Month: July 2018

Chick-fil-a restaurant Credit: raymondclarkeimages/Flickr/Creative Commons

Chick-fil-A announces controversial arrival in Toronto

Chick-fil-A is one of the fastest growing fast-food franchises in the US. So it is not surprising that the chain announced it will be opening a store in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, in 2019. It hopes to have upwards of 20 franchises set up in the Greater Toronto Area by 2024. Chick-fil-A’s arrival in Toronto is proving controversial as those on the left unleash their outrage. The left has a problem with Chick-fil-A because: It’s privately owned by the Christians (the Cathy family). The restaurant has Bible verses printed on its cups; It’s owned by Christians who believe in traditional Christian values on marriage; and are not afraid to express these views. In a 2012 interview with the Baptist Press, Chick-fil-A Ceo Dan Cathy said: “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that,” Casey said. “We operate as a family business … our restaurants are …

Dennis Quaid singing Credit: allenmock/Flickr/Creative Commons

Dennis Quaid says renewing his faith in Christ includes forgiving himself

Dennis Quaid, 64, has been another of my favorite Hollywood actors. I didn’t know he was a Christian and was surprised to see him in the Christian movie, I Can Only Imagine where he plays the role of Arthur Millard, the abusive father of Bart Millard, the lead singer for the Gospel group Mercy Me. Millard is best known for the Christian hit song “I Can Only Imagine” that was birthed in the difficult reconciliation that took place between Bart and his father. The movie has been a tremendous success with a budget of only $7 million it has earned over $84 million since its release. Quaid has starred in several movies including the Parent Trap, The Rookie and the Soul Surfer. He is playing Ronald Reagan in the upcoming biopic on the famed US president. Quaid is also a musician and is actually the lead singer in a band call the Sharks. And when asked to join the movie, I Can Only Imagine, Quaid told them about a Gospel song he had started writing …

City of Toronto Credit: Duncan Rawlinson/Duncan.co/@thelastminute/Creative Commons

What’s going on in Toronto?

You might have heard the news, a man with a gun walked down a quiet street in Toronto and shot people who were enjoying a warm summer evening. Many people were injured and at this time, two have died, a girl and a young woman. The alleged killer, Faisal Hussain, was a Muslim from a Pakistani immigrant family. Faisal’s brother is in a coma from a drug overdose, and his father has Parkinson’s disease and there is a history, in their community, of dangerous drug gangs. That’s where the guns and bullets allegedly came from. Also, ISIS has now claimed Faisal was one of their soldiers. RELATED: ISIS claims of responsibility for Toronto shooting raise questions of credibility: CBC If we ever learn the truth, we will probably find a toxic mix of immigrant desperation, with all the sources of stress we can imagine. All the bad things seemed to pile on that young man. If there is a good life, he could see it but he couldn’t live it. The authorities, including police and …

Crandell Police singing "God's Not Dead" Credit: Pure Flix/Facebook page capture

Crandall, TX police officers facing opposition as they lip sync for God

Over the past several weeks, cops from police stations across American have been lip syncing popular songs and posting them to Facebook. Referred to as the lip sync challenge the videos are proving quite popular and include songs by such stars as Bruno Mars. However, things took a nasty turn, when officers from the Police Department in Crandall, Texas uploaded their song. The problem was they lip synced a gospel song called “God’s Not Dead” popularized by the Gospel group Newsboys. The song is also feature on Pure Flix’s movie God’s Not Dead. Crandall, TX is small town of 2,900 people and Dean Winter, Crandell’s chief of police, is not shy about his faith. The song is proving popular on Facebook having been viewed over eight million times and it has been recently uploaded to other social media platforms including YouTube. But the video also caught the attention of a group of activist atheists called the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) who sent a letter demanding the song be taken down accusing the group of …

