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Doritos Super Bowl 2016 Commercial Ultrasound Baby Pro-Life Abortion Controversy

In case you didn’t see the Super Bowl, the Broncos won—sorry Carolina fans.

But what may be the most interesting thing about the Super Bowl from a Christian worldview perspective is the Doritos ad that featured a expecting mother receiving an ultrasound (watch it below if you haven’t seen it).

What seems like an innocent joke (at least to me and my friends watching the game) was condemned as “anti-choice” rhetoric by abortion activists. Apparently for the pro-choice, treating a ‘fetus’ like a true person is just too much. Here’s a tweet that NARAL (a pro-choice organization) shared to show their disdain:

Bethany Jenkins saw through their flawed logic:

This is just one more example of how the pro-choice movement (or as Albert Mohler so helpfully calls “the Culture of Death”) has to control the conversation by sanitizing common-sense words like “baby”, “mom”, and “dad”. Many times (like the NARAL tweet), the gaffes of pro-choicers help us see clearly behind their facade.

Here are a few more telling tweets on the controversy:

Main takeaways?

 

5 Minute Summary of the Old Testament - Video

One of the most helpful things you can do when reading an Old Testament book (or any book of the Bible) is ask the question:

Where does this book fit in the Bible’s overall story?

The video below* shares a 5-minute video summary of the Old Testament that will orient readers to the major events taking place in Old Testament history that pave the way for the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ.

I hope it will deepen your knowledge of the Old Testament and lead you to exalt the Risen Messiah.

“The deeper you go into understanding the Old Testament, the closer you come to the heart of Jesus.” Christopher J.H. Wright


Other recommended resources:

Also worth checking out: The OT in 10 Minutes by Jason DeRouchie (HT)

*Special thanks to the brothers at RiverGlen Christian Church who put this video together.

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I’ve enjoyed reading responses from my Readers’ Survey, but I would like YOUR input (if you haven’t shared already). Please take a couple of minutes and share how this blog can best serve you.


I preached last weekend in Barrington, IL on Luke 13:22-30. Listen to the sermon here.

Two free books: The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink and the audiobook of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist by Norm Geisler

You can also grab the Kindle edition Nancy Pearcy’s new book for less than a buck Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes

Zika Virus: What Do We Need to Know? from Scott James of the ERLC

Your 7 Job Responsibilities as a Church Member by Jonathan Leeman (an important topic!)

Learning to love Leviticus in which Aaron Armstrong shares a great tip for learning to love Leviticus: first read Hebrews, then Leviticus.

Circle is an intriguing parental control device for your home internet. Here’s an article on LifeHacker and Tim Challies’ recommendation.

I enjoyed reading this article on habits from the Buffer Blog: How I Became a Morning Person, Learned a New Language, and Read 5x More Books in 2015

Here’s an amazing resource that you might want to bookmark: Mark Dever’s Recommended Books on Ministry, Church History, Theology

15 Steps to Racial Reconciliation by Jarvis Williams
Don Carson on the Ground of Our Assurance

From Bahá’í to Christianity

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My dearest nephew Wormwood,

I write you with greater urgency than mere words can convey. Two years ago, your subject crossed the point of no return when leaving the dark kingdom of our Lord and embracing the Enemy’s Son. Luckily for us, he embraced as “gospel truth” some of the splendidly simple, yet profoundly effective lies that you whispered in his ear:

  • “You really are too busy to pray today.”
  • “Be proud of yourself, you are a good Christian!”
  • “Sacrificing your Christian convictions is just part of witnessing to your unsaved friends.”
  • “My sin isn’t that bad compared to others I know.”

You even got him believing that a diligent effort in pursuing holiness is amount to legalism. Bravo! These lies have tremendous power for a newer follower of the Enemy. But the ineffectiveness of your weasely plans only show that his faith is only getting stronger.

This is the reason I write with urgency and trepidation. His deepened understanding of the Enemy’s transforming grace—which comes with his deeper appreciation for the cross—can prove (and already has proved) to destroy much of your great work and further ignite his faith.

