Links & Quotes

Don’t rush through your Bible reading time. Slow down to savor the good stuff. And if there’s something you don’t understand, ask the “Chef”—the Holy Spirit loves to make God’s Word clear to you.

On a recent Breakpoint broadcast, John Stonestreet reported, “Even while many nations pump the brakes on radical transgender ideology and healthcare practices, Americans at both the state and federal level continue to push culture-wide affirmation, social transition of minors, hormone therapies, and harmful surgeries. Advocates frequently claim that so-called and misnamed ‘gender-affirming’ treatments—including surgery—‘save lives,’ that gender dysphoria is a permanent condition even among minors, and that regret by those who undergo such treatments are minimal or non-existent. Increasingly, research suggests otherwise.”

“Hazael’s historicity has never truly been in doubt; there are far too many inscriptions from the ancient world testifying to his existence.” Check out this archeological biography of King Hazael who appears several times in the Bible.

Dan Reiland notes, “Leaders navigate within the realm of pressure; it’s part of the landscape. It’s how we handle the pressure that makes all the difference.” Dan shares four ways the pressure of leadership is needed and helpful.

Be careful with non-biblical rules! I went much deeper with this idea in an exclusive video for my Patreon sponsors. If you want to get access to these exclusive lessons, it’s just $5/month. Check out my Patreon page to subscribe → https://www.patreon.com/craigtowens.

John Piper explains that there are three levels of how to live with material things. He then dives deeper into what the purpose of prosperity really is.

T.M. Moore has a stern word for pastors: “If we are faithful in telling the whole truth of the Gospel, not everyone will be thrilled with our preaching. We need to make sure Jesus is. When it comes to sin, let’s not mince words, and let’s not act like it’s not the big deal it is. No progress in faith can be made where sin is not consistently and thoroughly confessed, repented of, and forsaken.”

Marching Off The Map (book review)

In my mind, Tim Elmore stands head-and-shoulders above the rest in giving the most meaningful insights into the minds of today’s youth. Parents, coaches, teachers, and youth pastors will do themselves and the students with whom they work a huge service by using Dr. Elmore’s newest book—Marching Off The Map—as their guiding light in working with this young generation.

Never before have so many youth been exposed to so much information at such young ages. As a result, today’s students are both more prepared and less prepared to take on the future than any generation before them. Does this sound contradictory to you?

Consider the case of Alexander the Great. He conquered territory so quickly that he literally marched off the map; that is to say, there were no known maps for the new territory in to which he took his armies. Alexander’s mapmakers were pressed into duty to draw the maps as they were discovering new lands. They were both more and less prepared to move forward, just like today’s generation of students.

Those who work with today’s students can probably relate! Parents and teachers are attempting to write new maps as they go. They are being called upon to be both timeless and timely; to bring timeless principles into a territory where they’ve never been before in a timely way.

“This book is about moving into unknown territory as caring adults, and leading the way for the younger generations behind us. It’s all about inspiring students to learn in this brand new world. Whether you are an educator, a parent, a coach, an employer, a youth worker or just someone who cares about kids, this book was created to help you chart the course into the future.” —Tim Elmore 

Along the way Dr. Elmore will introduce you to some of today’s youth, help you see the world through their eyes, and give you invaluable insight into how best to educate, train, and equip them to be the leaders of the next generations. All of Dr. Elmore’s books are well-documented with research, statistics, graphics, and suggestions which are guaranteed to open your eyes and your mind.

If you truly care about seeing the next generation of youth be as prepared to face the future as possible, Marching Off The Map has to be a must-read! 

I am a Poet Gardener Publishing book reviewer.

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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FAM101-How-RFRA-Works-Infographic-R5“Based on the vitriol directed towards Indiana, one would never know that 19 states and the federal government already have a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) virtually identical to the one passed by the Hoosier state. One governor, Malloy of Connecticut, blasted Governor Pence even though Connecticut’s RFRA potentially goes further than Indiana’s in offering protections to people of faith. Companies such as Apple speak of boycotting Indiana while simultaneously opening stores in China and Saudi Arabia, places of real enslavement and discrimination. While most of the rhetoric is designed to intimidate other states from following Indiana’s lead, it is disturbing to see how many Americans places greater importance on sexual freedom and economic prosperity than they do on freedom of conscience.” ―Michigan Family Forum

Here’s a great infographic explaining how the RFRA really works.