Grocery Store Credit: Province of British Columbia/Flickr/Creative Commons

Report: Religious people have more self-control when it comes to shopping

According to a study by three researchers from university business schools,  Didem Kurt, Boston University, J. Jeffrey Inman, University of Pittsburgh and Francesca Gino, Harvard Business School, religious people not only spend less than non-religious but they are also less likely to make impulse purchases. The study that involved looking at the results of five earlier studies on spending habits also included the group’s own research. In their study, the three researchers put 800 people through a variety of “hypothetical” shopping scenarios and as well tests to evaluate how strong their religious beliefs were. What they discovered is that an incremental increase in religious belief resulted in a 5% decrease in spending and impulsive buying. This confirmed results from a survey of spending by 2,400 people in 10 states in 2011 and 2012, conducted by Point of Purchase Advertising International. It showed that people living in more religious counties not only spent less money on groceries than people living in less religious counties, but also had “fewer impulse purchases.” There are undoubtedly a variety of …

Gibraltar Crossing near the city of Tarshis Credit: Cubanito, Wikipedia

Did an ancient Babylonian priest refer to Jonah?

Though known primarily for his confrontation with a whale, Jonah was a well-known prophet in Israel and is referenced several times (Judges 16:23-24; 1 Samuel 5:1-7; 1 Chronicles 10:8-12; 2 Kings 14:25). But of course it’s his story of calling the city of Nineveh to repentance that he is most known for. When Jonah refused to obey God’s call and took passage on a ship heading towards Tarshish near the Strait of Gibraltar on the coast of Spain, God stirred up a storm to get Jonah’s attention. After the sailors threw Jonah overboard, he was swallowed by a Grey whale (my vote but far from certain) and after a three days was coughed up on a beach undoubtedly along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. From there Jonah headed far inland to Nineveh that was then part of the nation of Assyria and delivered a message of repentance. Led by the king, the city responded and repented. Some have suggested, the king may have been impacted by Jonah’s whale story, because one of the …

William Maillis, 11, being interviewed by HCHC Media Credit: HCHC Media/YouTube capture

11-year-old genius and college graduate wants to use science to prove existence of God

Though he is only 11 years old, William Maillis graduated from Florida’s St. Petersburg College on July 21, 2018 with an Associate in Arts degree. Officially classified a genius at age five, William was using complete sentences at 7 months. He was adding and subtracting by two. By the age of three he knew the alphabet in multiple languages and had mastered Algebra by the age of four after his older brother briefly introduced the mathematical concept to him in the backseat of the car while the family was on a drive. His father Peter Maillis serves as a priest at the Saints Raphael, Nicholas & Irene Hellenic Orthodox Church based in Palm Harbor, Florida. To keep him entertained, his parents put magnetic letters and numbers on the family fridge which as a child he organized into mathematical equations. Though he graduated from high school when he was just nine, the biggest challenge the teachers had through high school was keeping him engaged and focused because he so quickly mastered the material. So during high …

Thumbs down Credit: m01229/Flickr/Creative Commons

My prophetic failure

Español: Mi falla hacia un espíritu de profecía Several years ago, we had a young man in our church moving in the prophetic. He prophesied regularly during church services and even had a visiting prophetic minister pull him out of the congregation and give a word about his prophetic calling. He was on the fast track to the prophetic. Up to this point his prophetic words were fairly innocuous. There was nothing specific about them or directional. They were God loves you type of prophesies that could literally apply to anyone and everyone. There is nothing wrong with these type of words, because often the Holy Spirit will grab the word and highlight it to specific individuals and say this word is for you. And then it happened. The pastor of the church was heading to a conference. As we gathered around to lay hands on him, the young man stepped up with a prophetic word and prophesied some very specific things were going to happen to the pastor at these meetings. One in particular, …

Credit: Amout Wurst/Flickr/Creative Commons

Migrants, Border Jumpers, Refugees, and Us

I saw something the other day, and it shocked me. This is not new for me, but I don’t like to be reminded that I am correct. We think we are good people, but reality can tell a different story. I have a volunteer contract with a famous Christian charity. I won’t name them and I won’t report what happened inside their building, to keep confidentiality, but they are famous everywhere for helping the poorest and most desperate. My job is to teach their staff how to write administrative reports, which fits some of my skill set. Two days ago, I reported for a tutorial session at a location in the inner city, and I was shocked. Outside, in the alley I saw several African people. Later, when I drove home, I saw more of them wandering the streets in our poorest neighborhood. My impression was that they were desperate and unhappy and they were begging for help from organized charities. The inner city is also called skid row, or the slums, and it is …

