Thursday Roundup (12/29/16)

I’m excited to offer another free webinar the evening of Monday, January 9. The topic is “Understanding the Old Testament Law Today” and I hope it will be very useful both for apologetic discussions with unbelievers and for your own reading of the Bible. Click the link for more information or to register, and don’t forget to share the information with friends who might be interested!

This week’s video looks at allegedly parallel virgin birth stories from other religions. The Answers for Ambassadors episode considers Richard Dawkins’ attempt to explain the existence of morality in an atheistic world, and the links look at the wonderful role which Joseph played in Jesus’ life, praying when God doesn’t do what you hope, reading the Bible when you feel nothing, and more!

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“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.”
~ Corrie Ten Boom

Latest Video

The Christmas story begins with the virgin birth, which sets the stage for a Savior who is both the Son of Man and the Son of God. But is the story unique to Christianity? Skeptics point out other, similar stories from other religions and myths and suggest that the Gospel accounts are just more of the same. Is that true? Would it matter?

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Answers for Ambassadors Podcast

Can we be good without God? In Chapter 6 of The God Delusion, Dawkins asks where morality could come from in an atheistic world. His answer is somewhat plausible but cannot answer one crucial question.

Answers for Ambassadors is available via SoundCloud or by searching in iTunes and most other podcast players. You can also direct your podcast player to the podcast RSS feed.

Best Reads of the Week

A final Christmas-related article, as Nicholas Batzig meditates on Joseph’s place in Jesus’ life. Quoting Sinclair Ferguson: “What has God done in this man’s life? He is obviously a man who is able to take pain. He’s also a man who is willing to absorb shame… God wants to shape a man who he can trust with his Son.”

This is a fantastic, moving article about how to cope with the times when God doesn’t answer your prayers in the way you hope. It will happen, and the pain of it can either shipwreck our faith or deepen our joy as we learn to know and trust our Father more fully. “It is possible to grieve the end of our plans while still maintaining hope for the future. It’s possible to beg God for one outcome, and still praise Him in the middle of a different outcome.”

An excellent piece from Stephen Altrogge: “5 Reasons to Read the Bible When You Feel Absolutely Nothing.”

What does God’s mercy look like? “But ordinary corrupt human love is precisely what the Christian faith—as spelled out in the Scriptures and taught for centuries by the church—has always placed restrictions on… Somehow, even when we can’t understand, we have to find a way to accept that God—the loving, merciful, kind, understanding, grace-filled God—has defined love in a specific way, one that isn’t up to our own interpretations.”

Stephen McAlpine warns against the danger of complacency as a result of the setback which the secular left received in November. “It’s not the Babylon ‘out there’ that we must most fear, it’s the Babylon ‘in here’; in our hearts, in our Christian culture. If we merely fall on our faces in repentance at the thought of how hard things will be under a hard secular administration or political leadership, then we are not truly repentant.”

The Roman Catholic church has been roiled by an unusual public petition from four cardinals, asking Pope Francis to clarify new, seemingly more liberal church teaching on sexual purity and marriage. Joseph Shaw of Oxford University warns, “what is at stake is the very fabric of the [Roman Catholic] Church, considered as a human institution.”

I have supported the work of Gospel for Asia for years, but was deeply saddened to recently learn of serious financial impropriety which got the organization kicked out of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability last year. There are also seemingly credible accusations of an unhealthy spiritual environment created by ministry leaders. After careful research, I do not plan to support GFA for the foreseeable future. If you have given money to GFA in the past, I would encourage you to consider the accusations made by Donor Be Wise, GFA Diaspora, and Christian blogger Warren Throckmorton. Let us pray for repentance and reform from an organization which has done much good work in the past.

Photo of the Week

Ocean sunrise

My wife made me get up to see the sunrise when we were staying with family on the Outer Banks a couple years ago, and I’m glad she did. There is nothing quite like listening to the waves and the wind in the sea grasses as the sun lifts the night off the horizon…

(Check out other photos at my Etsy shop.)

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