Month: January 2015

Canadian Christian university wins major court battle against Nova Scotia law society

Trinity Western University (TWU) is a private Evangelical Christian university based in Langley, British Columbia, Canada. The school founded in 1962 has about 3,500 students. Both Canadian and American accreditation bodies recognize TWU’s degrees. In 2014, Trinity made application to issue a law degree, allowing graduating students to become lawyers. According to an article in The Globe and Mail, in order to issue a law degree a university “must receive approval from three bodies: The ministry, the provincial law society and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.” TWU’s announcement caused a backlash from three provincial law societies — Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Ontario — who said they would not recognize a law degree from the University.

When Paul encouraged prayer for secular leaders was he thinking ahead of Hustler magazine?

[by Dean Smith] A recent article in the National Journal reports that Harry Flynt, the founder of the porn magazine Hustler, has been sending unsolicited copies of the publication to American politicians in Washington DC since 1983. It arrives every month in an unmarked manilla envelope. And every month staffers open it. Who knows why Flynt does it? We can only guess. But many assume he is trying to influence them.

What is a massive oak forest doing at the bottom of the North Sea?

Dawn Watson and Rob Spray were scuba diving about 300 meters off the the coast of Cley Next to the Sea, Norfolk, England when Dawn made an incredible discovery. Cley Next to the Sea is located on Britain’s North coast bordering the North Sea. Dawn found a forest of oak trees at the bottom of the ocean. This included complete, but now fallen trees, some with branches 24 feet long (8 meters). The forest, previously buried in the sand, was probably uncovered by a recent storm in the area. A survey of the forest suggests at one point it may have stretched from England to Europe, covering thousands of acres.

Did the Genesis’ flood separate England from Europe?

For decades, it was thought a land bridge that once connected Britain to Europe had disappeared through a combination of slow erosion and rising seas. Some believe this separation took place over one million years ago. However, that popular theory was tossed into the trash bin because of a 2006 study that was conducted on how England was populated. As part of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project (AHOB), researchers scanned the English Channel several kilometers off the coast of Sussex looking for examples of human settlement.

First to the Pole

[by Earl Blacklock] Robert E. Peary was the first to lead a successful conquest of the North Pole, one of the great achievements of history. However, the measure of the man can be found in what happened after his return. Peary had made previous expeditions to the North, including a failed attempt to reach the pole in 1906. He and his men came within 174 miles before they had to turn back, barely alive. In 1908, at the age of 52, Peary knew he was facing his final chance to reach the pole. He planned his expedition carefully. A thick-hulled ship named the Roosevelt carried him to Cape York, Greenland. There he met his Inuit helpers and their families, who knew him well from his previous expeditions. They came on board for the journey to the jumping off point at Cape Columbia, the northernmost point of Canada. There, they spent the winter locked in ice. The Inuit hunted for extra food, and they built sledges for the journey.

Birthing through prayer.

A woman’s perspective: Birthing through prayer

[by Barb Smith] Lately, I have been thinking back to the days when my husband and I looked to adoption as a way to have children we could not produce on our own. We had gone for prayer and then went through a battery of fertility tests and procedures to no avail, because God had a different plan. After two years of pursuing adoption through private and government agencies, our hopes for a child faded. As a final option, we considered international adoption and pursued various avenues.

Rev Franklin Graham and Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren on a terrifying elevator ride in Vietnam

On a January 22, 2015 blog post, Fox News’ commentator Greta Van Susteren tells the tale of a terrifying, ten minute elevator ride she recently had in Vietnam. Greta along with Franklin Graham and four others were riding up the elevator to the offices of Samaritan’s Purse on the 32nd floor of a Hanoi sky rise. Franklin Graham is the son of Billy Graham and president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian relief organization. As the elevator passed the 24th floor, it suddenly stopped, jerked and then dropped. It jerked and dropped three more times and then briefly stopped. They were terrified it would give way and plummet 24 floors to the ground. Though it was a serious situation, I smiled at the comment Franklin Graham made. He said: “If it goes down, I’m going up.”

