Flexible Wings Are Hard to Make

from  evolutionnews.org

Flexible wings.jpeg

How hard can it be to make a flexible wing flap for an airplane? Almost all aircraft today use rigid wings with rigid landing flaps. They work, but they waste fuel. German engineers embarked on a mission to reduce kerosene consumption by 6%: “integrating flexible landing devices into aircraft wings is one step towards that target,” a news item from Fraunhofer says. They’ve named the project SARISTU, for Smart Intelligent Aircraft Structures.

Birds are way ahead of them: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/06/flexible_wings087111.html

Is the Christian Life about Running or Resting?

from Christianity.com byBrian G. Hedges

Is the Christian Life about Running or Resting? In 2009, Time magazine named “the new Calvinism” as one of the 10 ideas currently changing the world. The burgeoning movement brought several streams of conservative evangelicals together, ranging from Baptists to Presbyterians to Reformed Charismatics, best represented through organizations and conferences like Together for the Gospel and The Gospel Coalition. But in recent months an intramural debate within the movement made headlines when author, pastor, (and grandson of Billy Graham) Tullian Tchividjian, was asked to leave The Gospel Coalition.

The issues surrounding this rather public “break up” are complex, but at least part of the brouhaha concerns differing perspectives on sanctification. Some have accused Tchividjian of antinomianism[1] and denying the “third use of the law”[2] (charges he has repeatedly denied, most recently in an interview with Janet Mefford.)

Kevin DeYoung, one of Tullian’s main interlocutors, has compiled a list of agreements and possible disagreements between the two sides. These questions certainly deserve careful thought, as do the varied responses to the debate from voices as diverse as Rick PhillipsMark Galli, and R. Scott Clark.

Read the rest at http://www.christianity.com/christian-life/spiritual-growth/is-the-christian-life-about-running-or-resting.html?p=0

Sin Is Cosmic Treason

from Ligonier by 

The sinfulness of sin” sounds like a vacuous redundancy that adds no information to the subject under discussion. However, the necessity of speaking of the sinfulness of sin has been thrust upon us by a culture and even a church that has diminished the significance of sin itself. Sin is communicated in our day in terms of making mistakes or of making poor choices. When I take an examination or a spelling test,if I make a mistake, I miss a particular word. It is one thing to make a mistake. It is another to look at my neighbor’s paper and copy his answers in order to make a good grade. In this case, my mistake has risen to the level of a moral transgression. Though sin may be involved in making mistakes as a result of slothfulness in preparation, nevertheless, the act of cheating takes the exercise to a more serious level. Calling sin “making poor choices” is true, but it is also a euphemism that can discount the severity of the action. The decision to sin is indeed a poor one, but once again, it is more than a mistake. It is an act of moral transgression.

The rest is at http://www.ligonier.org/blog/sin-cosmic-treason/

Jesus is your reward

from Servants of Grace by  |  comments

Rewards  Jesus is your reward

Do you ever feel like your service at church, at work and to your friends and family goes unnoticed and unappreciated? I know I have felt that way at times. In fact, the longer I travel the road toward vocational ministry it becomes obvious that most of my labor will go unnoticed and unappreciated. That’s hard to stomach, especially given the amount of time required to teach the Bible every week, not to mention the time needed to care for people.

But such feelings—I suspect—are not limited to vocational ministers. Many laypersons spend their entire lives serving Christ and others with little to no recognition. If we’re not careful, we will let the thanklessness of it all steal our passion for serving. So what should we do when we feel unappreciated for our service to the church and others? Jesus gives us the answer in a short parable he spoke to his disciples, recorded for us in Luke 17:7-10:

“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded?So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants;we have only done what was our duty.’”

The question Jesus asks in verse nine (emphasis added) is a rhetorical question that expects a negative response. In other words, Jesus’ followers are required to serve their Master in any capacity day-and-night without any expectation of recognition or reward. We are to serve Jesus out of duty and nothing more. On the surface this sounds harsh, mundane and cold. Plus, we all want to be rewarded and recognized for what we do. We all want that big slap on the back that says, “Thanks, great job!”, but this misses the point. Our dutiful service flows from an inward joy that recognizes that we have already received our reward (John 3:16). We who are inherently unworthy (v.10; Eph. 2:1-10), have nevertheless been chosen by Jesus to serve him. In his eyes, we are worthy to serve him, though we do not deserve such an honor as serving the King of Kings. Our worthiness comes from Christ alone. Our worth is not bound up in what we do or in how others treat us. That should make you fall to your face and worship Christ. To Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever!

