All posts filed under: Teaching

The Dead Leaf butterfly with its colorful wing display that perfectly mimics a dead leaf when closed. Credit: Left image Public Domain/Right image quartl/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Transformed!

I remember as a boy living in Shellbrook, a small Saskatchewan town, walking down the main street when a butterfly fluttered in front of me. Almost instantly it was set upon by a sparrow. What followed was an aero-acrobatic display. Though the sparrow was clearly faster, the butterfly was incredibly elusive. It swooped up and down to avoid captures. Sharp turns left, then right. Darting in every direction as the bird repeatedly dove in to catch it. And the sparrow was always a second too late, biting at air as the butterfly made another erratic move with a brain barely as large as a dot on an “i.” Then just as suddenly as it started, it was over. The bird broke off its unsuccessful chase and landed at the top of the one-story building I was walking by. I could see its beak open, as it breathed heavily trying to catch its breath. The butterfly continued its flight as if nothing had happened. It is interesting display because the butterfly has two sets of wings. …

Fog in Tronheim, Norway Credit: Ksenia Novikova/Flickr/Creative Commons

Why does God test us?

One re-occurring theme in the Bible is that from time to time God tests believers.  Tests have some similarity with trials, but differ in one important respect. Tests are initiated by God, while trials are not. Trials are simply blatant attacks against Christians. But as we will see in the life of Peter, some tests can have a demonic origin. So why does God test us? Paul writes: 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4 NIV) There are three key words in this verse: approved, entrusted and tests and they are all connected.  God wants to entrust us with more responsibility, but He needs to know how we are going to respond. So God tests our hearts, often through difficult situations, to see how we respond. Are we going to give up? Are we going to back away when the going gets tough? A life of faith is a struggle. …

Building a nest. Credit: Jill Bazeley/Flickr/Creative Commons

When it’s time to stop praying and start doing

In his letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul told the church to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). He encouraged us to be perpetually in a spirit of prayer. But did you know there are also times when God wants us to stop praying and start moving. Shortly after Pharaoh let Israel leave Egypt, he hardened his heart one more time and sent his army to bring the Jews back into captivity. When Moses heard reports the Egyptian army was in pursuit, he cried out to God for deliverance. It is what every sane Christian should do in times of distress. But suddenly God commands Moses to stop praying and start moving: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.’” (Exodus 14:15 NASV) There comes a time when God wants us to quit praying and start doing. Prayer is absolutely vital for Christians, but sometimes prayer becomes an excuse not to do it. Sometimes prayer is just another way to procrastinate, …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Hillsong Worship Service at Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia Credit: Michael Chan/Flickr/Creative Commons

What does it mean God is enthroned in (or inhabits) our praises?

It is a question I have wondered about for years. Does God really need our worship? Or is it that we need to worship God, meaning it’s for our benefit? I think it is the latter and there is a verse that provides a hint to why we need to worship God. The Psalmist writes: Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. (Psalm 22:3 NASV) This verse tells us that God is enthroned in our praises. Other translations state that God “inhabits” the praise of His people. The Hebrew word “ysb” translated “enthroned” by the New American Standard Bible means to sit and remain sitting, to inhabit and to dwell. It implies the idea of ownership and control. We see the word used as Abraham and Lot dwelt (ysb) in the land (Genesis 13:6, 7, 12) and because of their growing size they were in conflict because both were trying to inhabit and control the same land and there was only room for one. But “ysb” also means …

Did God give a prophetic vision to guide Tua Tagovailoa?

