Thursday, April 29, 2010

Creamed at AWANA !!!!

Creaming & Screaming! 
 Last night of AWANA Children's Ministry at church, and Jared was IT!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

5 Money Mistakes...

5 Money Mistakes You Might Be Making (and How to Avoid Them)

If you could have more money in your checking account, you'd definitely take it, right? It probably comes as no shocker to you that it's really easy to let your funds slip away. But what you might find surprising is how simple it can be to turn things around for the better. Here are 5 common money mistakes with doable solutions.
Money Mistake #1: My Money Is Disappearing
No one starts the month planning to fritter away a small fortune, but that’s what can happen when minor expenses spiral out of control. It’s not just shopping at Saks that gets you into trouble. Seemingly innocent purchases — $15 jeans at Target, a few things for the kids at a two-for-one sale, the occasional Frappuccino — can do real damage to your bottom line.
What does it take to waste $10,000 a year? Just $27.40 a day. “You can undermine some of your most important goals with purchases you’ll never remember,” says Suzanna de Baca, president of Private Capital Solutions Group, a Des Moines, IA, investment advisory firm.
The fix: Know thyself financially. First step: Take five minutes and read through your latest bank statement. If the transactions seem unrecognizable and you have no idea why you went to the ATM a dozen times, spend a week tracking your spending (longer, if possible).
You can use a notebook, keep receipts in an envelope, try software like Quicken, or check out an online budgeting tool, like these two money sites we tested. Whichever you choose, find a money-tracking method that lets you see your purchasing patterns with fresh eyes.
Tip: Simple Ways to Save on Groceries

Money Mistake #2: I Throw Away Cash
Who would pass up free money? Maybe you, if you make only the minimum contribution to your employer’s 401(k) savings plan — or opt out of the plan on the grounds that money is tight. According to the 2008 Wachovia Retirement Survey, only about a quarter of women with 401(k)s contribute the maximum allowed. Puny 401(k) contributions mean you aren’t taking full advantage of any free matching funds your company offers. Says De Baca: “If your boss offered to add $25 to your weekly paycheck, would you turn it down? Of course not.” Most employers match all or part of the first 3 to 6 percent of pay employees contribute.
That might not sound like much, but take a look at the math: Assume your company will kick in 50 cents for every dollar you put in, up to 5 percent of your salary. If you’re 40 and making $40,000 but decide not to fund your 401(k), you could be giving up almost $230,000 over 25 years.
The fix: If money is so tight you can’t imagine saving two bucks, start small. You don’t have to put in the maximum $15,500 annual contribution ($20,500 if you’re 50 or older). Instead, increase your contribution by 1 percent of pay a year, until you get the full match. One painless way to save: When you get your next raise, use all or part of it to bump up your 401(k) contribution.
If your employer doesn’t offer a match, that doesn’t mean you should skip making contributions. Remember, a 401(k) lets you put away money tax-deferred. This doesn’t just lower your current tax rate; your earnings can really grow, because Uncle Sam isn’t taking a bite out of them.

Money Mistake #3: My Kid’s Budget Runneth Over
Many parents find themselves wrestling with financial discipline when it comes to their children, says Galia Gichon, creator of “My Money Matters” Kit, a box of financial tips and workbooks. Whether it’s snacks for the little ones at the market or new skate shoes for your tween, “it’s amazing how quickly saying yes can add up,” says Gichon, a New York City financial planner and mother of two.
The fix: Rather than simply saying no to your kids’ endless wish lists — which can lead to wrenching battles — protect your budget and sanity by teaching your children Money Management 101. “Distract and delay” tactics work especially well for children age 6 and under. If your young daughter is jumping up and down for something she wants at the store, says Gichon, “try focusing her attention on something else, or acknowledge what she wants and say that you can talk more about it later when you’re home.” You may have to endure a little complaining, but your child gets an important message about not buying things on a whim.

Money Mistake #4: I Never Saw a Windfall I Couldn’t Spend
Whether you receive a raise, a tax refund, or a generous birthday check from Aunt Dotty, it’s hard not to view a windfall as an excuse to go shopping. Splurging can be fun, but that’s rarely the best use of your extra cash. “Few Americans are saving enough to cover day-to-day crises, never mind the future,” says Jonathan Pond, author ofGrow Your Money!
The fix: To make sure you don’t feel deprived, earmark some of the newfound money for a modest treat (Aunt Dotty would want it that way). Gichon suggests using 5 or 10 percent for something fun: “That way you do something for yourself — while deciding what to do with the rest.”
Put the remainder of the money where you won’t be as tempted to touch it. Consider an FDIC-insured, high-yield online savings account such as the one offered by ING Direct. It has no minimum balance requirement or fees, and this account typically pays higher-than-average interest rates.
Next, consider where the money would do you the most good. Tackle any small, urgent problems first — a sore tooth, the clunking sound your car makes, leaky windows. This will help avert the hardship of paying for a string of bigger expenses later on as little problems snowball into debt.
Set aside some of your windfall for expenses that you can’t predict precisely but you know will be coming sometime. “You may not know when your cell phone will quit or the water heater will break, but they will,” Pond advises. 

