Month: April 2018

Last winter, Europe experienced a brutally cold winter Photo: Kiev, Ukraine Credit: Trey Ratcliff/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is the climate-change fear-mongering starting to waver?

In recent weeks, two major publications have dared to question one of the main tenants of man-made global warming — fear-mongering — predicting one catastrophe after another if we don’t reign in carbon emissions. Of course, we refer it to today as climate change, but it started out as global warming. Many still wonder why the activists wanted this name change? With the man-made climate change agenda largely driven by those on the left of the political spectrum, they have dramatically tried to shout down any dissenters. But recently, scientists and others are showing a bravery to face the barrage of criticism that comes their way when they don’t fall in line with the basic beliefs of the climate-change agenda. First it was an article in Scientific American that advised everyone to chill out because things are not nearly as bad as every one is screaming. The most recent challenge involved two climatologists, Nic Lewis and Judith Curry, who wrote a peer-reviewed study stating the climate models the activists are using to proclaim the coming …

Credit: Cindee Snider Re/Flickr/Creative Commons

Yes GQ, the Bible is Boring

Gentlemen’s Quarterly Magazine, now GQ, has decided that the Bible is a boring old book and they do not recommend it for reading. This has stirred up many Christians who are trying to defend the holy book. RELATED: GQ magazine puts Bible on list of classic books not worth reading, incurs the wrath of Christians: USA Today If you are a Christian and GQ’s criticism of the Bible offends you, note that you are being had. This is not news, this is a provocative statement invented to bother us and eventually to increase sales of the magazine. You could call it fake news. I don’t know the circulation numbers for GQ, but in general the print media is in big trouble, as we all switch to the Internet. When I go to the check-out in a supermarket I see large displays of glossy magazines, probably including GQ. What I don’t see is anyone buying a magazine. Someone must be buying those things, just not when I’m looking; that unicorn is invisible to me. We could …

Credit: Varanos/Flickr/Creative Commons

Bouncing back from disappointment

Disappointment is a ball that lands in your lap with a thud after it’s missed its mark and bounced sideways off a wall. Suddenly, it’s there and you weren’t even expecting it. Recently, I experienced a disappointment that threw me into a state of confusion and doubt, particularly about myself. But we are meant to learn from these setbacks in life even though they are not pleasant or comfortable. God’s intention is always to teach us about ourselves during these difficult times. I am learning that it is never about the person on the other side of the disappointment, it is always about what is best for me. This is God’s heart and desire and the sooner I learn the lessons from mistakes, regrets and disappointment, the sooner I will be aligned with God’s plans and purpose for my life. It’s also okay to let the ball sit there for a while, until you have had time to process what just happened. You might need a day or two to feel the different emotions attached …

Grave yard in London, England Credit: frattaglia/Flickr/Creative Commons

What is grave soaking?

There is a strange story in the Old Testament that seems to have spawned an equally weird practice among a few Charismatic churches. The prophet Elisha had died and been buried in a tomb, perhaps a cave where people of prominence were often buried. It was a difficult time and the Moabites were regularly raiding Israel. A group of men were burying a friend when they receive word a Moabite raiding party was nearby. The men were probably being mustered to repel the raiders and temporarily decided to put the body in Elisha’s tomb that was nearby, with intent of returning later to bury it. Rather than laying it carefully in the tomb, they quickly threw the body in and it inadvertently touched the bones of Elisha. When it did, the dead man came back to life (2 Kings 13:21). There was obviously some type of residual anointing still on the bones of Elisha that led to this resurrection. And this unusual account has led to a strange practice in some Christian circles called grave …

Credit: Russell Davies/Flickr/Creative Commons

Google rejects ads of Christian publisher

In a statement released on Facebook, Concordia Publishing House (CPH), operated by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) denomination, stated that Google had rejected  one of its ads because CPH’s website had Biblical content and referred to Jesus. Formed in 1847, LCMS has two million members and is evangelical in doctrine as is its publishing arm. In an article on The Federalist, Bruce Kintz, the CEO of Concordia said that they were wanting to advertise their Vacation Bible School but were rejected by Good AdWords that places ads on participating websites. Kintz said Google rejected their ad “because of the faith we express on our website.” When Concordia asked for specifics, Google referred to the organization’s Vacation Bible School page stating the “Bible Challenge would clearly need to come down before they could consider us for ads.” The Bible Challenge page referenced several Biblical passages such as: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the …