So let me leave you with this: No matter how you serve Christ today—whether it’s at work, home, school or at church, do it with a profound sense of joy for the fact that you are a servant of Jesus. After all, he is your reward. There’s nothing more that you need.

– See more at: http://servantsofgrace.org/jesus-reward/#sthash.6plqknEe.dpuf

Greg Koukl debates Michael Shermer on God, atheism, meaning and morality

from Wintery Knight

The full transcript of a debate between Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptic magazine, and Greg Koukl, president of Stand to Reason. This debate occurred on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, and was moderated by Hugh Hewitt.

HH = Hugh Hewitt
GK = Greg Koukl
MS = Michael Shermer

Here is a 32-page PDF with the full debate transcript.

And here’s an excerpt: http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/greg-koukl-debates-michael-shermer-on-god-atheism-meaning-and-morality-4/

The Ground of Gentleness: The Lord is Near  

from The Cripplegate  by 

The Lord is NearOver the last two weeks, we’ve been considering Paul’s command to “let your gentle spirit be known to all men” (Philippians 4:5). We considered five characteristics of that gentleness, and then took some time to consider the scope of that command, noting that we are not only to be gentle with fellow Christians, but also with those who are enemies of the Gospel.

And we ended last time asking how could possibly do that? let our gentle and forbearing spirit be evident to all people—even those that would take advantage of us?

And we can be so thankful that Paul seems to never lay upon the shoulders of the people of God a divine imperative without also laying under our feet a divine indicative upon which we can stand. In Philippians 4:4 he didn’t merely command us to “Rejoice always,” but to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” The Lord Himself is to be the source, sphere, object, and ground of our rejoicing. Well here also in verse 5, he doesn’t merely command us, “Let your gentle spirit be made known to all men,” but also adds, “the Lord is near.”

So, how is it that we can patiently endure the ill-treatment of a hostile and perverse generation, and consistently repay evil with good? How can we subject ourselves to the attacks of the enemies of Christ and His Gospel without becoming defensive and asserting our rights? Paul says, “The Lord is near.”  This is the ground of our gentleness.

Near in Space, or Near in Time?

But what precisely does he mean? Is he saying that the Lord is near in a spatial sense—the way we say, “The mouse is near my computer”? Is his point that Christ is ever-present with His people, aware of your circumstances, and able to come to your aid? People who take this view say that Paul is standing on the promise of Psalm 34:18: “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit,” and treasuring the truth of Psalm 73:28: “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge.” Certainly that would provide a ground and incentive to gentleness: to know that at every moment, Jesus your Savior is with you, at your side, examining and scrutinizing your response to suffering and so giving you the highest of accountability; but also there to strengthen and comfort you and to tend to the wounds you sustain on this path of obedience.

Or, is Paul saying that the Lord is near in a temporal sense—the way we say, “Vacation time is near”? In this sense, his point would be that Christ will return soon, and will bring vengeance upon the enemies of His people and will bring all His good promises to pass. Those who take this view note the similar exhortation of James 5:8:  “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near,” and of 1 Peter 4:7: “The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit.” This would also seem to fit with the eschatological tone set by the immediate context in Philippians 3:20–21, which entreats us to eagerly await our Savior from heaven and look forward to the day when He will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory.Which WayCertainly that would provide a ground and incentive to gentleness: to know that at any moment, Christ is coming to vindicate our cause, and that “the shame [we bear in our] persecution will soon be exchanged for the glory and honor of participating in Christ’s victory” (Hansen, 289).

So, which is it? Well, both interpretations are biblically and theologically correct, and so we may certainly draw strength from both of them in order to fuel our gentleness. The Lord who may return at any moment to conquer our enemies and vindicate our faith is also the Lord who is near to His people at all times in the Person of the Holy Spirit, whom He Himself has given to us to guide and direct us in the path of holiness.

