PBS television show Barney and Friends was wrong even though it made children feel good

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Remember the PBS television show Barney and Friends?  It premiered in 1992 and ceased production in 2009. The title character Barney was a purple tyrannosaurus rex who conveyed optimistic and educational messages through songs and little dance routines. The show was popular during an era when it was not politically correct to elevate the nuclear family — a mom, a dad, and their biological or adopted kids —as preferable to any other type of family. The children on Barney…

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Religious restrictions reach new high

According to the latest Pew study, Christians and Muslims faced more religious restrictions than any other group in 2016. Christians faced governmental and societal pressure in 144 of the 198 countries studied. Furthermore, international religious restrictions reached the highest levels since 2007.

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Tim Tebow’s Field of Dreams

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He’s back on the field, and as always, Christian sports star Tim Tebow knows what’s truly important.

Tim Tebow is one of the most beloved—and belittled—men to fasten his chin strap on a football field. About a decade ago, Tebow helped the Florida Gators win two national championships with his vocal leadership and his rugged physical play. He also picked up a Heisman Trophy as the best player in college football—maybe ever. But there were always the naysayers, citing his awkward delivery or his run-first mentality, which “would never work in the pros.”

Many of them, truth be told, despised Tebow’s unabashed Christian witness and pro-life beliefs—he wore eye black with a John 3:16 Bible reference, for instance—and his habit of kneeling to honor his Savior became a verb: “Tebowing.”

Tebow, however, proved his critics wrong, taking the Denver Broncos on a miraculous run—in sports terms—of improbable, last-minute victories and a shocking overtime playoff win. Then Tebow’s football fortunes changed again.

A couple of years later, he was out of the league.

But Tebow refused to give up and go away as his critics no doubt had hoped. Instead, he continued using his platform as a major cultural figure to further his gospel witness.

The Tim Tebow Foundation, for instance, sponsors an annual Night to Shine. The most recent one provided 90,000 boys and girls with disabilities, who otherwise might be forgotten, with a prom night experience, centered on God’s love. Some 537 churches with 175,000 volunteers in the U.S. and 16 other countries participated. If you’ve never seen Tebow and Night to Shine in action, please come to BreakPoint.org to watch an extraordinary video. And bring a box of Kleenex.

A former doubter, David Ramsey of the Colorado Springs Gazette, calls Tebow “the rare athlete more about life off the field than on the field. He’s one of America’s highest-profile—and most authentic and admirable — Christians. Tebow isn’t one to talk all the time about his devotion to following Christ. He’s too busy actually following Christ.”

Well, he’s also back on the playing field—but this time the field is a baseball diamond. Tebow has dusted off his bat and glove and has been toiling in the minor leagues, honing his swing and looking to earn his chance at being called up by my beloved New York Mets.

No doubt the Mets know Tebow would boost attendance in New York, but Tebow is earning the opportunity, and even more amazing, silencing some of his critics. He’s now playing for the Class Double-A Rumble Ponies in Binghamton, New York. Tebow, wearing his iconic No. 15, earned a spot in the Eastern League All-Star game, where he went one for four with a double.

Those who think Tebow has returned to pro sports for glamour and glory do not understand Tim Tebow. Washington Post sports writer Barry Svrluga described Tebow interacting with baseball fans on a long, hot dusty day in Hagerstown, Maryland: “When Tebow arrived, [at the ballpark] he embraced anyone who approached. He called people by name. He took a picture with one kid, spun 180 degrees to take a picture with another, spun back and smiled for the next frame. One girl held a sign adorned with her prom picture and sparkly words that read, ‘Thank you, Tim Tebow. From Princess Sarah. Night to Shine.’

“You’re so welcome,” Tebow said time and time again.

In fact, the Mets staff had to drag Tebow away from the crowds so the team could start the seven-hour bus ride to the next game.

“If I’m not remembered for baseball, that’s OK,” Tebow told People magazine. “If I’m not remembered for football, that’s OK, too. Actually, it’s fine if I’m not remembered at all. What I want is to serve God by helping people who are less fortunate. That’s what’s important, not playing a sport.”

