Tag Archives: Truth

BUILD: Men’s Conference (Western Michigan) Feb. 20-21


Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

By God’s grace our mission is to build up Christian men through solid biblical teaching that is rooted in the gospel and applicable for everyday life.

The Build Conference (formerly West Michigan Men’s Conference) began in 2013 from a God given desire to provide a conference specifically intended for the everyday man. Mark Chanski was the 2013 speaker, followed by Greg Gilbert in 2014. This year it is our privilege to welcome Dr. Bruce Ware. Each year God has used the conference to build up men from Michigan and parts of the Midwest. We would love for you to join us this year as we “Behold the Glory of Christ.”


(616) 842-8240




17306 Church Hill Street, Grand Haven, MI 49417

WEBSITE (SIGN UP & Schedule)



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8 Clear Signs of a Compromising Church

1. In the confessing church, Christ is over culture. The compromising churchaccommodates Christ to culture. The confessing church believes Jesus is Lord over all creation. Hence, they attempt to reflect Christ in every area of culture. The compromising church has a posture of accommodation. Hence, the Christ they believe in and preach is shaped by the culture they live in.

2. The confessing church holds fast to the Word of God in spite of opposition. The compromising church alters the Word of God because of opposition. Soon in America it is quite possible that it will be illegal to preach from certain passages of the Bible dealing with human sexuality. Because of this, many will alter their theology to fit the culture while the confessing church will preach the Word of God in spite of governmental fines, penalties, lawsuits and even serving time in jail.

3. The confessing church puts the kingdom of God above their culture and ethnicity. The compromising church puts their ethnicity before the kingdom of God. The German Church during the Nazi era put nationalism and their Aryan heritage above the Word of God. Many pastors and believers today view the Scriptures more through the lens of their ethnicity and national heritage than through a proper exegesis of Scripture.

When, and if, our nation officially makes biblical Christianity illegal, we will soon see who will be the confessors and who will be the compromisers. In many ways, practicing biblical Christianity is already illegal when it comes to believers attempting to walk out their faith in the marketplace because private Christian-owned businesses do not have the same level of protection today as do local churches.

4. The confessing church alters their methods of preaching. The compromisingchurch alters the message they preach. While it is wise and biblical for the body of Christ to be relevant to culture regarding the preaching of the gospel, it should never put being relevant above being faithful. The compromising church puts being relevant before biblical faithfulness. Hence, they not only change the method of preaching but also the message they preach.

5. The confessing church is a remnant in the minority of church and state. The compromising church wants to be in the mainstream of both church and state.  The confessing church endures long seasons of feeling like aliens and strangers in their own communities. The compromising church wants to be in the mainstream of culture more than living in the divine flow of God’s favor and presence.

6. The confessing church is penalized by the state government. The compromisingchurch is applauded by the state government. While the confessing church is hunted down and ostracized by the humanistic state, the compromising church is celebrated by the far-left radicals and used as a model of how church and state should function together.

7. The confessing church prophetically speaks truth to power. The compromisingchurch conforms to those in power. The confessing church knows that at various seasons in their existence they will not gain a lot of converts and/or experience societal transformation. The best they can do is to maintain a prophetic witness to the cultural elites and surrounding communities. Since the compromising church enjoys the power and prestige the elites grant them, they always conform rather than confront.

8. The confessing church desires the praise of God. The compromising churchdesires the praise of men. Ultimately at the end of the day it boils down to this: Are we living for the praise of men or the praise of God? If things don’t change in the coming days, we will be shocked at how many megachurches, mid-size churches and smaller churches compromise the word of God so they could continue to keep their doors open.

At some point we will all have to stand the ultimate test, which is whether we desire God more than we love our lives, or whether we love our pleasures, conveniences and material goods more than God. Truly, if we confess Christ before men He will confess us before His Father in heaven, but if we deny Him before men He will deny us before His Father in heaven (Matt. 10:32-33).


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Who am I in Christ?

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Kate Shellnutt: Jesus Loves the Little Children… But I Don’t

A childless millennial’s quest to become a “kid person.”

To say I don’t have kids is an understatement. I barely interact with children, save for brief conversations with friends and fellow churchgoers with offspring in tow.

I can’t remember the last time I changed a diaper, pushed a stroller, or let a kid win at board games. When a friend passed her newborn to me this spring, I admitted it had been years since I held a baby.

And in 2014, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s no longer a given in our society that every woman, or even every married woman, will have kids or want to have kids.

Absolutely, marriage and family remain a priority in Christian and evangelical circles. It may seem like a week doesn’t go by without another pregnancy announcement popping up on Facebook or another desperate plea to help with the full church nursery, but in general, Americans are having fewer kids. Actually, fewer kids than ever.

Among us childbirth-delaying millennials, it’s not uncommon for whole circles of friends—20-somethings and 30-somethings—to be childfree. We live in a society where we have fewer opportunities to interact with children because, in general, everybody—our brothers and sisters (if we have siblings—more of us are only children than ever), our classmates, our coworkers, our neighbors—are less likely to have them.

Here’s how TIME outlined the numbers in its “The Childfree Life” cover story:

The birthrate in the U.S. is the lowest in recorded American history, which includes the fertility crash of the Great Depression. From 2007 to 2011, the most recent year for which there’s data, the fertility rate declined 9%.

A 2010 Pew Research report showed that childlessness has risen across all racial and ethnic groups, adding up to about 1 in 5 American women who end their childbearing years maternity-free, compared with 1 in 10 in the 1970s.

Even before the recession hit, in 2008, the proportion of women ages 40 to 44 who had never given birth had grown by 80%, from 10% to 18%, since 1976, when a new vanguard began to question the reproductive imperative.

For married women who don’t have kids, or simply don’t have kids yet, an increasingly childless culture can take the pressure off. There are still people who badger, “When are you going to have kids?,” but that question doesn’t come up as much when surrounded by kid-free friends.

And not only do some childless folks not want kids of their own, they also don’t want to be around other people’s kids. Our worst kid-hatred comes out during travel (leading to a new airline class “for the child-intolerant” in Asia), but also atrestaurants, in movies, and on Facebook.

Some of the most unabashedly childfree won’t keep their preferences secret when faced with rambunctious offspring. They’ll tell you in a “no-offense,” joking tone: “That’s why I’m never having kids.” Or, “Aren’t you sick of them?” Deep down, they mean it.

Parents, of all people, are in on it too. Social media updates gripe about their kids of all ages, as if they’re a part of the anti-kid PR team: Pregnancy’s gross! Babies are a mess! Kids interfere with your plans! The whole thing is too expensive!

