Monday, November 30, 2015

Christmas Around the World for Kids

I need to post about this Wycliffe project again.

12 Days of Christmas with Kate and Mack

Christmas is almost here, and Mack and I have been traveling all around the world to learn about all the different ways Christmas is celebrated! It’s been such a fun trip, and we want to share all that we’ve learned with you. Over the first two weeks of December, you will:

1. Learn how 12 different countries celebrate Christmas.
2. Make delicious Christmas treats or fun crafts from around the world.
3. Remember the true reason for the season — Jesus Christ!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday Deals are a Scam?

If you’re planning on setting up a tent outside of your local big-box retail giant to get the best deal, as many Americans traditionally do on the Friday after Thanksgiving, you’re being duped by an elaborate marketing scam.
Here are 5 reasons why Black Friday, and the “discounts” offered by the big box stores, are just a ploy to get you in the door and give them your money.
1. You pay more for most things on Black Friday than the rest of the year.
2. The doorbuster deals are sometimes entirely fabricated just to get you in the door.
3. ‘Deals’ are concocted to achieve pre-established profit targets.
4. The best Black Friday discounts aren’t even in the store.
5. Black Friday deals are often better just before Christmas.
You can read the explanations. Thoughts?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

This video has some good points about being a thankful person. Have a meaningful and safe holiday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Are You A Thankful Person?

Have you ever wondered why God is more glorified in our taking than in our giving (to him)? It is because love is magnified in the reception of a gift not in the repayment. Love delights in the giving.
The right response to such giving is gratitude or thanksgiving. We are to receive God’s varied gifts with thanksgiving. This is right. You might say, this his human. This is what we were created to do: thankfully receive and enjoy God’s gifts in a way that glorifies him.
So, are you a thankful person? Here are some questions to help diagnose the answer.
Read the questions.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Offensive Lord's Prayer

There's been a kerfuffle in the UK over this cinema advert, in which the Lord's Prayer is prayed by various different people across the nation, being banned in cinemas. It was due to go out before the new Star Wars movie, but it has been pulled because it could offend or upset people of other faiths or none.

The response has been fairly predictable: secularists cheering because they think it is offensive, and Christians lamenting because they don’t. Personally, I think the advert is great, and that the brouhaha will cause more people to watch it in the end anyway. But as to whether it is offensive, I have to come out and say it: the secularists are right. The Lord’s Prayer is not mild, inoffensive, vanilla, listless, nominal, wishy-washy or wallpapery. If you don’t worship the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, in fact, it is deeply subversive, upsetting and offensive, from the first phrase to the last.
You can see the advert and read the rest.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dave Grohl vs. Muppets' Animal

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
Most music lists of “greatest ____ ever” tend to be subjective and void of any quantifiable support. However, when Dave Grohl takes part in this upcoming drum-off, we’ll have a much better sense of who has the superior drumming skills.
Grohl won’t be taking on the likes of drummers such as Chad Smith or Max Weinberg. Instead, he’ll be facing off against Animal, a Muppet.
You can read the rest.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Christian Horror Director and Dr. Strange

Segments of Christians often write off the horror genre and movies like Friday the 13th because of the emphasis on evil, the supernatural and violence, but one filmmaker has helped challenge the way many religious viewers see horror. Scott Derrickson’s movies aren’t simply scary stories that use nightmarish imagery for thrills, but to explore the real difference between darkness and light. And this summer, Derrickson will undertake his most high-profile project to date.
When Marvel announced its new slate of movies that will expand the blockbuster Cinematic Universe inhabited by the likes of The Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy crew, Spider-Man and other hundred-million-dollar franchises, one of the more unexpected projects to get the green light was Doctor Strange, a somewhat obscure character who will be played by Benedict Cumberbatch. In a fictional universe inhabited by mostly family friendly heroes like Captain America and Ant Man, the sorcerer who uses ancient magic to fight villainous spiritual entities like “Nightmare” seemed like a curious choice.
But perhaps even bolder than the decision to adapt such a dark character from the comic universe was the studio’s choice for Derrickson to direct. Not only is Derrickson currently one of the most influential directors in the horror genre, he’s also a devout Christian who isn’t afraid to incorporate deeper spiritual messages into his films.
You can read the rest.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Global Sorrow and Daily Life

On dark days, the sun still rises. In the darkest night, the moon still shines in a sky of stars. On a day of national sorrow, somebody will be born and her parents will be glad. Some family must have lost a parent on VE Day and so national joy happened with local sorrow.
The people of Paris mourn attacks, but in Paris today babies are born, natural death comes, and wedding anniversaries occur. Is it selfish to attend to the joyful events or to feel more genuine sorrow over the personal loss than the national tragedy?
It is not.
You can read the rest. Thoughts?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Compassion Over Fear

Giannis Papanikos/AP
HT: Trevin Wax

The Eiffel Tower was engulfed in darkness on Friday night. Today, schools and government offices in France are closed down until further notice. The borders are closed, a curfew has been established, and the country is considered to be in a state of emergency.
Still, thousands of citizens gathered in the streets this weekend to proclaim one message: “Not afraid.” Even after watching on video people running for their lives from a crowded theater, after witnessing the carnage left in the wake of Friday’s attacks, the people of France made it clear that the most powerful weapon in the terrorist arsenal — fear — would not win.
You can read the rest. Thoughts?

Friday, November 13, 2015

TeachingCenter: If Teaching Was Like Sports

If you haven't seen this before, enjoy! It's very clever.

