Friday, August 31, 2007

Here's Another One

Colorado Student Files Lawsuit Over Commencement Speech That Mentioned Jesus

Friday , August 31, 2007



A student who said she was told she wouldn't get her diploma unless she apologized for a commencement speech in which she mentioned Jesus has filed a lawsuit alleging her free speech rights were violated.

The school district contends its actions were "constitutionally appropriate."

Erica Corder was one of 15 valedictorians at Lewis-Palmer High School in 2006. All were invited to speak for 30 seconds at the graduation ceremony. When it was Corder's turn, she encouraged the audience to get to know Jesus Christ.

Corder had not included those remarks during rehearsals.

Corder's lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court, said Principal Mark Brewer told her to prepare a public apology or she would not receive her diploma. She was still allowed to graduate.

The lawsuit said Brewer would not give Corder her diploma until she included a sentence saying, "I realize that, had I asked ahead of time, I would not have been allowed to say what I did." Corder received her diploma after complying.

The school district released a statement Wednesday saying officials reviewed Corder's case when it happened in 2006 and also met several times with Corder and her parents.

"While we are disappointed that this matter has resulted in litigation, we are confident that all actions taken by school officials were constitutionally appropriate," the statement said. "As a result, we intend to vigorously defend the claims. Beyond that, it is the district's policy not to comment on pending litigation."

Brewer, who now works for Douglas County schools, declined to comment Wednesday.

Corder is represented by attorneys affiliated with Liberty Counsel, an Orlando, Fla.-based group that says it is dedicated to advancing religious freedom.

Say Goodbye to Your Freedom

I just finished reading a story on World Net Daily where a kindergarten student was not allowed to have his mother read a story from the Bible to his class. In this article, the teacher was promoting "All About Me" and wanted the students to share what their favorite book was. This student's favorite book was the Bible. The teacher invited the students parents to read to their children in class but when this students mother wanted to read from the Bible they were censored (Read the story below).

It's stories like these that show where our religious freedom is heading. This type of behavior is only against those who are "Christian." You won't find this occurring with Muslims, Hindu's, Buddhists, etc. only Christians. Jesus told His disciples that a day was coming where they would be persecuted because of Him. That day is closer than you think.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Kindergarten cops rule: Witches in, Bibles out
'Sounds the death knell for religious freedom'

Posted: August 31, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2007

The Marple Newtown board, (left to right) David McGinley, Carol DeLuca, Won Shin (seated), Jeff Shapiro, Nancy Galbraith, Ed Partridge, Richard Sokorai, Bob Moldoff and Dick Carpenter

A court decision that opens the doors of Culbertson Elementary School in Pennsylvania to books about witches – but rejects the Bible as being too "proselytizing" – is being challenged.

The Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund has submitted amicus briefs in a lawsuit filed when a kindergarten student, under an assignment in which parents were invited to read their child's favorite book, was denied permission to have his mother read a Bible story.

A decision in U.S. District Court that sided with the school's decision to ban the Bible reading, while allowing teachers to suggest reading books about "witches and Halloween," effectively "sounds the death knell for religious freedom in public schools," the ADF argues.

(Story continues below)

"By transmuting private religious speech into government speech, granting school officials carte blanche authority to determine what religious speech is 'too religious,' and holding that a school's desire to avoid a perceived Establishment Clause violation justifies viewpoint discrimination, the lower court's opinion permits a blatant violation of the Constitution," the group said.

"The school's decision to ban religious speech is nothing more than blatant viewpoint discrimination," said ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. "This was not about proselytizing anyone," continued ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman. "It was about letting students tell the class about what things are important to them, and the Bible is important to this student."

The classroom assignment was called "All About Me," and was intended to provide an opportunity for children to "identify individual interests and learn about others," the ADF said. The activity at the school – which lists an unspecified "religious holiday" in September but a "winter recess" in December – allowed students to talk about their interests through the use of their favorite stuffed animals, posters, snacks and games and books.

When his turn came, Culbertson Elementary student Wesley Busch asked his mother to read from his favorite book, the Bible. But the ADF said school officials told Donna Kay Busch that the school viewed the Bible as "proselytizing" and as "promoting a specific religious point of view," banning it from the class.

Officials with the Marple Newtown School District had defended their actions as reasonable, and the trial court judge agreed.

However, the ADF's brief argued "the lower court's radical departure from settled First Amendment law poses a serious threat to religious expression."