The most talked about parenting book of the year, Jennifer Senior’s New York Times bestseller, All Joy and No Fun, argued that happiness may be a misguided expectation for childrearing. “Senior scrupulously chronicles the lack of fun. The joy, she admits, is difficult to quantify,” writes onereview.

Parents also gush about their kids—but the conversation about children can so quickly skew negative, with rarely any pushback for the child-averse. No one dares to question a person who “just doesn’t like kids.”

There are plenty of single people and childless people who love kids, but for a while, I was not one of them. Never struck with baby fever, I distanced myself from children and occasionally repeated smug lines about the perks and freedoms of childlessness.

That changed once my best friend revealed to me earlier this year that she was going to have a baby. I didn’t have to fake my excitement; I started crying right in the baby section of Target, where I happened to be shopping for a gift when she called. I knew this was not going to be some tiny human that I could nod approvingly toward and then ignore. This was my best friend’s baby, and both of them were going to be a part of my life for a long time.

I started paying more attention to the mothers I knew and to their kids—no matter how sad their fussy faces, how sticky their fingers, how nonsensical their questions. I willed myself to like them. I reminded myself that there were many topics that Jesus was silent on in Scripture, but how we should treat children was not one of them.

In Mark, Jesus takes a child into his arms and tells the disciples, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me” (Mark 9:36-37, ESV). In Matthew, he says, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14). The Savior of the world is not too busy or too holy for playtime. His call to care for children is as direct and straightforward as, “Love thy neighbor.” Even if your neighbor can’t quiet talk or walk or read yet.

Little by little, my fear and dismissal of parenting has grown into downright awe. I still find kids to be annoying and needy and cringe at wailing babies and dripping toddler noses, but I’m trying. There are lessons to be learned from the mouths of babes.

People may have a range of reasons for not wanting or not liking children, but I realized that my kid-aversion had its roots in a familiar, dark place: my desire for control. As every parent will tell you, and has told me, kids don’t come with a foolproof guide. From the littlest moments (Why are you crying?) to the biggest questions (How will you turn out?), we won’t always be able to figure them out, to program them, to raise them perfectly. Even as a non-parent, that frustrates me and scares me.

The childless-inept, perhaps, can remember that Christ is with us in the nursery and at babysitting time too. It is God who qualifies us, who takes our obedient, open-hearted not enoughs and multiplies them to more than we expect.


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Steve Matoren: Why No One in the NFL Wants Tim Tebow

I found this interesting article as the NFL starts up again.

You either love or hate him. When it comes to the polarizing football force named Tim Tebow, your feelings are verifiably black and white. Tebow knows no shades of gray. With the NFL set to kick-off another Tebowless season tonight, the reasons why the 27 year old cult hero and physical specimen has been relegated to reporting on football (as an SEC Network commentator), rather than playing football (in the NFL), have been discussed and debated like no other topic in sport the last few years.

We’ve heard everything from “he can’t throw” to “he’s not a good practice player” to “he’s a distraction.” Legendary Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi must be turning over in his grave. He’d be the first to remind us that “Winning isn’t everything — It’s the only thing.” And at every level, all Tebow did was win.

The only question worth asking when evaluating your QB, widely recognized as the most important position on the field, is, “Can I win a Championship with this guy?”

Tebow won a State Championship in High School, two National Championships in College and a Division Championship in the NFL.

In the 2007 College Football season Tebow threw for 29 TD’s and rushed for 21 more, the most in SEC history. He won the Heisman. In 14 career NFL regular season starts, Tebow is 8–6 with 17 passing TD’s and 12 rushing TD’s. That’s 29 total TD’s in his first 14 games! Keep in mind, Tebow has never entered an NFL season as a starting QB. No off-season program as the starter. No training camp reps as the starter. Never. Yet, other QB’s with far less credentials and far fewer wins, have been given years to develop as a starting NFL QB. YEARS! Tebow never even got ONE.

Tebow’s limitless heart, insatiable will-to-win, strong character, extraordinary work ethic, humility, countless charitable efforts and leadership skills have never been in question. You would think these off-the-chart intangibles alone should be enough to warrant a real opportunity.

After all, it’s not like he failed with the last team to employ him for a full season. The NY Jets never gave him the chance to. Not once did they allow him to start. They finished 6–10, and 30th in the league in scoring. Tebow was primarily relegated to holding a clip board, and rather inexplicably, asked to punt protect.

In 2013, then Cleveland Browns General Manager Michael Lombardi, was quoted as saying, “(Tebow’s) not the vision of where we’re headed.” What vision was that? Losing? Lombardi’s since been fired and replaced by Ray Farmer. Farmer’s vision apparently is in step with his predecessor’s. Also passing on Tebow, Farmer opted to draft Johnny Manziel this past year — perhaps the anti-Tebow. Off the field, Johnny Football is a partying train wreck — on it, NFL personnel are about as divided on him as they are with Tebow. By the way, the Browns, as a franchise, have started 20 different QB’s since 1999. So yeah, they’ve got great “vision” with that. No wonder they’ve only had 2 winning seasons since ‘99 and 6 consecutive 11 loss seasons. Some say — the Browns are cursed. Perhaps, they’re only cursed in their inability to pick a QB. However, I would argue they simply don’t know how to properly evaluate one.

In just 3 seasons in the NFL, Tebow managed to win as many playoff games, one, as current NFL starting QB’s Jay Cutler, Alex Smith, Andrew Luck, Tony Romo and Matt Ryan. Oh by the way, that one playoff win came in Tebow’s first career playoff appearance.

Tebow also has the same number of career playoff wins as former multi-year NFL starters, Matt Schaub, Jeff George, Bubby Brister, Rodney Peete, Steve Walsh, Steve Beuerlein, David Garrard Marc Bulger, Erik Kramer, Elvis Grbac, “Dandy” Don Meredith, Steve Barkowski, Steve DeBerg, Joe Ferguson and David Carr.

How about some notable QB’s who never won an NFL playoff game? On this undesirable list are Brian Sipe, Neil Lomax, Jon Kitna, Trent Green, Gus Frerotte, Steve Grogan, Bert Jones, YA Tittle, Ken O’Brien, Roman Gabriel, Vince Young, Sean Salisbury, Bobby Hebert and Doug Flutie.

If that’s not enough, Tebow has more playoff wins than 13 current NFL starting QB’s COMBINED — a group that includes: Matt Cassel, Nick Foles, Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton, RG3, Carson Palmer, Andy Dalton, EJ Manuel, Shaun Hill, Chad Henne, Josh McCown, Jake Locker, Derek Carr and Brian Hoyer. You can also add the recently injured Rams starter, Sam Bradford, to this list.