There are a few telltale signs of this turn for the worse:

Sign #1: Your subject seems to be more joyful in the Enemy than ever before. This joy is fueled by his deep study and heartfelt conversations with the enemy, and only seems to increase as he suffers. This is troubling, because once his affections are set, tempting him away from the Enemy becomes like trying to stop a runaway train. (Don’t let this discourage you; I will outline a suggested strategy.)

Sign #2: His love for others flows more naturally than ever. This goes for his coworkers, his neighbors, and even those pesky relatives that always used to get on his nerves. He now has begun talking about the Enemy with people at work and in public—you must continue to tell him how awkward it is and how little time he really has for such conversations.

Sign #3: He hates his sin more by the day. Sins that used to allure him now disgust him. And when he does sin, the Enemy has taught him to confess and repent immediately, which only deepens his love and thankfulness, making him even closer to the Enemy than before! That’s one step forward, two steps back for us, young Wormwood. Truly something troublesome.

Sign #4: Your subject now longs the return of the Enemy’s Son. He doesn’t numb his mind to the world’s pain and tragedies like he used to. Now, pain and tragedy stir his desire for the Enemy’s Son to come back. When dealing with life’s hard issues, he now prays more—and you know what effect that has had for the Enemy and how it renders us powerless!

Since you can no longer divert him with the deliciously simple lies like before, you must go for the jugular by attacking the sources of this growth. You can’t stop a runaway train at full speed, but we can slow him down by attacking what fuels him and try to derail him with a “big” sin (adultery is the classic example) or a host of secretive sins that metastasize so beautifully to his entire being. You must not disregard or underestimate the power of secret sins—they lay the bedrock for the truly catastrophic ones!

Your approach has to be subtle and increasingly nuanced as he seems to be waking up to many of the older approaches in this new season of spiritual passion and awakened understanding. (It makes an old demon like me sick.)

Here are four areas that you must always target:

  1. Do whatever you can to keep him from the Enemy’s Word. Discourage him that he still has trouble understanding certain parts and that he’ll never be as smart as that brainy friend of his. Distract him with anything possible: thoughts from the workplace, his lady friend, that smartphone of his—yes, that phone is a splendid way to take his attention captive! Anything that will keep him from deep, soul-searching thought and reflection of the Enemy is a win for us.

Related to this is the powerful tool of doubt, one still at your disposal, but one you must wield more craftily. While it would be hard to entice him to doubt the inspiration of the Book, you can subtly sneak in the thought that it doesn’t impact on his daily life—thus causing him to doubt the book’s practicality and importance! (This nuanced approach won’t cause much backward movement in his faith, but rather serve to stall his movement forward.)

  1. The next area for attack is in his conversations with the Enemy (what they affectionately refer to as “prayer”). A few strategies include telling him that he’s doing a good job in prayer, so as to turn his focus—and his pride—to how faithful he is. Or simply remind him of his ever-growing to-do list and suggest that he finishes up this prayer thing quickly to do what really matters in life. Make him self-conscious because he doesn’t pray as eloquently as that more-spiritual friend of his. Or slip a little poison in the joyful waters of prayer by telling him that to earn God’s favor, he needs to perform better.

Bottom line: Do whatever you can to keep his prayer life stagnant, forced, and fickle.

  1. Wormwood, you also cannot be too diligent in attacking his time at church or with church people. Make every effort to keep his relationships with other Christians superficial and not a channel of blessing the Enemy uses to grow him and others. Sports, politics, books, news, friendly gossip about mutual friends—these are all encouraged topics of conversation. If the conversation turns to spiritual issues, especially his personal faith—watch out! Confession of sins, praying for each other, or sharing stories of the Enemy’s work will only strengthen the whole group. Indeed, this is part of the reason for his growth in the first place! That is why you must labor to sow seeds of dissension, distrust, hate, or simply indifference toward others at this church of his.