Money Mistake #5: I Forget What I’m Worth
If you’re a stay-at-home mom or you work part-time, you may not have enough life insurance. Many women are underinsured because they’ve underestimated their income or the value of their contributions to the household. De Baca recalls one client whose wife died in her 30s and had only a $100,000 life insurance policy, which didn’t cover the need for child care for the couple’s young children or the housekeeping chores the client then required.
The fix: A rule of thumb to determine the amount of insurance coverage that you need — multiply your annual expenses by the number of years until your youngest child will turn 18. (Some parents may also want to factor in the future cost of their kids’ college.) Life insurance premiums actually have plummeted in recent years. So if you’re a healthy nonsmoker in your 30s or 40s, you can now buy a $500,000 term insurance policy for about $40 a month.
You and your partner should revisit your insurance coverage annually — or at least after a major event, like the birth of a child. “It takes a lot to run a household, and you want to be covered,” says De Baca.
What are your biggest hurdles when it comes to savings? Have you discovered any tips for stashing more in the bank?

Link below:

5 Money Mistakes

Monday, April 26, 2010

Grace under pressure

Posted this yesterday at the forum:  Well, folks, I'm glad today is over. Pictured below are -- Jared & AJ -- playing their piano pieces at the recital.  DS Jared played a fabulous Frederic Chopin piece, but he flubbed-up more than once (Mom, how can I make 11 mistakes when I've only got 10 fingers?! ).

What can you do?  You grin and bear it, and inwardly cheer him on through 22 memorized pages of a very difficult 12-minute piano piece.  And you thank the Lord above for giving you a son who knows how to persevere.And laugh at himself. And has the guts to post the video on FB. And on YouTube

Then, you break out the Godiva white chocolate. Yum!

Jared: Chopin's Scherzo #2 in Bb Major

AJ: Toccata by Dmitry Kabalevsky

As an added note, the music school the boys attend is far smaller than the other music school we also use, but the teachers are the best.  Pictured below is Mr and Mrs Purim, piano teachers, who grew up under the communist regime in the former USSR.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

25 Things About to Go Extinct


pc: The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

25. U.S. Post Office 
They are pricing themselves out of existence. With e-mail
and on-line services they are a relic of the past. (refer to #9) 
Packages are also sent faster and cheaper with UPS.

Yellow Pages 
This year will be pivotal for the global Yellow Pages industry. 
Much like newspapers, print Yellow Pages will continue to bleed 
dollars to their various digital counterparts, from Internet 
Yellow Pages (IYPs), to local search engines and combination 
search/listing services like Reach Local and Yodel Factors like20an 
acceleration of the print 'fade rate' and the looming recession 
will contribute to the onslaught. One research firm predicts the 
falloff in usage of newspapers and print Yellow Pages could even 
reach 10% this year -- much higher than the 2%-3% fade rate seen 
in past years . 

23. Classified Ads The Internet has made so many things obsolete that newspaper classified ads might sound like just another trivial item on a long list. But this is one of those harbingers of the future that 
could signal the end of civilization as we know it. The argument 
is that if newspaper classifies are replaced by free on-line 
listings at sites like Craig < > and Google Base, then newspapers are not far behind them.. 

22. Movie Rental Stores While Netflix is looking up at the moment, Blockbuster keeps closing store locations by the hundreds. It still has about 6,000 left across the world, but those keep dwindling and the stock is down considerably in 2008, especially since the company gave up a quest of Circuit City . Movie Gallery, which owned the Hollywood  Video brand, closed up shop earlier this year. Countless small video chains and mom-and-pop stores have given up the ghost 

21. Dial-up Internet Access Dial-up connections have fallen from 40% in 2001 to 10% in 2008.. 
The combination of an infrastructure to accommodate affordable 
high speed Internet connections and the disappearing home phone 
have all but pounded the final nail in the coffin of dial-up 
Internet access. 

20. Phone Land Lines According to a survey from the National Center for Health Statistics, at the end of 2007, nearly one in six homes was cell-only and, of those homes that had land lines, one in eight only received calls on their cells. 

19. Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs 
Maryland 's icon, the blue crab, has been fading away in Chesapeake Bay Last year Maryland saw the lowest harvest (22 million pounds) since 1945. Just four decades ago the bay produced 96 million pounds. The population is down 70% since 1990, when they first did a formal count. There are only about 120 million crabs in the bay and they think they need 200 million for a sustainable population. Over-fishing, pollution, invasive species and global warming get the blame. 

18. VCRs 
For the better part of three decades, the VCR was a best-seller 
and staple in every American household until being completely 
decimated by the DVD, and now the Digital Video Recorder (DVR). In fact, the only remnants of the VHS age at your local Wal-Mart or 
Radio Shack are blank VHS tapes these days. Pre-recorded VHS tapes are largely gone and VHS decks are practically nowhere to be 
found. They served us so well.. 