Do you fish for compliments? Photo: Storm Crypt/Foter/CC BY-NC-ND

True confessions: I was a “glory” junkie

[by Dean Smith] It was not a shining moment in my life. The pressure had been building and finally I couldn’t take it anymore. Slowly, I got up from my desk and walked down the hall to a co-worker’s office. Stepping into his doorway, I asked him what he thought of the last issue of the publication I worked on. I thought I had cleverly worded the question so he wouldn’t think I was fishing for a compliment. I remember the awkward silence, the pained look on his face, and then the forced compliment.

Putra Mosque photo: naimfadil/Foter/CC BY SA

Former Muslim imam says the Qur’an is the reason he converted to Christianity

[by Dean Smith] Mario Joseph is a Catholic teacher/evangelist living and ministering in India. He differs from a priest in that he is married with children. He also differs in another respect — he was a Muslim imam before his conversion. He grew up in an area of India that was predominantly Muslim and Hindu with few Christians. His family were strong Muslims and Mario was sent to Qur’an school at the age of 8. By the time he was 18, Mario was serving as an imam in his local mosque. In this video, Mario provides the fascinating details of his conversion from Islam to Christianity. It starts, oddly enough, because of question asked in a mosque where he was teaching.

Snow in Seattle, but they promised no snow! Photo: Chuck.Taylor/Foter/CC BY-ND

How 38 became 100: The Global Warming math

[by Dean Smith] You may have heard the recent announcement by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) that 2014 was the warmest year on record. Though news organizations broadcast the story around the world, the Daily Mail reported there was a bit of fine print and funny math missing from GISS’ news release sent out Friday, January 17th, suggesting all is not what it seems.

Did NEOWISE discover news of an apocalyptic nature?

[by Dean Smith] NASA has a program called the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) which, using a satellite with infrared telescopes, scours space looking for asteroids that might prove dangerous to earth. According to an article in The Register, NASA launched the satellite in 2009. It shut down the main telescope in September 2010 when it ran out of frozen hydrogen necessary to keep it cool. NASA put the remaining three telescopes into hibernation in February 2011. In December 2013, NASA reactivated the three working telescopes. And once again they began scanning the heavens above earth looking for lethal asteroids — anything in excess of 110 meters in size and within 7.5 million miles of earth.

The banker with interest — in others

[by Earl Blacklock] Amadeo Pietro Giannini was an innovative banker who was responsible for most of the services we now consider part of what we can expect from our neighborhood bank. Where other banks opened from 10 to 3 weekdays, Giannini’s Bank of Italy opened from 9 to 5 every day but Sunday. Where other banks limited their business to businesses and industry, Giannini served the middle income wage earners from convenient branches. Where other bank executives closeted themselves in expensive offices, Giannini insisted his executives be out on the floor, visible and accessible. The bank was consistent in making a profit, even in the midst of the worst economic conditions. Only two years after starting the bank, Giannini’s biggest challenge arose with the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. He saw the challenge as an opportunity, however.

Oldest known Gospel fragment found inside a Mummy mask?

[by Dean Smith] For the average person in first century AD, mummy masks used to cover the face of the deceased were made from layers of papyri, glued together and shaped to look like the person’s face. Only the rich and famous could afford the finer plaster masks. And with papyrus being pricey, previously used papyrus was the material of choice. Nothing was sacred. They would use everything from philosophical discussions to letters, business documents and apparently even Biblical texts.

DMADV and other funny words

What Nehemiah Did and How You Can Do Anything: chapter 2: Define What You Do [by Sandy McIntosh] We can do great things, with the right tools. Nehemiah did impossible things that changed history, in a good way. His story shows us how to start. Nehemiah was passionate about his nation and the city of Jerusalem, where the temple of God was, but he had a few deficits. He was a slave to the king, and probably an old man. He was probably also a “saris” a eunuch with no family. On the good side the emperor trusted Nehemiah and kept him as a top government employee. There were so many reasons to stay home and send someone else.

Egyptian ruins Photo: Dorena wm/foter/CC BY-ND

Another confirmation of Exodus: Has a statue of Joseph been found?

