Month: April 2014

Redemption Box

Often in Scripture, God teaches us deep spiritual lessons about His kingdom by comparing them to the natural world, sometimes even to the mundane things around us. When Jesus wanted to teach about His kingdom, He talked about lost money, lost sheep, farming, fishing, things that the common person could relate to.  Even the Old Testament has such examples of God using common things to teach and extend His kingdom.  An example of this is found in Exodus 4:2, where God uses the rod in Moses’ hand to show His power and be a confirmation of who He was. Some time ago I experienced such a thing and I want to encourage others by what God revealed to me, saying, “What is that in your hand?”

Are your clothes really clean? Image: Foter.com Creative Commons

Will LED lights expose our ‘filthy rags?’

“And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;” (Isaiah 64:6 NASV) Remember the old slogan, “whiter than white?” For years, laundry soap manufacturers have used a little trick to keep clothes looking white, and it has nothing to do with making them cleaner. Lighter and white clothes in particular have a tendency to yellow as they age. Over time, it can leave the impression clothes aren’t clean. To get around this, manufacturers started adding a substance to the detergent called “Florescent Whitening Agents” (FWAs). A whole range of chemicals fall into this category — including such tongue twisters as tetra-sulfonated triazole-stilbenes. The first of these FWAs was discovered in 1929, which gives you some idea how long this has been going on.

To the youth of the world -- the white stuff is called snow.

This photo is a public service announcement

April 28, 2014: This morning, I awoke to find snow covering our front yard. I was very annoyed it snowed this close to May, but I have moved on. I felt it my civic duty to post this picture, so the youth of the world would know what snow looks like. It’s the white stuff. Why is the photo necessary? On March 20, 2000, in an interview promoting man-made global warming, scientist Dr. David Viner told The Independent: “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.”

Did a “God is not Dead” sequel just play at the University of Connecticut?

[Language warning on the Video] I recently went with my daughter to watch the movie “God is not Dead.” Even aside from the message, I enjoyed it as a movie  and would recommend people watch it. Now I wonder if a sequel of that movie recently played out at the University of Connecticut. In “God is not Dead,” a university professor — played by Kevin Sorbo — requires students in his philosophy class to sign a statement that “God is Dead” to pass a section of their class. The students are essentially bullied into signing the declaration.

Oceans by Hillsong United

Hillsong United is a music-ministry of Hillsong, a church based in Sydney, Australia. The mega church considers itself a multi-site church — one church that meets in different locations throughout the city. It has four other locations and 9 extension services around Sydney. There are about 30,000 people attending the church at its various locations. Hillsong started in 1983 under Brian and Bobbie Houston, who moved to Sydney from New Zealand. Hillsong has expanded from its Sydney base and now has churches around the world including Copenhagen, Kiev, Amsterdam, Stockholm, London, Paris and Barcelona. In the video, Hillsong United sing their popular song “Oceans” for Relevant Magazine. Relevant Magazine describes itself as “twenty- and thirtysomething” group of Christians reaching out to “twenty- and thirtysomething” people. The ministry which started in 2002 has an outreach to about 2.3 million people monthly through its various media platforms — print and online.

Revelation 6:12: The Great U.S. Earthquake?

I have been doing a study of Revelation 6:12-13, where in his vision of the apocalyptic end times, the Apostle John saw an angel opening the sixth seal:  I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. (Revelation 6:12-13 NASV) God gave four signs that would show the sixth seal has been opened: (1) The appearance of a “Blood Moon” (Read: Blood moons, a sign of the times?); (2) a Solar eclipse; (3) Stars falling from the sky (read: Is ‘blind luck’ all that is stopping the opening of the Book of Revelation’s sixth seal? )and (4) a great earthquake In this article, I want to turn our attention to the Apostle John’s vision of a “Great Earthquake.”

Is ‘blind luck’ all that is stopping the opening of the Book of Revelation’s sixth seal?

Former NASA physicist and astronaut Ed Lu and astronauts Tom Jones and Bill Anders released information showing that since 2001, there have been 26 known explosions on earth as a direct result of asteroids. This is upwards of 10 times more strikes than previously thought. They state it has been “blind luck” that a populated area of the earth has not been hit by an asteroid causing major destruction and death. Asteroids are called mini-planets with some big enough to have their own moons.

The ‘Spring Citadel’: the beginning and end of David’s kingship

After the death of Saul, David officially became king of Israel. He had been anointed years earlier by the prophet Samuel, but never actually took the throne until much later. David’s first order as king was to take the city of Jerusalem from the Jebusites who occupied the city. However, the Jebusites were confident of their ability to withstand a frontal assault from David. Obviously, there was some negotiation before the battle as David tried to convince the Jebusites to surrender.

