Please pin. If America is not a Christian nation…
Please pin. If America is not a Christian nation…
Friends, thank you for following apoloJetics – apologetics with a capital ‘J’. You might also enjoy a new blog I’m starting that discovers the amazing connection between Jesus and DNA. At first, the two don’t seem to mix in any rational way. My background in both Bible studies and Mathematics gives me a unique vantage point. I’d like to challenge each of you to go beyond your memes and bounds. There’s more to Jesus than a nice teacher giving fishing tips.
A man living in a third-world country got the opportunity to move to America. Before becoming a citizen, he had certain stipulations. Upon arrival, he talked to the mayor of the town he wished to live in. “I don’t mind enjoying the freedom and opportunity America has to offer. Just don’t push your religious ideas on me.”
The mayor assured him. “America is a melting pot of ideas and religions. You will have opportunities to learn of different ideas, but we will not push anything on you.”
One week later, the foreigner stormed into the mayor’s office. “When will your town stop pushing your religious symbols on me?” The mayor sat down and tried to understand what the foreigner meant by this; however, things got lost in translation. Feeling ignored and patronized, the foreigner stormed out, promising to write the president a letter.
A week later, the president opened the letter from the foreigner. The spelling and grammar had been done by a secretary for the president to clearly understand.
Dear Mr. President,
I appreciate the welcoming arms and great opportunities your country has to offer. Unfortunately, I must complain about a certain town. This town has erected a large wooden cross, a symbol of religious belief. I thought I could avoid this symbol to embrace my own beliefs. Instead, I found another wooden cross in front of a library, another at the theatre, and more crosses at every turn. When speaking to the mayor, he said this cross was a symbol of great power. Horrified, I demanded these intolerant symbols be taken down, or replaced with a universal symbol. The mayor told me it would be dangerous and costly to take the symbols down. That it would leave many in the dark.
How, Mr. President, could you allow such an atrocity? I will consider leaving this country if something is not done immediately!
The president did not hesitate to call the mayor. Without letting the mayor speak, the president strictly ordered the mayor to cut down the offensive wooden crosses immediately. One month later, the president got another letter, this time from the Mayor.
Dear Mr. President,
I respect the fact that you are the head of this country. We have followed your orders completely. I hope you will at least send emergency aid. Since we have cut down every last telephone pole in our town, every last citizen is without power. Businesses suffer, traffic has halted, food is scarce, and people are literally in the dark.
Immediately the president flew in to the town to see the wreckage himself. The mayor met him at the airport. The president froze. “Isn’t that a telephone pole in the distance?”
The mayor grinned. “I did think about carrying out your orders, Mister President. But then, I thought about the one pole that carried electricity to the fire house where we keep the voting machine. I thought you might want that one standing.”
The president seemed more relieved, but still ghostly pale.
“Oh, and we thought about last year, when you came and visited the plant to offer more jobs. We thought you might like that to be running as well. Honestly, we wondered if every potential voter in this town would think better of a president that offered electricity. I lied when I said we took down every last telephone pole. We did not take down any. I hope you don’t mind my foresight in this matter.”
“Mister Mayor, of course I would never hurt anyone in this great country. You must know that I feared a great offense of another kind, imposing its values on innocent bystanders. But, this foreigner, how is he taking this?”
“After the whole town pitched in to get him a refrigerator, television, and juicer, we haven’t seen or heard of him. I guess you could say he’s seen the light.”
The news cameras had gathered by this time, aiming their sights on the president. He tried in vain to form a diplomatic response. Involuntarily he choked up the word “Thanks.”
“Oh, don’t thank me. It looks like you’ve been saved by a large wooden cross, one that carries more power than your or I.”
As I’ve been reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn, somehow I harbored the feeling Heaven would be this exciting. Actually, the Bible brings the excitement home to Earth, as in the New Earth. No, I couldn’t possibly imagine what this place will look like ( 1 Cor 2:9), but that doesn’t stop me from trying. Every time I think of something awesome, every bright colorful vision, is a tiny glimpse of something better and more enduring.
