Thursday, September 24, 2015

Christian Education (not written by me)

A sermon that I got permission to share most of on this blog. I didn't write it, I just obtained permission to share it here. 

The sermon begins with a reading of Psalm 78:1-8, you can read it [here].

Today we celebrate the beginning of a new school year, and a new Sunday School year here at [redacted], because both are very important in the lives of our children.

In the first 200 years of our nation's history, education in this country was explicitly Christian, and it produced amazing results. In the era of the Founding Fathers, where all education was Christian education, there was widespread literacy. Our nation rose to greatness because it was founded on the principles in the Word of God. The curriculum was God-centered. Unfortunately, the rise of the modern education system has replaced Christianity in our schools with humanism and secularism.

In 1963, Madelyn Murray-O'Hare succeeded in taking prayer and Bible reading out of our schools. Since then, the curriculum in our public schools has become human-centered -- based on the belief that the human being -- not God -- is the highest entity in existence and everything is built around it. In addition, the Bible has become nothing more than just another piece of ancient literature.

 In 1887, A.A. Hodge, professor at Princeton University and one of America's greatest theologians, said that a public education system, divorced from Biblical Christianity, will become the most atheistic, anti-Christian, and nihilistic system this world has ever seen. It's hard to argue that the separation of church and state as it appeals to the educational system today has made Hodge's 130 year-old statement true.

Add to that, the proliferation of immoral language, sex and violence on TV and in the movies and video games has destroyed all moral absolutes, and all standards of good and evil taught in God's holy word. The traditional family, Sunday worship, and morality are fast becoming things of the past.

Add to that the fact that today's society has become so characterized by self-gratification, self-centeredness and self-absorption. We are preoccupied with promoting ourselves to ourselves. The newest word in our language is "selfies", and through the internet we are constantly engaged in self-promotion, self-labeling, and self-advertisement. Yet the Bible is full of admonitions to do for others more than we do for ourselves.

Thus, from our American beginnings as a Christian nation, founded upon Christian principles, led by men and women of faith, we have become one of the least Christian countries in the world. Truth be told -- Islam is rapidly becoming the primary religion of the U.S. and many other countries.

If all this doesn't disturb you in some way -- it should! But lest we throw up our hands and give up -- all is not lost. The greatest challenge facing the church in our generation is the need for Christian Education. In the past, as I mentioned earlier, all education was Christian Education. Today, it is the sole responsibility of Christians -- specifically Christian parents, families and the church. Education is the foundation for a good and full life, setting the individual on a path to personal fulfillment, economic security and societal contribution. For many centuries it had been considered that education in general and academia in particular were responsible for the moral and social development of students and for bringing together diverse groups for the common good. Today, the key that unlocks the door to building a better world is Christian Education -- an education grounded in Holy Scripture.

If our church is to face this greatest challenge, we must recognize the importance of Christian Education. Teaching is powerful! Teaching can be greatly used to build God's kingdom. Jesus himself spent more time teaching than anything else.

What does this all mean for us? It means that we begin anew today -- as parents and all who are responsible for raising children, and as a congregation.

A man by the name of Bruce Wilkinson has said, "From the birth of your child onward, you as a parent are a craftsman for God. In your hands is the soul of the next generation."


We must also lead by example. Instructing children from the Bible is good, but living what we teach is even better. We can teach children how important it is to obey God, but they will know what we really believe by how we conduct ourselves. Children are watching every move -- good and bad -- whether ti be the example set by their parents, or the standards set by others such as teachers, pastors, coaches, professional athletes, politicians and Hollywood stars. It has been said, "Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls upon them makes an impression." The truth is, everyone today is crafting the next generation. What values do we want to instill in our children today who will become tomorrow's adults? What messages do our actions portray to our children. Someone once said, "Don't worry that children never listen to you. Worry that they're always watching you."

As parents, and as Christians, we must all walk by faith, and God must be at the forefront of our lives if he is to have any meaning in the lives of our children. If we settle for less than God's best, our children are sure to follow in our footsteps.

