Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Where Did It All Come From?

There are really only two options in the end. Either there is a personal God Who made everything (carefully, purposefully and in keeping with His moral character) or everything is mere meaninglessness, an absurd collision of matter and chance to which the only authentic response is despair.

How incomparably sweet then that the revelation of Holy Scripture corresponds to the overwhelming evidence of the world, the moral conscience, and the universal longing of the human heart in acknowledging that God is there…and He is not silent.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Darkness All Around? Let the Wind Blow.

Here’s just a few of the headlines from this evening’s Drudge Report:

* Army officer is told not to enter his daughter's high school because he's wearing his uniform
* Satanists to Hold Controversial Black Mass in Oklahoma
* JUSTIN BIEBER GETS NAKED AT 'FASHION ROCKS,' CROWD BOOS
* Homeland Insecurity: Americans feel less safe than any time since 9/11, poll finds
* Welfare recipients can use debit cards for marijuana
* PUTIN PROMISES NEW WEAPONS TO FEND WESTERN THREATS
* Professional Investors are Preparing for a Stock Market Crash
* Firefighters Say They Were Sent Home for Refusing to Remove Patriotic Stickers
* Ted Cruz: ‘Saturday Night Live’ Skits Illegal Under New Campaign Finance Proposal
* CNN: PILOTS FLYING EBOLA PATIENTS TO US SAY MORE EXPOSED BROUGHT TO US THAN REPORTED
* Long-term unemployed still at record levels

So, what to make of it all? Here’s a couple of very important things to remember.

Psalm 2:1-4 (NASB) — “Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!’ He who sits in the heavens laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, ‘But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.’”

Isaiah 41:10 (NASB) — “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

John 14:27 (NASB) — [Jesus says] “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

What security, hope and joy one can possess even in the midst of such a wacky, wicked and suicidal culture when they know their sins are forgiven because they've trusted in the finished work of Jesus' cross, the Savior Who paid the penalty of our sins. And given that peace (as well as the exciting, eternal inheritance that awaits us), the Christian finds strength to hold on, to fight back, and to light up the darkness with truth, justice and the liberating power of the gospel.

Thank You, Lord.




Monday, August 18, 2014

The Shadow Is a Passing Thing


“Frodo sighed and was asleep almost before the words were spoken. Sam struggled with his own weariness, and he took Frodo's hand; and there he sat silent till deep night fell. Then at last, to keep himself awake, he crawled from the hiding-place and looked out.

The land seemed full of creaking and cracking and sly noises, but there was no sound of voice or of foot. Far above the Ephel Duath in the West the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while.

The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was a light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master's, ceased to trouble him.

He crawled back into the brambles and laid himself by Frodo's side, and putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep untroubled sleep.”

(J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

"When Swing Was King" Produces Sweet Things

There were several sweet moments from today’s “When Swing Was King” at LCC in north Omaha. One involved a fellow who regularly refuses to come to the nursing home’s entertainment programs because, in his words, he “always gets bored but then hates to leave early because it seems rude.” So the activities director and her assistant started applauding when he wheeled himself down to the WSWK show. And not only did he stay throughout the program, he told us afterward that he loved it. “It was great, absolutely wonderful!” he said. “When did you say you’ll be back?”

Another delightful moment came when M….(94 in less than a month) came in to tell us she was sorry she had to miss the program but they were busy with her in her room. “I just wanted you to know that I would have been here if I could. And to thank you for coming every month and please keep on doing it.” We ended up having nice conversations with both of these residents and a few others besides. A really great time. Thanks, Lord.

Of course, you are (as always) invited to come along and enjoy the program and help us visit the residents of any of the 11 nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other senior centers where we present “When Swing Was King” every month. (We’re adding a 12th facility in September.) The schedule is right here.

And the program this time around?

1) Glenn Miller Orchestra, “A String of Pearls.”
2) Duke Ellington Orchestra, “If Dreams Come True.”
3) The Andrews Sisters, “Begin the Beguine.”
4) Artie Shaw Orchestra, “Night and Day.”
5) Ozzie Nelson Orchestra, “I Must See Annie Tonight.”
6) Clyde McCoy Orchestra, “Sugar Blues.”
7) Ella Fitzgerald, “Blue Moon.”
8) Benny Goodman Orchestra, “Stardust.”
9) Frank Sinatra, “The Coffee Song.”
10) Larry Clinton Orchestra featuring Bea Wain, “Heart and Soul.”
11) Les Brown Orchestra, “The Continental.”
12) Fred Astaire, “The Way You Look Tonight.” (Photo theme:  A review of the career of this great American dancer, singer and actor.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Defense Secretary: "The World Is Exploding All Over"

Yesterday, Chuck Hagel tried to reassure Americans with these comments. “The world is exploding all over. And so is the United States going to continue to have the resources, the capabilities, the leadership, the bandwidth to continue with the rebalance toward the Asia Pacific? And the answer is yes.”