If you still don’t think what Tebow did, in winning a playoff game, was truly special — then consider this omnious fact — Tebow became the first Hesiman winning QB in 26 years to win an NFL playoff game. The streak now stands at 28 years.

ESPN has a TV show called Numbers Never Lie. If that’s the case, here’s some eye-popping NFL numbers for Tebow, beyond just his wins and losses.

In his first NFL career start back in 2010 vs Oakland, Tebow rushed for the longest TD run in Broncos history (40 yards) by a QB. In his 2nd start he threw for 308 yards and rallied past the Texans for a 24–23 win, after trailing 17–0 at the half. Tebow became the 1st QB in NFL history to rush for a TD in each of his first 3 starts. You’d think this would have been enough to warrant the starting job the following season, but new Head Coach John Fox, known for his conservative style, came in and promptly handed the job back to previous starter Kyle Orton without competition. We know how that story ended. Remember Kyle Orton — more on him later.

Bowing to public pressure and a dismal 1–4 start to the 2011 season, Fox reluctantly named Tebow his starting QB after week 5. A prominent Denver downtown billboard orchestrated by fans, practically begging Fox to give Tebow a shot, turned the tide.

Tebow went on to start the final 11 regular season games for the Broncos, winning 7 of them, en route to a Broncos AFC West Division Championship. In case you were living under a rock, here’s the highlights from that unlikely playoff run— a time that will forever be remembered as “Tebow Time.”

In his first start of 2011 vs the Dolphins in Week 6, Tebow and the Broncos found themselves down 15–0 with 3:30 minutes left. And then Tebow went to work. He led back to back scoring drives of 80 and 56 yards, before tying it on a 2-point conversion. The Broncos kicked the game winner in Overtime to win 18–15.

Here’s what former Florida teammate and current Miami Dolpins center Mike Pouncey had to say afterward: “It’s tough to say, but man, Timmy did a great job. Hopefully the critics will get off him about what he can’t do and talk about the things that he can do, and that’s figure out a way to win the game, no matter what.”

Two weeks later against the Raiders in Oakland, Tebow ran for 117 yards, threw for 124 yards and 2 TD’s. Denver won 38–24. The win was the first of 6 in a row for the Broncos.

On a cold Thursday night in Denver in front of a national TV audience, Tebow engineered a game-winning 95 yard drive with less than 6 minutes left to beat the Jets 17–13. Tebow scored the winning TD with a magnificent 20-yard scamper on 3rd down. I was at this game — It was, in single word — electric!

After his third comeback in a month Tebow simply said, “I like winning.”

Teammate Von Miller was a bit more loquatious. “I said before, I trust him. I trust him with everything. No matter how many interceptions he throws, no matter how many touchdowns he scores, that’s Tim Tebow and I’m going to ride with him to the end. I hope he shut up a whole bunch of critics today.”

Coach John Fox finally seemed impressed too, “He’s a competitive dude. He’s super competitive. He never lays his sword down. He’ll fight you to the death. That’s just his nature. He’s a great young man.”

The following week, once again, I witnessed more Tebow magic in person. This time in San Diego before a super charged-up crowd, Tebow led another late comeback and a 16–13 OT win.

Another road game. Another comeback win for Tebow. The week after defeating the Chargers, Denver beat Minnesota 35–32 in a raucous Metrodome with Tebow leading the way yet again.

Next up for T — the trash-talking Chicago Bears. Down 10–0 with just over 2 minutes to play, Tebow and the Broncos found a way. After tying it up, they won it in overtime 13–10. Even in defeat, Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher was unimpressed. He called Tebow “a good running back.”

But after struggling over the final 3 weeks of the season, all the Tebow critics finally found their ammo. They cried and boasted loudly — “Tebow was lucky” or “it was the Denver defense that kept them in games.” Sure, Denver was winning, but not because of Tebow. Nevertheless, a team that began 1–4 without Tebow, then went 7–4 with Tebow and ended up with a division title.

The defending AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers brought the League’s #1 scoring defense into Denver for the opening playoff game. No one gave Tebow a chance of winning this one.

The Broncos beat the Steelers 29–23 in Overtime. And what about Tebow? The guy who couldn’t “throw” threw for 316 yards and 2 TD’s, including the 80-yard game-winner on the first play in OT. The Steelers vaunted defense had only given up 6 completions of 30+ yards all season — Tebow threw 5 in this game. Tebow was the first player to throw for 300 yards against the Steelers all season. Tebow also became the first player to have 4 completions of more than 30 yards in one quarter of a playoff game in the modern era (1960) and the first to do so in any game since Warren Moon did it in 1990. No QB since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970 had ever completed three 50+ yard passes in a game. And just for good measure, Tebow also ran for 50 yards and a TD. Tebow’s 97.3 QBR (out of 100) was the highest ever recorded in a single game. The QBR is a relatively new stat created by ESPN that shows total game efficiency that factors in a number of categories. They use it almost exclusively now in determining a QB’s overall proficiency.

Nah…Tebow can’t play QB in the NFL.

The only number that seems to be irrelevant for Tebow is his career completion percentage of 47.9%. Let me ask you something. Would you prefer a guy like Alex Smith who will go 18-for-21 for 120 yards, dinking, dunking and checking down? Or a guy like Tebow who goes 10-for-21 and throws for 316 yards and goes balls out for the first down or TD, completion percentage be damned?! Anyone can complete a 2 yard pass on 3rd and 12 to pad his stats. Also, Tebow never slides short of the sticks (first down marker).

To further address the question of completion percentage, I called the Elias Sports bureau to find out Tebow’s completion to TD ratio, relative to a few other QB’s. My theory is that while Tebow completes a far fewer percentage of his passes than your average NFL QB, those completions are far more meaningful. And while his total number of career completions rank well below the others I inquired about — it does prove my point.

Here’s the career passing completion percentage that go for TD’s (includes playoffs).

Tebow — 9.9%

Aaron Rogers 9.6%

Peyton Manning 8.7%

Mark Sanchez 6.9%

Alex Smith 6.8%

All Chris Carter may have done was catch TD’s — well, all Tebow does is throw them. The numbers never lie.

So, what do these stats, that AFC Division Title and record-setting playoff perfomance earn Mr. Tebow? In the off-season, Denver signed perennial Pro-Bowler Peyton Manning and immediately traded Tim to the New York Jets. Despite woeful performances from the two other QB’s on their roster, the Jets never allowed Tebow to start or log any meaningful playing time. He was cut at the end of the season and picked up by the New England Patriots, who then released him the week before the season opener.