17. Ash Trees 
In the late 1990's, a pretty, iridescent green species of beetle, 
now known as the emerald ash borer, hitched a ride to North 
America with ash wood products imported from eastern Asia ... In less than a decade, its larvae have killed millions of trees in the 
Midwest , and continue to spread. They've killed more than 30 
million ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone, with tens of 
millions more lost in Ohio and Indiana . More than 7.5 billion ash 
trees are currently at risk. 

16. Ham Radio 
Amateur radio operators enjoy personal (and often worldwide) 
wireless communications with each other and are able to support 
their communities with emergency and disaster communications if 
necessary, while increasing their personal knowledge of 
electronics and radio theory.. However, proliferation of the 
Internet and its popularity among youth has caused the decline of 
amateur radio. In the past five years alone, the number of people 
holding active ham radio licenses has dropped by 50,000, even 
though Morse Code is no longer a requirement. 

15 The Swimming Hole 
Thanks to our litigious society, swimming holes are becoming a 
thing of the past. '20/20' reports that swimming hole owners, like 
Robert Every in High Falls, NY, are shutting them down out of 
worry that if someone gets hurt they'll sue. And that's exactly 
what happened in Seattle . The city of Bellingham was sued by Katie 
Hofstetter who was paralyzed in a fall at a popular swimming hole 
in Whatcom Falls Park . As injuries occur and lawsuits follow, 
expect more swimming holes to post 'Keep out!' signs. 

14. Answering Machines 
The increasing disappearance of answering machines is directly 
tied to No 20 our list -- the decline of landlines. According to 
USA Today, the number of homes that only use cell phones jumped 
159% between 2004 and 2007. It has been particularly bad in New 
York ; since 2000, landline usage has dropped 55%. It's logical 
that as cell phones rise, many of them replacing traditional 
landlines, that there will be fewer answering machines. 

13. Cameras That Use Film 
It doesn't require a statistician to prove the rapid disappearance 
of the film camera in America . Just look to companies like Nikon, 
the professional's choice for quality camera equipment. In 2006, 
it announced that it would stop making film cameras, pointing to 
the shrinking market -- only 3% of its sales in 2005, compared to 
75% of sales from digital cameras and equipment. 

12. Incandescent Bulbs Before a few years ago, the standard 60-watt (or, yikes, 100-watt) bulb was the mainstay of every U.S. home. With the green movement and all-things-sustainable-energy crowd, the Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb (CFL) is largely replacing the older, Edison-era incandescent bulb. The EPA reports that 2007 sales for Energy Star CFLs nearly doubled from 2006, and these sales accounted for approximately 20 percent of the U.S. light bulb market. And according to USA Today, a new energy bill plans to phase out 
incandescent bulbs in the next four to 12 years. 

11. Stand-Alone Bowling Alleys 
Bowling Balls.. US claims there are still 60 million Americans who 
bowl at least once a year, but many are not bowling in stand-alone 
bowling alleys Today most new bowling alleys are part of 
facilities for all types or recreation including laser tag, 
go-karts, bumper cars, video game arcades, climbing walls and glow 
miniature golf. Bowling lanes also have been added to many 
non-traditional venues such as adult communities, hotels and 
resorts, and gambling casinos. 

10. The Milkman 
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 1950, over 
half of the milk delivered was to the home in quart bottles, by 
1963, it was about a third and by 2001, it represented only 0.4% 
percent. Nowadays most milk is sold through supermarkets in gallon 
jugs. The steady decline in home-delivered milk is blamed, of 
course, on the rise of the supermarket, better home refrigeration 
and longer-lasting milk. Although some milkmen still make the 
rounds in pockets of the U.S. , they are certainly a dying breed. 

9. Hand-Written Letters In 2006, the Radicati Group estimated that, worldwide, 183 billion e-mails were sent each day. Two million each second. By November of 2007, an estimated 3.3 billion Earthlings owned cell phones, and 80% of the world's population had access to cell phone coverage. In 2004, half-a-trillion text messages were sent, and the number has no doubt increased exponentially since then. So 
where amongst this gorge of gabble is there room for the elegant, 
polite hand-written letter? 

8. Wild Horses It is estimated that 100 years ago, as many as two million horses were roaming free within the United States ... In 2001, National Geographic News estimated that the wild horse population has decreased to about 50,000 head. Currently, the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory board states that there are 32,000 free roaming horses in ten Western states, with half of them residing in 
Nevada . The Bureau of Land Management is seeking to reduce the 
total number of free range horses to 27,000, possibly by selective 

7. Personal Checks 
According to an American Bankers Assoc. report, a net 23% of 
consumers plan to decrease their use of checks over the next two 
years, while a net 14% plan to increase their use of PIN debit.. 
Bill payment remains the last stronghold of paper-based 
payments -- for the time being. Checks continue to be the most 
commonly used bill payment method, with 71% of consumers paying at least one recurring bill per month by writing a check. However, 
a bill-by-bill basis, checks account for only 49% of consumers' 
recurring bill payments (down from 72% in 2001 and 60% in 2003). 

