What should Followers Jesus be known for and not known for

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Olympic Games, political agendas, and the persecuted Church

South Korea (MNN) – The 2018 Winter Olympics—held in Pyeongchang, South Korea—are coming to an end, and so is the political propaganda accompanying it.

Olympics of the Politicians

The Olympics are a time of celebration, but this year’s games have been somewhat overshadowed by the political agendas which have crept into media coverage of events. Open Doors USA’s David Curry says a skewed message of North Korea has put Open Doors, and others, in the position to speak up.

 

U.S. News has even called North Korea’s bluff, revealing that while media reporting on the games has been favorable to the closed country, it’s failed to show the South Korean protestor more.

 

A New Gerber Baby An Image Bearer with Down Syndrome

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An adorable boy with Down syndrome was selected as this year’s Gerber baby. That’s great news. But remember, he’s not valuable because he’s cute!

Starting sometime in the 1920s, the Gerber Baby became a cultural icon of hand-drawn cuteness. In 2010, the baby-food company started an annual photo contest for real-life Gerber babies. One hundred and forty thousand families entered the contest this year, and the winner is one-year-old Lucas Warren. Once you see his adorable grin, you’ll know why.

In addition to being Gerber’s Spokesbaby—which of course isn’t strictly accurate since he can’t really speak yet—little Lucas enjoys another honor. He’s the first child with Down syndrome to be named the winner.

At first glance, as Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote at National Review Online, “the Gerber Spokesbaby slot …is an advertisement for baby food, (but) it can be so much more this year. Looking in the eyes of Lucas, we might see a better way to live.”

Amen, and good for Gerber! In most Western countries, including Iceland, France, and even the U.S., the vast majority of precious children with Down syndrome are targeted for extinction through selective abortion. Even more, this is considered a good thing by many in the press, and even more in the academy. Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer has infamously argued that parents be allowed to kill children with disabilities like Down syndrome even after they’re born.

Gerber’s choice sends a crucial message, that children with disabilities are just as valuable as any other child, and they often bring love into their homes, communities, and churches that’s second-to-none. So may Lucas be an ambassador, not just for Gerber, but for the joy that comes from welcoming all lives.

I’m more than happy to praise Gerber…but I don’t want to praise them for the wrong reason. Gerber did the right thing, but children with Down syndrome aren’t valuable because they’re cute or even because they often bring so much love and happiness to their families, although both of those things are true.

Lucas, like every human being, is valuable whether he’s cute or not; both when he brings happiness and when he doesn’t. His value is intrinsic, not a utilitarian calculation that weighs the costs with the benefits. Such a belief used to be commonplace in our culture.

Tragically, the cultural consensus is gone. Just ask Natalie Weaver, mother of 9-year-old Sophia. Sophia, because of a neurological disorder called Rett syndrome, has deformities in her face, hands, and feet. She has no motor control and cannot talk, and she lives with a colostomy bag and a feeding tube. Yet Natalie Weaver proudly calls her daughter strong and happy, despite the difficulties she lives with every single day.

Many academics, media personalities, medical professionals, and internet trolls, however, think Sophia is worthy of death, not worth the money that’s needed to keep her alive. Some extremely cruel commenters on Twitter, for example, recently said that Sophia is proof of the need for abortion, even child murder. Weaver says, “I get people telling me to kill my child, to put her out of her misery.”

For many, many families, caring for special-needs children is extremely difficult—sleepless nights, exhausting days, endless physical and emotional challenges, and the loss of dreams for a “perfect home” or an “ideal family.”

Sophia has had 22 surgeries so far—think how tough that would be to watch your child endure that. And, of course, not every family—or mom—is as courageous, loving, or amazing as Natalie.

And it’s exactly here where God is calling His people to step in. We can champion the dignity of every life in both word and deed, the cute and not-so-cute, at both lovely and unlovely moments, as parents and sibling and families, and as church communities. We can support, pray, love, care, and otherwise live as if every life matters. Because, of course, it does.

A New Gerber Baby:  An Image Bearer with Down Syndrome 

Kudos to Gerber for demonstrating that every life matters. Christians recognize this because every life is made in God’s image. There are many challenges for children with disabilities and their parents/caregivers. We can support them through prayer for physical, spiritual, and emotional strength, and also by hands-on help offered in the name of Christ.

Resources

New ‘Gerber Baby’ Has Down Syndrome 

  • Wesley J. Smith | National Review | February 7, 2018
Could the Gerber Baby Help Lead a Revolution? 

  • Kathryn Jean Lopez | National Review | February 12, 2018

Heartbreak Behind the Headlines

Well there has been another school shooting. I have heard talk that we need stricter gun control, we need police in every school, etc. Some of these things we can discuss at a later time, but now is not the time for that talk. One US Senator even took to the Senator floor before the charged killer was caught to call for stricter gun laws. 

   Now is the time to think about, and pray. The lives of these kids who along with their teachers, ( who were not murdered) and families have been changed forever. Can you image having to cope with a school shooting at the age of 15. Well real people are having to do that. I heard, and read an awesome commentary in which some of the above was poined out by Albert Mohler. Here is the commentary.

