News of Note: “Six Types of Selfishness”

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1. “Six Types of Selfishness” – R.W. Glenn describes six types of selfishness that are evident in his life and our lives as well. (Red Meat for the Soul)

2. “The Local Church is THE place for Biblical Counseling” – David Powlinson explains why the church is the place for Biblical counseling. (CCEF)

3. Two stories from Christian News Network:

“VA Passes Law to Bar Universities From Forcing Christian Clubs to Allow Non-Christian Leaders” – Virginia passes law barring universities from forcing Christian clubs to allow non-Christian leaders.

“Pregnant Woman Who Left Abortion Facility Returns Next Day to Help Save Lives” – Pregnant woman who was witnessed to by Christians at abortion clinic gives her life to Christ, and comes back the next day to help Christians at same abortion clinic. Here is a YouTube clip of Chet and Amanda Chase and Liz witnessing in front of the abortion clinic:

4. “Controversial Pastor Punches Back After Tebow Cancellation; Rips ‘Wimping Out’” – More from Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church of Dallas on the Tebow situation. (CBS New York)

5. “Church Seeks Dismissal of Sex Abuse Lawsuit” – Sovereign Grace Ministries files motion to dismiss lawsuit for alleged child abuse allegations stating that Maryland courts can’t get involved in the internal affairs of church business. (MSNBC News)

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“Tim Tebow and the Marginalization of Christianity, Part 2”: Why Christians in the U.S. Should Rejoice in the Coming Persecution – Tony Zabala

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There are some things that I thought through over the last week that might prove useful as a follow up to my post “Tim Tebow and the Marginalization of Christianity” as Christians face the possibility of the marginalization of Christianity here in the U.S. Here are five points to consider:

Marginalization tests the Christian

One of the ways which marginalization will benefit Christians is it that it will test their faith. Paul stated to “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). All trials test us to see if we are truly Christians. When Christians overcome those trials by trusting and obeying God it strengthens their faith. Unfortunately, Christians in the U.S. have not been tested as our fellow brother and sisters in the rest of the world like in Africa, Asia, and Russia. They have been marginalized, ostracized, and even faced death in many instances. We may be facing one or more of these trials in the near future.

Marginalization separates the wheat from the chaff

Marginalization will not only test Christians to see if they are in the faith, but it will also separate the wheat from the chaff. No more Sunday attending church only, standing on the sideline Christians. No more CE (Christmas and Easter attending only) Christians. No more seeker sensitive, emergent, liberal, whatever you call them pseudo-Christians. No more money grubbing charlatans from TBN. Marginalization and persecution will cause them to run and hide or even apostatize. Moreover, some, in an effort to preserve some remnant of their pseudo-Christianity, will align themselves with liberal mainline denominations or emergent congregations. These betrayers along with their secular liberal cohorts will join them in their journey into the spiraling abyss of cultural conformity.

Take for example, self-proclaimed “passionate Christian” and co-founder of the Christian dating service eharmony.com Neil Clark Warren who I wrote about in a recent post. In an interview with The Christian Post, Warren blames his recent legal woes with homosexual activists on both Focus on the Family and conservative Christians. Warren claims that they were too rigid in their views of marriage and Scripture. Warren disassociated his company from Focus on the Family when his legal troubles began despite the fact that Focus on the Family promoted eharmony.com. Part of the settlement between Warren and homosexual activists was to help them create an equivalent dating site for same sex couples in New Jersey, so much for Warren being a “passionate Christian”. Remember, Judas seemed like a “passionate Christian” too until the going got tough and he wasn’t able to fulfill his own selfish agenda.

When Christianity really costs something you will find out who the real players are.

Marginalization causes a deeper dependency upon God

When Christians can no longer depend on their job, their family and friends, or their government because they have all turned against them; where else can they turn to but God. This may be a strong possibility in the near future. In the Book Acts, we see Christians having a strong dependency on God as a result of persecution. If a professing Christian is a true Christian indeed, he will be forced into a deeper dependency upon God. If a professing Christian is not a true Christian, he will recant his faith and join the rest of society. This action would only prove that he was never a Christian in the first place.

Marginalization forces the church to pray more

Moreover, a deeper dependency toward God due to marginalization will cause Christians to pray more. When Peter was imprisoned in the Book of Acts, believers gathered together in a group and prayed for the Lord to help Peter. The Lord answered the prayers of these faithful believers by miraculously freeing Peter. When Peter went to the place where the believers were praying, a young woman answered the door to find Peter standing there. She was so incredulous to find Peter at the doorway that she thought she had seen a ghost.