If you ever watch any movies about the Exodus, they usually portray Ramses as the Pharaoh. One thing secularists have complained about is the lack of extra-Biblical evidence of the Exodus in archaeological excavations in Egypt. The Biblical portrayal of the ten plagues as being catastrophic and national would certainly call for a mention somewhere, they suggest. Well there are such mentions but the problem is we are not looking at the right Pharaoh. The Ipuwer Papyrus, on display in a Dutch museum, lists six of the plagues including water turning to blood and a great darkness. But it dates to a period connected to the Hyksos who ruled Egypt many centuries before Ramses. A second, the Ahmose Tempest Stela, goes into detail on a great darkness that covered Egypt — again dated to the Hyksos period. There is now a third confirmation — possibly a statue of Joseph — also from the time of the Hyksos, but at the beginning of their reign. Who in the world are the Hyksos? Around 2000 BC, a …

Did Jesus own a home in Capernaum?

Many have the impression Jesus was an itinerant preacher, traveling from place to place around Galilee preaching the Gospel. However, there is a hint that early on Jesus had His own house. In Mark 2, we have the account of Jesus being at a house in Capernaum. So many people had gathered that a group of men were forced to cut a hole in the roof to lower their paralytic friend down to Jesus for healing. But notice what Mark says in verse 1: When He [Jesus] had come back to Capernaum several days afterward; it was heard that He was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even near the door; and He was speaking to them. (NASV) It talks about this house being Jesus’ home. By the size of the crowd it was obvious Jesus was a bit of a celebrity in the city. This verse also suggests it was not the first time people had gathered at Jesus’ house, as people were waiting for …

Imam expresses concern about rapid increase in Muslim converts since terrorist attack in Ottawa

[by Dean Smith] According to an article in the National Post, there has been a sharp increase in people converting to Islam since the terrorist attack on Canada’s House of Commons in Ottawa this past fall. The attack on Canada’s parliament by a lone terrorist took place on October 22, 2014. Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who converted to Islam in 2004, killed a soldier guarding the War Memorial on Parliament Hill. Armed with a 30-30 Winchester, he then made his way to the House of Commons, where Members of Parliament of both the governing Conservative Party and Liberal Party were having Caucus meetings. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was also in attendance.

Marriage success not defined by wedding expense

[by Dean Smith] A study by two economic professors, Hugo Mialon and Andrew Francis, from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia discovered there is an inverse relationship between how much was spent on a wedding and the success of the marriage. One would typically think the more you spent on the wedding the longer a marriage would last. In fact, the opposite is the case. According to an article on CNN, they found divorce rates for weddings costing over $20,000 were 1.6 times higher than for weddings ranging between $5,000 and $10,000. Weddings costing less than a $1,000 were also more successful than the average marriage.

How Leonard Knight’s dream became Salvation Mountain

[by Dean Smith] If you ever wander into the Colorado Desert, Northeast of Niland, California, you will come across a strange place called Salvation Mountain. It testifies of one man’s faith, dream and determination. (Click here to view photos of Salvation Mountain.) After accepting Christ in 1967, Leonard Knight (1931 – 2014) had a dream to build a hot air balloon with the message “God is Love” emblazoned in bold red color on the fabric. After failing to raise enough money to buy one, he decided to sew his own. While working as a truck driver in Quartzite, Arizona in 1984, Leonard tried to fly it, but the balloon wouldn’t hold air. Defeated, he was preparing to move on when he decided to stay an extra week and build a small monument to Christ along the banks of a now dried river bed across the border in California. He grabbed a bag of cement, some paint and set to work. This was the beginning of Salvation Mountain and until his death, Leonard never left.

For 12 years, everyone thought he was in a vegetative state, but he wasn’t

When he was 12 years old, doctors diagnosed Martin Pistorius with Cryptococci Meningitis. Meningitis involves the inflammation of the meninges which covers the brain and spinal cord. This particular form is caused by Cryptococcus neoformans a fungus found in bird droppings in the soil. Untreated, it can lead to brain damage, coma and ultimately death. The unfortunate part is that the symptoms initially develop very slowly, making it difficult to detect. Shortly after diagnosis, Martin stopped speaking and moving and entered a vegetative state. The doctors told his parents, Rodney and Joan Pistorius, there was nothing that could be done. Martin was sent home with the expectation he would soon die.