6. Drive-in Theaters During the peak in 1958, there were more than 4,000 drive-in theaters in this country, but in 2007 only 405 drive-ins were still operating. Exactly zero new drive-ins have been built since 
2005. Only one reopened in 2005 and five reopened in 2006, so 
there isn't much of a movement toward reviving the closed ones. 

5. Mumps & Measles 
Despite what's been in the news lately, the measles and mumps 
actually, truly are disappearing from the United States ... In 1964, 
212,000 cases of mumps were reported in the U.S. By 1983, this 
figure had dropped to 3,000, thanks to a vigorous vaccination 
program. Prior to the introduction of the measles vaccine, 
approximately half a million cases of measles were reported in the 
U.S. annually, resulting in 450 deaths. In 2005, only 66 cases 
were recorded. 

4. Honey Bees 
Perhaps nothing on our list of disappearing America is so dire; 
plummeting so enormously; and so necessary to the survival of our 
food supply as the honey bee. Very scary. 'Colony Collapse 
Disorder,' or CCD, has spread throughout the U.S. and Europe over 
the past few years, wiping out 50% to 90% of the colonies of many 
beekeepers -- and along with it, their livelihood. 

3. News Magazines and TV News 
While the TV evening newscasts haven't gone anywhere over the last several decades, their audiences have In 1984, in a story about 
the diminishing returns of the evening news, the New York Times 
reported that all three network evening-news programs combined had only 40.9 million viewers. Fast forward to 2008, and what they 
have today is half that. 

2 Analog TV 
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 85% of homes in the U.S. get their television programming through cable or 
satellite providers. For the remaining 15% -- or 13 million 
individuals -- who are using rabbit ears or a large outdoor 
antenna to get their local stations, change is in the air. If you 
are one of these people you'll need to get a new TV or a converter 
box in order to get the new stations which will only be broadcast 
in digital. 

1. The Family Farm 
Since the 1930's, the number of family farms has been declining 
rapidly. According to the USDA, 5.3 million farms dotted the 
nation in 1950, but this number had declined to 2.1 million by the 
2003 farm census (data from the 2007 census hasn't yet been 
published). Ninety-one percent of the U.S. FARMS are small Family 
Farms. Both interesting and saddening, isn't it?

via my email


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Poodle Molly: A true story by Helen

pc: standard poodle, wikipedia
Molly's background:   Kind people had found Molly, a poodle-mix, after noticing that a car had stopped and Molly was unceremoniously dropped-off like a sack of potatoes.  No notes, no explanations, no nothing.  They took her home, but after a while, their landlord said No, Molly was not allowed on the premises.  Sadly, they made the decision to give Molly away.

They walked-in with Molly through the animal shelter's doors right behind our friend Helen's family.  The apartment-dwelling family convinced Helen and family to adopt Molly.  From the short time they had had her at their apartment, Molly's sweet and lovable personality shone through.

Helen and her family enjoy Molly for many, many years.  She travelled everywhere with them.  They had even taken her across the border to Canada to visit with their son and his family.  Alas, on one of their Canadian trips -- Molly, already unable to walk -- was taken to the Canadian Vet for the very last time. They said their goodbyes. She crossed the rainbow bridge and was cremated.  Her ashes were put in a pretty urn, buckled in the car's back seat,  and driven back to the United States.  The N-family had their good memories and their pretty ash-filled urn, which they prominently and proudly displayed.

Molly's final destination:  Molly's standing with the family was lofty --- she deserved an even better final resting place than just a pretty container gathering dust on a shelf.  Thus, her urn was tucked-in with Helen's husband as he lay in his coffin. Their burial was the next day.

Did Helen and Family love their pet, or what?

Our very own, beloved "Molly" (not a poodle)


Leviticus 18: 22 "... it is abomination"

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with  womankind: it is abomination. 
After reading  Michael Pearl's short except below,
be sure to read the question-and-answer article from another organization:

They won’t mate! I hired a young boy to help do some chores around the place. Our first job was to gather up the old hoses and irrigate the garden. But the hoses had many cuts and leaks, and some had broken couplings, so I purchased a sackful of brass couplings and hastily repaired the hoses. When I finished fixing them, I told the boy to hook them up and run them down to the sprinkler in the garden. After thirty minutes, he was still running back and forth, dragging hoses this way and that. I asked him, “What’s the problem?” In complete frustration he replied, “There is something queer about these hoses; I can’t make them fit together, no matter which way I turn them.” I examined the hoses and discovered that on one hose, I had put a female coupling on each end. Laughing heartily, I said, “You got that right; there is no way to mate two females. The couplings simply can’t "couple.” 

