Friday, December 31, 2010

Overcoming Temptation (Part I)

The New Year is usually a time of reflection and new beginnings, a time when many are inspired to better themselves.  A very appropriate time, I think, for me to address an issue that plagues us all.

We recently watched the new Narnia movie, Voyage of the Dawntreader. Each Narnia story has a spiritual theme at its core.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe presented sin, Jesus' atoning self-sacrifice, and Satan's defeat at His hands. Prince Caspian taught us that it's far better to trust in God's plan, than to go it alone.  This time around, Narnia addresses the problem of temptation. I won't spoil it for you, in case you haven't seen it yet, but during a climactic moment, the Winter Witch rears her ugly head again to tempt Edmund away from doing what's right.  In fact, temptation is a problem for most of the main characters, throughout the movie, sending us home with the reminder that its consequences carry a great price.  Of course, there is an even greater reward for resisting it and doing what's right.

"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:12-15).

By definition, temptation is an exploitation of our weaknesses, which boil down into a cornucopia of flavors of selfishness.  These are chinks in our Godly armor (Eph. 6:10-17), that the enemy needs no help penetrating; we are experts at exposing ourselves to temptation on our own.

Empowered by the Holy Spirit and educated by God's Word, the mature Christian generally manages to put Christ ahead of self.  However, it is almost unavoidable that he will eventually stumble.  God calls us to be holy as He is holy, perfect as He is perfect, to "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus"(Phil. 3:14).  Being truly born again means receiving God's nature, which does not tolerate sin, in any form.  Therefore we should want to continue pressing toward that goal and ask the Master Blacksmith to fix any and all imperfections in our armor.

To be continued...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

No Power Behind Greg's Word

I'm really sorry to have left you hanging with my previous post!  I really did preach that day, and I really do have the video to prove it, but not only have I been having issues editing videos lately, but I don't feel the video is up to snuff for public viewing.  Good thing we have a really small congregation, and nearly everyone was absent that day!  I hope to provide some detailed notes or video highlights sometime in the future, but for now, I would like to simply move on to other topics.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Power Behind the Word (Sneak Preview)

William Tyndale (c. 1494 – 1536) was a Protestant Reformer, who was the first to translate a large portion of the Bible into English, against the will of the established church and king. For his loyal defiance, he was strangled to death and burned at the stake. But his martyrdom bore much fruit, because the same king who ordered his execution (Henry VIII) commissioned the publishing of English Bibles. This eventually led to the Authorized King James version, more than three quarters of which is estimated to be Tyndale's work. You can read more about this powerful instrument of God at Wikipedia.

But what did Tyndale and so many others sacrifice their very lives for? "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:18). He died because he believed in the transforming power of God, and in His Holy Word, which he wanted everyone to be able to read for themselves. Until Tyndale's time, the church leadership believed that the Bible could only be translated into Latin and that only clergy had the right to read it. But this led to horrendous abuses of power and gross misinterpretations. How quickly man put himself in God's place! But if Jesus Christ bought each one of us all-access backstage passes to the Holy of Holies – to God Himself – then it stands to reason that He gave us all the right to read His precious Word for ourselves.

But why is that important? What am I getting at? "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:16-21).

The Bible is not just another book, but the inspired Word of God, our Lord and Creator. Its contents come with a surety and factuality unmatched in any other written work today. Scoffers may scoff, but that does not diminish its credibility. Is the sky any less blue, if I rant and rave 24/7 about how green it is??

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12).

In old English, "quick" meant "alive." The Word of God, whether spoken or written, is unique in the world and even has supernatural properties. So how do we unlock its power? By faith and by "eating" the Word, internalizing it, until we understand what it means and can apply it in our lives.

So how do we apply it? For that, you'll have to wait a little longer.... You see, this is my topic for a message I am giving Sunday, Sep. 26, at the new church that we have recently started to fellowship at. Video is on the way....

