Links & Quotes

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“I firmly believe that the Church of God will have to confess her own sins, before there can be any great work of grace. There must be a deeper work among God’s believing people. I sometimes think it is about time to give up preaching to the ungodly, and preach to those who confess to be Christians. If we had a higher standard of life in the Church of God, there would be thousands more flocking into the Kingdom. So it was in the past; when God’s believing children turned away from their sins and their idols, the fear of God fell upon the people round about. Take up the history of Israel, and you will find that when they put away their strange gods, God visited the nation, and there came a mighty work of grace. … The judgment of God must begin with us.” —Dwight L. Moody

Dr. George Delgado has pioneered a treatment to reverse medically-induced abortions, and save babies’ lives. I am grateful for doctors who honor their Hippocratic Oath.

The Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, Rev. Charles Blake, has a strong, loving statement on the recent Supreme Court’s ruling on homosexual “marriage.” I especially like this reminder: “We understand even better now why the Bible calls Christians ‘strangers and pilgrims’ in the world (1 Peter 2:11). It is clearer now why Jesus instructed us to be in the world but ‘not of the world’ (John 17:15-16). In fact, today’s Supreme Court decision is just another legal law that makes the holiness message even stranger to our society. While the moral landscape of our society has definitely shifted, we know that the Bible is yet right and God still reigns.”

No surprise here: Fatherhood & Marriage Bring Out The Best In Men. Among other things: “The contribution of fathers to child-rearing is unique and irreplaceable.” … “Children are not the only ones who benefit; fatherhood and marriage bring out the best in men, too. Recent studies show fatherhood facilitates biological changes that are linked to reductions in risky behavior for men and reduced anger and increased empathy.”

Dr. Tim Elmore discusses why young athletes lack grit and how to build it. I highly recommend Dr. Elmore’s books Generation iY and 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid.

Links & Quotes

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“Reason can engage the conversation; winsomeness can set the tone; patient listening can earn the right to be heard; but only divine revelation—the Gospel of Jesus Christ—is powerful to break the hold of the Lie and open someone’s heart to the truth of God.” —T.M. Moore

“I am sure, whenever we see Christ, we ought to remember the deluge of wrath from which He has delivered us, the flames of hell from which He has saved us; and so, humbly bowing ourselves in the dust, let us love, and praise, and bless His name.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Remember: ‘I cannot turn one hair black or white: but I can brush my hair daily and go to the barber at regular intervals.’ In other words we must divert our efforts from our general condition or frame of mind (which we can’t alter by direct action of the will) to what is in our power—our words and acts. Try to remember that the ‘bottomless sea’ can’t hurt us as long as we keep on swimming.” —C.S. Lewis

Hey, fellas: Mark Merrill has a great suggestion of 10 texts to send your wife.

When Yonggi Cho began holding services in May 1958 in Seoul, South Korea, he couldn’t have known what God would do through his ministry. Only five people attended the first service, held in the home of a friend. However, the small gatherings grew in size, ultimately developing into the largest Christian congregation in the world, Yoido Full Gospel Church, an Assemblies of God church with over 700,000 members.” Read more about Pastor Cho in From Buddhism To Christ.

George O. Wood is the General Superintendent for the Assemblies of God. In light of last week’s Supreme Court decision, he sent out a letter that I really appreciated. Here is how the letter closes: “I close with three words of pastoral advice—First, to Assemblies of God ministers: Politics reflects culture, and culture reflects religion. If you are concerned with the political drift of American culture, preach the gospel! As it sends out roots in the lives of believers, the seeds of the Gospel will change hearts and minds. Second, to Assemblies of God adherents: You are privileged citizens of a blessed nation. Use your citizenship well! Seek the common good. Advocate for the last, the lost, and the least. Speak the truth in love. And vote for candidates and issues that reflect a biblical perspective. The difference in so many conflicts in American politics and culture turns on who turns out to vote. Third, to all Christians: If you are troubled with the Supreme Court’s decision, keep perspective! In this and every other matter, always remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33). Let us all pray for a great spiritual awakening in our country!”

