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Chuck Colson Breakiing Point - Page 2 Empty Re: Chuck Colson Breakiing Point

Post  Admin on Tue 26 Mar 2013, 4:29 pm

Never Forget Our First Freedom
John Stonestreet
March 25, 2013

During last week's Conservative Political Action Council' s
annual conference, known as CPAC, several conservatives who had up till
now supported one-man-one- woman marriage jumped ship and came out in
favor of so-called same-sex "marriage. "

Scholar Charles Murray articulated the main reason given by most for the
reversal: it's inevitable. "With gay marriage," he said,
"… the train has left the station."

Others claim that it's a necessary concession if Republicans are
ever going to win again. If granting same-sex couples the right to marry
brings in the votes they say, so be it. What's worth fighting for is
economic conservatism, gun rights and other conservative issues. But
marriage is not worth the fight anymore, apparently. Better to lose this
issue than have to get a real job, I suppose.

And that other pesky issue that comes along with redefining marriage
also went largely unmentioned: religious liberty. In fact, few mentioned
the numerous threats to our first freedom. Until, that is, my friend and
colleague, Eric Metaxas took the stage and delivered one of the best
public speeches I've ever heard him give (and that's saying
"Many people," he said, "…see disturbing
parallels between what was happening in Germany in the thirties and
America today on [the issue of religious freedom]. I'm very sorry to

Then, citing Chuck Colson, he criticized the administration for
substituting "freedom of worship" for "freedom of
religion." "Freedom of worship," Eric noted, "says you
can have your little strange rituals and say whatever you like in your
little religious buildings for an hour or two on Sundays, but once you
leave that building you will bow to the secular orthodoxy of the state!
And if you don't like it, tough luck!"

This, he said, is what's really going on in the same-sex
"marriage" ; debate. "This has been framed," he told the
crowd, "as an issue of expanding a supposed right to marry whomever
one chooses, which it is not… It's about religious freedom."

"What about the religious freedom of those who dissent on that
issue?" Eric asked. "This is not a live and let live issue. . .
if marriage is legally redefined, it will utterly cripple religious
freedom in America and it's already beginning to do that…."
Eric then argued that if religious
conviction is forced out of the public square not only would bad things
happen, but—and this is an important point—many good things
won't happen.

William Wilberforce&# 39;s life, he said, is a "story of what happens
when a man drags religion into the public square." Also Rosa Parks,
Jackie Robinson, and most of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement
acted out of Christian convictions.

So did Dietrich Bonhoeffer who, Eric suggested, still speaks to America
today, "warning us not to let ourselves be silenced." But
instead, we need to "stand up for what is right knowing that the
whole country will be blessed."

In his book A Free People's Suicide

Os Guinness argues that only virtue can
keep freedom from degenerating into lawlessness. And what cultivates
virtue? Faith. This, Guinness says, is what made the American experiment
so unique. It's why religious freedom is our first freedom. Remove
the influence of religion, and the government must grow to govern people
who won't govern themselves. Religious freedom, as Eric concluded,
is "the most important check the Founders put in place against
unbridled statism."

Please watch Eric's speech and share it with others. It's that
important. If you come toBreakPoint.org
we'll link to it and to the interview
Eric and I did with Os Guinness on the very important arguments in his

Folks, there is no America without religious liberty. As Eric Metaxas
told CPAC, "unless we take this seriously, it will be too late and
we won't be able to do anything about it."
Never Forget Our First Freedom

Next Steps

Does the idea that so-called "gay marriage" could threaten our freedom
to live as Christians in the public square sound new to you? It's a fact
few have considered, but it was one of Chuck Colson's clarion calls, and
BreakPoint host Eric Metaxas carried it forward most recently in front
of the nation's top conservative leaders at CPAC.

The reality is, if we stand by as marriage in this country is un-defined
to include arrangements besides a man and a woman for life, Christians
will have to comply with the new laws and recognize unbiblical unions as
marriages. This means serious trouble for Christian employers, those
involved with weddings, adoption agencies and legions of others.

If this sounds like a side of the debate your friends, family or
coworkers need to hear, you can watch Eric Metaxas' CPAC speech here,
and check out our coverage and discussion at
the BreakPoint Blog.
You can also sign up to explore this
other pressing issues facing Christians at the upcoming Wilberforce
Weekend Conference
in Arlington, VA.

We also hope you'll take advantage of the resources below, especially
Ryan T. Anderson' s defense of traditional marriage over at Heritage.org.
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook, Twitter
or LinkedIn networks.PLEASE help us, and give us your reaction.

Come to the Breakpoint website read more related articles and let us know how you feel about this
[Further Reading]

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Post  Admin on Thu 21 Mar 2013, 10:31 pm

Crazy Justice for the Mentally Ill
Finding a Better Way
Eric Metaxas
March 20, 2013

In 2005, Andre Thomas was convicted of killing his wife and children.
Everyone agrees he did it. What we should do with him is another matter.

What I'm about to describe is definitely not for younger listeners.
Older listeners should keep listening, because Thomas's case raises
serious questions about what it means to "do justice."

As detailed in a recent issue of Mother Jones, after killing his family,
Thomas cut out his children' s hearts to ensure "that the demons
inside each of them would die."

Well, if you're thinking, "Thomas must be crazy," you
haven't heard anything yet: Thomas actually believed that his wife
was Jezebel and his son was the Antichrist.

Now we're not making light of this. If you wonder whether Thomas
"must be faking it," you should know that when he was ten, he
tried to saw off his own arm with a butcher knife. Three weeks before
the murder, he tried to commit suicide and ended up in the hospital. A
hospital physician noted that, "[Thomas] is psychotic."

[http://www.breakpoi nt.org/component s/com_fpss/ images/Daily_ Commentary_ 3\
_20_13.jpg] Well, just how psychotic? Reading the Bible in his cell, he
came across Matthew 5:29—"If your right eye causes you to sin,
gouge it out . . ." — and he did just that.

What psychiatrists call "auto-enucleat ion" is extremely rare and
an almost-certain symptom of severe psychosis.

Despite this and a lot more evidence that Thomas is insane, he was
charged with capital murder, convicted and sentenced to death.

Prison officials have no trouble describing Thomas as a "paranoid
schizophrenic. " And that's not surprising, since, while on death
row, he gouged out his other eye, and consumed it.

Regardless of your opinion on the death penalty, executing a man who
should have been declared insane is not justice, and it does not protect
the public. Andre Thomas will never again be a free man.
But mental illness is more than just a
sentencing problem. It's also a crime-prevention problem—as
you've no doubt heard in the gun-control debate. Too often, when the
mentally ill come into contact with the justice system, instead of
treating them, we throw them in jail or in prison.

And that solves nothing. Not only do the mentally ill take up scarce
prison space that should be reserved for dangerous criminals, when they
return to the streets—and they will—they are more likely to pose
a danger to society precisely because they won't have been treated.

That's why Justice Fellowship
founded by Chuck Colson in 1983, is
supporting the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act.

The bill sponsor in the House is Republican Rep. Richard Nugent, who
served as Sheriff of Hernando County, Florida. Rep. Nugent says "After
thirty-seven years in law enforcement, I have seen far too many
tragedies result from mental health needs that went either unnoticed,
untreated, or misunderstood. This legislation will help give law
enforcement the tools and training they need to improve the way that our
legal system interacts with individuals suffering from mental health

The bill has bi-partisan support, and Justice Fellowship would love it
if you could support it to. Come to BreakPoint.org
and we will link you to all the
information you'll need about the Justice and Mental Health
Cooperation Act. You'll also be able to learn more about Justice
Fellowship&# 39;s work for biblically-based criminal justice reforms.

Folks, this is a vitally important subject. Christians, above all, need
to stand up on issues like this. People like Thomas are unable to speak
for themselves; we need to speak for them. So please go to
BreakPoint.org and let us know how you feel.
Crazy Justice for the Mentally Ill Finding a Better Way
Next Steps

Eric has spoken on a very difficult subject. We sometimes feel helpless
with the deep problems in our society, especially in the area of mental
illness and criminal behavior.
a sister ministry with The Colson Center,
is actively addressing this situation. But they need help from many
people. Visit to see how you can be a part.

You can go directly to the "Take Action" page Eric mentioned by
clicking here
showing your support for the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act
As Eric mentioned, we would like to hear your feedback on this
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook, Twitter
or LinkedIn networks.PLEASE help us, and give us your reaction.

Come to the Breakpoint website , and let us know how you feel about this
[Further Reading]

Our Bodies,
Our Destiny
Jesus' Resurrection and Ours

Eric Metaxas
March 18, 2013
Shortly after my return to "BreakPoint, " I revisited a subject
I'd worked on as a writer at "BreakPoint&qu ot; more than a decade
ago: the use of human body parts as "art."

I told "BreakPoint&qu ot; listeners about a series of exhibitions
entitled "Body Worlds." Perhaps you've heard of it. Through
a technique he calls "plastination, " a German doctor named
Gunther Von Hagens is able to pose corpses in whatever way suits him.

At the time, I pointed out the connection between Von Hagens'
atheism and the blatant disregard for human dignity on display in his
ghoulish exhibits.

According to Wired magazine, Von Hagens, for reasons of health, is no
longer involved in the plastination process, and the future of the
company he founded, Plastinarium, is also uncertain.

But we're still left with the erroneous ideas about the human body
that his art represents in his ghoulish exhibit called "Body
As you pay attention to what is being said both outside
and inside the church, you will see that, despite their protests and
squeamishness, most people hold a similar view of our bodies.

Many of our contemporaries, like the fictional Klingons of Star Trek
fame, view the body as nothing more than an empty shell. Now, unlike the
Klingons, they don't look into the deceased' s eyes and howl, but
they sometimes do leave teddy-bears and flowers and listen to sappy
Elton John songs. But in both instances, the respect paid to the dead is
for their memory, and not for the bodies they once "occupied. "

To put it simply, this is the antithesis of Christian teaching. As N. T.
Wright has pointed out, two of the things that most distinguished
Christians from their pagan neighbors were their sexual restraint and
their respect for the dead.

As the historian Robert Louis Wilken has written, the Romans saw the
early Christians as a kind of burial society. The famed catacombs were
not places where Christians hid from persecution, but tunnels they dug
to bury and care for their dead. Christian excavators known as fossors
dug nearly two miles of tunnels so that Christians could do right by the
bodies of the faithful departed.
This extraordinary care was rooted in their
belief in the resurrection of the body. As Wright has often pointed out,
early Christians rarely spoke about "going to heaven," although
they believed that to be absent from the body was to be present with the
Lord. What they spoke about was our bodily resurrection. They believed
that just as God raised Jesus's body from the dead, He will someday
raise our bodies, too.

In the end, death will be defeated and the goodness of God's
creation will be fully realized. How this will work is a mystery. Wright
uses the term "transphysical " to characterize Jesus'
resurrected body, which shared both continuities and discontinuities
with His pre-resurrection body. His disciples could recognize Him, but
He could also walk through closed doors! Something similar will be true
of us, as well. As Paul says, the "perishable [will put] on the
imperishable, and the mortal [will put] on immortality. "
This belief meant, and still means, that how we treat our bodies, both
in life and in death, matters. It's why, until relatively recently,
Christians were buried facing east toward Jerusalem. God's purposes
for our bodies don't end with our final breath. On the contrary,
something infinitely more glorious awaits us.

Von Hagens and our contemporaries don't understand this. And
unfortunately, many Christians don't, either.

Please come to BreakPoint.org
and we'll point you to some great
resources on the Christian understanding of the resurrection of the
Our Bodies,
Our Destiny
Jesus' Resurrection
and Ours

Next Steps
How have you felt when dealing with the death of a loved one, or
contemplating your own? Though it is terrifying at times, facing death
also brings an acute awareness that we, and even our bodies, are more
than just a pile of matter. Christianity teaches that our bodies will
one day be resurrected and that "...this corruptible will put on
incorruption" (I Cor 15:53).

Many disturbing modern trends lead to a growing disrespect for the human
body, both for those who have died and even for those who live or are
about to be born. We are witnessing the rise of a new callousness
towards something our forebears considered sacred. Perhaps it is time to
reexamine what God teaches about the body He has created and given to
us. We invite you to study the resources below.
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook, Twitter
or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us, and give us your reaction.

Come to the Breakpoint website read morerelated articles
read morerelated articles and tell us how you feel.
[Further Reading]

TV Tips for Parents
Interaction, not Isolation
Eric Metaxas
March 19, 2013
We've heard about different studies for years, that too much TV
isn't good for kids. Well, the latest study from New Zealand adds a
new wrinkle: some disturbing correlations between excessive TV viewing
and antisocial behavior in young people.

The researchers tracked a group of kids between the ages of five and
fifteen, then followed up with them when they were twenty-six. The
abstract from the study is available online (check this commentary on
BreakPoint.org for the link
That abstract summarizes the findings this way: "Young adults who
had spent more time watching television during childhood and adolescence
were significantly more likely to have a criminal conviction, a
diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, and more aggressive
personality traits compared with those who viewed less television."

The website PsychCentral adds, "Other studies have suggested a link
between television viewing and antisocial behavior, though few have been
of this longitudinal nature. This is the first study that has asked
about TV viewing throughout the whole childhood period, and has looked
at a range of antisocial outcomes in adulthood."

Now it's important to remember that this study only shows a
correlation, as such studies usually do. It doesn't prove that TV
viewing is a direct cause of antisocial behavior. Still, it serves as a
good reminder for all of us concerned about the spiritual health of the
younger generation.

