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Begin with a Leap

By Cliff Young

The smallest thing can change your life. In the blink of an eye, something happens by chance (or faith or intention) when you least expect it, sets you on a course you never planned into a future you never imagined. Where will it take you? That’s the journey of our lives, our search for the light, but sometimes finding the light means you must pass through the deepest darkness. -The Lucky One Read more...

California State University Scientist Fired for Research that Supports Creationism

By Carrie Dedrick

A scientist at California State University has reportedly been terminated for his research which supports creationism. The scientist has now filed suit against the university, arguing that he was fired for his religious beliefs. 
 
Mark Armitage, a published scientist of over 30 years, found evidence that dinosaurs may have inhabited earth 4,000 years ago. While on the Hell Creek Formation excavation site in Montana, Armitage unearthed the the largest triceratops horn ever discovered. The scientist examined the soft tissue of the horn, believing it to be 4,000 years old at most. Previous research suggested that dinosaurs became extinct 60 million years ago. According to Armitage’s study, however, dinosaurs could have been a part of God’s creation. 
 
Armitage’s lawsuit claims that a CSU official shouted, “We are not going to tolerate your religion in this department!" in regard to the creationist research. 
 
Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute said, "Terminating an employee because of their religious views is completely inappropriate and illegal. But doing so in an attempt to silence scientific speech at a public university is even more alarming. This should be a wakeup call and warning to the entire world of academia."
 
CSU has said that Armitage’s position was only meant to be temporary, and do not have the funding necessary to extend his employment.
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Saeed Abedini's Family Permitted to Visit Prison for Prayer and Fellowship

By Carrie Dedrick

Imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini was permitted to see his family and enjoy a time of prayer and fellowship. The rare visit with relatives was a “physical visitation,” which means that barriers were not placed between Abedini and his relatives.
 
Abedini was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2012 while in Iran planning the construction of a secular orphanage. Throughout his time in jail, Abedini has been beaten by prison guards and other inmates, to the point of needing hospitalization. The pastor will still need surgery to heal the injuries he sustained while in jail. 
 
A prayer vigil is set for September 26 to mark the second anniversary of Abedini’s imprisonment. On that day, the world is encouraged to come together to pray for Abedini, as well as persecuted Christians around the globe. 
 
Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh Abedini said, "Saeed is doing better.  He has heard about the prayer vigil and is praying and expecting great things as we come together and pray."
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5 Ways to Overcome Anger

By Debbie McDaniel

We bowed our heads to pray before dinner. His words hit hard. I didn't want to hear them voiced through his sweet 5 year old heart, but yet sadly, they were true. And the truth hurt. Read more...

Four Ways Christians Can Respond to Being Called "Anti-Gay" and "Judgmental"

By Jim Denison

Adults ages 18-33 fall into a category called "Millennials."  As the next generation of parents, prime ministers and presidents, they are the future of any society.  What they think says a great deal about what their culture will think.
 
For those of us who believe God's word on issues such as same-sex marriage, the news is not encouraging.  Nearly 7-in-10 Millennials support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.  Not surprisingly, only one-quarter believe that evangelical Christians are somewhat or very friendly toward gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered people.  In fact, nearly two-thirds agree that "anti-gay" describes Christianity somewhat or very well.  And more than 6-in-10 younger Millennials believe that Christians could be described as "judgmental." 
 
How should the church respond?  Consider four options.
 
One: we can fight back.  In 1991, sociologist James Davison Hunter defined our era as a "culture war" with two definable polarities on issues such as abortion, gun rights, and homosexuality.  Time magazine's new cover story is titled "Space Invaders," with the subtitle: "From Russian beetles to giant African snails, the U.S. is under assault—and it's costing us billions."  It's easy to feel the same way about moral trends in our culture, choosing to fight back in an adversarial spirit.  However, is this "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) "with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15)?
 
Two: we can retreat into familiar and safe Christian subcultures.  Rising anti-Semitism in France is pushing record numbers of French Jews to make aliyah, relocating to Israel.  American Christians can do the same thing, choosing to live and work only with fellow Christians.  However, does this approach keep our "salt" in the saltshaker, our light under a basket (Matthew 5:13-16)?
 
Three: we can capitulate to the culture.  Franklin Graham's recent essay on courage decries pastors who "just want to preach the Gospel and not become targets by speaking out on specific issues that Jesus Himself did not address."  We are called to "reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching" (2 Timothy 4:2).  Will silence on significant issues be interpreted as capitulation or even endorsement?
 