Amen to that.

And Tim, I hope to see you again in New York!

Tim Tebow’s Field of Dreams: Playing Ball, Serving Jesus

Let’s be busy with what really matters—as Tim Tebow demonstrates—the work of actually following Christ. For more information on Tim Tebow as well as the foundation he started, click on the links in our Resources section.

Resources

All-Star Tim Tebow continues to play by his own standards

Dan Wetzel | Yahoo Sports | July 11, 2018

This is what Tim Tebow mania looks like up close

Michael Kaplan | New York Post | July 10, 2018

Tim Tebow Foundation

website

Tim Tebow is headed to Baseball Heaven … and the Mets

David Ramsey | Gazette.com | July 5, 2018

Official 2018 Night to Shine Worldwide Highlight Video

Tim Tebow Foundation

A 12-year-old boy is turning lemons into lemonade after bullies gave him a fake $100 bill

OMAHA, Neb. —

A 12-year-old Millard boy is turning lemons into lemonade after bullies gave him a fake $100 bill and stole the money he made at his stand Tuesday afternoon.

Henry Reilly is saving up money for a family vacation. He set up a lemonade stand in his neighborhood near 148th Street and Hillsdale Avenue and purchased all the supplies himself.

Henry didn’t let the bullies stop him from setting up shop again Wednesday on the very same corner.

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The Point: All-American Abortion?

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“Safe, legal, and rare?” Not any more.

I recently received a letter saying that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” My correspondent was repeating a line abortion advocates used to use. But those days are long gone…

The latest example: comedienne Michelle Wolfe’s video celebrating abortion as an all-American thing.

Prancing around in a red-white-and-blue majorette outfit, followed by a four-piece marching band playing “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” she screamed, “Abortion, I salute you!” while her audience cheered. She closed with “God bless abortions! God bless America!”

Now at one time, antics like Wolfe’s would’ve been considered over the line by both sides of this debate. But the more America moves pro-life, the more pro-abortion forces are self-exposed and shown to be as radical as they are.

My colleague Shane Morris wrote a thorough and thoughtful reply to the letter I received. If you read it, you’ll be more equipped to defend life to friends and neighbors.

Come to BreakPoint.org to find it.

Resources

Dear Mary: A Response to “Safe, Legal, and Rare”

G. Shane Morris | BreakPoint.org | July 6, 2018

Is Same-Sex Attraction Beyond Question or Criticism?

California’s radical state legislature is debating a law that would punish any professionals who work to help patients overcome same-sex attraction.

Assembly Bill 2943 strictly prohibits “any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation” or efforts  “to “reduce sexual…feelings toward individuals of the same sex.” In other words, a therapist can try to help a married man stop flirting with pretty women at work, but if he helps that same patient overcome attractions to handsome young men at work, then he’ll be punished.

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Take note: It’s not music that keeps most churchgoers

When it comes to members of the flock choosing to stay or leave their congregations, it’s usually not due to the style of music or a new preacher. According to a recent survey, most people who attend church regularly base that decision on doctrine and theology.

Singing contemporary worship songs at church may cause some members to long for the “good old days” when traditional hymns were the norm. Conversely, sticking to the traditional music may cause some to wonder when their church is going to move into the 21st century. But according to research from LifeWay Research, people probably aren’t going to leave their church over the issue of “worship style.”

In a survey that allowed respondents to select all that apply, only five percent of churchgoers would leave their house of worship over the music; nine percent if they felt out of step with the church’s political views; and 12 percent if the senior pastor left. But a full 54 percent of those who attend church regularly would consider changing churches if it changed its doctrine.

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Brett Kavanaugh A Solid Choice to Join the Supremes

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I’ve joined a number of evangelical leaders to formally support Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Here’s what we know.

On Monday night, President Trump announced his nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The obvious question for Christians is—or at least it should be—“What can we expect from Kavanaugh, especially in regard to the sanctity of human life and religious freedom?”