The Barna Group has some research showing what Americans believe about Jesus.

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Here are 5 signs that someone may have been (or is being) abused.

Interesting: research is showing that you might be healthier not getting a blood transfusion.

Seth Godin says, “Being really good is merely the first step. In order to earn word of mouth, you need to make it safe, fun and worthwhile to overcome the social hurdles to spread the word.” Read more in his post The Selfish Truth About Word Of Mouth.

[VIDEO] J. Warner Wallace and Bobby Conway discuss when you should stop looking at other religions…

 

Going To Pot (book review)

Going To PotI have been concerned for some time about the pro-legalization (or de-criminalization) movement throughout our country. There seems to be haste to un-do the laws that have served our nation well for many, many years. One especially troubling aspect is expertly addressed in Going To Pot: Why the rush to legalize marijuana is harming America by William Bennett and Robert White.

One by one, Bennett and White dismantle each of the pro-legalization arguments that are being promoted. And these gentleman are truly in a position to speak authoritatively: William Bennett has served as the Drug Czar and as the Secretary of Education (both Cabinet-level positions), and Robert White served as an Assistant US Attorney. In short, these guys know what they’re talking about!

Bennett and White systematically lay out each argument, and then share the facts which completely destroy the arguments. They talk about drug policies that haven’t worked internationally, and they also show the failure of the legalization of marijuana within our own borders. In addition, they also lay out a very thoughtful plan for our country going forward.

This topic is going to continue to come up for a vote on the State-level, so concerned citizens should read Going To Pot to arm themselves with the facts that will contradict the hype and rhetoric of the pro-marijuana crowd.

I am a Center Street book reviewer.

Quick Encouragement

Smiling facesObviously you know that your words can encourage people, but did you know something even quicker can encourage those around you?

A recent study in Frontiers In Neuroscience showed the power of encouraging messages to those who were exercising. Those encouraged lasted longed. Check out this part of the report―

Study participants rode stationary bikes equipped with screens on which either smiley faces and encouraging words (“go,” “energy”) or sad faces and inactive words (“stop,” “tired”), were projected for less than 0.02 seconds, hidden by other visuals so they wouldn’t be consciously recognized. Subjects shown positive cues were able to exercise significantly longer than those shown negative cues. (emphasis added)

Did you catch that? Encouraging messages only needed to be 0.02 seconds long to make a huge difference.

A smile. A pat on the back. A wink. A thumbs-up. You can do all of those in less than a second, and it may be all the encouragement someone needs to keep on going.

Links & Quotes

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Today is pi day (3.1415), and Seth Godin has a great look at this day in his post Magical and Irrational.

Sadly, religious persecution is alive and well … IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?!? This Navy chaplain has been removed from his unit for―gasp!―preaching from the Bible!

Some very good pro-life news. Scientists have called on their peers to agree not to modify human embryos — even for research. Just because scientists can do something doesn’t mean it should be done.

“Cancer research disagrees with the assumptions of beneficial mutations, millions of years, and junk DNA.” Read more in Cancer Research Inadvertently Refutes Evolution.

“Yes, I know one doesn’t even want to be cured of one’s pride because it gives pleasure. But the pleasure of pride is like the pleasure of scratching. If there is an itch one does want to scratch: but it is much nicer to have neither the itch nor the scratch. As long as we have the itch of self-regard we shall want the pleasure of self-approval; but the happiest moments are those when we forget our precious selves and have neither, but have everything else (God, our fellow-humans, animals, the garden and the sky) instead.” ―C.S. Lewis

Who Needs Sex? An insightful post from Pastor Dave Barringer.

Jim Cymbala asks, “Does anyone really think that America today is lacking preachers, books, Bible translations, and neat doctrinal statements? What we really lack is the passion to call upon the Lord until He opens the heavens and shows Himself powerful.” Read more in Prayer Revival.

