Penalized for free speech?

Friday, April 24, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

The outcome of the Miss USA Pageant has caused a stir. The first runner-up may have been penalized by the judges for not providing the politically correct answer on the issue of same-sex marriage.

What do you think? Should a contestant for Miss USA express her disagreement with same-sex marriage when asked a direct question? Shouldn't controversial questions have been asked of all finalists?

It seems to me that free speech, especially when offered in a courteous, sincere and honest manner, should never be punished or ridiculed. That said, I think it is necessary to regularly express one's views in order to send a message to those who seek to intimidate rather than engage. The right of free speech, like a muscle, needs to be exercised to remain strong.
By the way, I agree with the first runner-up on the issue of marriage. It's for opposite-sex couples.


Bible Study Tips from A to Z

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

ATTITUDE. If you have a strong desire to find out what's right, and to live as you should before God, that attitude will serve you well as you read and study the Bible. This desire becomes the motive that keeps you "on task," as you seek to discover the right way of the Lord. "Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart" (Psa. 119:2; Jas. 1:21).

BALANCE. You should give attention to all the Word of God. There may be certain topics you develop a special interest in, and some passages may be especially relevant to current needs. But you need to have a good, overall knowledge of all the Word of God (Acts 20:27).

COMMANDMENTS. In your study, you will come across commandments; imperative statements which require action, and originate in divine wisdom. Carefully look into the context, and discover who the commandment is directed to. If the commandment applies to you, decide right then that you will obey (Psa. 119:4; Rev. 22:14).

DILIGENCE. Diligence means great effort and care. If you read the Bible carefully, and study the context, define words and consult references ... that requires effort, but pays great dividends. Pray as David did: "Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law" (Psa. 119:18).

EXAMPLES. All through the Scriptures, there are examples. We read of people who did good things, and afford us excellent illustrations of what's right. There are also stories of good people who took wrong turns and sinned against God. In other words, there are good examples and bad examples. We should study these, and let them instruct us (1 Cor. 10:6; Phil. 4:9).

FAITH. Effective Bible study requires belief in God, trust in Jesus, and full confidence in the truth of God's Word. Mere intellectual or academic interests will never yield the fruit that is generated by faith (Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:6).

GOD. One vital accomplishment of Bible study is to learn about God. There is really no other way to find out who God is, what He is like, how He reacts, and what He has promised, except in the Scriptures (Rom. 11:22).

HELP. Don't ever hesitate to ask for help. Have you ever been in a preacher's office? The walls are lined with hundreds of books, and their purpose is to help the preacher understand the Bible. Dictionary books, concordances, commentaries and reference works simply imply that we may need some help. There is no shame in asking for help (Acts 8:30,31).

IMPLICATIONS. As you go through the written Word of God, not only will you learn from examples, and find commands that apply to you, there are also implications. Don't call just anything an implication, but when the information in the text leads to a conclusion, accept it and consider it to be part of God's revelation.

JESUS. "...God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...," and this good news is the theme of the Bible. Look for this everywhere! In Old Testament prophetic passages, the psalms of David, the institutions of the Mosaic system, the gospel accounts, Acts, the epistles and the Revelation of John ... Jesus is everywhere. Look for Him, and let every new experience of Bible study bring you closer to Him (John 3:16; Col. 1:18).

KNOWLEDGE. Your object is to acquire a knowledge of God's truth.

LOVE for the truth. Paul spoke of some who would perish, and he said they were deceived "because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (2 Thess. 2:10). Therefore, a love for the truth is an essential quality of a good Bible student.

MATURITY. Growth to maturity in Christ can never be realized, apart from Bible study. As you learn of Christ, and study His will and apply what you learn, you involve yourself in a process that produces maturity (Col. 1:28).

NOURISHMENT. Understand, that you cannot have spiritual life without the divine food that sustains that life. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4; see also, Heb. 5:12-14 & 1 Pet. 2:1-3).

OBEDIENCE. Honoring Christ and pleasing God by obeying the Word of God ... let that be your constant object (Matt. 7:24-27; Heb. 5:9).

PATIENCE. Do you sometimes think it would be great to sit down with your Bible today and have complete knowledge by noon tomorrow? That's not reality. Be patient with yourself, keep studying, and you'll add more to your store of Bible knowledge after every session (Phil. 3:15).

QUESTIONS. Use questions to learn about a text. "Who wrote this ... Who was it written to ... What was the historical circumstance ... Are there any other passages that will help me understand this ... What is there in this passage that I need to apply ... How does this passage help me understand other parts of the Bible ?? etc."

REVIEW. Don't ever finish or "get through" with any portion of Scripture. Go back and review. Start over again with key passages, and you may learn something you missed before (Phil. 3:1; 2 Pet. 3:1).

STUDY. There is a difference between reading and study! When you read, that's your first contact with the information. Next, you should think about that information: "What did it mean to them? What does this mean today? How do I apply this today? How does this passage or teaching relate to other parts of the Bible." When you study, you apply the mind God gave you to the book He gave you (Eph. 5:17).

TRACKING promises and prophecy. When you find a promise (Gen. 3:15), or a prophecy (Isa. 53) in the Old Testament, follow those passages to their fulfillment.

UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES. Especially when you read the stories in the Old Testament, don't just regard those passages as historical narratives. Look for underlying principles that transcend dispensational boundaries (Rom. 15:4).