Our kids are surrounded by a popular culture that is constantly fighting
for their time and attention. Most of the creators of that culture
couldn't care less about our children' s moral and spiritual
development. Those creators want ratings and dollars, and they'll
use whatever shock tactics they have to use to get them. A lot of their
programming is a spiritual vacuum at best, and spiritually damaging at

Remember how Hollywood has always rushed to defend itself after a mass
shooting, whenever someone has suggested that excessively violent movies
might have played a part? That alone suggests where the industry' s
priorities lie.

And many of the creative minds who do care about social causes tend to
be even worse. Much of what's now considered "educational&q uot;
programming solicits kids to get involved in causes that are politically
correct and morally bankrupt—causes like the right to "safe
sex" at younger and younger ages, and same-sex marriage.
I'm not advocating for completely
cutting kids off from the culture around them. One danger of that course
of action is that you'll create curiosity that your kids might rush
to gratify the minute your back is turned. It's a common reaction to
"forbidden fruit."

Also, your kids could end up unable to relate to the society around
them—and unable to reach out to people who believe differently from

But it is possible to raise wise and mature kids without putting them in
a plastic bubble. Here's one thing you can do: You can limit TV
time. Be aware of what your kids are watching. Discuss their favorite
shows with them, and explain to them how shows use imagery and emotion
to try to influence their thinking. You can encourage them to read as
many good books as possible (check out the Youth Reads page at
for some recommendations) .

And most of all, spend time with your kids. Show them what it means to
live as a follower of Christ, through your words and your example.
Raising kids who know what they believe, and why they believe it, is the
surest way to make sure the culture can't remake them in its own
warped image.
TV Tips for Parents Interaction, not Isolation
Next Steps
You will find links below to the study Eric mentions, as well as the
PsychCentral article. They give the bad news. But we encourage you to
also read the good news. Many of theBreakPoint and Colson Centr resources listed below give good tips on
how to create a better culture in your home. Check them out as well.

We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook, Twitter
or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us, and give us your reaction.
Most important: spend time with your kids, whether watching TV or doing
other things. Interact with them. Discuss the content of what you are
seeing. Help them integrate what they see into a Christian worldview.
Help them learn to think critically.

If you would like to improve your own ability to deal with the culture
from a Christian worldview perspective consider taking a major
step.Subscribe to the daily ViewPoint newsletter
from T.M.Moore. Consider becoming a
Centurion. It will amaze you how your life, and what
you can offer your children, will improve.
, read morerelated articles , and give us your comments.
[Further Reading]

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Post  Admin on Sat 16 Mar 2013, 8:26 pm

The Annual Debunking of Jesus
Can We Rely on the Gospels?
Eric Metaxas
March 15, 2013
When I was a kid, every Easter, I think it was NBC, played the
miniseries "Jesus of Nazareth." It had a bunch of well-known
stars like Anthony Quinn, Anne Bancroft, and my favorite, Ernest
Borgnine. Sure, there was some extra storytelling going on, but it was a
moving account of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. And for the
most part it was sympathetic to the gospels and to Christian

Well, those days are pretty much gone.

Whether it's the Discovery Channel' s airing a show on the
supposed lost tomb of Jesus (they actually claim to have found His
bones), or Newsweek (while it was still in print) featuring a cover
photo of a cool-looking Jesus on the streets of New York City, or simply
one of the major news networks interviewing a "modern" biblical
scholar, Easter has become prime time for reconstructing the historical

Gone also are the days when the main argument about Jesus was whether He
really was (and is) the Son of God, or just a great moral teacher. No
doubt you'll remember C. S. Lewis's famous quote that Jesus was
either who He said He was, or he was a madman ("on the level with
the man who says he is a poached egg") or a liar or something worse.

But today, the arguments focus more on the reliability of the gospels
themselves. It's hard to use Lewis's excellent response when
someone flings back in your face, "Well, we don't really know
what Jesus said after all"—or if Jesus even existed—because
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were all just propaganda pieces for a
growing social and cultural movement.

But what if the Gospels are indeed what they claim to be? Eyewitness
accounts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth?

On "BreakPoint This Week," my colleague John Stonestreet talked
about this very issue with a friend of mine, a pastor and a man for whom
I have enormous respect, Dr. Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church
in New York City.

They discussed Dr. Keller's excellent book, "Jesus the King:
Understanding the life and death of the Son of God." In it, he
focuses on Jesus' life as told in the Gospel of Mark. And as Dr.
Keller and John point out, there are many sound arguments for believing
that the gospels are indeed eyewitness accounts.

Look for instance, at the portrayal of Peter and the disciples in Mark.
If the young church wanted to make up a rosy propaganda piece about its
leaders, they would not have painted the picture of Peter as a coward
and the other disciples as consistently clueless!
But that's what the Gospel of Mark does.
Or take the role of women in the Gospel of Mark. They were the first to
discover the empty tomb. But in the Jewish and Roman worlds, women
couldn't serve as witnesses in court! So there's no way Mark or
any of the gospels would rely on their testimony—unless, of course,
the women really were eyewitnesses and what they said really happened.

So, as you prepare for Easter, be ready for the conversation with a
colleague or neighbor who's watched or read the latest revisionist
history of Jesus. To help you winsomely engage in presenting truth,
we've got John's great "BreakPoint This Week" interview with Dr.
Keller for you at BreakPoint.org
And at the BreakPoint online bookstore, we have Dr. Keller's book
"Jesus the King
along with another book that John
recommends highly, Richard Bauckham' s "Jesus and the
Finally, John has produced a great teaching CD on the cosmic,
universe-shattering implications of Jesus' resurrection called
"He Has Risen
." It's great for individual and
group study, and a great way to prepare for Resurrection Sunday and the
season of Easter.
The Annual Debunking of Jesus
Can We Rely on the Gospels?

Next Steps

Are you weary of the continual attacks on the historicity of Jesus and
the resurrection? Perhaps you have doubts yourself. There are many good,
scholarly resources which can help you sift through the evidence and
come to a rational conclusion. Often the popular media joins the
skeptics, without a serious regard for strong evidence that has
convinced millions through the centuries.

Take a look at the resources listed and then go on a search
yourself. Jesus always encouraged those around Him to investigate and
ask honest questions. Seek the truth. God honors such a quest.
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook, Twitter
or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us, and give us your reaction.
Come to the Breakpoint website, read morerelated articles
Further Reading

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Post  Admin on Fri 15 Mar 2013, 2:23 pm

Kids Ask the Best Questions
The Power of Doubting Well
John Stonestreet
March 14, 2013
Recently as I walked in the front door from work, my five-year-old
daughter Anna met me breathless and excited. She'd just watched a
history video that my BreakPoint colleague Eric Metaxas had worked on.

"Daddy! Daddy!" she said. "We watched something with Eric My
Taxi in it!" I've notified Eric that henceforth he shall ever be
known as such.

As funny as children can be, they can also be very thoughtful. A few
days earlier, my seven-year-old daughter Abigail asked my wife a
question that has tied theologians in knots for centuries: If God knew
Adam and Eve were going to sin, why did He create them in the first

I can tell you that Sarah and I weren't laughing then! In fact,
Abigail' s question sparked an intense and prolonged theological
discussion both in our house and on my Facebook page.

[yui_3_7_2_1_ 1363276179850_ 4678] Now my intent in this commentary
isn't to tackle that question, though there are good answers, but to
think through what to do with young people's tough questions and
sincere doubts about the faith—which they will have, guaranteed.

It's important that young people learn how to question well.
There's a difference between mockers of truth and seekers of truth.
We want the latter, not the former.

So, we must never, ever give kids the impression that questioning itself
is a sin. The Book of Psalms, after all, is full of David's doubts
and questions for God. And if families, churches and Sunday schools
don't help the next generation field these significant questions,
others will, whether on TV or the Internet—not to mention at school.

Asking tough questions, in fact, is a sign that God made us in His image
and likeness. He has built us this way. We're expected not only to
know truth but to discover it, and to be independent thinkers in the
best sense. As Proverbs 25:2 says, "It' s the glory of God to
conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out."

So the next time a kid asks one of those tough questions, don't
duck! Encourage the question. It's always better for young people to
ask questions where they can find accurate, biblically-informed answers.
If we don't allow for good questions today, they'll get the
answers from Google or a secular humanist professor tomorrow.
And part of taking a question seriously is
admitting when we don't know the answer. What we should say then is,
"I don't know, but let's find out together." This
posture of humility not only gives an opportunity to journey with a
child to the truth, but the opportunity for us to learn something new.

If we pretend we've got all the answers, or that Christian faith is
somehow nice and simple, they'll either see right through it, or
will embrace answers that will leave them vulnerable in the future. Even
worse, they may pick up the wrong impression that Christianity cannot
play with the intellectual "big boys." As C. S. Lewis wrote in
"Mere Christianity" , "It is no good asking for simple
religion. After all, real things are not simple."

We should also point them to some really great resources that are
already out there. I love the Apologetics Study Bible for Students, to
which I contributed several articles—including one on Abigail' s
question. And, my friend Eric My Taxi—I mean, Metaxas!—wrote a
great book called "Everything You Always Wanted to Know about God
(but were afraid to ask)!"

We've got a short list of key apologetics resources and links
available on our website. You can pick them up in our online book store
Yes, kids say the funniest things, but if we don't take their
questions seriously, the joke will be on all of us.
Kids Ask the Best Questions
The Power of Doubting Well

Next Steps
Kids of all ages have the questions. Have you got the answers? As John
Stonestreet points out in the commentary above, Eric Metaxas and many
others have produced great resources to help you answer the knotty,
important questions people of all ages ask about faith.

The Next Step for today is to take inventory of your resources. Make
sure you are equipped to help guide others when questioning their faith
(or to bolster your own). Take a few minutes and check out some of the
resources below.
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook, Twitter
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Post  Admin on Thu 14 Mar 2013, 5:50 pm

Get Thee to a Nunnery?
Colorado Advice for Religious Freedom Advocates

John Stonestreet
March 13, 2013
As I record this, the state of Colorado, my state, is debating whether
to enact a "civil unions" law. The bill has already passed the
state senate and is awaiting consideration by the state assembly.

While Christians are right to be concerned about any attempt to create
an alternative to traditional marriage, I'm not talking about the
particulars of the bill. Instead, I want to draw your attention to
something that one of the bill's sponsors, Senator Pat Steadman, had
to say to the bill's opponents.

In response to concerns about the bill's potential impact on
religious freedom, he replied, "This bill does not reach into
anyone's church or mosque or synagogue. You can have all the free
exercise there that you want." He then added, "Don' t claim
religion as a reason the law should discriminate. "

From there, he stopped pulling punches altogether. Anyone wanting a
religious exemption, he said, should "get thee to a nunnery. . . Go
live a monastic life, away from modern society . . . away from the
people you can't see as equals to yourself. Away from the stream of
commerce where you might have to serve them, or employ them, or rent
banquet halls to them. Go some place and be as judgmental as you like.
Go inside your church, establish separate water fountains, if you want.
But don't claim that free exercise of religion requires the state of
Colorado to establish separate water fountains for her citizens."

By the way, in the same conversation, one of Steadman' s colleagues
compared religious freedom advocates to the KKK, the Nazis, and the

As Eric Metaxas recently told BreakPoint listeners, this kind of calumny
is part of being a "sign of contradiction. "

Steadman' s comments represent, albeit in an extreme way, the kind of
criticisms to which we must respond calmly and winsomely. The goal is
not tit-for-tat, but instead, to clarify the record.

Steadman' s analogy of "separate water fountains," which we
too often hear from our critics, directly compares our position with the
architects and enforcers of Jim Crow. It's absurd, and should
trouble anyone who cares about American history, despite what they think
about the traditional family.

Jim Crow was an attempt to impose legislatively what had been lost at
Appomattox. Its goal was to subjugate newly-freed African-Americans and
reduce them to a state of permanent legal, economic, and social
inferiority. Separate water fountains were merely the symbol of a system
of control that rendered the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished
slavery, toothless.
Obviously nothing remotely comparable is
happening in Colorado, or anywhere else, for that matter.

Besides being ahistorical, Steadman' s rhetoric is deeply ironic. If
Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King had followed his advice to confine
their faith within the walls of their churches, we might still have
"separate water fountains" and the rest of Jim Crow.

At this point, we shouldn' t have to remind people that the Civil
Rights Movement was led by Christian ministers, organized in churches,
and was, in almost every respect, an explicit rejection of the idea that
religion is purely a private matter.

Just listen to King's speeches or the songs of the freedom marchers
and you'll hear the kind of explicitly religious language that is
unthinkable today. When King, on numerous occasions said, "Let
justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty
stream," he wasn't quoting Jefferson or Madison; he was quoting
the prophet Amos.

His "Letter from Birmingham Jail
" quoted the likes of Augustine and
Aquinas in its rejection of the kind of quietism Steadman and others
would have us embrace. Come to BreakPoint.org
and we'll link you to it. Now as then,
our mission involves raising questions that the larger society would
rather ignore. Now as then, we can expect opposition. How we respond is
up to us.