Even if his relationships remain strong and chummy, you can play this to your advantage by diverting their attention from the truth and grace of the Enemy to other things deemed as “good”; such as like their own friendships, political causes fueled by religious fervor, a focus on knowing spiritual information without applying it, any number of culturally acceptable idols—anything that would take his focus off of the Enemy Himself.

Wormwood, I’m sad to see that you’re in a bind like this. I wish I could say there was ultimate hope for a despicable demon like you, but you know as well as I that our dark master has been defeated. Still, we can gnaw and scratch at the Enemy and his chosen ones to see if we can dampen their joy before we meet our doom.

Your affectionate uncle,

Screwtape


Article modeled off of C.S. Lewis’ imaginative work The Screwtape Letters.

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Summary of the Little Red Book on Writing: 20 Powerful Principles for Clear and Effective Writing

If you’re looking for a helpful introductory book on writing that will actually help you to write better, The Little Red Writing Book: 20 Powerful Principles for Clear and Effective Writing is worth checking out. This book shares what are arguably the twenty most important principles for expositional writing, along with charts and exercises to help you hone your writing skills.

Author Brandon Royal shares the importance of mastering the basics of writing in the book’s introduction, “Students and young professionals who develop outstanding writing skills do so primarily by mastering a limited number of the most important writing principles, which they use over and over again.” We need to master the basics to further hone the writing craft.

As I read through the Kindle edition of The Little Red Writing Book, I highlighted the key principles and quotes and share them below.


Summary of The Little Red Writing Book: 20 Powerful Principles for Clear and Effective Writing

Summary of The Little Red Writing Book- 20 Powerful Principles for Clear and Effective Writing TipsStudents and young professionals who develop outstanding writing skills do so primarily by mastering a limited number of the most important writing principles, which they use over and over again.

Writing has four pillars structure, style, readability, and grammar and each pillar is like the single leg of a sturdy chair.

  • Structure is about organization and deciding in which order to present your ideas.
  • Style describes how one writes, including how to use specific examples to support what is written.
  • Readability is about presentation and how to make a document visually pleasing and easy to read.
  • Grammar, including diction, is about expressing language in a correct and acceptable form.

This book addresses the first three pillars; the fourth pillar, grammar, is given extensive coverage in The Little Gold Grammar Book.

Principle #1: Write your conclusion and place it first.

Expository writing [unlike creative writing] explains and often summarizes a topic or issue.

Strategically, the summary or conclusion should come at the beginning of an expository piece, not at the end.

Principle #2: Break your subject into two to four major parts and use a lead sentence.

Consider using a lead sentence, which is similar to a topic sentence. Whereas a topic sentence summarizes the contents of a single paragraph within an essay or report, a lead sentence summarizes the contents of an entire essay or report.

Principle #3: Use transition words to signal the flow of your writing.

Principle #4: Use the six basic writing structures to put ideas in their proper order.

The six commonly used structures in writing include: (1) categorical, (2) comparative, (3) evaluative, (4) chronological, (5) sequential, and (6) causal.

Principle #5: Finish discussing one topic before going on to discuss other topics.

Principle #6: Use specific and concrete words to support what you say.

Examples and details are the very things people remember long after reading a piece.

This is arguably the most important of all writing techniques.

Principle #7: Add personal examples to make your writing more memorable.

Principle #8: Use simple words to express your ideas.

The everyday writer should err on the side of using simpler words.

Principle #9: Make your writing clearer by dividing up long sentences.

Principle #10: Cut out redundancies, excessive qualification, and needless self-reference.

Principle #11: Favor active sentences, not passive sentences.

Principle #12: Avoid nominalizing your verbs and adjectives.

[Nominalizing] describes the process by which verbs and adjectives are turned into nouns. Nominalizations weaken writing for a variety of reasons, mainly because they make sentences longer and force the reader to work harder to extract the sentence’s meaning.

So, “reduction of costs” is best written as “reduce costs,” “development of a 5- year plan” is best written as “develop a 5- year plan,” and “reliability of the data” is best written as “rely on the data.”

