In this reality, a hard-line fundamentalist Christian political party has just won the state election by a landslide and takes power, having the numbers to ban, endorse and enforce what it deems to be true and right and healthy for the state.
They also won’t make any of the recommended edits to the program or remove its links to fundamentalist Christian websites. Then, it comes out that the co-founder of the program has a scary political agenda, publicly stating they want to replace the Australian flag with a giant cross signifying that the rule of Jesus has been enforced by law across the land.
If all that was happening, I can image that the parallel universe Simon, if he was still a Christian, may be more blind to the dangers of such a system of government because they were playing to his demographic and proclaiming a message that he might find some sympathy for.
Christians in this parallel universe would easily be blind to the way this government got bigger and bigger and slowly forced itself and its beliefs on everyone else. Non-Christians would try to speak up but would be shouted down as anti-religious bigots by the government , and their blind Christian fellow citizens would just laugh at them as over-exaggerating the problem.
Or would he just be silent himself, blindly happy with the way his views were now seemingly on the right side of history? Now, I was very impressed with how the movie presents the argument that this is a good and necessary thing, showing the destruction and death that many of their past actions have caused. Now, for a series of movies that are often simply a bit of popcorn entertainment, it was interesting to see one that tackled a debate about political philosophy that is very relevant for our world today. If you’ve never heard of this debate before, it’s basically asking how much control, influence, involvement or power should be given to the government and how much should be given to individual citizens or private organisations (like businesses, churches, families, private schools etc.). A small government approach is one where the government has as little involvement as possible in the affairs of its citizens.
Basically, both big and small government philosophies are wanting the same goal – they aim to help create a prosperous society where all citizens can flourish and where evil is restricted. So when it comes to guns, I am happy that the government restricts my and others personal freedom to own, carry and use guns. Another area of big government that I have benefited from is Australia’s healthcare system.
As a Christian, I am most concerned about the big government approach in its potential effect to and restriction of religious freedom.
In 23 out of 49 Islamic countries, it is illegal to convert away from Islam and it is also illegal for non-Muslims to share their faith in such a way that they might encourage a Muslim to convert. This is not only a problem if a religious government gains control and establishes a big government. Now you may still think that examples like Islamic countries and socialist China are extreme and bear no resemblance to democratic Western countries, but in the last decade the threat to religious freedom has been growing. What we are now seeing, as Western countries peel off the Christian veneer and as more secularist politicians gain power and influence, is that governments are finding their values and the values of many religious people are starting to become more and more in conflict. In Australia, these issues are also very relevant with a similar thing happening with the Victorian Labor government pushing its values about sexuality and gender by enforcing the controversial sexuality education program “Safe Schools” in all public schools, whether or not school staff, parents or even students wish to sign up to the program.
In regard to the push for reform of the legal definition of marriage in Australia, questions about big vs small government are integral to the debate. A similar concern is felt for Christians involved in businesses that provide services for weddings, such as bakers, wedding planners and photographers. If Western countries don’t want to end up like the oppressive governments mentioned earlier, then they need to be wary of the way the big government approach is being used and accepted more and more.
That is why I think the movie, Captain America: Civil War is so interesting in today’s climate. Now, I may think through these issues and come to my own conclusion, but in the end, I see my own country slowly sliding towards a bigger and bigger government.
I don’t know what saying “No, YOU move” might look like in my own circumstances, but I guess over time, I’ll find out.
This is an illustration I drew the other day and as I don’t often do these sort of illustrations, I thought I might share it on here. After the first study I was reflecting on the parable of the four soils, which is a parable I have thought lots about in the past. This vision also made me reflect on something… If we aren’t throwing this seed around at the moment, what are we doing with it? It’s similar to another illustration I once heard about the difference between a swamp and a river.
Also, if you like colouring in and you’d like to improve my illustration with some colour, I’d love to see that! More than a bigot or a bully or a racist or a violent megalomaniac, Trump is a businessman.