Get Thee to a Nunnery?
Colorado Advice for Religious Freedom Advocates

Next Steps

Will you respond like Dr. King did? It requires two elements:
1) Understanding. 2) Bold action.
First, as John said, we must understand and then raise the larger
questions. We must be able to articulate the issues at stake. Read
theLetter From Birmingham Jail
It takes about 30 minutes (appx. 50
paragraphs). It gives excellent Christian reasoning and precedent for
speaking out strongly in public. We must understand our Christian
foundations, teach them and stand on them as Dr. King's letter
Second, we must not stay in the shadows. We must break the spiral of
silence. We must speak out, even if it means being civilly disobedient.
We must keep the higher law.
Will you take a stand in the public square? There will be many
opportunities for you. One is to join the Colson Center's Centurions
Another is to attend our Wilberforce
n Washington, "Making the Invisible Kingdom
Visible." Another is to join one of our online communities such as one which focuses on using your
social media network to influence others.
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook, Twitter
or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us, and give us your reaction.
Come to the Breakpoint website
read more related articles
and share your thought with us.
[Further Reading]

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Post  Admin on Wed 13 Mar 2013, 6:49 pm

Let's Be Disliked for the Right Reasons
Facing Opposition

Eric Metaxas
March 11, 2013
You've heard me and John Stonestreet refer to our culture as being
"post-Christia n." It's a shorthand way of noting the
decreasing influence of Christian ideas and values on cultural norms,
attitudes, and habits.

Obviously, this is far from a good thing. But it's in this
post-Christian culture that the Church can and must be what her Lord
called her to be: a sign of contradiction. The phrase comes from
Luke's Gospel. After Jesus is presented in the Temple, Simeon holds
the One he has waited his entire life to see. He proclaims Jesus to be
"a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your
people Israel," and then gives Mary the news that will "pierce
her heart": Her son will be a "sign that will be opposed" or
"contradicted. " Whichever word you prefer, the meaning is the
same: faithfulness to God's call and His truth on our part will be
met with opposition.

It could hardly be otherwise. As Benedict XVI wrote in his book
"Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives," "man' s
`contradiction&# 39; of God runs all the way through history." We
live in a time when "God himself is constantly regarded as a
limitation placed upon our freedom that must be set aside if man is ever
to be completely himself."

[yui_3_7_2_1_ 1363025557110_ 2497] God is love, but this love "can be
hated when it challenges us to transcend ourselves."

This hatred of the love that redeems sent Jesus to the cross. And it's
why we ourselves should expect to be rejected. By the way, we in the
West should count our blessings. A Pew Forum study estimates that
Christians are actively persecuted in 131 of the world's 197
countries. Approximately 100,000 are murdered every year because of
their faith.

So what should be our response? Well for starters, how about no whining.
As I just told you, at the very least, Scripture warns us to expect
opposition and rejection. When faced with opposition and hostility, our
principle response should be to ensure that we are being opposed for the
right reasons. If people are to speak ill of us, they should do so
because our message and our lives are inescapable reminders of what it
means to transcend ourselves and live as if there were something greater
than our own desires.
One obvious example is our unequivocal
support, in word and deed, of the sanctity of human life and marriage. I
say "word and deed," because we Christians are often better at
demonstrating what we're against than articulating and modeling a
Christian alternative of what it means to be truly human. As Chuck
Colson might say, we're good at opposing, we've got to be better
at proposing.

Another, unfortunately less-obvious example is being champions of the
weak, oppressed and marginalized. For instance, the American criminal
justice system is in desperate need of reform. Offenders and their
families should have no better friends and advocates than the people of
God. Which is precisely why Chuck foundedPrison Fellowship
—to bring the love of Christ to prisoners
and their families—and Justice Fellowship
—to bring biblically based reforms to
the justice system.
So instead of being just another aggrieved interest group, let's
pray God will give us grace to become those signs of contradiction.
Instead of complaining when people speak ill of us, we should recall
Jesus's words in Matthew 5, "Blessed are you when people insult
you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you
because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in
Visit Prison Fellowship
Let's Be Disliked for
the Right Reasons
Facing Opposition:
Next Steps
As Eric said, Christians face opposition.
But in the midst of the opposition, we have a proposition. We can be
champions of the weak, oppressed and marginalized. Chuck Colson was
known to many as a stalwart defender of Biblical views on marriage, the
right to life and religious freedom. But two of the greatest efforts of
his life led to the foundation of Prison Fellowship
—bringing the love of Christ to prisoners
and their families—andJustice Fellowship
—bringing biblically based reforms to
the justice system.
Start today by exploring these two vital ministries - check out their
websites below. And be sure and visit angeltree.org
Prison Fellowship&# 39;s ministry to hundreds
of thousands of children in families of the incarcerated.
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook, Twitter
or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us, and share this with your friends.
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Post  Admin on Wed 13 Mar 2013, 6:16 pm

Become a Centurion!
Stand on Tall Shoulders
Eric Metaxas
March 12, 2013
It's hard to believe that Chuck Colson went home to be with the Lord
almost a year ago. As hard as it was for me to be on the stage with him
when he fell ill, I'm so thankful that the Lord allowed me to be
there with my friend and mentor.

It was the next day, actually, when the folks at the Colson Center asked
me to fill in at BreakPoint, as we all hoped, temporarily.

And when it became clear that Chuck wasn't going to return to the
microphone, they asked me to stay on, with of course, my dear friend
John Stonestreet.

It wasn't a hard decision for two reasons. First, I loved Chuck, and
I'd have done anything for him. Second, and this is important, I
wasn't being asked to fill Chuck's shoes.

You see, Chuck never wanted anyone to fill his shoes. He wanted people
to stand on his shoulders. Just as he had been standing on the shoulders
and work of men like C. S. Lewis, Abraham Kuyper, John Calvin, Martin
Luther, and of course Augustine of Hippo.

That's exactly why, nearly ten years ago, Chuck launched the
Centurions Program. Each year, we take 100 people who are eager to live
out the Gospel and defend Truth in the marketplace of ideas, have them
study under some of the best minds in the Christian world, read the
great Christian classics together, view movies and critique them, link
them together online, and then gather them for residencies at the Colson
Center headquarters in Virginia.

But the Centurions Program is not an ivory-tower experience. What
mattered most to Chuck was what the Centurions do with their training.
Each Centurion develops a plan to impact their particular sphere of
influence in their communities.

While we've had film producers, legislators, and even religious
leaders join the Centurions, Chuck was always most enthusiastic about
what he called the "extraordinary ordinary" people who came,
learned, and went out to apply what they learned.

People like Bethany Woodcock, who's the founder of "Not In My
Backyard" (NiMBY), a grassroots organization dedicated to ending
human trafficking in our own back yards and beyond.

And there's Leigh Littrell, who's the founder of Refuge of
Grace, a residential home for women and children in crisis that offers
Christian counseling in a nurturing, safe environment.

And Stuart Kellogg, who during the day applies a Christian perspective
to his work as a television station manager, and who disciples inmates
at night in a nearby prison.

Finally, there's Darren Ho, a businessman in Shanghai whose
Workplace Initiative helps other expatriates integrate their vocation
and faith to better serve their organizations— and in the process be
a witness for Christ in China.

Could the Lord be calling you to apply to the Centurions Program? And
consider this: To make the program even more accessible and affordable,
we now have regional Centurions Programs in seven areas around the
country. Please, come toBreakPoint.org
and we'll give you information about this life- and culture-changing program.
nd by the way, from April 26 through 28, we'll be holding our 2013
Wilberforce Weekend Conference in Washington, DC. In addition to hearing
great speakers—including Wilberforce Award Winner Cardinal Timothy
Dolan—you' ll be able to meet and interact with a number of folks
who've gone through the Centurions Program. John Stonestreet and I
will of course be there as well. Again, for more on the Centurions
Program, and on the conference, please visit BreakPoint.org.

Could the Lord be calling you to apply to the Centurions Program? And
consider this: To make the program even more accessible and affordable,
we now have regional Centurions Programs in seven areas around the
country. Please, come to BreakPoint.org
Become a Centurion!
Stand on Tall Shoulders
Next Steps
Take a few moments and look at the Centurions program.
Besides the national program, did you know that there are now regional
programs in Seattle, Michigan, Colorado, New England, Pittsburgh,
Wisconsin and New Mexico?
Check it all out at Centurionsprogram. org
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook, Twitter
or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us, and share this with your friends.
[Further Reading]
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Post  Admin on Sat 09 Mar 2013, 4:11 pm

John Stonestreet
March 8, 2013
Well, we're about halfway through with Lent. Where does the time go?

As Eric Metaxas spoke about on BreakPoint a few weeks ago, Lent is
traditionally a time for Christians to examine our lives, practice
self-denial (by the way, how are you chocolate lovers getting along?),
engage in acts of charity, and recommit ourselves to living as Christ
would have us live.

All of this, of course, is to prepare ourselves to celebrate the most
important day in the Christian calendar: Easter. Or, as Chuck Colson
preferred to call it, Resurrection Sunday.

And, of course, the reason Easter is the most important day on the
Christian calendar is because the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ,
the Son of God, from the dead is the most important event in the history
of this world and the entire universe. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis,
"it' s what the whole story has been about…"

[yui_3_7_2_1_1362770138508_ 2624] This is why all of the gospels,
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, reach their climax with the empty tomb.
"He is not here, for he has risen, as he said (Mt 28:6, see also Mk
16:6);" "Why do you seek the living among the dead? Remember how
he told you . . . that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands
of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise (Luke
24:6);" "Go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my
Father and your Father, to my God and your God (Jn 20:17)."

Beginning this week on Re-engage
which I hope you'll watch at
BreakPoint.org, I begin a five-week teaching series on Easter. What I
hope to accomplish is seeing Easter and the resurrection of Jesus as big
as it actually is. We are far too often tempted to make the resurrection
only about our salvation and our forgiveness. That's all true, and
thank God, for it. But the resurrection is cosmic in scope.

To put it another way, I want our worldviews big enough to comprehend
all that the resurrection means, not just for you, not just for the
Church, but for all mankind everywhere and at every time.

To do this, we'll walk together through the five key events of that
Holy week. We'll start with Jesus' triumphal entry into
Jerusalem on what we now call Palm Sunday. Why did the crowd, who
celebrated with palm branches and shouts one day, turn viciously on
Jesus within the same week? And what does that have to say about us
today? Hint: A lot.

Then we'll look at what's called Maundy Thursday—the day
Jesus gave his disciples a new command: That they love each other as He
has loved them, that they show it, as Jesus did by washing their feet.
This day Jesus also established the Lord's supper. We'll talk
about how his command to "take and eat" reverses the
serpent' s temptation of Eve to take and eat. And then I'll make
the case that this event forever unites truth and love. Despite what our
culture says, we can, and must, embrace both.
To tease out the rest of the series, let me
throw this at you: We'll see how the resurrection is the answer to
both modern optimism and post-modern pessimism. We'll talk about how
true hope is established by the resurrection and how it's not an
airy-fairy exercise in wishful thinking. Finally, we'll tackle
head-on the secularist dualism that has crept into the Church that would
separate this world from the Kingdom of God that Christ came to

It's a lot to take in. But it should be! The resurrection of Christ
is that big. So please, visitBreakPoint. org
to catch the first installment of the
Re-engage Easter series. We've also packaged the videos—along
with a study guide into a DVD teaching series called "He Has Risen:
the Worldview of Easter
." It's a wonderful tool to help
your family, your small group, and yourself prepare for Resurrection
Sunday. Again, we've got all the details for you atBreakPoint. org
Take the Next Step
With the DVD series we are promoting on BreakPoint today, He Has Risen!
John Stonestreet continues the study of
worldview during the Lenten and Easter season.
In six engaging videos, Stonestreet walks
through the foundational worldview principles that are vital to
celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.The videos are
accompanied by a five week long daily-study written by T. M. Moore and
are the perfect resource to look at the deeper meaning by the holiday
that symbolizes the crux of the Christian worldview.
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook, Twitter
or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us, and share this with your friends.

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Post  Admin on Sat 09 Mar 2013, 3:45 pm

Ban Internet Porn . . . Can They Do That?
Iceland Can.

John Stonestreet
March 7, 2013
If the Moral Majority had thought of this, the media would be flipping
out. If Mitt Romney had proposed this, then they'd say we're on
the verge of a new Dark Ages.

But the idea comes not from conservative Lynchburg or Provo but from
liberal Iceland—that&# 39;s right, Iceland—a European social
welfare state with fewer than 400,000 residents living on a volcanic
island in the North Atlantic. Tiny Iceland has a big
problem—violent, hardcore internet pornography, which officials say
endangers women and children. That's why some officials want to
block access to it.

"We have to be able to discuss a ban on violent pornography, which
we all agree has a very harmful effects on young people and can have a
clear link to incidences of violent crime," says Iceland' s
interior minister. He's drafting a law to end access to online
pornographic images and videos by young people through computers, games,
and smartphones.

The aim is to install a filter to keep the hurtful material, which is
already banned in print form, off Iceland' s computers. As one
political adviser to told the Daily Mail, "Surely if we can send a
man to the moon, we must be able to tackle porn on the internet."

This isn't the push of a lone right-wing candidate or party, but the
deliberate consensus of a broad swath of Icelandic society—everyone
from the police, to child-welfare experts, to educators. Such images, in
the true sense of the word, corrupt the minds of those who view them,
and Iceland aims to step in for the good of society.

"Iceland is taking a very progressive approach that no other
democratic country has tried," says researcher Gail Dines. "It
is looking at pornography … from the perspective of the harm it does
to the women who appear in it … as a violation of their civil

Imagine that—seeing porn as a civil rights issue! Apparently freedom
does have its limits. As I mentioned recently on BreakPoint, when it
comes to social experimentation in the name of absolute, unfettered
"sexual freedom," we are using women and especially young
people, as human guinea pigs—but giving them no say in the matter.