But though both are true and are valid sources of spiritual strength and stability, I believe Paul had in mind more the temporal sense. Commentator William Hendriksen captures the thought well: “The idea seems to be: since Christ’s coming is near, when all the promises made to God’s people will become realities, believers, in spite of being persecuted, can certainly afford to be mild and charitable in their relation to others” (194).

So if Paul considers the coming of the Lord to be a sufficient ground and incentive for the display of our gentleness of spirit, it’s fitting that we should reflect on this reality and be stirred up to obedience. To that end, I want to share with you four brief reflections on the coming of the Lord that will strengthen us to endure all manner of affliction with gentleness.

This World is Not Our Home

First, the imminent return of the Lord Jesus teaches us that this world is not our home. The promise of His coming reminds us that this life is a vapor when compared with eternity—just a cloud of warm breath that appears in the cold air for a moment and then vanishes away (Jas 4:4). And so all the comforts and pleasures that get us so worked up such that we are incapable of conducting ourselves with gentleness—all of those are fading away (1 John 2:17). And why should we sacrifice obedience to our Lord, making withdrawals, as it were, from the bank account of eternity, in order to invest in the commodities of this world which we know are headed for certain bankruptcy?

Continue at http://thecripplegate.com/the-ground-of-gentleness-the-lord-is-near/

A Passion to Obey Him

Luke 11:37-52 As Jesus was talking, a proud religious law-keeper asked Him to eat with him. Jesus went to the man’s house and took His place at the table. The proud religious law-keeper was surprised and wondered why Jesus had not washed before He ate. But the Lord said to him, “You proud religious law-keepers make the outside of the cup and plate clean, but inside you are full of stealing and sinning. You are foolish. Did not He that made the outside make the inside also? Give yourself as a gift and then you will be clean.

“It is bad for you, proud religious law-keepers! You give one-tenth part of your spices. But you give no thought to what is right and to the love of God. You should do both of these.

“It is bad for you, proud religious law-keepers! For you like to have the important seats in the places of worship. You like to have people speak good-sounding words to you as you are in the center of town where people gather. It is bad for you, teachers of the Law and proud religious law-keepers and you who pretend to be someone you are not! For you are like graves that are hidden. Men walk on graves without knowing they are there.”

One of the men who knew the Law said to Jesus, “Teacher, You are making us look bad when You speak like this.” Jesus said, “It is bad for you also, you men who know the Law! For you put heavy loads on the shoulders of men. But you will not even put your finger on one of these loads to help them. It is bad for you! For you make beautiful buildings for the graves of the early preachers your fathers killed. You are saying what your fathers did was good, because they killed the early preachers and you are making their graves.

“For this reason the wisdom of God has said, ‘I will send them early preachers and missionaries. Some they will kill and some they will make it very hard for.’ The blood of all the early preachers from the beginning of the world is on the people of this day. 51 It will be from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zacharias, the one who died between the altar and the house of God. For sure, I tell you, the people of this day will be guilty for this.

“It is bad for you men who know the Law! For you have locked the door to the house of learning. You are not going in yourselves and you do not allow those to go in who are about to go in.”

The school of obedience has many courses and many exams. As we progress through its lessons, we often move from fearful or feigned obedience to more heartfelt compliance.

God’s people heard the Word thundered at Sinai’s “classroom,” but the way they obeyed was stained with constant rebellion. Centuries later, however, a new course was offered. When the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, the people began to catch on—they saw it was possible to become obedient from the depths of their hearts (Christ became human flesh and lived among us. We saw His shining-greatness. This greatness is given only to a much-loved Son from His Father. He was full of loving-favor and truth. John 1:14; Rom. 6:17).

Jesus had a great deal to say on this subject, and His words were powerful because they came from a fully obedient, sinless life. His testimony was that He had come down from heaven to do the will of the Father (I came to do what My Father wanted Me to do. He is the One Who sent Me. John 6:38). Knowing full well the beauty of the surrendered life, Jesus admonishes us to become like Him: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Matt. 7:21).

The Lord also had harsh words for those teachers of the Law who refused to obey its commands. He accused them of weighing men down with heavy burdens and not helping to carry the load. In other words, they taught what should be done but were unwilling to do it themselves. Jesus went on to identify obedience as “the key to knowledge” (“It is bad for you men who know the Law! For you have locked the door to the house of learning. You are not going in yourselves and you do not allow those to go in who are about to go in.” Luke 11:52).