Katy Perry in her 2018 Witness tour Credit: Giorgio Erriquez/Flickr/Creative Commons

In an interview with ‘Vogue Australia’ Katy Perry says she never left God

In a recent cover interview with Vogue Australia, pop sensation Katy Perry had more to say about her Christian faith. Katy’s parents, Keith and Mary Hudson, are both Pentecostal evangelists, and as their talented daughter became involved in music, Katy sang gospel and even released a gospel album. However, as she moved into secular music, Katy seemed to walk away from her faith. She admitted in the interview that her mother was praying that her daughter would come back to God. In response Katy said that she never “left Him, I was just a little bit secular. I was more materialistic and more career driven.” Now in her 30s, Katy said there are changes taking place in her life stating “it’s more about spirituality and heart wholeness.” And we have seen hints of this spirituality popping through on social media as Katy shared Christian messages on Instagram Over Easter, she shared an Instagram post of a rainbow over her Jesus tattoo with the words: ”My brokeness + God’s Divinity = My wholeness” written beneath the image. …

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England Credit: Jim/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Treasure Chest of Strength

Lately I have been thinking about what real strength is. Of course one of the first scriptures that came to my mind was Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Berean Study Bible) I know Strongs’s concordance 1743, defines this strength as empower, enable (increase in) strength, to be (make) strong. However, this only made me wonder more about this word ‘strength’. Around this time, I had a vivid impression of a treasure chest with the word ‘STRENGTH’ written on it. I saw this chest was full of many things such as; God’s love, freedom, acceptance, healing and identity. Whatever I happened to need was inside. Not to be found in this ‘treasure chest’ were negative things like unworthiness, rejection, bitterness, or self-hate. Nothing was there which would take away my strength in Christ. So then, I CAN do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Whatever I need is in the treasure chest of strength. I just have to grab hold of the truth provided. What is …

I vote Grey whale: The story of Jonah

A group of archaeologists digging at a Roman fish factory plant located near the Straights of Gibraltar made a discovery that may answer the question on what swallowed Jonah. The salting factories first showed up around 400 BC. Many are familiar with the story of the disobedient prophet who God wanted to send to Nineveh to call the city to repentance. Jonah, who obviously hated this enemy, refused to go fearing they would repent and God would spare them judgement. So to escape his calling, Jonah booked a boat to Tarshish, that oddly enough most Biblical scholars believe was located on the coast of Spain near the Straights of Gibraltar. In an effort to catch Jonah’s attention, God stirred up a large storm that the sailors believed was divine in origin. After Jonah fessed up, the sailors threw him overboard and the prophet was swallowed up by a large fish or sea creature that eventually vomited up the prophet along the shore near Nineveh, where he successfully called the city to repentance. So what did …

Ilulissat, Greenland Credit: Baron Reznik/Flickr/Creative Commons

Global warming taking a vacation this summer in parts of the Arctic

Though we are still getting the usual rhetoric about how man-made climate change is destroying the earth unless we act immediately, we are not hearing about the unusual climatic conditions affecting parts of the Arctic this year. There is a reason for that. This summer has been a been a particularly cold one in Greenland and it doesn’t fit the man-made global warming narrative that the ice is melting and will result in rising ocean levels unless we immediately do something to reduce CO2 emissions. But not only is the cold weather disrupting the narrative of the climate-change activists and politicians, the cold weather is also having a profound impact on shore birds that nest along Greenland’s coastline each summer. According to Scientific American, typically by June the snow has receded in Greenland allowing shore birds to nest and raise their young in July. However, this year has been cold and the ice and snow has continued into the summer preventing shore birds from finding food and nesting spots. In an interview with Scientific American, …

Vancouver sunrise Credit: Ted McGrath/Flickr/Creative Commons

Apostles and Prophets Part 3: The Apostolic Explosion

[by Keith Hazell] This is the third in a series on the Apostolic Ministry, a ministry being restored today for building the Kingdom of God. In this article, Keith Hazell deals with problems that hinder apostolic team ministry. Click here and here for the previous articles. “Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.  (Acts 15:37-41 NIV) While this passage is not about Apostles and Prophets it does help to illustrate that relationships between senior members are not always smooth and harmonious. Paul seemed to have a knack for problems with other leaders and we have to confess that they were real problems and that …

Credit: Sydney Daoust/Flickr/Creative Commons

Oh, you are such a loser!