New England is a curious place for Tebow’s career to have been shut down, even with the great Tom Brady firmly entrenched as their QB. But if you have to back-up someone, who better to learn from than “The Golden Boy?”

Pats Owner Bob Kraft, a man with extremely high moral character and intelligence, and one of the few Owners I respect a great deal, said he wished Tebow could have made the team. Right or wrong, he put the onus on Head Coach Bill Belichick, who is a very good friend of arguably Tebow’s biggest supporter, current Ohio State State Head Coach and Tebow’s college coach, Urban Meyer.

Josh McDaniels, the man who drafted Tebow in the first round while Head Coach with Denver, is the Offensive Coordinator for the Patriots. Many people say the drafting of Tebow was the reason McDaniels was fired in Denver. I counter that McDaniels got fired because he never played Tebow! Sticking with another QB (Orton) proved to be his real downfall. Who knows what would have happened if Tebow was named the starter on day one in Denver. It’s possible both he and McDaniels would still be there. If McDaniels ever gets another shot at being an NFL Head Coach, you wonder if he’ll give Tebow another one as well.

So, why has no other NFL team shown interest since? Why does no NFL team want Tim Tebow on their team? And forget just having him on the team, why doesn’t any team want Tebow to be their starting QB?!

Tebow doesn’t fit your system? Change your system.

Tebow doesn’t practice well? I’ll be the first to admit practice is extremely important. With that said, nobody won any Championships in “practice.”

Tebow brings too much attention. Hello! You’re in the business of entertainment and attention getting! Eyeballs and Butts In The Seats, right?

Tebow’s faith is disruptive. To whom? ISIS?

By all accounts, Tebow lives an exemplary lifestyle, which is more than can be said for so many employed in the NFL. No drugs. No drunk driving. No public intoxication. No assault or domestic violence charges. No rape accusations. No accidental bullets fired. No dog killing. No leaked sexting pictures. No “misrepresented” photos that show him fondling strippers in a Dallas area “restaurant.” It’s possible, Tebow’s just too good for this League.

As a group, NFL Owners have long been known for their conservative rule and public policies. NFL Owners do not take risks, at least not anymore. And while they’ve successfully created billion dollar businesses, and often profess to be “all about winning”, they’re also clearly interested in making even more money…i.e. now charging entertainers to play the Super Bowl halftime show. Which is why their collective decision to ignore and dismiss a man who’s aptly proven he’s capable of delivering both so improbable and illogical. It just doesn’t make any sense or cents! Where is the risk with Tebow?!

Tebow’s games, as both a College and NFL starter, were among the highest rated on TV. That Steelers playoff game drew a 31.6 rating and 42.4 million viewers, the second most watched TV event in the calendar year, behind only the Super Bowl. An ESPN poll at the time named him the most popular athlete in the world. Tebow was more popular than Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and every other NFL player. Heading into 2010, Tebow sat comfortably at number 1 in NFL jersey sales despite being a rookie on a team with no immediate plans to start him. In 2011, the act of “Tebowing”, going down on one knee to pray, became a world-wide phenomenan.

By last check, @TimTebow has 2.69 million Twitter followers — more than every single TEAM in the league…by a large margin. The Patriots lead the NFL with 912,000 followers. The Cowboys are second @ 879,000. Last among the 32 franchises? The Arizona Cardinals @ 112,000. To keep things in perspective, Tebow is no Lady Gaga or Biebs. The Queen of Twitter has 42 million “Little Monsters” following her and the bratty King from Canada has 54.2 million trollers. I hear ‘ya, but can either of them play QB?

So, with all these numbers and accomplishments, Why is Tebow seemingly being black-balled from the NFL? And why isn’t the right question being asked to the right people?

Urban Meyer, doesn’t understand it. Neither does Super Bowl winning Coach Jon Gruden, a vocal Tebow advocate. ESPN’s Skip Bayless, who first led the media charge to “unleash Tebow” doesn’t get it. Hall of Famer Steve Young begged to see Tebow given a real chance to play QB.

I’m tired of hearing from the traditional sheep herding NFL Coaches and General Managers as to why Tebow can’t make it in the NFL; even though he’s already proven he can. I’m done listening to TV analysts breakdown his faulty mechanics or cite his overall deficiencies as a Quarterback; when the reality is, no other man with Tebow’s significant raw talents and leadership skills have been given less time to develop into a better player. It’s time to hear from those whose voice matters most.

32 individuals sign the checks in today’s NFL. 32 people who can unilaterally hire and fire among NFL teams. Because no one in the national media seems eager to engage anymore in the topic, I decided to personally ask each of the 32 NFL owners the same basic question — ‘Why don’t you want Tim Tebow on your team?’

I emailed the request through the appropriate channels, contacting each team’s Senior PR/Communications executive. I let them know that each of their fellow Owners would be receiving the same exact question. All I wanted in return was an honest, candid answer to a question even a child could address. Surely, a group of adult billionaires, from America’s highest profile sport, who pledge the holy trinity of ethics, family values and character would be able to answer such a simple question. Below are the 32 responses I received (or didn’t) from each team’s PR rep….

New England Patriots: “I (Robert Kraft) understand that you are reaching out to all NFL teams, but the question might be a little too generic, as I don’t think it applies to the Patriots. If you recall, we did want him on our team. We signed him. We brought him to training camp. We gave him a chance to compete and to earn a spot on our roster. I was hoping that he would make our team. Clearly, he has enjoyed a lot of success as a football player. He is a great ambassador for our game, both on and off the field. I enjoyed getting to know Tim and felt like we shared a number of core values.”

Worth mentioning — this was the most complete and dignified answer from any team. And that doesn’t surprise me at all. The Patriots are a first class organization. I also have no reason to believe this is not a sincere and genuine comment from Mr. Kraft. As I previously stated, I’m a long-time admirer of the Patriots owner, which is why it’s so disappointing he couldn’t tell his football decision makers just this once — “This one’s on me. I want the kid on our team.”

Carolina Panthers: “He (Jerry Richardson) never comments on player evaluations, including this one.”

Why the silence? Why Jerry? Why? Is it because you have confidence in Cam Newton? Let me remind you Cam used to back up Tebow at Florida and was later booted from the team and the school for stealing laptops. But since you’ve given him millions of dollars, he can probably afford to buy his own computer equipment now. Gator and Alabama fans refer to him as “Scam.” One last thing, Tebow’s also got more NFL playoffs wins than Newton.

