Friday, April 17, 2015

[Book Review] "Whatever the Cost" by @DavidDBenham and @JasonBBenham

Every year around this time, we attend the excellent Teach Them Diligently home school conference (this year in Atlanta, GA). This year, David and Jason Benham of Benham Realty Group based out of Charlotte, NC were keynote speakers this year and they delivered. If you need a memory refresher on who the Benhams are, they were scheduled to have a show called "Flip it Forward" on HGTV last Fall, but it was canceled because of bullying by the "tolerance" group called GLAAD, based on the simple fact that the Benhams are Christians and voiced their opinion on a few issues.

While at the conference, I was able to sit in on the Benham's three sessions and hear their hearts and their faith. All I can say is that these guys are the real deal. Everything that you may hear about them from the left is pretty much false or skewed in such a way that one would think the Benhams are on the extreme right (think Westboro Baptist Church). They are definitely not on the extreme right. They are Christians living out their faith.

On to the recently released book, "Whatever the Cost: Facing Your Fears, Dying to Your Dreams, and Living Powerfully", I couldn't have read it at a better time in my life. In January of this year, I left a job with benefits to work from home as a freelance web developer and to teach a course in web development at Columbia International University, my alma mater. The situation has been less than ideal since then, with the main client that I left my job for basically dropping me for unknown reasons, and the finances just not being there. That said, the Benhams have been through a lot of dying of dreams in this book, and that is what is important to note and what I will focus on in this review.

My dream for several years has been to work from home to provide for my family. My skills allow my to work from anywhere to build websites, most of the time. The Benhams were both drafted into Major League Baseball, but never made it out of the minor leagues and had to die to those dreams, instead building a foreclosure realty business out of Charlotte, NC, which lead to another dream they didn't know they had of a reality show on HGTV.  This was yet another dream that had to die when a website called "Right Wing Watch" slandered them and GLAAD bullied HGTV into dropping the show.

Through reading this book, I see things in my life that I need to focus on with my family, my faith, and my work. One principle that I've been learning over the past few months, which is extremely hard when you have a family to support, is to "produce more value than you take in pay." The Benhams brought that out in the book, but that is difficult to put forth when the bills are due. One thing that is clear is that we need to focus on God's mission and that is to be faithful to Him and His Word. The church today tries to allow the culture to dictate their policies and that is wrong and unBiblical. Another principle from this book is that Christians are the Church. It is not hate or discrimination to stand on what the Bible says about sin, but we need to let our "theology be our biography" as Flip Benham (the Benham's father likes to say). If we get persecuted for that, then we are probably making an impact.

This book details the Benham's life from when they were born right up to after the HGTV controversy. The brothers were already somewhat well-known before HGTV, though I had not known of them before. That said, I believe that because of HGTV, they have been given a larger platform now than if their show had moved forward and they were on the air. Today's culture doesn't like to hear the truth. They like to shut down any voice they disagree with, labeling it has hate and discrimination. Through meeting the brothers and hearing them, I can testify that they don't hate or discriminate against anyone.

As Christians businessmen, we are always in the position where we could potentially have to work on something that we may disagree with. I would develop a website for a homosexual, with one exception, it must not promote the homosexual lifestyle. That's not hate or discrimination, that's just holding to my beliefs that homosexuality is a sin based on the Bible. The Benhams are the same way. They have no agenda except to make Christ known. This book is an important book in the Christian culture "wars". It should help all of us to look into our own lives, make changes, and live for the Gospel, not for ourselves or culture.

This book was purchased by the writer of this review and no compensation has been provided for writing this review.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

New Beginnings

I have not posted anything to this blog for a long time. In fact, I've been fairly silent over the past year and a half on social media. There are a number of reasons for this, the main being the busyness of life. However, today begins a new chapter in our lives as I begin several new ventures.

The first venture being that I will be working from home as a web developer and programmer. This opens up a lot of opportunities to spend more time with my family and develop myself further as a programmer. We're excited to see where this takes us. It'll be difficult at first, I believe, but with God's grace, I believe we can set a schedule that work for all of us.

The second venture is that I have taken on an adjunct faculty position at Columbia International University, my alma mater for Seminary. I graduated from there with a M.A. nearly 8 years ago, and am now returning to teach their Web Design and Development course in the School of Communications. I have been both student and staff (as a web developer) at CIU and will now be a part-time faculty member.