When we obey, doors of understanding will open in front of us, and we will be able to see as never before.

~ Unknown

When I Say … “I Am A Christian”

from Three Iron Nails











Spiritual Growth Series: “One Another”: How to Nurture Biblical Love in Body Life

from Servants of Grace by  |  comments

Editors Note: This is a new series on spiritual growth designed to help our readers understand how to grow in Christ.


How do you define church? What does being a member of the church mean to you? “Attending meetings; giving my offerings; casting my vote,” might be a typical answer. But actually, church membership embodies so much more than that.

Church is about relationships. How we relate to God (worship); how we relate to His Word (discipleship); how we relate to the needy (ministry); how we relate to the world (evangelism); and how we relate to one another (fellowship). Let’s focus on fellowship. The Scriptures are full of directives on how we are to relate to one another.

Paul teaches us that we are members of one another (Rom. 12:5Eph. 4:25). This means that there is an organic unity of all believers in Christ. We are members of Him, members of His body, and thus members of one another. Understanding this is crucial to all of our relationships. It means that however we treat a member of the Body is actually how we treat Christ Himself.

The commands regarding “Body Life” are very specific. There are both positive and negative commands. We are told both what to do and what not to do. Positively we are commanded to: comfort one another (I Thess. 4:18), edify one another (I Thess. 5:11), forbear one another (Eph. 4:2), forgive one another (Col. 3:13), edify one another (Rom. 14:19), admonish one another (Rom. 15:14), admonish through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Col. 3:16), exhort one another (Heb. 3:13), serve one another (Gal. 5:13), bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2), consider and provoke one another to love and good works (Heb. 10:24), greet one another (Rom 16:16I Cor. 16:20II Cor. 13:12I Pet. 5:14), assemble together to exhort one another (Heb. 10:25), be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving towards one another (Eph. 4:32Rom. 12:10), submit to one another (Eph. 5:21I Pet. 5:5), receive one another as Christ received us (Rom. 15:7), care for one another (I Cor. 12:25), prefer one another (Rom. 12:10), be like-minded with one another (Rom. 12:1615:5), minister one to another (I Pet. 4:10), show hospitality to one another (I Pet. 4:9), confess faults one to another (Jas. 5:16), and pray for one another (Jas. 5:16).

The most often repeated command respecting Christian relationships is simply, “love one another” (Jn. 13:34-3515:1217I Thess. 4:9I Jn. 3:1116234:711-12II Jn. 1:5). “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34, ESV). Paul teaches that we fulfill the law through loving one another (Rom. 13:8). And Peter says that we are to “love one another earnestly from a pure heart” (1 Pet. 1:22).

There are also many negative commands in Scripture which teach us how not to treat one another. We are specifically forbidden to lie to another (Col. 3:9), bite, devour, and consume one another (Gal. 5:15), provoke one another (Gal. 5:26), envy one another (Gal. 5:26), take one another to court (I Cor. 6:7), be “puffed up in favor of one against another” (I Cor. 4:6), or judge one another (Rom. 14:13). Of course, every sin forbidden in Scripture applies to our relationships with one another.

Now, the question I want to ask is this: how can we nurture this kind of biblical love towards one another in practical ways? It’s one thing to see these commands on paper. It’s another thing to live them out. We need help. What can we do to help?

1. Saturate yourself in Scripture.

Paul commands: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16, ESV). Do you see the connection? As the word of Christ takes residence in your life, you will be equipped to teach and admonish others. How can you obey what you don’t remember? And how can you remember what is not etched in your mind? Familiarity with the Word is essential to Biblical relationships. Perhaps the main reason why people have difficulty getting along with others (whether in their families or in their churches) is because they do not know and obey Scripture. Why not start familiarizing your self with Scripture by looking up and studying these “one another” passages?

2. Live in covenant with your church.

Many churches today don’t have “church covenants.” Ours does. And the most God-centered churches that I know of do. What is a church covenant? It is simply a document that summarizes our Biblical responsibilities towards one another and declares our commitment to fulfill those responsibilities.