 

I am not sure about this member ofGOP being in the Senate

Ronna McDaniel on Romney Senate run rumors, midterms http://video.foxnews.com/v/5713242810001/

 

Billy’s fhoughts- Senator Hatch from Utah who Romney will replace should have retired years ago. Another reason for term limits. I have not liked what Romney has said about making people coming into our nation from other nations. 

: A Red Star is Born

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A Red star is born.

“If ‘diplomatic dance’ were an event at the Winter Olympics, Kim Jong Un’s younger sister would be favored to win gold.” So began a fawning piece by CNN about Kim Yo Jong’s charm offensive at the Olympics.

Not only is she “a powerful member of Kim Jong Un’s kitchen cabinet,” CNN cooed, “but also a foil to the perception of North Korea as antiquated and militaristic.” Look, if she’s a foil, it’s only to fools.

CNN needed reminding that the North Korean regime is the most murderous government on the planet. If she’s in her brother’s inner circle, she’s complicit.

With coverage like this, no wonder so many millennials and Gen-Z types think communism is “pretty chill.”

The good news is CNN got slammed. Even Buzzfeed did it: “What the [heck] is wrong with you people?” they wrote.

But in a world where, as the late Neil Postman would say, entertainment is everything, even a dictator’s sister can be a star.

For more help navigating culture, come to BreakPoint.org.

Planned Parenthood “Is Killing People”

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Are we all in? For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

Live Action just posted a video at YouTube that reveals, yet again, the deep, dark evil side of Planned Parenthood.

Cree Erwin-Sheppard died after a botched abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After experiencing prolonged and severe pain, an emergency room ultrasound revealed an, “incomplete miscarriage.” The hospital gave her morphine and sent her home.

Then she died. The coroner said she was “mangled.” Her uterus was perforated.

I’ve watched the video. I hope you will too, and share it. Words fail me. So here are a few from her brother Ty Sheppard: 

“It’s not a safe procedure… My sister is gone. My sister died. They killed my sister. Planned Parenthood is evil. They’re killing people, not just babies. But they’re killing women as well. 

“I’m all in it now,” Sheppard said. “And I’m gonna continue to be in it until they’re shut down.”

How about us? Are we all in to oppose the evil of abortion, and the evil of Planned Parenthood?

 

Resources

Woman dies after abortion at Planned Parenthood 

  • Live Action video | February 7, 2018

Liar, Lunatic, Legend, or Lord? Sign up for the J. Warner Wallace Short Course

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If someone asked you whether we can really know who Jesus is and what He accomplished, could you give a convincing answer?

Well, Easter is just around the corner. And that means so are those annual TV specials and magazine articles that cast doubt on the biblical account of Jesus, wondering aloud whether he even existed or not. It’s amazing how many mainstream media outlets still posit that fringe theory as if there’s a serious, scholarly debate. There isn’t.

Even so, what are we going to do with this opportunity in front of us? Because that’s what it is…a great opportunity to tell friends and neighbors the truth about Jesus. After all, the events surrounding the life of Jesus, especially the crucifixion and the resurrection, either happened or they didn’t. We’re not talking about merely issues of personal belief; we’re talking about real events of history, and if they happened, change everything.

When Christians say that Christianity is true, we’re not saying that we think it’s true. Or that it’s true for us and not for “them.” Or that it’s true if you believe. No, we mean that it’s true whether you believe it or not. We mean that Christianity is just flat-out true: that Jesus actually lived, that you could have seen Him, that the crucifixion actually took place, that He really did rise from the dead.

Had you been there, you could’ve eaten the fish and loaves that were multiplied by Jesus from the little boy’s lunch. The water that Jesus walked on would have gotten you wet. And had you been in that upper room with Thomas, you could have seen the wounds on Jesus’ hands and placed your finger in His side.

These historical events are not just matters of personal faith; they’re matters of public truth. And you and I, especially in this cultural moment, have a responsibility, a task, a calling even, to articulate and defend these truths when called upon.

Now if you can’t, I’ve got some great news. You can learn to do this. I’m always troubled when Christians act as if there are not reasons that back up their faith. Folks, we live in the golden age of apologetics. And one of the most effective equippers of others is Colson Center Senior Fellow J. Warner Wallace.

Wallace, who’s written such great books as Cold Case ChristianityGod’s Crime Sceneand Forensic Faith, is offering an exclusive four-day online short course called “Jesus: Liar, Lunatic, Legend, or Lord?”

The course begins next week on February 21, and will run for four consecutive Wednesday nights beginning each week at 8pm Eastern. If you enroll, you’ll receive a recording of the entire course to review again and again, even if you happen to miss one or more of the live sessions.

J. Warner Wallace’s first career was as a cold-case homicide detective. Today, he’s a best-selling author and nationally known speaker, who also serves as an adjunct professor of apologetics at Biola University. He knows his stuff, and he’s as good as it gets in equipping others to make the case for Christian truth.

A former atheist himself, Wallace put Christianity to the test in an investigation that finally led to his conversion. And he had to face the same question we all hear every Easter: who is Jesus?  “Many faith traditions lay claim to famous religious leaders and founders,” Wallace says, “but Jesus is different… the New Testament leaves little room for doubt: Jesus claimed to be God and taught this truth to His followers.”

While the prophets usually said, “This is what the Lord says,” Jesus said, “I tell you the truth.” Wallace adds, “Prophets spoke for God, but Jesus consistently spoke as God. In addition, Jesus claimed God’s title, “I am,” and other significant characteristics of God—such as the ability to forgive sins.”

That’s what Jesus claimed, but the question is, was He telling the truth? Or maybe he was crazy. Or maybe the Gospel accounts are fairy tales. Or maybe…

Come to BreakPoint.org to sign up for this short course with J. Warner Wallace. Be prepared to make the case for Jesus this Easter.

 

Liar, Lunatic, Legend, or Lord? Sign up for the J. Warner Wallace Short Course

Take this opportunity to sign up for the short course with J. Warner Wallace. Click here to register and to find out more about this nationally known author and speaker.

Resources

J. Warner Wallace: A Cold-Case Detective Weighs the Evidence for the Gospels

  • John Stonestreet | BreakPoint.org podcast | January 8, 2018
Christmas is Christmas Because Jesus is God

  • J. Warner Wallace | December 22, 2017
10 Reasons to Accept the Resurrection of Jesus as an Historical Fact

  • Brian Chilton | Crossexamined.org | April 11, 2017
Mere Christianity

  • C. S. Lewis | HarperOne

The Vice President calls out the ladies on the view for their thoughts on how Americans view God

Watch the video.

Ashes for Valentine’s Day The Convergence of Eros and Agape

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Isn’t it odd that today is both Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday? If you ask me, it’s a clear case of divine providence.

In A.D. 325 the Council of Nicaea decided that Easter would be celebrated the Sunday following the first full moon on or after the spring equinox.

In other words, without going into too much detail, the date we celebrate Easter is the result of a sort of astronomical convergence. This year, there’s also a fascinating religious and cultural convergence on the calendar: Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day.

Are there two more culturally different days than Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday?

The former is associated with flowers and candy; the last with dark smudges on people’s foreheads. On Valentine’s Day, people expect romance. On Ash Wednesday, it’s about repentance and self-denial. The words you need to remember on Valentine’s Day are “I love you.” But on Ash Wednesday, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.”

These days just don’t seem to fit together, but that’s because we’ve forgotten the real history of Valentine’s Day. No, not the corporate creation of greeting card companies, but the day to remember the third-century Christian martyr: Valentinus of Rome.

Not a lot is known about Valentinus, but the most-widely accepted version of his martyrdom is that he ran afoul of the emperor Claudius II. Claudius had prohibited marriage in Rome because he believed that “Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.”

Valentinus defied the emperor by marrying couples in secret. He was caught and executed on or about February 14.

Whether the story happened exactly that way or not, every ancient reference to Valentinus associates him and February 14th with martyrdom and sacrifice. And that’s fitting for the observance of Lent, which also begins today.

Our culture’s view of love and romance is so twisted and dangerous, it only seems appropriate to celebrate this Valentine’s Day with repentance.

Now don’t get me wrong: romantic love, what C.S. Lewis called “Eros,” is not wrong. In fact it’s a gift from God. As Lewis wrote in The Four Loves, when rightly ordered, eros causes us to toss “personal happiness aside as a triviality and [plant] the interests of another in the center of our being.”

Romantic love can be, as Lewis put it, “a foretaste, of what we must become to all if Love Himself rules in us without a rival.”

And that’s the proper place of eros … not as an end in and of itself, but as a means—something that points beyond itself—and points our hearts beyond ourselves to a higher love, agape, a love that only comes from God Himself.

Lent turns our focus to that total self-giving love of God, that love that caused God to become man and live and die as one of us, for our sakes, despite our sin and rebellion.

The sexual revolution has, in so many ways, disordered eros, treating it as an end, not a means. But twisted eros is no longer selfless and life-giving. It becomes a sort of mutant sensuality, that creates the selfish and damaging brokenness our culture is being forced to reckon with this year.

Today, Ash Wednesday, reminds us that there’s more… more to life than sensual pleasures, more to love than the shriveled-up version that has captivated our Western imaginations.

So today, ask yourself, “how am I responding to so great an expression of love as what God has shown us?” Valentinus’s response was to give up his own life.

For us too, a kind of “death” is required—a death to self, a death to the desires that our culture treats as ultimate.

Now of course guys, none of this lets you off the hook with your wives. So don’t forget the flowers.

 

Ashes for Valentine’s Day: The Convergence of Eros and Agape

Ash Wednesday  reminds us of the sacrificial love Christ displayed for us, while Valentine’s Day reminds us to be sacrificial in our love one for another. Let the convergence of these two days motivate us to repentance and self-giving love.

 

Resources

St. Valentine Beheaded

  • This Day in History: February 14 | History.com
The Four Loves

  • C. S. Lewis | HarperOne