The brief noted that the school allowed discussion of religion in the "All About Me" assignment. "Because Wesley liked to go to church, he created a poster that included a picture of a church with the words, 'I like to go to church' below it. This poster was displayed on the wall."

But the Bible reading Wesley requested was rejected because the Bible promotes "a specific religious point of view" and the teacher instead suggested Wesley's mother "read a book 'about witches and Halloween' instead."

The ADF said the district court erred in assuming that such private speech would be attributed to the school.

"Indeed, the Bible reading at issue in this case is Wesley's speech: his mother came to the class at his request, to read his book selection, so that he could share himself with his classmates," the ADF said.

The filing also noted the dangers the district court ruling left in its wake.

"The lower court presumes that certain religious speech – i.e., religious speech that crosses some indeterminate threshold where it becomes 'too religious' – automatically violates the Establishment Clause and thus may constitutionally be censored. This holding is plain legal error under controlling precedent. Moreover, it impermissibly interjects government officials into the affairs and doctrines of religion."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Outline of Ezekiel

“From the first to the last chapter of Ezekiel one supreme thought runs throughout, that of the sovereignty and glory of the Lord God. He is sovereign in Israel and in the affairs of the nations of the world, though the loud and boisterous claims of men seem to have drowned out this truth. In His sovereign will God has purposed that we should glorify Him in life and witness to the ends of the earth.”—Charles Lee Feinberg

Ezekiel ministered to his fellow-exiles immediately before and during the first twenty-some years of the captivity. They falsely expected to return to Jerusalem, so he taught them that they must
first return to the Lord.

Ezekiel’s prophecy is divided into three parts.
First, he rehearses the sins of Judah and warns of God’s impending judgment in the captivity of the people and the destruction of the capital. This is all vividly announced in unusual visions and symbolic acts. A bright, shining cloud, a figure of God’s presence, is seen lingering over the temple, then reluctantly departing. This meant that God could no longer dwell among His people because of their sin, and His sword of judgment must soon descend on the polluted temple. The glory of the Lord is one of the key thoughts running throughout the Book of Ezekiel.

In the
second section, Judah’s neighbors are condemned because of their idolatry and their cruel treatment of God’s people. These are the Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites, Philistines, Tyrians, Sidonians, and Egyptians.

Finally, in the
last section, Ezekiel tells of the restoration and reunion of the entire nation—both Israel and Judah. When the people repent of their sins, God will put His Holy Spirit within them. The Messiah will come to His people and destroy their last enemies. The temple will be rebuilt, and the glory of the Lord will return to it. These prophecies have not yet been fulfilled, but look forward to Christ’s one- thousand-year reign on earth, the Millennium.

Like many other prophetic books, Ezekiel is not entirely chronological, though more so than Isaiah and Jeremiah. We should take notice of the dates or time periods that are given at the beginning of many chapters. Albert Barnes puts the prophecies in chronological order as follows:
The prophecies are divided into groups by dates prefixed to various chapters, and we may assume that those prophecies which are without date were delivered at the same time as the last given date, or at any rate, they followed closely upon it.

1. The fifth year of Jehoiachin’s captivity.
Chs. 1–7. Ezekiel’s call, and prediction of the coming siege of Jerusalem.

2. The sixth year.
Chs. 8–19. An inspection of the whole condition of the people, with predictions of coming punishment,

3. The seventh year.
Chs. 20–23. Fresh reproofs and fresh predictions of the coming ruin.

4. The ninth year.
Ch. 24. The year in which the siege began. The declarations that the city should be overthrown.

5. The same year.
Ch. 25. Prophecies against Moab, Ammon and the Philistines.

6. The eleventh year.
In this year Jerusalem was taken after a siege of eighteen months and the temple destroyed.
Chs. 26–28. Prophecies against Tyre.

7. The tenth year.
Ch. 29:1–16. Prophecy against Egypt.

8. The twenty-seventh year.
Chs. 29:17–30:19. Prophecy against Egypt.

9. The eleventh year.
Chs. 30:20–31:18. Prophecy against Egypt.

10. The twelfth year.
Ch. 32. Prophecy against Egypt.

11. The same year.
Chs. 33–34. Reproof of unfaithful rulers.

12. The same year, or some year between the twelfth and twenty-fifth.
Ch. 35. Judgment of Mount Seir.

13. The same year.
Chs. 36–39. Visions of Comfort. Overthrow of Gog.

14. The twenty-fifth year.
Chs. 40–48. The vision of the temple.

William MacDonald and Arthur Farstad, Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1995). Eze 2:8.