P.S. Yes, I am back to blogging, for at least a while! I've been very blessed with a new job and plenty of things to keep me busy, which is why I've been away. I will try to keep this and my other blogs fresher, as well as stop by your blogs and comment.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Abortion Debate (Part 5)

We wrap up this series with some common arguments you’ll hear in abortion debates and how to totally discredit them.

“If you force women to have their babies, their children will be unloved and abused.”

There are abused and unloved children all over the world; ending abortions would not contribute much to that number. Besides, the decisions to abort are usually emotion-based (whatever the reason, the woman doesn’t WANT the baby), and emotions can greatly change over time. Again, we can trot out the toddler and ask, “If you decide you no longer love your 2-year-old (I can’t imagine why!), is that justification to kill it?”

“If you don’t want me to have an abortion, then adopt my child!”

This is like saying, “If you want me to lose weight, you have to eat my food.” Or, “If you don’t want me to kill my no-good husband, you have to marry him.” This is another tactic to change the venue and shut down the pro-lifers, but it’s only a red herring. The morality of a given action does not depend on outside conditions.

“Of course YOU are against abortion; you’re a MAN and will never have to make that choice!”

This is similar to the “adopt my child” ruse. Even if you’ve never been robbed, you still have the authority to say theft is immoral. There are many insensitive things a man can say to a woman, just because he doesn’t have her feminine insights, but this is not one of them.

“It would be unfair or discrimination for women to not be allowed to have a medical procedure, when men are allowed to have ANY medical procedure!”

I’ve actually read Senator Barbara Boxer say something very close to this, recently. She is reducing the ending of a life to a simple medical procedure. Again, that’s just another attempt to change the venue of the debate, maybe by rolling it into the floundering healthcare reform negotiations. Pregnancy, by its very nature, is a very unique physical process, by which a new life is preparing to enter this world. This puts it in a class by itself, in the medical field. It’s “unfortunate” for Senator “Don’t call me Ma’am” Boxer that (as of yet) only women can suffer from this particular medical condition, but that’s life. No pun intended.

“I’m personally against abortion, but I think it should be legal.”

President Obama and other politicians have used this phrase more times that anybody can count, especially if you count their positions on other ethical issue of the day (same-sex marriage, marihuana, euthanasia, etc…). These kinds of statements confuse a moral dilemma with a personal preference. “I’m personally against going 100 MPH on the interstate, but I think it should be legal.” In fact, the implication to the listener (whether it’s true or not) is that you believe the issue to be objectively morally acceptable. This is what concerned us about most of 2008’s presidential candidates.

“If you outlaw abortion again, there will be an increase in back-alley abortions, which will greatly endanger the health of countless women.”

Now that abortion is legal, there are FAR more fetuses being killed and mothers suffering from the physical and psychological repercussions. For most, the simple illegality of an act will prevent it from being committed, and will encourage alternatives (such as adoption). Besides, there are consequences to every action; we cannot legalize something, just because there are those who refuse to consider the potential effects. If we repeal speed limits, and no longer require motorists to wear seat belts or helmets, would traffic fatalities increase or decrease?

“Abortions should be allowed, in the case where the mother’s life is in danger.”

Mr. Klunsendorf points out that the only case where a mother’s life is truly endangered by a pregnancy is when the fetus implants itself in the fallopian tube. This is called an ectopic pregnancy and, if allowed to continue, results in the death of both mother and baby. In this one case, the only way to prevent two persons from dying is to remove the fetus. Either way, the fetus is doomed (at least with current medical science), and it makes sense to at least save the mother. Most, if not all, other medical complications occur late enough in the pregnancy, that a C-section will give both mother and child terrific chances of survival.

I’m not necessarily promoting open protest, but I hope this series has opened some eyes and/or equipped you to defend your pro-life position. Thank you for reading!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Abortion Debate (Part 4)

Remember that the abortionists do not want a debate on the sanctity of life, because they know society in general (thankfully) still puts great value to all human life; they would lose. So they borrow from the “gay rights” groups’ playbook and try to steer the discussion toward human rights. But we cannot allow their sneaky tactics to change the venue. The debate is really about what a fetus is. If they can prove that a fetus is NOT human, then clearly a mother’s right trumps any rights it might be otherwise entitled to. But they will avoid that debate at all costs and simply make the implicit or explicit assertion that a fetus is merely a mass of cells, not much different from a tumor.