A new buzz word in pop psychology is “vulnerable.” There is some good advice out there, and this idea can be good for us. If I looked at you and said “loser!” I would be rude, and you would take that as an insult. We learned that in elementary school. So, “loser!” I just called you a loser, and you can say the same to me. If we are not losers, we are failures. Every Christian should know the words in the Bible “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6) That is the bedrock of our Christian faith. Jesus made it right, after we made it wrong. A few days ago, I had a meeting with an old friend. We talked about business and we also had time to catch up on our personal stories, like old friends. This man is a Christian, my brother in Christ, and he described himself as …

Scaly Breasted Wren from Ecuador Credit: Nick Athanas/Flickr/Creative Commons

A song in the day and a song in the night

For the past couple weeks a robin has been singing in our backyard. Its clear melodic sound has drawn me outside onto my deck to be entertained again and again. I typically make a cup of coffee so I can sit down and appreciate the solo performance that seems to be for my ears only. The other day, as I sat down on my chair with coffee in hand, there was silence. I thought I had missed my morning performance. Then I heard rustling in the branches hanging over our deck. He was sitting right above me and sang his beautiful song over me once again. The sound and intensity of the song was so wholehearted, clear and clean. He was singing his heart out to me. This song from Zephaniah resonated through me: “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in his love, He will joy over thee with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17) God sings over us. He …

Main street of Valletta, Malta Credit: Neil Howard/Flickr/Creative Commons

Will angelic activity pave the way for the greatest revival in world history?

There are several strange verses in the Book of Revelation, but one found in chapter 14 has always caught my attention. In the midst of the end-times judgements hitting the earth and increased persecution of Christians, the Apostle John saw an angel flying in the mid heavens preaching the Gospel. 6 And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; (Revelation 14:6 NASV) The angel would preach this message to every nation, every tribe and tongue. No one would be exempt. So what would be the purpose of an angel preaching the Gospel in the mid heavens? I suspect that this message being spoken from the invisible spiritual realm would in some way impact those living in the natural. Why else would God have an angel do this? I have written on this in the past, but we have an interesting account involving the prophet Daniel’s encounter with a Godly angel while sitting along …

Credit: National Park Service, Alaska Region/Flickr/Creative Commons

‘Give me that mountain’: Living life with Caleb’s attitude

According to King Solomon how a person thinks, determines how he lives life. For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7a NKJV) But there is an important caveat in this verse, because Solomon adds how a man “thinks in his heart,” so it is to him. This is a step beyond thinking, we need to believe it. Jesus said if we say to this mountain be cast in the sea (Mark 11:23), and do not doubt in our heart, it will be done. It is not enough to think it, we need to believe it. Faith and belief make the difference. Researchers at the University of Seoul in South Korea found out there may be a direct connection between what older people believed to how they actually felt. What they believed in their later years directly impacted how they lived their life. According to the Daily Mail, the research team asked 68 people between the ages of 59 to 84 if they felt older, younger or the same as their real …

Mural on the ceiling of Santa Prassede Church, Rome Credit: Jean Louis Mazieres/Flickr/Creative Commons

Apostles and prophets Part 2: Working together in teams

[by Keith Hazell] When I was a young man of 18 and living in England I received a letter in the name of the Queen of England telling me to report for two years of service in the British Military. This was an irresistible request, backed up by the full power of the state. From some points of view this was the worst two years of my life, yet on reflection I learned many lessons in that two years that have stood me well in my life and ministry. We were verbally and sometimes, physically assaulted by drill sergeants who spent their time making us learn how to follow instructions so that we would know how to move together and not simply to respond to our own instincts. One particularly windy day as we marched across the square in the face of a strong wind, our sergeant who was way behind gave an order. Due to the wind, this order was lost to all but those nearest to him and we landed up going in …