Chris Yarzab/Foter/CC BY

Can You Trust the Bible?

Scholars of the Bible are usually divided into two camps, liberals and conservatives. In the most extreme situations, these two groups despise each other. Conservative scholars generally believe that the Bible is historically accurate, and Liberals generally believe it is not. Years ago I had an English professor at a university who identified himself as a church-going Christian. When I spoke to him in his office I mentioned that my family also went to church, and he politely asked me what church we attended. When I told him, his tone changed to a sneer, and he said “Oh, so you’re a literalist.” Apparently I was a fool who believed what the Bible said. It felt like I was the target of a racial slur. That was my introduction to the mean streets of biblical historical criticism.

Second Chapter of Acts: The “Easter Song”

“The angel up on the tombstone said He has risen just as He said. Quickly now go tell the disciples that Jesus Christ is no longer dead.” Second Chapter of Acts is one of my favorite Gospel groups. They were prominent during the 70s and 80s. They had a unique style that set them apart from many groups at the time. There is not a lot of archival video footage of the band, so I was delighted when I came across video of live concert in California from 1987. The “Easter Song” is one of my favorites by the band. The group, which disbanded in 1988, is composed of two sisters Annie Herring and Nellie Greisen and brother Mathew Ward. I wrote a previous article on the group, which you can read here if you are interested in a bit of their history.

Wess Morgan sings “You Paid it All”

Wess Morgan is a relatively unknown gospel singer. He serves as both worship leader and an associate pastor at Celebration of Life Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee. His parents Joseph and Yolanda Morgan pastor the church. As a boy, John Wesley (Wess) Morgan traveled with his parents and two siblings in their singing ministry across the U.S.. However, things began to derail for Wess. He became involved in drugs and alcohol, discovering cocaine at age 15. He ended up in juvenile detention after police charged Wess with armed robbery at age 17 and was again jailed for threatening people with an axe.

Study shows even casual marijuana use affects the brain

“The interaction of marijuana with brain development could be a significant problem.” Dr Han Breiter, Professor of Psychiatry and co-study author A team of researchers has warned that even casual marijuana use can damage the brain. Previous studies have shown that significant marijuana usage by teens can have a profound impact on the person’s brain even leading to serious mental illnesses such as  schizophrenia. Now researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Harvard University have found even casual marijuana usage by teens, as little as once a week, can affect their brain. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Is New York City discriminating against Christians?

While recent revelations suggest communist China may be marginally easing its persecution of Christians, New York City seems to be heading in the opposite direction. A court has ruled that New York City can legally discriminate against Christians. The case involved the New York City Board of Education’s (NYCBE) refusal to rent schools to Christian groups for worship services over the weekend, simply because they are Christian. Meanwhile, it allowed others to rent the same property.

Is China’s ‘underground church’ making Jesus more popular than Mao on Twitter?

Well it is not exactly Twitter, it’s Weibo which is the Chinese-sanctioned version of Twitter. According to an analysis of activity on Weibo, by Tea Leaf Nation, Jesus is tweeted more times than Mao Zedong the founder of Chinese communism and famous for his “Little Red Book” of quotes, ready-made for Weibo. It appears Chinese censors (estimated at 100,000) are now allowing more religious tweets on Weibo. In the past, censors deleted religious tweets.

The man who inspired ‘God’s not dead’ movie

When Ming Wang immigrated to the U.S. from communist China in 1982, he had no idea 32 years later his story would help spark a popular Christian movie — God’s Not Dead. He landed in the U.S. with a Chinese English dictionary in one hand and $50 in the other. He was an atheist and an off spring of Mao Zedong’s cultural revolution. After being accepted into Harvard Medical School, Wang went on to become a cataract surgeon and now runs his own clinic in Nashville, Tenn. While at Harvard, Wang befriended a Christian professor who shared his faith with Wang.

Irish priest surprises couple at their wedding with a personal rendition of ‘Hallelujah’

Father Ray Kelly was marrying Chris and Leah O’Kane at the Roman Catholic church he pastors in Oldcastle, Meath Ireland. Half way through the ceremony, Father Kelly had a surprise for the couple and began to sing a hit song by Leonard Cohen called “Hallelujah.” He changed the words to sing about their marriage. The first line of the song was: “We join together here today, to help two people on their way, as Leah and Chris start their life together.”

