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Monthly Archives: June 2020

What’s behind the protests and riots?

If you want to understand the philosophical underpinnings of the protests and riots occurring today, read “Marxism, Postmodernism, and Critical Race Theory.” It is not the easiest to digest, but it will give you a much better understanding of what it taking place in our world and why.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2020 in Culture, News stories

 

A Mental Approach to Total Fitness

Book Review: Get Your Mind Right: 10 Keys to Unlock Your Potential and Ignite Your Success, by Todd Durkin with Mike Yorkey

Todd Durkin is a fitness guru and life coach who has trained NFL players, high-performance athletes, and high-profile individuals. He is the founder of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA, author of best-selling books, and a frequent inspirational and motivational speaker on the conference circuit.

As the author explains, all of us are on a journey, but not many of us are aware of what is happening all around us as we go through life. To change that, the author wants to encourage his readers to make a plan and take control of their life. that requires changing our mindset, gaining control of our thought life, learning to overcome obstacles, stopping bad habits and starting good ones, mastering our time and energy, training ourselves to win, having a healthy diet, learning to balance work and rest, listening to what God is teaching, and living a life worth telling others about. He devotes a chapter to each one of these topics.

Throughout the book, Todd blends stories about his successes with the mistakes he has made. He shares about what he has learned from his mentors and those who have influenced him. He also drops the names of athletes and famous people he has worked with. While at times off-putting, it does lend credibility to what he is saying. Part of what he teaches is doable for the average person, but part of it feels aimed at more serious competitors.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2020 in Books, Health

 

Maybe Harvey Dent was right

  • Portland protesters tear down “racist” statue of Thomas Jefferson
  • Orange County Democrats condemn “racist” comments by John Wayne, call for airport to drop his name
  • Christopher Columbus statues torn down, drenched in paint, defaced in cities across country
  • Princeton drops Woodrow Wilson’s name from school due to “racist thinking”

“You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” Harvey Dent, AKA “Two-Face” in The Dark Knight.

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2020 in Culture, Movies, News stories, Quotes

 
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Offended?

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2020 in Proverbs, Scripture

 

The Best of Frenemies

A “frenemy” is “a person with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry.” Perhaps you have worked with a colleague who was a pal one day and stabbed you in the back the next day. 1 Samuel 18 describes how the relationship of King Saul and David deteriorated to the point where they became frenemies for life.

1 Samuel 18 begins a period of intense testing in the life of David in which God will prune and shape David to become the next king of Israel. There are four key words or concepts in this chapter—success, with, love, and fear. You can summarize the chapter with the statement, “David was successful because the Lord was with him. As a result, the people loved David but Saul feared him.”

On the Fast Track: Prosperity, Promotions, & Popularity (1-5). After his defeat of the giant, Goliath (1 Samuel 17), David’s life will change dramatically. He will gain a best friend for life, be granted a commission in the army, and gain the approval of the nation of Israel. Everything he touches turns to gold.

The Price of Popularity: How David Missed the Point (6-16). After the battle, the chorus breaks out into song praising David’s triumph and saying he is ten times the man King Saul is. As the giant, Goliath, dies, the giant of jealousy came to life in Saul’s heart. He starts to keep his eye on David. He seems to follow the advice of Michael Corleone, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

While Saul honored David outwardly, inwardly he was seething with anger. Twice he tried to kill David by throwing a spear at him. When that didn’t work, he sent him to the front lines of battle hoping the Philistines would do the job. Instead, David’s stock continued to rise “because the Lord was with him.”

When In-Laws Become Outlaws: Don’t Marry the Boss’ Daughter (17-30). Since the direct approach doesn’t work, Saul tries a more subtle approach to get rid of David. He tries to use his own daughters to trap and snare David. David turns down the first offer to marry Saul’s oldest daughter. But David does accept the second offer of Michal, who is in love with David. Saul suggests that David kill 100 Philistines in exchange for a bridal dowry. He is secretly hoping the Philistines will kill David. Instead, David proceeds to take out 200 Philistines.

Verses 28-30 summarize the chapter and the four key words/principles. David was successful in everything he did because the Lord was with him. As a result, the people loved David but Saul feared him. “So Saul was David’s enemy continually” (29).

Principles to Practice. If God is with you … you will be successful … you will attract opposition … you need not fear your opponents … your opponents will fear you. Be like David—Follow God & do his work. Don’t be like Saul—If God is at work, don’t oppose his plan or his servants.