Dallas Cowboys: Did not respond

Another Jerry (Jones) — Another no answer. We all know JJ loves the spotlight (and strippers), yet he’s never once publically considered Tebow, aside from the drunken response he gave a fan back in 2010. Well, they do still have Tony Romo, who’s entering his 12th year, yet has won just once in the playoffs — just like Tebow.

Atlanta Falcons: “Steve – Hope you are having a terrific Labor Day. We are going to pass on this request. Thx.”

At least they were pleasant about it. As for their franchise QB, Matty “Ice” Ryan? He’s 1–4 in the post season.

San Francisco 49ers: “Sorry Steve. We are going to pass on this request.”

Surely Tebow seems a better back-up to Colin Kaepernick than Blaine Gabbert?! How does a QB who miserably failed to make it as a starter with one of the worst teams in the league become a back-up to one of the best?

Green Bay Packers: “Steve, thanks for the opportunity but we’ll respectfully decline. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to work on something in the future.”

Well, they do have Aaron Rodgers. Also, the Packers are a public company, so technically they have thousands of owners. It would be difficult to get a comment from each of them. On the other hand, maybe I should poll every one of the 352,427 shareholders. I wonder how many of them are a Tebow Twitter followers.

Miami Dolphins: “Steve, Thanks for the e-mail and hope all is well. We will politely decline this request as we only discuss players on our roster. Thanks.”

I wonder if I asked a question about Dan Marino if I’d get the same response. After all, he’s not on their current roster.

Houston Texans: Did not respond

Keep in mind, current Texans Owner Bob McNair believes in allowing his QB time to develop. He gave David Carr 75 career starts, where he ended up 22–53. 75 Starts for David Carr?! And Bob McNair won’t give Tebow one. Instead, he just traded for Ryan Mallett.

Cincinnati Bengals: Did not respond

The team’s PR exec did get back to me and said he tried to get a comment from Owner Mike Brown, but he declined the request. So, the Bengals have Andy Dalton at QB. Sure, he’s guided the team to the playoffs in each of his first 3 years, but he’s also lost all 3 post-season games. In those contests, Dalton has thrown 1 TD against 6 INT’s. For those winning ways, Owner Mike Brown handed Dalton a 6-year $96 million extension, with $17 million gauranteed. Journeyman QB Jason Campbell is the back-up. In 79 career regular season starts, Campbell’s fumbled 51 times and amassed zero playoff appearances.

Baltimore Ravens: “Here would be Steve’s (Stephen Bisciotti) reply: ‘I depend on our football evaluators to evaluate players.’”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: “Thanks for reaching out regarding your request. I believe we will need to take a pass on this as our standard policy is to defer to our player personnel department when it comes to evaluations of players.”

I find it difficult to believe any Owner, of any business, who cuts the checks, has no say in personnel. Besides, both these teams missed the point of my question. I wasn’t asking for an “evaluation” of Tebow’s talent. My question was, “Why don’t you want Tebow on your team?”

Speaking of team’s player evaluators, the Philadephia Eagles General Manager is a University of Florida graduate. Guess he never learned the Gator spirit song, ‘We are the Boys’ that contains the line “In all kinds of weather, we’ll all stick together…”

Philadelphia Eagles: Did not respond

Indianapolis Colts: Did not respond

The Colts no response may have something to do with their owner Jim Irsay unavailable because he’s on suspension for a drunk driving offense and possession of illegal prescription drugs.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Did not respond

Apparently, back in 2010, prior to current owner Shahid Khan buying the team, he told, then Owner and friend Wayne Weaver, he should draft Tebow. The Jags were also reported to be in the running, along with the Jets, to trade with Denver for Tebow; but of course, that didn’t happen. Khan’s past interest in Tebow seems like lip service now because his General Manager David Caldwell told reporters on the day he took the job, the team has no interest in Tebow. They did however have interest in Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. Gabbert’s now backing up in Oakland and starter Henne is on less 2014 ESPN Fantasy Football squads than Tebow. And yes, there’s still plenty of tickets available for any Jaguars game you wish to attend. Did I mention the Jags play in Tebow’s hometown, Jacksonville? If you didn’t know, Jacksonville’s in Florida, where Tebow grew up and went to College. Just saying.

Denver Broncos: Did not respond

No surprise the Broncos have no further comment. Owner Pat Bowlen stepped down a couple of months ago due to his on-going battle with Alzheimer’s disease. In fairness to him, he may not even remember the positive impact Tebow had on his franchise. But I bet President John Elway and Coach John Fox do — along with thousands of Tebow supporters still going to Broncos games. If you’re wondering who those two men prefer to back-up Peyton Manning, instead of Tebow, it’s Brock Osweiler.

New York Giants: Did not respond

Owner Steve Tisch talked to TMZ last year about Tebow and said something to the effect of the Jets killed his career. You can see the actual interview here. Can you imagine Tebow returning to the Big Apple? Apparently, neither can Tisch’s QB struggling Giants. While Eli and the Giants offense continue to be offensive, back-up QB Ryan Nassib, a 2nd year pro out of Syracuse, is ready to jump in and spark the team.

Oakland Raiders: Did not respond

Give the Raiders credit for choosing rookie QB Derek Carr as their starter over Matt Schaub this week. It’s the first time in Raiders history they’ve gone with a rookie QB in his first game. It’s also the 4th different starter in a row for Oakland in Week 1. Maybe the 4th time’s the charm. When the Raiders show no interest in a guy the rest of the league shuns, then you know something is amuck. Guess Tebow is the wrong kind of “bad boy” to wear the Silver and Black. And while we’re guessing here, which team do you think had the worst attendance in the league last year, both in number and in percentage of capacity? Said team also wants a new stadium. Hint — They play in Oakland.

San Diego Chargers: Did not respond

Tebow’s previous Offensive coordinator in Denver, Mike McCoy, is now the Head Coach in San Diego. But we also know, Chargers Owner Alex Spanos doesn’t like to spend money. Wait — what’s that? You can sign Tebow for the league minimum? 9-year journeyman Kellen Clemons, with 15 career passing TD’s, 20 INT’s and a 8–13 record as a starter, backs up veteran Philip Rivers.

Washington Redskins: Did not respond

After employing Rex Grosman, Steve Spurrier, Shane Matthews and Danny Wuerffel I guess Owner Daniel Snyder has had his fill of Florida QB’s. He’s also got that whole Redskins name controversy on his plate too.