Trot Out the Toddler

Mr. Klusendorf proposes a very effective approach to putting the focus back on the sanctity of life. He calls it “Trot out the toddler.” When someone argues with you that reason X justifies an abortion, you ask, “If it was a two-year-old, would it still be reasonable to have it killed?”

One common justification for abortion is in the case of rape. No doubt, rape is a heinous crime that violates a woman’s body, her individual rights, and maybe even her very humanity. Her choice was taken from her, and if it results in pregnancy, it might be tempting to redeem some of that lost choice by choosing to abort the unborn child. What’s more, even if she does decide to have the baby, it will serve as a constant reminder of her harrowing ordeal and the man who violated her. Surely, the woman’s mental well-being is enough of a reason here to justify abortion.

So, let’s trot out the toddler. Say, for whatever reason, she carries the baby to term and then realizes that the mental anguish is too much to bear. Is there anyone on this planet who would agree that she has the right to end its life, after it was already born?

The question is not whether it would be illegal, under criminal or civil laws, (it obviously is, in the entire civilized world) but rather if it would be moral and ethical. Remember that most (if not all) laws originate from the lawmakers’ moral and ethical values. The morality debates on issues like abortion and same-sex “marriage” drive the laws of the land.

We will trot out the toddler again, in the next (and last!) post.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Abortion Debate (Part 3)


Aside from merely being alive, many additional requirements are often made, to declare one a human. After all, a liver cell has all the DNA of the full human being, but it is not itself human, nor will it ever be, even if it is perfectly alive and growing. Indeed, there is a cornucopia of criteria we generally use, to declare a lifeform as “human”. Let’s pick four essential characteristics (out of the many), that science believes are unique to humans, and show that there are easily humans that do not have any of these, and yet we would be hard-pressed to find anyone who would not call them “human”.

Human beings have (1) distinctive facial features, (2) walk upright, (3) possess a consciousness, and (4) have an intellect far above any other known creature. Now, suppose we see a “person” sleeping in a hospital bed, whose face is severely burned, has had the legs amputated at the waist, and suffers from severe brain damage. And yet, we would still call this person “human”, because he possessed all four required qualities at some time (he will even regain one, consciousness, as soon as he awakes) and still possesses countless other characteristics that unquestioningly categorize him as human. In fact, one may argue that a perfectly healthy fetus is more human than the tragically injured being on that hospital bed.

So, where can you draw the line and say that beyond a certain point, any living thing (even a deformed fetus), whose DNA is decidedly human, is NOT a human being?


Many who support abortion argue that an early-term fetus is not human, because it cannot survive outside the womb at all, or would at least require medical support. They argue that since it is dependent on its maternal host, it does not meet the necessary requirement. This argument falls flat on its face rather quickly. Can a newborn survive on its own? It is entirely dependent on others, for its food, warmth, and security. Or what about people on dialysis, oxygen, or insulin? Or those with pacemakers or transplanted organs? Are any of them any less human, for requiring medical assistance, in order to live? To take the argument to its extreme, the entire human race resides in a planetary womb, outside of which we cannot survive, at least not without serious astronaut gear. So you see, we all require favorable environmental conditions (some more than others), in order to thrive.

To be continued...

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Abortion Debate (Part 2)

To show that a fetus is indeed just as human as a newborn or toddler, we can apply several criteria. These arguments are only a summary, but are enough to demonstrate this point, in most casual debates.


Genetically, from the very first, single-celled zygote, the fetus possesses the same DNA sequence as it would for the rest of its existence. Furthermore, it is a biological fact that the offspring of species X can only be of the same species. A pair of humans cannot produce a cat, zebra, quail, or anything other than a human being. Therefore, every fetus is genetically a human being.


