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42

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A friend once invited me over to his place to watch “42”, a biopic about Jackie Robinson. The title comes from the uniform number Jackie wore. When he became the first African-American to play Major League Baseball in the modern era, Jackie initially faced all kinds of discrimination and persecution. His courage and playing abilities opened the door for other black athletes to play on the professional level. Nowadays, Jackie’s uniform number is retired by every Major League Baseball team except during the annual “Jackie Robinson Day” on April 15th when every single player wears #42.
A couple weeks before seeing the movie “42”, I learned of another fact involving that number. One morning I made my usual trip to Caribou Coffee. They offer a 10-cent discount for correctly answering a trivia question. The question that day was, “What is the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything?” I answered “Jesus Christ.” That wasn’t the answer the Caribou employee sought. …

God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness - A Review

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On Good Friday I saw the third installment of the “God’s Not Dead” movie series. As expected, “A Light in Darkness” begins where “God’s Not Dead 2” left off: A pastor had been arrested for not turning in copies of his sermons as mandated by a city prosecutor’s subpoena. The pastor is soon released but then faces more difficult challenges. His church is destroyed in a fire that takes the life of an associate minister. Then a local college tries to block the rebuilding of the church through eminent domain. The pastor prepares for a legal battle.
Mixed emotions are experienced both by the pastor and a young man who caused the church fire. The movie also addresses a dilemma Christians often face: when to continue fighting for our rights. It appeared this movie would feature a court hearing like its predecessor but takes an unexpected turn at the end. The overall message is that whatever we do for the Lord, love must always be the motive. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (NLT) reminds us, “Love is pati…

Pity the Fool

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This year Easter and April Fools Day land on the same day. While most Christians today will focus on observing the Resurrection, some of them may also participate in various pranks. According to Wikipedia, “April Fools' Day (sometimes called All Fools' Day) is an annual celebration in some European and Western countries commemorated on April 1 by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes…People playing April Fool jokes often expose their prank by shouting ‘April fool’ at the unfortunate victim(s).”
Is it ever appropriate for believers to joke around like that? Perhaps it’s okay with people you know who have a sense of humor. Occasionally, I see pastors make wisecracks from the pulpit but then quickly clarify to their congregations they are teasing. Sometimes when holding the door open for a friend about to walk inside a church, I’ll say, “We’re all full” and after pausing a second add “…of the Holy Ghost.”
A few days ago, I went to a church where coffee was served in the cafe…

Was Jesus Born Again in Hell?

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As Christians, we should stand for biblical truth. Unfortunately, some defenders of the faith are too quick to judge certain ministers as heretics. A few months ago, a Facebook friend blasted a well-known preacher for proclaiming at a local church, “Jesus was born again in hell.” I was at that same service. The “born again in hell” comment generated question marks in my mind. Other than that, I didn’t hear this preacher say anything that would be considered heresy. 
While walking into the bathroom at this church, I pondered the “born again” comment. Suddenly, Romans 8:29 came to my remembrance: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Jesus is also referred to as “the firstborn” in Colossians chapter 1 verses 15 and 18.
Those of you familiar with the Apostles’ Creed will recall the phrase of Jesus descending into hell. Scriptures supporting that concept include…
“For as Jonah was thre…

A Moral Problem

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Last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people has not only triggered more calls for gun control but students leaving classes in protest. As part of the nationwide walkouts this past Wednesday, students gave speeches outside the U.S. Capitol alongside Democratic lawmakers. A video of the speech made by Matthew Post (no relation to me) has gone viral. This high school senior from Maryland declared, “We have a moral problem in this country…The adults have failed us. This is in our hands now. And if any elected official gets in our way, we will vote them out.”
I can sympathize with Matt’s anger and frustration but don’t agree with how he and others like him are reacting. Matt threatened to “shame our national policy leaders into protecting us.” No politician is perfect but we are supposed to honor and pray for those in authority. Many young people nowadays don’t respect their elders.
Voting out certain elected officials is a good idea. I would start with those that…

The Gospel Against Cars

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Over the years I’ve heard some strange ideas promoted in the name of Christianity. Yesterday I saw what would have to be one of the most ludicrous. A Facebook friend who considers herself “an advocate for the homeless” made several posts preaching against cars. 
Yes, you read that right…cars! Here was one of her posts… 
Teach to RESIST AGAINST WICKEDNESS...CARS ARE WICKEDNESS. COME OUT OF BABYLON. W A L K.
Rather than ridicule this woman’s misguided theology, I tried reasoning with her. First, I wrote: “Satan built demonic kingdoms before cars existed” (such as Sodom and Gomorrah). 
Her response? “CARS EXCULATED [sic] things.. Christians do not RESIST.”
Then I pointed out most things are not evil in themselves but how they are used. A gun can be used to break the law or uphold the law. Money can be used to finance the spread of pornographic filth or print Bibles and gospel tracts plus send missionaries to foreign fields. Likewise, a car can be used by a terrorist to run over people or rush…

When to Depart from a Spouse

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As a Christian, I’ve had the unfortunate experience of going through two failed marriages. My first wife left me after we’d been married only a few weeks. She then initiated an adulterous relationship with a close friend of mine before filing for divorce. Soon I had believers giving me conflicting advice. One minister told me if my ex-wife ever wanted to reconcile, I had to take her back. Another man suggested she was never officially my wife because of her being previously divorced.
My second marriage lasted a little longer but still had an acrimonious ending. My new wife became verbally abusive and tried controlling various aspects of our relationship including what we did in the bedroom. Since she wouldn’t agree to counsel, I separated from her but remained open to reconciling. That wasn’t possible since it was basically “her way or no way.” She eventually emailed me claiming to have remarried but never sent divorce papers. I had to file myself to be free from what became an ungodly…