History also shows us that Christians who have faced marginalization in the past have prayed more. A few examples come to mind such as the Reformers and the Puritans. Take some recent examples such as Russian, Chinese, and African Christians persecuted by their own governments. Many revivals and reformations have come out of marginalization and persecution because prayer by God’s people unleashes the power of the Holy Spirit in the proclamation of the Gospel. It would be no surprise that reformation and revival would happen as a direct result of marginalization and persecution.

Marginalization prepares the Christian

Lastly, marginalization will cause Christians to prepare for the inevitability of persecution. There are many signs of it coming now as previously mentioned in the last article. Christians should be like Joseph whom God warned about the coming famine in Egypt and prepared himself for the inevitability of that famine. First, Joseph warned people of the famine. Then he took some practical measures to prepare himself and his people for that famine.

Now when I say this I don’t mean that Christians should be taking arms, stock piling food and water, or start investing in an underground bunker like they are a part of some right wing militia group. When I mean preparation, I mean to prepare spiritually. Prepare by reading, studying, and memorizing your Bible. Prepare by cultivating and deepening your relationship with God through prayer. Prepare by becoming more bold and active in the proclamation of the Gospel. Prepare by participating in discipleship relationships. In other words, prepare to be used by God in the event that marginalization and persecution occurs.

In fact, you can also prepare practically by thinking through some things that might happen if and when marginalization and persecution does happen. For example, what would you do if you got fired from your job because of your Christian faith? How would you react? What would you say to your boss or co-workers? Have you taken any precautionary measures financially to protect your family?

How about being arrested by the police for sharing your faith? Are you still willing to share the Gospel if this were the case? There have been many recent instances where Christian brothers and sisters have been given citations, detained, or even arrested by the police for preaching the Gospel. I believe that number will only rise.

Pastor and elders what would you do if someone would sue your church because he believed that your ordinances were discriminatory because of his sexual orientation? What if a homosexual couple wanted to use your church facility for their marriage ceremony? We’ve seen similar examples of these types of situations over the last year. Are you willing to fight and not compromise your Biblical responsibility toward your Lord and congregation or are you willing to capitulate to the culture just to save your position and church? The same would hold true for any Christian institution whether it is a business, educational institution, or para-church ministry.

These are the types of questions that go through my head from time to time as I continue to see the demise of Evangelicalism in the U.S. Here is a short video from Paul Washer predicting the coming persecution:

Why Rejoice?

Moreover, we should rejoice in the coming marginalization of Christianity because of all the aforementioned points in this article. It will cause a more pure form of Christianity because it will be tested under the refining fire of marginalization and persecution and weed out false professing Christians. We should also rejoice that God is still sovereign and control of all things. No matter what government we are under, we should be confident that God will always preserve His remnant church.

Finally, we should rejoice because church history has shown that whenever Christians have been marginalized and persecuted, reformation and revival have been right around the corner. It happened with the establishment of the church in the Book of Acts. It happened during the Protestant Reformation. It happened during the First and Second Great Awakenings in the U.S. and Great Britain. Better yet, maybe just maybe the Lord Jesus may come this time. Come, Lord Jesus. Come.

(Tony Zabala is currently the Evangelism Coordinator for the Santa Monica Church)

News of Note: “The Most Offensive Verse in the Bible”

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1. “The Most Offensive Verse in the Bible” – Dan Phillips cuts to the chase and gives secular talk show hosts the most offensive verse in the Bible. (Pyromaniacs)

2. “The Christian Leader in the Digital Age” – Al Mohler’s article on the influence of the digital age and why Christian leaders should utilize it. (AlbertMohler.com)

3. “C. Everett Koop (1916-2013)” – More on the life of C. Everett Koop and his relationship with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. (Between Two Worlds)

“Let me assure you that if I thought that I was walking into that operating room in my own steam, my own power, my own knowledge and was going to operate upon your child—and its survival depended upon me—I wouldn’t open the door. I believe that I am a servant of the Lord and that I am going to that operating room with gifts that he has given me. But your child is in his hands, and he will guide me, and I will let you know everything I can about the future of your child.” – C. Everett Koop (what C. Everett Koop would tell families before operating on a patient)

4. “Beware the writings of the Watchman” – Tommy Clayton gives us some insight and warnings on the teaching of Watchman Nee. (The Cripplegate)