People describe Alabama Crimson Tide’s comeback victory over the Georgia Bulldogs in the National Football Championship on January 8, 2018 as nothing short of miraculous. Alabama was losing 13-0 at halftime and the coach pulled the team’s starting QB and threw in rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa, 19, who led the team to an overtime 26-23 victory. After the huge win, Tagovailoa, a Spirit-filled Christian, ran into the crowd to pray with his family and when asked in interviews after the game how he remained so calm in the NCAA’s biggest game of the year, Tagovailoa said he spoke in tongues. But now more is coming out about how the gifts of the Holy Spirit played an even bigger role in a game watched by 28.4 million people. Tagovailoa played high school football in Ewa Beach, Hawaii where he attended Message of Peace church pastored by his uncle and aunt, Tuli and Sai Amosa. While waiting offers to play college football, Tua’s mother Diane shared a prophetic word that Tagovailoa received about Tua’s future. But it …

Rusty car in Bodie, California Credit: Wolfgang Staudt/Flickr/Creative Commons

Your Martha Meltdown Moment Part 1: Rusty Dreams

Trusting God at times can be a real challenge, especially when your dreams seem to have turned to rust.   We all go through dark times when we must verbalize two things: God is Lord, and He is good. I will trust Him even when I don’t understand and it seems too late – the rust is too far gone! Psalm 42:10 says, “My enemies reproach me, while they say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’” During these dark times the enemy loves to use people to taunt us, questioning, “If God really loves you He would not have allowed these things to happen. Where is God?” To answer, we can leave the Bible open to the book of Job. God is God, and He is good! If my dreams seem to have turned to rust, and I picture the word “rust”, and bring the cross into the picture, right at the beginning, we now have the word, “trust.” It’s always about trust. We walk by faith, full stop. Ask yourself, “Is this …

Redcliffe City Church worship service at the beach Credit: Leonard J Matthews/Flickr/Creative Commons

Restoring the Tabernacle of David worship in the Church

I have written articles in the past about the Tabernacle that David set up in Jerusalem to house the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 16:17). This tabernacle or tent existed for less than 40 years and was taken down shortly after the Ark of the covenant was transferred from David’s tabernacle to Solomon’s temple. 31 Now these are those whom David appointed over the service of song in the house of the Lord, after the ark rested there. 32 They ministered with song before the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, until Solomon had built the house of the Lord in Jerusalem; and they [a]served in their office according to their order. (1 Chronicles 6: 31-32 NASV) It needs to be pointed out that God did not want David or his son to build a temple, God preferred to stay in the Tabernacle of David. But because of its brief existence, it seems that David’s Tabernacle played a minor role in Israel’s religious life. But that isn’t true. The Book of Psalms, one of the most …

Calling of the Apostles by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1448 - 1494) Credit: Perledarte/Flickr/Creative Commons

Apostles and prophets Part I: Five or three

[by Keith Hazell] Some of us have lived through days of exciting change in the Body of Christ.  We have seen God bringing the Church into her own; equipping her in ways that had not been seen for many years in the past. In particular God has been giving us the opportunity to see the resurgence of men and women who carry the Ministry of the Apostle and the Prophet in their lives. Many have had to pioneer the modeling of these ministries without themselves having good role models to follow. In my lifetime I have seen the return and recognition of both the Apostle and the Prophet by New Testament Churches; although it has not come without much confusion and controversy. In 1948 God began to bring a revelation to the church in North America through the Latter Rain Revival which broke out in North Battleford in Northern Canada. The principles released in those days to the Church were to reverberate around the earth and to be catalyst for the release of these ministries …

Credit: Ben Freeman/Flickr/Creative Commons

If you want to know God’s will, start moving

Many of us can struggle trying to decide what God wants us to do. It is clear from Scripture that God has a purpose for each of us. The Prophet Jeremiah wrote: 11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’ (Jeremiah 29:11 NASV) God has a plan for each of us. He has a future destiny laid out for you. But knowing God’s purpose for our lives can be a struggle and many times we find ourselves sitting and doing nothing waiting for a messenger from heaven to hand deliver our instructions. I think that is a mistake. If you want to know God’s will for your life, get out of your chair and start moving. This is exactly the advice that King Solomon gave: The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NASV) We are told that we can make our plans, but God directs our …

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Just Don’t Drink the Poison

“We teach people how to treat us.” (Dr Phil) Toxic people are everywhere, and one of them will find you if you give them a chance. They range from overbearing parents or others in the family who know how we should live our lives, to addicts and alcoholics, and sometimes to violent abusers. You might have heard words like this “You make me like this, it’s your fault.” or “I drink because of you.” or “I only lose my temper when you …” RELATED: Cut toxic people out of your life says Christian psychiatrist: Christian Today In my extended family, I have a cousin who came under the control of an abusive man. She tells this story in churches, and this is my summary. As a young woman, I think a teenager, she met an older man and then moved in with him. They never did marry and she was a Christian. After some time, she realized that the man was controlling and abusive, and she needed to get out. One day they had a …