Monday, August 27, 2007

How to Study the Bible

Bible study is very important for all believers. It is the very means by which you are equipped for God"s work. It is not just for those called to vocational ministry but for all believers. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

How does one go about "rightly dividing the word of truth?" Let"s find out as we learn where Bible study begins and how to study the Bible.

Where Bible Study Begins

It begins with a preparation and a proper perspective. When we come to God"s Word we must see it as it is — God"s holy, infallible, inerrant, inspired Word. It"s God"s Word!

How to Study the Bible

Once you have adequately prepared yourself for study by prayer and confession of sin, you must begin now with the basics.

You Must Read the Bible ("What does the Bible say?")

Jerry Vines said, "An unread Bible is like food uneaten, a love letter never read, a buried sword, a road map unstudied, gold never mined" (A Practical Guide to Sermon Preparation, p.69).

Richard Moulton said, "We have done almost everything that is possible with these Hebrew and Greek writings. We have overlaid them, clause by clause, with exhaustive commentaries; we have translated them, revised the translations, and quarreled over the revisions...There is yet one thing left to do with the Bible: simply read it" (Cited by Vines, p.69).

Now that you have established a priority of reading the Bible, you must now:

Interpret the Bible ("What does the Bible Mean?")

The ultimate task in interpretation is to "discover why the author wrote what he wrote."

In doing that you must discover "the original meaning intended by the author" (Han Finzel, Unlocking the Scriptures, p.65).

To help with finding the original meaning intended by the author, you must:

Understand the problems. There are gaps that must be bridged like language, history, culture, and geography.

To help you bridge these gaps you need to be familiar with a few important principles:

1. Remember that context rules
2. Always seek the full counsel of the Word of God
3. Remember that Scripture will never contradict Scripture
4. Do not base your doctrine on an obscure passage of Scripture
5. Interpret Scripture literally
6. Check your conclusions by using reliable commentaries

Now that you are familiar with the principles you need to follow a particular procedure:

1. Ask specific questions (who, what, where, when, why) Who? (the characters), The writer, The recipients, The characters involved in the action, The characters not directly involved in the action, Special people addressed in the passage. What? (the key truths or events), Key ideas, Theological terms, Key events, Important words, Figures of speech, Atmosphere. Where? (the geography and location), Places mentioned, Buildings, Cities, Nations, Landmarks. When? (the time factors), Date of authorship, Duration of the action, When in the church age, When in the life of Israel, Past, present, or future? Why? (the purpose of the passage or book)

"The answers to who, what, where, when, and why can be found by looking in these four places, in the order stated: content of the passage/book; context of the passage; comparison; with other Scriptures; consultation with resource books" (Finzel, p.69).

The final step in interpretation is the formulation of a conclusion, based on your research.

2. Summarizing the steps by stating an initial proposal based on the content.

"You cannot adequately do this until you have went through the observation principles." This can be the theme of the passage or it could be a principle that the passage is teaching. Next you need to search the context. What can the surrounding context of the passage add to your understanding of it? The teaching of a single passage must be viewed within the setting of the entire book from which it is lifted. The third step is to seek comparison (cross-reference). The Bible itself sheds light on its own meaning. Cross- reference and using other Bible translations can be helpful. The fourth step is to survey the secondary resources (commentaries, atlases, dictionaries). This is only after you have done the other work yourself. When you use these secondary resources use them discerningly. And the final step is to state your conclusions. When you do this try to state it in one sentence or less with cross-references in accordance to the context. Don"t forget to include any application principles that may come directly from your study.

Now that you have read the Bible and applied the principles of interpretation, you must:

Apply the Bible (This answers the question, "How does it apply to my life?")

Application always follows interpretation. J. Robertson McQuilkin said, "The goal of all Bible study is to apply the truth of Scripture to life. If that application is not made, all the work put into making sure of the author"s intended meaning will have gone for naught. In fact, to know and not do, doubles the offense of disobedience" (Understanding and Applying the Bible, p.255).

Ps.119:34 - "Give me understanding and I shall keep your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart." [James 1:22 (doers not hearers)]

Application must be kept simple, practical, and personal. Ask the right questions: "How does this relate to my life?" Some other questions you can ask are: Is there a principle to apply, Is there a command to obey, Is there an attitude to adjust or Is there a sin to repent of?