5. “Which 80 Prominent Republicans Just Signed a Legal Brief Proclaiming Gay Marriage Is a Constitutional Right?” – The Blaze lists 80 prominent Republicans who have signed a legal brief supporting gay marriage. (The Blaze)

News of Note: “C. Everett Koop Goes Home to be with the Lord at 96”

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1. “Former surgeon general C. Everett Koop dead at age 96” – C. Everett Koop former U.S. Surgeron General went home to be with the Lord at the age of 96. (USA Today)

2. “The New Modern Family? Woman and Two Men Raise Son in ‘Polyamorous’ Relationship” – Christian News post on ABC News featuring a polyamorous relationship between a woman living together with mulitple boyfriends under one roof. (Christian News)

3. “Words for Young, SBC Calvinist Firebrands” – Fred Butler gives some sound advice to young Calvinist firebrands. (Hip and Thigh)

4. “Is the Defense of Traditional Marriage Like the Defense of Slavery?” – Mark Tooley’s critique of United Methodist Pastor Adam Hamilton’s article in the Washington Post who compares the defense of traditional marriage to the defense of slavery. (Philosophcal Fragments)

5. “Pastor Jeffress’ Response to Cultured Despisers in the Media” – Denny Burk’s post on Pastor Robert Jeffress’ reply to the Tim Tebow issue. (DennyBurk.com)

“Say It Ain’t So Tim”: Tim Tebow and the Marginalization of Christianity – Tony Zabala

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Introduction: The Black Sox Scandal

The 1919 Chicago White Sox were heavily favored to win the 1919 World Series. The White Sox had the very best baseball players of that era: pitcher Ed Cicotte, third baseman George “Buck” Weaver, and fan favorite outfielder “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. During that World Series, the White Sox played poorly and their effort lack luster against the Cincinnati Reds. Rumors started that the White Sox players were on the take, that several if not all of the players had taken money from gamblers who bet against the White Sox to lose. These rumors started to increase when the White Sox did finally lose to the Reds.

Fans and officials called for a hearing to find out if White Sox players did indeed take money from gamblers to throw that World Series. A grand jury hearing was held wherein several of White Sox players testified. Two players Ed Cicotte and Joe Jackson made statements admitting to taking money from gamblers, statements which they would later recant. A subsequent trial in 1921 acquitted all the players from any wrong doing. Despite the trial court’s findings, baseball’s new commissioner Kenesaw “Mountain” Landis banned all the players from playing professional baseball.

Legend has it that after the court hearing, as Joe Jackson was walking out of the courthouse, young fans who idolized Jackson said to him, “Say It Ain’t So Joe” in reference to Jackson’s admission in court to taking money from gamblers in order to throw the World Series. Jackson allegedly responded, “It’s true boys”, then walked away.

Tim Tebow/First Baptist Church Dallas Incident

Heroes. America loves it’s heroes to the point of obsession, and Christians are not exempt from that form of hero worship. We make heroes out of our favorite movie stars and sports figures. We later find out that our heroes are flawed, human, and ultimately sinners. They make mistakes, they don’t meet our high expectations, they sin. Love him or hate him Tim Tebow is one of those heroes especially in the world of evangelical Christianity. Christians admire him not only because of his heroics on the football field at the University of Florida and later the Denver Broncos, but Tebow was seemingly unabashed in his public proclamation of his Christian faith from putting on eye black with Bible verses on them, kneeling and praying in dedication to God after a touchdown which has been dubbed “Tebowing”, and also his work with different Christian charities.

The Christian Post and Christian News Network reported this week that New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow was scheduled to speak at the dedication service of the new $130 million dollar church facility at Pastor Robert Jeffress’ First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. Reports stated that homosexual activists and the media pressured Tebow in declining the invitation because they accused Jeffress’ church of racism and propagating hate speech against homosexuals, Jews, and Muslims. Tebow subsequently cancelled his scheduled appearance citing personal reasons and not wanting to get involved in another controversy at this time. What those controversies Tebow alluded to in his statement have not been disclosed. Did Tebow back out of his scheduled appearance because of pressure from homosexual activists and the media? More than likely, but only Tebow and God knows that for sure. Was Tebow right in doing this if what speculators say is true that Tebow didn’t want to make this appearance to cause more controversy? Absolutely not. Tebow should have stood his ground and made his appearance anyway despite the pressure from these groups and the possibility of more controversy.