Credit: Anna Ghislaine/Flickr/Creative Commons

A ‘light’ does not judge

Some of you may be familiar with Jordan Peterson. He is a Canadian psychologist from the University of Toronto who has become famous in recent months for being a voice of reason in a world careening towards Marxism, totalitarianism and political correctness. In his many lectures available on YouTube, he made this curious statement that has stuck with me. When people look at Nazi Germany, we want to judge the Germans for falling under the spell of the megalomaniac Adolf Hitler and his utter hatred for the Jews. Somehow we have convinced ourselves that we are different and would never have been taken in by Hitler’s lies. Peterson disagrees. He says that if we had grown up in Germany when Hitler was coming to power, we (meaning you and I) would have become Nazis and embraced antisemitism just like the Germans did. Certainly, there were a handful of people in Germany, like Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who opposed Hitler and died because of it. We can try to convince ourselves we would have been Bonhoeffer, but …

The 12 Apostles is a collection of 12 limestone stacks jutting out of the ocean on the southern coast of Australia Credit: Pablo Fernandez/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Ministry of an Apostle — Part 2

[by David Wells] In the first section of this teaching on the ministry of the Apostle, I taught on the need for church structure to return to the pattern described in the New Testament, including the restoration and full functioning of the apostolic ministry. I examined the purposes, foundational nature and vital necessity of apostolic ministry in church life, as well as the different realms of apostleship and the qualifications of apostles. In this section, we will explore the role and function of apostles more fully, as well as address questions concerning the nature of apostolic authority, with an understanding of the interdependent cooperation between apostles and churches. Function of an Apostle An apostle is one who takes the gospel to unreached areas: “And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, that I might not build upon another man’s foundation”. (Romans 15:20) A true apostle is a traveler not a settler. In Scripture, we see that apostles traveled and planted churches. A sense of timing is important, and we …

St Bartholomew's Church in Berchtesgadener Land, in Bavaria, Germany. As one of the 12 Apostles, Bartholomew is considered the Apostle to Germany as it is believed he was the first to bring the gospel to that country. Credit: Nuno Vilela/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Ministry of the Apostle — Part 1

[by Dave Wells] The days in which we are living are not normal times. We are beginning to move into a season of the greatest outpouring of the power of the Holy Spirit and the greatest harvest of souls in all of Christian history. The beginning of the last century was characterized by great moves of God. This century will be the same. In light of this, the church of Jesus Christ cannot just continue with “business as usual”. If our church structure does not conform to a New Testament model, we will be blown out of the water by what is coming. “Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.” (Acts 3:19-21) We have experienced times of refreshing that have …

Credit: Tamara Leaver/Flickr/Creative Commons

Unlocking your future

In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wrote: 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:19 NIV) It is a powerful verse when we understand that we are God’s handiwork, literally God’s work of art. But the kicker here is that there are things, good works, that God has prepared and called you to do. The tense of the Greek word prepared (proetoimasen) means that the decision about what God wants you to do was made long before (well in advance of)  your salvation. God has a long-term plan for your life. When you look in the Old Testament, you see examples of this. The prophet Isaiah understood that God had called him to a prophetic ministry while Isaiah was still in the womb: Listen to me, you islands;     hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me;     from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name. 2 He made my mouth like a …

Credit: EBCanon/Flickr/Creative Commons

Your Money and the Church – Part 3

Here is one of the best secrets for managing your generosity and giving of money: Don’t. If you spend any time among religious people, you will be asked for money. When I go to church on Sunday, there is always an offering, a time when all other business stops and the ushers collect money from us. I have lived with this all my life and I have an acquired immunity, but some people who come with me are offended and disoriented. What will God think about them if they don’t give enough? So, don’t give. The exercise will be good for you. Yesterday I was walking in the mall. It’s not really my place but I had a meeting with someone. At an intersection in the walkways, I saw a display booth with two young women looking hopeful. They represented one of those Christian charities that sponsor children and they were looking for sponsors. I won’t name the organization, but there are several and they do very good work. What bothered me was all the …

Freshwind Band at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in March 2008 where the Toronto Revival broke out. Source: andrewgazaneo artwork by Sarah M Gazeno/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Justin Bieber’s mom Pattie Mallette ‘Travailing in the Spirit’?