Right now he says things that are offensive to many people, but not to the people he is targeting. If he wins the Republican primary, I predict his who angle will change, because his target audience will change. I despise Trump and what he stands for and happily get behind the #NeverTrump movement, but I don’t think he actually cares. Now, I may be wrong on all this and if Trump becomes president he may still be the swearing, violent buffoon that I see now.
Firstly, I want to say that Trump is completely wrong in regard to the right of a religious leader to question another man’s religion. Jesus himself also warns us to watch out both for false believers and for the fact that we might be a false believer ourselves. Now, there may be many, many reasons for someone to consider that Donald Trump is not a genuine Christian. Now, you have to be careful judging the reality of someone’s conversion based on the fruit you see. When Jesus called people to follow him right at the beginning of his ministry he said, “The time has come. Turning to God in repentance for our sin and believing in the good news about Jesus for our forgiveness is the simple requirement for the salvation that God offers. Trump first tries to avoid the question, talking non-stop for a full minute trying to win the crowd by name-dropping his minister. Not long after this interview, Trump was questioned about his answer and his understanding of Christianity on CNN. As has been often pointed out by Christian commentators, if you do not see the bad news of our sin and need for forgiveness, then you will never see the good news of Jesus’ offer to die for your sin and provide you that forgiveness. The best we can do is make sure that we know the gospel ourselves and make it known as best we can. The van veered off to try to avoid me and crashed into the short concrete wall separating the freeway, this cause a pile up of cars behind it as they all tried to screech to a holt.
It is only by the grace of God’s miraculous hand that I escaped death and am hear to tell you the tale.
Now that would have been an exciting near-death experience story for me to be able to tell you, except for the fact that… none of that actually happened.
Firstly, God ensured that when my tire blew, I was in the left most lane so it was fairly easy for me to quickly turn into the emergency lane and out of harms way. When my tire exploded, I was naturally surprised and a little anxious as I got out of traffic, but I was never terrified like I described in my exciting made up story.
Now, I don’t believe in a prosperity gospel that thinks that God is only looking after me when good things happen (you can see my thoughts on God’s sovereignty in suffering here).
Well, you may go on and live until you are 90, but you’re just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90.
Still, if our church is to continue to grow and face the challenges of a changing community, I must discipline myself to pick my head up from the daily routines to think long-term. Read – I try to read something everyday and I read an equal balance of leadership and Christian books. Let others invest in me – Sometimes I have to release power to others on my team and allow them to lead me. How do you keep focused on the forward picture, without being bogged down in daily routines? A large variety of useful optional plugins and add-ons that add extra features to improve Web browsing. New browsers will automatically update to the latest version, or will notify you to download an update. There are two types of young ladies, one at either end of the “girl spectrum.” The first is most prevalent in ultra conservative, homeschool settings.
Then there’s the other extreme, the “ferocious females.” Now, I have to say that I appreciate energetic, engaging girls.
Beyond that, my attention is always piqued when a girl is walking in the freedom of Christ.
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Respectful & Sensible - If you disagree with our views, we encourage you to go ahead and say so, but do it in a logical, sensible, helpful way. Given the lack of any significant differences in social behaviors in studies comparing Christians and non-believers, I have serious doubt that there will be greater loyalty when it comes to the pocketbook. If anyone knows of a study, or has any suggestions where I might find one, please let me know in the comments below or shoot me an email. The Christian state government claimed that for those 30 minutes, it disadvantaged the creationist kids who chose not to attend.
I loved the action, the performances, the dialogue and especially the new characters that are now in the Marvel Universe. Basically, the idea is that superheroes are expected to either retire or sign the document and if they sign then they can’t do any superhero work without the permission of an international panel that will monitor them, regulate them, send them out when required and prevent them from going out when deemed necessary.