There are really three things that Christians can learn from this incident: 1) there is now a tangible cost for being a Christian in the United States, 2) homosexuals and liberal activists main objective is not only for the culture to accept homosexuality, but to marginalize and quite frankly eliminate the influence of Christianity from the public sector, and 3) we should be gracious to Tim Tebow.

There Is Now a Cost for Being a Christian in the U.S.

Tim Tebow and other Christians are now realizing that there is a cost for being a Christian in the U.S. Christians in the U.S. We have enjoyed the privilege of living in a country which allows us the freedom to worship and express our faith by God’s grace. However, that may all change at the rate that things are going right now.

We have not experienced the persecution that Christians have to dealt with in Africa, China, or Russia, however Christians in the U.S. will be challenged as never before because of their faith and the result of that may be the loss of a job; the right to adopt children; the loss of a church’s or religious institution’s tax exempt status; the opportunity for a Christian business, religious organization or church to rent facilities from the public sector; and obviously the right to share the Gospel in the public square. My friend Jesse Johnson over at the Cripplegate wrote an eye opening article on this very subject. Jesse talks about the coming persecution of Christians in the U.S. and how Christians should respond to it. It would be worth your time to read it.

Homosexuality and the Marginalization of Christianity

There is ample evidence within the last few years to show that the main intent of the homosexual movement and their liberal backers is to not only marginalize, but to eliminate the influence of conservative Bible believing Christians from the public sector. Years ago it started with atheists who wanted the removal of crosses and other Christian symbols, school prayer, and any reminder of Christianity from influencing the public sector. Then it was the push for the acceptance and normalization of homosexual marriage by the state and federal government which will more than likely happen. Now since it is evident that homosexual marriage will be accepted in this nation this has given liberal and homosexual activists the ammunition they need to openly challenge Christian institutions and businesses. Examples of these tactics have been evident in the last year. Secular colleges such as Vanderbilt have asked Christian student organizations to leave their campus because they refused to allow non-believers to join their leadership team in violation of their charter.

These actions have not only been limited to secular colleges. Christian institutions are now being challenged as well. One example of this is The Boy Scouts of America (which was founded on Christian principles and was once a Christian instituion) where liberal and homosexual activists have pressured major corporations, some of whose members sit on the board of the BSA, into pulling their financial support from the BSA since BSA does not allow membership to homosexual scouts or homosexual scout leaders.

Another example is the recent lawsuit against San Diego Christian Collegeby Teri James, a former employee who is suing the college for wrongful termination, discrimination, and violation of her civil rights. In this incident, James was fired by the college for fornication which is in violation of the college’s community covenant which, in summary, states that the employee of the college must believe in foundational Christian principles and that any violation of those Christian principles, including committing any type of fornication would result in that employee’s termination. The news conference which James had with her counsel, civil rights attorney Gloria Allred, is telling in that, Allred challenged this Christian college’s community covenant. She stated that it was not only discriminatory against women, but homosexuals as well. This is a major lawsuit. Don’t think for one minute that just because that employee agreed to sign that community covenant prior to her employment that will automatically exempt that college from any liability. It shouldn’t come as a shock that the liberal courts in California and especially the extremely liberal 9th Circuit Court in the future could possibly rule that this Christian college’s community covenant is discriminatory and in violation of James’ civil rights. If you aren’t convinced, remember what happend to California’s proposition 8 which was the marriage act bill? That case is now pending a decision in the U.S Supreme Court in November. If Allred wins this lawsuit or the Supreme Court rules against California’s propostion 8 this will be open season for any Christian educational institution, business, and yes churches.

What about Tim Tebow?

So what about Tim Tebow? Does his recent actions mean that he is not a Christian? I don’t think so. I think this incident shows Tim Tebow and other Christians that there is now a real tangible cost for being a Christian in the U.S., and Tim Tebow is the first of many casualties. Christianity is more than just making a public profession, wearing eye black with Scripture verses or Tebowing. Christianity is living what you believe, and sometimes that means standing up for the truth of God’s Word no matter what the cost.

Reports have indicated that Tim still believes in the exclusivity of the Gospel and the sanctity of marriage as stated by Pastor Jeffress. Tim just simply bowed out. I believe Christians should be gracious toward Tim. Why because there is no guarantee that we would not have acted in exactly the same manner if we were in Tim’s shoes. Remember Peter whom our Lord called the rock? Peter boasted that he would never leave our Lord’s side, but that’s exactly what he did when he denied Jesus three times. Our Lord eventually forgave and restored Peter, and Peter came back stronger than ever as evidenced by his bold preaching on the Day of Pentecost thereby fulfilling our Lord’s earlier proclamation that Peter would be a rock. I am hoping this will be the case for Tim Tebow, that he will learn and grow from this incident and come back stronger and more bolder in his faith standing for the truth in love.

