Author: Dean Smith

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

The most popular style of olive press used in ancient times. Credit: Sue Cantan/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Olive Press Garden

In Jerusalem, one of the sites considered to be the Garden of Gethsemane mentioned in the gospels is found at the base of the Mount of Olives. This should not surprise us because the word Gethsemane literally means “olive press” which suggests that the garden also housed an olive press to squeeze the oil out of the olives growing on the hill above. Both Mark (Mark 14:32-42) and Mathew (Matthew 26:36-56) refer to it as the garden of Gethsemane, while Luke only describes it as a garden where Jesus prayed. Squeezing the valuable golden oil out of olives was a two-step process. In the first stage, they crushed the olives, including the pits, which they then deposited into a basket. The second step involved exerting pressure on the basket to extract the olive oil that was used as fuel for cooking and lighting. It had also had religious and medicinal usages. There were various types of presses, but the most common version (seen above) involved a long beam or pole with one end lodged into …

Alice Cooper performing at Alexandra Palace in London, England 2011 Credit: Kimon Froussios/Flickr/Creative Commons

Alice Cooper, ‘shock’ rock star and Christian

If there was anyone who I thought would never become a Christian, rock star Alice Cooper, 70, would have been on that list. Yet 40 years ago Cooper got a wake-up call when after bingeing on alcohol he started throwing up blood. During his heyday that featured such mega hits as “Schools out,” he was known as the “Godfather of Shock Rock.” His stage shows took on horror show themes including fake blood, guillotines, electric chairs, snakes and tortured baby dolls. But today Cooper publicly states he has embraced Christ and is preparing to play the role of Herod in NBC’s live version of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. In an interview with New York Daily’s Confidential, Cooper recalled his decision to become a Christian. He came from a Christian background, his grandfather was an evangelist and his dad a pastor and after leaving home, Cooper fled Christianity. But he was drinking buddies with other famous rock stars of the day such as Jimmy Hendrix and Jim Morrison of the Doors both who died at …

Credit: Landahlauts/Flickr/Creative Commons

Christians need to toughen up

It is one of the earliest references to Christianity from non Biblical sources. It involves graffiti on an ancient wall in Rome that was part of a home that originally belonged to the notorious Roman emperor Caligula. It was drawn sometime between the first and second century. Carved by soldiers in the Roman army, it involves an image of a man with a donkey’s head hanging on a cross. There is a Roman soldier standing at the side with a hand raised that is explained by the words written in Greek beneath:  “Alexamenos worships [his] God.” According to Christian apologist Tertullian (160 to 225 AD), depicting Jesus as a donkey was a popular way of insulting Christians at that time. He wrote of  a man living in Carthage who had an image of a Christian with ears and hooves of a donkey. In today’s equivalent of an editorial cartoon, it had the words: “The God of the Christians begotten of an ass” written beneath. And lately in North America we starting to see anti Christian …

Stonemasons in the 1900s Credit: Aussie~mobs/Flickr/Creative Commons

Jesus: A carpenter or stonemason?

I recently read an interesting article about Kathie Lee Gifford, 64, on the release of her latest book The Rock, The Road and The Rabbi. An American talk show host, actress, singer, song writer, comedian and author, Kathie gained her fame co-hosting Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee along with Regis Philbin. Kathie Lee is a committed Christian and is a co-host on NBC’s Today show. The article reported on an interesting statement she made on the life of Christ related to her research for the book: “By studying the original Greek, the original Hebrew and how many myths are out there. I learned that Jesus was not a carpenter, but He was a stonemason because there was nothing but rock in Israel then.” It was a bit of a shock for me. For over 40 years, I thought Jesus was a carpenter and even wrote an article that implied as much. But now Griffith was saying the Lord was probably a stonemason. Now in my defense, the description of Jesus as a carpenter is …

What I find so annoying about Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax

Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, is implementing a carbon tax that will increase the price to heat our homes, turn on our lights and run our cars. Yet Canada only produces 1.6% of the CO2 emissions in the world. Even if we completely closed down the country, it would have absolutely no impact on global temperatures. It is all just a symbolic act. I recently produced a video on some things I find annoying about Trudeau’s carbon tax. Yes, I make a couple of comments about my wife in this video. We have been married for nearly 40 years and everyone who knows us feel absolutely sorry for her. Most think she should be officially declared a saint for having put up with me for nearly four decades.

The Muslim Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem Credit: Patrick McKay/Flickr/Creative Commons

Why did Israel’s Sanhedrin ask the Arab world to help build the third Jewish Temple?