Sure they were trying to save the world, but they ignore laws, international borders and in the end innocent people died due to their actions, and sometimes (like in the case of Ultron) they were saving the world from a threat that they themselves created. He is worried about the restriction of their personal freedom to not only fight evil, but also to make choices for themselves about how to regulate their power. Small governments may still provide basic, necessary services (military defense, police, fire, water, electricity, sewerage etc.) and they may also provide services like welfare for those that cannot obtain work or health services, but the weight of the power and responsibility rests on individual citizens and organisations. The government has a substantial level of involvement and regulation, and the weight of power and responsibility does not rest on the citizens but the government that presides over them. Small government focuses on people’s individual libertarian rights to live their own life, raise their own kids and express their own values.
On a positive note, big governments aim to prevent the poor from getting poorer and the rich from getting richer, and through government regulation and oversight aim to create a more equitable society that is free from the individual abuses that small government can bring about. In regard to gun control for example, I am glad that I live in Australia which has taken a big government approach to the issue. The big government approach in this situation has literally helped lives to flourish and has created a better society for all citizens (except arguably for those who wish to own guns of course). Although I may not agree with everything my healthcare tax dollars are put towards (abortion for example) I think we have a great system that allows pretty much everyone to receive the care they need.
Captain America’s concern in the movie “Civil War” is primarily about how a government body may have a different set of values to an individual citizen (or superhero) and how their increased power and influence may be used to serve their own agenda rather than the citizens themselves. In a big government, if the government deems certain beliefs or values to stand in the way their particular view of what makes a “good” society, they may use their increased power and influence to restrict or even criminalize those beliefs. Generally, Western countries have been influenced by Christianity, which at its heart teaches that faith in Christ is something that must come freely and can not be forced or enforced (although I acknowledge at times in history this has been foolishly attempted by some rulers). Also, an article last week in The Daily Telegraph calling to remove the tax free status of churches unless they meet the criteria of a government review.
On one hand, a small government approach would suggest that individual citizens should have the freedom to marry however and whoever they choose, or to define marriage however they want.
In a small government approach, these Christians would have the freedom to conscientiously object to supporting an event that they believed was morally objectionable based on their religious convictions. With a federal election only a couple of months away, this debate could not be more relevant. A swamp collects water but doesn’t move it along, and so it gets stagnant and disgusting. Right now he is trying to win the vote of a large percentage of small town Republican Americans who were sold the dream that America should be the greatest country in the world and believe that Trump can make it once again. He will then be aiming to win over both Republicans and Democrats and so his style of speeches, the content of what he says and even his physical demeanour and mannerisms will change.
His target audience will then be the rest of the world and he will switch into the cool, respectful, hand-shaking businessman that he probably is in the board-room.
In fact, the apostle Paul would say that that is one of the responsibilities of a religious leader. You could point to his unrepentant boasting about his various extramarital affairs, or his sexist, racist and ableist comments, or his foul language, or his commitment to bring back the practise of water-boarding and worse, or his threats of violence against those that oppose him, or his general arrogance and ego.
And if asked about whether he feels a need to repent, he will point out all his good works – working hard, being honorable, employing people, giving to charity and building stuff. It’s not to get my American friends to not vote for him (though most of them are more anti-Trump than I am).
We must make sure that we understand the gospel clearly and that we have responded to it in the way that Jesus commands. Millions of people who expect to meet God as a friend when they die, and yet will meet him as a stranger. I could hear the loud flap of the torn up rubber and the scrape of the metal rim as my little Mazda 2 veered violently to the right, almost going into the lane next to me.
It was a fairly violent nudge and it forced my car off to the right, where I scraped into the side of the van in the next lane. My car was totaled, I have a few broken bones, but after a couple of nights in hospital it looks like I will pull through.
God also probably helped the car stabilize in that process as I didn’t find it too hard to control even though I was driving on the metal rim and travelling at a high speed.
I called Cat and she called her brother Phil, who’s handy with all things practical (unlike me, with my uncalloused graphic designer hands). The fact that my actual story is not as dramatic and exciting as the one I made up is actually a miracle. I have had my share of pain and tragedy, and yet I can still say with confidence that God is kind and loving and in control.
