we can refine our worldview. 
Can a Bible-believer believe in evolution? Not the way secular science presents it, because evolutionists reject any role for God in their reconstruction of natural history. Christians who advocate evolution are divided in their thinking. The Bible describes a confrontation between the prophet Elijah and the people of Israel illustrating such a sad state of affairs. “Elijah came to the people and said how long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him. But if Baal is god, then follow Baal. And the people didn’t know what to say.” They couldn’t speak because Elijah revealed how compromised they were.
The question is what believers ought to believe. We all want to think rationally, but why would a Bible believer adopt the ideas of atheists? God told us what he did in Genesis. Choose your beliefs wisely.
A chapter of my book begins with the assertion that “one of us is crazy”. It refers to the culture conflict taking place in America today. We’re divided politically into right wing or left, Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and progressives. Each side thinks the other is crazy because what the other side believes seems completely irrational to us. I would assert that the foundational division is between those who believe in God and those who don’t. Believers see God’s guidance and providence while non believers depend on movements and causes to direct society’s progress. Believers advocate morality and discipline while non believers want a society without limitations. There is no middle ground. The question is what believers ought to believe. We need to understand different ways of thinking, while also remaining true to our principles. We need to be peacemakers while also seeking to prevail. We need to save the lost, rather than become lost ourselves. 
Do atheists really exist? Of course people who think they're atheists exist, but new scientific research proposes that people really aren't atheists because we're innately predisposed toward spirituality. Researchers say that a metaphysical outlook is so deeply ingrained in human thought processes that it can’t be removed. Atheists want to believe that unbelief is the normal state of being, but atheism itself seems to be unnatural. A secular anthropologist wrote, "Religious thought and behavior can be considered natively human, like music, political systems, family relations, or ethnic coalitions." It’s just the way we are.
The question is what believers ought to believe. The book of Hebrews 8:10 reads “I will put my laws in their minds and write them in their hearts.” Science is confirming this truth. 
Here’s how one evolutionary materialist defines love. Romantic love is a biochemical reaction to pheromones and other stimuli that persists for a limited time. The object of romantic love has been placed in our path by chance, and its only goal is the instinctive perpetuation of our genetic material. The process suspends our ability to reason, but the effect is temporary and has no eternal meaning. Following out of love happens when our biochemistry changes. It sounds very scientific. But who can live with that kind of worldview…that unromantic idea of love? In day to day life most atheists reject their worldview and and live as if love is more than just mechanics.  The question is what believers ought to believe. Just as God loved us when we were still sinners, a believer’s love for a husband or wife transcends materialism. We are spiritual. We’re called to love like God loves, sacrificially and without end.
Did God create us to have free will or are all our choices predetermined? Are we just pawns in a cosmic game, or do our thoughts and actions matter? It’s one of those questions we have regarding an all-powerful God. To answer it, I’ll quote one of my favorite passages from Deuteronomy chapter 30. “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you might thrive.” We’re not just playthings for God’s entertainment. He wants us to understood the choices before us and to decide to follow Him for our own wellbeing. The question is what believers ought to believe. The world wants to tell us we’re victims, that the difficulties we face are because of how we were raised or because of our social status. These may be good excuses, but they don’t help us live life to the full. God gives us infinite choices. Choose purposefully. 