Pattie Mallette may not be a familiar name to most of us, but her pop star son, Justin Bieber, is a household name in many parts of the world. In earlier articles, I have written about the remarkable spiritual transformation taking place in Justin’s life. Dale Hurd writing for Christ for All Nations tells the story about Pattie’s spiritual journey. Incredibly, it started at the Toronto revival, also called the Toronto Blessing, that broke out in a Vineyard Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in January 1994. The church originally called Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship has since been renamed Catch the Fire Toronto and is pastored by John and Carol Arnott. Pattie shared her journey to faith at the 2018 Light the Fire Again conference held at the same building, the Attwell Center, where the Toronto revival broke out. In the early 1990s, Pattie became a Christian in a hospital room shortly after a failed suicide attempt. She was led to the Lord and mentored by a couple who attended the Vineyard church where the revival …

Credit: Andrei Niemimäki/Flickr/Creative Commons

Don’t fear your mistakes

Several years back I was working on a small newspaper. We had just sent our most recent issue to the printer and the finished product had just arrived and someone brought a copy to my office. The typo on the front page was the first thing I saw when it landed on my desk. I don’t know how many times we had proofed that issue, but a mistake had somehow slipped through. And there it was glaring at me. Though it was years back I still remember the distinctive purple color that accentuated this particular cover. The last place you want to see a mistake is on the cover. After looking at it for several minutes, those feelings that had haunted me for years started welling up inside me. I needed to punish myself and say how stupid I was for allowing this mistake to happen. I didn’t think these thoughts, I said them out loud. Typically I yelled at myself how stupid I was when these type of things happened. I wanted to take …

The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) Credit: Wikipedia

Are Apostles for today?

We have leaders today who refer to themselves as Apostles. Some even add the term as part of their title. It was part of the five key ministries that Paul listed as necessary for building the church: 11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; (Ephesians 4:11-12 NASV) Traditionally non charismatic churches or cessationists have opposed the usage of ministries such as apostles and prophets and even spiritual gifts. Also called dispensationalism, those holding this view believed these ministries and spiritual gifts were for another dispensation, and not for today. It has always been a bit puzzling why ministries such as prophets and apostles were rejected while pastors, teachers and evangelists were embraced even though the five are listed together. However, that all changed with the Revival that took place in North Battleford, Saskatchewan Canada in 1948 where they rejected dispensationalism and restored …

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Your Money and the Church – Part 2

Did you know that you are lazy? And me too, I can be included in that number. The basic nature of the human race is to always look for the easy way out, the softest cushion. We all have that affliction from childhood, and if you have learned to work hard, congratulations for resisting. Have you noticed how words like ‘luxury’ go with words like ‘ease’ and ‘relax?’ We don’t earn, we don’t learn, and we don’t manage, if we can find the couch first. That monster lives in all of us somewhere. The popular picture of success is doing nothing like some ancient European aristocrat supported by an army of serfs, and not a brave person climbing mount Everest with a gritty expression on their face. Did you also know that your life is a project, your family is a business and your church is a consortium? Everything requires diligent management. According to the Bible: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!” (Proverbs 6:6) If ants could speak to …

Church in rural England Credit: Peter Smithson/Flickr/Creative Commons

Your Money and the Church – Part 1

No one likes their first job, or at least we can complain about it later, when we learn how the world really works. I have my own horror story. Just when I turned 18, almost on my birthday, I started my first real job. I left high school early and started working in January, in a cold winter, with short days and not much sunlight. I was hired to drive a small truck for a parts department in a shop that repaired construction equipment. Every morning I got up early, ate something in a bowl, and hurried to a bus stop. The bus took me to a remote suburb, and then I walked several blocks and crossed a busy road into an industrial area, and after more walking, I hurried into my workplace to punch the time clock. Then I did janitorial work and drove the truck when ordered, and I hardly knew how to drive. Travel to and from work, on the bus, was in darkness for weeks, and the weather was severely cold. …