I was stumbling around the internet, looking for things that famous people had achieved by the age 38, and found this great quote from Martin Luther King Jr. And one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit. In addition, I follow dozens of blogs with a variety of focuses, from technology, to culture and leadership. I take notes of ideas sparked along the way using Evernote. The newest ideas always seem to come from the younger generation at the time. One reason I like to be around college students is that they keep me fresh in my thought process.
I feel I have even more to offer and have a stronger desire to keep a fresh approach when I think others value what I have to add to the discussion. The key for me is to break the monotony of busyness and allow my mind room to think. Something about exercising gets the blood flowing through my body to my brain. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
I’ve run into three types of girls over the years—two of them make me chuckle, but with a hint of sorrow inside. She ignores the existence of the guys around her, believing the lie that any interaction with a guy is either sinful or premature romantic involvement. What concerns me, however, is that with some of these young ladies, they display a sense of discontent with their singleness. I like it when a young lady I meet takes the time to both talk and listen, especially when God has given us similar passions in life. The most attractive women I’ve met are those who are satisfied where they are, yet are open for more of what God has for them.
But you must be willing to give up as much as you’ve asked her to give up.” That’s what Sarah and Abraham did. Get fresh content with the Cane Creek Corner, delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Friday!
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Most women I interact with on a daily basis have bought into the idea that neediness and vulnerability are unattractive to men. No Greater Joy Ministries (NGJ) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit ministry of Michael and Debi Pearl. I pointed out some of the issues that may arise when one chooses to do so.  Now, I want to know if making that choice translates into more business. I highly recommend seeing the film as one of the most fun and interesting Marvel films to date. He is also skeptical that a government panel would always make the best choice in how to use and regulate superheroes. Generally, most individual people want small government because they don’t want to be told what to do, especially by a government that may not share your values.
Small government primarily gives that responsibility to individuals and free enterprise and aims to make the government have as little power as possible, and big government gives the government the primary responsibility and consequently much more power and influence to achieve that goal.
Guns are extremely restricted and the only guns I know of anyone owning, are rifles used for shooting pests (like rabbits and roos) out in the country.
Important medicines (like the diabetes medication I take daily) is majorly subsidized and I can see diabetes educators, nutritionists and other health specialists free of charge because of this soft form of universal healthcare that we have. Captain America suggests that the big government approach is a form of “surrendering our right to choose” and proposed some theoretical examples where this might be a problem: “What if this Panel sends us somewhere we don’t think we should go? In this state you have to apply to the courts if you want to convert and the vast majority get denied.
In China for example, freedom of religion is majorly restricted to only five government-sanctioned religions.
Countries influenced by Christianity have therefore encouraged a separation of Church and State and have enshrined a freedom of religious belief and expression into many of its laws. Department of Education issued a decree that told all public schools in the country that they had to provide access to toilet, locker room and shower facilities to students based on the gender they identify with rather than based on their actual sex. Unfortunately, the parties that openly support the change, such as Labor and the Greens, are generally also supportive of the big government approach. I’m still thinking through my position on this, but it is clear that under a big government approach, there will be no debate – they will have to conform to the government’s new definition of marriage or they will be fined for discrimination.
It is definitely a powerful strategy which can use its influence for great good, but at the same time it can be used for evil and oppression as well. I began getting excited by the prospect of what might happen if this bible study series (which we are all being encouraged to do) would prompt each of us to throw a bit more seed around the place. A river however stays full of fresh, pure, thirst-quenching water precisely because it doesn’t hold on to it.
He will still present himself as a no-nonsense straight talker, but he will shift his tone for his new target audience. But in order for us to clearly proclaim and protect the gospel message, we need to be able to call a spade a spade.
Someone may be a genuine follower of Christ and still have a lot of bad fruit that God is working on over time. If you do not show evidence of having done this, then other people are right to (as Trump puts it) question your faith and religion.