New Orleans Saints: Did not respond

Drew Brees. Yes, I get it. Owner Tom Benson cried this past Tuesday when a 13.5 foot, 1,500 pound bronze statue was dedicated to him outside the Superdome. Are you sure those weren’t tears over back-up QB Luke McCown? With 5 different teams over 11 NFL seasons, McCown has thrown 9 TD’s and 14 INT’s. By the way, Tebow has a big statue too outside his stadium too. And the only time he cries is when he loses.

Minnesota Vikings: Did not respond

Due to construction of a new stadium, the Vikings will play this year in a college stadium at the University of Minnesota. I thought College was the perfect place for Tebow, right?! Instead of bringing in Tebow, veteran Matt Cassel gets the nod over rookie Teddy Bridgewater. Tebow has more playoff wins than both of them, combined.

New York Jets: Did not respond

Did you really expect them to?

Tennesse Titans: Did not respond

Actually, the team’s PR exec did respond by informing me he was unable to get a comment from his Owner. The Titans are one of the few NFL teams who are run by ladies and carry 3 QB’s. And here I thought all women liked Tebow. The QB’s here are Jake Locker, Charlie Whitehurst and Zach Mettenberger. Guess how many combined playoff wins they have?

Cleveland Browns: Did not respond

Best of luck with Brian Hoyer and Johnny Football.

Chicago Bears: Steve, I’m happy to pass along (to George McCaskey) but it seems you’re working on a general assumption…

Yes. I am. I generally assume you don’t want Tebow on your team. Otherwise, he would be. A Billionaire can pretty much get anything he wants. The Bears went to a Super Bowl with a former Florida QB in Rex Grossman, so you think they’d have a certain affinity for another Gator signal caller. The problem with Rexy is that fans hated him. Ex-Coach Lovie Smith infuriated the faithful by stubbornly repeating the same thing at press conferences, “Rex is my QB.” — until he wasn’t two years later. Chicago ownership has decided to stake their future on Jay Cutler — a veteran guy with a rocket arm and 104 career NFL starts. In those games, he’s amassed a rather pedestrian 56–48 regular season record and a 1–1 playoff record. In just 14 NFL starts, Tebow is also 1–1 in the playoffs.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Did not respond

More than 10 years ago, long time Steelers Owner Art Rooney helped create the “Rooney Rule” which forced teams to consider and interview qualified African-American candidates for open NFL Head Coaching positions. Maybe his son, Dan, who’s now running things, should consider the “Tebow Rule.” Thou shall not disrespect a player who single handedly beat you. Despite being torched repeatedly in the playoffs by Tebow and his record setting passing performance, current Steelers Safety and freshly crowned Captain, Troy Polamalu still insists Tebow can’t throw.

Detroit Lions: Did not respond

As great an arm as current signal caller Matthew Stafford has, his career NFL record is a paultry 24–38. Stafford is a perfect example of how the NFL misses the skills that matter most at the QB position. One of the Lions other former mediocre QB’s (they’ve had a plethora) was Scott Mitchell. Scott now weighs 366 pounds and is starring on NBC’s TV show, ‘The Biggest Loser.” Take care of yourself Scott — you are not the biggest loser to come out of the Motor City. That honor belongs to deceased Lions Owner William Clay Sr, who passed away in March. Not to kick a man when he’s down for good, but Mr. Clay’s Lions won as many playoff games in 50 seasons as Tebow did in 3. Clay’s wife, Martha, still owns the club, while their son, William Jr, runs the day to day operations. Hey, if Stafford continues to not work out, the Lions can always turn to Kellen Moore or 9 year NFL career back-up Dan Orlovsky.

Arizona Cardinals: Did not respond

The Cardinals are sticking with 11-year veteran QB Carson Palmer, 7 year back-up Drew Stanton and Rookie Logan Thomas. Returning starter Palmer holds a career 64–73 record, and that was after posting a 10–6 mark a year ago. So, at 34 years old, he’s finally turning the corner. Sorry to be a downer here, and dare I repeat myself, but Tebow has more playoff wins than all 3 current Cardinals QB combined.

Kansas City Chiefs: Did not respond

Former Urban Meyer protege and displaced 49er, Alex Smith, is the main man in Kansas City. He may have a fantastic career winning and completion percentage, but he’s Tebow-lite to many of us. A couple of former SEC QB’s back him up, Chase Daniel and Aaron Murray. Under the Hunt family ownership how many playoff wins do you think the Chiefs have amassed since 1995? — Here’s a hint — not as many as Tebow has.

St. Louis Rams: Did not respond

The Rams should know better, as they plucked their former Super Bowl winning QB out of a grocery store. Kurt Warner went from bagging groceries to 2-time NFL MVP. So, what did they do when mediocre high priced starter Sam Bradford was lost for the season last week? They went out and signed Texans QB Case Keenum, who was waived by the equally mediocre Texans this week. Keenum joins Shaun Hill and Austin Davis at the QB position in St. Louis. In case you’re wondering how many playoff wins the Rams have since Warner left in 2004, the answer is – you guessed it — not as many as Tebow’s had. In fact, the Rams haven’t even sniffed the post-season since Warner’s departure. Maybe, Billionaire Owner Stan Kroenke is the one who should start bagging groceries.

Seattle Seahawks: Did not respond

The defending Super Bowl champs won it all without Tebow. Their Billionaire Owner, Paul Allen, gets a pass — not for ignoring my question, but for winning a Championship without Tebow on his team. However, his Head Coach Pete Carroll does not get such a free ride. Carroll called Tebow a “distraction” when he was apparently distracting Carroll’s former USC QB Mark Sanchez from completing passes while with the Jets.

Not only do the current crop of NFL owners not want Tebow on their team, none of them have the courage to tell us exactly why. It’s no wonder so many of them see their teams lose more often than they win – year after year, after year. No guts. No glory. Why are people with more money than they know what to do with so afraid to speak their mind?

And finally, I told you earlier not to forget the easily forgettable Kyle Orton, another mediocre journeyman QB with a career 500 winning percentage. In 70 NFL starts, Orton’s gone 35–35, yet the Buffalo Bills just signed him this week for $5 million after he quit the Cowboys and said he was retiring. Retiring and quitting are the same thing by the way. This is the same Kyle Orton who lost his job to Tim Tebow, not once; but twice in Denver. And just for good measure, guess how many playoff wins Orton has in his 9 years in the NFL? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not as many as Tebow. I’m not suprised the Buffalo Bills ownership (Mary Wilson) declined to respond to my inquiry. She found her man! The good news is the Bills are up for sale, so we’ll have a brand new NFL owner next season to ask the Tebow question to.