To help aid this blurry vision, I’ve started a Pinterest board ‘As in Heaven.’ Take a look and/or comment below. Share your ideas and pics. Don’t be content to let the vision crystallize, but don’t be afraid to imagine the possibilities.
Ever wonder what happens to the Olympic sites after the fact? After all the cameras have pursued, dreams have taken flight, Olympian hearts pumped to the limit, medals and flags lifted high, tears and cheers shared within a common ground. Then the curtain is drawn, performers and spectators looking toward the next site to carry tomorrow’s torch. The Atlantic Cities gives us a peek into former Olympic host Sarajevo.
“…After taking second place in the giant slalom race on February 14, 1984, 21-year-old Jure Franko stood on this concrete podium as the first and only member of the home team to receive an Olympic medal when the city of Sarajevo, then of Yugoslavia, hosted the Winter Olympics. Eight years later, this same podium would be the site of a more grisly event, the executions of countless victims of the Bosnian War and Siege of Sarajevo… Touring through the mountainous Olympic venues, Pack (photographer) has noticed a number of signs warning of areas likely containing still-live landmines; they’re a unique legacy for a former Olympic site, and understandably disconcerting.”
We see the inevitable drama of mankind unfold. A place once celebrated as a place of peace, the unifying of many nations reaching for a prize, later torn by the divisive hatred and empty sorrows that set nation against nation. We envision, we inspire, we meet, we shake hands, and for the moment all is well. Then the camera drops, and from behind the curtain come jealousies, self-righteousness, greed, and oppression. We would be right to label such evils as the curse of mankind. Romans 8:19 says it this way: “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God… For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”
As a Christian, we find consolation in the promise of future peace, the end of the curse. Even as we follow the Israelites through their times of rising and falling, we get glimpses of an ultimate future promise.
Isaiah 2:4 “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
Sinful as we are, God continually speaks to the human heart, planting seeds of brighter dreams. Sometimes history itself presents us with a glimpse of future hope. China’s former Olympic site perhaps presents an example.
“China opted for a different approach with its National Aquatic Center. The space, dubbed the ‘Water Cube’ and the venue where in 2008 Michael Phelps won eight gold medals, is now the Happy Magic Water Cube Water Park. It’s got water rides, spa pools and 13 water slides, according to CNN. The bright blues and oranges and pinks — intended to denote an underwater theme — look almost psychedelic.” – Today.com
Someday, God, the great engineer, will remake our world the way He intended it to be. Imagine a new earth, inhabited by transformed men and women with incorruptible bodies. Incorruptible means they won’t break down under weather, stress, gravity, age… Incorruptible also means the spirit doesn’t give way to anger, pride, jealousy, spite… I wonder who will reach the peak of Mount Everest first, and who will get the best time skiing to its foot? No matter, we’ll have plenty of time to practice. All cheering from the sidelines, no shattered bones, no shattered hopes. Whatever medals we earn, we’ll lift them up to the One True King, our eternal burning light for unending venues, in our eternal home.
Until then, it’s up to us who know Christ, to continue passing the undying flame, one torch to another, one heart to another.
The famous civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. shook the heart of America with his visionary speeches. Ironically, the words that propelled a monumental freedom movement are now bound up under legal copyright issues. The words ringing of freedom are not free for public use; the videos are available at a financial charge, so your poverty level just might keep you from envisioning the key to your shackles. For those of us who grew up in America during King’s profound influence (lasting years after his death), we carry his words in our soul. I still remember the concept of not judging a person by their skin; as a child I could easily accept and grant this equality to my fellow classmates. However, many Americans have seen the abuses of taking a positive flame of this bright candle and throwing its fire onto the carpet. Of the wonderful revelations Martin Luther King Jr. gave us, some of them stand vulnerable to being discarded by those of ignorant haste.