It’s impossible, of course, to know that answer with absolute certainty. But there’s reason to be hopeful that Kavanaugh is a reliable conservative and certainly preferable over anyone a Democratic president would have nominated.

As far as his level of experience, Kavanaugh is among the most qualified candidates in the country. He currently serves on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguably the second-most important federal court.

Based on his judicial track record, conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt is probably close in calling Kavanaugh “John Roberts 2.0.” Now not everyone, especially after Roberts’s Obamacare decision, would consider that a compliment. Still, we can agree it’s better than being a “Kennedy 2.0.” Hewitt envisions Roberts and Kavanaugh leading a “new majority [that] will not invent new rights, but [that] will be busy protecting old ones… respectful of the states and their constitutionally protected sovereignty.”

By all accounts, his judicial philosophy is, as was articulated in a statement formally supporting Kavanaugh that I co-signed with dozens of evangelical leaders, to be “impartial and faithful to the Constitution as it is, not as he …wishes it to be.”

And in particular, his track record on religious freedom is why I’m comfortable, as our statement says, urging the Senate to “work diligently to confirm his appointment without obstruction.”

For example, in Priests for Life v. HHS, which challenged the contraceptive mandate, Kavanaugh wrote, “When the Government forces someone to take an action contrary to his or her sincere religious belief or else suffer a financial penalty, the Government has substantially burdened the individual’s exercise of religion.”

Despite the many reasons to be encouraged by the President’s selection, I must admit that I’ve got a nagging sense of disappointment. I wonder if, as David French wrote in the Washington Post, passing over Appeals Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett was maybe a lost opportunity.

Now don’t get me wrong. Kavanaugh is eminently qualified and will likely be confirmed with crazy hysteria but only modest resistance. On the other hand, Barrett’s nomination would have put in play the issue of what place devout Christians have these days in American public life. She’d have been a riskier choice, no doubt. And part of the trepidation about her was that her faith played too big a role in her life.

As French put it, a Barrett nomination “represented a chance for an important cultural moment—an opportunity for the best of young professional Christians to face the worst of progressive anti-religion bias and prevail on the largest possible stage.”

The central topic of progressive hysteria is, of course, abortion. Though neither Barrett nor Kavanaugh have a substantial paper trail on the issue, my guess is that a Catholic mother of seven—in whom, as Senator Dianne Feinstein put it, the “dogma lives loudly”—was the safer bet for all of us looking to roll back the current abortion regime.

On the other hand, Kavanaugh, in his acceptance speech, made clear his own Catholic commitments and family loyalties. It’s reasonable to think he’d vote differently than the man he’s replacing on cases like Whole Women’s Health, which overturned Texas H.B. 2, a bill that regulated abortion clinics like other medical facilities.

Kavanaugh (aka “Coach K” by his daughter’s basketball team) is certainly a good, safe pick. I would’ve been game for the more confrontational choice, but still, please join me in praying for a successful and speedy confirmation process. So much is at stake.

Brett Kavanaugh: A Solid Choice to Join the Supremes

We should pray for Judge Kavanaugh and his family, given the fractious state of our politics. And of course, urge your senators to confirm this eminently qualified nominee to the Supreme Court. Check out the links in our Resources section to learn more about Judge Kavanaugh.

Resources

Brett Kavanaugh is ‘John Roberts 2.0’

Hugh Hewitt | Washington Post | July 9, 2018

Evangelical leaders support Judge Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court appointment

Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission | July 9, 2018

Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Impeccable Record of Constitutional Conservatism

Sarah E. Pitlyk | National Review | July 3, 2018

Trump picked the wrong judge

David French | Washington Post | July 9, 2018

Former President Jimmy Carter is wrong and this time he is up against the Bible

I have to respectfully disagree with former President Jimmy Carter on this one. He is absolutely wrong when he said Jesus would approve of gay marriage. Jesus didn’t come to promote sin, He came to save us from sin. The Bible is very clear. God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuality. God defines sin in His Word—it’s not up to our opinion, the latest poll, or a popular vote. What is very troubling is that some people may read what President Carter has said and believe it, whether it was this week or from a video 3 years ago that is now recirculating.  God loves us and gives us the truth in His Word. He warns us of the serious consequences of sin. 