Hills of Tennessee, as seen from Tiprell, Cumberland Gap Credit: Don Sniegowski/Flickr/Creative Commons

Another unexpected Christian hero at the Waffle House shooting in Antioch, Tennessee?

Though he doesn’t consider himself particularly religious, James Shaw Jr., 29, comes from a Christian family who attends Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church in Antioch, Tennessee. Shortly after having his wounds tended in hospital, Shaw headed to church with his family. Earlier that Sunday morning, Shaw was a hero. He was in the Waffle House restaurant with friends around 3 am when a gunman walked in with an AR-15 rifle and began shooting. The killer was naked except for a green jacket. He apparently shot two people in the parking lot, before moving into the restaurant. He killed four people and wounded four others before Shaw finally stopped the massacre. Shaw remembered seeing the alleged killer, Travis Reinking, sitting in a car as Shaw walked into the restaurant. When Shaw heard the first shots, he thought someone had dropped plates. Police are calling Shaw a hero because unarmed he wrestled the rifle out of the killer’s hands forcing him to flee the restaurant. Undoubtedly more would have died, if Shaw had not intervened. However, Shaw admits …

Part of the earthly treasure of King Bluetooth, the man who Christianized the vikings, discovered

A teenage boy, Luca Malashnitschenko, 13, and his teacher Rene Schon were out with metal detectors on Rügen Island. Located in the Baltic Sea, off the northern coast of Germany, it is the country’s largest island. Then came the bleep on Luca’s detector indicating the presence of metal. When they dug down and found a splash of silver, they suspected it was probably aluminum. But once they dug it out they discovered it was a silver coin from the Viking era. When more relics and coins started appearing, they realized there was more to this find and reported it to the regional archaeology service. A team was eventually dispatched and an excavation of a 4,300 sq foot area uncovered a viking hoard consisting of coins, jewellry —  braided necklace and brooches, as well as a Thor hammer and over 600 coins that ranged in age from AD714 to 983. This included 100 coins dating to the reign of the Danish Viking King Harald Gormsson, otherwise known as Harry Bluetooth. In old Norse, the phrase is …

Sandy, second from the left, on his Nairobi adventure

I saw God in Nairobi

Many years ago, when I was a careless young man, I traveled to Nairobi, in Kenya, East Africa. I had relatives who worked as missionaries in the tea country, in the west of the country. If you know Kenya, they lived just west of Kericho, on the road to Kisumu. The drive from Nairobi, the big city, to Kericho is almost one day, with a few breaks. My relatives invited me to visit them in Kenya, and I jumped at the chance because it sounded like a great adventure. I stopped my university studies, which were starting to bore me, and a good friend agreed to travel with me. He was also bored with life. On the way to Africa, we had to change planes in London, so we took several weeks and bought railway passes and travelled anywhere that seemed interesting in Europe, with backpacks. This was all fun, including the time we got arrested for crossing the border into a communist country. They handcuffed us and then let us go after about an …

Trees spring to life. Credit: hoho_simon/Flickr/Creative Commons

Unwrapping guilt and shame

I remember feeling numb and barely able to move at times as I began to take responsibility for some of my harsh experiences in past years. Whoever else I had been blaming for my problems was no longer the issue. I had to be real and heal. Denial that I could have possibly played a part or even been responsible for some of my  experiences kept me in the dark. Denial does that. It could include denial about our part in a relationship gone wrong, a breakdown in family relationships or a situation turned bad at work. Facing the facts and focusing on the role we may have played is the first step to turning things around in our lives. When we remove denial and start owning up (being real, and honest) about some things that have not gone particularly well, we begin to move from death to life. The scales  fall from our eyes as we take responsibility (even if it was just a small part). But once we have accepted our role, we …