Of course, many sexual libertines will say, "Why not? It's the
American way—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!" Well,
our old friend Chuck Colson used to point out that this does not mean
that human beings are endowed with the right to feel good, or to act in
any way that pleases ourselves. After all, not all pleasure is
legitimate, such as the pleasure a child molester feels when abusing a
child or a bank robber feels when robbing a bank.
"Our founding fathers understood the
pursuit of happiness," Chuck said, "to mean the pursuit of a
virtuous life." Why is this? Because freedom and virtue must go
together. As Edmund Burke once said, "Men of intemperate minds
cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."

Os Guinness hit the nail on the head in his great book "A Free
People's Suicide
" when he said that "the greatest
enemy of freedom is freedom." Guinness said our great democratic
experiment requires a Golden Triangle of Freedom—a mutually
reinforcing triangle of freedom, which requires virtue, which requires
faith, which requires freedom, and so on. Freedom unfettered isn't
true freedom—and it becomes slavery and results in moral chaos.

Beginning tomorrow you can catch a special re-air of my interview with
Os on BreakPoint This Week.

Anyone from previous generations would look at all the contemporary
sexual wreckage and conclude that we're absolute fools. The Founders
certainly understood that freedom requires moral restraint, because when
we pursue only our own pleasure, we sacrifice future generations on the
altar of hedonism.

What do you know? We are our brother' s—and
sister's— keepers. http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/breakpoint-commentaries-archive/entry/13/21660?spMailingID=5736766&spUserID=OTQ0MjQwNzk2S0&spJobID=68007198&spReportId=NjgwMDcxOTgS1
Ban Internet Porn . . . Can They Do That?
Iceland Can:

Take the Next Step
Don't wait until someone in your family is entrapped by Internet
pornography. Take steps now. With the easy availability of addictive
sexual content of all kinds online, not only are adults susceptible, but
children are increasingly vulnerable.
Please read the articles below, and check
out Os Guiness' tremendous classic,A Free People's Suicide: Sustainable
Freedom and the American Future
We highly recommend that you visit (or revisit) two different BreakPoint
This Week
j=NjgwMDcxOTgS1& ;mt=1& rt=0> interviews which John Stonestreet conducted.
One is Protecting Purity
&j=NjgwMDcxOTgS 1&mt= 1&rt= 0> , with Julie Hiramine, Founder and Executive
Director of Generations of Virtue

, a ministry dedicated to equipping parents
to protect their children' s purity and training them to live with sexual
integrity. The second is The Grip of Pornography
, featuring an interview John did with with
Josh and Sean McDowell. If you do not have time to listen to the entire
interviews, take a few moments to read the in-depth summaries.
[yiv2019988540socia l_network_ image]
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Post  Admin on Tue 05 Mar 2013, 11:17 pm

Supernatural Rescue
Prayer and the Escape of Chen Guangcheng

Eric Metaxas
March 4, 2013

When China's blind dissident, Chen Guangcheng, escaped from house arrest
last year, angry Chinese leaders were sure the U.S. had somehow helped
him. Well, they were wrong. Someone helped him, all right—but the
help came from another Source. I learned the details of Chen's
remarkable rescue from my friend, Reggie Littlejohn, founder of Women's
Rights Without Frontiers.

Chen had endured months of vicious beatings by Chinese guards. He'd been
released from prison with terrible intestinal problems. Kept under house
arrest, Chen and his wife were shut off from the outside world. Friends
who attempted to approach his house were detained and beaten.

Six thousand miles away, in California, Reggie Littlejohn was praying
for Chen's safety. In late 2011, a rumor spread that Chen had died from
his brutal treatment. Reggie refused to believe it. And she became
convinced that the only way for Chen to survive was for him to escape to
the West.

In human terms, this was impossible. Chen's house was guarded `round
the clock by almost a hundred guards. But with God, all things are
possible. On December 7, 2011, Reggie spoke on a Voice of America
program broadcast throughout China. She discussed the rumor that Chen
had died, as well as his weakened physical condition.
And then, led by the Holy Spirit, Reggie
asked "Every person who is a believer who is listening … to
… lift up prayers for Chen Guangcheng, that he would be free."
She also asked listeners to fast, adding "I think that God needs to
intervene in this situation."

Just two months later, Chen did escape. He later told Reggie that he
began planning his escape soon after Reggie called for prayer.

Chen and his wife scrutinized the movements of the guards. Then one day,
helped by his wife, Chen jumped over the courtyard wall, breaking three
bones in his foot. He felt his way to his neighbor' s pigsty, and lay
motionless until late at night. Limping and crawling, Chen made his way
past checkpoints in the village and waded across a river. And remember,
he's blind. A villager found him and took him to the home of a
family he had once helped. The family connected Chen to his network, and
in short order, he was driven to Beijing and put in touch with the U.S.

Last May, after Chen flew to the U.S., he and Reggie met in New York.
Although Chen is not himself a Christian, he acknowledged to Reggie that
he knows that supernatural forces played a role in his incredible
On January 29 of this year, Chen was in
Washington receiving the 2012 Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize. Through an
interpreter—who just happened to be the actor and human rights
activist Richard Gere—Chen boldly spoke truth to both U.S. and
Chinese power:

"The government [of China] should take note of this," he warned.
"There has never been a dynasty that was able to achieve longevity
through forceful oppression." And he told U.S. leaders—some of
whom were in the audience—that "If you approach [a dictatorship]
with dialogue and reason in the hope that they will give up some of
their authoritarian power, you will, in effect, become an accomplice to
their work."

The secular world believes in earthly power. But we
Christians—having witnessed the power of prayer through Chen's great
escape—know better.

So as we pray for the persecuted Church in China, we must also pray for
our own leaders. May God grant them the wisdom to know what is
right—and the courage to do it.

Come to the BreakPoint.org
Supernatural Rescue

Prayer and the Escape of Chen Guangcheng:

Take the Next Step
What would you do if you discovered a leading dissident, just escaped
from a cruel, political prison, hiding in your pigsty?

Knowing that continuing to hide him or even help him get to a friendly
foreign embassy could doom you and your family to prison or even death,
would you take that risk? Yet that is exactly what Chen's neighbors did
when they discovered him. And now he is safe in the US.

The point is this: Are we too soft in the US? Are Christians too
sheltered from persecution for the sake of faith or basic human rights?
Are we strong enough to do risky, tough things to stand up to
oppression? The day may be coming when we will have to suffer here as
well, and we should strengthen ourselves.

First, learn to obey, pray and trust God. Get involved with
organizations that help Christians or others in lands where they are
persecuted now. Women's Rights Without Frontiers and China Aid are two
of these. There are others, representing persecuted people in other

Second, follow the Biblical teaching of praying for rulers and leaders
in countries where they persecute people for conscience or faith. I
Timothy 2:-3 mandates this.
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook, Twitter
or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us, and share this with your friends.
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The New Narcissists
Young People and Self-Esteem
Eric Metaxas
February 25, 2013

We've all heard the Greek myth of Narcissus, the proud young man who
saw his reflection in a pool and fell in love with it. Narcissus was
unable to break away from his own gaze, and eventually died by the side
of the pool.

Sad to say, if one survey is correct, we may be raising a generation of
young people who are succumbing to the terrible danger of unhealthy,
delusional, and misdirected self-love.

The recently released American Freshman Survey finds a gaping chasm
between students' perceptions of their giftedness and drive to
succeed, and the reality. For example, according to lead researcher Jean
Twenge, today's freshmen are much more likely to rate their writing
abilities as "gifted" than their predecessors. But their test
scores— and often their reading and writing abilities—are far
below their 1960s counterparts.

Elisabeth Wilkins of Empowering Parents summarizes, "in the past
four decades, students' opinions of themselves have soared—even
though test scores have gone down."

This mental disconnect is only part of the problem.

Twenge says that narcissism in college students has risen 30 percent in
30 years. She defines narcissism as "a need to pump yourself up with
praise and approval in order to feel okay."

You could call the current preening crop of kids the Narcissistic
Generation, but apparently it's no fun to always be staring at your
reflection in the pool. Twenge notes that anxiety and depression are on
the rise among young adults, as well as failure to reach personal goals.

One business executive notes, "I' ve had new hires become irate
when they're not rewarded with all the goodies right away, but they
don't seem to understand that they need to put in years of hard work
in order to achieve what they want in life."

There are several reasons for this rising tide of narcissists. First is
the cultural premium put on building up self-esteem—the idea that
everyone gets a trophy just for participating, and no one gets critiqued
on actual performance.

Another reason is the flood of social media and related technologies.
Psychiatrist Keith Ablow has noted, "I have been writing a great
deal over the past few years about the toxic psychological impact of
media and technology on children, adolescents and young adults,
particularly as it regards turning them into faux celebrities—the
equivalent of lead actors in their own fictionalized life stories. Using
computer games," Ablow continues, "our sons and daughters can
pretend they are Olympians, Formula 1 drivers, rock stars or
sharpshooters. These are the psychological drugs of the 21st century,
and they are getting our sons and daughters very sick, indeed."

Wilkins of Empowering Parents suggests that we need to encourage in our
kids "empathy, hard work, and more real-world, face-to-face
interactions. " In addition, she says that we must help our children
develop compassion and "do things that are worthy."

I agree one hundred percent, and the church is a great place—or
should be—to provide young people with clear models and solid,
biblical teaching and encouragement on how they can develop the vision,
faith, and humility that are required to live lives of true—rather
than virtual—significance . And of course, we must be vigilant
against nurturing a culture of narcissism in our communities of faith,
shifting our gaze away from our own reflections and onto the Lord. We
would do well to remember Jesus' punch line to the parable of the
Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18: "For everyone who exalts
himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be

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Post  Admin on Sun 24 Feb 2013, 6:39 pm

Delaying Childbirth, Part Trois
I Heard You
John Stonestreet
February 21, 2013

A few weeks ago on BreakPoint I spoke about the cost of delaying
marriage and childbirth. I also pointed out what the increasing trend of
delaying childbirth says about us and about how we view children: Are
they just another item to check off the bucket list? Are they something
we want once we've got all of our ducks in a row? Or are they
bearers of God's image—ends in and of themselves, and not a
means to our personal gratification?

Well, we got a lot of good and thoughtful comments on those
commentaries, and I'd like to respond.

First of all, ever since Chuck Colson went to be with the Lord, I've
been so honored to step up to his BreakPoint microphone along with Eric
Metaxas. But I've also come to realize a little of what used to
frustrate Chuck: There's no way to say everything I want to say
about an important topic in just four minutes. Now, in the radio world,
four minutes is a lot of time, and I can't tell you how grateful I
am to the many Christian stations that give us this time together.

Nonetheless, on any given topic, there are a bunch of things that I
could say that I just don't have time to say.
So, on the subject of delaying childbirth, I didn't get
to address how two audiences might view the topic: Folks who for
whatever reason married late and still want children, and single

Right off the bat, let me say this: I wasn't saying that if
you're over 30 or 40 you shouldn' t have children. Not at all. A
listener questioned me on that point (very politely), and I really
appreciate it. What I was addressing is a real and disconcerting social
trend. I certainly wasn't trying to give advice to older married

Most of the comments I received, however, were from single Christians.
While many agreed with my points, they also wrote movingly about what
it's like to be single in one's late 20s, or in one's 30s or
40s, and longing for marriage and children.

As Christian writer Enuma Okoro recently wrote in the Washington Post,
"I am not suggesting that we refute or ignore science. . . . [But]
as a Christian woman who is in the `high-risk&# 39; bracket and not
in a position right now to have a child[,] there is this crazy, but
convicting element of trust, and hope. I have to trust that if raising
children is in my future then God will make a way even if the
`facts' say there is no way, or that the way is full of risk and

Let's be real: marriage doesn't always happen when you want it
to. In fact, in recent years, the church has been experiencing something
of an epidemic of unintended singleness.

There are all sorts of reasons for this. There's the fact that
single women greatly outnumber single men in today's church. In many
churches, there's an artificial separation between married people
and singles, which leaves the singles without role models, guidance, or

And then there's the faulty advice from many Christian leaders and
writers about how dating and courting should work—teaching that
makes the whole process seem so complicated and frightening that it just
scares many people away—or, even worse, creates false, unrealistic
Instead of trying to convince single
Christian adults that if they play by all the courtship rules God will
send along Prince or Princess Charming, pastors will do well to
emphasize that there are no guarantees in this vale of tears. And like
many of our commenters wrote, our hope and trust for our futures lie in
God, not in some method.

Christians do have reason to be concerned about demographic shifts, and
about a worldview that puts children last. But we also have a
responsibility to remember that God calls people in different ways and
asks them to do different things. That means we have a responsibility to
care for, encourage, and support each other in whatever station of life
we're in. Thanks to everyone who wrote or called. Do know Eric
Metaxas and I are listening.

Standing for Life
Is Your Student Ready?
John Stonestreet
February 22, 2013

You're chatting with a group of friends or coworkers around the
water cooler, over lunch, or in line to pick up the kids from school.
The conversation meanders through politics and social issues, when
suddenly the topic of abortion comes up. It only takes a moment for
everyone to realize that you're a pro-lifer. Your friends begin
peppering you with questions and objections, some of which you've
heard before, some of which you haven't:

"How can you equate an embryo to a baby, if it has no higher brain
function?" "What about pregnancies resulting from rape or
incest?" "I' m personally against abortion, but I
wouldn't tell others what to do." "Shouldn&# 39;t it be a
choice between a woman and her doctor?" "Who are you to impose
your morality on everyone else?"

What would you say to answer these questions and show your friends why
abortion is wrong, in less than five minutes?

Now wait—before you answer, let's make things more interesting:
imagine that instead of you facing these questions, it's your
college-age son or daughter, and imagine that instead of a group of
friends, they're staring down a pro-abortion professor in front of a
classroom of their peers. Would they be up to the challenge?

