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On Saturday, August 9th, 2014 two tragic deaths occurred that sent shockwaves across the country. At one minute after Noon, officer Darren Wilson approaches Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. An altercation ensures that results in the shooting death of the 18-year-old Brown.

That evening, 832 miles east of where Michael Brown had died, Kevin Ward, Jr., was living his dream by Sprint Car racing at the Ontario County Fairgrounds against NASCAR legend Tony Stewart. On lap 14 of the short dirt track, Stewart appears to spin young Ward in to the wall, causing a flat tire and, thus, eliminating the younger driver from the race. Ward breaks protocol and exits his vehicle, walking toward the vehicles circling the track under caution. He aggressively approaches Stewart’s car on the short track and ends up apparently hit by the tail end of Stewart’s car, which results in the death of the 20-year old Ward.

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We are living in an era when, as English speakers, we have a multitude of choices when it comes to translations of the Bible. Throughout the history of my Christian journey, I have used many translations for my daily reading, including the New International Version (NIV), New American Standard (NASB), English Standard Version (ESV), and New King James Version (NKJV). However, the older I get and the longer I’ve studied the Bible, the more I have grown to prefer the King James Version (KJV) as my primary daily reading Bible. Here’s why…

THE KING JAMES VERSION IS A COMPLETE BIBLE

This is the main reason I prefer the King James Version: I have come to believe that the King James Version (and, likewise, the New King James Version) is based upon the best collection of ancient manuscripts. I believe that this is the textual tradition that has been preserved and cherished by most Christians for the entire history of the Christian church.

I admit this is not a huge deal, but it does matter to me because when I read the King James (or the NKJV) I like having in my hands what I consider to be a complete Bible.

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Tim Keller Encounters

The more I watch Keller, the more I listen to Keller, and the more I read Keller, the bigger I fan I become of him and, more importantly, a more grateful follower of Jesus I become. In many ways, Keller is a modern C. S. Lewis, able to powerfully communicate the truths of Christianity in a way that engages the culture.This particular volume is an edited collection of talks he gave in two settings: the first half of the book was a series of talks he gave about Jesus to believers and unbelievers at Oxford University in England. The second half of the book is a series he delivered to the Harvard Club in Manhattan, New York. But lest you think this book is for Mensa (genius level intelligence) types only,  I’m not Mensa material and I found it very straightforward and accessible. Like the teaching of Jesus Himself, it has depth and profundity, but yet is simple enough for a child to understand.

This book is highly recommended for believer and unbeliever alike.  ****5 stars

In preparation for my message from Ephesians 6.1-4, I came up with this visual aid:

 

3 Approaches to Parenting

I was saddened this week to read about a young man getting killed in an accident at a coal mine in my home county back in southern Illinois. It brought back memories for me. When most people think about coal mines, they usually think about West Virginia and eastern Kentucky. I’ve learned that many people don’t realize that southern Illinois has one of the richest coal mining veins in the United States.

I can remember as a young boy going to spend the night at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house and Grandpa coming home from finishing the 2nd shift. He’d wake me up so I could join him for a midnight snack in the kitchen: Pringles and a bottle of cold Mountain Dew.

My Grandpa is in the middle.

My Grandpa is in the middle. Grandpa would shower before our “midnight snack” in the kitchen.

I also remember in grade school getting news of a classmate’s Dad being killed in the mine. One of my Dad’s best buddies had his face crushed in mine accident. Several surgeries were required to reconstruct his face. One of my best friends spent several weeks in a hospital recuperating after nearly dying in a coal mining accident.

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One of my heroes is the late Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981).* In the interview from 1970 (the year in which I was born) he boldly presents the truth of Christianity, according to the Bible. What shocked me was how relevant his words are for today. Please note that his definition of “tolerance” is probably slightly different from yours and mine, but I hope that doesn’t cause you to miss what he is saying on the subject. The demeanor in which he communicates the message reveals the right way to go about declaring the exclusivity of the Christian message. He is not arrogant, he is not angry, and he is not condescending. He is stating the facts of what the Bible teaches and the necessary implications for Christians. My how we need men of God to stand up for the truth like this!

 

*Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was on the fast track to become one of the leading physicians in the U.K. when he was called of God to leave medicine and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Initially a pastor in his native Wales, he eventually fulfilled the role of pastor of Westminster Chapel in London, where he became known worldwide for his engaging biblical expositions.

 

I don’t plan on going to the theater to see the movie “Heaven is For Real.” I did read the book, however, and will make just a few comments:

1. I am highly skeptical of the testimony of any small child.  The pollyanaish view of children that has become common in recent decades (especially in Hollywood movies) is far from lining up with what God, through His Word, says about children.  With the exception of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible does not have much good to say about the trustworthiness of children. In fact, the Bible states on more than one occasion that children are more on the foolish side. Proverbs 22.15 says, “A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness.” (NLT)

2. I was not convinced by Todd Burpo’s claims that Colton shared details that could only be explained by a trip to Heaven. Each time Mr. Burpo would say that there is no way Colton could have known something, I thought 0f a few ways that Colton could have indeed known about it without a trip to Glory.

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