The first revelation reminds us that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not only a devout Christian, but a Reverend who looked favorably to Jesus Christ. An honorable man of values, he preached against moral relativity, a troubling trend in our times. In fact, his famous dream that his children “will not be judged by the color of their skin” binds with the dream that they would be judged “by the content of their character.” To say that we should not judge at all is a treacherous slope that even this civil rights leader would not tread. We can judge character and even use wise judgment to promote hard-working people of any background. The question of judgment boils down to the consistency of the human being. Are we, as some scientists propose, entirely chemically driven, pulled by DNA strands like strings of a puppet? Or is there a human soul, taking the invisible software and making physical impressions upon the hardware in the chemical being? If we are to take the American civil rights leader seriously, we believe in a higher existence. There is a part of our physical being that cannot change (e.g. skin) because it has no bearing on our moral character. Then there is a part of the human that wants to love alcohol or the neighbor’s wife. Calling this a genetic disposition will not make it as permanent as skin color. Even the chemical tendencies are subject to a higher part of our being, the soul. We hear the call of Jesus to be an overcomer, and we strive to find our character judged with “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Another revelation gets stampeded by the skeptic’s ignorance of the Bible. They see God as some bullying ethnic cleanser, perhaps due to their own prejudices. What lenses should we even put upon our modern eyes, when reaching back to a time and place so far removed from our own? If anything, we understand that the Hebrews were the minority with no homeland, escaping slavery to roam in tents across the wilderness. This being the very reason Martin Luther King Jr. felt no shame in associating his people’s rise from slavery with the Israelite’s rise from slavery. Furthermore, he could equate the non-violent takeover of American freedom with the warfare-engaged takeover of the infamous Promised Land. How did he do this? The same way Christians have been doing it since Christianity started! Christians swiftly understand Jesus non-earthly kingdom of spiritual battle, of putting down the sword and turning the other cheek. Church history has temporarily departed from this ideal as cults do, when blinding the masses to the entire truth of the Bible. But if we dare to study further, we find God to be a defender of the bullied, choosing the weaker people in order to prove His power. Paul Copan deftly argues against the hasty accusations toward this God. http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/201004/201004_138_Canannites.cfm
There are surely more misuses of “civil rights.” So how have we taken the powerful ideals of King and turned them around to the point where such misinterpretations of “hate speech” would incriminate the Reverend King in his Biblical stance? Extremists on both ends of the spectrum have undoubtedly grabbed the microphone in violent ambition. “You’re going to hell” should never be the first words heard from a Christian tongue; “You’re politically incorrect” is just as stifling. As an American, I have a dream. I dream that we can respect each other in word in deed. Let’s see past the preconceived images. Let there be open doors to the poor, open hearts within the rich, and solid ground for the rest of America. The open door of opportunity was Martin Luther King’s check due to be cashed in. Let’s speak freely from the heart, issuing the truth in love. Let’s renew the desire of discovering our value in God’s Word.
Though many of King’s words are for sale or copyrighted, here is one of the public sources remaining: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm
My Tweet-Heart is a FREE dramatic presentation for your ministry. Lights, camera, action! Get your best drama team together to impress. Or just get energetic teens together and throw in the pizza. Soon enough, you’ll have a presentation that’s more than a presentation. Inspire, plant seeds, and stir up gifts as you go. That’s the desire of wattspress with the new DramaPoint tool, a fresh new way to present Gospel truths. We mean it when we say get out your camera. Video-tape the final result and be prepared for up-coming contests. Find out more at wattspress – drama points.
MY TWEETHEART: Kelly finds love in an unexpected place. The new Z-phone just came in, and Kelly can’t wait to load up on friends. Tweets, apps, and flashy screens take her search to a desolate, dead-end road. Her broken heart stares back like a dead screen. Is no one out there, in the whole wide social network, who can mend her heart? The answer might draw closer to her than she ever expected. A classic story proves its undying love when a prince steps through time. It turns out Kelly had already been given a gadget, just waiting to be unlocked.