Southwest Airline jet Credit: David デビッド Deitering/Flickr/Creative Commons

Born again with ‘Nerves of steel’, ‘hero’ pilot Tammie Jo Shults successfully landed stricken Southwest jet

Commercial pilot Tammie Jo Shults, 56, is credited with safely landing a Boeing 737 on Tuesday, April 17, after its engine exploded resulting in shrapnel shattering a window, de-pressurizing the cabin and damaging the jet’s wing and fuselage. It resulted in one death and another seven injured. The woman who died was being sucked out of the plane, but several passengers bravely fought to keep her inside. She died later in hospital. UPDATE: USA Today wrote a story on the stetson-wearing cowboy, Tim McGinty, who along with firefighter Andrew Needum risked their lives to pull the woman back into the plane. In the interview, Tim’s wife Kristin said, “My husband loves God and believes our purpose here is to love fiercely and to serve others. Some heroes wear capes, but mine wears a cowboy hat.” Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 was on a regularly scheduled trip from New York’s La Guardia Airport to Dallas Texas, when Shults was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Shults’s journey to the pilot chair with Southwest Airlines was not an …

Chinese Christian tourists displaying the Israeli flag on the Temple Mount on April 11, 2018

Israeli flag displayed on the Temple Mount for the first time in over 50 years

It hasn’t happened for over 50 years, but an Israeli flag was proudly displayed on the Temple Mount on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. The only significant difference is that it wasn’t Jews holding the flag, but a group of Chinese Christian tourists. Though, the Temple Mount is the former home of the Jewish Temple destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, and is located in Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel, the Muslims basically control the Temple Mount that features the Muslim Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. They even have their own Jordanian Islamic security that works with Israeli police to enforce order on the Mount. For the most part, the Muslims have successfully prevented Jews from praying on the Temple Mount and even displaying symbols of the Jewish religion or Israeli nationalism such as the Israeli flag. The last time an Israeli flag appeared on the Temple Mount was shortly after the 1967 six-day war, when Israel captured East Jerusalem where the Temple Mount is located. The Israelis flew their flag …

Line up outside a Chick-fil-A restaurant. Credit: Student Association/Flickr/Creative Commons

‘The New Yorker’ magazine writes about Chick-fil-A’s ‘creepy pervasive Christian traditionalism’

According to Technomic, a restaurant consultancy firm, based on current growth, it expects the popular American restaurant, Chick-fil-A, to become the third largest fast food chain in the US, behind only McDonald’s and Starbucks. Chick-fil-A was founded in 1946 by a S. Truett Cathy (1921-2014). He was a Baptist, taught Sunday School for nearly 50 years, and calls the Bible his guide-book for life. His family has continued its Christian tradition and to this day still closes Sunday so its employees can go to church if they want. It even cites Bible verses on its cups. His family’s support of traditional marriage has driven the left wild and resulted in restaurants being protested. But it had absolutely no effect on its popularity. In terms of 2017 sales, the chain ranked eighth behind Subway, Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Dunkin Donuts and of course McDonald’s and Star Bucks. However it is quickly closing the gap. What is also impressive is that despite only being open six days a week, a Chick-fil-A franchise averages annual sales of …

Credit: Minnesota DOT/Flickr/Creative Commons

Death on the Bus

Recently, a truck collided with a bus filled with passengers, mostly young hockey players, in Saskatchewan. The most recent count is 16 dead, and many crippled for life. I don’t want to comment on a case that is being investigated by the police, but I have strong opinions about this. Many of the victims were young men from my area, and also, I train professional drivers. It is possible that I have met and worked with at least one of the drivers, with the bus or the truck. RELATED: Humboldt bus crash cause unknown as new details on truck and bus driving companies emerge To be clear, I am not a part of this tragedy, and I am not trying to take any of the glory for myself. There are a few degrees of separation for me. Many families are truly grieving because they have lost promising young men. Some of those families live near me and they deserve our sympathy. The funerals started Friday. I know what may have happened, but I will let …

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, California Credit: Mikel Agirregabiria/Flickr/Creative Commons

Has one of the Menendez brothers, convicted of the brutal murder of his parents, found God?

