Monthly Archives: July 2010

Man Builds Noah's Ark

The massive central door in the side of Noah’s Ark was opened to the first crowd of curious townsfolk to behold the wonder.  Of course, it’s only a replica of the biblical Ark, built by Dutch Creationist Johan Huibers as a testament to his faith in the literal truth of the Bible.

The ark is 150 cubits long, 30 cubits high and 20 cubits wide.  That’s two-thirds the length of a football field and as high as a three-story house. 
Life-size models of giraffes, elephants, lions, crocodiles, zebras, bison and other animals greet visitors as they arrive in the main hold.

A contractor by trade, Huibers built the ark of cedar and pine.  Biblical Scholars debate exactly what the wood used by Noah would have been.

Huibers did the work mostly with his own hands, using modern tools and with occasional help from his son Roy.  Construction began in May 2005.  On the uncovered top – deck not quite ready in time for the opening – will become a petting zoo, with baby lambs, chickens, goats and one camel.

Visitors on the first day were stunned.  ‘It’s past comprehension,’ said Mary. Louise Starosciak, who happened to be bicycling by with her husband while on vacation when they saw the ark looming over the local landscape.

 ‘I knew the story of Noah, but I had no idea the boat would have been so big.’ There is enough space near the keel for a 50-seat film theater where kids can watch a video that tells the story of Noah and his ark.
Huibers, a Christian man, said he hopes the project will renew interest in Christianity in the Netherlands, where church going has fallen dramatically in the past 50 years.

Now that I am old and Gray… give me the time to tell This new generation (and their children too) About all your mighty miracles.  Psalm 71:18.

The preceding is found on various web sites; if anyone knows the original source of this post, please include a comment with that information and link.

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Last Fan Sitting

Wake Forest University just completed a promotional program called “Last Fan Sitting.”  Early on Thursday morning, January 8th, after more than three days enduring wind, rain, and sub-freezing temperatures, Bob Yakos was dubbed the champion of this grueling contest.  He beat out 22 other fans, 8 of whom made it with him until Thursday morning.  He answered Wake Forest trivia questions and beat out his fellow-diehards.  For his trouble, Yakos will enjoy season tickets for four for the next 15 years.  He was not only prepared for the trivia, impressive especially for a Cooperstown, New York, native whose work relocated him to the research triangle area, but for the weather.  He wore a Gore-Tex suit and duck boots, both of which kept him warm when temps went low.
Jesus would point to world events and everyday situations to make a more important, spiritual point (cf. Mt. 13; Lk. 13:1ff).  There seems to be a formula in Yakos’ success from which Christians can learn.  We can call it the “PIE” formula. 
P-Preparation.  Yakos boned up on Wake Forest trivia.  Even his clothing showed foresight.  It took groundwork to give him glory.  For Christians to overcome the overwhelming odds we often face, preparation is key.  What are we doing in our “off time” that helps us answer the spiritual challenges we face?  And are we properly adorned (Eph. 6:10ff; 1 Th. 5:8)?
I-Incentive.  Fifteen years of free tickets to watch college football is good incentive for quite a few sports’ fans.  Yet, the overwhelming majority of the citizens of Durham and other Carolina cities opted not to even compete.  Of those who did, somewhere along the way either the elements or discomfort discouraged them from their original goal.  So, too, the masses are disinterested in the reward awaiting the faithful.  They may not believe it is real or it may not capture their desires and interests.  Of those of us who do begin the journey that leads to heaven, we cannot let adversity or anything else cause us to give up before the end (cf. Rev. 2:10).
E-Endurance.  Yakos would not quit, even when others did.  He would not quit, even when it may have looked enticing.  He stuck it out, no matter what.  When applied to spiritual things, what an approach!  Nothing is worth losing heaven or our souls.  You may often want to quit, but you cannot quit!  Our tribulation and troubles will last more than 74.5 hours, but compared to eternity we will have to endure but the proverbial blink of an eye.
Sixteen years from now, Yakos will have to buy a ticket if he wants to watch the Demon Deacons play football.  If we endure to the end of this life, our reward never expires.  Whatever we endure will have been worth it.  But, we must make proper preparation, so each of us will be among the “Last Christians Standing” before the king of Kings (cf. Mt. 25:34-40, 46; 2 Tim. 4:8)!
Neal Pollard

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An illustration of heaven

An 85-year-old couple, having been married almost 60 years, died in a car crash. They had been in good health the last ten years mainly due to her interest in health food and exercise. When they reached the pearly gates, Peter took them to their mansion which was decked out with a beautiful kitchen and master bath suite and Jacuzzi. As they “oohed and aahed”, the old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost. “It’s free,” Peter replied, “this is heaven.”