What the Bible Says

What does the Bible say? Many people have never read it so it’s worth a try to summarize the message. 
The Bible is God describing himself to his creation and giving us an account of history. He made all things including the first people who rebelled against him and threw the world into chaos. Sinful living reigned the earth, but God adopted Israel to preserve a history of the conflict between light and darkness. The Bible testifies to our inability to live rightly without God’s power in us. When the time was right, God came in the form of Jesus to proclaim the good news and deliver us from sin. For 2000 years, he has infused the world with goodness while evil has simultaneously abounded. Jesus will come again for the final resolution.
The question before us is what believers ought to believe. Will you live in preparation for Jesus return or simply live in the moment separated from the Lord? You get to decide. 
How should we interpret the Bible? My suggestion is not to interpret, but to understand. 2nd Peter 1:20 reads, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation.” When we read any other book, we intuitively expect that the author is trying to communicate clearly. Our job as the reader is to comprehend the author’s message based on their words. We expect the author means what is written. Why then do we interpret the Bible? It’s mostly a history of God’s interaction with the Hebrews. Facts are facts. The question is what believers ought to believe. It seems to me we interpret Scripture because we aren’t satisfied with God’s plain meaning. We don’t want to say the Bible is wrong, so we make up a story about what God really means. 
What is the nature of Man? From a theological perspective, we sometimes want to focus on our fallen nature as sinners, and that, of course, is true. But from God’s perspective, mankind is also wonderful, made in His image a little lower than the angels. We can see humanity’s beauty in everyday life in a mother comforting a child or an artist creating a masterpiece. Yet, as amazing as human beings can be, we don’t worship man, but rather the Creator of man. Without God, human beings are loose canons, dangerous to others and dangerous to ourselves. But even Godless men are precious in God’s sight. The question is how believers ought to live. The message of salvation is that we matter. John 3:16 recorded, “For God so loved the world (you and me) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” 
Are the creation days of Genesis ordinary days? Genesis consistently specifies an evening and morning and assigns a number to each day. The sense of it is clearly normal days, but it’s not just Genesis. Exodus 20:11 says, “In six days, the Lord made the heavens and earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.” Some people are quick to bring up 2 Peter 3:8 and that a day to the Lord is like a thousand years, but that’s about God’s patience, not his confusion about how long a day is. Context is everything. Exodus 20:11 continues God’s command to keep the Sabbath, clear reference to one day in a seven day week. The question is what believers ought to believe. We ought to believe God’s Word, so it’s perplexing when Christians don’t get it.
Are the creation days of Genesis ordinary days (Part 2)? Of course they are, but that’s not the point. The creation message is really about who God is. God isn’t an alien from outer space trying to take over the planet to enslave us. Rather, He is our Father and Maker who sent His son to redeem and restore us to Him. We can have interesting discussions about science, but we have to keep in mind our unity as fellow heirs in Christ. Who God is is more important than how he made us. The question before us is what believers ought to believe. Should we divide over our ideas of scientific truth, or should we remember Proverbs 27:17 that iron sharpens iron as one man sharpens another. Seek the truth, instead of an argument.
Why care about creation? It’s really an issue of confidence. The way evolution is promoted causes many to doubt the Bible, and that takes you to a bad place. God’s Word is meant to be a rock and source of assurance. When the Bible scholars of two centuries ago reinterpreted Genesis to accommodate what they thought science had proven, they started a chain reaction of doubt. The next generation wondered if other parts of the Bible needed to be reconsidered. That generation questioned the truth of God’s Word. Our generation simply dismisses it as a matter of opinion. Why read the Word if it can’t be trusted for its plain meaning? The question before us is what believers ought to believe. How can we speak truth to the world if we can’t agree about what is true? Why should anyone listen?