Shout-out to all those who teach and sacrifice to invest in the future!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

College Students and Free Speech

It is possible — and, for many sympathizers on the left, convenient — to dismiss these sorts of incidents as just so much college high jinks. “College students have been saying stupid things since the invention of college students,” argues Daniel Drezner, in a passage that attracted widespread support on the left. It is probably true that a strange and sudden new hypersensitivity among young people has produced a widespread expectation of a right to be protected from offense. It is also undeniably true that outbursts of political correctness disproportionately take place in campus settings. In recent weeks, UCLAWesleyan, and Yale have seen left-wing student activism aimed at shutting down the expression of contrary viewpoints.

You can read the rest.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Six Assassins of Contentment

HT: Darrin Patrick

You have enemies as you try to live as a content man. Most of the time we think the enemies are from without—people around us and circumstances upon us. But the true enemies of contentment are within in us, which is where contentment is either fed or starved.
At the heart of contentment is an embrace of the present and a willingness to enjoy the good things we have right now. These enemies distract us from the present and prompt us to either idolize or demonize our past and future. We either worship or hate the past or future, but doing so makes it impossible to embrace the glory of the contented life.
The following 6 assassins are at work within you to destroy your enjoyment of the life God has given you...
1. Regret
2. Nostalgia
3. Fear
4. Vision
5. Multi-tasking
6. Hurriedness
You can read the explanations.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Pride and Pet Snakes

HT: Erik Raymond

A 34 year-old man used to walk up and down his neighborhood and show off his 6′ boa constrictor to neighbors. He often would let the snake wrap around the children and slide on their trampolines. He liked to show off his snake.
On one such occasion last June the snake constricted around his neck. Within minutes he was out of breath, on the floor, and soon after, dead. His ‘pet’ became his ‘killer’ in a matter of seconds. This man had overestimated his ability to master the snake while underestimating the snake’s desire to master him.
So often, this is the way it is with the sin of pride.
You can read the rest.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Satan Hunts Among the Hurting

HT: Marshall Segal

Mountain lions detect vulnerabilities in their prey and attack the weakest — the young, the sick, the injured. Studies have confirmed this instinctive cruelty. It’s how the mountain lion lives, following the scent of suffering and feasting on whatever he finds.

The enemy of your hope and happiness hunts with that same instinct, with a cold-hearted and ruthless hunger for the weak or hurting. Satan prowls like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). And because he’s clever, he spends a lot of his time among the suffering. He lies in wait with lies, wanting to consume the fragile and vulnerable.
You can read the rest.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

World Series Champ Ben Zobrist: Victory Belongs to the Lord

USA Today Sports/John Rieger

With the Kansas City Royals winning the franchise's second World Series Sunday night, Royals second baseman Ben Zobrist explained who the real winner was when asked about his emotions on winning his first World Series.
The 10-year Major League Baseball veteran, who made it to the World Series once before in 2008 as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays when they lost in five games to the Philadelphia Phillies, knows what it's like to make it so far in the playoffs, only to walk away empty-handed.
Zobrist, the son of an Illinois pastor, asserted during a television interview after the series-clinching 7-2 victory over the New York Mets that no matter the amount of preparation the players put in, God is the one who emerges as the true victor.
"This is incredible, a very prepared team, everybody is prepared but, you know, you prepare the horse for battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord," Zobrist stated. "I am so thankful to be a part of this. I am just thankful."

You can read the rest.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

China Adopts Two-Child Policy

Rumors were swirling all last week that the Chinese government would announce a major relaxation of the 35-year-old “one-child policy.” Sure enough, on Thursday, October 29, it happened.
At the end of Party meetings in Beijing, it was announced that China’s couples (both rural and urban) would be allowed to have two children instead of just one. Of course, the National People’s Congress (China’s legislature) must “approve” the changes, but that body is not in the habit of rejecting Party proposals.
While this news is widely welcomed, both inside and outside of China, it’s important not to overstate the significance, or mischaracterize what is happening. Most headlines have been along the lines of “China Scraps One-Child Policy,” leaving the impression that the government has decided not to interfere in the matter of how many children a couple can have. That is not the case. There has been no change of heart as to the nature of the relationship between the citizen and the state.
A more accurate headline would be “China Adopts Two-Child Policy.” Instead of saying “you may only have one child,” it is now saying “you may only have two children.” In other words, the state still mandates the number of children and the bureaucratic mechanisms of enforcement remain in place.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Comforting Those Caught in the Crossfire of the Abortion Debate

It’s been 33 years since the Lord brought me to a place of healing from my abortion, but I remember the journey as if it were yesterday. I had been living with the secret sin of abortion for almost 10 years. Trapped in the middle of a culture war throughout the 1970s and 1980s, I felt I had no place to turn.
I was a pregnant, unmarried 18-year-old in 1972 when I walked into a Planned Parenthood clinic in Topeka, Kansas. They referred me to a clinic in New York City where abortion was legal at the time. (The next year’s Roe v. Wade ruling would legalize abortion throughout the whole country.)
In the years following my abortion, I began to witness two opposing sides lobbing personal insults like grenades. On one side of the street outside the abortion clinic, women demanded their reproductive “rights.” On the other side, pro-life protesters holding pictures of dead babies called women coming out of the clinic “baby killers.” Given my experience, I didn’t feel I belonged in either camp.

You can read the rest.