Partners, this is the first Drama Point and we intend to make more! Please, we could use all the feedback we can get (feedback that’s full of grace and truth.) Pioneer with us, play around with the choregraphing and lighting, and let others know what works best. Comment below or conact wattspress.
Beneath the surface of the political struggle, Syria is engaged with persecution. In a part of the world where Christianity is a minority, religious persecution gets a back-row seat to world powers. But religious persecution is nothing new to the area. On the way to Damascus, nearly 2000 years ago, a religious man with political ties determined to obey the laws of his God. The man named Saul determined that these laws ordered him to wipe out a rising sect of Jews. Later on, this sect would be known as ‘Christians’ – followers of Jesus Christ (A name still cursed internationally.) On the way to Damascus, a power stopped Saul in his tracks. The power was not political, chemical, or legal. The power was a person, a person of divine nature. Jesus himself revealed his glory and presence, blinding Saul. Saul became physically blind but spiritually aware of a greater battle waging behind the scenes. The battle, as it has always been, is over the souls of men. After his conversion, Saul took on the name Paul, not a follower of a new religion, but a follower of a living person. His new vision of the powers we struggle against would inspire him to write:
Ephesians 6:12 King James Version (KJV) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
And from prison, Paul wrestled in a kneeling position, utilizing the great weapon of prayer.
How different is the Western viewpoint, where ‘persecution’ is simply speaking one’s belief in front of an offended listener. I see the TOLERATE bumper sticker, and I wonder if it’s in the wrong place. Maybe these cars should be cruising through the Middle East. Car-bombings, imprisonment, destruction of homes and churches are far from tolerance. Start in the areas of the world where persecution is the harshest. Then come back to America and take in the refreshing air of religious freedom.
WHAT is a DramaPoint? Not to be confused with helpful tips about acting, a DramaPoint is a skit with a relevant point, enhanced with Powerpoint. With Powerpoint in so many churches across the country, DramaPoints are modern, eye-catching means to engage today’s culture with the relevancy of the Gospel.
WHY use Powerpoint? The bright idea came to wattspress after realizing the multi-media potential and flexibility of Powerpoint as a theatre backdrop. Instead of roping around a bulky canvas, a Powerpoint file brings up the next scene with one simple button. And, you won’t have to scrounge around to track down those elusive or oversized props. The animation capabilities of Powerpoint and the built-in animations of DramaPoint can make a delivery truck drive right up to your stage. Hook up your computer to a sound system, and you’ll hear the sound effects as the truck makes its entrance. More importantly, a powerful point is wrapped beneath the colorful slides. Jesus used stories called parables to get a point across to his disciples. Think of DramaPoint as the modern version of the parable.
Check wattspress.com for the first of its kind, coming soon.
An old man couldn’t wait to sit down with his granddaughter and watch a classic movie together. The girl’s mother smiled as she watched her father pop the bulky cassette into the old VCR player, then sit down with an overflowing bowl of buttery homemade popcorn. His granddaughter got drawn into foreign lands, captured by heart-pounding adventure, and wondering about the complexities of romance. When the classic movie came to its profound conclusion, the girl wiped away tears of joy. Just as she was about to get up and stretch, the grandfather put his arm out in a motion to stop. The girl didn’t understand. The movie was over. Nothing showed on the screen except for the usual roll of credits, jumbled letters sinking into oblivion. One name got the attention of the grandfather and knowing mother. An old, wrinkly finger pointed it out, and all six eyes followed the name as it graced the screen. Until now, the granddaughter had not known, that her grandfather once was a famous actor. His name in the line of credits became the living proof that she was now directly related to a man of grandoise dreams, that same man who had poured his heart into the spell-binding adventures of a movie screen. Looking deeply into the old man’s eyes, past the wrinkles, she could still see the dancing fire.