(Tony Zabala is currently the Evangelism Coordinator for the Santa Monica Church)

Notable Quotable: “Why Regeneration Precedes Faith” – Keith Mathison

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“It is for this reason that Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). The spiritually dead cannot enter God’s holy presence. “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). In order to see God’s kingdom, then, the spiritually stillborn must be brought to life. There must be spiritual resurrection.

“There must be new life, eternal life. “You must be born again.” Jesus’ words befuddled Nicodemus. He said to Jesus, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:4). Here Nicodemus gives us a textbook example of missing the point.

“Nicodemus is not alone. There are a large number of professing Christians who miss the point. To hear some tell it, you would think Jesus merely said, “You must be well again.” According to many, we are not spiritually dead but are simply sick. We are on our death beds, and Jesus offers us the cure. All we have to do is reach out and take it. Or we are drowning and Jesus offers us a life buoy, and all we have to do is grab it to save our lives. The picture painted by Jesus and the apostles, however, is much more bleak. In our natural Adamic state, we are not on our sick beds. We are in the grave. We are not flailing about on the surface of the sea. We are lifeless at the bottom of the ocean. We are dead.

“This is the point that Nicodemus and we must understand. When Jesus tells Nicodemus he must be born again, He is indicating that this is not something Nicodemus can do himself. Just as we had no control over our physical birth, we do not control our spiritual birth. It is the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. Those who say that we are only spiritually wounded will say that we can be regenerated, born again, by placing our faith in Christ. This, however, puts everything precisely backwards. We do not believe in order to be regenerated; we must be regenerated in order that we might believe. Regeneration precedes faith.”

(Keith Mathison, “You Must Be Born Again”, Ligonier Ministries)

“Rareified Air: Michael Jordan’s Claim of Deity” – Tony Zabala

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Stop the presses! Michael Jordan claims to be god. Yes, the man known as “Air Jordan” for his gravity defying dunks during his heyday with the Chicago Bulls. The man who put the tennis shoe empire Nike on the map and is so famous that even his own insignia is recognizable by everyone on the planet. The man whom the late Los Angeles Times writer, Jim Murray called the “Fred Astaire of the hardwood” in a recently republished article commemorating Jordan’s fiftieth birthday claims to be god.

In a recent interview Jordan had with ESPN’s Wright Thompson, it was revealed that the nickname given to Michael Jordan by his own security guards is Yahweh which is the Hebrew name for God in the Old Testament. Talk about the height of pride and arrogance. It is one thing to claim that you’re god, but to take the Judeo Christian God’s own name, and making it your own. I wouldn’t want to be in number twenty-three’s overpriced Air Jordans or be “Like Mike” for any price right about now. Jordan should have had enough sense to know that he isn’t god especially after his last NBA stint with the Washington Wizards, but I digress.

Now the claim to be god is nothing new. History has shown us that many people from rulers, dictators, and even Hollywood movie stars have claimed to be god. The Egyptian Pharaohs claimed to be god. Rome’s Caesars claimed deity, and even had their own people worship them as gods. Movie stars such as Shirley MacLaine (aka many lives Shirley) and even most recently Morgan Freeman claim to be gods (Yes, the guy who played god in Jim Carrey’s movie claims to be god too).

Even the Bible gives examples of those that claimed to be god. Take the examples of Pharaoh during the time of Moses, Nebuchadnezzar during the time of Daniel, and Herod during the Acts of the Apostles. All claimed deity for themselves as well (Exodus 5-12; Dan. 4: 28-37, Acts 12:20-23). By the way, the Bible shows us that things didn’t turn out well for those three gentleman after they made claims to be god, but you’ll need to read the rest of those stories from Scripture. You will find out after reading those passages from the Bible that God actually gets offended if anyone claims deity for themselves which would be no surprise.

Moreover, the ESPN article not only reveals Jordan’s pride and arrogance in his claim of deity, but the article is also a sad tale of a man who has everything, but ultimately has nothing. Jordan’s life is really Solomonesque in its scope. Jordan stated that he is dissatisfied with his life since he can’t fulfill that competitive drive which once satisfied him when he played basketball, and that he would return to playing professional basketball if he could. Jordan has attempted other avenues in his life to fulfill that void, but has come up empty.