Maybe the problem lies with Tebow’s agent, Jimmy Sexton — the same agent he’s had since he turned pro and the very same agent who also represents Rex Ryan — the Coach who transformed Tebow into an NFL leper. Maybe it’s time for a new agent, Timmy.

Speculation aside, I’ve been sure of one thing for awhile now. An enterprise that has no interest in employing Tim Tebow is no business I wish to do business with. After nearly 40 years, I no longer follow the NFL. I don’t watch games, highlights or play Fantasy Football. If I had a billion dollars, I’d buy the Buffalo Bills, or any other team that’s for sale, and name Tebow my starting QB the same day.

In lieu of any follow-up questions from me just to receive more non-answers from the 32 NFL Owners, perhaps our time, and their’s, would be better off spent watching this superb video recap on Tim Tebow produced by the NFL’s production arm, NFL Films.
Keep the faith Tim, as I know you will. One day, you will get your chance to rise again, just as my all-time favorite fictional character, The Natural’s Roy Hobbs, did. Like him, the prime of your career has been taken away for no good reason. And maybe, the next time you exit the game, people everywhere will recall one of the greatest American sports figures, and rightfully say, “There goes Tim Tebow, the best there ever was.”

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116 Clique: Gospel Music (Romans)

It’s the Book of Romans right here, y’all
Here we go

I’m not ashamed of the gospel y’all,
It’s the power of God, which can save us all
In the gospel the righteousness of God’s revealed,
And who lives by faith, the righteous will.

Awake from your slumber eyes
A letter from the wise
The book of Romans
The Christian faith summarized
By Paul upon serving the Christ Jesus
Called to be an apostle
Set apart from the gospel
Chapter 1:16 and 17 is the thesis
Cuz our sins are colossal
Hearts are harder than fossils
That’s everybodys plight
Can’t solve it, Goodnight
How do sinners get right
In a holy God’s sight
Amazing is the answer, see
Romans states it candidly
The first three chapters
God’s case against humanity
Whether it’s idolatry
Or religious hypocrisy
No one can possibly
See the charges and say it’s not for me.
Everybody’s guilty
Everybody’s filthy
Before God on judgment
Is where everybody will be
For those who believe in Jesus
Who suffered and died
Yo it feels so good to be justified Yeah

Yo, at the cross
The wrath of God was spent on Jesus
On behalf of all who repent and believe this
We receive his
Perfect righteousness (by faith)
In exchange, believers cursed lives are his
Behold the blessedness
For Earth’s cold residence
Chapter 4, Paul defends it from the Old Testament
Up to this point we saw the need for justification
In Chapter 5, and following we see its implications
In service, in purity we yearn for maturity
And powered by Christ who gives eternal security
Slowly but surely he removes every vice
Raised to newness of life
Through our union with Christ
But Chapter 7 finds us
Struggling with sin
Its bugging us within
But he loves us ’til the end
Even with complications
Through sins occupation
For Gods concentrated
There’s no condemnation
The Holy Spirit inside
He comforts like no other
He convinces us we’re God’s children
Even when we suffer
Nothing in creation
Could ever separate us (never)
From the love of God
In Christ Jesus who saved us
In Chapter 9, we see God is sovereign in his mercy
His dealings with Israel shows he’s working out his purpose
By the end of 11 it’s Jew and Gentile together
United in Christ to his glory forever (forever)

Yo so in view of Gods mercies
We remove our worldly uniforms and throw on crucified jerseys
Holy and acceptable, Ruled by the divine
Jesus, being transformed by the renewal of the mind
Yes, you was designed, obedience to the scriptures
With love as the key ingredient in the mixture
The Godly man’s picture, under the new covenant
Mindful of God, we submit to the government
Not passing judgment, on weaker brothers
Instead we spread love to ’em to keep ’em from stumbling
When we do this, God will truly then smile
Because Christ is glorified through Jew and Gentile
The God of peace, at his judgment seat
Will soon crush Satan under our feet (No Doubt)
This is just an overview, go and read Romans through
And I pray the God of Romans will grab a hold of you


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Barna Group: The State of the Bible – 6 Trends for 2014

The Bible has been making its way onto box office screens and home TV screens over the past year: from Noah to Son of God, people have been watching the Bible. But are they still reading the Bible? And do they still believe in the Bible?

Each year, Barna Group partners with the American Bible Society on State of the Bible, a comprehensive study of Americans’ attitudes and behaviors toward the Bible. Asking a national representative sample of adults the same questions year after year allows us to track the country’s shifting perceptions of Scriptures.

This year’s research reveals six trends in Bible engagement: from the Bible’s continued role as a cultural icon, to increased digital Bible reading, to a rise in skepticism toward Scripture, particularly among Millennials.

1. Bible skepticism is now “tied” with Bible engagement.
This year’s research reveals that skepticism toward the Bible continues to rise. For the first time since tracking began, Bible skepticism is tied with Bible engagement. The number of those who are skeptical or agnostic toward the Bible—who believe that the Bible is “just another book of teachings written by men that contains stories and advice”—has nearly doubled from 10% to 19% in just three years. This is now equal to the number of people who are Bible engaged—who read the Bible at least four times a week and believe it is the actual or inspired Word of God.

Digging into the population segmentation of Bible skeptics, we find that two-thirds are 48 or younger (28% Millennials, 36% Gen-Xers), and they are twice as likely to be male (68%) than female (32%). They are more likely to identify as Catholic than any other single denomination or affiliation (30%) and are the most-likely segment not to have attended church (87%) or prayed (63%) during the previous week. They are also most likely not to have made a commitment to Jesus that is important in their life today (76%).

Not only are Millennials more likely to be skeptical toward Scripture, they are also less likely to read the Bible (39% say they never read the Bible, compared to 26% of all adults), less likely to own a Bible (80% compared to 88%) and less likely to believe the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life (35% compared to 50%). Given the increase in Millennials who don’t believe the Bible is sacred and the decrease in Bible awareness among Millennials, Bible skepticism will likely continue to rise in the next five years.

Bible Lovers and Bible Skeptics

2. Despite the declines, most Americans continue to be “pro-Bible.”
While the percentage of Americans who believe the Bible is sacred has fallen in recent years, from 86% in 2011 to 79% in 2014, it’s still a sizable majority of all adults. In general, Americans continue to view the Bible very positively. More than half of Americans (56%) are “pro-Bible”—meaning they believe the Bible is the actual or inspired word of God with no errors. Most adults say the Bible encourages forgiveness (91%), generosity (88%) and patience (89%) while discouraging war (62%), slavery (60%) and prostitution (82%). Nearly nine in 10 households own at least one Bible (88%) and the average number of Bibles per household is 4.7.