The good news for us this morning is that the more we know Jesus, the more we will want to be more and more like him by becoming the men and women he wants us to be. The same is true for our children.


A great deal of responsibility has been placed on our shoulders. Children grow up quickly, and we only have a short window of opportunity to influence a child's character. One statistic says that nearly "three-quarters of all people who have consciously, intentionally and personally chosen to follow Jesus Christ did so before their 18th birthday." We need to devote as much time and attention as we can to young people while they are still young and moldable.

And so we are here today, not just to celebrate, but to commit ourselves to the Christian Education of our children -- of these precious ones who are here in our midst. The Psalmist has stated that God's commands are to be taught to our children and grandchildren, and that if we are diligent in teaching them to walk in this way, then they will receive a great blessing and inherit God's best.

The question for us this morning is: What are we going to do? What spiritual legacy are we going to pass on to today's children? Many years ago, Rosa Parks said, "It is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and hopefully, we shall overcome." We need to be sure to raise the next generation to know God if we want to see the kingdom of God advance and overcome the escalating sin of our country. We need to be sure to raise the next generation to know God if we want to see our children thrive in a post-Christian society and begin to reclaim our nation's spiritual heritage. We must all take up the challenge of Christian Education and be intentional about raising our children with strong Christian values -- not just parents and Sunday School teachers. History has proven that it only takes three generations for a family, or a nation, to slip away from God entirely. We are now on that brink. The bible says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old enough he will not depart from it." (Prov. 22:6)

My deepest prayer for this church today and for Christian Education is that we may all come to know Jesus and to be known by him; that we might all engage in the practice of hearing his voice and following him and in the process become like him; that we may all be counted among his own and enjoy the life he has made possible for us -- life that is abundant and eternal. May God bless us and our children. Amen.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


I haven't heard as many complaints lately about churches avoiding certain passages in the Bible because they're unpleasant or whatever, but I'm sure those complaints are still out there. Last time I addressed this, I pointed out the time my church talked about that passage with Elisha and the bears.

Since I decided to start reading the Bible more, I've found plenty of verses that I guess some unbelievers claim Christians don't read, but I've read them, and plan to read more. Anyway, here's one of the scripture readings from my church's service today. I never thought it was that common in Biblical times to personify things like "wisdom", but I guess they did, at least when teaching people in books like Proverbs; I haven't read much of that book, but I know they do this several times in it.

Proverbs 1:20-33

Wisdom cries out in the street; in the squares she raises her voice. At the busiest corner she cries out; at the entrance of the city she speaks: "How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? Give heed to my reproof; I will pour out my thoughts to you; I will make my words known to you. Because I have called and you refused, have stretched out my hand and no one heeded, and because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when panic strikes you, when panic strikes you like a storm, and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel, and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way and be sated with their own devices. For waywardness kills the simple, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but those who listen to me will be secure and will live at ease, without dread of disaster." 

Kind of harshly-worded, but it is in the Bible, and I'm always glad when my church isn't afraid to read passages like this that aren't just outwardly pleasant to hear. I've heard several complaints over the years about churches that try to water down the message, and I'm glad there are some that haven't started doing that yet.

God bless you all and guide you according to His perfect will! In Jesus' name. Amen.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Well, I've been in the fandom for just about a year now. I'm aware that some readers (if this blog has regular readers?) may have reservations about watching TV, or something. I've come to chalk this up to Romans 14, where watching TV may be something you personally are not called to do, but I've prayed about this several times, and the way things have worked out this past year, it just appears quite clearly to me that this is something God's okay with me watching. I was skeptical at first because MLP is a TV show of course, and most TV shows are full of nonsense that just makes me sick. Also for other, somewhat irrelevant reasons that aren't worth going into here. The point is, let's just say, I was happily proven wrong about them. With nearly all episodes of MLP, I can truly, truly just sit back and enjoy them.