Because of this, it is important that we are clear about the gospel, it is important that we defend the gospel and it is important that we protect the gospel from being corrupted over time.
I don’t know about you, but that reminds me of a parable Jesus once told that seems quite appropriate. I was in the middle lane of the freeway and the traffic was very busy with lots of trucks and other commuters on every side. I was terrified and I can remember screaming and thinking that I was truly going to die and how horrible that would be. My airbags went off and the the next few moments were a chaotic mess of broken glass and crunching metal and being tossed around like a rag doll, all the while knowing for sure that at the unjust age of 38, the great fearful blackness of death was about to swallow me at any second.
God made sure that there were no cars right behind me as well, so slowing down didn’t cause any problems. God had made sure Phil was available and, in a longer term sense, had shaped Phil’s godly character into an “always willing to help when needed” sort of dude. My boring true story is a sign of God’s kindness and sovereignty and ability to control events like tires and freeway lanes and everything else. As the bible says, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). I also have several people who regularly speak into my life. I surround myself with good, creative, seasoned leaders. If your statements are unfounded or "just because I say so" we are not likely to include them. But apart from all that, Civil War has got me thinking lots about one of the big issues central to the film – the pros and cons of big and small government. Generally, small governments create more prosperous countries as they aim to encourage and empower enterprise and individual creativity.
The big government approach assumes responsibilities that, under a smaller government, are distributed to individual citizens.
This means that I also don’t personally know of anyone who has been shot, either deliberately or accidentally, and Australia – with a population of over 23 million – in 2014 experienced only 230 gun-related deaths. It’s not without its problems, with the public system overrun and susceptible to overuse, but I am glad we have this semi-big government approach to this vital service. This is what it looks like when the big government approach takes over religious expression in a country.
Of this five, there is only one protestant group allowed which the government has called the “Three-Self Patriotic Movement”. It wasn’t a law (as schools are under the legal jurisdiction of the state not the federal government) but they have said they would withhold federal funding for those schools that do not comply. This makes many Christians very concerned that once the change becomes enshrined in law, they will not have the freedom of religion to teach what the bible says about marriage, sexuality and gender in Christian schools, Universities, public forums or possibly even churches. I guess, the more I think about it, the more I feel I side with Team Cap and a small government philosophy. I look forward to getting a good theology of evangelism which will inspire me to do it more boldly and in a way that is more God honouring. Basically, Jesus tells this parable of a sower who goes out and sows seed, finding that it falls on four types of soils, and only the fourth soil is really good and bears fruit. As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that. When someone has no understanding of the Christian gospel or shows no fruit that should accompany someone who claims to be a Christian (see Galatians 5:16-23), then we should feel free to suggest that that person is not a Christian.
The example I mentioned before where Paul publicly rebuked Peter (Galatians 2:11-14) was an example of one Christian rebuking another Christian. Trump does acknowledge that he may have made some mistakes, but that doesn’t drive him to his needs before God. The point of the parable that Jesus told was that we should not base our understanding of our own goodness by comparing ourselves to others.
Firstly, in order to defend the integrity of the true Christian gospel I feel it is important to say that Trump does not get it. Several other cars then plowed into mine as I spun, pushing me further across the freeway and into the lane of an oncoming truck. We contemplated getting some roadside service, but it was going to cost us a bit so we thought we’d first try to give the car a push start to see it that could start the engine that way. When a girl already has an interesting life, she then has something to bring to the marriage. It’s a woman showing a man that she has need of him that makes her that more attractive. The problem with small government is that people’s individual values can be pretty selfish.
This often involves raising taxes and taking power and freedom away from its citizens, which can kill enterprise and may encourage bigger businesses to take their industries off shore where they can prosper in a country with less restrictions.
The US in contrast, has a population of 316.5 million, which is 14 times the population of Australia, but in 2014, the US had 146 times the amount of gun-related deaths (33,599 deaths).