Being pro-Bible doesn’t necessarily mean Americans use the Bible regularly, however. Only 37% of Americans report reading the Bible once a week or more. Among those who have read Scripture in the previous week, not quite six in 10 (57%) say they gave a lot of thought to how it might apply to their life. While the Bible’s place in America as a cultural icon endures, it’s not always perceived as a transformational text. Even as Bible ownership remains strong, readership and engagement are weak.

Bible is sacred, Bible ownership, Pro-Bible

3. Distraction and busyness continue to squeeze out the Bible.
So what keeps people from reading the Bible they own? Like all other forms of analog media, the Bible is pushed to the side in part because people are just too busy. Among those who say their Bible reading decreased in the last year, the number-one reason was busyness: 40% report being too busy with life’s responsibilities (job, family, etc.), an increase of seven points from just one year ago.

Other factors Americans cite as reasons for less time reading Scripture include a significant change in their life (17%), becoming atheist or agnostic (15%), going through a difficult experience that caused them to doubt God (13%) and seeing that reading the Bible made very little difference in someone else’s life (8%).

These relatively smaller percentages reveal that Americans don’t often turn away from the Bible over ideological or emotional conflicts. Indeed, on the whole Americans say they want to read the Bible—62% wish they read Scripture more—they just don’t know how to make time.

4. The age of screens has come to stay in the Bible market. 
One antidote to the distraction of the screen age is to put the Bible onscreen. And this past year certainly saw the Bible come to more screens than ever—from smartphone apps to primetime TV—and Americans responded. Of adults who increased their Bible readership last year, one-quarter (26%) say it was due to having downloaded the Bible onto their smartphone or tablet. More than one in 10 (12%) credit their increased Bible reading to podcasts or streaming church services. And an additional one in 10 (11%) say watching The Bible miniseries on TV inspired them to read Scripture more.

In just a handful of years, use of tablets and smartphones for Bible searches has skyrocketed, from 18% in 2011 to 35% in 2014. That said, a strong majority still prefer to read the Bible in print (84%); the same holds true even among Millennials (81%), who are most likely to use the Internet to read Bible content (62% compared to 44% of all adults).

Never have enough time, Tablets & smartphones, But people still prefer to read…

5. Increasingly, people come to the Bible for answers or comfort.
While the majority of people still come to the Scriptures to connect with God, their number is shrinking, from 64% in 2011 to 56% in 2014. Today, people are increasingly likely to come to the Bible for more pragmatic needs: nearly one-third (up from 26% in 2011) say they read the Bible for comfort or to help them address life’s questions. This increase is consistent with last year’s study, which showed that Millennials in particular want to know how the Bible connects to everyday matters like parenting, finances, the workplace, and so on. They are the generation most likely to read the Bible for direction or answers to a problem (25%, compared to 19% of Gen-X, 16% Boomers and 11% Elders).

Most people still come…

6. People are less likely to link moral decline with a lack of Bible reading.
Eight in 10 adults believe the values and morals of America are declining—but perceptions about the reasons for the decline have shifted over time. Compared to 2013, people are more likely to blame declining morals on movies, music, and TV rather than on a lack of Bible reading. Additionally, while half of all adults would say the Bible has too little influence on society, only 30% of Millennials believe this.

Bible skeptics are less likely than other segments to say the values and morals of America are declining. It’s not clear whether this belief informs their skepticism or their skepticism informs this belief—or a complex dynamic of both. Millennials, as well, are less likely than the national average to say morals are on the decline (74%). Among young adults who agree there is a moral decline, just 17% blame a lack of Bible reading, compared to 26% of all adults.

81% map, 50% stat


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Why do tyrants from Haman and Hitler to Hamas and Khamenei want to “annihilate” the Jews?


Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and his personal representative Rudolf Hess, right, during a parade in Berlin, Germany, on Dec. 30, 1938. (Photo by AP/Haaretz) German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and his personal representative Rudolf Hess, right, during a parade in Berlin, Germany, on Dec. 30, 1938. (Photo by AP/Haaretz)

(Tampa, Florida) — Why do tyrants throughout history want to “annihilate” the Jewish people?

With Jews around the world celebrating the biblical holiday of Purim this past weekend — and in light of the release of my new novel, The Auschwitz Escape, tomorrow — I addressed this question last night as I taught from the Book of Esther at Idlewild Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida.

Some notes from my message:

From Haman to Hitler to Hamas to Khamenei, evil men throughout history have not simply opposed or disagreed with the Jewish people.

Again and again they have used the language of “annihilation” and they have pursued policies to accomplish this diabolical mission.

HAMAN — Consider what the Bible teaches about this evil Persian leader sought to do in ancient times.

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Connection: John 1:1-5; John 14:6; John 17:17

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 17:17

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

ESV Bible

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Truth by Gary Newton

While most people learn through their experience, the basis of truth is not our experience. Truth is truth whether or not anyone experiences it. It does not mystically become truth through our experience. While it is important for us to experience truth in order to know it personally, the validity of truth does not depend on our experience.

In John 14: 6, in response to a question from one of His followers about heaven, Jesus declares, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus is making an objective statement about the nature of truth: He is the truth. The validity of this statement does not depend on whether people actually experience Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life whether anyone follows Him or not. Yet if people are to know truth, they must know and experience Jesus personally. People do not get to heaven by simply acknowledging the fact that Jesus is the way to get there. That would be as absurd as saying an alcoholic could be delivered from his addiction by simply acknowledging that he or she has a problem.

In order to understand this fallacy, we must separate “the nature of truth” from “how we know truth.” The “nature of truth” is objective and propositional. Yet “how we know truth” is both objective and subjective. While the nature of God is objective and propositional, knowing God has both objective and subjective experiential elements.

Jesus explains this principle in His response to the many Jews who had begun to follow Him. He says, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8: 31– 32 NIV). In order to be true disciples of Jesus, we must know the truth personally, a task that demands a personal, experiential response of holding to Jesus’ teaching. The result of this deep, heart-motivated response of obedience to Jesus is true freedom. While the basis of truth is objective, knowing truth demands a response that is both objective (He tells us clearly what to do) and subjective (we must do it experientially). Yet the fact that we must experience truth in order to know it does not mean our experience is the basis of truth.

In order to understand the dynamics of heart-deep teaching, we must affirm the value of both objective, propositional truth and the experiential way we come to know truth. Heart-deep teaching depends on both.

This was written by Gary Newton in his book called, Heart-Deep Teaching: Engaging Students for Transformed Lives. This book is published by  B&H Publishing Group.

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