The Law Of Rewards

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Posted by Seth

In The Law Of Rewards, Randy Alcorn shows that actions we perform here on earth will play a major role in how we will live in the next life. He poses the question, ”Why would people keep money for themselves on earth to get the things that they desire, when they can help others and their church financially to invest in that prized possession that will be even better in heaven?”

After giving an example of a couple who came to his office wanting to know if they should give their money to the church and missions, or use it to build their dream house, Dr. Alcorn asks the question, ”Who would want to divert kingdom funds to build a dream house if they understood that either it will leave them or they will leave it? Instead, why not use your resources to send building materials to the Carpenter, our Bridegroom, who this very moment is building our dream house in heaven?”

He also answers the following questions:

Since God is our Father, not our employer, can we really earn eternal rewards? Wouldn’t that be putting God in our debt?

What are we missing if we do not give, especially to the needy?

How can pastors teach their congregations the art of joyful giving?

Is it always wrong to let others know how much we give financially to the Lord’s work? If we say anything at all about what God is teaching us about our giving, does that mean we will lose our rewards?

Once I’ve decided to give, how do I decide where to contribute money? How can I be sure that the money I am giving will be used with integrity?

Are we rewarded in heaven for leaving money to Christian ministries when we die?

This book centers around the fact that we cannot take our treasures with us to heaven, but we can send them on ahead to be there waiting for us when we arrive. The Law of Rewards is an easy read, and a great way to spend your time. I would recommend it for every Christian.

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Amusing Ourselves to Death

amusingourselvestodeath

Posted by Shelbi

“Everything in our background has prepared us to know and resist a prison when the gates begin to close around us. We take arms against such a sea of troubles, buttressed by the spirit of Milton, Voltaire, Jefferson…But what if there are no cries of anguish to be heard? Who is prepared to take arms against a sea of amusements? To whom do we complain, and when, and in what tone of voice, when serious culture dissolves into giggles? What is the antidote to a culture’s being drained by laughter?”

Amusing Ourselves to Death was written in 1985, but reading it is like reading something published yesterday. Before the internet or cell phones, Neil Postman (who died in 2003) wrote this powerful book as a warning against…television.

“The problem is not that television presents us with entertaining subject matter, but that all subject matter is presented as entertaining.” -Chap. 6

When George Orwell wrote the book 1984 in the 1940’s, he prophesied oppressive government that would conceal truth and hide information. When Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World in 1931, he predicted the opposite: “There would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.” Instead of being deceived about the real state of things, which Orwell feared, people would be given so much trivial information so quickly that important things would drown in a sea of irrelevance. Instead of being held captive kicking and screaming, they would love their oppression and adore what undoes their ability to think.

As the author states in the preface to Amusing Ourselves to Death, “This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.”

Exploring and analyzing not only television but also the “Age of Show Business” in general, this book shows how completely our culture has been taken in by the lies “entertainment is the highest good” and “we exist solely to be amused”.

I especially liked chapter 9, called “Reach Out and Elect Someone”, which is about how politicians put themselves forward as sources of amusement to better their chances of being elected; and also chapter 7, which is titled “Now…This”.

There is no murder so brutal, no earthquake so devastating, no political blunder so costly–for that matter, no ball score so tantalizing or weather report so threatening–that it cannot be erased from our minds by a newscaster saying, “Now…this.” The newscaster means that you have thought long enough on the previous matter (approximately 45 seconds), that you must not be morbidly preoccupied with it (let us say, for 90 seconds), and that you must now give your attention to another fragment of news or a commercial. -Chap. 7

Amusing Ourselves to Death alerts us to the real danger of this state of affairs, and offers helpful suggestions as to how not only resist the current “media onslaught”, but also recognize the ways we’re unconsciously letting media shape our lives.

The Lie: Evolution

the lie

Posted by Shelbi

“If Genesis cannot be taken literally, there is no foundation for Christian doctrine–therefore, Christian doctrine no longer has meaning.”- The Lie: Evolution, pg. 157

I’ve read several books by Christian creation scientists, all dedicated to refuting evolution (and showing how truly laughable it really is), while providing impressive amounts of scientific evidence for the fact that God created the universe about 6,000 years ago. I expected that Ken Ham’s “The Lie: Evolution” would be the same type of book, but it turned out to be something much better.