 Next they went out back to survey the championship golf course that the home backed up to. They would have golfing privileges every day, and each week the course changed to a new one representing the great golf courses on earth. The old man asked, “what are the green fees?” Peter’s reply, “This is heaven, you play for free.”

 Next they went to the club house and saw the lavish buffet lunch with the cuisines of the world laid out. “How much to eat?” asked the old man. “Don’t you understand yet? This is heaven, it is free!” Peter replied with some exasperation. “Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol tables?” the old man asked timidly. Peter said, “That’s the best part…you can eat as much as you like of whatever you like and you never get fat and you never get sick. This is heaven.”

 With that, the old man went into a fit of anger, throwing down his hat and stomping on it, shrieking wildly. Peter and his wife both tried to calm him down, asking him what was wrong. The old man looked at his wife and said, “This is all your fault! If it weren’t for your blasted bran muffins, I could have been here ten years ago!”

 If only we knew what lies ahead, we might not be so hesitant to leave what lies around us. We cling so tightly to what we see, wondering if anything could possibly be better. But we have God’s assurance that His children have an inheritance far greater than anything we can even imagine.

 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3-4)

 Our inheritance is “incorruptible”. In a day of transient fads, it’s difficult to find anything permanent. But in our heavenly inheritance we’ll finally know real permanence and unending security.

 Our inheritance is “undefiled.” Isn’t it disgusting when your freshly mown lawn is cluttered with beer cans thrown from passing cars? When beautiful lakes and rivers are choked with pollution? Even truth is perverted, morality is corrupted. But there will be no such defacing of our heavenly inheritance. The heavenly inheritance is for those who appreciate the beauty of being with God.

 Our inheritance is “unfading.” In this world, life fades with age. Even relationships with friends and sometimes even with family members can grow stale. But, in heaven, everything remains as fresh as it is at the outset.

 May the hope of what lies ahead brighten your day!

Alan Smith

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Where are our priorities?

1)      Haggai is a book that has only two chapters.

a)      The nation of Judah had been conquered; Jerusalem had been burned; the temple was demolished.

b)      King Cyrus issued a decree that brought about 50,000 Jews back to their homeland.

c)      Some efforts had been put forth to rebuild the temple, but enemies had stopped the work.

2)      Haggai needed God’s people to get back to work.

3)      Hag. 1:4 – READ

a)       “You are making your own houses beautiful while God’s temple is in ruins.  Is this right?

b)      Moving on to verse 5 – READ

4)      God’s prophet called on the people to consider their priorities.

5)      This was not something that had happened once or twice.

6)      For 15 years things had been going on like this and God finally said ENOUGH!

7)      God’s people should have seen the signs of their misplaced priorities.

8)      God had not blessed those who had their priorities out of alignment – verse 6 – READ

9)      Verse 7 contains another plea for the people to “consider their ways.”

10)  Verse 8 is where Haggai told the people what they needed to do.

11)  It was time to get timber and start to again build the temple.

12)  God knew that some with the misplaced priorities might not want to change their ways.

13)  There is thus this warning in verse 9 – READ

14)  Rom. 15:4 says we are to learn from passages such as Hag. 1.

15)  Priorities are important.  God pays attention to our priorities.

16)  Misplaced priorities caused this people to suffer droughts and crop failure – verse 10 – READ

17)  In the final verses of this chapter we find that the Jews finally got their priorities in order.


1)      What does the Bible teach concerning religion and its priority in our lives?

2)      More than once God says we can have or priorities out of alignment.

a)      Verse 6 in Ps. 39 – READ

b)      Mt. 6:25 – READ

3)      Some have “eating and drinking” as their priority.  Others have “clothing” as their priority.

4)      Just a few verses later in Mt. 6 we have these words – verse 33 – READ

5)      Jesus spoke of this matter in Mt. 6 as well as other places such as Lk. 14, our next text.

6)      Verse 18 – READ

7)      Another excuse is found in verse 19 – READ

8)      Verse 20 has another misplaced priority – READ

9)      How did the person who did the inviting feel?  Verse 21 says he was “angry.”

10)  Misplaced priorities anger God.

11)  Prov. 37:5 says “commit thy way unto the Lord.

12)  Jesus said “Mary” had “chosen the good part” (Lk. 10:42).

13)  God says spiritual priorities must come first.

14)  Beginning tonight we have a test for our spiritual priorities.

15)  Where is God and His kingdom on our priority list?

16)  If we cannot say He and His work are first, we have Him in the wrong spot.