Next you want to principlize what you learn. Take the Scripture you are studying and write a brief sentence of what it is teaching. What is James 1:2-12 teaching? "Trials are a part of my Christian experience. I am to count it all joy because of what they are teaching me in my life."

Second, model before others what you learn. Paul was a model to the church. He said in Phil.4:9 - "The things which you have learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." Just as Paul, we are to equally model righteousness before others. 1 Tim.4:12 says, "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." 1 Pet.5:3 says, "Nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock."

Last, teach what you learn to others (Mat.28:19-20). Paul told Timothy in 2 Tim.2:1-2 - You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.


Read the Bible
Interpret the Bible
Apply the Bible

Remember the goal of all Bible study is to know God and make Him known!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Receiving the Implanted Word

How are you at receiving the Word? James says in order to "receive...the implanted word," you must first "lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness." Once you do that then you must "receive with meekness the implanted word" (Jas.1:21). Recently I have been thinking that if you cannot get anything out of the Word when it is presented, the problem might be that you're not saved or it could mean pride is prohibiting your reception of the Word. You see, many times we blame the teachers of the Word when we're not getting what we should. But regardless of the teacher, you should feast on the Word every time it is presented regardless of the depth in which it is presented. The cry of every heart should be "O God, deliver me from myself!" Because to "receive...the implanted Word, it must be done in "meekness."

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Purpose Driven Life is Not What You Think

Today we are looking at 1 Thessalonians 1, verses 8-10 in what I believe to be the purpose of every believer in Jesus Christ. Many times Christians fumble around misunderstanding their purpose but as we will see in this text — we have one purpose. Some Christians believe that our purpose is to "moralize the unconverted."

John MacArthur, in his book, Nothing But the Truth, says, "At the beginning of 1999, a major battle in the culture war took place. The Bill Clinton impeachment hearings, conducted by the highest level of leadership in our nation, were in reality a referendum on the culture war. But what began as outrage against immorality, deception, and abuse of power ended rather abruptly without any punishment or even censure. May I suggest that the culture war, at least as we know it, is now over. The impeachment process gave us a clear indication of where our culture stands—and we have discovered that it refuses to follow a biblical morality. The culture war is over—and we’ve lost. That was the inevitable end because this world is the domain of darkness, whether it’s portrayed as moral or immoral. Our responsibility has never been to moralize the unconverted; it’s to convert the immoral. Our responsibility is redemptive, not political. We do not have a moral agenda; we have a redemptive agenda...The single divine calling of the church is to bring sinful people to salvation through Christ. If we do not lead the lost to salvation, nothing else we do for them, no matter how beneficial at the time, is of any eternal consequence" (p.10).

There are 2 simple truths that I want you to see in 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10 regarding your purpose.

Evangelism Starts With You (v.8a)

"For from you"

"You" is Referring to the "church" Paul is addressing "the church of the Thessalonians" (v.1a)

The church is God’s elect (v.4) They are "followers of...the Lord" (v.6) Evangelism is the churches responsibility and purpose. Jesus indicated that to the disciples in Mat.28:19-20. He also told them when the Holy Spirit "has come upon shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

Erwin Lutzer said,"Christianity spread rapidly during the first century because all Christians saw themselves as responsible for disseminating the gospel" (Draper’s Quotations).

Evangelism is a Direct Response to Our Personal Reception of God’s Word (vv.6-7)

When the people at Thessalonica "received the word" they "became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe" (v.7) Notice first they "received the word" and then they became "examples." The Greek word for example (tupos) "was used to describe a seal that marked wax or a stamp that minted coins. Paul commended the Thessalonians for being model believers leaving their mark on others" (John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible). Their "example" to others was the supernatural response they had to God’s Word

When you become a follower of the Lord you will tell others about your faith — it will be a direct response. When Jesus healed people they immediately told others what happened. Mat.4:23-25 - And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. 24 Then 4 His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. 25 Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from 5 Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.

After Paul was saved it says in Acts 9:20, "Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God."

John Wesley said, "I look upon all the world as my parish" (Draper’s).

Evangelism is a Lifestyle Not a Church Program (vv.8a-10)

Every Believer in the Thessalonian Church Preached the Gospel. It was not left up to Paul and his associates. Paul said their "faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything" (v.8)

"If you live by the same values and priorities [Jesus] had, you will find evangelism happening naturally. It becomes a life-style and not a project" (REBECCA MANLEY PIPPERT, Draper’s).