Humans come in all sizes. Would we ever consider a person “more human” than another, just because he’s bigger than the other? Even more importantly, were you any less human as a newborn, than you are now, as an adult? So if a person’s “degree of humanity” does not scale with size, then it makes no sense to define an arbitrary size threshold, below which we declare a fetus “non-human”. In fact, if we (morbidly) decrease my size by lopping off parts, I retain my humanity, as long as I am still alive. Likewise, a fetus, no matter how undeveloped, is arguably still human, as long there is life in it. Ick… moving on….

By the way, the picture above was taken last month and shows the current Guinness World's Shortest Man (about 2 feet tall), standing next to the World's Tallest Man (about 8 feet tall).


Abortion proponents often argue that as long as the unborn fetus is inside the womb, it is part of the mother’s body and not an independent human being. However, we can make a strong case against this reasoning, by considering whether the location of a given mass (alive or not) affects its fundamental state. A few seconds of thought reveals the fallacy of the “still in the womb” argument. You are no less a human being, wherever you go, as long as you are alive. A paper clip is still a paper clip, no matter where it travels. Of course, if you toss it into molten lava, it will melt, but that’s because something else in that location (not the physical coordinates themselves) acts upon it, to change its state. The mother’s body does nothing harmful to the fetus; quite to the contrary, it provides nourishment and warmth, so that it can grow, as it was meant to.

To add another supportive truth, our courts will try murders of pregnant women as double-homicides. But if just the smaller of the two is killed in a medical facility, it’s called a "choice".

To be continued…

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Abortion Debate (Part 1)

For the past year’s Bible study, we’ve been watching a series of videos from Summit Ministries, on defending our faith and understanding the major types of worldviews that are out there. The series is part of a curriculum that is based on David Noebel’s book: Understanding the Times. I highly recommend it.

As part of this, we recently watched a presentation on abortion, by bio-ethicist Scott Klusendorf. Although abortion is one of the hot-button issues of our age (right up there with same-sex "marriage" and euthanasia), I’ve generally had little interest in thinking and debating about it. In fact, the only time I ever did, was when I got into it with a family member, while my wife was pregnant with our son.

From my understanding, the correct Christian viewpoint should be that life begins at conception, and abortion at any stage of pregnancy is the same as murder. But as defenders of the faith and of the unborn, we should educate ourselves to best defend our position against the “pro-choice” movement.

This is what the goal of this series shall be, and I will borrow a lot of the arguments that Mr. Klusendorf put forth, which all depend on simple logic. Although Scott is a Christian, he feels that logic is much more effective against atheists and lukewarm “Christians”. And I believe he’s right. We serve a logical and reasonable God, who put the universe in motion, to follow certain rules. We need to have confidence that logic and science, even philosophy and psychology, ultimately lead back to Him.

What’s the Real Issue?

Think about the main arguments that the two sides are making. “Pro-lifers” state with vigor that abortion is murder, because a fetus, at any stage, is a human being. “Pro-choice” groups argue that the real issue is a woman’s rights over her own body. In fact, the names “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are very appropriate, when you think about it.

But abortion is NOT a human rights issue. When you analyze the worldviews professed by both sides, it all boils down to one question: “What is the unborn?” Pretty much everyone agrees that human life is sacred and that it’s wrong to ever end it, except maybe in extreme circumstances. People who are against abortion believe that a human fetus is a human being, whose life is just as sacred as yours and mine. Therefore, abortion is tantamount to murder and should be illegal. Abortion supporters, on the other hand, fundamentally believe that either the fetus is not fully human until a certain point in its development, or that a woman’s rights trump that of the fetus.

With Mr. Klusendorf’s help, we will prove that (1) a fetus is human from conception, and that (2) the mother has no ethical right to end its life.

To be continued...

The picture above was taken from a fetal development slideshow at It shows a 16-week-old fetus. "The fetus now measures about 4.3 to 4.6 inches and weighs about 2.8 ounces. The baby's eyes can blink and the heart and blood vessels are fully formed. The baby's fingers and toes should have fingerprints."