Poll on spiritual priorities: A survey on Christianity

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The story is told of Morris, a Russian man, who saved his rubles for twenty years to buy a new car. After choosing the model and options he wants, he’s not the least bit surprised or even concerned to learn that it will take two years for the new car to be delivered. He thanks the salesman and starts to leave, but as he reaches the door he pauses and turns back to the salesman. “Do you know which week two years from now the new car will arrive?”

The salesman checks his notes and tells the man that it will be two years to the exact week. The man thanks the salesman and starts out again, but upon reaching the door, he turns back again.

“Could you possibly tell me what day of the week two years from now the car will arrive?”

The salesman, mildly annoyed, checks his notes again and says that it will be exactly two years from this week, on Thursday.

Morris thanks the salesman and once again starts to leave. Halfway though the door, he hesitates, turns back, and walks up to the salesman.

“I’m sorry to be so much trouble, but do you know if that will be two years from now on Thursday in the morning, or in the afternoon?”

Visibly irritated, the salesman flips through his papers yet another time and says sharply that it will be in the afternoon, two years from now on Thursday.

“That’s a relief !” says Morris. “The plumber is coming that morning!”

We often have to make plans far in advance so as to avoid any conflicts. Before making any commitments — you know the routine — we have to pull out the date book (or the iPhone). “The kids have got a soccer game that night at 7:00, but the next night is free.” Planning ahead isn’t wrong; in fact, it’s a scriptural principle. What makes it wrong, though, is planning ahead without any thought of God.

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’ ” (James 4:13-15)

Go ahead! Make your plans! Fill in that date book! Just make sure that God hasn’t been left out.

Alan Smith

A poll on planning: Take this “planning survey”:

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Eagle Scouts: A survey poll for Eagle Scouts

Eagle Scout survey on religion: If you are an “Eagle Scout,” why not take this “Eagle Scout survey” and also offer some additional comments on your Scouting experiences below.

A general discussion about your Boy Scout experiences

 Here is a “comments” area where you can list some things you learned in Scouting that have helped you in the adult years.  If there are some things or skills you wish you would have learned but did not receive, these may be listed as well.

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The problem of being overconfident

AN EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT account of Union General John Sedgwick’s death on May 9, 1864, told by his chief of staff, describes clearly the danger of overconfidence….

It seems that the previous evening, at one place on the battlefield, several officers had been cut down by sniper fire. The general was warned of the danger by his chief of staff, but in the process of instructing his men walked to that place.

Sniper fire broke out from 1,000 yards away, and bullets whizzed by. Others ducked, but the general admonished them, saying, “What! what! men, dodging this way for single bullets! What will you do when they open fire along the whole line? I am ashamed of you. They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.” According to his chief of staff, the admonition was repeated a second time upon another fusillade of bullets, then suddenly the general was hit below his left eye, and quickly died.

THOUGHT: Overconfidence can often lead to disaster, and this is true with regard to an individual’s spiritual standing as quickly as any other.

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” ( 1 Corinthians 10:12).

–Mike Benson

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Christians and the subject of *petting*

A Christian young woman was once confronted about her living with a boy and having sexual relations with him (made obvious in that she was pregnant).  In the midst of the discussion, the matter of “petting” came up and she defended herself by saying of it, “Nobody ever taught us about that.”  While she may not have been listening closely enough, perhaps there has been too little said about when a young man and young woman, in their relationship, have gone “too far” in the physical, sexual sense.  There are clear boundaries that begin in the heart and mind and that must be enforced with the body.

Key scriptures that explicitly forbid such sexual touching as goes beyond hand-holding and mere kissing are Mark 7:22, Romans 13:13, 2 Corinthians 12:21, Galatians 5:19, Ephesians 4:19, 1 Peter 4:3, and 2 Peter 2:7.  Each passage falls within distinct contexts, addressing Jews and Gentiles, churches and individuals, and is applicable to Christians and non-Christians.  A specific Greek word, aselgeia, is used to speak of something that is at times a very specific and at other times a generic behavior.  In most of the passages aselgeia specifically refers to “the special sense of sexual excess” (Kittel, Vol. 1, 490). 

Let’s make this practical.  If one has, by choices and thoughts, ceased trying to make the decisions one makes when Christ is living in him/her, then one uses a different basis for decision-making.  The desire to please self, to please the other person, to satisfy the lusts of the body, to use one’s body to “keep” the other person, or to be seen with someone popular or attractive can become sandy soil on which to build decisions (cf. Matt. 7:24-27).  No serious thought is given to how the decision to engage in “improper touching” will effect the person’s relationship, home, worldly friends, church family, and Lord!

Here are five practical tips to avoid the sin of petting.