Links & Quotes—Special Supreme Court Issue

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Our culture has become one of soundbites, and the ability to listen to an argument and counter-argument is becoming a rare quality indeed. I have seen the headlines today and I have heard the 10-second soundbites, but reading the Court’s decision in full has been most educational. Read it for yourself here. The biggest concern I have in this decision was stated by Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissent—

“Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact—and the furthest extension one can even imagine—of the Court’s claimed power to create ‘liberties’ that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.”

And Chief Justice John Roberts in his dissenting opinion stated another truth—

“If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”

Something can be legal, and still be immoral (does anyone remember slavery?). The Supreme Court of the United States can define (or re-define) legislative matters, but ultimate moral authority doesn’t belong to those nine justices; it belongs with God and His revealed will in the Bible. Despite what the Supreme Court says, God still has the final word on how marriage is defined.

Ryan T. Anderson gives us some counsel on how to respond to the Court’s decision.

John Piper’s commentary is brilliant—So-Called Same Sex Marriage: Lamenting The New Calamity.

Here is a good way for Christians to respond: “We must always remember that those who traffic in lies are image-bearers of God and objects of His love. But they are ‘defiled’—that’s Paul’s word—both in their thinking and in their values. The Lie has made such an impression on some people that it has taken over their thinking, desires, values, and choices. Such people do not need our condemnation; instead, they need patience, gentleness, and probably a series of extended conversations if they’re ever going to break out of the web of lies in which they have become ensnared. … Thus we need to make sure that our hearts are saturated with love for those we intend to confront, in order to issue a sharp rebuke and, hopefully, gain them for the faith of Christ.” —T.M. Moore

Links & Quotes

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“A Christian mind asks questions, probes problems, confesses ignorance, feels perplexity, but does these things within the context of a profound and growing confidence of the reality of God and of his Christ.” —John R.W. Stott

“How can we expect to chase satan out of our churches, our homes, our troubled children, if we don’t pray? How can parents expect God to impart spiritual power to them when they argue, fight and gossip in front of their kids? How can they expect to possess authority when they go out drinking, and then fly into a rage when they learn their kids smoke pot?” —David Wilkerson

“An increase of love, a more perfect apprehension of Christ’s love is one of the best and most infallible gauges whereby we may test ourselves whether we have grown in grace or not. If we have grown in grace, it is absolutely certain that we shall have advanced in our knowledge and reciprocation of the love of Christ.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Actions have consequences! In the book of Genesis we read how Joseph placed his loyalty above lust when he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife. His primary concern was the preference of God when he said, ‘How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God’ (Genesis 39:9)? The lesson we learn from Joseph is surprisingly simple: Do what pleases God. Your co-workers want to include a trip to a gentleman’s club on the evening agenda. What do you do? Do what pleases God. Your date invites you to conclude the evening with drinks at his place. How should you reply? Do what pleases God. You don’t fix a struggling marriage with an affair, a drug problem with more drugs, debt with more debt. You don’t get out of a mess by making another one. You’ll never go wrong doing what is right. Just do what pleases God.” —Max Lucado

Seth Godin has a great point: We usually tell people how to do things, but rarely do we tell them why to do things. Check out Seth’s insight here.

More Sex Talk

Married couple in bedSex is good. God designed it to be that way! As more and more scientific studies are completed and research papers published there is one thing becoming more and more clear—God’s way of having sex (a married husband and wife) is the best way to do it.

Pornography before or during marriage is a relationship killer. [1] Porn makes you objectify the other person, seeing them as an object to be used and not a person to be loved. [2] Porn creates unrealistic expectations that your spouse cannot live up to. [3] Even so-called “soft” porn is the open door to more destructive viewing habits. [4] Porn erodes the trust that holds a relationship together. [5] Porn isolates marriage partners from each other, because they think they can find satisfaction on a screen.

Having sex before marriage actually rewires your brain, making it so much harder to bond with your spouse after you say “I do.” Check this out:

For over a decade, there have been numerous studies that reveal three different attachment styles in the way people bond sexually: secure, anxious and avoidant. The latter is what’s interesting as it reflects the behavior we see in the statistics above.

