Preventing Church Violence

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A church is often viewed as a safe haven–not only by the congregation members, staff and volunteers–but by the community it’s a part of.  However, today’s reality proves that shootings and violent outbreaks are more commonplace and churches aren’t excluded from that.  The Charleston church shooting on June 17, 2015, demonstrated that violent incidents may occour at any time and churches are vulnerable to such acts

Shocking as it may seem, violent incidents like the one in Charleston happen several times each year at churches across the country. And while it’s not a pleasant topic to discuss, churches need to prepare themselves in the unfortunate case that a violent act does occur. Below are some suggestions for how to make your church and its members less vulnerable.

How to Make Your Church Less Vulnerable

  • If you don’t already have one, create a church Safety and Security Team. Designate a point person on security issues to be the security director and define the responsibilities of that position.
  • Conduct a security assessment to identify your church’s vulnerabilities. Ideally, the assessment would be conducted in conjunction with your local law enforcement agency.
  • Develop a church security plan with defined roles for all staff, including greeters, ushers and other frontline workers and volunteers.
  • Within your church security plan, include a seating location for all security personnel, lockdown procedures, crisis communications and an evacuation plan.
  • If appropriate for the size of your church, have walkie-talkies, pagers and/or radios on hand so that you may effectively communicate any issues of concern.
  • Establish a zero-tolerance policy for fights, altercations and other disruptions.
  • Work with local law enforcement to provide training for staff and volunteers on topics such as dealing with disruptive individuals and identifying and diffusing potentially violent situations.
  • Understand the rules and limitations of a concealed carry weapons permit (CCW) and what your rights as a church are in allowing members or visitors to bring their firearm to church.

How to Make Your Church Members Less Vulnerable

  • Never allow staff to work alone. Always ensure that there are at least two employees present at all times.
  • Establish an internal distress code that will alert others in the office to your need for assistance. For example, if your members typically address each other by first name, your distress code could be addressing a colleague by his/her last name (i.e., “Ms. Smith”).
  • Keep all church doors locked except when in use and limit access points as much as possible.
  • Make sure all church staff members know of and understand the church’s security plan.
  • The best way to address violence is to be prepared. There is no assurance that a violent episode can be avoided. However, you can be prepared for the possibility of an incident occurring and therefore react to a deadly situation in a timelier manner, potentially saving lives.

Download a free e-book to help protect your congregation.

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, gender, handicap or familial status.

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Dating Site Including Polyamory as Sexual Orientation Option

Dating Site Including Polyamory as Sexual Orientation Option

Written by Avery Foley on February 22, 2016

Marriage is no longer a sacred institution in America. Increasingly, marriage is viewed as something that’s broken and that just doesn’t work for today’s generation, so, as research indicates, one-fourth of Millennials are likely to never marry. Those who do marry have divorce as an escape route and, sadly, many will choose to use it. Sex, which has traditionally been viewed as exclusively for married couples, has been cheapened to the point where “one-night stands” with relative strangers are acceptable and in many cases expected. Homosexual relations and multiple partners are no longer frowned upon by the culture, and polyamory—basically adultery with consent from your partner—is on the rise. Even among 20-somethings who currently attend church, almost 40% don’t think premarital sex is wrong. What has happened?

What’s Right in My Own Eyes

America, in times past, based its thinking on God’s Word. Morality was largely determined by what God’s Word taught. Marriage and sex were both sacred to the culture because God’s Word views them as sacred. Of course, this doesn’t mean every individual treated marriage and sex with respect. We live in a sin-cursed world and every human being is fallen. The same sins that we see today were there before but the difference is that, generally speaking, the culture held to God’s Word as the moral standard for behavior and choices.

But times have definitely changed. As a whole, our culture has rejected God’s Word as its moral foundation. This was crystalized in Obergefell v. Hodges in June 2015, when the Supreme Court made gay “marriage” legal across the United States. This was the culmination of years of rejecting God’s Word and instead basing morality on man’s ever-changing opinions and reasoning. This is the same attitude that ancient Israel exhibited: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). In 21st-century America it has become “We don’t want there to be a God in America, so everyone does what’s right in their own eyes.”