Q. What is homosexuality?
Homosexuality is the manifestation of sexual desire toward a member of one's own sex or the erotic activity with a member of the same sex. (The Greek word homos means the same). A lesbian is a female homosexual. More recently the term "gay" has come into popular use to refer to both sexes who are homosexuals.
Q. How does one determine if the practice of homosexuality is right or wrong?
That depends upon who is answering the question. The Christian point of view is based solely upon the Bible, the divinely inspired Word of God. A truly Christian standard of ethics is the conduct of divine revelation, not of statistical research nor of public opinion. For the Christian, the Bible is the final authority for both belief and behaviour.
Q. What explicitly does the Bible teach about homosexuality?
This question I consider to be basic because, if we accept God's Word on the subject of homosexuality, we benefit from His adequate answer to this problem. I am concerned only with the Christian or biblical view of homosexuality. The Bible has much to say about sex sins in general.
First, there is adultery. Adultery in the natural sense is sexual intercourse of a married person with someone other than his or her own spouse. It is condemned in both the Old and New Testaments (Exodus 20:14I Cor. 6:9, 10). Christ forbids dwelling upon the thoughts, the free play of one's imagination that leads to adultery (Matthew 5:28).
Second, there is fornication, the illicit sex acts of unmarried persons which is likewise forbidden (I Corinthians 5:1; 6:13, 18Ephesians 5:3).
Then there is homosexuality which likewise is condemned in Scripture. The Apostle Paul, writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, declares that homosexuality "shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9; 10). Now Paul does not single out the homosexual as a special offender. He includes fornicators, idolators, adulterers, thieves, covetous persons, drunkards, revilers and extortioners. And then he adds the comment that some of the Christians at Corinth had been delivered from these very practices: "And such were some of you: But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:11). All of the sins mentioned in this passage are condemned by God, but just as there was hope in Christ for the Corinthians, so is there hope for all of us.
Homosexuality is an illicit lust forbidden by God. He said to His people Israel, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination" (Leviticus 18:22). "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them" (Leviticus 20:13). In these passages homosexuality is condemned as a prime example of sin, a sexual perversion. The Christian can neither alter God's viewpoint nor depart from it.
In the Bible sodomy is a synonym for homosexuality. God spoke plainly on the matter when He said, "There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel" (Deuteronomy 23:17). The whore and the sodomite are in the same category. A sodomite was not an inhabitant of Sodom nor a descendant of an inhabitant of Sodom, but a man who had given himself to homosexuality, the perverted and unnatural vice for which Sodom was known. Let us look at the passages in question:
But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house around, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:
And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. (Genesis 19:4-8)
The Hebrew word for "know" in verse 5 is yada`, a sexual term. It is used frequently to denote sexual intercourse (Genesis 4:1, 17, 25Matthew 1:24, 25). The message in the context of Genesis 19 is clear. Lot pled with the men to "do not so wickedly." Homosexuality is wickedness and must be recognized as such else there is no hope for the homosexual who is asking for help to be extricated from his perverted way of life.
Q. You said that sexua1 intercourse outside of marriage is condemned in the Bible. How do you explain marriage ceremonies in which two persons of the same sex are united by an officiating clergyman or justice of the peace?
There are cases on record where a marriage license was issued to persons of the same sex. I recall one such incident in Phoenix, Arizona. A marriage license was issued in the Maricopa County clerk's office to two men 39 and 21 years old respectively. The two men are reported to have "married" in a private ceremony.
However, to call a union of two persons of the same sex a "marriage" is a misnomer. In the Bible, marriage is a divinely ordered institution designed to form a permanent union between one man and one woman for one purpose (among others) of procreating or propagating the human race. That was God's order in the first of such unions (Genesis 1:27, 28; 2:24Matthew 19:5). If, in His original creation of humans, God had created two persons of the same sex, there would not be a human race in existence today. The whole idea of two persons of the same sex marrying is absurd, unsound, ridiculously unreasonable, stupid. A clergyman might bless a homosexual marriage but God won't.
Q. A Jesuit Priest, John J. McNeill, reportedly said in a conference (Christianity Today, June 3, 1977), "There is no clear condemnation of homosexual activity to be found anywhere in the Bible." How does a church leader arrive at such a conclusion?
This particular Jesuit priest, like some other supposedly Christian theologians, have totally ignored the Scriptures as the guidelines for Christian behaviour in regard to homosexuality. McNeill does not speak for the Roman Catholic Church, but for a small segment of priests who, having vowed themselves to celibacy, that is, to abstain from marriage and sexual intercourse, have found sexual gratification in homosexual acts.
However, religious sex perverts are plentiful among protestants. Protestant leaders on both sides of the Atlantic have gradually eased away from the Scriptures. In England men like Bishop John Robinson, in his book Honest to God made a play on the term "The New Morality," which in reality was a plea to open the door to immorality making it respectable and thus acceptable. The Bishop went so far as to describe the unscriptural adulterous relationship as "a kind of holy communion." This modern concept of Christian ethics rejects totally the precepts laid down by God in His Word. It is blasphemous and atheistic.