So, given the typical subject matter of this blog, I've just been thinking about making a post for bronies, specifically, who may be interested in learning more about Christianity, or living a more Biblical / Christ-centered lifestyle. I don't want this to read like I'm forcing it, a tone I guess I might be guilty of taking on sometimes. This is just meant to be like an informational resource. This isn't the first post I've made about MLP, but this is the first one meant solely for bronies.

Throughout this, I'll be using links to a site called BibleHub. The pages may look wordy, but each page is really just one verse, written in different translations. It's useful to have a simple translation at hand so everyone can understand the verse, but it's also good to have several translations available to get the full message.

1) Tulpas. A lot of bronies have them. Tulpas are effectively imaginary friends that are given, as closely as possible, "independence" to do what they want. There are people who would just outright say tulpas are wrong for various reasons, but I'm not really inclined to say that. I don't think at all that an imaginary friend of any kind is inherently wrong. The only advice I really want to give here is, be careful. Imaginary friends, especially ones meant to operate on their own without you (consciously) controlling them, are a very easy way for demonic spirits to work in your life. And I'm not just reciting this; I'm speaking from direct experience. Before I became a brony, I had ... something like a tulpa. And I unfortunately fell for a lot of lies I was told through this over the years. This is something I really want to stress, only because it's really important. I, personally, say enjoy your imaginary friends or tulpas. But I just strongly ask that you keep reality in check when "interacting" with them. If you can't? I think it would be easier to just try and give it up. Pray to God! He'll hear your prayers, and guide you to truths you can only imagine. I won't have a tulpa again. I won't take a chance like that. But if you can keep reality in check throughout, there should be no issue! 

2) Keep God in focus. Simple. MLP is clearly something God has declared acceptable in our lives. Personally, God has used the show as a tool to help me in my life several times. As a source of artistic inspiration, as something fun/happy to cheer me up when the rest of the world was dragging me down, as a fandom where I sometimes, just sometimes, actually feel like I belong for once ... and as other things as well. But the main thing to keep in mind is to worship the Creator, and not the created. The show's done some great things in my life / our lives, but the point is that it's a thing, in the world; something to appreciate, but not worship. God should have our devotion.

3) R34. Not a "huge" thing in the fandom, but it's ... it's there, let's be honest with ourselves. Now, the obvious thing that those who don't read the Bible very often are probably expecting is a slap on the wrist from a pushy fundie. Don't be mistaken; "lust" is clearly a sin ([1] [2] [3] [4]) but I just wanted to point out that the situation isn't really quite what some may think it is. Some may be misled, especially by internet trolls (fun fact: God dislikes trolling!), to think that R34 is only "wrong" because it's not about "real" humans. Some may be misled to think that being "normal", conforming to society, is what God is asking of them when these discussions come up. That's not the case at all. What we're attracted to hardly matters in God's eyes. Lust toward a human stranger, or lust toward your pony waifu is the same; lust. What matters to God is what is in our hearts, when we face temptation of any kind. How we respond to the temptation, rather than what the temptation itself is. The devil likes to put all kinds of ideas into our heads; God equips us to deal with these ideas, no matter if the temptation is something "normal people" face, or if it's something only a few end up facing. Whatever you're facing in this department, take it up with God. Take everything up with God! Ask for His guidance. You'd be surprised how much help God can be in your life ... (You'll probably slip up, but God is willing to forgive! It's not a license to just do whatever you want, but it's the highest-quality safety net possible, in case you do.) ... And believe me. Life is absolutely better, the less sin you permit into your life.

4) Waifus. Eh, pretty much a mix of everything I've said above. As long as you can keep reality in check, and avoid lust. But some people tend to get hostile in discussions about waifus. I don't know how common that really is in the brony fandom, but it at least happens in other places. Keep in mind that God calls us to love one another.