Paralyzed woman reportedly healed during a church service in Pompeii, Italy

In April 2003, Michelina Comegna, 74, was partially paralyzed after going through treatment for breast cancer. During surgery to remove a lump in her breast, she had an aneurism which left her paralyzed. She went on to have a mastectomy and chemotherapy treatment. On March 23, 2014, during a service at a Catholic church in modern Pompeii, Italy, Comegna was reportedly healed. In an interview with a local newspaper, Gazzetta del Sud Online, Comegna told what happened:

Paga: The intercessor claims territory for God

This article is part of a series I am doing on the Hebrew word ‘paga’ translated intercession in the Old Testament. The word has a broad range of meanings that offer unique perspectives on intercession. In my earlier article, I discussed how the word was used to describe the spiritual warfare associated with intercession. Another one of the unusual ways ‘paga’ is used in the Old Testament is in staking out and claiming territory. After Israel entered the Promised Land, God gave each tribe an inheritance of land. In Joshua 16:5-7, we have a record of the territory given the tribe of Ephraim described as “the border of their inheritance.” “It went down from Janoah to Ataroth and to Naarah, then reached (paga) Jericho and came out at the Jordan.” (v 7 NASV) The word ‘paga’ is used in this passage to mark the territory or boundaries of each tribe’s inheritance. In almost every instance “paga’ described the outward border (see also Joshua 17:10, 19:11, 22, 26-27 etc). Paga is translated in this context as …

Circumcision, a vaccine?

Researchers from Australia and America say circumcision should be offered to parents in much the same way as a vaccination because of significant health benefits associated with the procedure. They said the benefits outweigh any negative effects by 100 to one. The study stated that nearly half of uncircumcised men will endure physical ailments directly related to not having their foreskin removed. This includes urinary tract infection — which can potentially damage the kidneys. Previous research showed nearly 30% of uncircumcised men will suffer from such an infection.

Historians claim to have found the ‘Holy Grail’

Two Spanish historians — Margarita Torres and Jose Ortegel del Rio — believe they have found the ‘Holy Grail.’ The ‘Holy Grail’ refers to the cup Jesus and the disciples drank from at the Last supper 2,000 years ago (Matthew 26:26-30). It has been the subject of legends for centuries. Some like Nazi leader Adolf Hitler believed anyone who possessed the grail would receive supernatural powers. It is reported that Heinrich Himmler, the Nazi S.S. leader, actually visited the Montserrat Abbey in Spain in search of the grail. The two Spanish researchers believe the ‘Holy Grail’ is in an obscure church museum located in the San Isidore Basilica in Leon, Spain. The chalice first showed up at the church in the 11th century.

The Kremlin’s Crimea Headache: Poisoned Success

Ukrainians, almost 50 million of them, are angry. They are refusing to buy Russian goods and services, and they are one of Russia’s best customers. A popular smart phone app “Boycott the Occupiers” identifies Russian bar codes in supermarkets, before purchasing. Russian imports have declined 40 percent in a few days. The world knows the news that Russia recently sent its army into Crimea, a region in the neighboring country of Ukraine. Now Crimea belongs to Russia but the angry Ukrainians supply most water, electricity, natural gas, and road and rail access to Crimea.  Since the occupation the Russian government has announced a special economic zone for Crimea, to attract investment. Vladimir Putin and his government want long-term success. 

Science shows Noah's ark could have held the animals of the world.

Physics proves Noah’s ark could hold the animals of the earth

With the controversial movie Noah showing in theaters, their timing couldn’t have been better. Physics students at the University of Leicester decided to test if Noah’s ark could have floated with two of each animal in the world on board. The students were shocked by their results. They found that the ark could have held the equivalent of 2.15 million sheep and easily done the job. Speaking on behalf of the group — made up of students Katie Raymer, Thomas Moore, Oliver Youle, Benjamin Jordan, — Moore, 22, said: You don’t think of the Bible necessarily as a scientifically accurate source of information, so I guess we were quite surprised it would work. We’re not proving that it’s true, but the concept definitely would work.”

Controversial billboard claims Jesus is a Muslim

A billboard put up in Columbus, Ohio by a Muslim group states that Jesus was a Muslim. The group — ask-a-muslim.com — has also put up other billboards stating “Mohamed is in the Bible’ and “Muslims love Jesus too.” A number of Christian groups are concerned this is an attempt by some Muslims to high-jack Jesus. One who has spoken out against the billboards is Coach Dave Daubenmire of Pass the Salt Ministries. 

A wife’s simple prayer brings her husband back to life

The man who died was actually a doctor himself. 39-year old Sean George worked as a specialist doctor at Kalgoorlie Hospital in Kalgoorlie, West Australia. On October 24, 2008, Sean was traveling from Esperance, Australia to Kalgoorlie after a training session, when he started experiencing chest pains. The persistent pain finally forced him to pull into a medical clinic in Kambaida about a half-an-hour out of Kalgoorlie. An ECG test showed Sean was having a heart attack.