Death Watch or Happiness Watch?

Would you like a watch that tells you when you will die? Buy a Tikker Watch, fill out a medical questionnaire, subtract your age from the result and you’ll get a “death score” to enter into the watch, and then the second-by-second countdown begins.

“Macabre!” you say. Who’d want to do that? That would make you miserable, surely.

Well, its inventor, Frank Colting calls it ‘The Happiness Watch’ and claims it has been designed to help people make the most of their life and cherish the time they have left.

Not many seem to be convinced. Only 200 have backed the project so far on Kickstarter.

Although, of course, no watch can predict our deaths, the selling points seem eminently biblical (e.g. Psalm 39:4). As the cartoon characters in the video tell us:

  • Knowing how long you have to live will change the way you live.
  • We must learn to cherish time and the life we have been given, to honor it, suck the marrow from it, and the best way to do this is to realize that hours, days, and seconds are passing never to come again.
  • Remembering that time is marching onwards to death will help us to choose forgiveness over anger, a smile over a frown, happiness over sadness, etc.

Or as Moses said: “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

Check out

Sorry Ladies, You Can’t Even Begin To Have It All
A realistic and refreshing assessment.

The Bizarre Misguided Attempt To Get Rid of Single-Sex Classrooms
The statistics here are remarkable. When I was a kid, I would have hated single-sex schools. Looking back now I can see huge advantages for both genders as long as there are plenty of opportunities to mix outside school. Without that, guys get pretty weird.

Letter From a Millennial who Walked Away
Read to the end for the sting in the tail.

Rosaria Butterfield Enters the Lion’s Den
Time for prayer.

Nutritional Supplements and Mental Disorders
Dr Matthew Stanford: “While there is little to no evidence for the use of most nutritional supplements in mental disorders these three do seem to be helpful.”

Jasmine’s Story
What a wonderful testimony to our life-preserving, life-giving God.

Welcome to the New Ku Klux Klan

“Hello, I’m in the Ku Klux Klan.”

What no one ever says today.


This racist organization has been so successfully and rightly stigmatized that anyone boasting of membership would be immediately ostracized and isolated.

But we’re moving rapidly towards the day when “Hello, I’m an evangelical Christian,” will have the same consequences.

This tragic development in our culture has a context though, a back-story that’s been developing for decades, and it’s ignorance of the Bible, even among Christians.

Biblical Illiteracy
In Muslims and Jews Know Their Sacred Texts: Why Don’t Christians? Roman Catholic journalist and author, Christian Odone, bemoans the widespread ignorance of the book that has done so much to shape our culture and language.

A recent survey found that only one in 20 people could name all ten commandments, and that 62 per cent of respondents did not know the tale of the Prodigal Son.

Odone basically counsels the Church of England to abandon their proposed remedy of inviting adults to enrol in a “Pilgrim” course, a kind of Sunday School for grown-ups, because the only people who’ll come are the elderly who already know their Bibles.

Instead, Odone calls the church to invest in Christian schools by teaching all grades the Bible’s stories and morals, and to fight back against those who want to shut down Christian schools as “divisive,” or dilute the teaching to avoid being “exclusive.”

Biblical Backbone
Without this backbone of biblical knowledge, “Christians will become a community filled with ignorant and therefore insecure men and women. They will feel threatened both by secularists and the followers of other religions.”

Odone contrasts the ignorance of Christians with the Muslims and Jews who do know their Koran and their Torah, thus strengthening their sense of identity. She concludes with this rallying cry:

For too long, Christians have been on automatic pilot: they were the majority, that’s all they needed to know. Well, they have been proved wrong. Their way of thinking and their way of life is now under threat everywhere. In the Middle East and Africa, they face vicious persecution, as we have seen with the recent tragedies in Nairobi and Peshawar. But in the West too, as I argue in my e-book, “No God Zone,” they face discrimination. Laws and social stigma are used against them. It’s time to fight back – by reclaiming our heritage, including above all the Bible.

Although writing in a UK context, most of what Odone says is relevant in the USA too. I disagree with her defeatism about reaching the Moms and Dads of today and focusing instruction and evangelism only on their kids. Let’s continue to believe in the power of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Bible to reach and transform even the most untaught and unholy. From what I’ve seen, evangelism that bypasses parents has limited and short-term effects. Without parental interest, support, and commitment, child evangelism’s effects last only as long as childhood.

She’s right, though, that the “Pilgrim” course is not the best vehicle for reaching the masses (the name is a marketing disaster for a start – probably designed by an aging hippy bishop), but other “stepping-stone” courses such as Christianity Explored have been very successful in bridging the gap between the church and our secular culture, and communicating the content and message of the Bible in an accessible way.

In addition to widespread biblical illiteracy, I believe that the increasing discrimination that Odone identifies at the end of her article is the greatest barrier to the future spread of Christianity in the West. She’s right, laws and social stigma are being used against us in an unprecedented way. I don’t think many Christians yet realize the extent to which the gay hobby has managed not only to de-stigmatize homosexuality, but also to stigmatize Christianity and Christians in the process.

Via education, politics, judicial decisions, movies, TV sit-coms and chat-shows, the rising generation are being gradually but powerfully persuaded to view evangelical christianity with the same horror that we would rightly associate with joining the Ku Klux Klan.

Which is not dissimilar to the stigma the first Jewish converts faced when turning to Christ as Savior. These were the worst of times, but also the best of times for the Christian church.

May God give us apostolic courage and faith, and above all an outpouring of the Spirit of Pentecost that we may not only spread the truth but stand for it regardless of consequences.

Four Life Lessons From a 5’5″ Dunker

Brandon Todd is one of the shortest men in the world that can dunk basketballs. In this video he explains how and in the process teaches us four life lessons.

Failure is essential for success: ”I failed so many times, it makes my stomach hurt…Everybody fails. The only way to get to succeeding is failing. You have to learn how to succeed. It’s just that simple. It’s not easy.”

Don’t always take the easy road: “Just because the road you choose doesn’t have pavement on it doesn’t mean you’re not to walk down it.”

“Overnight success” results from years of hard work: “Anything is possible. Anything. I’m just a small town kid from Ohio. My grandfather and my mother tell me, “Work hard, work hard, work hard, work hard.” And you’re like “Yeh, but nothing”s happening,” and then “Boom!” It’s possible.”

If Brandon Todd does this to dunk a basketball, how much more intense and intentional should Christians be in their callings and service: ”I had to do so much ridiculous training and hours and hours of jumping, lifting, and throwing stuff, just to put a little basketball inside of a cylinder that’s 10ft off the ground. And it’s still only worth 2 points. I wanted to put myself through all this pain and anguish for that one moment.”

Check out

Christianity and Homosexuality
Tim Keller reviews Washed and Waiting and Is God Anti-Gay? I’ve read Washed and Waiting and while appreciating much in it, I share Keller’s discomfort with the author’s self-identification as a gay Christian (though not practicing) because it tends to make make same-sex desires part of one’s essential identity, rather than who you are in Christ.

Have You Been Burned by a NANC Counselor?
Outstandingly courageous leadership from Heath Lambert. While rightly defending and praising much of the quality work done by biblical counselors, Heath honestly admits there have been failings and not only apologizes but also commits to greater accountability structures. Way too often the response has been “Well if you think we’re bad, let me tell you how bad secular counselors are!” as if one wrong cancels out another. I’m hugely encouraged by Heath’s initial few months as Executive Director of NANC.

Why The Church Still Needs The Seminary
I’m not posting this for purposes of self-preservation!

7 Reasons Pastors Burn Out
I’d say #1 and #7 are the most common and they are both rooted in the inability to see oneself as a limited creature with physical needs. And if you want a great remedy, you only have a few more weeks until Al Martin’s You Lift Me Up is published.

Jesus and the Old Testament in John 3:1-15
This is a great piece on how Jesus shows Himself as the fulfillment of the Old Testament in John 3, demonstrating once again that the best commentary on the New Testament is the Old Testament.

Two is better than one: Who knew?
Al Mohler reports on the pragmatic case for marriage: “Put bluntly, the failure to marry dramatically increases the likelihood of poverty and continued economic retreat.”

Children’s Bible Reading Plan

This week’s morning and evening reading plan in Word and pdf.

This week’s single reading plan for morning or evening in Word and pdf.

If you want to start at the beginning, this is the first year of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

The second year of morning and evening readings in Word and pdf.

The first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Here’s an explanation of the plan.

The daily Bible Studies gathered into individual Bible books.

Old Testament

New Testament