The Nature of the Universe

Universe is a word used to describe space and time. Scripture tells us the universe was spoken into existence and crafted by an intelligent Creator. Proverbs 3:19-20 reads, “Jehovah by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens; by His knowledge the deeps were broken up, and the skies drop down the dew.” Modern astronomical science was founded by Bible believers who trusted God’s word that His creation could be studied because it was created by a reasonable God whose work should be comprehensible. Psalm 8:3 goes on to call the moon and stars the work of God’s fingers. He spoke matter into existence, but He fashioned it into stars and heavens. Evolutionary scientists say that creation is a religious concept, but that’s not true. If the Bible is a reliable description, than it is rational to use it in the way the great scientists used it…as a guide for research. 
The heavens declare the glory of God, but for atheists the heavens shout billions of years. Bible believers see the scope and grandeur of the universe as proof of the Creator’s greatness and power. Evolutionary cosmologists view it as proof of billions of years of process and development. However, a big cosmos isn’t an effective argument against creation by an all-powerful God. Mainstream science has a need for billions of years, so even Christian creationists exposed to Big Bang cosmology have been seduced by the size and speed of light argument. And so, Christian scientists like Hugh Ross advocate an old universe because he was training to believe that. It’s a matter of what believers ought to believe. The heavens really declare the glory of God, if you believe in a glorious God. Another Creationist, Russ Humphreys, has developed a Big Bang variant that reconciles a big universe with a young Earth. With God, all things are possible.
You’ve heard of the Big Bang and black holes in space, but one creationist proposes God used a white hole to speak the universe into being. Dr. Russ Humphreys uses Einstein’s physics to propose a creationist alternative to the Big Bang. Whereas a black hole draws in and destroys matter, an unstable white hole emits matter and energy. In the beginning, only thousands of years passed on Earth nearest the concentration of mass, while billions of years transpired in the distant universe. The white hole theory appeals to creationists who accept the universe as billions of years old while also honoring those who advocate a six day creation. 
Isn’t it fitting that these competing theories of science illustrate the Biblical conflict between light and darkness. Humphreys himself admits his idea may not be true, but says it demonstrates that many options are available to an all-powerful Creator. The truth of creation is out there, just as God’s grace is.
We think of space as the absence of matter, but space seems to have substance. NASA researchers believe that space can be folded to reduce the time to travel between stars, like warp drive in Star Trek. And dozens of Bible verses refer to space being spread out or stretched. Isaiah 50:3 even refers to the heavens being clothed in black, so space must have form and substance in order to be clothed. Even the Big Bang model refers to the creation of space and time as an inflation of space rather than an explosion of material. Not saying that the Big Bang is true, just that scientists are on the same track as Scripture in their descriptions of space. God’s invisible power sustains the cosmos. God’s power is so strong that Big Bang cosmologists think it makes up most of the universe in the form of dark matter and dark energy. They say 90% of the universe is invisible. Be encouraged that we’re all moving toward the same conclusions.
Is the Earth just a speck in the cosmic void, or are we living on a privileged planet? Researchers at the Discovery Institute have been pioneers in identifying intelligent design in nature, and our planet seems perfectly configured and placed in the universe for our advantage. Its distance from the sun provides the best range of temperature. The magnetic field and atmosphere shield life from harmful radiation. Our placement in the galaxy finds us outside of the densely crowded galactic center. Our galactic location even gives us nights that are dark enough for stellar observation and discovery. Evolutionary scientists say the presence of all these factors is just luck, but that doesn’t sound very scientific to me. Our planet was designed not just for us to live, but also to explore and learn about the cosmos. Maybe it’s we who are privileged. 
Did God record the Gospel in the heavens so all mankind around the world might see the truth?  Genesis says the stars were placed in the heavens for signs and seasons. We readily get the “seasons” part, but doesn’t “signs” imply information? Consider the Zodiac, or as the Hebrews called it, the Mazzaroth. It begins with the constellation Virgo, depicted as a virgin with an infant. It includes Pisces, the fish symbol of early Christianity. And it ends with Leo the Lion, reminiscent of the conquering lion of Judah returning to reclaim his church. Each constellation also contains stars whose names convey Gospel meaning. The Mazzaroth would later be mythologized and distorted by astrologers as their way of fortune-telling, but this is no reason for Bible-believers to miss the original message. Perhaps the Gospel in the stars is God’s Powerpoint to spread truth to early mankind. 

