Monthly Archives: March 2018

Sin and Easter

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There’s a sense in which we get surprised by Easter. There’s such a long ramp-up to Christmas every year. And then it’s over and the new year starts, and we’re all busy, and all of a sudden there’s Palm Sunday, and then Easter is here. Perhaps your church emphasizes the 40 days of Lent and you prepared for Easter this year. Perhaps not. Our society has lost some of that. The central celebration of Christianity doesn’t even have a school vacation the week before it anymore.

But whether it’s a weekend or a few minutes of contemplation, Easter is more meaningful if we take our hearts through a process to get them ready.

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Congressional Lucies, Evangelical Charlie Browns?




Our GOP-majority Congress just forked over $500 million to Planned Parenthood. Have we been duped?

To paraphrase William Wilberforce’s foe Lord Melbourne, things have come to a pretty pass when the Babylon Bee becomes our “go-to” source for accurate reporting.

If you don’t know about the Bee, it’s a Christian website specializing in satirical “news stories” poking fun at the foibles of evangelical subculture. As the Washington Post called it, it’s “fake news that’s good for the soul.”

A couple examples of the Bee’s spiritual gift of sarcasm are “Mountain Climber Recovering After Decision to Let Go and Let God.” And my favorite, “Federal Judge orders Chris Tomlin to Stop Adding Choruses to Perfectly Good Hymns.” That’s pretty funny stuff!

But a recent Bee headline wasn’t so funny. It read: “Republicans Clarify That By ‘Defund Planned Parenthood’ They Meant ‘Give Them $500 Million Every Year.’”

It was a pointed reference to the recent $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress and signed by the president last week. As you can imagine, the bill contained something for almost everyone.

And by everyone that included Planned Parenthood—to the tune of $500 million. This is the same Planned Parenthood that Republican leaders and candidates have explicitly promised to defund for years in exchange for our support as pro-life voters.

This is the same Planned Parenthood caught on tape recently selling parts of aborted fetuses.

Yes, this same Planned Parenthood whose federal funding remains intact.

So it was almost impossible to see the satire in the Bee’s statement that the GOP is assuring “conservative voters that when it comes to the 2018 midterm elections, and especially the 2020 presidential election, they can trust their Republican politicians ‘100%’ when they say they will certainly defund Planned Parenthood.”

Anybody else getting the impression that we’re like Charlie Brown trying to kick Lucy’s football?

So, what should we do?

Well, what we shouldn’t do is make excuses for those who broke their promises. Sure, the Democrats are far worse on abortion. But if being better than Democrats on abortion is our only criterion, we’ve set the bar awfully low, especially given the GOP’s dependence on evangelical voters.

This is just one more reason to be wary of what French philosopher Jacques Ellul called the “Political Illusion,” the belief that our problems are primarily political ones with only political solutions. Or as Chuck Colson would put it, “Salvation doesn’t come on Air Force One.” Or, as in this case, it won’t be rung in by the Speaker’s gavel.

Of course, there are many fine people in Congress and this administration who share our pro-life values and our goals. I’m certainly not urging a withdrawal from the political sphere.

But there are certain limits of what we should expect from the political sphere. After all, so much of what is wrong with our society, including that which puts unborn children at risk, doesn’t lend itself to political solutions. They’re matters of culture, “the sum of attitudes, customs, and beliefs that distinguishes one group of people from another.” Our ultimate goal in confronting and opposing abortion isn’t to defund Planned Parenthood, not even to make abortion illegal, though both of those things would great. Ultimately what we want is for abortion to be both personally and culturally unthinkable.

And we should just know that for too many in the GOP, stopping abortion is just not a priority. But we can make it clear to our lawmakers that it is a priority for us. The government’s funded through September, which means they’ll have another shot then to defund this evil and motivate their evangelical base.

You know, right before those mid-terms elections.


Congress Funds Planned Parenthood: Congressional Lucies, Evangelical Charlie Browns?

We should definitely hold our elected government officials accountable to their promises. But we also realize that, as John has reiterated, solutions to so many of our cultural problems cannot be found in politics. So pray for our lawmakers, and show them that life matters to us.

Forgiving a cold blooded killer


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An American chemistry teacher from Texas, Ronnie Smith, decided to travel to the Middle East to serve the people in a certain country as a teacher at the International School. On December 5th, 2013, Ronnie went for a jog, and was gunned down by unidentified assailants driving in a Jeep. After her husband’s murder, his wife Anita, said, “I just envision the black Jeep driving up to him and I don’t know their faces. I just want them to know that God loves them and can forgive them for this… I don’t know them. That’s how I honestly feel. It may sound crazy. It’s God’s spirit that’s putting this inside me… I just really want them to know that I do love them and I forgive them, and Ronnie would want this, and I hope and pray that our son, Hosea, would believe this…”

What a tragedy to have lost her husband and the father of her child, but what an example she is setting of forgiveness! You know, Jesus calls us to forgive even our enemies.  Romans chapter 12 says, “Bless and do not curse.” We can all learn from Anita’s forgiveness of her husband’s killers. Whom do you need to forgive today? Perhaps God will use your forgiveness and faith to reach your world in ways you never imagined.      


This is Luis Palau.

Mom’s post about teaching son acting ‘entitled’ about value of money goes viral

When a teen’s behavior started becoming a little “entitled,” his mother decided to take the opportunity and teach him a valuable lesson that has now gone viral. 

Cierra Forney is a mother of three: a 9-year-old, a 6-year-old and her soon-to-be 13-year-old. 


She was getting ready to take her eldest son school shopping for clothes.

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BreakPoint: The Seven Last Sayings of Jesus The Lord’s Words, Haydn’s Music




Welcome to Holy Week. Today we offer reflections—and music—on the seven last sayings of Jesus.

In 2012, the English poet Ruth Padel accepted a commission from Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra to write poems that would be read between the movements of Joseph Haydn’s “The Seven Last Words of Our Savior on the Cross.”

Writing about her experience two years later in The Guardian, Padel called her acceptance of the commission “rash.” Her father was a psychoanalyst, her mother was a great-grand-daughter of Darwin—what could she have to say on this subject?

Well, that’s a good question.

By her own admission, Padel had “no idea if what [she] did works theologically, but musicians find it OK to work with.” Thankfully, we don’t have to settle for “OK to work with.”

In 1783, the Cathedral of Cadiz, Spain commissioned the great composer Joseph Haydn to write a musical setting for what are known as the “Seven Last Words (or Sayings)” of Jesus on the cross.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the “Seven Last Words,” they are “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do;” “Today you will be with me in Paradise;” “Behold your son/Behold your mother;” “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” “I thirst;” “It is finished;” and finally, “Father into your hands I commend my spirit.”

Haydn’s opus consists of nine parts: an introduction, followed by a musical meditation on each of the seven sayings, and then completed by a section entitled “Il Terremoto,” which is “earthquake” in both Italian and Spanish. Il Terremoto, of course, refers to the earth quaking in Matthew 27 when Christ “yielded his spirit” and died.

At the original performance at Cadiz Cathedral, the Bishop spoke one of the sayings of Jesus, “delivered a discourse thereon,” and this was followed by Haydn’s musical meditation on the words.

Since Haydn never specified what, if anything, should be said between movements, subsequent performers have felt free to add, or not add, whatever was “OK to work with.” But, as the Vermeer Quartet learned, paying heed to what works theologically is the way to go. In 1988, they won a Grammy nomination for their performance, which featured excerpts of sermons by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Billy Graham between movements.

The recording came about because music-only performances left them with the “polite applause of a worn-out audience.” So, they decided to “restore Haydn’s work to its original sacred setting.”  The experience was “transforming.” As the quartet’s violinist told the New York Times, “Though we knew the music so very well . . . we had never before been obliged to relate it in its intended context.”

Haydn, who typically began his manuscripts with the phrase “in nomine Domini,” “in the name of the Lord,” and ended them with “Laus Deo,” “praise be to God,” would, no doubt, approve.

I think you will, too. Here is a brief excerpt from “Terremoto,” Haydn’s musical setting of the earthquake that left no mistake that something earth-shattering happened that first Good Friday.


Now, before I leave you today, I want to urge you to download a special booklet that the Colson Center has prepared in anticipation of Good Friday and Easter—a series of meditations on the seven last sayings of Christ. It’s free, and it’s at



(This commentary first aired on April 10, 2017.)


The Seven Last Sayings of Jesus: The Lord’s Words, Haydn’s Music

Click the links below for more information on Haydn’s work “The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross” and to listen to a portion of the music he composed for Passion Week. And click here to download the free pdf booklet “The Seven Last Sayings of Jesus from the Cross” put together by the Colson Center.


Find a BreakPoint radio station in your area–Click here.

This happened on last Saturday even much of the main media did not report it

A dog’s planet

Find the Teachable Moments with your children




Listen to find out how you can create opportunities for communication with your kids.

Rev. Franklin Graham has hope for America


No More Point of Reference

Ravi Zacharias has a warning for parents with children starting secondary school regarding the philosophy of naturalism and its propagation via education. He describes the philosophy of naturalism and the resulting challenges in communication of objective truth to those that embrace it in today’s Thought.