Here is the church covenant of our church (Fulkerson Park in Niles, Michigan):

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ and members of His body, we consider it our joy to live in covenant with one another. We promise to treasure the glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ through passionately worshiping God, faithfully learning and living the Scriptures, regularly celebrating the Lord’s Supper, willingly participating in fellowship, joyfully submitting to our leaders, and cheerfully sharing our gifts, time, energy, and financial resources for the advancement of the kingdom of Christ in the world.

We promise to cultivate the spiritual formation of ourselves and our families through worship, meditation and prayer, to share the gospel with our fellow-man, to live like Jesus in the world, to be honest and just in our engagement with others, to avoid attitudes and actions which are destructive to the unity of the body, and to respect the Christian liberty of others, while also abstaining from practices which bring unwarranted harm to the body or jeopardize our own or another’s faith.

We promise to pursue the spiritual health and growth of this community by loving and serving one another, remembering one another in prayer, giving to one another in times of need, exhorting one another to continue in the faith, and forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven us. And we promise that if we should ever leave this local body, we will unite ourselves with another church of similar faith and practice.


Read the rest at: http://servantsofgrace.org/spiritual-growth-series-one-another-how-to-nurture-biblical-love-in-body-life/#sthash.QA6WUKTy.dpuf

Releasing Strongholds

from Servants of Grace by  |  comments

As Thomas ‘A Kempis wrote, “No one is perfect or so holy as to be without some temptation; nor can we ever be totally free of them.”[1] This is true because we live within flesh, that is, the very temptations that distract us from living the spiritual life in Christ we strive for, are embedded within us. Granted, we are being conformed to the image of Christ (Eph. 5.1) more and more daily—through sanctification. But how we respond to the struggles of these strongholds in our lives says a lot about our maturity. A working definition of stronghold should be established at this point; a habitual or continual temptation, trial, or act of sin.
Truth be told, we either grow to love our strongholds or despise our captivity to them. So, how does the Christian move forward—to live a life of purity and integrity—one which “eschews evil” (Job 1:1)? As many Christians before us have noted, temptations are always going to be there, the trials however, can be changed from failures to learning experiences. Here are three valuable points to help you release the stronghold in your life.
1. Seek God’s Help
 As the Apostle John noted, “We can do nothing without God” (John 15.5). I find this to be the first indicator of whether or not the temptation is a stronghold. If I am unwilling to come before God with my problem, then I know it is a stronghold. For example, if I would rather “keep” my stronghold around, trying to defeat it on my own (or ‘quit’ doing what I know to be wrong), then clearly, I have marked this temptation and accepted it. It may seem like I’m fighting it, but only with flesh—the flesh cannot defeat the flesh; only the Spirit can defeat the flesh. The temptation then becomes a stronghold and will eventually take up residence, in my flesh—which is just what the flesh desires. So, the first step is to seek God’s help—ask the Lord of creation to open your eyes to the temptation’s evil and provide you strength to overcome it (1 Cor. 10:13). And even more important, ask the Lord to reveal your heart to you.
2. Seek Mature Guidance
 The next step is to find a trusted and mature believer, a mentor is best. This person should be someone you can confide in, someone who will pray for you—earnestly. It seems unrealistic to find these individuals, but they’re out there. I personally belong to a pastor’s support group. Each week we examine hardships, trials, and temptations, as well as burdens. This is medicine for the soul. As James the Apostle stated, “the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (5:15-16). Confession releases the stronghold because now it is no longer a silent obsession, but a “public” profession. Confession confronts the stronghold face to face.
3. Stay Implanted in God’s Word
 There is not much more than I can add to the title. God’s Word has power (Heb. 4:12). I would suggest that repeating back Scripture can be valuable in time of vulnerability. I know that I have many times recited to myself, “I’m taking this thought captive and giving it to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4). Reassure and encourage yourself by staying implanted within the pages of Scripture—a shield, refuge, and home. There is no power like Christ and He is the Word (John 1:1).


[1] Thomas ‘A. Kempis. The Imitation of Christ. Random House, 1998. 16

– See more at: http://servantsofgrace.org/releasing-strongholds/#sthash.tupj24vI.dpuf