The Story of Life

Has science proven evolution? Quite the opposite. When Louis Pasteur developed a process to prevent milk from going sour, he also demonstrated that life doesn’t come from nonliving material. Yet that’s what’s required for evolution to get started. It’s the real reason for millions of years in evolutionary propaganda. It takes a long time for impossible things to happen. Evolutionists depend on a miracle in the unseen past as the basis for their theory. Their claim to science is smoke and mirrors. So why do we take them seriously? Why do Christians waver when they call us unscientific? It’s a question of what believers ought to believe. Do we listen to atheists simply because they claim to be authorities? Or do we seek truth for ourselves from a more reliable authority, the Creator Himself?
Life always comes from life. It’s a scientific law; an observation we never see violated. Living things never develop spontaneously from non-living chemicals.  Yet this is what is required for evolution to be true. Evolutionists have to assume life came came from dead materials by an undirected process. Or, as creationist Kent Hovind is fond of saying, “Evolutionists think we evolved from a rock.” Evolutionary biologists have searched in vain for any process that might produce life from non-living material. The obvious alternative is creation. If it wasn’t for their philosophy, all scientists would seriously consider that life on earth had to be created and designed by another living intelligence. Life comes from life. It’s not only what believers ought to believe. Science should too.
A century and a half ago, Charles Darwin proposed that little changes in living things resulted in entirely new kinds of animals over millions of years. However that was before scientists explored genetics.Evolution would predict that organisms have evolved to favor change, but biologists have slowly learned that the genetic code is designed to inhibit change rather than promote it. Biological cells have proteins that constantly survey DNA looking for mutations and repairing them. Now it’s been discovered that cells even use inorganic tools. Repair proteins test DNA stands by sending electrons along each strand. If electrons are blocked, enzymes know there is damage and repairs are executed. The scientific evidence is one of careful engineering to prevent evolutionary changes. It’s a matter of what believers ought to believe. Darwin’s main accomplishment was to help get atheists entrenched in the scientific establishment. When they talk about origins, we forget they are speaking on behalf of their atheistic worldview. That worldview clouds their interpretation of the evidence.
Creationists often point out the fallacies of evolution, but there also is a positive creation theory about biology and living things. The biblical view of life is that it was designed with purpose. God created kinds of living creatures and coded each genome to allow enough variation to ensure survival during environmental changes. Every kind of creature has existed from the beginning consistent with what scientists observe in fossils from the Cambrian explosion. In accord with the Bible’s claim of distinct animal kinds, we expect to see living things easily classified; and they are. We expect to see similar body-part features among different kinds. That similarity is not from evolutionary development, but is the result of a good engineer using features that work well for different applications. Everything that biologists observe about life reflects careful design. Researchers have discovered that the genetic code is far more complex than any computer code devised by man. Even their ideas about junk DNA are being revised to admit functionality not previously understood. Life has been made with a purpose.
Genesis 1:21 reads, “And God created every living thing that moves after their kind and God saw that it was good." We’re told about a dozen times in Genesis that living things reproduce after their own kind. Although there may be controversy regarding what constitutes a kind, it seems likely that kinds are not the same as species. Biologists recognize that dogs, wolves, and coyotes all developed from an original canine ancestor which is probably an example of the Biblical kind. This means the sheer number of animals the Creator had to bioengineer is much less than the number of species. He didn’t have to create millions of varieties. I’ve always thought it curious that evolutions believe one animal smoothly transitioned into another whereas biologists recognize the distinct classifications of separate animal kinds. An unbiased observer would wonder about that. Evolution and science don’t agree.