The Gospel was Personally Tied to their Faith. Paul says "For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth...Your faith toward God has gone out." The "word of the Lord" and "Your faith toward God" is being used synonymously. The "word of the Lord" is their "faith toward God" — it is objective truth!

The Gospel They Had Received "Sounded Forth." It reverberated forth. "Sounded forth" Gr.execheomai, "to ring out" (UBS Grk Dic), "to proclaim" (Lou- Nida). It was heard everywhere — in "Macedonia and every place." "Wherever the Thessalonians went, the gospel given by the word of the Lord was heard. It resulted in a local outreach to Thessalonica, a national outreach to Macedonia and Achaia, and an international outreach to regions beyond" (MacArthur).

"Jesus . . . wants us to see that the neighbor next door or the people sitting next to us on a plane or in a classroom are not interruptions to our schedule. They are there by divine appointment. Jesus wants us to see their needs, their loneliness, their longings, and he wants to give us the courage to reach out to them" (REBECCA MANLEY PIPPERT, Draper’s).

Lifestyle Evangelism is Both Heard and Seen (vv.9-10). Lifestyle evangelism is not just living out the Gospel in my life. It is living and proclaiming the Gospel in my life. Those who heard the "word of the Lord" from the Thessalonian’s declared what kind of people the Thessalonian’s were (v.9). They declared they had "turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come" (vv.9-10). This was the testimony of the Thessalonians believers. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 that we are to "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

God was glorified by the Thessalonians for the proclamation of their faith. He was glorified by those who heard the Gospel from the Thessalonians. He can be glorified by His church today!

We are to evangelize the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It is to be every part of our living because it is connected to our faith! When people ask us to stop proclaiming the Gospel they are also asking us to stop believing because the two are closely related. Do you understand your purpose as the body of Christ?

Monday, August 20, 2007

How to Receive God's Word

How are you at receiving the Word? James says in order to "receive...the implanted word," you must first "lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness." Once you do that then you must "receive with meekness the implanted word" (Jas.1:21). Recently I have been thinking that if you cannot get anything out of the Word when it is presented, the problem might be that you're not saved or it could mean pride is prohibiting your reception of the Word. You see, many times we blame the teachers of the Word when we're not getting what we should. But regardless of the teacher, you should feast on the Word every time it is presented regardless of the depth in which it is presented. The cry of every heart should be "O God, deliver me from myself!" Because to "receive...the implanted Word, it must be done in "meekness."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Tempter

Satan is a master at tempting us to sin. In fact his temptations are old, finding their way with the first woman - Eve (Gen.3). So it is wise for you and I to heed the words of the apostles regarding this enemy of the soul. Peter said, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pet.5:8). James adds "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (Jas.4:7). Don't be fooled by his temptations. Jesus said that he is "a liar and the father of it" (Jn.8:44). As Thomas Manton wrote, "If you yield to Satan in the least, he will carry you further and further, till he has left you under a stupefied or terrified conscience: stupefied, till thou hast lost all thy tenderness. A stone at the top of a hill, when it begins to roll down, ceases not till it comes to the bottom. Thou thinkest it is but yielding a little, and so by degrees are carried on, till thou hast sinned away all thy profession, and all principles of conscience, by the secret witchery of his temptations." Yielding to Satan won't cost you your salvation but you will sure feel you have lost it. Another lie that he is good at. Heed God's Word by being "sober" and "vigiliant." That is the key to resisting him.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Spiritual Warfare

Do you realize that we, as Christians, are in a battle? It's a battle with the unseen demonic world. Paul said in Ephesians 6:11: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (NIV). Notice that he says our struggle is not physical but spiritual. It's "not against flesh and blood." Therefore, because of its nature, you must be Spirit-filled (Eph.5:18) and "strong in the Lord (Eph.6:10). The warfare that we're engaged in is not with the people in your home or at work - it's with the god of this world. And as you walk under the control of the indwelling Spirit you will sense that conflict on an even greater scale.

So as you live today in the fellowship of the Spirit, realize that this warfare is a "war of universal proportions pitting God and His truth against Satan and his lies. It’s a battle of wills between God and Satan. It’s a cosmic conflict that involves God and the highest creature He ever made and it filters down to every human being. Satan and his army of demons are fighting Christ, His holy angels, the nation of Israel, and believers. The battle lines are clearly drawn" (How to Meet the Enemy, John MacArthur).