Believe it or not, it isn't as daunting as it sounds. There's a
powerful and practical new resource designed to prepare college-bound
students for this moment, and others like it.

Renowned pro-life apologists and authors John Ensor and Scott Klusendorf
have teamed up to write what I think could be the coup de grâce for
abortion among millennials. It's called "Stand for Life: A
Student' s Guide for Making the Case and Saving Lives," and
it's packed with tools to cut through the relativist and utilitarian
mythology that prop up the pro-abortion argument. It's full of
simple, powerful and usable answers to some of the toughest questions
friends or professors will throw at your son or daughter.

For example, how do you answer someone who argues that fetuses in the
first trimester clearly aren't human yet, and are therefore okay to
abort? Simple! You start with the only four features which make any
fetus different than you or me: size, level of development, environment,
and degree of dependency. As Ensor and Klusendorf show, none of these
differences are morally relevant to the question of a fetus'

Okay, what if someone tells you that abortion is a personal choice, and
that women have a right not to have other people's morality imposed
on their private decisions? Well, you "trot out the toddler" as
the book says. No one would ever make the same argument in favor of
killing toddlers. By showing the inconsistency, you can demonstrate that
while personal choice is important, no one has the right to choose to
take innocent human life.

And that, according to Ensor and Klusendorf, is how pro-lifers can win
not just debates, but minds—by focusing with laser beam intensity on
the only question that really matters: What is the unborn? Science, of
course, overwhelmingly answers this question for us. The unborn child is
a human being.

This handbook is not only designed to convince students to believe in
the dignity of unborn life, but also how to persuade others, with grace
and winsomeness. And if you tune in to BreakPoint this Week this
weekend, you can hear Scott and John flesh out these arguments even

Students are one of the most at-risk groups for abortion. Knowing how to
make the case on campus could make the difference between life and death
for a child you'll never meet. Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this
commentary to get your copy of "Stand for Life" and to listen to
my interview with the authors on BreakPoint this Week. Read the book,
pass it to a student, and pray this generation will be the last to know
legalized abortion in America.

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Post  Admin on Tue 19 Feb 2013, 7:32 pm

Westboro Baptist' s Dropout - And Ours
When Your Worldview' s Too Small

John Stonestreet
February 18, 2013

Chances are you've heard of Westboro Baptist Church, that small,
outrageous congregation in Topeka, Kansas, whose members, led by Pastor
Fred Phelps, carry signs that say, among other things, "God Hates
Fags" and "Thank God for dead soldiers."

Phelps's granddaughter, Megan Phelps-Roper, held those kind of signs
when she was a tot, and in recent years she was in charge of Westboro
Baptist' s social media strategy—yes, they have one.

In fact, Megan, now 27, was prolific and popular, tweeting up to a
hundred messages a day, with a huge following. She was a regular guest
on a local morning show, and by all accounts was a somewhat winsome
witness for a small congregation with a closed and hate-filled message.

Then suddenly one day last October, Megan's Twitter account went
dark. Well, she turned up the other day, and it turns out she has left
Westboro Baptist. It's been a painful separation from her close-knit
community and all she loved and held to be true. Megan says, "I
still cry a lot."

How did one so sheltered and seemingly so confident in her beliefs give
them up? Apparently, a very small thing got her mind spinning—a
digital social media relationship with a Jewish fellow who quoted Jesus.
He said, "If anyone is without sin, let him cast the first

She was amazed that a Jew was quoting Jesusto show how intolerant
Westboro is, and it sent her into a tailspin.

It was an obvious point, but Megan was totally unprepared for it. Her
case shows that it doesn't take much to shake up a weak and
tottering worldview.

Steve Garber, in his book The Fabric of Faithfulness, talks about the
concept of having a "big-enough&qu ot; worldview; a worldview that is
big enough for the actual world. Here's what I mean: If the
worldview you acquire in a very sheltered environment eventually
encounters an idea that doesn't fit—maybe something in science
or philosophy or maybe just a really tough time in your life that your
worldview can't handle—then you're at risk of a spiritual
crash and burn.

And this isn't just about a six-year-old girl who holds up a
"God Hates America" sign and later walks away from her beliefs.
It's about us. It's about what's happening in evangelical
churches everywhere.

As David Kinnaman tells us in books such as "You Lost Me," our
kids are going to Sunday school, to our youth groups, then heading off
to college, and often joining a massive exodus.

They're leaving not just because of our weak ideas and clichés;
it's also because of our seeming irrelevance. As one young person,
Mike, told Kinnaman, "I knew from church that I couldn't believe
in both science and God, so that was it. I didn't believe in God
anymore." Another, Dennis, said, "It just feels like the
church's teaching on sexuality is behind the times."

Look, it's not that biblical teaching they hear is wrong; it's
that the worldview we're giving young people is not big enough to
handle the real world. We can't hide from tough questions, and we
must talk about the real world challenges they will face.

That's why I love Summit Ministries, a ministry that seeks to give
high school and college students a big-enough worldview. I've taught
there for nearly ten years, along with some of the top Christian
thinkers and communicators anywhere. At Summit, students ask tough
questions, and we believe our faith can handle the truth; that
Christianity is sturdy enough to take on all comers because God is the
author of all truth.

It doesn't mean that every question will be answered and no tough
times will come. But a "big-enough worldview" can absorb the
challenge and not be toppled over.

Facing these things, even if it's uncomfortable, is far more helpful
than ignoring them. Because, sooner or later, those questions will come.
Isn't it better to face them together, as the body of Christ, than
to allow our young people to face them alone in a far more hostile

For more information on Summit Ministries and their outstanding
worldview conferences for high school and college studnts, come
toBreakPoint. org
and click on this commentary.
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook, Twitter
or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us get the word out on this very
important cause!
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Sign of Contradiction
John Stonestreet
February 15, 2013

A colleague of mine tuned into a DC-area sports radio station expecting
to hear the usual banter about the Nationals, Wizards and the Redskins.
But instead the show led with a discussion of Pope Benedict XVI's
decision to abdicate.

To say that everyone is talking about Benedict' s decision and the
upcoming conclave that will elect his successor is not an exaggeration.
Here at the Colson Center, staff members—all of them
evangelicals— were shooting emails back and forth wondering who the
next Pope would be.

Why the huge interest?

Well, part of the reason, as Eric Metaxas noted, is that many of us are
fascinated by how the Catholic Church works—the hierarchy, the
rituals, all of that.

But the bigger reason is, agree with it or not, the Catholic Church

Now, saying that the Catholic Church matters is obviously not the same
thing as expressing doctrinal or philosophical agreement. Many of the
news outlets covering this story 24/7, such as the New York Times, can
hardly be described as fans of the pontiff or his predecessor, John Paul

In fact, as the people at Get Religion have pointed out, these same
outlets go to often-ridiculous lengths to prop up and promote Catholic
"alternatives& quot; to the Vatican. Some of these
"alternatives, " as the late Richard John Neuhaus noted, are
little more than letterhead and stationery. And people, despite the
Times' best efforts, treat them as such.

If nothing else, the Catholic Church provides people with a Christian
ideal to oppose. Or, to put it in biblical language, the Catholic
Church, when it's at its best, serves as a "sign of
contradiction" to the dominant worldviews of our age.

As Russell Moore, a Baptist theologian, wrote in First Things, Benedict
"stood against the nihilism that defines human worth in terms of
power and usefulness." He did this in his defense of the unborn and
elderly life as well as marriage. And he did this by opposing the sexual
revolution, religious persecution, and torture of prisoners.

Benedict insisted in each case that, in the words of Russell Moore,
"these lives aren't things . . . but images of God, and for them
we will give an account." While the larger culture sought to
"dehumanize them with language — `embryo,'
`fetus,' `anchor baby,' `illegal alien,'
`collateral damage,' and so on — Benedict has stood firmly
to point to the human faces the world is seeking to wipe away."

Chuck Colson would have agreed with that assessment. And while
Evangelicals share these concerns, we often tend to see them as a series
of disconnected battles. We've missed something that connected them
and provided a comprehensive alternative to the nihilism Moore mentions.

That "something&quo t; is the belief that human beings are created in
the image of God. The culture-wide "dehumanizatio n" that
Benedict and his predecessor opposed is, at root, a rejection of God
Himself. By putting this rejection in its proper context, we can not
only oppose its demonic consequences but offer a life-affirming
alternative vision of what it means to be human.

Chuck Colson, while clearly recognizing the significant doctrinal
differences he had with Roman Catholics, also acknowledged his debt to
thinkers like Benedict and John Paul. He recognized the important role
played by the Catholic Church in its opposition to the nihilism of our
age. And he understood that its willingness to be the most visible
"sign of contradiction" would also make it a target.
Evangelicals and Catholics Together was, in part, an expression of
Chuck's appreciation for that role. It was also a recognition that,
our theological differences notwithstanding, what happens over the next
few weeks in Rome matters to all of us. As such, we should pray for
those choosing Benedict' s successor and be grateful for his
willingness to be a "sign of contradiction. "
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook, Twitter
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important cause!
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Post  Admin on Thu 14 Feb 2013, 11:12 pm

Thanks for All the Fish
The Not-so-gloomy Season of Lent

Eric Metaxas
February 13, 2013

For those of us who grew up on the East Coast or in large cities like
Chicago or Los Angeles, we don't need a sleepy groundhog to tell us
whether or not spring will soon be here. If you know how to read the
signs, there is no shortage of hints: besides spring-training reports
from baseball teams in Florida and Arizona, there are supermarket signs
proclaiming "Seafood for Lent."

The signs refer to the Christian practice of fasting and/or abstaining
from certain foods in the approximately six weeks preceding Holy Week.
While most of us associate Lent with Catholicism, the observance is not
limited to Catholics: Anglicans and Lutherans observe Lent at the same
time as Catholics, and while the Orthodox Great Lent begins and ends on
different days, there is a significant overlap.

Regardless of the details, the message is the same: as worshippers are
told on Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent, "Remember that
thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return."

If that sounds gloomy to you, you're probably missing the point.
About a lot of things.

While the word "Lent" — which comes from the Anglo-Saxon
word "lengten, " meaning "spring" — does not appear
in Scripture, the observance of Lent goes back a long way in Christian
history. In 339 A.D., the bishop of Alexandria (and theologian
extraordinaire) Athanasius described a fast that began 40 days prior to
Holy Week as being the custom throughout the Christian world. The 40
days duration was derived from the period of time Jesus fasted in the
wilderness at the start of His public ministry.

For new Christians, these 40 days served as preparation for their
baptism at Easter, figuratively and literally the time during which they
passed from darkness to light, from death to life. For the
already-baptized, it was a time of self-examination and recommitment.

All this talk of self-examination and recommitment sounds
"oppressive&qu ot; and "gloomy" to contemporary minds,
including those belonging to Christians. For most moderns "the
central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself."

Religion is expected to further this goal. What sociologist Christian
Smith dubbed "moralistic therapeutic deism" has no room for the
kind of self-examination and sacrifice that is at the heart of Lenten
observance. The God of "moralistic therapeutic deism" demands
nothing more than that people be nice and fair to one another. And if
they're not, well, no big deal.

Lent tells a very different story about a very different kind of God who
saved very different kinds of people. These people didn't need to
feel good about themselves — they needed to be made good. To that
end, God sent His only Son, born of a woman, to live the life we were
intended to live but couldn't.

During Lent, Christians, as a friend of mine once put it, "rehearse
— in the most basic meaning of that word — the story of our
salvation, starting with the Fall and culminating in Good Friday."
And in this rehearsal, "a consistent picture of God emerges: the God
who takes the initiative in reconciling us to Himself."

Lent is only "gloomy" if you think that being reconciled to God
is "gloomy. " It's only "gloomy" if you think that we
are so wonderful that reconciliation didn't cost God all that much.
If you know better, than perhaps it's time to pass the fish. And by
the way, there are a number of other things you can do to observe Lent.
Please come to BreakPoint.org
click on this commentary, and we'll
connect you to them.
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook, Twitter
or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us get the word out on this very
important cause!
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Post  Admin on Sat 09 Feb 2013, 8:54 pm

An American in Iran
Support an Imprisoned Pastor
Eric Metaxas
February 08, 2013
Most Americans have probably heard about Iran's recent claim to have
launched a monkey into space. But very few have ever heard of Saeed
Abedini, and that's just how the Iranian government wants it.

Abedini, an American citizen, was recently sentenced to eight years in
prison for threatening Iran's national security.

How did he threaten Iran's national security? Well, according to the
Iranian government, by "creating a network of Christian house
churches" and, therefore, "attempting to sway Iranian youth away
from Islam."

Abedini' s problems with the regime date back to his conversion to
Christianity thirteen years ago. In Iran, such conversion is regarded
as waging war on Islam.
After his conversion, Abedini became active
in the house church movement, so active that he moved to the United
States in 2005, becoming a citizen in 2010, to avoid persecution.
(Photo courtesy of ACLJ).

While he may have emigrated, Abedini maintained ties with his homeland.
The most important of these ties is an orphanage he's helping to
build in the city of Rasht. It was during an attempted visit in last
September that Abedini was arrested by Iranian authorities.

What followed was, in the words of Jordan Sekulow of the American Center
for Law and Justice, a "real travesty" and "mockery of
justice." The Iranian government seems intent on making an example
of Abedini, even though he denies evangelizing in Iran.

The case raises obvious parallels to that of Youcef Nadarkhani, another
Iranian pastor who served three years in prison, was released in
September, and was then re-arrested December, and re-released in

Nadarkhani was released both times in response to international
pressure. This same kind of pressure must be brought to bear on behalf
of Saeed Abedini.