Update 2016:
5) I wanted to include a general warning not to practice astral projection. It's very understandable to want to go to Equestria, I do too, believe me, but as someone who used to astrally project, I strongly, strongly urge you not to actually attempt it yourself. It's a legitimate spiritual danger. "Astral projection" is advertised as one's spirit "ascending" to some "higher plane". In actuality, that's not true. All astral projection does is open your spirit to evil forces who want to mislead you with visions, under the guise of some kind of "higher wisdom". You do not obtain wisdom or ascend to anything by astrally projecting. You do not. But going back to MLP, keep in mind that Equestria is fictional. And even if it weren't, astral projection would not be the proper way to go there. But Equestria is fictional. Just keep what I said in mind.

That's everything that God is really guiding me to write about right now. If more comes up later, I'll add it. If you have any questions about anything, you can ... well, pray to God directly, for one thing. But you can also email me at imperialkodnarok [AT] gmail [DOT] com although God's answers will of course be more reliable than mine! I pray this post helps you. 

God bless you all and guide you all according to His perfect will! In Jesus' name. Amen. 

By the way, are you skeptical about Jesus? Check out the link! There's some information to consider.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Whitewashed Tombs

There are people who may criticize some of the music I like to listen to. Being a Christian, some people may expect me to listen to the music you see on store shelves; an artist wearing a nice suit or dress on the album cover, smiling; the music consisting of a very soft, relaxed style or a "powerful", but restrained, emotional style. Some people, as it were, may criticize my choice to listen to Christian music like this:

But how bad, really, is this music?

Back in the day, I probably would have avoided music like this because it was too noisy for my tastes. Back then, I listened to some music with satanic lyrics, but I justified it by seeking out music that was performed by talented people. The music had an inner wickedness to it, but it sounded cool, so I, mistakenly, wasn't very concerned.

But what was probably even worse was a lot of the music I liked that didn't have satanic lyrics. I liked to listen to a lot of atmospheric black metal. Even today, I can appreciate music with atmosphere... I can even appreciate the same style of music when made for the right reasons, but the issue wasn't the style that was being played. The issue was the inner darkness to it. It wasn't obvious at all, at the time. A lot of the music I'm talking about had nature samples, or nice-sounding pianos and relaxing keyboards. Songs often had extended periods of relaxing ambiance, or reverberated guitar riffs that painted large nature scenes. The lyrics largely spoke of the grandeur of nature, or of space, or whatever. For a good portion of the time, no questionable symbols were to be found; no satanism in the lyrics; everything seemed fine. But it still had an inner darkness to it that I didn't recognize until much later on.

My suspicions were verified when I began to realize just how many of these projects, sounding beautiful at first glance, having nice space or forest photos for album art, and talking about innocent nature subjects, consisted of people who wore pentagrams, or also played in very dark satanic projects. Or at the very least, also played in projects that just seemed very, very questionable somehow.

The idea of the "whitewashed tombs" came to mind a few months ago.

That phrase typically refers to people who appear nice or righteous on the outside, but are very dark and wicked in their hearts. For instance, those televangelists who talk about "sowing faith seeds" by giving money to them. An action which, may I add, is EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN IN SCRIPTURE. But at the same time, it definitely applies to the kind of music I used to like.

The music I used to like sounded nice with the artistic keyboards, and looked nice with the beautiful photography, and seemed different from the typical "satanic" music in the scene, but was still satanic at heart. I wonder how many are deceived by things like that.

I pray that they see this post and take it to heart. That idea is why I'm writing this post.

But on a side-note, I often think of unblack metal as the exact opposite. The song I linked at the beginning of this post sounds extremely dark. It looks extremely dark. But it isn't dark. Music like that is powerful to me, it has the same impact on me as traditional hymns have for others. It's made for God, and the noise and ear-piercing shrieking serves as a reminder to me of God's strength and the good He's done for me. I personally chalk this up to Romans 14; some of you may feel that such music is still wrong to listen to, even if it's made with the intent of praising God. I do not want to convince you otherwise, if God is truly telling you to believe that.

But no matter how you feel about Christian black metal, just be aware that in the rest of society, not all "dark" or "evil" things take on a dark/ugly appearance, and not all are marked with pentagrams.

May God bless and guide you all according to His perfect will. In Jesus' name. Amen.