Photo Ed Suominen/Foter/cc by-nc

Burn Baby Burn

[by Sandy McIntosh] This is the first step in “What Nehemiah Did and How You Can Do Anything.” And you can do anything; just don’t move until you are on fire. A few years ago I was called to a meeting at work where I was told that my position was terminated, and then someone from HR slid a piece of paper across the table. On the paper were the details of my termination settlement, which was very generous. I was one of many, but it felt personal. Today my life is better; I have switched from career to contract work and I do less work for more money, with more freedom. Who can argue with that?

The righteous prisoner

[by Earl Blacklock] Father Pierre was a defrocked priest who, convicted of murder, had been sentenced to life at hard labor at the infamous Devil’s Island penal colony. The evidence against him seemed conclusive. The widow he was accused of killing, who had made him her beneficiary, was known to be fearful, keeping her door bolted after sundown. Tracks in the snow led from the widow’s house to the rear of the church. And his blood-stained cassock was buried in the rectory garden. He proclaimed his innocence, but would say nothing more, and he was convicted. Hard labor at Devil’s Island meant hours of work in the jungle, felling trees or doing whatever else the authorities demanded. Malaria and other tropical diseases were constant companions. Father Pierre always did his share and more, helping those who were weaker to finish their assigned duties.

Ethics without God?

[by Dean Smith] The Boston Globe is reporting that 64 students at Dartmouth College, based in Hanover, New Hampshire, were disciplined, ironically, for cheating on a sports ethics class. Dartmouth, founded in 1769 by a Christian minister, is an Ivy league school. Over 70% of the 280 students in the class were part of Dartmouth’s athletic programs. During exams, students use electronic devices to click the right answer. In this particular class, some students, who didn’t show up for the exam, had given their devices to other students to answer the questions for them.

change-SomeDriftwood_Foter_CC_BY-NC

A Woman’s Perspective: Change

[by Linda Wilson] When everything is changing, it feels like shifting ground beneath my feet. I have felt this many times and I’m sure I will feel it again. After all things change: people move on, children grow up, careers end. The list is unending really. Change is inevitable, whether I like it or not. I went through a season of change this past summer and fall. Firstly, I was dealing with some health issues and reduced work hours. Also, in October my daughter had surgery and my husband had some medical tests, both on the same day. But the biggest change came when my son moved away for work after graduating from university.

Wife of ‘Duck Dynasty’ star confesses she had an abortion and has regretted it ever since

In a recent interview, Lisa Robertson, the wife of Alan Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame, spoke of her regret on having an abortion after an affair. She and her husband Alan were being interviewed by HuffPost Live TV. Duck Dynasty is A&E’s popular reality show that features the Robertson clan who own Duck Commander, a duck-call manufacturer. The family members, who are all Christians, are very bold about their faith, even during the program. Alan is the oldest son of Phil and Kay Robertson who started Duck Commander. Lisa and Alan had gotten together as young teenagers. They were separated for a time when Alan took off to New Orleans to find himself. While he was gone, Lisa turned to sex and drugs.  She ended up in a relationship with an older man and became pregnant at age 16. She decided to have an abortion.

Let your trials create stress-wood faith

[by Dean Smith] Biosphere 2, located in Oracle, Arizona, is a 3.14 acre (1.3 hectare) controlled environment that researchers have used for various projects. The giant enclosed glass dome, constructed between 1987 to 1991, contains a variety of environments including rain forest, savannah, desert and even oceans. For decades, it has been used for agricultural research and even for planning how domed environments could function on other planets. As these different environments were created, the researchers made an interesting discovery. When they planted various types of trees, they found in this perfect environment the trees grew much quicker than they did in the wild. However, before the trees reached their full size, many toppled over or began to lean.

Jesus washes his hands of the decision to execute Jesus.