Subtitled “Genesis–The Key to Defending Your Faith”, Mr. Ham’s book does not go into the controversy over whether scientific evidence supports creation or evolution, but instead focuses solely on why this issue is so important, and what is happening to all the cultures of the world that have accepted evolution.

“The creation/evolution issue (is God Creator?) is the crux of the problems in our society today. It is the fundamental issue with which Christians must come to grips. This…is where the battle really rages.” -pg. 29

After making his compelling case that evolution is a religion, not science, the author moves on to the crumbling foundations of Christianity, showing how disbelieving Genesis 1:1 destroys the credibility of the rest of the Bible. In the chapter called “The Evils of Evolution”, he gives example after example of how morals cannot be preserved in a world that has rejected the truths of Genesis. The chapter “Evangelism in a Pagan World” contains a lot of practical advice on how to share the gospel with an unbeliever, specifically showing how the average person has no interest in the things of God until his confidence in evolution is shaken. My favorite chapter, “Twenty Reasons Why Evolution and Genesis Don’t Mix”, is a wonderful tool to use when talking with someone who claims to be a theistic evolutionist. Of course, an atheistic evolutionist doesn’t care how much evolution contradicts the Bible, but a theistic evolutionist (someone who believes God used evolution to create the world) will be forced to come to terms with the fact that there is no way to reconcile the two– you have to choose between them. Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from this chapter:

#1: No Death Before Adam’s Fall

“Evolution says death plus struggle brought man into existence; the Bible says man’s actions led to sin, which led to death. These two are totally contradictory.” -pg. 150

#5: Creation is Finished

“Modern evolutionary theory accepts that evolution is still going on (therefore, man must still be evolving!), so if a Christian accepts evolution he has to accept that God is still using evolution today. Thus, He is still creating. But God tells us He finished His work of creating. This is a real dilemma for the theistic evolutionist.”- pg. 154

#14: Evolution and Genesis Have a Different Sequence

“The basic tenets of evolution totally conflict with the order in Genesis. For instance, Genesis teaches that God created fruit trees before fish–plants on day three, fish on day five. Evolution teaches that fish came before fruit trees…. The Bible teaches that the earth was first created covered with water: evolutionary teaching is that the earth first began as a hot molten blob. There is no way that the order of events according to evolution and Genesis can be reconciled.” -pg. 160

#17: Adam Was Not Primitive

Those who believe in evolution speculate that as man evolved he first had to learn to grunt, then he had to learn to write. He had to use stone tools and learn about farming before he could develop what is called “advanced technology”. However, the Bible tells us Adam was not primitive, but a highly developed individual…Adam could obviously speak…he had a complex language (Gen. 2:20).”

Again, I’d like to point out that this is not a “scientific” book— there is little to no discussion over whether science points to evolution or to creation. This book is written to Christians, with a strong emphasis on the need for the church to defend Genesis intelligently and articulately, realizing the extreme damage evolution is doing to our society.

However, I would like to recommend several books written by Christian creation scientists that deal with the evidence for creation vs. evolution. My favorite is The Evolution of a Creationist by Dr. Jobe Martin, which chronicles the author’s journey from a committed teacher of evolution to a committed teacher of creation, and all the overwhelming evidence that caused him to (unwillingly at first) change his mind. Another good one is Refuting Evolution by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, as is Darwin’s Black Box by Michael Behe. Darwin’s Black Box is especially interesting because the author does not claim to be a Christian and admits that he does not know how the world was created or who created it (he seems to favor aliens as the most likely candidates!) but after studying the design of the universe, he confesses that he finds evolution absurd in the highest degree and shares all the reasons that brought him to this conclusion.

The Lie: Evolution has become my favorite book on the subject, though, and I hope you will find it just as intriguing!

Seven Men Who Rule The World From The Grave

7menbook

Posted by Shelbi

Seven Men Who Rule The World From The Grave (by Dave Breese, 1990) examines in detail the lives of seven men who permanently altered their own societies and who continue to exert untold influence on the world today.

  • Charles Darwin, born in England in 1809, gave us the theory of evolution.