Thankfully, the State Department has already weighed in on Abedini' s
behalf. Secretary of State John Kerry said that "the U.S.
government, condemn[s] Iran's continued violation of the universal
right of freedom of religion and calls on the Iranian authorities to
respect Mr. Abedini' s human rights and release him."

That's a good start, but more is needed. For starters, you can sign
a petition initiated by ACLJ demanding the pastor's release. Please
come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and we'll link you
to ACLJ.

You can also write the White House and State Department thanking them
for their statement—and then urge them to please make Abedini' s
release a top priority.

As strange it may sound, you should also write the Iranian government
and urge them to release Abedini. Believe it or not, Iran's Supreme
Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has a Facebook page that only people
outside Iran can access. The regime has some regard for its image
outside of the country.

And to get a better understanding of what Saaed faces every day in that
Iranian prison, and what his wife and kids face every day thousands of
miles away, not knowing the fate of their beloved, please listen to
"BreakPoint this Week."

My colleague John Stonestreet sat down with Saeed's wife, Naghmeh,
and with Tiffany Barrans from the ACLJ for a moving 30-minute interview.
Listen to this as a family; talk about the cost of following Christ; and
ask what the Lord would have you do. As Naghmeh told John, the prayer
for her and her husband is that they would seek first the Kingdom of God
and His righteousness.

Folks, please, go to BreakPoint.org click on the "This Week" tab, and
listen to this special edition of "BreakPoint This Week."
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook, Twitter
or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us get word out on this very important
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Post  Admin on Fri 08 Feb 2013, 9:58 pm

Beyonce and the Super Bowl
Guinea Pig Kids?

John Stonestreet
February 07, 2013

Rachel Campos-Duffy, a blogger on the Today Show's "Moms"
site, described Monday how watching the Super Bowl like millions of
other families turned into a "parenting challenge" when the
halftime show began.

That's putting the performance of Beyonce and her similarly
half-dressed dancers mildly. The hyper-sensual show left Mrs.
Campos-Duffy&# 39;s kids with a quizzical look on their faces. The
eight-year-old simply said, "She looks weird."

If only all our kids were so confused. But sadly, so many of them are
thoroughly familiar with sexuality packaged as music and performance. As
Campos-Duffy wryly observed, "I half-expected a stripper pole to pop
out of the platform, which was actually staged to look like a peep
show." Well, the commercial for the CBS sitcom "Broke Girls"
that immediately followed half-time featured just that—a

I mean, this was the Super Bowl, for cryin' out loud. CBS and the
NFL knew very well children and families would be watching. And what
they gave America with this performance and many of the commercials was
another chapter in the ongoing sexualization of American culture—and
of our kids.

And honestly, Beyonce' s salacious performance was pretty tame
compared with what we might have expected from other performers, and not
just the female ones. This is what our culture throws at young people
every single day. And despite calls to protect kids from nearly
everything else, we pretend overt sexualization will magically have no
consequences at all.

In the name of our sacred sexual appetites, it's as if we no longer
consider quaint concepts such as "public decency" or that some
fare may not be "appropriate&q uot; for children.

This is not just an American problem, either. British Prime Minister
David Cameron recently appointed a special adviser on the
commercialization and sexualization of childhood after some horrific
incidents involving the sexual pressuring of junior high-schoolers.

But it's more than isolated incidents. This is an unfettered, out of
control social experiment, and the guinea pigs are our children.

As Cole Moreton, a mother and columnist forThe U.K. Telegraph said,
"We need more research, the experts say. But to a dismayed parent,
it seems like the horrific result of a massive experiment. Thanks to the
Internet, our boys and girls are the first children to grow up with
free, round-the-clock access to hardcore pornography. "

And they cannot handle it. Nor should we expect them to. It's
immoral. As my friend Tom Gilson wrote recently in an article on
BreakPoint, ethics require informed consent from the subjects of social
experimentation. But in our culture, adults—in the sacred name of
absolute, unfettered "sexual freedom"— force young people, who
have no say in the matter, to go along. For the life of me, I cannot see
how it's anything less than child abuse.

One church-run preschool in California recently shut its doors after
parents discovered four- and five-year-old students performing sex acts
on one another. Where do you think they learned this? Josh McDowell
tells me that first exposure to pornography is now common for six- and
seven-year- olds.

This is a social justice issue. And to the hipster Christian writers so
concerned with social justice who celebrated Beyonce' s performance
as "empowering women," shame on you. Beyonce is unbelievably
talented. But using sexuality for power is not a triumph for feminism.
It only leads to the objectification and victimization of women,
especially young ones. I will tell you that wives, watching their
husbands watch Beyonce, weren't empowered.
Parents, like it or not, this is our culture. Julie Heramine, my recent
guest on BreakPoint this Week, offered very helpful guidance from her
book "Guardians of Purity." Come toBreakPoint. org
click on this commentary. We'll link you to the show and her book.
[Further Reading]

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Post  Admin on Fri 08 Feb 2013, 9:54 pm

Life, Liberty, and HHS
Doing Nothing Is not an Option
Eric Metaxas
February 06, 2013

Imagine being awakened by the police. They've come to tell you somebody
broke into your next-door neighbors' house in the night—and shot
to death the entire family: Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, and their three young
children—Conner, Jacob, and Olivia.

Shocking as this is, the police have more bad news: The Kellys across
the street—who attend your church--were also killed. They burned to
death after someone set fire to their house. And the Schneider family,
two doors down: You're horrified to learn that Gerald, Kathy, and their
twin daughters were beheaded.

Thank heaven this sort of thing has not happened in America since the
Manson family murders in 1969. But what if it did? What would you do if
it had happened every week for the past year, in neighborhoods all over
America? You'd be horrified, of course, and you'd demand that something
be done about it.

The tragic reality is that this sort of thing IS happening all over the
world. Christians are being murdered for their faith in Africa and the
Middle East. And if you just breathed a sigh of relief like I did
because it's not happening here to people that you know or I know, well,
shame on you and shame on me.

Open Doors ministry, which helps persecuted Christians around the world,
keeps a watch list of countries known to torment believers. This year,
the worst offender is North Korea, where Christians can be executed for
the "crime" of owning a Bible. Between 50,000 and 70,000
believers—including children—languish in labor camps.

Next on the list is Saudi Arabia, where the religion police hunt down
Christians and throw them in jail for daring to gather in house
churches. Persecution of Christians has also shot up in Africa, where,
according to Open Doors, "fundamentalis t variations of Islam have
rapidly gain[ed] influence." Mali has jumped to number seven on the
list, where hundreds of Christians fled after Muslims told them they
would be slaughtered if they stayed.

In Syria, tens of thousands of believers also were forced to flee by
rebels and jihadists. It's the same story in Egypt, China, Afghanistan,
Iraq, Somalia, Iran, and Yemen.

What can we do about this? First, urge your senators and representatives
to support a bill that will be introduced soon by Congressman Frank Wolf
of Virginia. This bill calls for a special envoy at the State Department
to advocate on behalf of religious minorities around the globe. I'll
keep you up to date on that bill.

We should also get our own churches involved. Congressman Wolf, who is
co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, recently sent a
letter to 300 religious leaders urging them to do more to help their
persecuted brethren. "Every day around the world," Wolf wrote,
"men and women of faith are imprisoned, beaten, detained, tortured
and even killed. Have we in the West ceased to be salt and light? Has
our comfort led to complacency? Can the church in the West be galvanized
to act?"

And then he quoted from Hebrews: "Remember those in prison as if you
were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you
yourselves were suffering." And then Congressman Wolf quoted from
one of my heroes, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who said, "Silence in the
face of evil is itself evil."

Mr. Wolf is right. We cannot remain silent. We must urge our religious
and political leaders to speak up on behalf of those who are forbidden
to speak. And we must pray for them daily—suffering people who are
neighbors in Christ if not neighbors in fact.
To read Frank Wolf's letter and to learn more about the Open Doors
watch list, please come to BreakPoint.org
and click on this commentary.
Further Reading]

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Post  Admin on Wed 06 Feb 2013, 5:15 pm

The Relevance of Costly Grace

Eric Metaxas
February 04, 2013

Today is Dietrich Bonhoeffer&# 39;s birthday. Since my book on him was
published three years ago, fascination with the young German pastor
continues to grow. The interest is so great I've recently been asked
to do a ten-city Bonhoeffer tour.

I have to ask myself: Why are so many people intrigued by Bonhoeffer?
The answer, I believe, is that the message of Bonhoeffer&# 39;s life is
hugely relevant today—especially when it comes to the growing
threats against religious freedom.

Thoughtful people see the handwriting on the wall: First there's the HHS
mandate, which demands that religious organizations buy insurance that
covers abortion-inducing drugs.

Then there's the case of Pastor Louie Giglio, who was forced to step
down from giving the benediction at President Obama's inauguration. Why?
Because many years ago, he preached a sermon saying homosexual practice
was wrong.

If you work in corporate America and hold to the traditional
Judeo-Christian view of marriage, you'd better keep your mouth shut. Or
you might be fired or have your business boycotted.

And now, the Boy Scouts may finally be yielding to the enormous pressure
put on them to allow openly gay men to participate in
Scouting—including as Scout leaders.

In effect, the state and the culture at large are seeking to compel us
to put aside our religious beliefs. If we don't do something now, it
will be too late.

And this is why Bonhoeffer is so relevant today. Please listen to these
words from my old boss and dear friend Chuck Colson:

Under persecution, Bonhoeffer discovered that, even though God's grace
is freely given, it also extracts a high cost. It was costly grace that
led Bonhoeffer to continue teaching and preaching the Word of God even
though the Nazis tried to suppress his work. Costly grace led Bonhoeffer
to stand against a turncoat church that mixed Nazi doctrine with
Christian truth....Costly grace led Bonhoeffer to attempt to smuggle
Jews out of Germany, even though it led to his arrest...Along with other
faithful believers, Bonhoeffer signed the Barmen Declaration, which
boldly declared their independence from both the state and a co-opted

As I said, today is Bonhoeffer&# 39;s 107th birthday. And were he alive today
and living in America, costly grace for him would likely mean preaching
what the Word of God teaches about human sexuality--even when activists
and their allies in government try to suppress his work and attack his
church. Costly grace would mean standing against churches that mix
radical new doctrines about marriage with Christian truth. Costly grace
would mean standing up to a government attempting to force him to buy
health insurance that violates his beliefs—even if it led to his

And costly grace would, I believe, lead him to sign the Manhattan
Declaration in defense of human life, marriage, and religious liberty,
just as he signed the Barmen Declaration, which I quote at length in my

Now I must say that Chuck Colson had the Barmen Declaration in mind when
he co-authored the Manhattan Declaration. Chuck saw many parallels
between what the church faced in Nazi Germany in the thirties and what
faithful Christians are facing today in America.

So let me ask you—are you willing to count the cost and sign the
Manhattan Declaration? If you visit BreakPoint.org
and click on this commentary, you'll find
links to both the Manhattan Declaration and to my Bonhoeffer tour where
I'll have the opportunity to unpack a lot of these ideas.

Today—68 years after his death—will we, like Bonhoeffer, call on
the Church to wake up and be the people of God, no matter the cost?
[Further Reading]

Life, Liberty, and HHS
New Rules, Old Problems
John Stonestreet
February 05, 2013

It's a venerable Washington tradition to save controversial and/or
embarrassing announcements for Friday afternoons, hoping that when
Monday rolls around, people's attention will be elsewhere.

And what better time to try and slip one past the American people than
the Friday before the Super Bowl? Thus, last Friday, the Obama
administration announced some further modifications to the HHS mandate.
This is version 3.0 of that part of Obamacare that requires employers to
pay for contraception, sterilization and abortifacients, irrespective of
their religious convictions.

What was announced on Friday was an attempt to mollify critics while
remaining true to the worldview that— pun fully intended — gave
birth to these new regulations in the first place.

According to an HHS spokesperson, "churches and houses of worship
are specifically exempt" from the HHS mandate, and "nonprofit
religious organizations like universities, hospitals or charities with
religious objections won't have to arrange, contract or pay for
coverage of these services for their employees or students."

Instead, "insurance companies . . . will cover contraceptive

Now if that sounds like something of a free lunch to you, you're not
alone. According to the New York Times, "many insurers asked [the
government] where they would get the money to pay for birth control
pills if — as the proposed rule says — they cannot `impose
any premium, fee or other charge' for the coverage."

Now my best guess is this is little more than an accounting trick. The
cost will eventually be passed to the religious non-profits who will
still, by the act of hiring, be the ones initiating the coverage in the
first place. But even if my cynicism is proven wrong, the so-called
accommodation still, as Kyle Duncan of the Becket Fund for Religious
Liberty told the Times, "does nothing to protect the religious
freedom of millions of Americans."

For starters, it's still not clear if all non-profits are actually
exempt. The administration, attempting to simplify the exemption
criteria, now refers to a subsection of the IRS tax code. Because the
tax code is clear? If past experience is any guide — and it almost
always is — we can expect a struggle for certain non-profits who
don't neatly fit any criteria.

And what about for-profit companies? The folks at Hobby Lobby are in
exactly the same place today as they were on January 31: having to
choose between obeying their Christian conscience and paying
potentially- crippling fines.