VERSIONS. Bible bookstores' shelves are running over with all sorts of different versions and translations of the Bible, some good and helpful; others, twisted and inaccurate. Consulting several English translations can be helpful, but don't get too far away from the standard translations {King James, New King James, American Standard, New American Standard}.

WORDS. Don't deceive yourself into thinking that "word studies" and definitions are boring or unnecessary. The fact is, God has chosen to communicate with us through words. We need to know what those words mean. Use a good Bible dictionary, consult references, and respect the Biblical significance of the words you read (1 Cor. 2:13).

X marks the spot. Systematic reading all the way through the Bible is a great help to your understanding. Read a portion; mark an "X" in the margin, or put the date, then continue at that place next time.

YOURSELF. We may be tempted, in our Bible reading and study, to immediately think of others -- how they need this; how others have violated what the passage says. Our first concern must be, self-examination (2 Cor. 13:5).

ZEAL. As you read and study and gain knowledge, be sure that knowledge is accompanied by the zeal to teach and practice the truth of the gospel (Rom. 10:1-3)

by Warren E. Berkley


Multimedia in Focus Media Camp

Thursday, April 09, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Whose Donkey Is This? The Real Story of Palm Sunday

Monday, April 06, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Luke 19:28, When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet,that He sent two of His disciples,30saying, “Go into the village opposite you,where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’” 32So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of him.”35Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. 36 And as He went,many spread their clothes on the road. 37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying: “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” 40But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Jesus rides on the faith of givers and worshipers. When we want Jesus to enter our lives and circumstances, we must be prepared to follow His instructions, demonstrate our faith, and worship from our heart and with our substance. Jesus looks for faith, since it is the environment of blessing and miracles.

Some key points in this text:

1. Obedience, "Go into the village...."
2. Attention to detail, "Find a colt tied..." (not "now what did Jesus say?")
3. Recognition of Jesus' authority, "The Lord has need of it..."
4. Sacrificial giving by unnamed owner of donkey,
5. Sacrificial giving by the disciples and onlookers, "They spread their OWN clothes on the donkey..."
6. Remembrance of blessing, "All the mighty works they had seen..."
7. Loud praise, "Blessed is the King who comes..."

We call this "Palm Sunday" because of the palm branches that were broken off and both waved and laid before Jesus (John 12:13). But the real sacrifice came from the man whose donkey was borrowed and those who laid their clothes on the donkey and on the ground before Jesus. Something noted in Luke's gospel.

The fact that we focus on the palm branches is an interesting commentary on the level of our faith and personal worship. Waving palms is an appropriate celebration, but being true worshiper requires much more.

What would we call "Palm Sunday" if we recognized the greater cost of faith and worship? What if we were required to give up our own cars, equipment (today's donkeys) and the clothes we are wearing today? Most people would rather rip down some palm branches and wave them around than do something truly valuable.

The unknown person who allowed his donkey to be used started something. He is the most significant person in this story other than Jesus. Given our bent towards religious traditions, if the donkey owner had a name, people would have probably named a church after him long ago. We like stories with people and things that we can imagine and dramatize.

But God likes stories that highlight Jesus and principles of the kingdom of God.

Faith and worship without commitment or cost is empty and ineffective. Being passive is another form of doubt and unbelief.

David knew this when he identified a site for construction of the temple of God.

1 Chronicles 21:23-25, But Ornan said to David, “Take i tto yourself, and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes. Look, I also give you the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing implements for wood, and the wheat for the grain offering; I give it all.”24 Then King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.” 25 So David gave Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the place.

David was willing to pay full price for something he intended to use for God's glory. He understood that faith and worship were not cheap.

Another example: The four men who carried the paralytic to the meeting where Jesus was ministering realized that being passive wouldn't help their friend.

Mark 2:3-5,Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. 4And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”

They risked much to climb onto the roof of a house, break through the roof, and lower their friend into the presence of Jesus. Notice that the text states the Jesus "saw their faith."

Real faith can be seen by the genuine, and often costly, actions taken by people who are serious about the Lord. We all remember that "faith without works is dead."

Whose donkey is this?
Why did the owner allow his donkey to be used? Would you allow Jesus' followers to take your car, furniture or something of real value? A palm branch is not really anything significant.

Donkeys were valuable and were often co-owned by several families since they were poor and unable to afford their own.

Something the donkey owner may have known

There have been ancient laws that required citizens to render to any King any item or service he or one of his emissaries might require. The donkey owner clearly knew something about Jesus. I suggest to you that he loved Jesus and recognized His kingly authority. For all we know, this man or a family member may have been healed by Jesus.

In John 14:23, Jesus says, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word..." Because of some level of love, the donkey owner was willing to do something significant for Jesus.

He also became a part of God's prophetic plan. Somehow, he sensed that Jesus was a King who brought life, provision and a high return on any investment.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9,

If you had been there, would you have given your best coat or garment to Jesus? You say "Yes!" but would if the purpose was not for wearing, but to become a saddle on a donkey's back for Jesus to sit upon? Or what if your suit or dress were used to lay on the ground for Jesus and the donkey to walk on?

It's time for us to prepare the way for Jesus through raising the level of our serving, giving, praising and starting something so powerful that even bystanders take notice.

Not even the Pharisees could dampen the reality of this worship and praise. Jesus said that if the people did not serve and praise Him, that the rocks would cry out! Everything in creation that is not under the control of the devil (like Pharisees and too many folks today) wants to praise God.

Remember: "Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation."

Now put that little palm branch down and go get something worth giving to our King and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!