Recently in America ten homosexually oriented religious organizations, comprised of men and women from more than a dozen denominations, and from seventeen states and Canada, met at Kirkbridge, a retreat and study center near Bangor, Pennsylvania. The retreat was entitled, "Gay and Christian." But the two terms, "gay" and "Christian" are mutually exclusive, incompatible, incongruous.
Representing the women at that retreat, Nancy Krody a lesbian, spoke on "The Lesbian Christian Experience." Here again is a misnomer. A practicing Christian, from the biblical viewpoint, will not be a practicing homosexual. Of course, I make the distinction between a professing Christian and a practicing Christian. Calling one's self a Christian does not make one a Christian.
Malcolm Boyd speaks about "The Gay Male Christian Experience." Boyd, a protestant clergyman, says he has been a homosexual secretly for years. Only recently he made a public announcement of his homosexuality. He claims that his public announcement of his homosexuality has brought him back to the church. Boyd does not tell us what he means by the "church"!
Following is one point on which the speakers at Kirkbridge agreed: "A monogamous homosexual relationship characterized by fidelity, honesty and love is possible, desirable, and honoring to God."
Any evil condemned in Scripture cannot be honoring to God. Homosexual religious leaders attempt to smooth over the breaks and rough places with Christian terminology so that a euphoria predominates, but God is not in it. A truly born again person, who loves and understands the Bible as God's revelation to him, will not condone an evil that God condemns. "If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him" (I John 2:29). "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity" (II Timothy 2:19). Practicing homosexuals are engaged in a divinely forbidden evil.
Q. Why do homosexuals refer to themselves as "gay"?
The word "gay" means merry, exuberant, bright, lively. More recently it has been adopted by homosexuals. In its original use it did not have this double meaning. The clever adaptation of the word "gay" by homosexuals has robbed it of its pure meaning, thereby corrupting a once perfectly good word. I never use the word "gay" when referring to homosexuals. There are many bright, exuberant, merry people in this world who are not sexual perverts.
Q. You made reference to First Corinthians 6:9-11. What is the meaning of the word "effeminate" in verse 9?
There are certain words in every language that can be used in a good or bad sense. In the context of this verse the use of "effeminate" is obviously in a bad sense. It is listed among other evils which are condemned. It describes feminine qualities inappropriate to a man. It is normal and natural for a woman to be sexually attracted to a man; it is abnormal and unnatural for a man to be sexually attracted to another man. Many male homosexuals are effeminate, but not all. Nor are all lesbians unduly masculine.
Q. Are there other Scriptures in the New Testament which deal with homosexuality?
Yes. Romans 1:24-27I Timothy 1:10 and Jude 7. If one takes these Scriptures seriously, homosexuality will be recognized as an evil. The Romans passage is unmistakably clear. Paul attributes the moral depravity of men and women to their rejection of "the truth of God" (1:25). They refused "to retain God in their knowledge" (1:28), thereby dethroning God and deifying themselves. The Old Testament had clearly condemned homosexuality but in Paul's day there were those persons who rejected its teaching. Because of their rejection of God's commands He punished their sin by delivering them over to it.
The philosophy of substituting God's Word with one's own reasoning commenced with Satan. He introduced it at the outset of the human race by suggesting to Eve that she ignore God's orders, assuring her that in so doing she would become like God with the power to discern good and evil (Genesis 3:1-5). That was Satan's big lie. Paul said that when any person rejects God's truth, his mind becomes "reprobate," meaning perverted, void of sound judgment. The perverted mind, having rejected God's truth, is not capable of discerning good and evil.
In Romans 1:26-31 twenty-three punishable sins are listed with homosexuality leading the list. Paul wrote, "For this cause God gave them up into vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet" (Romans 1:26, 27). These verses are telling us that homosexuals suffer in their body and personality the inevitable consequences of their wrong doing. Notice that the behaviour of the homosexual is described as a "vile affection" (1:26). The Greek word translated "vile" (atimia) means filthy, dirty, evil, dishonourable. The word "affection" in Greek is pathos, used by the Greeks of either a good or bad desire. Here in the context of Romans it is used in a bad sense. The "vile affection" is a degrading passion, a shameful lust. Both the desire (lusting after) and the act of homosexuality are condemned in the Bible as sin.
Q. There are those persons who say that homosexuality, even though a perverted form of the normal, God-ordained practice of sex, is a genetic problem, constitutionally inherited. Is there evidence to support this view?
I read in a periodical that in June, 1963 a panel of specialists in medicine, psychiatry, law, sociology and theology participated in a conference on homosexuality called by the Swiss Evangelical Church Union. That group reached the conclusion that homosexuality is not constitutionally inherited, it is not a part of one's genetic makeup. The ill-founded and unverifiable myth that homosexuality results from genetic causes is gradually fading away.
There are possibly a number of different ways in which homosexual practices could begin. When boys and girls reach puberty and the genital organs develop, it is not uncommon for boys to experiment with boys, and girls with girls. In prisons where men and women are denied access to persons of the opposite sex for long periods of time, some are introduced to homosexuality for the first time.