Breaking Israel News recently reported on a letter written by Israel’s nascent Sanhedrin asking the Arab world to join in building the third Jewish temple in Jerusalem. The court sent its request in English, Hebrew and Arabic. The nascent Sanhedrin is a Jewish court made up of 71 elders. A similar court has historically provided spiritual and sometimes political guidance to Israel through out its history. It was the Sanhedrin that asked the Romans to crucify Christ. So why did they ask the Muslims for help? Certainly expediency is one of the reasons. Orthodox Jews believe that God wants them to rebuild the Temple. However, the Temple Mount is now controlled by the Jordanian government and under the current political arrangement, Orthodox Jews would probably need Jordan’s permission to build. It is traditionally believed that the Muslims built the Dome of the Rock on the location of the second Jewish Temple the Romans destroyed in 70 AD. I don’t think the Jews believe Muslims would be willing to destroy the Dome of the Rock, Islam’s …

Peter Ruben's (1577-1640) painting of the women at the tomb. Perhaps fitting of her reputation as a prostitute, Ruben's had Mary of Magdalene wearing a red dress.

Taking a second look at Mary Magdalene’s tattered reputation

It was during a sermon preached by Pope Gregory 1, in 591 AD, that Mary Magdalene’s reputation was publicly scandalized for the first time and she never full recovered. In his homily, Pope Gregory said that Mary Magdalene had been a prostitute. And it is a view that stuck. He based this conclusion on a couple of things. First according to the Gospels, Mary had seven demons cast out of her (Mark 16:9, Luke 8:2). Pope Gregory suggested these seven demons involved seven capital sins that included lust. Gregory then added the unnamed sinful woman in Luke 7:36-50, who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume, was none other than Mary of Magdalene. It was generally believed by everyone’s reaction that the immoral woman was probably a prostitute, but even that can’t be certain. But nevertheless, Gregory concluded: She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary, we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark. What did these seven devils signify, if not all the vices? It is …

Lecciones de vida de un malvavisco ( dulce de merengue blando )

English version: Life lessons from a marshmallow Esau y Jacob eran los hijos gemelos hermanos de Isaac y Rebeca. Esaú, que era el primogénito, estaba destinado a recibir la herencia que ascendió al doble de la de los otros hijos. Así Esaú recibiría dos tercios de la herencia familiar y Jacob sólo un tercio. Sin embargo, como un hombre joven Esaú cambiaron a su doble porción de la herencia por un plato de lentejas. Después de un día en el campo, Esaú regresó con hambre. Jacob estaba haciendo un guiso. Cuando Esaú pidió a Jacob el guiso, Jacob sólo aceptaria si Esaú le vendia su doble porción de la herencia. 32 “Mira, yo estoy a punto de morir,” le dijo Esaú; “¿de qué me sirve, pues, la primogenitura?” 33 “Júramelo primero,” replicó Jacob. Esaú se lo juró, y vendió su primogenitura a Jacob.” 34 Entonces Jacob dio a Esaú pan y guisado de lentejas. El comió y bebió, se levantó y se fue. Así despreció Esaú su primogenitura. (Génesis 25: 32-34 NBLH) Esaú no estaba …

Iceland Credit: Lovepro/Flickr/Creative Commons

Study says a pagan poem and volcanic eruption resulted in the Vikings turning to Christ

According to a report in the journal Climate Change, a volcanic eruption and an ancient pagan poem convinced the Vikings to embrace Christianity. The mass conversion of the Vikings to Christ took place around 1100 AD and according to the researchers from the University of Cambridge two events in the 10th century played a role in this decision. Using ice cores, they said Iceland’s Eldgjjá volcano erupted between 939 AD and 940 AD. At this point the Vikings were creating settlements on the island. It involved a prolonged lava eruption that spread over a year. It also resulted in a tremendous amount of ash pouring into the atmosphere blocking the sun causing very cool summers and extremely cold winters. The ash not only affected the climate of Iceland, but reached into North America and Northern Europe, the traditional home of the Vikings. This resulted in droughts, animal stock dying off and increased mortality. The second thing that attributed to the conversion was an apocalyptic Viking poem called Völuspá written around the same time. In English, …

The Mespotamia Valley where Abraham and Sarah lived before God called them on their journey of faith: Credit: Hassan Janall U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Wikipedia

La fe a través de la duda: contrato de matrimonio de 4.000 años de antigüedad confirma la historia de Ismael