These are exciting times for me and my family. As for this blog, I hope to be writing more and seeing where God takes this. I have had plans for this blog for a while, but have not had the time to implement them. May God take this where He will.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Amazon's $5 MP3 Albums for October 2013

Here's a few good $5 MP3 album deals for you this month(Click the image to visit the site to view and purchase):

Jars of Clay - Inland (just released in August 2013)

Mat Kearney - Young Love (includes Ships in the Night)

Owl City - Ocean Eyes (2 Disc)

Flyleaf - Flyleaf

Colton Dixon - A Messenger (American Idol Alumni):

Disciple - O God Save Us All

View the full list:

Amazon 100 Albums for $5 each
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Friday, August 16, 2013

[Book Review] 10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to be Tipped

10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to be Tipped by Jared H. Moore is a short read, but it's one that opens up dialogue in the Church about some issues that we tend to hold sacred in the American Church. It is only about a 15 minute read, and it is more or less a compilation of blog posts from this past year, but I believe it is something worth reading and exploring. First of all, who is Jared H. Moore? From his website:
My name is Jared Moore. I was dead in my sin and God raised me to life in Christ Jesus. Because of Him, I will live forevermore. I’m 32 years of age, and have served in pastoral ministry in a Southern Baptist context for 13 years. I pastor New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, KY. I’m happily married to Amber and have three children: Caden, Ava, and Ian. I’ve authored two books: 10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to be Tipped and The Harry Potter Bible Study: Enjoying God Through the Final Four Harry Potter Movies. In addition to writing at this site, I’m also a regular contributor at SBC VoicesServants of GraceChurch Leaders, and Sermon Central, and I occasionally write for Speculative FaithGospel HusbandsSBC Focus, and Credo Magazine. I have a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Trinity College of the Bible, an M.A.R. in Biblical Studies from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, an M.Div. in Christian ministry from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), a Th.M. in Systematic Theology (ABT) from SBTS, and I’m currently a PhD Student in Systematic Theology at SBTS.
 Now that we got that out out of the way, on to the book. The book is broken down into 10 chapters, looking at each of the 10 "sacred cows" that Moore is targeting. These are:

  1. Entertaining Sermons
  2. Anything for Souls
  3. Numbers Equal Revival
  4. Experience-Centered Worship
  5. Nostalgia
  6. Relevant Sermons
  7. Relativistic Interpretation
  8. An Easy Life
  9. Tolerant Love
  10. Successful Ministry

A number of these, I would have targeted too. A few of them, I've seen in Biblical churches that maybe need to revisit the way they do things. Each chapter is short (1 or 2 pages), but is written in an easy to understand way. Perhaps a failure in this book is that there is not enough. As I stated earlier, it is a compilation of blog posts from his blog. In putting it into book form, I would wish that Moore had expanded each chapter, and opened the dialogue further. While he did not do that, I do believe that this is a book that needs to be read by Christians. We get too far off Christ and too much on what we hold sacred. I also don't believe that this list is exhaustive. There are too many "sacred cows" to even list here. This list also applies mostly to the American church, I believe. Moore should make that clear somewhere. Overall, it's an enjoyable and quick read, able to be read again quickly.

Note: I received a free PDF review copy and was not paid or compensated for an honest review.
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Transgender and/or Homosexual Children

Portal of the Church of Pilgrims, in Washingto...
Portal of the Church of Pilgrims, in Washington, DC, with a LGBT banner. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Every day, there seems to be news reports about children as young as 2 or 3 "choosing" to be either the opposite sex or homosexual. Now, I don't know about you, but I quickly become skeptical about these claims. A 2 year old boy wanders into the room and sees his sister's Barbies™ on the floor, and picks them up and plays with them. Does that make him want to be a girl? If you leave him alone for a few minutes, I'm pretty certain that the Barbie play could turn violent (as in head pulled off, etc.). What about boys wanting to wear girl's clothes? Really? Can a 2 year old understand those types of decisions? What about parents not wanting to reveal their children's gender, allowing them to choose their gender at some point?