 

 

“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due” (Romans 1:24-27).

( The above was from a Face Book Post by the Rev. Franklin Graham ) 

BreakPoint: “Pure Genocide” in Nigeria Christians Under Attack

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It’s one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian. What’s going on right now in Nigeria is “pure genocide.”

Recently on BreakPoint, I said that it took a lot of courage to be a Christian in Iraq. Just two years ago, the Obama administration called what ISIS was doing to Iraqi Christians “genocide.”

Unfortunately, there are other places in the world where being a Christian requires a lot of courage as well, and, where the treatment of Christians merits the word “genocide.”

One such place: Nigeria. By most estimates, the population of Nigeria is almost evenly divided between Muslims and Christians. That religious split largely follows geographic lines: The northern part of the country is predominantly Muslim, the eastern and southern parts of the country heavily Christian. The middle, sometimes called the “Middle Belt,” is ethnically and religiously diverse.

Not surprisingly, what makes Nigeria so dangerous for Christians originates in the Islamic north. There, Christians have been on the receiving end of a campaign Open Doors calls “religious cleansing,” that is, an attempt “to eradicate Christianity” from the region.

One of the most notorious Islamist terrorist groups in the world, Boko Haram, is responsible for killing thousands of Christians and displacing countless more in northern Nigeria. But Boko Haram isn’t the only group targeting Christians there.

In a statement released in late June, Christian leaders claimed that “over 6,000 persons—mostly children, women and the aged—have been maimed and killed in night raids by armed Fulani herdsmen.”

The Fulani are an ethnic group who are overwhelmingly Muslim, and their raids are not always at night. In April, Fulani herdsman attacked a group of Christians during Sunday mass, killing two priests and seventeen parishioners.  The same attackers then razed fifty homes belonging to Christians. In fact, earlier in the year, on New Year’s Day, 72 people died at the hands of a Fulani attack.

In their statement, Nigerian Christian leaders also complained about the “continuous abduction of under aged Christian girls by Muslim youths…” These girls “are forcefully converted to Islam and taken in for marriage without the consent of their parents.”

The language used by Christian leaders in Nigeria in their statement to describe what is happening, “pure genocide,” is hard to disagree with. As was the call, directed toward the national government to “stop this senseless … blood shedding… and avoid a state of complete anarchy where the people are forced to defend themselves.”

Unfortunately, Nigerian officials are downplaying, if not outright denying, the religious dimension of what’s happening. Instead, they’re calling this a conflict over resources, in this case, over land.

Don’t believe it. For starters, the security forces are, in the words of the statement, “skewed to one religion and one region of the country,” that is, Islam and the Islamic north.

What’s more, this idea conveniently glosses over the one-sided nature of the violence in the region: The Fulani are the hammer and the Christians are the nails.

Finally, any student of the history of genocide or ethnic cleansing knows that conflicts over resources are often just the trigger that unleashes the sort of mass violence we’re currently seeing in the nation of Nigeria.

So, what can we do about this? First, we must pray, continually, for our brothers and sisters there. Second, we have to encourage the White House to continue pressing Nigeria about what’s happening in its Middle Belt, as it did during an April meeting with the Nigerian president.

President Trump called what’s happening then a “serious problem.” That’s an understatement. It’s past time to make sure that the response to the problem is equally as serious and not understated at all.

“Pure Genocide” in Nigeria: Christians Under Attack

We must continue to pray for the believers in Nigeria. Click on the links in our Resources section for information that will allow you to pray specifically for the plight of the Christians there.

Resources

Christians flee growing persecution in Africa and Middle East

Harriet Sherwood | The Guardian | January 12, 2016

Statement by church leaders in Plateau State

CSW.org | June 29, 2018

Benue killings: Mass burial held for dozens killed in New Year’s day attacks

Bukola Adebayo and Stephanie Busari | CNN.com | January 11, 2018