A young Christian woman came to our office in Detroit for counseling. She became involved in lesbianism when her marriage began to fail. She was introduced to her first homosexual experience by a divorcee who was her neighbor. After six months of practicing lesbianism she was convicted of her sin and sought help. We were able to show her from the Bible that she was sinning and that God stood ready and willing to forgive and cleanse her. She confessed and forsook her sin, and continues to this day to live a happy, normal Christian life.
Homosexuality must be accepted for what God says it is-- sin. Some homosexuals will attempt to circumvent the plain teaching of the Bible with the insipid reply that they are the way God made them. There is not the slightest bit of evidence in Scripture to support this false concept. God never created man with a so-called "homosexual need." No baby is born a homosexual. Every baby is born male or female. In every place the Bible refers to homosexuality, the emphasis is upon the perversion of sexuality. The practicing homosexual is guilty of "leaving the natural use of the woman" (Romans 1:27), meaning that his behaviour is "against nature" as in the case of the lesbian (Romans 1:26). Inasmuch as homosexuality is opposed to the regular law and order of nature, the genetic concept must be ruled out completely. If homosexuality were a genetic problem, there would be little hope for the homosexual simply because there is no way that the genes in a person can be changed.
Q. Are there contributing factors to homosexuality for which a homosexual might not be responsible?
Yes, I believe there are. I have not done much research in this area, however, studies made by others showed varied deviations from the average or normal parent-child relationship. For example, clinical cases show that some homosexuals have not had a normal or natural relationship with the parent of the same sex. In some instances there has been a wide gap between father and son. There are those boys who have been neglected by their unaffectionate fathers. The boy who has not had a good and wholesome relationship with his father could have an unfulfilled need for a father relationship with a man. Now that need will not start out as a sexual one, but there are cases on record in which the sexual relationship has developed. I know one case of a homosexual adult who seduced a 13 year old boy whose father had forsaken him. Before the boy's contact with the older man he had no knowledge whatever of homosexuality. The older man seduced the boy.
Lesbianism has been known to follow this same pattern. Some mother-daughter relationships are not conducive to a normal social and sexual development. One young woman came to her pastor seeking help. She had gotten involved with a lesbian in the community where she lived, a woman twenty-one years her senior. The girl's parents had a defective marriage which ended in divorce when the daughter was ten years old. Her mother became bitter and resentful against all men. She convinced her daughter that men were not to be trusted, and that man's one goal was to exploit women sexually. The daughter grew up with a fear of men, a fear totally unwarranted. She was an easy victim of the seductive older lesbian. The good and wise pastor showed the counselee from the Bible that homosexuality was sinful and that God condemned it. She confessed her sin to God and received Jesus Christ as her Savior and Lord. Today she is happily married to a fine Christian man.
Q. Do you believe that the homosexual controversy is causing problems for the churches of America?
Evil in any form is a problem in the church. It always has been. The greater problem, however, is the church's failure to discipline evil when it arises. Karl Menninger's book, Whatever Became of Sin?, deals directly with that point. There are ministers, priests, and rabbis who never talk about sin. There was a time when the minister of God's Word preached the whole counsel of God. Today many pulpits are silent on the sin question. Sin has become fashionable and therefore acceptable. When sin gets its victim into serious difficulty, the psychiatrist and psychologist tell him he is sick. The church must face the fact of sin squarely.
Q. Does the Bible tell us how the church should deal with sexual sins?
In Old Testament times in Israel God dealt severely with homosexuals. He warned His people through Moses, "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them" (Leviticus 20:13). Every Jew knew that homosexuality was an abomination, a disgusting practice to be loathed, hated. This was God's attitude toward that evil practice. He hated it to the extent that He considered it worthy of punishment by death. Now God loved His people Israel dearly, and it was from His great heart of love that He chastened them. The Epistle to the Hebrews says, "For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" (Hebrews 12:7). When God issued His law forbidding homosexuality, and the punishment for those persons who violated that law, He did so in order to prevent them from sinning. However, when anyone broke the law, the offender paid the penalty due him. God is a holy God who hates and judges sin. Parents who love their children will not refrain from warning them of prevailing evils, nor will they fail to chasten them when they disobey. The church today not only tolerates sin but in some instances condones it. God does neither.
In the New Testament the principle of discipline was applied with apostolic authority. In the church at Corinth the young man who was committing fornication with his step-mother was excommunicated. Paul instructed the church to take that action "in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . and with the power (i.e. the authority) of our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Corinthians 5:1-8). In Romans 1:21-32 where Paul shows the Gentile world in its downward plunge into sin, including the sin of homosexuality, verse 32 concludes with the words, "who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death . . . " Worthy of death, yes. But today we are not under law but under grace. People used to hear and heed the Gospel-truth, the message that God is holy, man is a sinner, and that through faith in the substitutionary death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, sinful people can be born again and thereby delivered from the guilt and penalty and practice of their sins.
Q. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations for the church?