Principle #13: Express a series of items in consistent, parallel form.

Consider the parallelism in the famous quote by former U.S. President John F. Kennedy: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty.”

Principle #14: Vary the length and beginnings of your sentences.

The normal sentence pattern in English is subject- verb- object (S- V- O), as seen in the example “I play tennis.” Most sentences should follow this subject- verb- object sequence because it produces the most power. However, if all sentences follow this order, our writing becomes choppy and monotonous. Particularly noticeable are series of sentences all beginning the same way, especially with “I” or “we.” Here are ten ways to vary sentence beginnings.

  1. WITH A SUBJECT
  2. WITH A PHRASE
  3. WITH A CLAUSE
  4. WITH AN ARTICLE
  5. WITH A VERB
  6. WITH AN ADVERB
  7. WITH ADJECTIVES
  8. WITH A GERUND
  9. WITH AN INFINITIVE
  10. WITH CORRELATIVE CONJUNCTIONS

Principle #15: Write with a positive, personal tone.

Principle #16: Avoid using the masculine generic to refer to both genders.

Principle #17: Add more space around your writing to increase readability.

Principle #18: Make key words and phrases stand out.

Such adornments might include boldface type, italics, dashes, bullets, enumerations, and shading.

Principle #19: Use headings and headlines to divide or summarize your writing.

Principle #20: Wait until your writing stands still before you call it finished.

Rare is the writer who can sit down and knock out a perfect writing draft without corrections. Most proficient writers take at least three drafts to finish short pieces of writing.

Skill, luck, boldness, and naiveté are key ingredients in the writing process.

Buy The Little Red Writing Book: 20 Powerful Principles for Clear and Effective Writing on Amazon.

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Thanks to all of you who have chimed in at my readers’ survey! Answers have been both encouraging and enlightening. If you haven’t taken the survey yet, would you mind sacrificing 2 minutes of your time to help improve this blog to serve you and the world better? Thanks!

Also, if you are on GoodReads, add me as a friend! I signed up for the 2016 Reading Challenge to read 45 books…we’ll see how I do!


The Danger of Theological Pride by Stacy Reaoch. If you love theology, you’re going to want to bookmark this one and revisit it from time to time.

I enjoyed reading Trevin Wax’s How a 29-Year-Old G.K. Chesterton Flipped 4 Arguments Against Christianity Upside Down. It will help you shoot down several arguments, but also think how many arguments aren’t as air-tight as you might think.

When Abortion Suddenly Stops Making Sense by Fredreika Matthews-Green. This is the important story of a former pro-choice woman who learned the ugly truth about abortion. Below is a heart-breaking excerpt. (Also: Finding Forgiveness After My Abortion by Garrett Kell)

Nor could we have imagined how high abortion numbers would climb. In the 43 years since Roe v. Wade, there have been 59 million abortions. It’s hard even to grasp a number that big. Twenty years ago, someone told me that, if the names of all those lost babies were inscribed on a wall, like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the wall would have to stretch for 50 miles. It’s 20 years later now, and that wall would have to stretch twice as far. But no names could be written on it; those babies had no names.

Are You Called to a Ministry of Rejection? by Aaron Armstrong. It’s amazing how people misunderstand Isaiah’s call to ministry because they forget he was promised a ministry of rejection. A great article.

The Gospel for Our Inconsistent Prayer Lives by Joshua Jenkins

10 Ways Facebook is Ruining Your Life by Philip Nation. Worth skimming through

Free Training Session in Pro-Life Apologetics with Scott Klusendorf (Video)

Seven Types of Evangelicals in the Primaries (CNN)

Here’s a video with a guy we need to be praying for:
A Conversation with the Man Behind the Undercover Planned Parenthood Videos

Colin Smith: Heaven – How I Got Here (Randy Robison / LIFE Today)

Freed Christian pastor Saeed Abidini: My time in Iranian captivity.
Let’s be praying for him and his family as they go through serious family issues.