According to Dr. [Sue] Johnson: “Those of us who are avoidant, that is, uncomfortable with emotional closeness and dependence on others, are more likely to have what I term ‘sealed-off sex.’ Sex is self-centered and self-affirming, a performance aimed at achieving climax and confirming one’s own sexual skill. Technique is prized; openness and vulnerability shunned. There is little foreplay, such as kissing or tender touching. And no cuddling afterward—once the Big Bang occurs, there’s nothing left … Because pleasure without emotional engagement is shallow and fleeting, this kind of sex needs continual boosting to be thrilling.”

God’s desire is for your sexual relationship with your spouse to be intoxicating! The descriptions in Scripture are of a husband and wife intoxicated with each other, and God pronouncing a blessing over the couple as they are wrapped up in each other! God wants sex in your marriage to be so amazingly good that there is never a shadow of a thought of looking anywhere else.

But if you want this, you must do sex God’s way. One man and one woman who are married to each other, and who have left behind all the entanglements of other partners, whether they’re real or virtual.

Trip Lee on Sex, Marriage & Pornography

RiseTrip Lee’s book Rise is a great resource to put into the hands of a young person, but even better would be for teacher or parent or youth pastor to read it and discuss it with them. A huge issue young people deal with is their own sexuality, along with what the culture says about marriage and pornography. Check out this insight from Trip—

“Our world often treats sex as if it’s the greatest thing life has to offer us. It puts an incredible amount of pressure on us to explore and experienced everything as soon as we can. And they treat it like the experience is an end in itself. While it is an amazing gift, sex is certainly not an end in itself. It’s a glorious chapter of a much bigger and more glorious story. But by elevating it above everything else and separating it from it’s beautiful intended purposes, we actually lower its value and degrade it.”

“Marriage is a masterful illustration, and when we have sex outside of marriage, we’re messing with the clearest picture God’s embedded into creation of His love for His people. Marriage is a parable we get to take part in, so a lot is at stake with your purity.”

“When you look at porn, you’re rejecting God and His plan. You’re saying, ‘God, I know this person is not my spouse and I’m not meant to look at them with lust, but I refuse to except that. I will look at them this way, whether You like it or not.’” 

“Building habits of sexual sin is not something that can just be turned off easily after you say your vows. We shouldn’t imagine that the monster lurking in your soul will go dormant the minute you kiss your bride or groom.”

“Porn gives us a distorted view of the opposite sex. Those people whose bodies are captured in images on your computer screen or smartphones are made in the image of God. You’re objectifying them. You’re insulting God. You’re treating His image with disdain and perversion. You’re supporting an evil industry that destroys lives and marriages. You’re supporting an industry that is known to enslave and manipulate young women. Instead of caring for the weak, hurting, and confused, you’re supporting their pain and confusion. You’re encouraging them in it. With each click, you’re giving it a thumbs-up. Instead of seeing them how God sees them, you’re looking at them through broken lenses.”

You can read my review of Rise by clicking here.

You can check out more quotes from Rise by clicking here.

Links & Quotes

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“What takes away the compulsion of revenge is our deep confidence that this world is not our home, and that God is our utterly sure and all-satisfying reward.” —John Piper

“Though it is clear as noonday in Scripture and in experience that stability is not to be found beneath the moon, yet men are for ever building upon earth’s quicksand as if it were substantial rock, and heaping up its dust, as though it would not all be blown away.” —Charles Spurgeon

[PHOTOS] 50 photos of Moms loving their kids in very trying times.

This post from a Live Dead team member—The Risk Of Security—reminds me to (1) pray for our front-line missionaries, and (2) pray that God will move on people’s hearts to raise up more missionaries!

How to poison your marriage in 3 easy steps: blame, compare, withdraw. Married couple should definitely read this post.

I love the leadership insights from Tim Elmore. He’s got a thoughtful post today on 2 temptations leaders face in turbulent times.

[VIDEO] Frank Turek and Boby Conway discuss the question: Can Science Disprove God?

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