Openness to Anything

OkCupid is a popular dating website that is visited by millions of people each year. Its features are the epitome of America’s changing concepts on marriage, sex, and gender. In 2014 OkCupid launched features allowing users to choose from 22 different gender and 12 sexual orientation options to describe themselves. These include “straight,” “questioning,” “asexual,” “heteroflexible,” “sapiosexual,” “androgynous,” “intersex,” “two spirit,” “transmasculine,” “hijra,” and much more.

In January 2016 the dating site introduced some new options intended to satisfy what they perceive as a growing trend: “Couples Linking.” This new feature allows “people who identify as ‘married,’ ‘seeing someone,’ or ‘in an open relationship’ to find new individuals with whom to have relationships.” Reportedly this new feature is the result of 24% of OkCupid users being “seriously interested” in group sex and 42% being willing to date someone who is already in a relationship.

OkCupid Polyamorous RelationshipsOkCupid You Do You

These OkCupid features highlight how far our culture has drifted from God’s view of marriage, sex, and gender. Really, all things have been deemed permissible by our culture, and dating sites are becoming more about gratifying sexual desires then anything else. A common argument for gay “marriage” is “if they love one another . . . ” Acceptable is then based on a purely emotional argument where “love” is used to determine whether or not something is permissible. Of course, if this is the standard, then what is wrong with adultery, bestiality, polyamory, polygamy, or pedophilia? With no absolute standard, “anything goes” as man decides morality based on his own fallible opinions.

God Created Marriage

But there is an absolute standard for morality—it is found in God’s unchanging Word. Genesis 1 and 2 provide the foundation for marriage. In our culture, so heavily influenced by evolution, marriage is thought to be just another thing that evolved along the way. And if marriage evolved before, then marriage can evolve again. But marriage did not evolve, nor is marriage some outdated government institution or social organization pattern. Marriage is part of God’s “very good” design for humanity.

But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. And theLord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which theLord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

And Adam said:

This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:20–24)

Since marriage is God’s institution, only He has the authority to define marriage. And it is clearly defined for us in Genesis as being between one man and one woman for life: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). Since God defined marriage we do not have the authority as His creation to change His design. And He has defined it as being between one man and one woman (and has reaffirmed this design throughout Scripture, e.g., Matthew 19:4–5). Polygamy, polyamory, and homosexuality are outside of God’s perfect design and are therefore sinful.

These Genesis passages also highlight something else that is not a human institution. It’s a common claim today that gender is fluid and can be whatever we want it to be. But we didn’t invent gender—God did. God created “male and female.” Sadly, sin ruined God’s “very good” (Genesis 1:31) creation and now everything—including gender—is part of a sin-cursed world. But that doesn’t mean that God’s design can be thrown out the window. God’s design has been perverted, and we need to immerse ourselves in God’s Word so that we can recognize error when we see it. The gender confusion so common today is part of the curse of sin that, as with any other sinful behavior or tendency, needs the salvation and restoration that Jesus Christ offers.

Call It What It Is!

“Open relationships” are wrong regardless of consent between the couple. When two people are united in marriage, they become one flesh, and we are commanded not to separate what God has brought together (Matthew 19:6). No matter what name is used, when a married couple, either together or separately, invites another person into their marriage relationship, they’ve committed adultery. One of the Ten Commandments is “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14), and Jesus equated looking with lust to adultery (Matthew 5:28). Proverbs says, “whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul,” and warns young men to steer far from the path of the adulterous woman (Proverbs 5). Hebrews is incredibly clear: “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). Adultery is a sin, and the result is judgment from God.