Jesus healing the blind man by El Greco (1541-1614) Credit: Wikipedia

Barbara Snyder’s healing from MS shocked doctors

In his book, The Case for Miracles, evangelist Lee Strobel cites the miraculous healing of Barbara Snyder that took place nearly 30 years ago. Strobel, 66, is a former investigative journalist with the Chicago Tribune. He became a Christian in 1981 shortly after he decided to investigate Jesus and the Christian faith after his wife became a Christian. After his conversion, Lee worked briefly as a pastor before moving into an apologetic’s ministry focusing on writing and video productions. In his most recent book, Strobel decided to look at miracles. Though he believed the Biblical stories of Christ’s miracles, Strobel was less convinced miracles were happening today. However, after analyzing several miracles Strobel is convinced they are. One miracle in particular stands out. It involves Barbara Snyder and took place nearly 30 years ago. The Mayo Clinic had diagnosed Barbara with multiple sclerosis. Despite several operations and treatments, Barbara continued to deteriorate to the point that she was put into respite with doctor’s orders not to resuscitate. By this point, she was almost blind and …

Woman wearing a niqab in Egypt. Credit: MezzoMezzo/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Burkas, Niqabs, Hijabs, Chadors, Dupattas, and Christians

One of the biggest political arguments in the world today is about Muslim women and what they wear. Some countries, mainly in Europe and Africa, have banned or restricted Islamic female clothing. In Canada, the province of Quebec has introduced a law with some restrictions. There are many variations, but in general, women in conservative Muslim societies cover up, and I don’t think this is voluntary. It’s part of a religious lifestyle. RELATED: Explainer: Why do Muslim women wear a burka, niqab or hijab?: ABC RELATED: Hijab by country: Wikipedia This is not a big issue where I live, I think because we have cold winters and everyone covers up. Also, we have large numbers of Hutterites, German Christians who live on farming colonies, and Hutterite women wear long dresses and cover their heads. Now, large numbers of conservative Mennonites, similar to the Hutterites and with similar clothing styles, are moving into our country districts. Also, I live near an Ethiopian church and the older women often walk in my neighborhood in traditional clothes, and …

Choosing the right path. Credit: Bertie Mabootoo/Flickr/Creative Commons

Veering off the path

Psychologists believe that many of the health issues women experience today stem from our fear-based emotions and false beliefs about ourselves. Like ‘I am not good enough, I don’t have enough money to be successful , I am too fat etc. As I look back over a few of the more dramatic or traumatic events in my life, there were signs leading up to them. Signals, a sense of something not right. Really, it was a whisper of the soul and sometimes they were from Jesus as the Lord will speak to us: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27} And I realize now that as time went on and I ignored this voice, clearer and louder messages followed. But deep down I knew that something was up and I didn’t really know what to do because fear was there too. And as I continued to ignore these warning signs I was  hit by what some call “a cosmic 2×4.” I like how Stacey Martino puts it, …

Credit: Orlando Castro/Flickr/Creative Commons

The ‘set times’ of refreshing?

CBN is reporting on a revival that has broken out in Greeneville, Tennessee, a small town in the Northern part of the state with a population of just over 15,000 people. It started on April 15, 2018 at the Greystone Freewill Baptist church. The church had invited Evangelist D.R. Harrison to speak at a week-long revival meeting. By the third week, it was standing room only at the church. The pastor was becoming concerned because more people were wanting to attend than there was room in the church. As they were praying for direction, a North Carolina man stepped forward donating a large 80 foot by 140 foot tent that could seat up to 1,500 people. With this extra room the revival has continued unabated for three months with people attending from several states and a variety of denomination backgrounds. In an interview with CBN, Harrison reported that not only is God moving in power restoring lives and marriages, but people are also getting saved with over 230 people accepting Christ so far during the …

Volcano erupting on Iceland in 2010. Credit: Dagga Billa/Flickr/Creative Commons

Should the US be worried about volcanoes?

