Free Christain audiobook for July: Tozer’s ‘The Pursuit of God’

This month’s free audiobook at Christianaudio.com is A.W. Tozer’s classic “The Pursuit of God.”  Use the promotion code JUL2010 when checking out.

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More disinformation coming from Planned Parenthood; Nebraska bills force the issue

Does this look like a baby to you?

To a counselor in the latest undercover video done by Liveaction.org, “There is no legs, no arms, no head, no brain, no heart. … There’s not a baby at this point.”

This is the kind of disinformation that is being pumped out by this taxpayer-funded organization. Watch the video below:

Meanwhile, the state of Nebraska has pushed the fight on the pro-life side with the signing of two important pieces of legislation by Gov. Dave Heineman, one barring abortions at and after 20 weeks of pregnancy and the other requiring women to be screened before having abortions for mental health and other problems. Both sides of the abortion debate say the laws are firsts of their kind in the U.S.

Take it outside: Twins win in home opener at Target Field

Jason Kubel's seventh-inning home run for Minnesota was the first one hit at Target Field.

The first day at the ballpark (and we won’t count those exhibition games against St. Louis) turned out pretty good for the Minnesota Twins and their fans. The Twins beat the Boston Red Sox 5-2 before a sellout of 39,715 (the announced crowd was 38,145). While not every seat was ideal, the fans who were there felt like the lucky ones as they got to watch a good team play a good game on a great day.

Even though I don’t live there any more, I was thrilled to watch the game on TV and soak in as much atmosphere as I could that way. Here is one fan’s video and the the official highlights of the game. Summer is on its way, and baseball is the surest sign of it.

Here is one fan’s video of what it was like roaming Target Field on the first day:

And here are the highlights of the game itself:

Outdoor baseball comes to Target Field

Tomorrow is the day that outdoor baseball returns to Minnesota for real when the Twins host the Boston Red Sox at 3 p.m. Despite today’s 5-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox, the Twins have been a pleasant surprise this season with a 5-2 mark. Carl Pavano will get the ball tomorrow for the Twins against Boston’s Jon Lester.

Here is the special page the Minneapolis Star Tribune has dedicated to the new ballpark.

Remembering Dietrich Bonhoeffer today

BonhoefferOn April 9, 1945, just three weeks before World War II ended, German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hanged at the Flossenberg prison camp for his part in a conspiracy to assassinate Adolph Hitler. Bonhoeffer is remembered well for his strong faith and has been remembered beyond his death for his writings, including The Cost of Discipleship. Bonhoeffer’s legacy is a great one, and it is good to remember what he taught, even 65 years later.

In 2003, filmmaker Martin Doblmeier produced a documentary, Bonhoeffer, that looked at the German pastor’s life. In an interview on PBS’ Speaking of Faith, Doblmeier discussed Bonhoeffer with host Krista Tippett. The program is a great introduction to the man and what kind of turmoil produced some of thing he wrote.

This year a new biography is coming out on Bonhoeffer.  Written by Eric Metaxas, who also has written a biography on Wilber Wilberforce called Amazing Grace, the new book is called Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. I look forward to reading it.

You don’t play around with the devil’s work

The Boundless Webzine has a good column by Matt Kaufman discussing a recent report on the effects of pornography. Unfortunately, this addiction is everywhere in our society and hold many in its clutches. According to the report, it promises much but offers a declining level of satisfaction that, in the end, leaves its abusers depressed and unfulfilled. The dangers of the addict are one thing, but even dabbling in it is dangerous. That is because it creates a place in our brains that needs to be fed:

The second pleasure system [in our brains] has to do with the satisfaction, or consummatory pleasure, that attends actually having sex or having that meal, a calming, fulfilling pleasure. Its neurochemistry is based on the release of endorphins, which are related to opiates and give a peaceful, euphoric bliss. Pornography, by offering an endless harem of sexual objects, hyper-activates the appetitive system. Porn viewers develop new maps in their brains, based on the photos and videos they see.

Because it is a use-it-or-lose-it brain, when we develop a map area, we long to keep it activated. Just as our muscles become impatient for exercise if we’ve been sitting all day, so too our senses hunger to be stimulated. The men at their computers [addicted to] looking at porn [are] uncannily like the rats in the cages of the NIH [National Institutes of Health], pressing the bar to get a shot of dopamine or its equivalent. Though they [don’t] know it, they [have] been seduced into pornographic training sessions that [meet] all the conditions required for plastic change of brain maps.

So, it’s not a take-it-or-leave-it kind of thing. The beast that we create demands to be fed. As Kaufman points out, we need to realize that we are in a battle. As Christians, we realize it is a spiritual battle and the Devil is using pornography as a powerful tool against us. However, we know that every temptation we face is one that Christ experienced as well while he was on earth. (I Cor. 10:13; Hebrews 4:15). But, we must be wise and not play in the Devil’s toolbox.

Helpful resources from Boundless:

Pure intimacy

Spring: The season for blowing your nose

It’s a beautiful time of year, but amid the warbling of the birds and the warm caresses of spring winds on your face, there’s a good chance you’ll hear the honking of people near you blowing their noses. Why? It’s allergy season. And this year could be worse than most. This comes from an ABC News report:

This is the time of year when allergy sufferers are hit the hardest, but scientists insist this year is special.

“The pollen this year is out in full force,” said Amanda Campbell, a botanist at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. “And a couple of reasons for that … [are that] there was a very cold long winter … [a] relatively wet year last year, very wet winter in many parts of the country and now we have a compressed bloom season.”

So, enjoy the spring as much as you can and make sure you have a tissue nearby. Here are some more tips to help survive allergy season.

Costly forgiveness

“All should be forgiven, and the thoughtless especially.” — Leo Tolstoy, Where Love Is (New York, 1915), page 20.

From Ray Ortlund, at The Gospel Coalition blog:

The Lord taught us to forgive at two levels.

Deep in our hearts, forgiveness is unconditional, since God has forgiven us: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). This forgiveness is absolute, before God.

At the level of our relationships, forgiveness is conditional: “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3). After all, how can one forgive a sin that hasn’t been confessed? For the relationship to be restored, the sinning brother must repent.

But what if he doesn’t repent? Or doesn’t even realize the harm he has done? Sadly, the relationship remains broken. But deep within, “. . . and the thoughtless especially.” This is the most costly forgiveness, because it is unseen, unthanked.

But God sees. As in everything else, all that ultimately matters is who God is, what God says, how God works.