It’s teaching, appointment of leaders and ability to meet freely is tightly regulated and defined by the government.
Such teaching will be deemed “hate speech” and “offensive” and a big government approach will see it potentially being legislated against in order to enforce conformity to the government’s values. Possibly the most well known was a little bakery in Oregon run by a Christian couple who informed a lesbian couple that they couldn’t in good conscience make a cake for their wedding, and a court ordered they pay $135,000 to the couple for the emotional damage caused. It’s actually a hard choice at the start as both sides make their case quite well, but in the end, Captain America’s concerns are shown to be valid. To some degree the parable encourages us that 3 out of 4 of the people we share the gospel with might not respond with faith. Unfortunately, a politician (and definitely the President) should be a public servant, and that is something a businessman will never be. It is important that I point to an example like Trump and say, despite the fact that he calls himself a Christian, he is not one.
And if someone questions our genuineness as a Christian, we need to not react like Trump did to the Pope. The last thing I heard was the deafening hiss of the truck’s airbreaks as the driver desperately tried to avoid me. He quickly replaced the tire with my spare, using his cool drill attachments to undo the nuts on the wheel, making me feel like I was in the company of a Formula 1 pit-crew.
By God’s kindness, it did, and both Phil & I were able to get to get on our way and attend the ministry meeting at our church that we had on that night. Now, I don’t look forward to the actual process of dying and I’m sure if that horrible crash had actually happened I might have been screaming as I awaited the painful end. God will look after those in Christ through all things like sickness, divorce, near-death experiences and even death itself. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab you, or shoot at you or bomb your house; so you refuse to take the stand.
A girl who has placed her confidence in Christ, who isn’t “afraid with any amazement” (1 Peter 3:6) but resembles Sarah—that’s a girl who will make any guy turn his head.
Small government allows for the rich to get richer with no concern for the poor if they don’t want to have any. Also, in an attempt to create social harmony and restrict the values of individuals and businesses that it deems bad for society, a big government will inevitably seek to enforce its own set of values on society and it will have the power to do so. Naturally, they do this because, as every government does, they want their country to flourish and be prosperous for all its citizens, and they believe that complete freedom of religion would jeopardize that goal. Small governments can seem cold and harsh to the poor and the weak, but at least they don’t restrict individual citizens and charitable organisations from caring for those in need.
Now, I know Jesus didn’t mean for it to be taken so mathematically, but it is fair to say, odds are, if more seed is being thrown around, then more chance it will land on some good soil. The Tax Collector was actually a worse sinner than the Pharisee, but he did something that meant that he went home right with God – he acknowledged his sin and he asked for mercy. We need to give people the right to ask those questions and we need to ask those questions of ourselves. But I wouldn’t be thinking “that at the unjust age of 38, the great fearful blackness of death was about to swallow me at any second.” It wouldn’t be unjust for me to die at 38 or 68 or 18 or even 8 months (the age of my daughter).
I personally like women who show how they feel and are passionate about communicating what they want from a Man. Also, small government creates a society of mixed values and behaviours, which means that tolerance is very important and social harmony can be challenging.
Politicians of any country’s government may have this concern, but it is only those that have a big government approach, that are afforded the power to be able to enforce it. It seems to me that a big government that is corrupt can do much more harm than a small government that is cold. That includes our money, our possessions, our health, our intelligence and most importantly, the gospel itself. We need search our hearts and the Scripture to allow God to convict us and call us to repent and believe.
The bible says the God is the one who “gives everyone life and breath and everything else” (Acts 17:25). And he grows fat and comfortable gorging on the seed whilst before him are the four soils ready the receive it. Or maybe he wanted Cat there, as if I had really been in a major crash, I doubt she would have attended the meeting either.
It’s supposed to prepare them for the variety of responses they will see as they share the gospel with everyone they meet.
I don’t want to forget that the seed of the gospel that someone gave to me is seed that I am supposed to pass on.



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