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on June 28, 2020. It is part of a series of expository sermons on the life of David. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 

Towards restoring noble, honorable manhood

Book Review: Men on Fire: Restoring the Forces that Forge Noble Manhood, by Stephen Mansfield

Men today are empty souls. Their fire has gone out. Men have lost their identity and do not know who they are. Manhood is treated as a disease and as the source of many of our societal ills. That is the conviction of author Stephen Mansfield. Rather than blame society for these problems, he places the blame squarely on the shoulders of men themselves.

Still, I do not blame our times or our fathers and certainly not women, who have taken nothing from men that men have not abandoned in the first place. No, I blame us. I blame men. I believe our tribe is at fault for allowing righteous manhood to decline and for allowing masculinity in general to become an object of scorn. I also believe that if we have the power to lost righteous manhood, then we have the power to reclaim it. I believe we will, and in our generation. That is why I am writing these words.

Rather than criticize men and focus on the problem, the author aims at what he believes is the solution. He wants to restore fire in a man’s soul. He writes in an attempt to ignite seven fires in a man’s heart and encourages them to tend that fire and keep it going. He spends a chapter detailing each of the seven fires—the fire of heritage, battle, destiny, friendship, love, legacy, and God. He weaves together inspiring stories of historical figures, personal experience, and biblical stories and principles to make his point.

I found the chapter on The Fire of Battle to be the most encouraging to me personally. He argues that men are called to be warriors. He explains that as men, we must fight the battle for self-mastery.

We must battle our lesser drives and content manfully to be the best and noblest we can be. This means war. We are also made to stand at the boundaries of the lives entrusted to us and contend for their good and their destiny. We pray. We fight spiritual battles. At a more human level, we encourage and coach and confront and even discipline. It is all a form of battle. Then we must battle the spirit of our age when it seeks to make us weak and compromising, soft and dull to righteousness.

He goes on to explain that prayer is an essential first step in a restoration of the warrior spirit in our lives. He gives seven specific requests that we should pray on a regular basis. (1) Lord, open my eyes to the true spiritual battles of life (2 Kings 6:17). (2) Train me and give me skill for the battles of my life (Psalm 144:1). (3) Give me focus and singleness of heart that cut the trivial from my life (Jeremiah 32:39). (4) Give me a willing spirit so I can battle as I should (Psalm 51:12). (5) Grant me valiant men whose hearts you have touched to battle at my side (1 Samuel 10:26). (6) Give me your divine energy as I do your will and fight your fight (Colossians 1:29). (7) Make my words weapons of godly warfare, and free me from what is impure and spiritual damaging (Psalm 141:3).

A well written, encouraging book. Well worth the read.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

When friends become enemies

This Sunday at First Central Bible Church, we will explore 1 Samuel 18 and the events that take place after David defeats Goliath. Here is a video preview of the sermon, “The Best of Frenemies.”

 

Pray for America

Last night, we opened the sanctuary at First Central Bible Church for those who wanted to pray for our country. Here is the prayer guide we used to guide our intercession.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Worshipping without Masks

Although First Central Bible Church has reopened, some people have not returned because they don’t want to wear a mask to church. Having twice worn a mask for eight hours during a recent flight from Boston to Los Angeles as well as on the return trip, I can understand and empathize with their reluctance.

Worship was never designed to be done while wearing a mask. Worship is best done when we are face to face with our Savior.

As the Bible opens, Adam and Eve were in perfect fellowship with their Creator. Genesis 2:25 says that Adam and Eve were “naked and unashamed.” While that certainly describes their physical relationship with each other, I think it aptly describes their relationship with God. It is especially true since Genesis 3:8 explains that they hid from God’s presence after they disobeyed his command and sin entered their lives.

The Bible closes with the statement in Revelation 22:4 that in heaven, our broken relationship with God will be restored. We will see his face, and his name will be on our foreheads.

While we may need to wear a mask to protect against COVID-19, we don’t have to wear a mask when we enter God’s presence. Like Moses, we can speak with God face to face (Exodus 33:11). Hebrews 4:16 tells us that because Jesus removed our sin and cleansed our hearts, we can come into God’s presence with confidence, knowing that we will receive the grace and help we need.

Hebrews 4:16 – Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Take off your mask and enter God’s presence to worship him today.

 

The final glass ceiling

Whereas Non-Sequitur kept corporate executives out of heaven, Jesus said the true glass ceiling is the one who keeps the self-righteous out of heaven, those who know the language but who don’t know the Savior.

Matthew 7:21–23 (ESV) 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Don’t wait until the day of judgment to find out what group you are in. Put you faith and trust in Jesus today.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2020 in Heaven, Non-Sequitur, Scripture, Theology