Their fates lie in the hands of the courts, even as Department of
Justice lawyers continue to refer to them as "secular entities"
who must forfeit their religious freedom because they are in the

In light of all the criticism the Obama administration is receiving, why
are they still fiddling around with these bad rules? Because what
motivates the administration&# 39;s intransigence is the view that
pregnancy and childbirth are illnesses, making the mandate part of a
larger "preventive care" program. Contraception, sterilization,
and abortifacients are regarded as the equivalents to "mammograms,
colonoscopies, blood pressure checks, and childhood immunizations. "

In other words, the unborn child is in the same class as cancer,
hypertension and viruses.

Even if the HHS regulations had fully protected religious freedom (which
they didn't), we still must oppose this inversion of human dignity
and the sanctity of life. So let's remember that we're fighting
not only for our freedom but for the sanctity of life itself.

Please, come to BreakPoint.org
click on this commentary, and we'll
link you to important articles about the HHS mandate, and my video
interview with HHS expert from the Heritage Foundation, Jennifer

Note: John Stonestreet&# 39;s video interview with Jennifer Marshall will be available atBreakPoint.org
and ColsonCenter.org starting at 1:00PM EST.
Further Reading

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Post  Admin on Fri 25 Jan 2013, 9:28 pm

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting
First-time Parents Getting Older, Part 1 of 2

John Stonestreet
January 24, 2013

In October, a son was born to an Indian man named Ramjeet Raghav and his
wife, Shakuntala. This story made news around the world because Raghav
claims to be 96, which would make him the oldest man living to have
fathered a child. Lost in the questions about Raghav's age is the
fact that his wife was 53 when their second child was born.

India isn't the only place where new parents are getting older. In a
recent New Republic cover story, Judith Shulevitz notes that having
children "much later than we used to" has become "perfectly
unremarkable" for most Americans.

But "unremarkable& quot; is not the same as "without
consequences, " which is why her article is entitled "How Older
Parenthood Will Upend American Society."

What will "upend" our society isn't the occasional outlier,
such as Larry King becoming a dad at age 66—it's countless
Americans postponing having children until their mid-to-late thirties
and even forties.

Since 1970, the average age for first childbirth for American women has
gone up by four years: from 21.5 to 25.4 years old. The average age for
first-time fatherhood is now 28.

That may not sound all that significant, but averages can be misleading:
a college graduate is more than three times more likely to have her
first child in her thirties than her non-graduate counterpart: 30
percent of them postpone childbirth until their thirties.

Even more telling is the fact "as the U.S. birth rate slumps due to
the recession, only men and women over 40 have kept having more babies
than they did in the past."

According to Shulevitz, we are in the midst of a "natural
experiment" that will measure the impact of "aging reproductive
systems and avid consumption of fertility treatments" on family

The results won't be completely known for a long time, but what we
already know, as Shulevitz puts it, "should alarm us more than it
already does."

That's because there is a well-established correlation between the
age of the mother and chromosomal abnormality: a child born to a mother
in her forties is 15-20 times more likely to suffer such an abnormality
than one born to a mother in her twenties.

Then there's the less well-known link between parental age and
mental illness: "men over 50 were three times more likely than men
under 25 to father a schizophrenic child." Earlier this year, the
British journal Nature published a study whose conclusion was that
"the greater number of older dads could help to explain the 78
percent rise in autism cases over the past decade."

These results are controversial, to put it mildly. But what isn't
controversial is that postponing childbirth increases the health risks
to our children. What Shulevitz dubbed "a vicious cycle of declining
fertility . . . [and] the damage caused by assisted-reproducti ve
technologies" was producing a generation of children who are
"phenotypicall y and biochemically different" from previous

Yet despite these undeniable risks, our culture treats this phenomenon
as a "triumph. " Technology has "freed" both women and
men from having to make difficult choices.

Except that it has done no such thing: nature is not infinitely
malleable to be conformed according to our selfish whims. Biology will
have the final say, even if those fighting biology aren't around
when the bill comes due.
So, what should the Christian response be? That's the subject of our
next broadcast. Please tune in.
[Further Reading]

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Post  Admin on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 10:40 pm

Another Coffee Break:
A New Onoma, Part 1


Yes, yes! I know that's an archaic word we never see used in the 21st
Century, but it still works.

It has to be a good 17 years ago that I first published a rather lengthy and
exhaustive Open Letter to the Ekklesia titled, "The New Onoma." It was
fresh revelation to me back then. As we all know, Holy Spirit does not
stand still. There are many layers of revelation being peeled back for all
of us as we near the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is no exception.
I was awakened last night by Holy Spirit as He began to unfold and enlarge
an even greater understanding for me.

That said, let's lay some foundations before you fade away, put this article
down and say, "that&# 39;s all Greek to me!"
One of the tragedies of "religion" ; is that it seeks to bring everything to
the lowest common denominator. Despite the best efforts of various
translators in their efforts to render the old Hebrew texts of the O.T., as
well as the Greek texts of the N.T., into today's languages in a way that
will bring some understanding and depth of the Word, even the best
translations have some common failings. The Amplified Bible probably does
the best job overall of helping folks really grasp some of the levels and
layers of revelation that are hidden beneath the surface.

Even the Amplified misses it though, in some key areas, and it is one of
those areas that I want to share with you. For God's people -- and
especially the Bride of Christ -- to really fathom the vast scope of where
the Lord is taking us, and what He will receive in a completed and
well-deserved company of people who are like Him in every respect!

I'm speaking, of course, of the Hebrew word, shem (pronounced like "shame" ),
and its Greek counterpart, onoma.

Most of you know that the name of Noah's first son was Shem. This is
precisely the same word which gets translated in virtually every English
text as the word "name." Ever think about it? Ever wonder why Noah's first
son would be given a name which we would simplistically translate otherwise
as nothing more than "name" ?

Both Dr. William Gesenius (in his Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon) and Dr. J. H.
Thayer (in his Greek-English Lexicon) give us a pretty clear understanding.
Let me quote two passages directly from Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon for
the sake of illustration.

"By a usage chiefly Hebraistic, onoma [shem] is used for everything which
the name covers, everything the thought or feeling which is roused in the
mind brings by mentioning, hearing, remembering the name -- that is, one's
rank, authority, interests, pleasure, command, excellences, deeds, etc."

"The Onoma of God in the N.T. is used for all those qualities which, to His
worshippers, are summed up in that name, and by which God makes Himself
known to men; it is therefore equivalent to His divinity, His divine majesty
and perfections so far forth as these are apprehended, named, and

To this we can add a portion of Gesenius' definition of shem: "definite and
conspicuous position; an appellation, as a mark or memorial of
individuality; by implication: honor, authority, character."

We can therefore safely illustrate and translate the word shem and/or onoma
by saying that this is representative of one's character, their personality,
their makeup and -- to sum it up in a single descriptive phrase -- the very
essence of who and what they are!

Are you getting the picture? Fine! Now let's go back to Shem.

Without repeating all of the events that followed the Flood, the horrific
nature of what Ham did to his father, Noah, the way in which Shem took the
lead with his other brother, Japheth, to deal with Ham's atrocity (this is
clear, by the way, in the structure of the Hebrew text of Genesis 9:23), and
the peculiar phraseology of the blessing which came upon Shem as a result
(see Genesis 9:26), suffice it to say that Shem became the representation of
the character, the nature and the very makeup of the Lord. (I would really
like to explore this further with you, and maybe I'll get to do that in a
later Coffee Break.) He was the shem of the Lord in the earth until the
Blessing could be passed on to Abraham, and he lived through 13 generations
until Joseph was 17 years old and sold into slavery in Egypt.

You may wonder where I'm going with all of this, but be patient. I'm still
laying some more foundations.

As the shem of the Lord, Shem (the son of Noah) became the blessing of the
Lord in flesh and blood. In a very real sense of the word, he became a
forerunner, a shadow if you will, of the Lord Jesus Christ. He became the
Blessing -- the Word -- made flesh and dwelling in the earth. Without
getting into all of the history behind it -- and I've already talked about
this in previous articles -- Shem's identity for all practical purposes
became known with what we have anglicized into Melchizedek (or as the Hebrew
text puts it: Malkiy - Tsedeq), the King of Righteousness.

To help understand the basis under which onoma - and its Hebrew counterpart,
shem, - were and are used as a part of God's economy, names were given at
birth (or creation, in the case of Adam and Eve) as a prophecy of what
children would become. In most cases those names represented either
blessing, or the fulfillment of some promise of the Lord, or the prophesying
of some blessing to come. In some cases, the names represented the judgment
of the Lord. In a few cases, they epitomized a curse which was to come
(witness Ichabod: the Glory has departed). In every case, the child grew to
become the living example - a prophetic picture of that name which was given
at birth.

Integrated into this system of giving names (which God ordained at
Creation), we also have the several recorded instances (e.g., "Abram" into
"Abraham; " "Jacob" into "Israel; " the aforementioned "Shem" into
"Melchizedek; " "Saul of Tarsus" into "Paul," etc.) in which names were
changed by the Lord to represent the change of nature, character and makeup
he brought about (or was bringing about) in them.

Earlier we said that religion tends to drag things down to the lowest common
denominator. In this instance, we have the word, "name," throughout
Scripture translated from both shem and onoma, and unfortunately the true
implications of the original text have been lost, or at the very least,
glossed over in such a way that the use of "name" has become a religious
formula in many instances.

We cast out demons "in Jesus' name" as though Jesus' name is some kind of
magic amulet. The lesson of the seven sons of Sceva in Acts 19 has largely
gotten lost among many Christians. Folks often give their children names
without a clue as to the prophetic significance of what they are doing.
"Christ in us, the hope of Glory" is an almost ethereal, mystical concept
without any real grasp of the authority and power invested, and being "in
Christ" has become a religious catch phrase.

He was not intending the use of His name as some magic formula to ward off
or drive out evil spirits. His intention was that we would come against
them in His onoma. See the difference? Are you beginning to see where we
are headed with this? We're not talking a formula. We're not talking
about using the name, Jesus, or the name, Yeshua, or the name, Jehovah, or
the name Immanuel, or any one of the other names used to describe Him
throughout the Word.

I have a friend in Puerto Rico whose name is Je-sus. That's a hyphenated
pronunciation. I have Hispanic friends who are likewise named Je-sus, or
Jesus (if you prefer). Get the idea? It's not about rattling off a Greek
pronunciation of Yeshua that has all that authority or power. It's about
functioning, operating, living, existing, being in the very character and
personality, the makeup of who and what Jesus (or Yeshua), the Son of God

In John 5:43 - 44, Jesus addresses the unbelief of the Pharisees and
Sadducees, saying, "I have come in my Father's onoma, and you refuse to
receive me; (yet) if someone else comes in their onoma, you will receive
them. How is it that you can willingly receive glory or honor from one
another, and yet the (true) glory which comes from the Father, you don't
bother to seek at all?" (my translation)

Jesus wanted to make it clear that He was operating in, through and by the
very onoma, the shem of Father God Himself! He came in Father's nature. He
came in Father's authority and power. He came as the literal, living
extension of Father -- and He demonstrated it over and over and over and
over and over again -- and again and again and again, ad infinitum!

Got that? Try this one on: "And whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that
will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything
in my name, I will do it." (John 14:13,14 KJV)

Ever ask yourself why it doesn't seem to always work? How many of you have
asked many requests "in Jesus' name" and puzzled over the fact that you
asked "correctly, " and nothing happened. In fact your requests were even
Scriptural -- you weren't asking for some far out, fanciful thing. You
asked on behalf of someone' s needs, or perhaps prayed for someone' s
healing. But nothing happened.

I'm not being critical or accusatory here. We've all experienced this! The
answer is simple. The requests were made "in Jesus' name" -- not His onoma.
No request goes unanswered when made in His onoma. Now you may think this
is just splitting hairs, or playing at semantics, but the difference is
crucial, and should become very clear as you see the picture of His onoma

For us to BE in His onoma, for us to live in His onoma.....well, that's a
process, folks! And I've yet to meet anyone who got there overnight.

Let's see....how was it that Jesus put it? "Many will say to me in that
day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have
cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I
profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
(Matthew 7:22-23, KJV)

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Jesus' name IS powerful. Demons hate it! But there's
a huge differentiation between spouting the "name" and being IN the name.
Jesus makes it clear in this instance that the fundamental distinction is
having an intimate relationship with Him. Intimacy develops a knowing of
how someone thinks, what their desires are, what their goals and purposes
are, what they are made of.

So why make such a point of all this? Because it is integral to
understanding -- not just the book of Revelation, but -- the promises of the
Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, to that individual and corporate Bride He has
called unto Himself.

To be able to clearly understand the significance of this "new onoma," then,
we must first understand the baseline onoma of the Lord Jesus Christ by
which the "new onoma" is established. We must first comprehend the basis of
Jesus' makeup and character, the essence of who and what He is and has been,
before we can come into an understanding of what He will be - and what we
must be -- at the time this promise is fulfilled.

The Revelation, which John saw and wrote, encompasses a single letter to the
Bride. It contains a theme which is repeated eight times, "To him that

That really is what this discussion is all about. This is where I want us
to go as we explore the onoma of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the "new onoma"
John prophesied in Revelation 2:17 and 3:12.

The Revelation begins with defining the onoma of the Lord in, and as, "the
seven spirits of God." (see Revelation 1:4) Four times throughout the
Revelation, the "seven spirits of God" are mentioned as the standard by
which everyone (and everything) is judged.

Twice, a promise is made of receiving a new onoma "to him that overcometh,"
and twice we see that new onoma in the foreheads of the overcomers.

[Allow me to pause momentarily here to point out that the significance of
this prophecy of the new onoma being in the foreheads of the overcomers
relates to the thought patterns, the mindset, the kinds of choices -- in
other words, the way a person thinks, both consciously and unconsciously.
The overcomer, in this instance, overcomes the way the world thinks. The
overcomer gains victory over the Enemy's mindset and agenda.