The Menendez brothers, Lyle, 50 (born January 10, 1968) and Erik, 47 (born November 27, 1970), were sentenced to consecutive, double-life sentences for the brutal murder of their parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez, in their Beverly Hill mansion in 1989. The court trials of the two, then 21 and 18, riveted the nation. However, it appears that one of them has since become a Christian. In an interview with ABC, the brother’s aunt, Marta Cano, said that the younger brother Erik became a Christian in prison and is now leading a Bible study with other inmates. Erik even asked his aunt, who is also a Christian, to send him religious material for the study. In the interview, Cano stated “he was really making sure that the prisoners knew that there is a God that loves us. That was marvelous to me because he never got that at home.” At the time of the murders, the two boys alleged they had been sexually, physically and psychologically abused for years by their pedophile father. Their mother was …

Humbolt's main street Credit: Monique Vezina/Wikipedia

Where was God? The Humboldt Bronco tragedy

They did not know they were going to be the latest news and that it would send waves of shock and sorrow across the nation. The Humboldt Broncos, a hockey team in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League consisting of 16 to 20-year-old players, were headed to a play off game in the northern town of  Nipawin, in Saskatchewan, Canada. Their team bus t-boned a semi-trailer crossing highway 35 killing 16 of the 29 people on board — 10 players and 5 team personnel including the head coach and the bus driver. The Humboldt players had all dyed their hair blonde which made it difficult to identify them. Tragically because the players were so badly hurt, two were misidentified. It would take a couple of days for one family to find out that a son they had thought died was actually alive, and for another family to sadly learn their son was dead. How heart breaking this must have been. What were the players thinking as they traveled on the bus?  The bus was quiet recalls …

Justin Bieber in concert at the Telenor Arena in Oslo, Norway in 2013. Credit: NRK P3/Flickr/Creative Commons

Sources say Justin Bieber planning to release faith-inspired album in 2019

It has been an interesting April on the celebrity front. On Easter Sunday, pop star Katy Perry posted the following message to her 69 million Instagram followers: “My brokenness + God’s Divinity = My wholeness.” Then earlier this week, Monday, April 9, 2018, Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber spontaneously sang a Christian worship song for his 98 million Instagram followers. It was a song called “Reckless Love” written by Bethel music leader Corey Asbury: “Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God. Oh, it chases me down, fights till I’m found” At the latest count, Justin has 98.5 million Instagram followers putting him on the list of the ten most followed people on the popular social media site. Leading the pack is another celebrity believer, Selena Gomez, with 133 million followers. And when I visited Justin’s Instagram page, there was a message to check out this song on YouTube: But recent reports are suggesting that Justin is planning to become even more vocal about how Jesus transformed the pop star’s life. The British newspaper The …

Credit: Maciej Ciupa/Flickr/Creative Commons

Trumpet sounds over Hawaii?

According to a report on PJ Media, people in Hawaii are hearing sounds in the heavens that for some sound a lot like trumpets. The latest video was recorded on April 4, 2018 (watch below). It is uncertain what the source of these mysterious sounds are. Some are offering natural explanations such as methane explosions or earthquakes deep underground. They could also be caused by tidal waves or shifting sand dunes or even atmospheric conditions. Others have offered up grinding of tectonic plates as a possible explanation, while some believe they may be a result of of yet unknown human activity. In recent years, there have been many videos posted on YouTube about trumpet-like sounds being heard around the world. You have to be careful when watching these videos because clearly some are hoaxes, spawned by those that are legitimate. One of the seemingly legitimate ones involved a video recorded in Terrace, British Columbia, Canada on August 29, 2013: In the end there are probably natural explanations for these sounds. But in the Book of …

George Washington University's Foggy Bottom campus Credit: another believer/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

University calls for Christians to repent of their ‘privilege’