“Let me say that for comfort, there is no thought more full of sweetness than that of an eternal God engaged in Christ Jesus to His people; to love, and bless, and save them all. One Who has made them the distinguished objects of His discriminating regard from all eternity, it is the eternal God.” —Charles Spurgeon

Links & Quotes

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“That is the religion of ninety-nine English people out of every hundred who know nothing of divine grace—we are to be as good as we can; we are to go to church or to chapel, and do all that we can, and then Jesus Christ died for us, and we shall be saved. Whereas the gospel is, that He did not do anything at all for people who think they can rely on themselves, but gave Himself for lost and ruined ones. He did not come into the world to save self-righteous people; on their own showing, they do not want to be saved.” —Charles Spurgeon

Twitter stands up to ISIS. About time!

bu-030415-1Interesting research results from The Barna Group in What Millennials Want When They Visit Church.

“The engagement of God’s power never takes the place of the engagement of our will! The power of God in sanctification never makes us passive! The power of God engages itself beneath or behind and within our will, not in place of our will. … God will never appear with power in your will in any other form than a good resolve that you make and keep.” —John Piper

“Jesus is Amen as to His righteousness. That sacred robe shall remain most fair and glorious when nature shall decay. He is Amen in every single title which He bears; your Husband, never seeking a divorce; your Head, the neck never being dislocated; your Friend, sticking closer than a brother; your Shepherd, with you in death’s dark vale; your Help and your Deliverer; your Castle and your High Tower; the Horn of your Strength, your confidence, your joy, your all in all, and Amen in all.” —Charles Spurgeon

Read this in my Archeological Study Bible and thought this rang true for our generation still today: “This generation was not guilty of the gross idolatry of its forefathers. Rather, these Israelites had embraced a kind of dead orthodoxy, in which they tried to get by with the minimum that their faith required.”

Links & Quotes

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“‘Let him ask of God’ [James 1:5]; that is the advice of the Scripture. We are all so ready to go to books, to go to men, to go to ceremonies, to anything except to God. Man will worship God with his eyes, and his arms, and his knees, and his mouth—with anything but his heart—and we are all of us anxious, more or less, until we are renewed by grace, to get off the heart-worship of God.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Newly published research combining genetic, language, and demographic data challenges the idea of a single lineage of languages and human populations evolving out of Africa. Instead, the data supports the idea that multiple people groups have independent origins—a condition one would predict if the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel happened as described in the Bible.” Read more in Out Of Babel.

Dr. Tim Elmore always has great insight for parents, teachers, coaches―anyone working with youth. Don’t let the title of this fantastic post fool you, because it’s not just for athletes: Helping Athletes Navigate A Short-Term, Shortcut Mindset.

This is not a quote from Teddy Roosevelt…

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…but it does, I believe, capture his mindset. This is a quote from one of my favorite US presidents: “We have a given problem to solve. If we undertake the solution, there is, of course, always danger that we may not solve it aright; but to refuse to undertake the solution simply renders it certain that we cannot possibly solve it aright.” ―Theodore Roosevelt

Putting Your Money Where Your Hair Is

SavannahEveryone is probably familiar with the phrase, “Putting your money where your mouth is.” Quite simply we mean, “I believe what I’m saying strongly enough that I would back it up with my money.”

A young lady at Calvary Assembly of God, Savannah Tolar, is taking this one step further. She’s not only putting her money on the line to back up what she says, but she’s putting her hair on the line too!

Savannah, like many people, has been impacted by cancer in her immediate family. As a mother of a beautiful baby boy, she has also been troubled by the lack of funding for childhood cancer research. Savannah wants this lack of funding changed so that a cure for this dreaded disease can be found as soon as possible.

In fact, she believes this so strongly that she is willing to put her beautiful hair on the line. As you probably know, many children undergoing intensive cancer treatments end up losing their hair as a side effect of their chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Savannah is standing in solidarity with those brave kids by allowing her head to be shaved.

Although Savannah has set a goal to raise $3000 for childhood cancer research, I believe we can help her go way beyond this. Please click here to go to Savannah’s page, read her story, and then make a generous donation. On November 26, Savannah will be shaving her head as she stands with those kids who are fighting back against cancer.

Let’s all get behind this!

Way to go, Savannah … I am so proud of you!

UPDATE: To see how Savannah did in her fundraising please click here.

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