Nothing is more foundationally essential for the church and the world than a return to the truth. Recently I read where someone said we are suffering from a famine of the worst kind, "a truth-famine." Our modern culture is in a degenerating, deteriorating stage caused by a departure from the truth. And I must say unequivocally that truth does not exist independently of God, and His written Word the Bible, and His Son Jesus Christ. Truth is in no sense of man's imagination or contrivance. Man in his fallen state does not know truth, and that is why he continues to go on sinning. A civilization without the truth is doomed to oblivion. Every ancient civilization that ignored God and His laws has crumbled. Our present civilization is well on the road to doom. We cannot survive independently of God and His Word.
The Church must return to the truth, the whole truth, the sum total of truth founded and grounded upon Him Who said, "I am the truth" (John 14:6). In our Lord's high priestly prayer for His own He prayed, "Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth" (John 17:17). There must be in our churches the clear exposition of the Scriptures and a continuing exaltation of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ if our civilization is to be saved from the disasters that overcame past civilizations. Any civilization with a philosophy or a doctrine which denies the real truth cannot survive.
Q. Do you see any prophetic significance in the recent homosexual upsurge?
Yes, I do. However, I would suggest caution on this point. It is not uncommon for preachers to attach a prophetic meaning to every earthquake, riot, war, moral scandal or political disaster, labeling all such events as "signs of the times."
The modern homosexual upsweep is one phase of a declining trend in morals. When the disciples asked our Lord, "What shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the consummation of the age?" He told them that "iniquity shall abound" (Matthew 24:3, 12). There is today a permissiveness and a promiscuity in sexual behaviour unprecedented in the history of America. There is little restraint upon the widespread of material containing pictures and writing depicting erotic behaviour intended to cause sexual excitement. This would be included in our Lord's prophecy about abounding iniquity.
There is also a prophetic statement in Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy which has some bearing upon the subject we are discussing. Paul said, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection . . . " (II Timothy 3:1-3). Homosexuality is an unnatural affection, practiced by persons "that defile themselves with mankind" (I Timothy 1:10), translated in the New American Standard Version "homosexuals," and in the New International Version, "perverts." I conclude, in the light of these Scriptures, that the rise of homosexuality is very definitely a trend which indicates the approaching end of the age.
Q. Have you personally counseled with homosexuals?
Yes, in two pastorates over a period of twenty-five years. In each instance the homosexual was a man in his thirties who had seduced teen-aged boys. The seduction of younger persons is a pattern most homosexuals follow. They seem to prefer gratifying their lust with youth. This is a pattern typical of men who marry several wives. Men who do not respect their marriage vows pursue women younger than themselves. One man of wealth was reportedly married and divorced six times. Most of his wives were young enough to be his daughters. The two homosexual men who applied for a marriage license in the Maricopa County Clerk's Office in Arizona were 39 and 21 years old, quite a variation in ages.
Q. Do you attach any significance to the age factor you mentioned?
Yes, I do. I see a potential threat to young people who are exposed to homosexuals. Older practicing homosexuals are a threat to the youth.
Q. Do you care to make any comments on the Anita Bryant crusade in Dade County, Florida?
In my judgment Anita Bryant was justified in the action she pursued. She did not want her children exposed to the influence of a practicing homosexual in the public school classroom. Inasmuch as homosexuality is classified in the Bible as an evil, to insist that children be exposed to homosexual teachers in the public schools would be an infringement upon the rights of parents and their children. Under no condition would I permit my children to be subjected to the influence of a sex pervert. As an American citizen I consider that choice to be my right. Anita Bryant laid her career on the line in the bold and courageous stand she took. She should not have to fight the battle alone. Christians should support her.
Q. What should be the Christian's attitude toward the homosexual?
We must always keep before us the fact that homosexuals, like all of us sinners, are the objects of God's love. The Bible says, "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Jesus Christ "is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (I John 2:2). The Christian who shares God's love for lost sinners will seek to reach the homosexual with the gospel of Christ, which "is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth" (Romans 1:16). As a Christian I should hate all sin but I can find no justification for hating the sinner. The homosexual is a precious soul for whom Christ died. We Christians can show him the best way of life by pointing him to Christ. Our Lord said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). We are obligated to take the gospel to all.
Q. How can we help Christians who get involved in the practice of homosexuality?
We can help them by seeking to draw their attention to what God says in His Word. In a kind and loving spirit we can show them that they are wrong. However, the homosexual must admit to the fact that he is living in sin and that he has the desire to be made free from it. Without a genuine conviction of God's displeasure and a strong desire to do God's will, there is no hope. A truly born again person cannot continue to practice sin without reaping the results of miserable unhappiness brought on by loss of fellowship with God, the fear of retribution and the anxiety produced by guilt. The homosexual must ask himself, "Is the temporary gratification of the flesh worth all the penalty and losses I must suffer?"


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