To me, these are silly scenarios. I can understand a child being born either genderless or with parts of genders. That is another more-complicated issue that I cannot go into in this post. However, this media-driven and society trend toward pushing children to choose transgenderism and/or homosexuality is ridiculous. California signed into law this week a bill allowing children to use whatever restroom they feel like they should use. The Girl Scouts (an organization that gives to Planned Parenthood to help support abortions, by the way) allows boys into it's organization now.

So, can someone explain to me how a 6 year old boy chooses to be a girl? What have the parents been teaching this child, or have they? Society is saying that it's not about choice, that it's about what they were born, but God says that he created male and female (Genesis 1:27). A boy born with boy parts as a boy, and vice versa. Yet, our society continues on this downward spiral of calling evil good and good evil. I very likely will be called a homophobe and/or racist for writing such a post. There is something inherent within us that causes us to choose sin, and that's called sin.

When a homosexual chooses to engage in the act of homosexuality, he is sinning, because that's what his nature tells him, due to the fall of the human race in Adam. The same goes for a murderer, a liar, and a thief. They choose to be those things, because of sin. We don't see society quite saying that a murderer was born that way or a liar was too. Even though, technically they are born that way. We all were born that way. Lady Gaga is right in her song, to an extent.

There is hope, however, and that hope is found in Jesus Christ. He has called us to put aside that sin that entangles us and cling to Him. He told the woman in adultery to go and sin no more (John 8:11). He did not condemn the thief at the cross who believed in him, but forgave him. Parents have caved to society's pressure to let their children be who society wants them to be. A sin has been accepted in society as not a sin, by even churches. Those churches do not deserve to even bear the name of Christ, the lies and deceit that they are teaching. I fear for the lives of these children that are being allowed to "choose" their own gender roles, even though their minds do not comprehend what they are choosing, even as young as 2 years old. I pray that they find Christ and and their parents find Christ, and their hearts are changed. Yes, I do believe that homosexuals and transgenders can change, but it's only Christ that can change them.
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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Race Card

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As long as God continues to delay Christ's return for His people, I believe that we will always be dealing with issues of race, especially here in America. I live in the South, where race is always a hot topic, whether it's dealing with voter id laws, or a half-hispanic man shooting a black teenager in self-defense. Those are the race topics of our day, it seems. One would think that many racial issues that divide us, might be solved by having a President who is truly African-American (having an African father and an American mother). They aren't solved, nor will they be, as long as we are human. The problem comes when we pull what is termed, "The Race Card." North Carolina recently signed into law a more strict voter id law and immediately was sued by "civil rights" groups, presumably over it being racist.

I support tougher restrictions on voting, but that's because I believe our forefathers fought for that right for the people to have a voice, and it needs to be protected from those who would wish to defraud the system. Getting a state-issued identification is not that hard, and the states that have passed such laws have put measures into place to ensure that everyone can get one, regardless of ability to pay. Most ID cards only cost $5-$10. I'm still not sure how that is racist, to begin with.

Where "The Race Card" gets pulled more recently is with homosexuals and those of other religions.  Homosexuals seem to be quick to pull it when they are being "persecuted." I say that loosely, because, in reality, Christians tend to be the persecuted ones here. And yet, a business that turns away a gay couple on religious grounds is accused of being homophobic and racist. Since when did homosexuality become a race? I've also seen people call out people for being Islamaphobes and racists when they speak out against Muslims. The last time I checked, Islam was a religion, not a race.

Where do Christians stand in all this? We should be last ones to pull "The Race Card." This is not about race. Jesus didn't make issues of race. He made a point to travel through Samaria, to show that his message was not just for Jews. He used a Samaritan to show who really could be a neighbor. Peter was commanded to go to a Gentile (Cornelius, a Roman military official). Is that racist? I live in a neighborhood where I am one of a few white families on the street, and yet, I hear about "white privilege" neighborhoods. I'm surrounded by black families and yet, neighborhoods like mine are considered to be "white privilege." My oldest daughter's best friend is black. So, what does that mean?

To be frank, I'm tired of "The Race Card." When can we move past, start talking to each other, and showing Christ? There are still many pastors around here who are racist. They would not let a black or hispanic person in their church, and yet, they might send missionaries to Africa or Mexico. It's hypocritical, but I've met some of these people, and that type of issue is not going away, unless Christ changes their hearts. I, for one, would like to see us to be like Christ, and talk to people, and show them Christ. Stop making issues of Race, and start making issues of the Gospel.
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