English: Faith through doubt: 4,000 year old marriage contract confirms story of Ishmael Aunque el patriarca Abraham y su esposa Sara terminaron en el “Salón de la Fama de la Fe” (Hebreos 11: 8-11), sus vidas estuvieron lejos de ser una muestra perfecta de fe. Dios le había prometido a Abraham y su esposa Sara un hijo del cual vendría una gran nación (Génesis 17). Aunque se aferraron a esta promesa, hubo momentos en que dudaron de Dios y tomaron el asunto en sus propias manos. Uno de estos momentos involucró a Agar, la sierva personal de Sara: 16 Sara, mujer de Abram, no le había dado a luz hijo alguno. Pero ella tenía una sierva Egipcia que se llamaba Agar. 2 Entonces Sara dijo a Abram: “Mira, el Señorme ha impedido tener hijos. Llevate, te ruego, a mi sierva; quizá por medio de ella yo tenga hijos.” Y Abraham escuchó la voz de Sara.(Génesis 16: 1-2 NBLH) Sara le dijo a Abraham que embarazara a su esclava, quien serviría como sustituta y tendría un hijo que …

Lo que el diablo ve

English: What the devil sees En el libro de Zacarías, el profeta transmite una serie de visiones que dan breves vislumbres en el reino espiritual. Sin embargo, hay uno que hace más que eso. No solo arranca el velo que cubre el reino espiritual, también muestra cómo los ángeles y los demonios ven a las personas en el mundo natural. Nos ven de manera diferente. En el capítulo 3: 1, el profeta Zacarías muestra  a Josué, que era el sumo sacerdote en Jerusalén, de pie ante el Ángel del Señor. Zacarías también observó a Satanás de pie junto a la mano derecha de Josué pronunciando una cantidad de acusaciones contra el Sumo Sacerdote.  Josué probablemente realizaba algún tipo de sacrificio o trabajo asociado con sus deberes sacerdotales. Nadie, en el ámbito terrenal habría visto al Ángel de Dios o a Satanás de pie junto a la mano derecha del Sumo Sacerdote. Era solo otro día en el templo, pero todo el infierno se estaba desatando en el reino espiritual. Y Josué estaba vestido de vestiduras …

“I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning." Jesus (Luke 10:18) Photo: Matt/Flickr/Creative Commons

La verdadera historia detrás de la primera Navidad

English: The real story  behind the first Christmas Noche silenciosa Santa noche, todo está en calma todo es brillante… Cuando Franz Xaver Gruber y Joseph Mohr de Austria escribieron el famoso villancico Silent Night en 1818, pintaron una imagen tranquila e idílica de la Navidad. Junto con muchos villancicos de Navidad retrató el nacimiento de Jesús tal como lo vemos en Lucas 2: 1-20 y Mateo 1: 18-2: 23 – Pastores en el campo, Ángeles cantando, un bebé en pañales, un pesebre, ovejas y bueyes. La Mujer, el Dragón y el Niño 12 Una gran señal apareció en el cielo: una mujer vestida del sol, con[a] la luna debajo de sus pies, y una corona de doce estrellas sobre su cabeza. 2 Estaba encinta, y gritaba por los dolores del parto y el sufrimiento de dar a luz. 3 Entonces apareció otra señal en el cielo: Un gran dragón rojo que tenía siete cabezas y diez cuernos, y sobre sus cabezas había siete diademas (coronas). 4 Su cola arrastró la tercera parte de las estrellas del cielo y las …

North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada Credit: tungilik/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

How the 1948 North Battleford revival impacted the church

Canada has been home to two significant revivals in the past 100 years the more recent being the Toronto Blessing that started in January 1994 and a revival that hit North Battleford, Saskatchewan in 1948. The latter was a bit different from the other revivals that hit North America in the 20th century. The Azusa street revival that set the stage for the modern-day Pentecostal movement started in 1906 in Los Angeles. Both Toronto and Los Angeles were major urban centers of their day and as a result impacted significant numbers of people. But North Battleford was different. Located in an obscure province in Canada and at the time an equally obscure town in the northern part of that province. It was not easy place to visit. To get there you headed to the middle of nowhere. Once you get arrived, you then traveled 200 miles north. Nevertheless, it had a profound impact on modern charismatic Christianity. With this being the 70th anniversary of the revival, many prophetic voices believe something significant is going to …

Rural church in Iceland

Financially support opentheWord through Makersupport

If you are interested in making a donation to support the ministry of opentheword.org, we have set up a page at Makersupport.com/opentheword. Donations can be as small as $1US. Makersupport.com is a website dedicated to helping various creators such as writers, video producers, musicians and artists to raise money to support their craft. You can make a onetime donation or even set up a monthly donation.  Any help, no matter how big or small, will be appreciated. On average about 90% of the money donated through Makersupport goes to the creator with the remaining 10% going to administration/credit card fees. Jesus had people who supported His group disciples financially. Luke lists three by name, Mary Magdalene, Joanna (the wife of a manager who worked for King Herod) and Susanna. 8 Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him, 2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven …

Cannabis Credit: Pitscher/Flickr/Creative Commons

The hidden costs of marijuana legalization?