“What Darwin formulated came to be seen as a plausible new understanding of man and nature important enough to be thought the work of a genius and the beginning of a new epoch in world history… This intellectual revlution has caused man to reinterpret his past, rethink his present, and revise his anticipations for the future. Darwin is seen as giving the world a comprehension of itself so unlike the view held in the past that, in a sense, he restarted history. Darwin’s influence continues to be pervasive today, and he holds a leading rank among those men who rule the world from the grave.” (pg. 25)

  • Karl Marx, author of The Communist Manifesto, was born in Germany in 1818, and he produced “the greatest degree of social, physical, and moral ruin the world has ever known”— Communism.

“Yes, it could be argued that the world-changing effect of the life and philosophy of Karl Marx is a measurable thing, and by that measure he has been one of the greatest influences of history. That simple measure testifies that the philosophy of Karl Marx and the political structure that grew from his work has conquered and presently controls one-third of the population of the world. For most of the era following WWII, Communism has been the form of political ideology and consequent government in iron control over the lives and fortunes of one-and-a-half billion people.” (pg. 58)

  • Julius Wellhausen, born in Germany in 1844, developed what is now called “higher criticism” of the Bible.

“Wellhausen’s scholarship became an important contribution to liberalism as it sought to demythologize the Bible by taking God and spiritual things out of it. Through this means, Wellhausen opened the door for subsequent scholars to expand the base of liberalism and add to it their own interpretations of biblical truth. Wellhausen, having stolen from Christianity its reason for being, continues to rule from his grave.” (pg. 95, 103)

  • Sigmund Freud, born in Austria in 1856, not only predicted but called for the sexual revolution that came to fruition in the 1960’s.

” More than a great reductionist, Freud can certainly be called one of the great deceivers, confusing millions as to the nature of man and the nature of God… What debillitation, what fatigue, what depression, what premature death has [the sexual revolution] produced in our society? No one will ever be able to estimate. What careers have been blasted, what potential melted into nothing, what great accomplishments never achieved because of our generation’s incredibly nonsensical preoccupation with that never-to-be-achieved will-o’-the-wisp, that ever-unfulfilled pseudo-promise of sexual fulfillment?” (pg. 143, 144)

  • John Dewey, born in Vermont in 1859, did more than any other person to make government education in America what it is today.

“In the sense of history, the facts of this man’s life are relatively unexciting. He did not appear as a Promethean personality, he did not fight in a great war, and he held no high political office. But alas, he was a notable contender in the battle that matters–the battle of ideas. He was one of the prime movers in the struggle for the minds of men…. he refashioned the educational system in America, and in the process, he redefined almost everything.” (pg.155)

  • John Maynard Keynes, born in England in 1883, changed the face of the world by giving us Keynesian economics.

“Keynesian economics preaches the doctrine that the government is the final resource. It can answer every problem; it can create something out of nothing, namely, prosperity. What can this mean except that the government is God? The government is God! That is Keynesian economics.” (pg. 196)

  • Soren Kierkegaard, born in Denmark in 1813, famously remarked “I conceive it as my task to create difficulties everywhere.”

“The liberal establishment, not willing to return to the Bible as the Word of God, went looking for a new message, a new theology…What to do? was the question. In what shall we now believe? Into this vacuum stepped Soren Kierkegaard. He gave the world what philosophers call existentialism. He gave the church what theologians call neoorthodoxy. It is as though this man and his views emerged from an unseen direction and gained a foothold in the minds of men so quickly they had no opportunity to resist.”(pg. 210)

This book is a wonderful study not only in history but in worldview. The beliefs of each of these men and how they have been accepted into the world and the church are gone over in detail. The author does a wonderful job of describing how, after initially being rejected, each of these philosophies came to be ingrained into nearly every culture in the world. This was a very enlightening book for me and really helped me get a better understanding of the battle that’s raging for the minds and ultimately the souls of men.

The Intolerance of Tolerance

intolerance of tolerance

Posted by Shelbi

“Tolerance is the virtue of a man without convictions.” — G.K. Chesterton

In his new book, The Intolerance of Tolerance (published 2012), D.A. Carson explores the “virtue” that is, in the eyes of the Western world, the highest any culture or individual can possess: tolerance.