Four: we can earn the right to speak the truth.  Jesus so confronted a Samaritan woman's sins that she later said he "told me all that I ever did" (John 4:29).  But first he shocked her with his desire to know her personally, even though "Jews have no dealings with Samaritans" (v. 9).  Rather than rejecting his honesty, she then became his ambassador to her village so that "many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony" (v. 39).
 
Who will believe in Jesus because of your testimony today?
 
 
Publication date: July 21, 2014
 

For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.

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Lotto and God: Can a Christian Buy a Lottery Ticket?

By Dr. Roger Barrier

Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at roger@preachitteachit.org. Read more...

Reformed Drug and Porn Addict Found God in a Hotel Room

By Cath Martin

At one time, life for Ryan Ries was a swirl of sex, cocaine abuse, skateboarding and partying - until he picked up a Gideon Bible in a hotel room. Read more...

10 Vital Steps for Raising Kids in a Sex-Crazed World

By Debbie McDaniel

Some time ago, while driving through Houston with my almost 12 year old son, we stopped at a red light, right beside a billboard of a young woman who had way too much revealed. The light seemed to take forever. I shifted in my seat, trying to distract from it glaring right at us. Finally, my son said to me, "Um, Mom, she needs to get some clothes on." Read more...

The Hobby Lobby Decision: A Big Win for Religious Liberty

By Al Mohler

Yesterday’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case represents a huge win for religious liberty in America, and the 5-4 decision will now stand as a landmark case that will reshape the religious liberty debate for generations to come. At the same time, the deeply divided court also revealed in startling clarity its own internal debates over religious liberty — and that division of understanding at the nation’s highest court is very disturbing indeed.
 
Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito declared that the Obama Administration had profoundly failed to meet the demands of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act [RFRA] and, more importantly, the demands of the U. S. Constitution. By mandating that corporations provide all forms of contraception or birth control for all female employees at no cost, the government had burdened the consciences of the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby, Mardel, and Conestoga Wood, the three corporations involved in the decision.
 
The Court restricted its decision to “closely held” private corporations. Hobby Lobby and Mardel are owned and operated by the family of David Green, who with his wife Barbara, began the company in their own home. Though much smaller than Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood is also a privately held corporation. The Green family is a bulwark of evangelical Christian conviction and generosity. The company pays its employees about twice the minimum wage, closes on Sundays, and references the Christian gospel in advertising. All along the way, the Green family makes clear that they are driven by Christian convictions in their corporate policies.
 
Similarly, Conestoga Wood Specialties operates on the same convictions. The Pennsylvania company is known for its quality wood products. It was founded by a deeply committed Mennonite couple, Norman and Elizabeth Hahn, who continue to operate the business with their three sons.
 
Both companies sued the Obama Administration over the contraception mandate authorized under the Affordable Care Act — a mandate that required them to provide and pay for birth control coverage that would have included four specific forms of birth control that may cause early abortions. Neither company sought a complete escape from the contraception mandate.
 
As the majority opinion in the case made clear today, one of the largest questions hanging over the decision is this: Why is the Obama Administration so deliberate in attempting to violate the religious convictions of Americans on the contraception and birth control issue?
 
Today’s decision is yet another repudiation of the heavy-handed and blatantly unconstitutional overreach of President Barack Obama and his administration. The President could have covered contraception and birth control under any number of other means which would not have specifically targeted religious liberty. Instead, the Obama Administration appeared to take the route most likely to trample upon religious liberty and offend Christian conscience. Today’s decision is another rebuke of the President and his approach, coming just days after a set of cases in which his arguments were repudiated by the same court in 9-0 decisions.
 
Furthermore, the President faces the looming threat of even greater rebukes to come. His administration continues to violate the convictions of Christian non-profit organizations and ministries on the same grounds. He faces lawsuits coming from a massive collection of religious non-profit ministries, ranging from evangelical colleges and universities to the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Roman Catholic charity. Today’s decision makes the victory of those groups very likely.
 
The majority opinion handed down today makes several im Read more...

How To Glorify God with Spider-Man

By Ryan Duncan

Everyone has heroes they look up to, who are yours? As a kid, my hero was Aquaman, because riding a shark is probably the coolest thing ever. As I got older though, my idea of heroism began to mature. True heroes were not people with super-abilities, but people who modeled the same qualities as Jesus Christ: Love, Grace, Justice, Courage, and much, much more. Many Christians have turned great spiritual mentors like John Piper and Billy Graham into the heroes of the Christian faith, but if I’m completely honest, I haven’t given up on Aquaman just yet. Read more...