Earlier this month, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said his government expects to have legislation passed this summer legalizing marijuana. According to Lifesite News, in its current form, Bill C-45 would allow children as young as 12 years old to not only have five grams of Marijuana (10 joints) but to even share it with their friends. Anyone over the age of 17 will be allowed to purchase any amount of marijuana that they want and to even grow four plants in their home, but does limit how much they can share in public to 30 grams (60 Joints). Of course, we all know how mature teens are and none of them will be taking it to school. Fortunately, it looks like more responsible provincial governments may toughen the rules in their respective provinces. This is all happening despite several studies that show marijuana is particularly dangerous for teens whose brains are still developing. In a study released in 2015, researchers at the Psychiatry Institute at London, England’s King’s College blame Marijuana for 25% of the …

Christian foster couple vindicated: Easter Bunny denial is not wrong Canadian court rules

Derek and Frances Baars are a Christian couple who now live in Edmonton, AB, Canada. In 2016, the couple, who attend a Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, lived in Hamilton, Ontario and were fostering two girls, aged three and four. They ran into problems with the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton (CAS), the organization responsible for fostering, when the Baars refused to tell the two girls that the Easter Bunny was real. Though they did not believe they should lie to the children in their care, the Baars nevertheless organized an Easter egg hunt for the two girls and had them dress up for the occasion. The Baars were completely upfront about their beliefs. When they first applied to be foster parents, they told CAS that they would not lie about the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, and that was obviously fine at the time. In a dramatic conclusion, CAS gave the family one day’s notice before callously yanking the two girls from the home. CAS also ruled the Baars would no longer be …

Photo: Sierra Leone -- 37% of the women of Sierra Leone are involved in a polygamous marriage. Credit: Lindsay Stark/Wikipedia

The social problems caused by polygamy

According to an article in the National Post, last July two men from Bountiful, British Columbia, Canada were found guilty of polygamy. Both were members of an offshoot of the Mormon church called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Winston Blackmore was found guilty of having 24 wives and James Oler, five. Both appealed their case arguing it infringed on their religious freedom. They recently lost their appeal and will soon be sentenced. I was glad the government acted on this case, because polygamy can cause serious social problems and unrest in a country, and it is not just for the women involved in these marriages. Though historical Christianized societies do not allow polygamy, other religions and cultures do. I was recently reading an article on Sierra Leone and came across this interesting fact published by Sierra Leone, Demographics and Health Survey 2008 that stated 37% of Sierra Leone women are involved in a polygamous marriage. RELATED: Polygamy in Sierra Leone: Wikipedia Sierra Leone has a population of just over 7.1 …

Old Jerusalem Credit: Ronan Shenhav/Flickr/Creative Commons

The US accelerates its decision to move embassy to Jerusalem

On Saturday, Feb 24, 2018, US President Donald Trump announced that the plan to set up the American embassy in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, made late last year has been moved up. With expectations that the move would not be made until 2019, Trump stated the embassy will begin its transfer to Jerusalem in May this year. The first step will see American Ambassador David Friedman and a small support staff set up an office in the Jerusalem neighborhood Arnona giving it official American status. Over the next several months, the rest of the staff will be moved over as facilities are prepared for their arrival. A new building will also be constructed at a different location. In his February announcement, Trump said it was an anniversary gift for the Israelis. May 14th is Israel’s Independence Day and this years marks the 70th anniversary of Israel’s restoration as a nation. Shortly after Trump made his May announcement, Guatemala stated it would be moving its embassy in mid-May as well. For security reasons, the government …

Chris Pratt along with other Guardians of the Galaxy film answering questions at Comic Con in San Diego in 2013. Credit: Ronald Woan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Chris Pratt attacked on Twitter for praying, but…

In late February, actor Chris Pratt came under fire for a tweet he sent out stating he was praying for filmmaker Kevin Smith. Pratt is a popular Hollywood actor having starred in Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy. Smith, 47, filmmaker and comedian, was in Glendale California doing a comedy show, when he started to feel ill. With two shows scheduled for that night, he cancelled the second one and took an ambulance to the hospital and was diagnosed with a heart attack. Doctors discovered that his LAD artery, also called the widow maker, was 100% blocked. If he hadn’t gone to the hospital when he did, Smith would probably be dead. So having heard what happened, Chris Tweeted: Kevin we don’t know each other too good, but I have loved you since Clerks and I’m praying my ass off for you cause I believe in the healing power of prayer. Can you please pray with me people? https;//t.co/syB7BIQaoY – chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) February 26, 2018. Clerks was Smith’s first film, a low-budget affair …