The book’s first chapter, “The Changing Face of Tolerance”, is dedicated to explaining the difference between the old tolerance and the new tolerance. Not too long ago, tolerance was defined as recognizing someone’s right to hold and practice different beliefs and opinions. Everyone should have the same rights and protection under the law no matter their religion or convictions.  Under the new tolerance, however, the definition of the word has been changed to mean that we should recognize that all religions, beliefs, and lifestyles are equal and all perfectly valid. Everything is tolerated, except those who are judged to be “intolerant”.

The second chapter, “What Is Going On?”, is full of examples of how “intolerance” is punished in America and Europe. While realizing that most of the punishment for being “intolerant” is directed at Christians, Dr. Carson provides numerous examples of non-Christians being chastened for challenging someone else’s opinions.

In the third chapter, titled “Jottings on the History of Tolerance”, Dr. Carson explores the most notoriously intolerant cultures of history (i.e. Spain during the Spanish Inquisition of the 15th and 16th centuries) as well as the most tolerant, describing how America and Europe have gotten into the place that we are. I didn’t realize before reading this book how much “farther gone” Europe is than America. In most European countries, making derogatory comments about Islam is a crime usually punished with jail time. In Australia, it is a crime for Christian pastors to “compare Christianity and Islam in a way that would vilify Islam”. In Canada and Europe, pastors are jailed for pronouncing homosexuality to be a sin, and in the United Kingdom, married couples have lost the privilege of adopting children, when they wouldn’t promise not to teach those children that homosexuality is wrong.

The wonderful thing about The Intolerance of Tolerance  is that it doesn’t just stop with pointing out the difference between the old and new tolerance or in giving examples of how the new tolerance reigns supreme in the U.S. and other places. The eighth and last chapter, “Ways Ahead”, deals with ways Christians can respond to the change and how we should live in our culture of “tolerance”. These are:

Expose the New Tolerance’s Moral and Epistemological Bankruptcy,

Preserve a Place for Truth,

 Expose the New Tolerance’s Condescending Arrogance,

 Insist that the New Tolerance Is Not “Progress”,

 Challenge Secularism’s Ostensible Neutrality and Superiority,

Practice and Encourage Civility,

Evangelize,

Be Prepared To Suffer, and

Delight and Trust in God.

This wonderful book is a great tool for anyone who wants to know how we should interact with our culture and what we should do when we are condemned as “intolerant”.

Culture Shift

culture shift

Posted by Seth

Are you prepared to address the most important cultural issues of your time?
Culture Shift addresses many such issues, some of which are:

  • Christian faith and politics.
  • The supreme court and religion.
  • The truth about terrorism.
  • Christian parents and public schools.
  • The abortion debate.
  • Christian response to global tragedies.
  •  And many more!

If you want to understand the culture in which we live, this is the book to read.

This book will make you wish that we lived in a culture that glorified God with all its heart, soul, mind and strength.

Part of the back of this back of this book says, “The world in which you live is in the midst of a major cultural transformation one leading to a widespread lack of faith , an increase in moral relativism , and a rejection of absolute truth . How are we to remain faithful followers of Christ as we live in this ever-shifting culture? How should about-and respond to-the crucial moral questions of our day? How can we stand up for the truth?”

One of the best books I have ever read, this book will keep your attention!

Seven Toxic Ideas Polluting Your Mind

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Posted by Bambi

The cover looks scary.  The title sounds spooky.  Seven Toxic Ideas grabbed my attention and kept it!

If you had asked me if I was influenced by humanism, secularism, materialism and other isms, I would have said, “Yes.  Who isn’t?”  I wasn’t naive enough to think these ideas that influence our society as a whole had not subtly infiltrated my own mind as well. But I didn’t realize the degree to which I have been deceived by these lies.

In each chapter, one of Seven Toxic Ideas is explored. And then the best part: they’re identified in how they are influencing

  • the church
  • the modern family
  • culture as a whole

Many times throughout the book I found myself thinking, “I heard someone say that just the other day!”

Particulary helpful to me personally was the chapter on technology fascinations and addictions.

I’m thankful to the Lord for this book that has allowed me to renew my mind, challenging the ideas I hold as “normal” and holding them up to the light of the gospel.  An extremely useful book for any new believer and/or highschool or college-aged student, this will be required reading for every high school student who attends Moore Family Christian Academy (aka: all our children).