Have you ever heard the complaint that the Bible is boring, especially those meaningless genealogies? A movie’s long list of credits might be the modern version of this boring list. Another modern source of genealogies is a website like ancestry.com. When you go on a site like this one, do you type in the last name of a complete stranger? Don’t you instead go there and type in your own last name? And when you track down the noble accomplishments and titles of your own ancestors, do these not become the hope of your own future dreams? Now turn back to thousands of years ago, set wandering in the deserts of the Middle East. Among the great empires, an underdog of a nation sprouts up. Its heroes become captured on carefully preserved parchment, the stories recited day and night. A mother reads her children one such tale, then refrains along the lines of a genealogy, pausing at a specific name. With pursed smile she waits for her child to shout, “That’s grandfather!” With straightened posture, she confirms, “That’s right. And the same shining courage sparkles in your wide eyes, my child.” Herein we find a gem of a moral. No matter what millennium we inhabit, it’s not the genealogies themselves that bore us – the level of excitement hinges on whether we are or are not a part of that noble lineage. The tracing of the names either establishes us or escapes from us.
If you find those Biblical genealogies boring, first ask yourself two soul-searching questions. 1. Are you adopted into this great heritage? 2. Have you taken the time to research the names and discover their inspiring stories? The adoption process is a spiritual one, obtained by salvation through Christ. There is another establishing of lineage written in the Bible, that being the confirmation of the Messiah, as introduced in the Gospels.
Hebrews 11 gives a set of names, each with their own short bio. The whole chapter is filled with the repeating phrase, “by faith.” The following chapter encourages us as if we are a part of this great legacy. Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” These witnesses are like the markings of DNA, reminding us who we are. Those before us have firmly handed us a baton with which to carry toward a prized finish line. As children of a Heavenly Father, we are no longer held captive by the sins of our earthly fathers. We go to the database of the Bible and search not for our commonly-held surname, but for the name “By Faith.” Mister Byfaith, Miss Byfaith, noble descendants of the historical Byfaith family. One ginormous family with ginormous tales to tell.
Many of us have found a new way to mark our place in history, within the web-pages of social media. You can even broadcast yourself on sites such as Youtube. But consider the reality of your daily life. Let’s pretend that itself is a screen, a screen viewed by your co-workers, your neighbors, your friends, your relatives, and even strangers. Every choice you make in the open becomes another view in the view-counter. Beneath the screen lies another button, the opportunity to “LIKE” your action or reaction to life’s demands. So what story do you present in the grand drama of real-life? The bad news is that you can’t edit out the bad parts. The good news is that you can humbly ask forgiveness and do better. Seriously, would viewers really LIKE what they see? As a Christian, do you season your words and actions with desirable salt? Do you walk with uncompromised quietness and confidence? Or is it with hypocrisy? Or with a holier-than-thou trot? Do you tell the truth in genuine love? Do you present the Gospel as enjoyable? You don’t have to do jumping jacks and play the kazoo. Just stay faithful in a meaningful Christian walk. Even if viewers go for the other screens, the ones with more noise, when they come up empty-handed, they’ll be looking for something real. Will you still be there?
There’s an aspiration greater than the hope of getting someone to find your name gracing a screen. When I see a blockbuster hit composed with stunning orchestration, I don’t want to know the actors as much as I want to know who the director is. Acts 4:13 demonstrates how our God-given attributes become overshadowed by the name of Jesus. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” There’s a point at which we realize, God knows when we are ready, to relinquish the credit to whom credit is due. The miraculous over-performance is readily explained by His name, and thereby all men are drawn to Him. Not to worry, though. Just as any noble parent would, God the Father proudly exhibits all His children to show what they have done with their gifts. So stop being bored! Read Hebrews 11 as a partaker rather than a spectator. Be encouraged and inspired, brother/sister. Look up the path, reaching behind only to grab the baton of the Byfaith heritage.
Did you know that the creative force behind Apolojetics is the same author of the inspirational fantasy A Hummen in Spiral Gorge? You can support T. William Watts AND read more great stuff! Thank you so much for your prayer and other support.