The Sunday Message

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. – Matthew 6:5-6 (NIV)

I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. -1 Timothy 2:8 (NKJV)

You may have heard the story of Joe Kennedy, a Washington state high school football coach who took a knee on the 50-yard line and prayed after football games.

According to several articles including this one from Fox News, a federal court has ruled that violated the U.S. Constitution and Kennedy lost his job as an assistant football coach at Bremerton High School in 2015 after the school district suspended him for his post-game prayers.

Kennedy sued and accused the school of violating his free speech. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the district’s suspension was justified.

If you have followed the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals very much then you probably know their rulings are overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court often.

We’ll see if Kennedy appeals to the highest court or not.

I’m somewhat torn on this issue. I think Kennedy has a right to pray as long as he is not forcing his players to participate. But then, he is the coach and may unknowingly exert influence on his players to participate.

When I played high school football, we recited “The Lord’s Prayer” before each game. I doubt that is allowed these days.

In fact, in looking back there are a lot of things we don’t allow any more. That does not mean we are better off…

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The Sunday Message

Have you ever watched a sporting event and seen someone with a sign that had John 3:16 written on it? That person felt compelled to make that sign and hold it up for thousands to see at the sporting event and maybe for millions more to see on television.

Some people say that a man named Rollen Stewart, also known as the Rainbow Man because of his rainbow colored hair, started the trend after he became a born-again Christian. Stewart is reportedly in prison now because of kidnapping.

Of all the Bible verses Stewart and others could have used, they used John 3:16.

Why?

Maybe because it is so simple that everyone can understand it. Here are three different versions of John 3:16:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. – John 3:16 (King James Version)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16 (New International Version)

Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life. – John 3:16 (Easy-to-Read Version)

It’s a very straightforward message and all a person needs to do is one thing: Believe.

“…whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Some church leaders may spend an hour or so preaching about salvation when it basically boils down to one word: Believe.

So do you “believe” in God?

If you want more information about having a relationship with God, click HERE.

 

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The Sunday Message

All religions must be tolerated… for every man must get to heaven in his own way. – Epictetus

That quote probably bothers a lot of people. I’ve heard people talk for hours about why their religion is the only true one, and to get to heaven, we must follow the one that they follow or face going to hell when we die.

I’m not one of those people who think that my religion is the correct one and that another person’s religion is wrong. Although there are some beliefs in different religions that I find hard to believe, you won’t hear me putting them down. I am curious about what people believe and what goes on in different churches. I like to ask questions.

Recently a Pew Research Center survey found:

On the heels of a contentious election year in which partisan politics increasingly divided Americans, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that when it comes to religion, Americans generally express more positive feelings toward various religious groups today than they did just a few years ago. Asked to rate a variety of groups on a “feeling thermometer” ranging from 0 to 100, U.S. adults give nearly all groups warmer ratings than they did in a June 2014 Pew Research Center survey.

Some of the results included Jews coming in at 67, Catholics at 66, Mainline Protestants 65, Evangelicals 61, Mormons 54, and Muslims at 48.

There’s a lot more information in the survey that you can read HERE.

Since the scale they were rated on was 0-100, it looks like all religions have some work to do.

One’s own religion is after all a matter between oneself and one’s Maker and no one else’s. – Mahatma Gandhi

 

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TWW Afternoon Extra: “The evangelicals love me”

Shot through the heart and you’re to blame
You give love a bad name
Bon Jovi

Donald Trump won the white evangelical vote by historic margins.
I repeat…
Donald Trump won the white evangelical vote by historic margins.

How wild is that? Read on, but be warned, you might be offended….

Continue reading

The Sunday Message

No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means. – George Bernard Shaw

I happened to see this quote while I was searching for something else, and I thought it would be an interesting thing to write about for my Sunday message.

It’s kind of funny if you think about it.

My beliefs about what I read in the Bible have evolved over the years. Something I thought was true in 1985, I might see differently today.

My basic belief is that what God reveals to me when I read scripture may be different than what God reveals to you. Neither of us are wrong.

By the way, I won’t be condemning you for what you say it means.

Not everyone is like that. I know a pastor that is known as a so-called “expert” on the Bible who comes across in some of his sermons as a know-it-all and the final word about the Bible. I’ve known other leaders in the church who felt their interpretation was the only correct version. One even jumped down my throat for saying, “To me this means…” because it was different than what it meant to him.

People like those I mentioned above hurt Christianity today. God made us different.

I’ve been a Christian for many years, and I have learned that you can’t let those people get you down.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. – Romans 15:4 (NIV)

Have a great week!

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The Sunday Message

While reading the paper Saturday morning I happened to catch this story:

State senators in Idaho have voted 34-3 to approve a bill allowing for the academic study of the Bible in public schools.

In Senate Bill 1342, legislators noted that “the Bible is expressly permitted” for use as a reference tool where religion intersects with other subjects, such as literature, comparative religion, U.S. and world history, music, sociology, astronomy, ethics, biology, and “other topics of study where an understanding of the Bible may be useful or relevant.”

You can read the whole article from the Christian Examiner HERE.

I think this bill is a good compromise. Times have changed.

I remember when I played middle and high school football my team would kneel and recite The Lord’s Prayer before we took the field. Our coach would lead the team in reciting the prayer.

I did not have a problem with it. I don’t think my parents did either. They were not overly religious, but they did send me to Vacation Bible School almost every summer, but we seldom attended church – unless someone died.

I don’t ever remember anyone getting upset about the team saying The Lord’s Prayer. In today’s world, a team from a public school could probably still recite the prayer because of freedom of speech, but the coach could probably not lead it.

Today we are a more diverse society. What if some players were not Christians or believed in another religion?

Our country was founded on the freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

I enjoy studying (not judging) the differences between religions. I’ve had friends that would answer my questions about their religion and ask me questions about mine. I’ve read books about the differences in the major religions in the world. It’s fascinating.

One thing I have learned is that there are good and bad people in each religion. People struggle with their religious beliefs and doing what is right.

In short, life is a journey. Enjoy it. Learn from it. Be kind to others.

Racial prejudice, anti-Semitism, or hatred of anyone with different beliefs has no place in the human mind or heart. – Billy Graham

 

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Wednesday’s Political Odds & Ends

If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it. – Andy Rooney

Welcome to Wednesday! It’s also January 20, so that means that one year from today a new President will be inaugurated!

Today is another one of those days in which there are several major political stories out there that I want to comment about – so it’s another “Political Odds & Ends” day!

Here are today’s topics:

  • Gianforte Finishes Exploring
  • Electricity Rate Increase
  • SCOTUS & Immigration
  • Palin Endorses Trump
  • Trump & Liberty University
  • U.S. Senator Charles Grassley

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