How to keep from being grounded

HOW TO AVOID BEING GROUNDED 

 

 
 
 
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When our son entered high school, he carried with him the study habits that had served him well in junior high. They didn’t serve him well in high school. He learned a whole lot about studying his freshman year. His grades weren’t awful-they were just, you know, like below his potential. So the last part of the year, we resorted to, uh, martial law. We enforced three hours of study nightly and we allowed no calls…no going out until his homework was done. Now, turn the page to his second year in high school. I’d go into my study at night and I’d find him with these books and notebooks all spread out across my desk. Sometimes I’d tell him there was a phone call for him. And he’d answer, “Tell them I’ll call them back later. I’m not getting on the phone, Dad. Not his year; not till my homework’s done.” I didn’t have to discipline my son. He was disciplining himself.

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  • Sin
  • distractions
  • temptation

 

 
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California Colleges wants to kill future students

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What is with California and their colleges? For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

The drama of the California legislature and its colleges and universities continues. After threatening the existence of Christian colleges two years ago, California lawmakers are now debating a bill to require community colleges and state universities to provide free abortion pills upon request to women up to ten weeks pregnant. This would, according to the bill’s sponsor, remove the so-called “burden” of having to secure transport to an abortion clinic for so-called “health care.”

The bill, which would take effect in 2020, would also require campuses who fail to offer the abortion pill to provide a free transportation program to abortion clinics for students who request it.

This “service” would be added to a host of other required “services,” like free contraception and STD testing, and would in fact just about complete the state’s commitment to one of the core ideals of the sexual revolution, the divorce between sex and procreation… an ideal now not only taught in California classrooms but fully integrated on their campus.

 

Resources

21 Days of Prayer for Life

21 Days of Prayer for Life

Baseball and faith along with good values don’t mix

The baseball team at Stony Brook University won’t be able to travel to Mississippi next month for a three-game series with Southern Miss. But it’s not the weather keeping them home – it’s New York’s governor.

Governor Mario Cuomo has banned all non-essential travel to Mississippi because of the Magnolia State’s “religious freedom law” – which is formally known as the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act (HB 1523). It took effect in October.

Tim Wildmon, president of Mississippi-based American Family Association, says the Stony Brook Seawolves will miss out on the chance of some warmer weather baseball against a quality opponent. The three-game series was scheduled to take place in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, between February 23 and 25.

“What usually happens during college baseball season is that teams from the North come south so they can play baseball in February,” he tells OneNewsNow, “and it’s oftentimes difficult to play baseball in February, even in the South.”

Wildmon

 

Mississippi’s law protects people from discrimination who, because of their faith, believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman, that sex should be reserved for marriage, and that one’s gender is set at birth.

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The Iranian Protests and the Church

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The protests currently shaking Iran have enormous implications for U. S. foreign policy—and for the Church.

Iranian citizens are rising up against their oppressive Shiite government. They shout, “Death to the Dictator!” while enduring tear gas, water cannons, arrest—and death.

The demonstrations initially had to do with the sagging economy, high unemployment, and the increased cost of basic foods. As one protester quoted in the Washington Post said, “When we don’t have bread to eat, we are not afraid of anything.”

But these protests may have evolved into “an open rebellion against Iran’s Islamic leadership itself.”

The outcome of these protests of course will have enormous implications for the Middle East and for U. S. foreign policy. The Iranian government is a staunch ally of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, supports Hezbollah, the Shiite terrorist group and arch-enemy of Israel, and is fomenting unrest (and that’s putting it mildly) throughout the Middle East.

And no doubt you’ve heard about the Iranian government’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

But there’s another reason Americans—and especially American Christian—should be following events there: the growth of Christianity in Iran.

In the online journal “The Stream,” my friend Michael Brown writes that Iranian converts, Christian leaders, and missiologists all tell him the same thing: “Iranian Muslims are converting to Christianity at an unprecedented pace.” Indeed, according to the Iranian Christian News Agency, Islamic clerics are alarmed at the growing number of Iranian youth who are abandoning Islam, converting to Christianity, and joining house churches. That despite the enormous risks of conversion in a country that openly suppresses the Christian faith.

The news comes as no surprise to Reza Safa, a Muslim convert to Christianity and the author of “The Coming Fall of Islam in Iran.” Safa, who now lives in the U.S., notes on his website that “Despite severe persecution by the Iranian government against underground churches, God’s Word is spreading like a wildfire all over Iran.”

That’s exciting news. And the protests against the regime raging across Iran may be a sign of hope for Christians, according to Iranian journalist and Christian convert Sohrab Amari. Amari told the Catholic News Agency that “the Iranians who are pouring into the streets have had it with an ideological regime that represses them.” Many are even chanting “nostalgic slogans” about pre-revolutionary Iran—a time when religious minorities like Christians, Jews, and Bahai’s could live well enough alongside their Islamic neighbors.

The outcome of the protests remains to be seen. Will they lead to more freedoms, or to even worse repressions?

And as the number of conversions continues to rise, will the government target churches even more fiercely, or will those who have tasted the freedom to become children of God through Jesus Christ act as leaven in Iranian society, inspiring more people to seek freedom from their authoritarian overlords?

We don’t have to look far back in history to see epoch-shaking movements of God’s people. As Chuck Colson documented masterfully in his book “Being the Body,” the fall of communism in Poland, in Romania, and throughout eastern Europe was fueled by Christian faith—and the human desire for freedom kindled by that faith.

At one time, those of us old enough to remember the Cold War couldn’t have imagined the demise of European communism. But it happened. The fall of an authoritarian Islamist regime should not be beyond our hopes and prayers.

So please, join me in prayer for our brethren in Iran—for safety, for wisdom, and for the conversion of many more to freedom in Jesus Christ.

 

The Iranian Protests and the Church: Bread, Freedom, and Faith

As events are unfolding in Iran, believers everywhere have the opportunity to intercede for Christians and new converts in that country. Read more about this critical news and its implications by clicking on the links in our Resources section.

Resources

What No One Is Telling You About Iran

  • Michael Brown | Townhall.com | January 2, 2018
Could Iranian protests bring religious freedom for Christians?

  • Michelle La Rosa | Catholic News Agency | December 29, 2017
Christianity is Rapidly Growing in Iran

  • CBN News | August 15, 2017
Being the Body: A New Call for the Church to Be Light in Darkness

  • Chuck Colson and Ellen Santilli Vaughn
  • Thomas Nelson
  •  

  • 2004

Socialism and Christianity

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Someone who tuned into Point of View for the first time left a comment on the Facebook page criticizing what one of my guests said and concluded by instructing us that Christians should embrace socialism. It’s the type of comment I usually ignore, but I thought it might deserve a response since I have heard it so often.

Over the last few months, I have been teaching through the book of Acts. When you get to Acts 4, you find a statement that the believers “had all things in common.” It also says that those who possessed land or houses sold them and brought the proceeds to the apostles’ feet. They distributed these gifts to anyone in need.

It is worth noting that: (1) this practice was apparently only done in Jerusalem and (2) the practice was a voluntary act. This is hardly a mandate for socialism. Many Christian writers have devoted whole chapters in their books on this subject, so there is more than I can possibly say here.

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BreakPoint: Judge Rules for Kelvin Cochran Government Can’t Put out the Fire of Faith

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Another big religious freedom case in federal court. And in this case, there’s a ray of hope.

For more than three decades, Kelvin Cochran built a record of service and expertise that made him one of the most respected Fire Chiefs in the country. He was the first African-American Fire Chief in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was among the responders to Hurricane Katrina. President Obama appointed him as the U.S. Fire Administrator, whose job is to improve both fire prevention and response across the country.

And until a few years ago, he was the Chief of the Atlanta Fire Department, a job he would probably still hold if city officials had any respect for Cochran’s rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

Cochran got into trouble over a book he wrote on his own time for a small group that he led in his church. The book entitled “Who Told You That You Were Naked?,” was directed at Christian men seeking to fulfill their biblical roles as “husbands, fathers, community and business leaders.”

Six of the book’s 162 pages—yes, that’s 3.7 percent—addressed a biblical perspective on sexuality. As David French summed up, Cochran took “the completely conventional, orthodox Christian position that sex outside of male–female marriage is contrary to God’s will,” which “is the position of the Catholic Church and every orthodox Protestant denomination in the United States.”

Unfortunately, “orthodoxy” is defined very differently at Atlanta’s City Hall. When the contents of Cochran’s book came to the attention of Mayor Kasim Reed, Reed ultimately fired Cochran, but not before saying “when you’re a city employee, and [your] thoughts, beliefs, and opinions are different from the city’s, you have to check them at the door.”

That makes it sound like Cochran was fired for his beliefs; but the city denied that. Instead it claimed that he was let go because he didn’t obtain permission before publishing the book.

The problem is that, constitutionally-speaking, the city cannot require employees to get permission before expressing their religious views.

Late last month, a federal court agreed. It concluded that the Atlanta pre-clearance policy “does not pass constitutional muster” because it does not “set out objective standards for the supervisor to employ.”

As a result, the opinion continues, it “would prevent an employee from writing and selling a book on golf or badminton on his own time and, without prior approval, would subject him to firing. It’s unclear to the Court how such an outside employment would ever affect the City’s ability to function, and the City provides no evidence to justify it . . . The potential for stifled speech far outweighs an unsupported assertion of harm.”

Unfortunately for Cochran, that glass is only half-full. The court rejected Cochran’s claim that his rights to free speech and freedom of religion were violated by his firing.

Still, as Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Kevin Theriot emphasizes, the court ruled that Cochran’s firing was unconstitutional. According to Theriot, who represented Cochran, the ruling “sets a precedent that says that government employers have to be very careful about how they restrict the speech of their employees when they’re talking about non-work related stuff.”

This is a real concern. Rules like Atlanta’s have had a chilling effect on the free speech of people on platforms such as social media. People have legitimately feared the consequences of speaking up for traditional Christian beliefs even on their own time. This ruling is an important step in the direction of eliminating that chill.

Where does that leave Cochran himself? Despite media reports to the contrary, he’s in a position to recover his lost wages and benefits. There’s even a remote possibility he could get his job back.

In a just and sane world Kelvin Cochran would not have had to endure what he has endured. But I’m grateful for his courage and I pray that he’ll receive some compensation for the wrong done to him.

 

Judge Rules for Kelvin Cochran: Government Can’t Put out the Fire of Faith

Learn more about the outcome of Kelvin Cochran’s case before the federal court. Check out the links in the Resources section below.

 

 

Resources

Court: Atlanta was in the wrong when it fired Cochran

  • Chris Woodward | Alliance Defending Freedom | December 20, 2017

Treating People with Intrinsic Worth

Posted by Ravi Zacharias, on January 3, 2018
Topic: Human Worth

Peter Singer, a well known philosopher, has declared that babies with Down Syndrome should be eliminated and has no value. Ravi Zacharias warns of how this type of thinking is dangerous and that there is a much different view of the worth of humanity as found in the Bible.

 

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BreakPoint This Week: Where Was God in 2017?

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“Where was God?” It’s a question that John and Ed believe Christians must be prepared to answer in the midst of natural and man-made disasters. Certainly in 2017 we saw God at work in and through his people, the Church, as they responded with love and relief efforts in the wake of the monster hurricanes in Texas, Louisiana, and Puerto Rico.

John and Ed also review the tumultuous political year, the fate of religious liberty as we know it before the Supreme Court, and what the declining fertility rate means for Western nations.

Resources

BreakPoint: 1.77 Kids Aren’t Enough

  • John Stonestreet
  •  

  • BreakPoint
  •  

  • December 18, 2017
BreakPoint: Dying Alone

  • Eric Metaxas 
  •  

  • BreakPoint
  •  

  • December 19, 2017

Thank God for Jose Altuve An Athlete We Can Look Up To

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I love improbable success stories. And even more, I love it when the person who has succeeded recognizes his story’s Author.

Sports Illustrated recently named J. J. Watt of the Houston Texans and Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros as its “Sportspersons of the Year.”

Both are among the best players in their respective sports, but that’s not the only, or even primary, reason they were selected. As the magazine put it, these “athletes spoke loudest in their actions and words off the field.”

In the case of Watt and Altuve, the emphasis is on “actions.” Specifically, their contributions to Houston’s ongoing recovery from Hurricane Harvey.

Most sports fans, including Christian ones, were already familiar with the almost literally larger-than-life Watt, whose freakish combination of size and athleticism has made him the most dominant defensive player in the NFL.

But until this October, few, if any, knew much about Altuve, the American League’s 2017 Most Valuable Player. His is a story that is so improbable and inspirational that Hollywood would have rejected the script. But, as Altuve will tell you, the Author of his story doesn’t reside in Hollywood.

Part of the improbability is obvious when you look at him. He is listed at 5’6”. That’s two inches shorter than I am and no one has ever called me “tall.” As Tom Verducci pointed out in his article on Altuve, “Over the past decade every one of the MVPs in the NFL and NBA stood at least 6’ 1” with 18 of those 20 standing 6’ 3” or taller . . . The most popular players in baseball, either by All-Star votes . . . or jersey sales . . .  are at least 6’ 3”. We literally look up to them.”

Despite being the smallest player in Major League Baseball, Altuve is its best hitter and arguably its best player. He has won three batting titles, led the league in stolen bases twice, has won a Golden Glove for his fielding, and is a five-time All-Star. According to the advanced statistical metric known as “wins above replacement,” Altuve did more to help his team win games in 2017 than any other player in baseball.

To call this “improbable” is an understatement. At age 16, he was invited to tryout camp in his native Venezuela. He wasn’t invited back for the second day because he was only 5’5.” Urged on by his father, he returned, uninvited, for the second day of camp and over the next few days played well enough that the Astros offered him $15,000 to sign. That was literally one percent of what another Venezuelan player at the camp who eventually washed out of baseball was paid, but, as Altuve says, he would have signed for free.

The rest is, as they say, history. Among baseball’s all-time hit leaders, only three had more hits at age 27 than Altuve: Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, and Hank Aaron.

As I said, an improbable story whose author, Altuve will tell you, is God. Altuve told the Houston Chronicle that, for him, achieving success wasn’t getting “into the major leagues or [having] the best season in the world. The best success is to live your life the way God wants you to.”

He added, “We need to not just ask God but thank Him for everything like our health, our family.” He told CBN, “I feel like every morning when you wake up you have to thank Him just for another day. I do it every day.”

All of which makes Jose Altuve someone we should all look up to, no matter our height.

 

Thank God for Jose Altuve: An Athlete We Can Look Up To

It’s refreshing to hear about a sportsman who acknowledges God’s providence in his life. As believers we should all be able to agree, as Jose Altuve says, “The best success is to live your life the way God wants you to.” To find out more about this exciting athlete, check out the resources linked below.