Okay, forget the weird inclusion of “bandwidth” that Hagel is proud of the USA having plenty of. Wonder instead just where is the evidence for his optimism. After all, his boss and the rest of this Democrat administration has continually disappointed and disrespected America’s allies, emboldened and enabled America’s enemies, divided and demoralized the American people, and distracted and dismantled the U.S. military.

Alas, there’s only one thing true of the Defense Secretary’s analysis — the world is exploding all over.

Remember how the crowds cheered wildly when Barack Obama promised he would fundamentally transform America? Well, the crowds aren’t cheering anymore. Not since we have learned (to our regret and shame) just what the fellow envisioned.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Shakin' It Up (A Pro-life Mini-Drama)

The following is one of the brief pro-life plays I've written over the years that you can find on this page of the Vital Signs Ministries website. They were written for performance in churches but they can, of course, be used in a variety of venues. And, yes, you may feel free to perform those plays without paying royalties.

Shakin' It Up

The scene is a high school cafeteria.  A few friends are sitting around a table with their sack lunches.  The scene opens on their conversation.

Abe: "Can you believe that guy?  That was the most awesome presentation I think we've ever had!"

Steven: "No kidding.  This high school will never be the same since Mr. Tanaka showed up.  Imagine the nerve of the guy."

Teresa: "How did he get away with it in the first place?  I mean, doing an all-school assembly about abortion from a pro-life perspective?  That's impossible, isn't it?"

Steven: "Guess not.  He just pulled it off!"

Abe: "Well, here's the deal.  Planned Parenthood has been in here to do assemblies every year I've been here, right?  Sure, they sometimes brought in some ditzy politician to say something completely bland about abstinence, but everybody knows it's always the same message.  (Abe goes into a falsetto, nasal voice.)  'Use a condom, and our low-dose birth control pills, kiddies, and then when they fail...which they most certainly will, by the way... you all come to Planned Parenthood and we'll take care of you but good!'"

Teresa: "And didn't I have a heck of a time getting out of going to those presentations. Remember how my dad threatened a lawsuit before Dr. Bell would allow me to be excused."

Abe: "There you go.  Some freedom of choice. Well, from what I heard, that's exactly what Mr. Tanaka pulled too.  He had all this evidence about Planned Parenthood having a complete monopoly on these sex-ed assemblies and he insisted through some lawyers that they either kick Planned Parenthood out completely or they allow him to present an alternative view."

Steven: "And what an alternative?  Man, he was electric!  I mean, you gotta' figure everybody was expecting a boring sermon and then Tanaka comes out and really shakes it up."

Teresa (Laughing.): "No kidding; how many of those kids guessed a pro-life talk would include a film clip from ‘Blade Runner’ or a music video from Nick Cannon?"

Steven: "My favorite moment was when he used Eugene O'Neill's play 'The Abortion.'  That was super-cool.  I was watching Ms. Nelson-Rice and she was burning up.  You know, O'Neill is one of her favorites and you could tell she hadn't even heard of that play!"

Teresa: "Speaking of surprises, what about when he was quoting all of those early feminists who were against abortion?  That was great."

Abe: "And Marshall McLuhan!  Who knew he was a pro-lifer?"

Teresa: "Don't forget the quotes from Mother Teresa, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Phil Simms, and the Bible.  Wow, you could feel the sense of tension in the whole gym."

Abe: "Even guys like Sally and Carmello who are so pro-choice -- they told me afterwards that Tanaka had scored some heavy points.  Sally was quick to remind me she wasn't changing her mind, and I quote, 'about a woman's choice being paramount,' but she did admit that maybe being pro-life had more going for it than she thought."

Steven: "Chalk up one for the good guys, huh?"

Terry: "Hey wait.  You know what was the very best moment?"

Abe: "Yeah, I think I know what you're gonna' say."

Terry: "It was when Mr. Tanaka pointed out that in those Planned Parenthood sessions, he had never been allowed to make any opposition statement or even ask any questions. But he was different. He believed in freedom of expression and so he would gladly allow anyone to respond to his presentation..."

Steven: "...if, that is, when Planned Parenthood conducts their assemblies in the future, they must allow the very same courtesy."

Abe: "And nobody moved!  Man, you could have heard a pin drop, huh?"

Terry: "The quiet you heard in that gym, fellas?  That was the sound of truth winning a round. And in a public school no less!"

Abe: “And all because a bold Christian did his homework and then took the risk of standing up for what's right!"

Steven: (Raising his milk carton.) "To Mr. Tanaka, a man who is shakin' things up for life.”  (All raise their milk and "clink" cartons.) 

Scene fades.

A Few Not-To-Be-Missed Articles

* “Obama’s Treachery and Republican Silence” (David Horowitz, NRO)

* “The American Left: Friends of Our Country’s Enemies” (Ron Radosh, PJ Media)

* “A teachable moment in foreign policy” (Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post)

* “Bullies for Social Justice: A vision of America that is neither just nor reasonable.” (Janice Shaw Crouse, The American Spectator)

* “The West is ignoring the practitioners of 'disproportionate’ violence” (Charles Moore, Telegraph)