Our Safe and Sure Foundation

As Christians, we must not be like our culture, which is being blown about and “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Ephesians 4:14). We can stand solidly on the unchanging Word of God and ground our morality in His perfectly good nature.

 

Will UC Berkeley Ban “Origin of Species”?

Origin of SpeciesA recent study revealed that in the 50 top universities in the U.S. (in the fields of psychology and biology), an amazing 61 percent of respondents described themselves as atheists or agnostics. It’s no wonder atheism has doubled in the last 20 years among 19-25 year olds. An entire generation has been (and is being) brainwashed by atheistic evolution, and it’s radically changing the culture of our nation.

In an effort to combat this, we produced a special 278-page full color cover edition of Origin of Species, which contains a 50-page introduction. This introduction gives the history of evolution, a timeline of Darwin’s life, Hitler’s undeniable connections to the theory, Darwin’s racism, his disdain for women, and his thoughts on the existence of God. It lists the theory’s many hoaxes, exposes the unscientific belief that nothing created everything, points to the incredible structure of DNA, and the absence of any species-to-species transitional forms.

It presents a balanced view of Creationism with information on scientists who believed that God created the universe–scientists such as Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Nicholas Copernicus, Francis Bacon, Michael Faraday, Louis Pasteur and Johannes Kepler. It uses many original graphics and “is for use in schools, colleges, and prestigious learning institutions.” The introduction also contains the entire contents of the popular booklet, “Why Christianity?” Over 30,000 of these books were pre-ordered, and we hope to go for a massive print in the near future. This is why:

November 24th 2009 is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species. On that day we will be taking a team to U.C. Berkeley and giving 1,000 copies of the book to students. Berkeley’s website says: “Anyone is free to distribute non-commercial materials in any outdoor area of the campus,” so there shouldn’t be a problem. Besides, what are they going to do–ban Origin of Species? That would be big news, especially when their own bookstore sells it for $29.99.

We want Christians around the country to do what we are doing at Berkeley on Nov. 24th–to give out 1,000 copies in each one of those top 50 universities. Imagine, 50,000 copies of these books suddenly flooding major learning institutions in one day!

When we get teams who commit to do a university, we will mark that particular one on www.OriginIntoSchools.com as being “covered,” until we have all 50 covered, along with contact details of how to get involved with each group.

The Alliance Defense Fund (1300 Christian lawyers who are on-call across the country) are working closely with us on this project. They will post each university’s free speech and literature distribution policies (in a downloadable format) on the OriginIntoSchools.com website. They will also provide information on Christian groups in each one, and immediate cell phone access to lawyers in that area.

We want to give away these books to our future politicians, doctors, lawyers, etc., while we still have the liberty to do so. Please seriously consider working with us.

The first print of the book arrived on Friday. In more than 30 years of ministry, we have never had so much trouble with delivery. Amazingly, five different freight companies let us down. We therefore had to delay our email Update about the arrival of the books.

When the shipment came, our fork-lift broke down as we wheeled it towards the truck (which had never happened before). When we tried to send out an Update saying the books had finally arrived, our website crashed and was down for an unprecedented 30 hours.

So if you are going to become involved in the front lines of fighting for this generation in this way, expect a battle (discouragement, hindrances, etc.). This is going to deal a powerful blow to the enemy, so keep in mind: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places…” Please keep us and yourselves in prayer.

To order a box of 40 books at 99 cents each (and the free poster), go to our webstore:

Singles copies are $4.99 each. Feel free to also call (800) 437-1893.

If you or your church wants to get 1000 copies into your local university on November 24th (at a cost of $990 plus shipping), or if you or your church would like to sponsor a university (pay for 1,000 copies for a team to give them out), send your email address and details to: origins@livingwaters.com.

Please tell your Christian friends about this project.

Order your books now and we will drop in the poster you see above at no cost.

Thank you.

Until the trumpet sounds,

Ray Comfort

https://www.livingwaters.com/articles/will-uc-berkeley-ban-origin-of-species

It’s not “Human Reason vs. God’s Word”!

Perhaps you have heard the origins debate as being about “human reason” on the one hand, and “the Bible” on the other. Many evolutionists like to frame the debate this way. It creates a “heads I win: tails you lose” type of situation. By contrasting the Bible with “reason”, they are implying that the Bible is unreasonable. They may use some other terminology. Whether framed as “Rationality vs. faith” or “science vs. religion,” the implication of framing the debate this way is that the Bible is anti-reason, anti-science, anti-rational.

But nothing could be further from the truth! The Bible is very pro-reason, pro-science, pro-rational. In fact, the biblical God is the basis for these things (see The Ultimate Proof of Creation). God made our minds and He wants us to use them. We are supposed to think in a way that is consistent with the character of God – that’s what rationality is.

And so it is really a shame that many Christians also frame the debate this way. Yes, I have seen “reason” contrasted with “God’s Word” coming from Christian literature. Perhaps by “reason” they mean “secular philosophy.” (If so, then that is what they should say!) But secular philosophy is not biblical, whereas human reason is. The Bible tells us to reason (Isaiah 1:18) and gives us examples of it (Acts 17:2, 18:4). Perhaps by “human reason,” they mean “secular reasoning.” But this is very misleading. Not all humans are secularists! Are not Christians also human? Even Jesus is human (and God as well), so there is nothing wrong with that. By allowing the debate to be framed in such a way, such Christians have inadvertently accepted the standards of the secularist. And what happens when we allow the critics to determine the parameters of the debate in such a way? The answer is: we lose the debate.

A debate is supposed to show that one position is more rational than another. So if you allow your opponent to define his position as the “rational” position in contrast to yours, then you have pretty well lost at the outset. The Bible tells us that we are not supposed to engage in a debate using the critic’s foolish standard (Proverbs 26:4). Do not allow the secularist to define his position as “human reason” and yours as “faith” or some equivalent term. The fact of the matter is both creationists and evolutionists have a type of faith, and both use some degree of reasoning.

What then is the difference? The difference is our starting point – the standard upon which we build our reasoning. The Christian should take the Word of God has his or her ultimate standard. We are supposed to reason from the truths given to us in the Scriptures. God’s Word is like a solid rock; and reasoning that rests upon that rock will stand. What is the alternative structure on which non-Christians attempt to build their thinking? There is none. God’s Word is the only ultimate standard by which can truly know anything about anything. Yes, we can learn new truths about things outside the Bible, mathematical truths, facts about ducks, or quasars. But the only reason we can know these things is because our mind and our senses have been designed by God to interface with the universe in a way that is truthful. If our mind and senses were just the result of chance mutations that conveyed survival value, there would be no reason to think we could ever know the truth about anything!

So when people reason from an ultimate standard that is not God’s Word, they are really simply basing their thinking on an arbitrary opinion. But there is no reason to trust an arbitrary opinion. The Bible refers to such people as being like a “fool” who builds his house on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27). Since the house does not have a true and proper foundation, it is destroyed by the first storm that comes along. Likewise, those who reason from a secular opinion rather than God’s Word will find their philosophy is easily destroyed by rational analysis.

Originally posted on Dr. Lisle’s Blog at the following address:
http://www.jasonlisle.com/2013/03/27/its-not-human-reason-vs-gods-word/

About Dr. Lisle

Dr. Jason Lisle is a Christian astrophysicist who writes and speaks on various topics relating to science and the defense of the Christian faith. He graduated summa cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University where he double-majored in physics and astronomy and minored in mathematics. He then earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in astrophysics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Dr. Lisle specialized in solar astrophysics and has made a number of scientific discoveries regarding the solar photosphere, including the detection of giant cell boundaries using the SOHO spacecraft. He also does theoretical research and has contributed to the field of general relativity. Since completion of his research at the University of Colorado, Dr. Lisle began working in full-time apologetics ministry, specializing in the defense of Genesis. He has written a number of articles and books on the topic. His most well-known book, The Ultimate Proof of Creation, demonstrates that biblical creation is the only logical possibility for origins. Dr. Lisle wrote and directed the popular planetarium shows at the Creation Museum, including “The Created Cosmos.” He now works as director of research at the Institute for Creation Research.

Ten Suggestions to Help You Relax Through Sleep

By Randy Alcorn | February 26, 2016

Bedroom

A godly Bible teacher was asked what helped him most to walk in the Spirit. Of course, he studied God’s Word and met with the Lord daily. But his surprising reply to the question was this: “Getting eight hours of sleep each night.”

Sleep does indeed have a profound effect on every aspect of our being—physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual. Sleep is the body’s most basic and extensive attempt at relaxation and renewal. Stress often causes a lack of good sleep. Ironically, a lack of good sleep will inevitably cause stress.

It’s easy to stay up late tonight, but tomorrow we, and those around us, will pay the price in the form of fatigue and irritability. Often the key to the quality with which we experience today is what we did last night and how late we did it. Put two or three busy nights with six hours of sleep together and we’re deep in debt, trying to spend energy we don’t have.

It’s a simple matter of mathematics. If I need eight hours of sleep and I must get up at 6:30 in the morning, then I need to be asleep at 10:30. Not heading for bed at 10:30, but asleep at 10:30, which probably means I should try to be in bed by 10:00.

But for many, Insomnia can be maddening. Here are a number of suggestions that Nanci and I and others have found helpful—perhaps you will, too.

1. Get a good mattress. We will spend one-third of our lives in bed. Isn’t it worth having a good one? Especially since the quality of that one-third will dramatically affect the other two-thirds. Many of us sleep better in a larger bed.

2. Watch the room temperature and the ventilation. Too hot or too cold means sleeplessness or restless sleep. Adding or subtracting covers or adjusting an electric blanket may be enough to make the difference.

Some people need fresh air to sleep, so they crack the window even in winter. Try it. If the air is too dry for you, get a humidifier.

3. Minimize distractions. Do street lights and traffic noise disturb you? Perhaps you can move into a bedroom at another end of the house. Try blackout shades to keep out light. I regularly sleep with earplugs, and have a sleeping mask beside the bed to cover my eyes in early morning.

4. Relax before you get into bed. Many poor sleepers instinctively tighten up when they get into bed, ready for the big fight for sleep, which they invariably lose. Instead of trying to relax once in bed, relax before you get there. Take a walk—get some fresh air. Take a warm bath to reduce your tension. Drink warm milk—it contains a natural tranquilizer.

5. Avoid chemical stimulants before going to bed. Avoid caffeine within five hours and chocolate or sugar of any kind within three hours of retiring.

6. Eat an early dinner, moderately sized. If you eat a large dinner or a late dinner or a big snack at 8 p.m., your body is still trying to digest it when you go to bed. You can’t give your body a chore to do, then expect it to sleep at the same time! On the other hand, if you eat like a bird you may be unable to sleep because of hunger pangs.

7. Avoid working on problems and reading or watching distressing things late at night. Don’t try to balance your checkbook or do anything that requires deep thought late at night; it just causes frustration and leads to sleeplessness.

A few years ago I was at the beach by myself for ten days of writing. Each night I slept soundly and woke up refreshed—except one night when I was fitful and restless, and woke up exhausted. That one night was the only one I had watched the eleven o’clock news.

The best cure for insomnia may be to avoid the late news. It invariably features murders, hijackings, kidnappings, wars, and natural disasters. Just thinking of these things will tighten you up. The same is true of watching violent or tense movies, or reading about distressing events in the newspaper just before going to bed. Your last dominant thoughts before the lights go out set the mood for your night’s sleep. If you want good sleep, make sure you close the day with good thoughts, such as words from Scripture.