Geology and the Flood

You’ve heard about the Grand Canyon of course, but do you know the Grand Staircase? Geologists refer to the southwestern Unites States from the Grand Canyon across Arizona and New Mexico to California as the Grand Staircase. A mile of sedimentary rock has been scoured for thousands of square miles from this area, and geologists have no idea where it went. If the sediments were redeposited into the Pacific, we would have a 51st state off the coast of California. An event like the flood described in Genesis would account for it. The best explanation for the Grand Staircase is that flood waters covering an area the size of the North American continent washed away those sediments and dispersed them throughout the Pacific basin. Secular geologist prefer not to think about flood events that cover continents, so they remain perplexed.
Did the worldwide flood described in Genesis really happen? Jesus thought so. He said in Matthew 24, “As they were in the days before the flood, eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day on which Noah entered into the ark.” Notice He didn’t refer to “that story about Noah”. He referred to the days of Noah as a real point in time. Since Jesus is God, shouldn’t He know what really happened? The apostle Peter confirmed the Flood as history saying, “God didn’t spare the ancient world, except for Noah and the other seven members of his family…” You can’t dismiss the flood as just an old testament tale, since Jesus and his disciples affirm the event. The question is what believers ought to believe. Can we truly believe in a God of infinite power and then doubt Biblical history just because the events seem too powerful?
Geologic theories have one great void. Whereas they try to explain structures like Grand Canyon, they have no unified theory tying together all of earth’s features. Dr. Walt Brown has such a theory. His Hydroplate theory proposes earth’s crustal plates were supported by vast reservoirs of water under extreme pressure. The Biblical flood began with a rift in the crust circling the planet releasing fountains of subterranean water mixed with sediments into the atmosphere. Continental plates rapidly slid away from each other and continue settling into position today. It explains mid-ocean ridges, mountain ranges parallel to those ridges, the jigsaw fit of continents, ocean trenches, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, and even the ice age, meteorites, and radioactivity. The Genesis flood began when the fountains of the great deep erupted. Creationists use historical clues from the Bible to fill in the voids in geology.
Creationists take a lot of heat for advocating a recent creation. Don’t features like Grand Canyon testify to millions of years? For an answer, consider Star Trek. Captain Piccard walks up to a replicator and commands, “Tea…herbal grey…hot,” and a perfectly brewed cup of tea appears. Our experience tells us it takes time to grow tea plants, harvest the leaves, and distribute the product…and then there’s the cup. But Piccard simply spoke it into existence in a moment. We see it as a scientific possibility. The question is what believers ought to believe. We have a bias as finite people who see processes all around us that imply the passage of time. But we should recognize a creator God would have the power to speak a world into existence. Psalm 33:6 reads “By the word of the Lord, the heavens were made.”
Could 40 days of rain flood the entire Earth? No… that’s simply springtime in the Ozarks. But that’s not what God tells us. Genesis 7:11 records, “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month, all the underground waters erupted from the Earth, and the rain fell.” Dr. Walt Brown used clues like this to develop his Hydroplate Theory of geologic history. The primary source of flood waters came from subterranean chambers. And wouldn’t you know it, the remnants of water-saturated chambers deep within the Earth have been confirmed by geologists. The question is what believers ought to believe. We’re sometimes misdirected by the objections of naysayers, so we need to be armed with the truth. That’s why God-honoring scientists like Dr. Brown need a fair hearing. 
Did Noah’s flood described in Genesis cover all the Earth? Although some Bible teachers say it was a local flood, they didn’t learn that from the Bible. In Genesis 6:7 God says he will “blot out man from the face of the land.” In verse 13 God says “the end of all flesh is before me.” In verse 17 He says, “I am bringing the flood upon the whole earth to destroy all flesh.” We also learn in Genesis that the waters exceeded the highest mountains, which would obviously cover the land beyond those mountains. So the Bible really does describe the flood as global. The question is what believers ought to believe. Secular geologists claim there never was a worldwide flood, but we find fossils formed in water on the highest mountains. Makes you wonder why some Bible teachers side with man instead of the Word. 

Dragons and Dinosaurs

Are dragons really dinosaurs? All around the world, we have historical accounts (not just legends) about large reptilian creatures that came to be called dragons. These records exist from long before the term “dinosaur” came into fashion, but they were essentially the same animal. Actually an assortment of animals. Northern Europeans referred to ocean-going reptiles as “saedracon”, but their descriptions are reminiscent of tylosaurs, mosasaurs, and plesiosaurs. The land dragons of Europe and the Orient remind us of sauropod dinosaurs, though sometimes equipped with wings and fanciful ornamentation. Dragons or dinosaurs are even described in the Biblical book of Job which describes a creature called Behemoth with a tail like a cedar tree and legs like bars of iron. Some people say that primitive people made up stories about these monsters we call dragons, but it seems unlikely. Modern lizards just aren’t that scary. Giant spiders would make a much more frightening mythology. The most likely explanation is that the animals we now call dinosaurs are remembered by mankind from our early history. They became extinct more recently than most people believe. 

So dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. Right?  Dr. Mark Armitage has been a professional scientist for 30 years. He’s a successful scientist having published his research in peer-revued journals. Mark recently made the discovery of a lifetime, and life was good until Mark’s employer, Cal State University, terminated his employment, claiming his 38 month term had only been temporary. Mark’s problem may be that he made the wrong kind of discovery, one that supports a Biblical creationist timeline instead of evolution. He discovered organic material inside the largest triceratops horn ever excavated, but that DNA shouldn’t be preserved longer than a few thousand years.  Dr. Armitage suspects his Christian beliefs might be in conflict with the university’s un-Christian ones. After all, if the university had no adverse bias, wouldn’t they want to retain a scientist who had made such an important discovery.  

Behemoth: Many Christians don’t know that the Bible speaks about dinosaurs even though we use the names from those Biblical descriptions. Consider Behemoth, a term commonly used for really big things. We read in the book of Job chapter 40, “Behold behemoth, which I made as I made you. He eats grass like an ox. His strength is in his loins and his power in the muscles of his belly. His tail is like a cedar and the sinews of his thighs are knit together. His bones are tubes of bronze and his limbs like bars of iron. He is the first of the works of God. The mountains yield food for him where all the wild beasts play. Under the lotus plant he lies in the covert of the reads and marsh. If the river is turbulent he is not frightened and is confident though the Jordan rush against his mouth. No one can take him with hooks or pierce his nose with a snare.” I can imagine that passage describing an apatosaurus or brachiosaurus or diplodocus, any of the large plant-eating dinosaurs who occasionally supported their weight in shallow lakes and rivers.
Leviathan: Along with it’s description of behemoth, the Bible also describes a creature that seems very much like the extinct marine reptiles often associated with dinosaurs. Leviathan is described in Job chapter 41 as an aquatic monster that can’t be caught with a hook. He’s untamable, with double jaws, horrible teeth, and an armored body. Verse 22 asserts, “On earth there is none like him.” His counterpart among the dinosaurs may well be tylosaurus. This marine reptile from the mosasaur family would have been a dominant predator. It had powerful jaws filled with large, cone-like teeth. A smaller set of teeth in the roof of its mouth were used for swallowing prey whole. Obviously the Bible didn’t call them mosasaurs because the term wasn’t in use when the Bible was written. Nevertheless, it was something bigger than an alligator since men obviously catch gators and make shoes out of them.
Ica Stones: Not so well known, but nevertheless intriguing is the South American connection to dinosaurs. Joe Taylor offers a cast at the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum of ceremonial burial stones from the Ica Province of Peru bearing depictions of dinosaur-like creatures. Spanish conquistadors brought back stories about these stones with strange creatures carved on them. They were produced long before the modern discovery of dinosaurs. Over 1100 of these stones have been collected by Dr. Javier Cabrera, son of the modern discoverer of these artifacts. Skeptics claim they are forgeries because opportunistic locals reproduce them for the tourists, but there were no tourists at the time of the conquistadors. The original Ica stones collected by the Cabrera family came from tombs dated to be over a thousand years old and are convincing testimony that living dinosaurs were observed by Peruvian natives.
Tuatara: Dinosaurs are entertaining for young and old, but what do we know about them?  According to evolution theory, dinosaurs appeared about 225 million years ago and became suddenly extinct 65 million years ago. Evolutionists say “appeared” because they have no clear idea about their origins. But we also have questions about extinction, because of similar creatures surviving today. The tuatara is a present-day dinosaur-like native of New Zealand in isolated island habitats. Fossil tuataras have been dated by evolutionists to be older than most species of dinosaur. It’s claimed that tuataras survived due to separation from competing modern creatures, but why would none of the dinosaurs survive when they were bigger and more suitable to overcome competition. Actually, the existence of dinosaurs in historical times would explain a lot about dragons. Maybe the dinosaurs became known as dragons, and men hunted and killed them.

