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Bible Reading UpL Today, 45% of U.S. adults read the Bible during a typical week, not including when they are at church, up from 31% in ‘95. The rise is largely due to increased reading among Baby Busters and residents of the western states. 67% of born again individuals read the Bible at least weekly and 88% of evangelicals do so. (Barna Online 4/11/05)


 
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Paul Carlson
 
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A Nation of Bible Illiterates

George Barna wrote The State of the Church in 2002. Barna conducted a survey of self-pronounced Christians and here’s what he found about their knowledge of the Bible. These are Christians.

• 48% could not name the four Gospels.
• 52% cannot identify more than two or three of Jesus’ disciples.
• 60% of American Christians can’t name even five of the 10 Commandments.
• 61% of American Christians think the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.
• 71% of American Christians think “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse.
George Barna said, "Americans revere the Bible, but by and large they don’t know what it says. And because they don’t know it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates."

Just as the people in this Barna poll are woefully biblical illiterate, Christians are far too ignorant of the Word of God. No wonder 21st century Christians are failing to finish their marathon race. No wonder Christians by the thousands are falling prey to the false teachers of our day. They are being feed junk food and don’t feed themselves on the Word of God. They are desperately in need of a solid diet of good food, Scripture. We need to get into "spiritual shape"!

 
Contributed By:
Tim White
 
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MONOGAMY SYNDROME

Where at one time, having sexual relations outside marriage was considered liberating, current studies show that it damages one's ability to trust, affecting future relationship, one's respect for self, affecting every decision and diminishing the value of right decisions, and one's respect for health.

Liberating? At what cost.

Drs. Freda Bush and Joe McIlhaney released a study at Harvard University that shows that exposure to immorality and participation in sexual acts during childhood years actually changes the brain, interrupting the normal production and usage of dopamine, vasopressin and oxytocin in the brain for the remainder of the life.

These chemicals, when released properly, create the "monogamy syndrome", in that moment bonding the person to another. If this occurs outside of marriage, that moment of bonding never fully takes place, even after marriage.1
According to the study, listen, "But that bonding, which acts like adhesive tape or Velcro, is weakened when people tear away at its power by breaking off with a sexual partner and moving on from one to another to another. So when it does finally come time to bond permanently with a spouse, the ability to bond is damaged.

The brain actually gets molded to not accept that deep emotional level that's so important for marriage. When they do marry, they're more likely to have a divorce than people who were virgins when they got married."

Others studies, reported by American Journal of Preventive Medicine, physical and emotional changes in unmarried people who have sex, as well as in married people who have sex outside marriage.

This is not to discount the spiritual changes in these people.

The Bible is relevant concerning the building blocks of a strong, supportive, fulfilling family life, although some have misrepresented what it is teaching through the years. One of those building blocks is entering into the most important human relationship of choice with the ability to commit fully, and much further than you have ever committed to another in your life. Purity before marriage is now seen as a crucial part of that. This is something many will miss out on because the deemed the Bible irrelevant to themselves.

 
Contributed By:
Tim Harrison
 
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THE REFINER'S FIRE

The story is told of a group of women that met for Bible study. While studying in the book of Malachi, chapter three, they came across verse three which says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." This verse puzzled the women and they wondered how this statement applied to the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out more about the process of refining silver, and to get back to the group at their next Bible study.

The following week, the woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him while at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest, beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.

As she watched the silversmith work, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire, where the flames were the hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot, then she thought again about the verse, that "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver."

She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the entire time the silver was being refined. The man answered yes...

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T D
 
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NO DUMMIES ALLOWED

Why couldn’t Jesus be more specific? Why couldn’t he just define things in a 30-second commercial or make it easier to understand?

I saw in the bookstore the other day one of those yellow books which said “Computers for Dummies.” They had a whole series of them- cooking for dummies, rock climbing for dummies, talking to dummies for dummies – and they had the Bible for dummies. When did we become so convinced that complicated and deep truths could be boiled down to something for dummies? That has often been our excuse to quit trying instead of spending time trying to figure things out for ourselves. The whole idea of loving God means searching first for what love means and second for ways to display that love. No dummies allowed!

 
Contributed By:
Matthew Kratz
 
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ASK JONAH!

A new believer was on a plane with an intellectual (a man educated beyond his intelligence). He sneered at her reading the Bible and asked if she believed it?
"Yes."
"Jonah and the whale story?" (A great fish)
"Yes."
"How did it happen?"
"Don't know, but I'll find out when I get to heaven."
"What if Jonah isn't there?"
"Then I guess you'll have to ask him for me."

Source: Galaxie Software. (2002; 2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.

 
Contributed By:
Owen Bourgaize
 
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I read of a minister who was visiting one of his members. The lady of the house was trying to impress him about how devout she was by pointing out the large Bible on the bookshelf and talking in a very reverential way of it as "the Word of God". Her young son interrupted the conversation, "Well, if that’s God’s book we better send it back to him because we never read it!"

 
Contributed By:
David  Yarbrough
 
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EVERYTHING I NEED

“I have everything I need for joy!” Robert Reed said.
His hands are twisted and his feet are useless. He can’t bathe himself. He can’t feed himself. He can’t brush his teeth, comb his hair, or put on his underwear. Strips of Velcro hold his shirts together. His speech drags like a worn out audiocassette.
Robert has cerebral palsy.

The disease keeps him from driving a car, riding a bike, and going for a walk. But it didn’t keep him from graduating from high school or attending Abilene Christian University, from which he graduate with a degree in Latin. Having cerebral palsy didn’t keep him from teaching at St. Louis Junior College or from venturing overseas on five mission trips.

And Robert’s disease didn’t prevent him from becoming a missionary in Portugal.

He moved to Lisbon, alone, in 1972. There he rented a hotel room and began studying Portuguese. He found a restaurant owner who would feed him after the rush hour and a tutor who would instruct him in the language.

Then he stationed himself daily in a park, where he distributed brochures about Christ. Within six years he led seventy people to the Lord, one of whom became his wife, Rosa.

I heard Robert speak recently. I watched other men carry him in his wheelchair onto the platform. I watched them lay a Bible in his lap. I watched h...

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Contributed By:
Steve Heartsill
 
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A young teenage boy had just gotten his driver’s license. When he got home, he asked his father, who was a minister, if they could discuss the use of the car. His father took him into his study and said to the boy, "I’ll make a deal with you. If you bring up your grades, study your Bible a little, and get a haircut, then we’ll talk about the use of the car."

After about a month, the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss the use of the car. They again went to the father’s study where his father said, "Son, I’ve been so very proud of you. You have brought up your grades, you’ve studied your Bible diligently, but you didn’t get your haircut." The young man waited a moment and replied, "Dad, I’ve been thinking about that. You know, Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, even Jesus had long hair..." His father interrupted him at that point and said, "Yes son, and they walked everywhere they went!"

 
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One night as my family was preparing for bedtime, my four year old daughter Claire began singing the BIBLE. As she came to the end, she combined another song. Here is what she sang. "I stand alone on the word of God, that’s what it’s all about." By mixing up the BIBLE and the Hokey Pokey, Claire nailed the way that each of us should view God’s word.

 
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