8. Develop a bedtime ritual. We are creatures of habit. If we can associate sleep with a certain routine, then going through the routine can help induce sleep. A bedtime ritual might involve a warm bath, a cup of warm milk, soft music, or light reading. Some people read till they begin to nod off then turn off the light and go right to sleep.

9. If you just can’t get an idea or problem off your mind, get up and do something about it. Sometimes we really need to get something off our minds. Keep paper and pen (and perhaps a little light) by your bed to jot down anything you might need to think about tomorrow, but don’t need to do tonight.

10. Learn when to nap and when not to. There are two kinds of fatigue.Hypertonic fatigue is the nervous stress-induced fatigue in which you are tired but unable to relax. Hypotonic fatigue results from hard physical labor. The muscles are relaxed and the mind drifts quickly into sleep. If you experience hypertonic fatigue during the day, the best cure is exercise, not a nap. If you take a nap, it might not refresh you, but even if it does it will usually make it more difficult for you to sleep at night. (Sometimes this creates a vicious cycle in which you nap in the afternoon because you can’t sleep at night, but can’t sleep at night because you napped in the afternoon.)

If you’re fatigued, and especially if you have a big evening ahead of you, by all means, nap if you can. For most people, a short nap of no more than 20 minutes works best.

In his article “Three Reasons to Get Some Sleep,” Jonathan Parnell writes, “Just like oxygen and food, we need sleep to work right. It won’t look the same for everyone, and some are in situations where their care for others inhibits a solid snooze, but know for sure that we need sleep. It was God’s idea.”

Originally located on Eternal Perspectives Ministries at the following address: http://www.epm.org/blog/2016/Feb/26/ten-suggestions-sleep

Parts of this blog were excerpted from Help for Women Under Stress.

Photo credit: Cheryl Winn-Boujnida via Unsplash

“Don’t Speak That!” …Speak It!

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By David Boxton-

Many of us have experienced the devil placing his hands over our mouths in order to keep us from calling the name of Jesus during a semi dream-like state of being? Evidently the enemy–who wants to kill us–is aware that he will have to keep us from speaking the name of Jesus.

Our breakthrough comes by calling on the Lord. Should we follow the advice of people who teach that things we’re faced with–those things that have a negative report–should not be spoken? Should we apply to our lives the teaching of those that insist we should not speak of things that aren’t associated with prosperous living, great health, and victory? If by making mention of the things that concern us, would we then cause the negative aspects of those things to become our reality? Regarding a hot day, should I claim it’s not hot, so that I will somehow be protected from the heat? Is the Christian life a practicing discipline of mind over matter? We shouldn’t deny our present reality, believing that by doing so we somehow protect today’s reality from being tomorrow’s truth. For the Christian, God’s chosen vehicle to unify us in prayer are the issues we are faced with in this life. Not just personal issues, but all the things mankind is faced with. We are to have faith in God and His abilities, not faith in our ability to keep our mouths closed when in fact, they should be opened.

When we feel hurt, pain, betrayal, fear, rejection, disapproval; when we are unfairly treated or harassed, we should immediately tell the Lord all about it. If our home is on the brink of foreclosure, our accounts are overdrawn, our child’s court date lingers, our mother’s abusive boyfriend is freed on bail, we should bring those things to the Lord. Repeating “Don’t speak that,” is lunacy at its best. God is real and He can take care of real issues. If the doctor says I have tumors, altzheimers, crippling arthritis, AIDS, hepatitis, kidney disease, or any other negative diagnosis, I am not going to keep quiet–not speaking those things, I am going to speak to the Lord and to my Christian brothers and sisters concerning those diagnoses.

Even though God knows everything already, He has yet to hear it from me, that is, until I go into His presence. He doesn’t just want to hear me call His name in times of trouble, He wants to hear the issues of my life, spoken from me to Him. He wants to have communion with those He loves. He wants to demonstrate His love for all of us by seeing about our needs.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4: 6-7).”

“You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart (Jer 29:12).”