This definitely should remind you of another man who attempted to fulfill his life with riches, accomplishments, and achievements. That’s right that man would be King Solomon as he describes his own story in the Book of Ecclesiastes. You see Solomon was the most powerful, richest, and wisest ruler in the whole world when he became the King of Israel and the successor to his father David’s throne. God was responsible for all of Solomon’s accomplishments, and Solomon knew this. Yet, despite all the blessings and honor which Solomon received from God, Solomon strayed. Solomon became more concerned with the things of the world rather than with his relationship with God. It became so bad for Solomon and he strayed so far from God that he actually worshipped other gods due to the influence of his many wives. In the end, Solomon found out that all the riches, accomplishments, and achievements in the world mean nothing without a relationship with God. Solomon acknowledges this very fact in the first chapter of the Book of Ecclesiates by saying:

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” (Ecc. 1:2)

This is a direct warning from Solomon to all who would forgo a relationship with God and attempt to fulfill their lives with worldy things. In the end, it means nothing. All the fame, glory, riches, and accomplishments will fade away as Solomon found out, and he is warning the readers of this book right from the beginning of this fact. In the end, we know that Solomon repented of his sins because we find in the last chapter of Ecclesiates Solomon stated:

“The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecc. 12: 13-14)

This is good news for Michael Jordan. He still has time to come humbly before God, repent of his sin, and put his trust and faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. All of us are sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God, and we all deserve death and hell because of the sins that we have committed because we stand before a holy and righteous God (Rom. 3:23, 6:23). It is only by the grace of God that we are saved because it is God who ultimately grants salvation and repentance to those that He draws unto Him (Acts 5:31; John 6:44, 12:32). Anyone who attempts to achieve salvation by their own works will never make it because God’s standard for salvation is absolute perfection (Eph. 2: 8-10; Titus 3:5; Matt. 5:48). No one can make that standard, not even those who claim deity like Michael Jordan.

It’s not too late for Michael Jordan and it’s not too late for anyone who does not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. We may yet see Michael Jordan someday make a public announcement on television that he is now a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. That is one Michael Jordan highlight I would love to see above all others.

(For more on the Michael Jordan ESPN interview, please read Matt Smethurst’s excellent article)

Tony Zabala is currently the Evangelism Coordinator for the Santa Monica Church

Notable Quotable: “Evil Rulers Are Never Beyond The Bounds of God’s Sovereign Will” – Jerry Bridges

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“Admittedly the statement, “the ruler is God’s servant to do us good,” (Rom. 13: 1,4) seems difficult to accept when we see some of our brothers and sisters in Christ persecuted and perhaps killed because of their Christian commitment. We should remember again that God in His infinite wisdom and sovereignty and for reasons known only to Himself, allows rulers to act contrary to His revealed will. But the evil actions of those rulers against God’s children are never beyond the bounds of His sovereign will. And we should remember that God works in history from an eternal perspective, whereas we tend to view the outworking of history from a temporal perspective.” (Jerry Bridges, Trusting God Even When Life Hurts)

News of Note

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1. “Do You Still Want to Be Like Mike?” – Matt Smethurt’s post on the ESPN interview with Michael Jordan as he turns 50. Smethurst’s article reveals a sad portrayal of an aging and dissatisfied Jordan whose only passion is the game of basketball and how he has been attempting to find ways to satisfy his insatiable drive for competition ever since his retirement. The article also shows that Jordan’s egotism knows no bounds despite the fact that he seemingly has everything and everyone around him caters to his every whim. (The Gospel Coalition)

2. “Seven Ways To Pray for Your Prayer Life” – A post from Tim Challies on seven ways to pray for your prayer life. (Challies.com)

3. “Christian Founder of eHarmony Says Gay Marriage Debate ‘Damaged Company'” – Interview with eHarmony co-founder Neil Clark Warren who blames Focus In the Family and Christians for his legal troubles. (Christian Post)

4. “Southern Baptists urge Boy Scouts National Council members to keep ban on gay Scouts, leaders” – Southern Baptist Convention urges Boy Scouts National leaders to keep ban on gay scouts and leaders. (Washington Post)

5. “The death of a mentor, Howard Hendricks (1924-2013)” – A touching tribute by Denny Burk for long time Dallas Theological Seminary professor and author Howard Hendricks who went to be with the Lord. (DennyBurk.com); More from DTS on the life of Howard Hendricks in the article, “The Life of Howard G. “Prof” Hendricks“; The following is a video tribute to the “Prof”: