Thursday, March 29, 2012

Authors Corner: "The Ramifications of Our Salvation" by John Rataczak

John Rataczak has a heart to reach people with the Gospel, and to bring a deeper appreciation of God’s gift to those who’ve already experienced His saving grace. To this end, he’s written a book called The Ramifications of Our Salvation.

Q: John, what inspired you to write "The Ramifications of Our Salvation?"
A: After teaching in three Christian colleges, I felt the Lord leading me to enter a pastoral ministry.  There was no doubt about what to preach the first Sunday because it was Easter…but the next day, I asked myself, "Now what?" I had never pastored before!

God's answer came two-fold: First, preach the doctrine of salvation until you understand the needs of the people. And second, visit people.

So I came up with a series of doctrinal sermons entitled "The Ramifications of Our Salvation." Since that day, through pastoring and preaching to fill many pulpits, I’ve discovered that churches are full of people who know they are saved; but they know very little about the biblical “ramification” of being born again [how it affects them, their lives]. That’s my reason for writing the book.
Q: Does the book explain “salvation”?
A: It explains salvation from eternity past (how God planned it) to eternity future (heaven). It has thirty-five short chapters, explaining everything from propitiation* to justification; four quizzes, a final exam, and an answer key at the end.

*(propitiation = how Jesus’ blood reconciles sinners with God)

Q: Can anyone grasp the concept? A: The book is intended for all believers old enough to know they're genuinely saved. Everyone from young people in junior high to older saints in their 80s can read and benefit from it. The book can be used in small group Bible studies, personal devotions, discipleship training, or Sunday School classes. And there’s an invitation for unbelievers to learn how to accept the Lord in the final chapter.

Believers will come away with a much better appreciation of the salvation God provided for us when Christ died on the cross. 

John is the founder and sole proprietor of Eleutheros Books, through which he published The Ramifications of Our Salvation. See a preview or buy the book at the Eleutheros website, or at in paperback or Kindle.

A little more about John: He became involved in full time Christian work while at Bob Jones University. He has a B.A. in Bible, an M.A. in Pastoral Studies, and a Ph.D. in New Testament Text, and has taught Greek and Hebrew along with classes in theology, apologetics, church history and more. But he adds sports to his background beside education - he’s been a soccer coach in two ministries.

“I’m also a proud father to two sons, and I love studying the Word and winning lost folks to Christ,” he says.

(See info on my own books in the near right-hand column.)
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Friday, March 23, 2012

Who's Causing the real "War on Women"?

Warning: Graphic examples.

We're living in a time when Republicans are being accused of perpetrating "violence against women" by not favoring abortion or free contraception to liberal college kids who have indiscriminate sex with every dating partner.

The White House and mainstream media claim that conservative candidates and personalities like Rush Limbaugh are leading a “War on Women.” But while Limbaugh apologized to the liberal-minded Georgetown student Sandra Fluke, Bill Maher and his ilk can keep saying whatever they want about conservative women.

In one of her recent Capitol Hill testimonies, Fluke said we need a litmus test to ensure that female politicians are “pro-woman,” and it should go for men, too.

So, because I’m a conservative woman who’s against the free contraception mandate she wants, I’m obviously anti-woman. We conservative women, we hate ourselves and other women.

Does anyone beside me see how ridiculous this sounds?

I wrote an earlier article about the increase in Hollywood’s graphic, realistic violence against women in TV and movies. The majority of time, and for a longer number of minutes, we see all the staged blood, gore, rape and mortal wounds perpetrated on the female victims, while we get only momentary shots of the bloody crimes on men.

Where are the liberal "pro-woman" women who could object to these shows? Or does a "pro-woman" woman approve? I don't hear any noise out of the liberal feminists.

Women are put in such a bad light as Bad Girls’ Club, verbally crucifying each other, half-dressed and cursing for 60 minutes – is this what it takes to be a “pro-woman” woman?

Why are the liberal “pro-woman” women silent when Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Laura Ingraham get slandered and called mindless sluts?

Where are these liberal “pro-woman” women when the Girl Scouts promote booklets like "Healthy, Happy and Hot" that advise girls it’s OK to allow rough and unprotected sex?

Where are they when magazines dress 13-year-old models to look like 20-year-olds who just finished having sex?

Where are they when Dance Moms teaches 6 and 7-year-old girls to dance like strip clubbers and that they should think things like “you can’t afford me” to make the dance look realistic?

Where are these liberal “pro-woman” women when models and actresses appear near-naked on magazine covers next to phrases like “Outlandish things your man loves in bed,” or "These Are the Days of Hookups and Skype Sex," while non-sexual men’s magazines feature articles on how men can gain muscle or improve their finances? 

Where are these liberal “pro-woman” women when female characters are graphically shown having sex with their bosses and clients in order to get ahead in their jobs, like in House of Lies

There are female producers and directors of porn videos, where the “actresses” allow men to ejaculate on their faces – Is this what it takes to be “pro-woman”?

The Real War on Women

The terms “reproductive rights” and “pro-choice” are masking the real war on women. These liberal “pro-woman” women refuse to acknowledge the mountain of statistics of the physical, emotional, psychological and relational pain that post-abortive women experience for years afterward. Or the emotional damage caused by "hooking up" with a multitude of partners. Don’t they love their fellow women enough to help them make healthier choices than abortion or casual sex hookups?

And about those men, like actor Ed Harris who once said that President Bush was not a real man because he didn’t approve of abortion – is this what it takes to be a “pro-woman" man?

Where are these liberal people during the exploitation of women, and why don’t they consider all these things a "war on women"?
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Roundup: U.S. Christian Discrimination Cases mount in 2012

Already in 2012, we've seen a slew of discrimination cases against Christians in the U.S. Here's a roundup of some of the worst. Although Christian groups are the first target, some schools and cities are installing across-the-board stipulations against religious groups. This contradicts the First Amendment. Follow the red links for more info on each case.

School gives religious groups until April to comply with Non-Discrimination policy -
Vanderbilt University in Nashville says religious clubs including the Christian Legal Society can’t make group leaders adhere to statements of faith. A dangerous precedent was set by a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving Hastings College of Law (San Francisco). The Court upheld the school’s demand that their chapter of the Christian Legal Society must allow people who don’t hold the same beliefs to join and even become leaders. See analysis of pros and cons here at (CLS v Martinez).

Student bullied by School Officials for supporting Biblical view of Family -
School officials at Shawano High School in Wisconsin invited a pro/con discussion about traditional and gay adoption in the school newspaper. But after the two sides were written, the boy who wrote on the side of traditional adoption was censored, punished, grilled by school staff without his parents' knowledge, accused of violating the school’s anti-bullying policy, threatened with suspension, and told he should regret what he wrote. The boy quoted Bible verses, but didn’t display any personal dislike or hatred. Yet, the school “apologized” to the other students for the boy’s biblical viewpoint...
Liberty Counsel has sent a letter to Shawano demanding they apologize to the 15-year-old for unconstitutional and irrational censorship, humiliation and violation of his First Amendment rights. And in a surprising move, The American College of Pediatricians also sent a letter to the School District Superintendent, cautioning him  not to react adversely to the student because of political pressure.

Public Library denies access for Christian law firm's meeting - 
Liberty Counsel, the law firm that fights for Christian rights like in cases above, was itself denied access at the Public Library of Seaside, Oregon. The nonprofit legal firm wanted to hold an educational meeting including religious content. 
The only reason given for the denial was the organization’s intent to provide educational training from a religious perspective. Other nonprofit groups are allowed to meet. A lawsuit has been filed.

Town suspends traditional prayers at meetings -
In Franklin, Vermont, one woman objected to a Christian pastor being repeatedly invited to open town meetings with prayer. She’s now supported by the ACLU in suing the town to stop the prayers, on the grounds that prayers “compel” hearers to attend religious worship. Franklin officials have suspended the prayer time upon advice from their lawyer.

Justice Department continues prosecuting Pro-Lifer -
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been prosecuting a pro-life educator for allegedly obstructing the entrance to an abortion clinic. But there is no evidence she was doing anything to violate the Freedom of Access Act. Holder’s case was thrown out by a federal court judge. However, Holder will pursue this relentless prosecution (Holder v Pine) to a higher court.
According to a Liberty Counsel News Release, the lack of evidence
caused Judge Ryskamp to write (paraphrased): The Court can only wonder whether this action was the product of a concerted effort between the Government and the plaintiff, which began well before the date of the incident at issue, to quell the defendant’s activities.

Wisconsin Schools allow Muslim students to pray during class time -
The principal says they can get up during class if they don’t disrupt the class (how will this not be disruptive?) miss “a minute or two of instruction” and that “the loss is minimal." This is a politically correct double standard, as the next case shows:

Christian students prevented from reading Bible on school grounds even during recess -
Although the incident happened in 2009, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio has just agreed to weigh the arguments in this case in which a lower court sided with the school district, stating children couldn’t even read the Bible on their own time.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Education’s document, Religious Expression in Public Schools, students cannot be prohibited from using their private time, even if on school grounds, to pray or read religious texts. The problem is, educators aren’t receiving this document.

Chick-fil-A blocked from college campus -
Under pressure from campus tolerance activists, the student government at Northeastern University in Boston has voted against  bringing a Chick-fil-A franchise on campus. Chick-fil-A promotes traditional values that some students and faculty don’t agree with, so they consider it to be “hate speech.”

New York schools stop churches from renting meeting space -
Due to a February injunction, the New York City School board is temporarily barred from forbidding churches to meet or hold events in public schools. Earlier this year, the board ruled against churches using school property, while still allowing other kinds of groups to rent. According to Speak, other religious groups, including Buddhist, Jewish and Muslim, meet in the schools. But a ruling in favor of the school board could rule out all religious groups.

(The writer of this article is not connected with, or receiving any compensation from, companies or organizations mentioned herein.)
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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Author's corner: "Fresh Hope...Cleveland" by Nanci J. Gravill

In Fresh Hope…Cleveland, author Nanci J. Gravill shares information and successful strategies that helped her navigate through five years of difficulties. People think because she had breast cancer her book’s about cancer. “Oh no!” she tells them. Fresh Hope…Cleveland is all about the great things she discovered along her journey. It’s about RESOURCES. The subtitle is, Resources to Help You Navigate through Unsettled Times.

Is your book strictly for Cleveland?

“No. There are about 12 things in the first section that relate to Cleveland. But they’re the kind of resources you can find in any city. From the beginning, we wanted to do the book as a template with various versions for other cities. That may happen in the future…

Fresh Hope…Cleveland gives ideas on how to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your dollars along with creative living ideas that will inspire you. In a sense the book provides wisdom at a time when you may need it most. Waiting for answers and opportunities to arrive is part of life. But how will you wait? How will you cope?

This practical guide and workbook shows inventive ways to manage those challenges along with healthcare services, job and mortgage information, emergency contacts, prayer hotline numbers, books, classes at churches, and more. All are backed up by God’s Word. Because the most important resource you could ever possess is a relationship with God.”

Nanci has included workspace areas to record your own ideas, charming vignettes, and quotes full of inspiration. Fresh Hope…Cleveland is endorsed by a pastor/clinical social worker and a Christian psychologist along with several people from a focus group she conducted.

What led you to write Fresh Hope...Cleveland?

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2003. As a result of difficulties from surgery, I had over two years of physical therapy and worked with the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation to try and return to work...

 However, my work became writing a book. I didn’t return to work in the traditional sense after cancer. As a substitute teacher at the time, I didn’t have a paycheck coming in. That caused me to go through all my investments, savings and retirement funds. Food stamps and food pantries put food on the table for me for those years. I also hunted around for creative way to  s-t-r-e-t-c-h what money I had left. At the same time I found healthy ways to manage my emotions and deal with the circumstances in my life. Counseling also helped me deal with the loss of my friends, family, church, and health insurance. The losses I suffered made me stronger and caused me to rely totally upon God!”

What’s the central theme of the book, if you had to name one or two things?

“One, you play a big part in your own success – no matter how difficult things are. You do your part and God will do His. Two, you are stronger than you think. The way you view your own experience, along with your attitude, those things are key to building a strong life. No matter what happens, don’t give up! As the Bible indicates, “All things work together for good.” I can say without a doubt – they do!”

Fresh Hope...Cleveland is published by WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers and is available in both eBook and soft-cover, printed versions here at WestBow.

Nanci concludes: “I have three wonderful nieces who live in Seattle, Washington. The book is dedicated to these three inspiring young women.” Find Nanci’s blog at

(See info on my own books in the near right-hand column.)
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