Church near Weeping Water, Nebraska Credit: rich/flickr/Creative Commons

Despite what the media says, study states Christianity thriving in America

Though there have been reports in the mainline media indicating a decline in religious beliefs among Americans, it is a bit misleading. It leaves the impression that faith is decaying on all fronts. That is not true. According to a report released by Landon Schnabel and Sean Bock professors at Harvard and Indiana University (based in Bloomington), any declines in religious attendance are only being noticed in liberal or what they classify as moderate religions. The numbers for those with a strong faith and literal belief in the Bible remains strong. According Schnabel and Bock, the number of Evangelical Christians as a percentage of the American population grew from 18% in 1972 to 28% in 1989 and that percentage has held true since then. In their report, they describe Evangelical faith as intense and persistent. However, the same can not be said for liberal or moderate churches, those who no longer believe in the Bible. Over the same period, their numbers declined from 35% in 1972 to 12% in 2016. Schnabel and Bock note: “But …

Babylon Bee headline on its CNN story Credit: The Babylon Bee

‘Facebook’ and ‘Snopes’ get snoped by satirical Christian website

Snopes is a website that has set itself up as the self-declared, fact checker of the internet. However, many Conservatives claim that Snopes is simply another left-leaning site, that often targets Conservative issues. Ironically, it just got stung by a satirical Christian website called The Babylon Bee that published a story titled: CNN Purchases Industrial-Sized Washing Machine to Spin News Before Publication. Facebook was so excited by Snopes’s indictment that it issued a warning to Babylon Bee: “A page you admin (The Babylon Bee) recently posted the link (CNN Purchases Industrial-Sized Washing Machine to Spin News Before Publication) that contains info disputed by (Snopes.com), an independent fact checker. Repeat offenders will see their distribution reduced and their ability to monetize and advertised removed.” Facebook even told other users who were sharing the link that they were distributing “fake” news and referred them to Snopes. Once Facebook became the laughing-stock of the internet and then probably actually read Babylon Bee’s article (in that order), it withdrew its threats. Facebook told The Daily Caller: “There’s a difference …

Letitia Wright with Forest Whitaker at 2017 Comic Con International in San Diego Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/Creative Commons

‘Black Panther’s’ Letitia Wright: ‘I went on a journey to discover God and I became a Christian’

Black Panther has become the shocking hit of 2018. Many though it would do well but nobody expected it to be the second highest grossing film in history during it first four days. Made up of a largely black cast some says it provides an overview of America’s current racial and political climate with the intent of finding a middle ground in a country that is splitting apart over the issue. One of the breakout stars in the movie is British actress Letitia Wright, 24, who plays, Shuri, the younger sister of the King T’Challa. People are raving about her performance around the world with Vanity Fair titling its article about her sudden rise as Black Panther Star Letitia Wright Might Be the Next Leonardo DiCaprio But for God, it may not have happened. In an interview on Feb.9, 2018 with This Morning, a British talk show, Letitia explains what happened: “I was going through a lot, a very difficult time in my life and I just needed to take a break from acting because …

The pool of Siloam constructed by King Hezekiah. Since Jerusalem did not have a water source, its original inhabitants the Jebusites had constructed an access to the springs below the city. King David used this access to take the city. This led King Hezekian to construct a new access and pool to provide water that was much less vulnerable. Source: Wikipedia

Did archaeologists uncover Isaiah’s signature?

  Archaeologists working in the old part of Jerusalem uncovered what some believe might be the seal (bulla) impression of the prophet Isaiah. A person pressed their bulla into soft clay or wax leaving an image that verified a document was from them. In one sense it was a confirming signature of authenticity. Due to damage (top half missing, left side worn), they can’t be absolutely certain it belongs to the Prophet Isaiah. But here is what they do know. The small seal contains an image of  a doe found in the top third and largely missing portion. A grazing doe was a traditional sign of blessing. The middle part of the round clay impression contains the Hebrew name for Isaiah “Yesha’yah(u), missing the “u” due to damage. Then beneath that but on the worn left side is the word “nvy.” If the letter “aleph” was added at the end of “nvy” it would read “navi” translated “prophet” and essentially would say the bulla belonged to the Prophet Isaiah. However, if there was no “aleph” …