American Experiment in Biblical Government

Christian Principles: Our country was founded by those seeking freedom from tyranny. Consider the historic words of Thomas Jefferson who wrote, “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Our founding fathers searched the Scripture for enduring principles realizing that God, not man, was the ultimate author of freedom. The Constitution of the United States of America represents much of the fruit of that search. However, today in the U.S. we find a secular society pretending our nation was not founded on Christian principles. The question is what believers ought to believe. Should we trust God as the final author of our freedom, or should we trust in freedom in and of itself.
What does the Bible say about leadership? 1 Peter 5:3 puts it this way, “Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your good example.” The early church saw Roman conquerors leading by violence and the Pharisees leading by commandments, and they wanted no part of it. Worldly leaders, lead by force. Biblical leaders lead by doing right and encouraging others to follow. The question is what believers ought to believe. Jesus called his disciples to this new kind of leadership in Matthew 20:25 saying, “You know that the leaders of the gentiles lord it over them, but it shall not be among you. Whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” 
What does God say about political authority? Sinful man always looks for the great leader. Samuel describes a time when Israel was governed by representatives of God called Judges, but the people weren’t content with being led by God. They yearned to be like other nations ruled by a king. God told Samuel, “It’s not you they’ve rejected. They have rejected me as their leader. They would rather be under the authority of a man. They want a king; I will give them a king, and then they will learn what happens to them under man’s authority.”  The question is what believers ought to believe. America is one nation under God, but many want America to be more like Europe, depending on a political elite instead of on God. It’s so tempting to be like the rest instead of trying to be the best. Trust in Jesus, not in man.
What does God say about democracy? Surprisingly, he wasn’t a fan. Judges 17:6 records a time when every man did what seemed right in his own eyes. Democracy is simply an extention of every person’s opinion about what seems right, and most people aren’t very well informed. It’s part of the human condition. We’re all too busy to stay abreast of every issue. Exodus 18:21 describes sound government this way. “Select capable men who fear God, are trustworthy, and hate dishonest gain and make them officials over thousands, hundred, fifties, and tens.” Moses created the first system of representative leadership…a republic, not a democracy. The question is what believers ought to believe. America’s founders used the Bible as guide and designed a republic with a system of representation accountable to the people. 
The 5000 Year Leap was one author’s attempt to summarize the principles that allow mankind to enjoy liberty. His premise was that these principles implemented by our founding fathers enabled Americans to enjoy more progress than anything experienced in the preceding 5000 years. Hard to argue with as I type on my laptop computer and check messages on my phone. I’ll use principle #1 as an example. The only basis for sound government and human relations is natural law. Cicero wrote a century before Jesus that true law is right reason in agreement with nature. I like to think of natural law as the normally expected consequences of an action. For example, stealing is undesirable because it damages trust in commerce between people.
The principles of liberty defy political correctness, so they quickly become controversial. One of those principles states that the government of a free people cannot be contained without true religion. Religious beliefs are a unifying factor in a nation that honors its beliefs. Not so in one that forces faith out of the public arena.
Convention Of States: When America’s founders crafted the Constitution, they recognized the need for a federal government, but they also knew that men are sinners. They expected politicians would distort centralized authority and become oppressors. King George all over again. But they gave us a tool to restrain the federal government in Article V of the Constitution. It allows our state legislators to call a convention to restrain federal authority if it gets out of control. It’s never been used before, but it’s never been needed more. Our own Missouri state legislators will be considering their own Article V Convention of States bill during this legislative session. Learn about the process and support them if you agree. Don’t depend on a new President to get us on track. Work with your state representative to assert the people’s authority. If you want to learn more about Article V and the Convention of States movement, visit www.conventionofstates.com.