(1) Never allow others to touch you and do not allow yourself to touch another person in a anatomical location or in a manner that would embarrass you if seen by those you respect.  If you would not want it played on a video screen at church services, reconsider doing it or allowing it done to you.  If the action is wholesome and godly, there should be absolutely no shame in everyone knowing about it.

(2) Never allow touching that you would feel the need to repent of before the Judgment Day.  It is best to simply “flee youthful lusts” (2 Tim. 2:22).  Joseph literally did (Gen. 39:11-12).

(3) Remember the “neck to knees” rule.  No one who is not your marriage partner has any right to meddle in between those areas.  Also, keep vigilant outside those areas.  The objective is to prevent the kindling of passions that cannot be addressed outside of the marriage covenant.

(4) Always remember that Christ is with you.  He is there on every date and circumstance that draws you into orbit with members of the opposite sex, watching, hearing and perceiving everything you say and even think.  Truly grasping that Jesus is literally, though invisibly, there will throw cold water on sexual touching.

(5) Minimize any talk or activity that accentuates or suggests sexuality.  This includes movies, conversations, music, letters, emails, and the like.  It contributes nothing healthy to the relationship but can produce regret, guilt, shame, and even hard-heartedness.
God is the creator of sex.  Like all else He created, it truly is good (Gen. 1:31).  Yet, like many other of His good things, it has its proper place.  Sexual touching, like sexual intercourse, has its place.  That place is marriage.  It does not belong anywhere else.

Neal Pollard

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Children are like dogs

                        PARENTING TEENAGERS

     The following piece is “author unknown” but came to me via American Family Association.  It will be especially meaningful to those of you who are parents of teenagers:

     “I just realized that while children are dogs — loyal and affectionate — teenagers are cats.  It’s so easy to be a dog owner.  You feed it, train it, boss it around.  It puts its head on your knees and gazes at you as if you were a Rembrandt painting.  It bounds indoors with enthusiasm when you call it.

     “Then around age 13 your adorable little puppy turns into a big old cat.  When you tell it to come inside it looks amazed, as if wondering who died and made you emperor.  Instead of dogging your footsteps, it disappears. You won’t see it again until it gets hungry — then it pauses on its sprint through the kitchen to turn up its nose up at whatever you’re serving.

     “When you reach out to ruffle its head, in that old affectionate gesture, it twists away from you, then gives you a blank stare as if trying to remember where it has seen you before.  You, not realizing that the dog is now a cat, think something must be desperately wrong with it.  It seems so antisocial, so distant, sort of depressed.  It won’t go on family outings.

     “Since you’re the one who raised it, taught it to fetch and stay and sit on command, you assume that you did something wrong.  Flooded with guilt and fear, you redouble your efforts to make your pet behave.  Only now you’re dealing with a cat, so everything that worked before now produces the opposite of the desired result.  Call it, and it runs away.  Tell it to sit, and it jumps the counter.  The more you go toward it wringing your hands, the more it moves away.

     “Instead of continuing to act like a dog owner, you have to learn to behave like a cat owner.  Put a dish of food near the door, and let it come to you.  But remember that a cat needs your help and affection too.  Sit still and it will come, seeking the warm, comfortable lap it has not entirely forgotten.  Be there to open the door for it.  One day, your grown up child will walk into the kitchen, give you a big kiss and say, “You’ve been on your feet all day.  Let me get those dishes for you.”

     “Then you will realize your cat is a dog again.”   [author unknown]

     Parenting is a tremendous challenge and can especially be difficult during the teenage years.  In my more exasperating moments as a parent, I was tempted to believe that Mark Twain’s philosophy was the one to follow.  He said when a kid turns thirteen, stick him in a barrel, nail the lid on top, and feed him through the knot hole.  When he turns sixteen — plug up the knot hole!

     Then I remember the patience that my heavenly Father has with me.  As frustrated as I have gotten with my children at times, I know that God must become even more frustrated with me (“How many times do I have to tell you not to do that?”  “You’re old enough to know better!”).  And yet he refuses to give up on me.  His loving patience continually draws me back to him.

     “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4)

     Father (what a privilege it is to call you that!), thank you for being the perfect parent.  Help me, as a parent, to follow your example as I seek to bring my children to a faith in you.  What a tremendous responsibility you have given me!  Please grant me the strength and the wisdom necessary to fulfill this task.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Alan Smith

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4th of July fireworks

Did you see a fireworks display this weekend?  If so, were you impressed by the show?

As great as the displays were, nothing compares with the eternal inheritance God for His people.   

1 Peter 1:4 says:  “unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.”  Fireworks quickly fade; the eternal inheritance from God does not.

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