Founded in 1821, the main campus of George Washington University (GWU) is found just a few blocks from the White house in Washington, DC. Its main campus is located in Foggy Bottom, an area largely owned by GWU where it serves as the landlord for such tenants as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. GWU’s motto is Deus Nobis Fiducia (God is our trust) or at least once was. There have been radical changes at the university and now when you click on its website you are welcomed with: “No matter what subject we pursue, we’ve all come here to change the course of history.” Though these words sound noble, when we understand them in the light of the cultural Marxism that has gripped many universities, they take on a more ominous tone. Where GWU once believed “God is our trust,” and make no mistake this is a reference to the Christian God, the campus recently held a workshop to strip people of their “Christian privilege.” The seminar held on Thursday, April 5, …

Katy Perry Credit: ONU Brazil/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is Katy Perry’s heart softening towards God?

American pop star Katy Perry posted an interesting Christian message to her 69 million Instagram followers on Easter Sunday. She also works as a judge on the new American Idol show. She not only highlighted her Jesus tattoo, that she has had for years, with special lighting, Katy also added the words: “My brokenness + God’s Divinity = My wholeness.” As some may know, Katy has a Christian background. Her parents, Maurice and Mary (née Perry) Hudson, are Pentecostal pastors. Katy’s birth name was Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson. As a girl, she even spoke in tongues after being filled with the Holy Spirit and with her natural singing ability Katy sang gospel in church.  She hoped to move full-time into gospel music but that ultimately transformed into secular. Below is a Gospel song that Katy Perry (then Katy Hudson), sang on the Christian broadcast network, TBN, in 2002: The relationship with her parents has been strained as she rejected her parent’s faith. In 2008, she wrote a song, I Kissed a Girl, that topped the pop chart …

Beijing, China on a smoggy day Credit: Jesse Varnier/Flickr/Creative Commons

Jesus Meets “The Great Firewall of China”

Very recently, the government of China has restricted the sale of Christian Bibles online, to its own citizens. The Communist government of China wants to control rapidly growing religions, including Christianity and Islam, although the Islamic Koran is still available online. Religion was supposed to die in China, after the Communists came to power in 1949, but recently there are signs that Chinese people are becoming more religious, and the major religions are surging in popularity. Also, China is becoming a world leader in online marketing, or e-commerce. The growth in online sales is also surging in China, and this is a very recent trend. RELATED: China’s e-commerce explosion. What can we learn? In this mix, Bible sales have suddenly been restricted. RELATED: China bans Bible sales: New York Times Bibles are still available from church book stores, but not online. Strangely, China produces millions of Bibles for export, in many languages, including Chinese. There are no restrictions on this business. So, what does the restriction of Bible sales mean for Christians? Probably not much. …

Credit: Kerri Lee Smith/Flickr/Creative Commons

Cultivating thanksgiving

Yesterday started out well but then in the afternoon I had a couple of hours of frustration when something didn’t go the way I wanted. I ended up taking two hours to complete a task that should have taken 10 minutes. But me, computers and technology don’t always see eye to eye. I quickly fell into a slump and was starting to get depressed. I was surprised how quickly things had taken a turn for the worse. I knew I needed to pull myself out of this slump and real quick. The Apostle Paul tells us to: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) All circumstances, describe good and bad and in the midst of bad we are to give thanks. Paul was right, because according to writer J.D. Roth, studies show that roughly 10% of our happiness is determined by our circumstances and 40% of our happiness comes from “intentional activity” which involves what we think and do. Knowing what will …

Cuba Credit: Nick Kenrick/Flickr/Creative Commons

The struggle for religious freedom in Cuba

Though still a communist nation, in 1992, the Cuba government reclassified itself as a secular nation under its constitution instead of an atheistic one. At the same time, it also partially lifted restrictions on religion and since then Christianity has seen remarkable growth in that country. The country’s current ruler, Raul Castro, the brother of Fidel who died in November 2016, actually attended a Jesuit school before the 1959 Communist revolution. He has been in charge in Cuba since 2011. Under his rule, the Catholic church has retained some favor with the government and in 2014, Cuba allowed a Catholic church in Santiago to construct a new building. It was the first church built in Cuba since the 1959 Communist revolution. The government has also declared Christmas and Good Friday as national holidays. In 2015, President Raul met with Pope Francis and after his meeting commented that he was seriously thinking of going back to church. When reporters laughed, Raul stated, “I’m serious.” But there still remains a tension between the government and Christians. In …

Why did Facebook ban an ad for a Catholic university?