The Gospel

What is the Christian gospel? Many non-Christians think Christianity is a religion of do’s and don’ts that people must follow to please God, but the truth of the gospel is far more wonderful. The gospel is the good news that God came to earth in the form of a man to reconcile mankind to him by faith in Jesus Christ. The gospel is good news because God’s forgiveness is a free gift, not something that must be earned by ritual or self-improvement. God does not require changing your behavior or becoming a better person. The gospel isn’t even about living like Jesus or joining a church or being more generous. These may be good things, but they are not the gospel. The true gospel is news about what Christ has done for us, not what we can do for him. And God is gracious allowing every individual to accept his gift or not. Some people might say there is a catch, that bad things happen if you reject God’s offer. But I would answer that God allows you your choice, and if your free choice leads to a poor result, whose fault is that? If the non-believer has his own way, what could be more fair? The gospel is good news indeed.
Many years ago Dr. Francis Schaeffer posed the question “How should we then live?” If the Bible is true, what should we do about it?  The first step is to accept Jesus as Lord. We can’t accept the grace of God and go on living for self. If Jesus is Lord, we’re called to do what he said in a personal way…to love our neighbor, to walk honorably, to seek wisdom, and to spread the Gospel. The church collectively gets more complicated, because we tend to get caught up in the mechanics instead of the mission of the church. The mission of the church isn’t to be a greeter or a choir member or a Sunday school teacher, not that those aren’t good things. The mission rather is to be a teacher and safety net for those in need. James 1:27 reads, “Pure, unstained religion, according to God our Father, is to take care of orphans and widows when they suffer and to remain uncorrupted by this world.” That’s a great starting for for how we should then live.
Jesus was quoted as saying, “Don’t put your light under a bushel, but put it on a lamp stand so that it gives light unto all.”  Archaeologists discovered an artifact that may clarify what Jesus was saying. The Greek word modios, a measure of dry goods, was translated as the old English bushel, a measure we still use today. The artifact archaeologists found was a clay scoop with a flattened base and top that allowed it to stand on a table. The modios could be used to scoop grain out of a bucket, but in its standing position it served another purpose. When not in use, a small oil lamp was stored in the bowl of the modios. When the lamp was lit, it was placed on the flat top of the modios which served as a lamp stand. Jesus was making the point that it makes no sense to light the lamp and hide it away. Put it on the lamp stand to illuminate the room. He was telling his disciples that the Gospel is only good news if you share it generously. 
I see a lot of discussion in social media about the future of the church and how to make Christianity more attractive to the next generation.  Many years ago, Dr. Francis Schaeffer created a book and documentary film titled “How Should We Then Live.” The series told about the rise of western civilization under the influence of Biblical Christianity and its subsequent decline as Christian influence waned. Dr. Schaeffer prophetically predicted the rise of a manipulative elite to replace the Christian consensus, a future then that we are living now. He concluded that the only hope to restore the freedoms afforded by following the Lord was for people to restore their individual commitment to the truths of God; that He is real and has spoken clearly and that we are privileged to honor Him and spread the gospel. The issue is not how to make the gospel acceptable to the next generation. We have to make the gospel real to the next generation by boldly proclaiming even unpopular truths, and by living the truth, and conquering the dark influences in the world today. 
What should Christians do in the face of persecution to come.  In the seventeenth century, Oliver Cromwell campaigned against the English monarchy. Cromwell also persecuted the Anglican church associated with the king. Those were tough times to be that variety of Christian. It was written at the time, “In the year of 1653, when all things sacred were throughout the nation destroyed or profaned, this church was built to the glory of God by Sir Robert Shirley, whose singular praise it was to have done the best of things in the worst of times.” The church today is facing such a time, but we allowed it. We’ve been silent as enemies of the Lord murder unborn babies, empty our classrooms of prayer, and campaign to strip the nation of our trust in God.
It’s a matter of living and standing on what we believe. In a time soon to come, we’ll need courageous church leaders to have the same inscription upon us, that we would remain faithful in the worst of times.
Every once in a while someone asks me, what is or should Christianity be like. I use the word “unity”. Many great teachers have called upon the church to be united, but the greatest of all was Jesus as recorded in Mark 9:38. “John said to him, Master, we saw someone driving out evil spirits in your name, and we said he should not because he’s not one of us. But Jesus replied there is no man who will do a great work in my name and be able to at the same time say evil of me.” The Lord was expressing inclusiveness, being slow to divide over doctrinal details. He added another dimension in John 13:34, “A new command I give you that you love one another as I have loved you.” The Lord said these things to ensure that believers in Him would walk in unity being gracious to one another. The church therefore is a great community of people who love one another and seek to bless one another. Our task is to draw more people into our community so blessings might abound.
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