The use of this phrase "in the forehead" occurs numerous times throughout
the Word, and it is a common Hebrew metaphor to denote one's mindset, their
will, their thought patterns. Witness, therefore, David taking Goliath down
with a stone in his forehead. It was a prophetic act to denote the
authority and power of God striking down a mindset of rebellion and hatred
of God and His people. (That's a whole different study, and I won't take
time to explore that one today.)]

John began his letters to the seven Ekklesias like this: "John to the
seven Ekklesias which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace from Him
which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits
which are (enopion) in the place of and occupy (before, KJV) His throne."
(Revelation 1:4) He begins this Revelation by establishing the fact that it
is the Seven Spirits who are in the place of rulership - that these Seven
Spirits are the very character and makeup, the essence of God Himself.

As he addresses the Ekklesia in Sardis, he says, "These things says He who
has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars." (Revelation 3:1) In
this attention-getter, John uses the totality of the Lord's makeup as the
yardstick by which Sardis is measured. (Several years ago I did a rather
lengthy series titled Seven Nations, Seven Letters in which this subject is
covered much more exhaustively. It is available upon request.)

In Revelation 4:5, John writes, "Out of the throne proceeded lightnings, and
thunders, and sounds; and seven lamps of fire burning before the throne,
which are the seven Spirits of God." Now he illustrates a very basic part
of the nature and makeup of the Lord in the picture of these lamps of fire,
and I will deal with this as we go forward with this discussion.

Clear enough so far? In case you think that I'm really stretching a point
to say that the seven Spirits of God comprise the onoma of Jesus Christ,
read on.

John makes his fourth reference to these seven Spirits of God in Revelation
5:6, where he says, "And I saw and beheld in the midst of the throne and the
four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing as
having been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven
Spirits of God which have been sent into all the earth." Finally, John
makes clear that the Lamb which was slain (whom they all knew to be Jesus
Christ) was He in whom consisted the Seven Spirits of God.

I won't take the time in this discussion to deal with all of these metaphors
since they are peripheral to that which the Holy Spirit is saying
concerning the new onoma. It is important, however, to identify these seven
Spirits, and that's where we will begin in the next Coffee Break.

See you soon!

Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
709 South 7thStreet
Sunnyside, Washington 98944
(509) 515-0133

All Coffee Break articles are copyright by Regner A. Capener, but
authorization for reprinting, reposting, copying or re-use, in whole or in
part, is granted -provided proper attribution and this notice are included

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Chuck Colson Breakiing Point - Page 2 Empty Christmas in Jail Jesus Will Come to You

Post  Admin on Thu 10 Jan 2013, 12:51 pm

Christmas in Jail
Jesus Will Come to You
Chuck Colson
December 25, 2012

Bessie Shipp was spending Christmas in jail. A slender black woman,
Bessie was watching her life slip rapidly away. Though she had not been
sentenced to death by the state, she was under a different death
sentence: Bessie had AIDS.

I met Bessie that Christmas Day in a North Carolina prison for women. I
had come to give a Christmas message to the inmates there.

The atmosphere was glum. The small crowd that gathered to hear me preach
was somber and subdued.

After the service, a prison official said, "Do you have time to visit
Bessie Shipp?"

"Who' s Bessie Shipp?" I asked. When they told me, I confess, I was taken
aback. This was several years ago, and I had never visited an AIDS

And yet, just the night before, I had seen a television story about
Mother Teresa and the AIDS patients she was caring for. How could I do
anything less?

"I' ll go," I said.

We walked down a narrow corridor, and a heavy door was opened to reveal
a small, dark cell. There, sitting in a hard-backed chair was this tiny
woman, wrapped in a bathrobe, shivering in the cold. To my surprise, I
saw a Bible on her lap.

After chatting a few minutes, I came right to the point. "Bessie, " I
said, "Do you know the Lord?"

"I want to," she replied softly. "But I don't always feel like He's
there." And her voice trailed off.

"Would you like to pray with me to know Christ as your Savior?" I asked.

Bessie looked down, twisted a Kleenex in her thin hands, and finally
whispered, "Yes, I would."

So we prayed together in that cold, concrete cell. And Bessie made a
decision that would change the rest of her short life: She gave it to
Jesus Christ.

Only days later Bessie was paroled. Friends and prison officials had
been trying to get her released for a long time. But the timing was
providential. She stayed long enough to meet Christ, and then she went
to her home as a new Christian.

A short three weeks after her release, Bessie contracted pneumonia and
had to be hospitalized. A Prison Fellowship area director visited her
and found her spirit strong to the end.

"These are the happiest days of my life," she whispered. "Because now I
know Jesus loves me, and you all love me, too. I'm in the Lord's hands."

Two days later Bessie died. She went to meet the Savior she had accepted
only a short time before, on Christmas Day, in a cold prison cell.

When Jesus came to earth, He wasn't born in a grand palace. He was born
in a dirty stable that reeked of animals, with mice scurrying underfoot.

And Jesus still comes to us wherever we are. Not only to warm, well-lit
homes, but also to run-down tenement buildings and gray prison cells.
So wherever you are, why don't you ask Him to come to you? And He will
do it. Just like He came to a young woman dying of AIDS in a North
Carolina prison one cold Christmas Day.

This commentary originally aired on December 25, 1991.
Further Reading

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Chuck Colson Breakiing Point - Page 2 Empty Re: Chuck Colson Breakiing Point

Post  Admin on Tue 01 May 2012, 9:08 pm

Brought to us by DoulosInternational Robert Barkley

Being the Body
Jesus and His Church

April 30, 2012 Eric Metaxas

In the last few years of his ministry, Chuck Colsonbecame increasingly
concerned with the extreme individualism he witnessed in American
Christianity. He became dismayed at what he dubbed the "Jesus and
me" attitude he saw among Christians, especially younger ones.

In fact, the last column he worked on forChristianity Today was in
response to the You Tube sensation, "Why I Hate Religion But Love
Jesus." While he understood the frustration people feel towards some
churches, he reiterated what Martin Luther taught: "he who would
find Christ must first find the Church."

Or to put it another way: "you cannot answer the question `how
now shall we live?' on your own."

This emphasis on the Church was not new for Chuck. On the contrary, it
was the subject of one of his most important books, The Body, which was
re-released in 2003 as Being the Body.

In it, Chuck and his co-author Ellen Santilli Vaughn examined the
consequences of what they called "the improbable plan Christ put in
place two thousand years ago." That plan was to "leave the
evidence of his continuing presence in the world in the hands of a
motley crew of flawed human beings."

That "motley crew," of course, is the Church.

The Body was Chuck's response to the realization that the Church was
"infected with the most virulent virus of modern American
life...radical individualism. " The radical individualism of
"Jesus and me" can never be the light in the darkness that
Christians are called to be.

It can never provide strong moral resolve, feed the soul, care for the
needy, and guide those who have lost their way. The idea, Chuck and
Ellen wrote, that "one can be a Christian and develop one's own
faith system" is "ludicrous."

It is every bit as "ludicrous" today as it was twenty years ago,
yet, if anything, the desire to distance oneself from the institution of
the Church is even more pronounced today. An increasing number of
Americans decline to identify themselves with any religious tradition.
Because they've check "none of the above," they've been
dubbed "nones." While some cite these findings as evidence of a
growing secularism or even atheism, that's not the case at all.

Many of the so-called "nones" say they believe in a personal
God. A lot of them even want a religious funeral! They want the personal
and emotional benefits of faith without the commitment to something
bigger than themselves.

The rejection of individualism and emphasis on the church isn't the
only area in which The Body anticipated ideas and themes that Chuck
would revisit over the next few decades. It also marked the beginning of
Chuck's worldview ministry.

While Chuck had always been engaged with the question of Christian
worldview, in The Bodyyou saw it begin to assume the kind of prominence
it would have for the rest of his life. As he was fond of telling
audiences back then "it does no good to tell people that `Jesus
is the Answer' if you don't know what the question is."

Understanding the questions and Christianity' s answers to them is an
essential part of what it means to be the church and, so, it became an
essential part of Chuck's mission. It's a mission that will
continue here at Breakpoint and throughout Prison Fellowship.
Anything else would be, well, ludicrous.

[Further Reading]

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Chuck Colson Breakiing Point - Page 2 Empty Re: Chuck Colson Breakiing Point

Post  Admin on Sun 29 Apr 2012, 9:54 pm

REPOSTING Just in case you missed in another thread where I receive updates at DoulosInternation with Robert Barclay.

Breakpoint--by John Stonestreet
Let's Get on with It
Building Coalitions for the Kingdom
April 27, 2012
It had been a couple of months since Chuck Colson had been able to
travel. He was ailing and needed rest. But short of the doctors telling
him to stay put, nothing was going stop him from attending our Breaking
the Spiral of Silence conference near the Colson Center headquarters in
Northern Virginia.

Chuck wanted to be there to present the William Wilberforce Award to
Joni Eareckson Tada for her work among the disabled and her defense of
the sanctity of human life.

And, just as important to him, just before what would be his last
conference, he wanted to speak to 50 or so pastors, leaders of national
organizations, and individuals concerned about the influence of the
gospel in society. Chuck had gathered us all to challenge us to work
together, that we were better together than apart, and that the gravity
of our cultural situation demanded it.

As you've been hearing this week on BreakPoint, the sheer scope of
Chuck Colson's work is staggering. In fact, this weekend's
"BreakPoint this Week" broadcast will be a tribute to Chuck. You
can hear from Joni Ereackson Tada, Gabe Lyons, Robert George, T.M.
Moore, Jim Liske, and others about the impact Chuck had on the culture
and on them personally.

You don't want to miss this special acknowledgement of Chuck's
life from those who knew him best and worked with him most closely. Come
to BreakPoint.org http://www.breakpoint.org/bp-home for a list of stations or to
listen to this special program online.

Near the end of his life, Chuck felt clearly that he needed to utilize
his unique ability to bring Christian leaders and organizations
together, and to inspire them to work together for the Kingdom instead
of apart.

And as I sat on the stage at the Breaking the Spiral of Silence
conference the morning after Chuck was taken to the hospital, I
marveled. More than 20 different speakers representing 15 or so
organizations had come at Chuck's request. And, by the way, tomorrow
— Saturday April 28 — more than 350 churches and 700 house
parties will watch together a DVD of that conference as a way to
mobilize Christians to action around the causes that Chuck felt so
passionately about — defending human life, marriage, and religious
liberty. Come learn more atBreakingtheSpiral ofSilence. com

Building coalitions to advance the kingdom — that's a big part
of the legacy and the work we'll carry on at BreakPoint and the
Colson Center. How fitting for Chuck to end his ministry of proclamation
by convening a conference featuring so many diverse Christian voices.

I've been asked so many times, "Who fills Chuck's
shoes?" The answer, of course, is no one. Not Eric Metaxas. Not I.
No one.

Not only because no one can, but because Chuck wouldn't have even
wanted us to try. Rather than fill his shoes, Chuck wanted us to stand
on his shoulders, just as he was standing on the shoulders of so many
others — like Francis Schaeffer, Abraham Kuyper, William
Wilberforce, John Calvin, Augustine, and all the giants of the Church.

Instead of say, try to be me, Chuck would be saying, "Come join
me." And as Professor Robert George told me during the
"BreakPoint this Week" interview, which airs this weekend, we
know what to do. Chuck pointed us in the right direction in his words
and in his actions.

Chuck was fond of quoting Abraham Kuyper who said there's not a
single square inch in all of creation where Jesus Christ, who was Lord
of all, does not put his foot and say, "Mine!"

And so we, everywhere we go, put our feet and say that belongs to Him.

So we know what to do, let's get on with it.

[Further Reading]

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Post  Admin on Fri 27 Apr 2012, 8:46 pm

FROM Robert Barkley. http://www.doulosinternational.org/
HISTORY PAGE http://www.doulosinternational.org/?page_id=24
BreakPoint and Colson Center
Colson Center News and Updates

Chuck's Memorial Service - News
Release~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

Memorial Service for Charles W. "Chuck" Colson

at Washington National Cathedral

WHAT: A public memorial service honoring Charles W. "Chuck" Colson will
be held at Washington National Cathedral

WHEN: Wednesday, May 16, at 10 a.m.

WHERE: Washington National Cathedral - Massachusetts and Wisconsin
Avenues, NW Washington, D.C. 20016

WHO: The memorial service is open to the public and seating is limited.
There will be reserved seating for individuals who RSVP to a formal
invitation. Others will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis.
The service will also be webcast live on the Cathedral's website
atnationalcathedral .org
MEDIA: Washington National Cathedral will handle media credentialing.
Media interested in attending must RSVP in advance to request
credentials and should email Meredith MacKenzie at
[email=meredith@rabinowitz]meredith@rabinowitz[/email] -dorf.com <[email=meredith@rabinowitz]mailto:meredith@rabinowitz[/email] -dorf.com> .
Further details will be released in the coming days.

About Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral is called to be the spiritual home for the
nation. It seeks to be a catalyst for spiritual harmony in our nation,
renewal in the churches, reconciliation among faiths, and compassion in
our world. Learn more at http://mobiletribune.com/

We will post this news release as well as new information about the
service as it becomes available atColsonCenter. org
http://colsoncenter.org/ on this
page http://www.colsoncenter.org/topnews/entry/44/19276

We will also post additional links to information about the service on
the same page, including links to appropriate pages on
and our public relations site.

God Bless you all!

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