Christian NBA star Jeremy Lin Credit: Christian/Flickr/Creative Commons

If God was willing to use Samson, the Lord will use you despite your imperfections

I have thought of writing this story for a while, and when I saw an article on a Christian NBA basketball star Jeremy Lin, I was inspired to write it. For those who don’t know, Jeremy Lin, 29, plays for the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA. He has been an all-star basket ball player throughout much of his career and is the first NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent. He has always floated under the radar. He was undrafted and came out of nowhere during New York Knicks’s 2012 season. The Knicks were having a terrible year and the coach was contemplating cutting Lin who had not seen any significant playing time. But after repeated losses and injuries to players, the coach decided to play Lin who stormed off the bench and many argue single handily turned the Knicks’s 2012 season around. When Jeremy scored 38 points in a game in February 2012, in an interview with ESPN NBA star Kobe Bryant said: “Players playing that well don’t usually come out of nowhere. It …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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Kindness and Human Evolution

I was travelling on the weekend, and I learned a hard lesson about air travel. It is so easy to be bumped these days. My flight to another city was bumped to an earlier time, and I was able to deal with that. But I didn’t know if I could get home on time. I walked up to the airline counter and a young woman told me I was supposed to confirm my flight online. If not, I would be charged ten dollars, or possibly not get on the plane. I did not know that, and she told me to take out my phone, log onto the free airport Internet and click “yes” on their website. I had some trouble logging on, and she just told me to just check in, and they would waive the ten-dollar fee. I should have asked for her name and sent a commendation to her boss. What she did was simple kindness; she did not have to help me. Kind acts like that send a powerful message. I knew …

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 …

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem Credit: David Ortmann/Flickr/Creative Commons

Did God want King David to build a temple?

In his sermon that ultimately led to his martyrdom, Stephen knew he was speaking to a hostile crowd, and just before his death he called into question the construction of the temple: 46 David found favor in God’s sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. 48 However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: (Acts 7:46-48 NASV) Stephen said the Temple was made of human hands and it was not where God dwells. Was Stephen referring to the fact, that the Temple in Jesus’s day was paid for and constructed by the reprobate King Herod? Or was Stephen talking about the fact the Ark of the Covenant on which the presence of God dwelt had disappeared centuries earlier and the Holy of Holies in Herod’s temple was empty? Or was he talking about something else? There were three religious structures that ancient Israel built to house the …

Credit: Alan Levine/Flickr/Creative Commons

Who were the imprisoned spirits?

In what some consider to be one of the most puzzling passages in the Bible, the Apostle Peter talks about how between His death and resurrection, Jesus preached to the spirits that were imprisoned in the days of Noah. 18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. (1 Peter 3:18-20 NASV) It is a difficult passage to understand. Some believe it refers to Christ preaching to the souls of those who died during the Noahic flood. Certainly this is a plausible explanation. Others believe it refers to Noah preaching to the people while he …

Taylor James from "Samson" YouTube Capture

Is the Nazirite vow for today?

I read an interesting interview with actor Taylor James, a Christian, who plays the role of Samson in the full-feature movie “Samson” released earlier this month. In an interview with “Pure Talk,” Taylor talked about a vision he had a few years earlier that actually prepared him for the lead role in the movie. Taylor said: “I had a vision as an actor and a person a few years ago to grow my hair and to maintain a certain physical appearance. It was my guiding light.” After this vision, another Christian provided further revelation on what lay ahead for Taylor.  The person added that at some point Taylor would be returning home to South Africa and leading “his people.” Taylor had actually been born in South Africa and lived there for six years. When the role of Samson came up, Taylor auditioned for the lead role and was surprised when reading the script that much of the movie would be shot in South Africa. Then, when he noticed the movie’s subtitle “A man who leads …