Has the place where Jesus was sentenced to death been discovered?

[by Dean Smith] According to an article in the Washington Post, archaeologists may have discovered the very place where Pilate sentenced Jesus to die on the cross. Fifteen years ago, while working in a building beside the Tower of David Museum, archaeologists discovered a massive structure below the floor boards of the building which had originally served as a prison for the Ottomans and as well the British during the 1940s. As they continued their work, they uncovered what is now believed to be the remains of Herod’s massive palace — including its walls and sewage system. It is generally agreed that Herod’s palace was located on the western side of Old Jerusalem, putting it near the Tower of David museum.

The Mikado’s Unseen Interpreter

[by Earl Blacklock] Prior to 1854, Japan was a reclusive nation ruled by a shogunate that had isolated the nation for 200 years. When Commander Perry sailed into Tokyo harbour aboard the frigate Susquehanna, he demanded a treaty between the two nations that would guarantee the safety of shipwrecked American sailors and allow American ships to refuel on their way to Asian markets. Much has been made of the threat that the American guns posed to the Japanese that day. Less known is the story of the role played by a Japanese man who had returned to Japan after being rescued by American sailors. Nakahama Manjirō was only 14 when, in 1841, he was shipwrecked with four others. They made it to an island where they survived for six months. They were rescued by the American whaler ship John Howland and taken to Honolulu.

Over a quarter of the passengers in AirAsia crash attended the same Pentecostal church

According to reports, over 25% of the people killed in the AirAsia crash at the end of December attended the same Pentecostal church in Indonesia. While on a trip from Indonesia to Singapore, Flight QZ8501 crashed into the ocean on December 28, 2014, killing all 162 on board. Severe weather was a contributing factor in the crash. 41 of the passengers attended Mawar Sharon Church in Surabaya, Indonesia. It is one of the largest mega-churches in Asia with 17,000 attendees and is part of the Mawar denomination, a pentecostal group in Indonesia with 45,000 members.

Oh Those Americans

[by Sandy McIntosh] I am writing about “What Nehemiah Did and How You Can Do Anything” and this is the first step; we must un-learn before we learn, forget what you know and retrain. Nehemiah is not in this story. In his place I present another famous man. Do you know some of the heroes of American history; George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, maybe Teddy Roosevelt? Yes, but how much do you know about Charles Grandison Finney? You might have to go to a Bible College to learn about Finney. He was a revival preacher, college president, and anti-slavery activist and he influenced American history as much any other famous character. We mostly remember political and military heroes.

Alice Cooper warns satan is real and he owns the world

[by Dean Smith] Alice Cooper, 66, was a mega-rock star during the 70s and 80s. He won many awards including having his original band nominated to the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 2011. Some of his hits include “School’s out” and “I’m 18.” But Cooper, who’s real name is Vincent Damon Furnier, went one step further. His fans called Cooper the “Godfather of Shock Rock.” He dressed demoniacal during his shows that included such props as a guillotine, fake blood and boa constrictors. He performed bizarre acts including mock suicides and decapitating baby dolls. Cooper came from a religious home. Both his father and grandfather were lay preachers. But as he grew older, Cooper shoved his faith aside and threw himself into everything the world offered as his band gained fame.

Yet another confirmation of the Jews exodus out of Egypt?

[by Dean Smith] When you read of Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt in the Book of Exodus, the Bible records the country undergoing ten significant plagues or judgments before the Egyptian Pharaoh finally allowed the Jews to leave. The plagues were catastrophic and some have suggested that something of this magnitude should be mentioned in the Egyptian records. And in fact there is. First we have the Leiden I 344 papyrus on display at the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, Holland. It presents the Exodus plagues from an Egyptian perspective.  It refers to six of the plagues including the water turning to blood and a massive darkness on the land. However, there is yet a another artifact that supports the Exodus account. It is called the “Ahmose Tempest Stela” or “Storm Stela.” The broken pieces of the stela were discovered between 1947 and 1951.  A stela is an upright slab of rock used to remember or commemorate significant events in a nation’s history.