UPDATED: Facebook has been under fire recently for both the free wheeling way it deals with its poster’s personal information and what some consider its blatant attack on free speech and conservative and Christian viewpoints on its social media website. In an article in the British newspaper, The Guardian, a former Facebook employee alleges the social media giant used software algorithms to restrict the number of conservative news articles that appeared in its “trending news” sidebar. Such a move would impact the number of people viewing articles from conservative news sites. Facebook is one of the most dominant social media platforms in the world reporting 2.2 billion active users in January 2018. Founder Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook in 2004 as a way to connect students attending Harvard University where he was a student. It was initially limited to Harvard students, but after half the school’s population signed up, Zuckerberg quickly realized there was more of a market for the platform. After bringing in others to work on the site, they initially added other universities and …

Lake Naivashu in Kenya's rift valley, a new continent in the making? Credit: Angela Sevin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Another great split?

Scientists are reporting on the formation of a massive crack in Africa that may result in the continent splitting in half. They don’t believe it will happen in our lifetime, but expect it could happen at some point in the far future. According to an article in the Daily Mail, the lithosphere made up of the earth’s outer crust and upper mantle has tectonic plates floating underneath. Post Doctoral researcher Lucia Perez Diaz, who works with the Fault Dynamics Research Group,  says these plates can rupture creating a rift that results in a separate tectonic plate that would essentially create a new continent. They believe that such a rift is starting to occur in south-western Kenya. The crack is now 3,000 kms long and extends from the Gulf of Aden in the North to Zimbabwe in the South. This crack even resulted in the collapse of a stretch of the Nairobi-Narok highway. Diaz described the large crack’s appearance as “sudden.” If this crack continues to move southward, it would essentially spit the African tectonic plate …

Trebes, France Credit: Didier Descouens/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

A willing sacrifice

An attack on a French supermarket on Friday, March 23, 2018, revealed the stark contrast between Christians and Muslim extremists. An ISIS radicalized Moroccan-born man, Radouane Lakdim, 25, stormed a grocery store in Trèbes and took hostages in an effort to have Salah Abdeslam released. He was the sole survivor of a group of terrorists responsible for an attack in Paris in November 2015 that killed 130 people. Prior to his arrival at the Super U grocery store, Ladkim had fired on a car in the neighboring town of Carcassonne killing the passenger and wounding the driver. He stole the vehicle and then drove to a police barracks and shot at police officers jogging nearby severely injuring one. From there he proceeded to the grocery store in Trèbes where he took hostages. In the end, Lakdim murdered his three hostages before being killed by police. One of those hostages was a French policeman Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrane, 44, second in charge with the responding police gendarme, as they are called in France. When the police cornered …

Credit: Magdalen_A_T/Flickr/Creative Commons

How to Really Mess up Your Life

There is a country song about “Springtime in Alberta” where a cowboy complains about his moody girl friend. Her moods are just like nasty winter storms that blow in when the weather should stay warm. There is probably truth in that song, on both sides. I never met the woman, but we do have interesting spring weather. This Easter weekend is the coldest since 1940, with wind and snow, but it was nice a few days before. We had another surprise early on Good Friday morning. Someone started pressing all the call buttons for our apartment building and begging for help. I had the job of dressing in warm clothes and going out into the storm at four in the morning, to see if I could help. A muscular young man ran up to me and begged me to phone a cab so he could go home. I phoned the police first, and a taxi drove by as I was talking. I waved, but the cab driver didn’t even slow down. Also, the police never …