If recent media reports are correct, Americans should be increasingly concerned about volcanoes. Earlier this month, two major North American volcanoes suddenly became active resulting in two governments issuing “Yellow Alerts.” The Mexican government issued a “Yellow Alert” for the country’s Mt. Popocatepetl and the American government issued a similar yellow alert for Alaska’s Great Sitkin. According to the US Geological Survey, there are six levels of alert for active volcanoes: Green: Describes volcanoes with minor levels of activity such as steam and small earthquakes, but are not considered a threat to erupt. Yellow: This designation is for volcanoes that have experienced elevated signs of activity. Explosions have increased from low to moderate. There is a threat of ash falling near the volcano and even the possibility of limited lava flows. Orange Watch: This indicates there is an increased risk of an explosion. Though the time frame is uncertain. Orange Warning: At this level a volcanic eruption is imminent or a minor eruption is already underway. This would result in lava flows and ash production …

Fulani herdsmen Credit: John Mauremootoo/Flickr/Creative Commons

218 Christians massacred in Nigeria by Fulani herdsmen

Over the June 21-22, 2018 weekend, Fulani herdsmen massacred 218 Christians in Nigeria’s northern Plateau state in coordinated attacks on 11 villages. This is the third worst massacre of Christians by Fulani tribesmen behind the slaughter of 500 Christians in March 2010 in Plateau State and 300 in February 2016 in Benue State. This recent spate of violence is both puzzling and concerning. The Fulani herdsmen are nomadic or semi-nomadic tribesmen that travel through several countries such as Nigeria, Niger, Senegal with their cattle herds. They provide the bulk of the meat in Nigeria. Though the Fulani tribesman are Muslim they have worked peaceably side by side Christians farmers for decades. But that changed in recent years, and some are convinced that Muslim extremism, Boko Haram in particular, has radicalized many in this tribal group. Despite Nigeria being made up of 51% Christians and 45% Muslim, the Muslims are concentrated in the Northern and a middle part of Nigeria where they make up the majority of the population. However, the Plateau State where many of …

Credit: Sasha Tamarin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Your Martha Meltdown Moment Part 2: Broken Glass

This is my meltdown moment. In the 80s and early 90s I worked in the private security sector. My goal was to be hired with the city police, and I had taken a number of policing/security courses to that end. Being a cop was my dream, not God’s, or my wife’s. I did not hear God say “yes” or “no” to my dream, but He let me scratch my itch for a time. But in December 1990 everything changed. I was working as a loss prevention officer in a large department store. It was a busy Saturday two weeks before Christmas. I watched a tall male pick up a Nintendo unit, put it under his arm and walk out of the store into the attached mall. I started after him, he saw me coming, and dropped the game. I stepped over the Nintendo, still chasing him, and seeing me follow him, he ran full speed out of the back door of the mall. I was starting to catch up to him as he ran out …

Credit: Rennett Stowe/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Fermi Paradox and the Dark Forest Conspiracy

So where are all the aliens? And did you know that science fiction is not really fiction? The Fermi Paradox, a scientific puzzle, was made famous by the Italian-American physicist Enrico Fermi. The theory is that the universe must be filled with alien species, extra-terrestrials, and the paradox is that we haven’t made contact yet. Enrico Fermi is considered one of the great minds of the twentieth century, from the era of Einstein, and he is credited with the invention of the nuclear reactor. He also gave us the Fermi Paradox. RELATED: Fermi Paradox Imagine that Darwin’s theory of evolution is true, as it is commonly taught. Many millions of years ago, the universe exploded into being through the Big Bang and stars, planets, and galaxies were spewed across the empty universe. On one planet, among millions or billions, a reaction happened in some primordial ooze, and life emerged; living cells formed and began to reproduce from their own genetic material. Over vast spans of time, multi-celled plants and animals emerged, and then vertebrate animals, …