All posts filed under: Religious

Why did it take five centuries for the cross to be embraced as a symbol of Christianity?

You may have seen the images circulating of how Notre Dame’s alter and cross survived the devastating fire that destroyed much of the church on Monday, April 15, 2019. Though this cross is making history, it is interesting to note that the cross was not fully embraced as a symbol of Christianity until around the fifth century. In his article, Jesus and the Cross, historian Steven Shisley states that the first sign that the cross had finally gained public acceptance as a symbol of Christianity was in its appearance on the doors of the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome in the fifth century. Until then, the cross had for the most part been down played and the reason for this Shisley claims is because of societal views on the cross. For the Romans, that cross was associated with the deaths of criminals and slaves, the despised of society. They used the cross as a form of execution because it was particularly brutal and painful. And it was also favored because it often took days …

Catholic relics of Christ’s crucifixion saved from Notre Dame fire

The world was captivated by the burning of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris yesterday, April 15, 2019.  It is unquestionably one of the world’s most famous Christian landmarks and it was not lost on many that it burned during the start of the Roman Catholic Holy week leading up to Easter. It is now believed that the fire was accidental, caused by the extensive renovations taking place in the Cathedral. But there was room for doubt because there have been dozens of attacks on churches in France in recent months including the setting of fires. In mid-March, 2019, a fire was purposely set at the Saint-Sulpice church shortly after morning mass. It is one of the largest churches in Paris, and the fire caused damage estimated at several million Euros. RELATED: Twelve French Churches Attacked, Vandalized in One Week: Breitbart Last year, nearly 875 churches were vandalized and it is continuing unabated in 2019. Perhaps the most vile, was the smearing of a cross made of excrement inside Saint-Alain Cathedral in Nimes on February 6th, …

Credit: Peter Moore/Flickr/Creative Commons

The stones are crying out

One my favorite stories in the Gospels involves what would be Jesus last trip to Jerusalem. A week later, the Romans would crucify Christ. Many churches celebrate Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem as Palm Sunday. In preparation for the trip, the Lord sent His disciples to Bethany to look for a donkey colt telling the owner that the Lord had need of it. As Jesus slowly rode into Jerusalem, people began throwing their cloaks on the road before Him while others threw down palm branches. This was an act reserved for royalty as we see happening when Jehu was declared King and people put their garments on the ground as he walked down the steps (2 Kings 9:13). Then people began shouting “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord” (Luke 19:38 NASV). The pharisees in the crowd understood what was happening and became very upset by what they were witnessing. They yelled out for Jesus to rebuke His disciples. But Christ answered them: “I tell you, if these become silent, …

Credit: Jaume Escofet/Flickr/Creative Commons

Britain can be a dangerous place for Christians

A stunning story out of Britain reveals how dangerous it is for Christian in that country. It involves a Christian from Iran wanting to immigrate to Britain. Now to be sure it is not only dangerous for Christians in Iran, but particularly for any Muslims who convert to Christianity because they face the death penalty if they don’t renounce their new faith. But the British newspaper, The Independent, recently reported that an Iranian Muslim man who had converted to Christianity was denied asylum in 2016 by the British Home Office for a reason that can only be described as bizarre. While being interviewed by the British Home Office, the man explained that he had converted to Christianity because he was tiring of the violence of Muslim extremists.  In comparison, he described Christianity as a peaceful religion. However, when the bureaucrat in Britain’s home office rejected this asylum claim, the person brazenly stated that the man was being rejected because Christianity was not a peaceful religion and cited several passages as evidence. The bureaucrat wrote: “These …

Tornado touches down near Elie, Manitoba In June 2007 Credit: Justin1569/English Wikipedia/Creative Commons

40 pre-schoolers sing “Jesus Loves Me” as violent tornado slams into their church

After a tornado ploughed through Paducah, KY on Thursday, March 14, 2019, Sheriff Matt Carter told the West Kentucky Star: “The Almighty hand of God has provided safety to our community. The destruction path is approximately five miles long… This could have been an extremely high fatality rate and we’re very fortunate and blessed to only report that one minor injury.” That one injury involved a man who received a small cut when a grain bin hit his vehicle flipping it over in the ditch. But easily the biggest miracle involved God’s protection of 40 children and their teachers attending a Christian pres-school at Mt Zion Baptist Church as the tornado ripped off most of its roof. When the storm erupted, the teachers rushed the children into an inner room which in the end was the only area of the church not damaged by the massive tornado. While the children waited out the storm, they sang worship songs including “He’s got the whole world in His hands” and “Jesus loves me.” It reminds me of …

Statue of Christ at the bottom of Lake Michigan Credit: petoskeyarea.com

Why is a life-sized statue of Christ resting at the bottom of Lake Michigan?

On top of Corcovado Mountain, overlooking Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, there is a 30-meter high statue of Jesus. Called Christ the Redeemer, the 635 metric ton statue was installed on the mountain in October, 1936 and has become a cultural landmark for Brazil. And at the bottom of Lake Michigan, the second largest of the Great Lakes that straddle the Canadian-American border, there is a life-sized statue of Jesus on the cross, sitting 21 feet beneath the surface of the water. It is located about 800 feet out in the middle of Little Traverse Bay, just off shore from the town of Petoskey. The marble statue is 11 feet high and weighs 1,850 pounds. The sculpture of Christ is 5’5″ tall. Though it is nowhere near the size of Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer, when the conditions are right, it draws hundreds of people. People are only able to view the statue when Lake Michigan freezes over thick enough to walk on, as it did this year. When the conditions are right, town’s people cut a …

Jim Bakker Credit: YouTube Capture/The Jim Bakker Show

Jim Bakker is back. Did you know?

If you are older than 40, you should know the names Jim and Tammy Bakker, although the younger generation might not know about the famous television-evangelist couple. Their story is still interesting. For at least a decade, they were household names, and people who had no interest in Christian things knew about them. It ended with scandals involving misuse of money and sexual misconduct, and Jim Bakker went to jail. His wife Tammy divorced him, and later died of cancer. Jim is out of prison now, and remarried, and active as a Christian speaker again. Apparently, he owes millions to the tax department. We can never accuse Jim and Tammy of being boring. The media needs stories to sell, and Jim and Tammy probably generated millions in revenue for the press. People paid to read those stories. RELATED: Jim Bakker: Wikipedia Jim Bakker has been operating as a Christian speaker for several years now, and it’s not correct to say he just came back, but I think he is getting more attention recently. For most …

Credit: Jeso Carneiro/Flickr/Creative Commons

Emails in sheep’s clothing?: Scam impersonates pastors

It involved a high-tech play on Jesus’s ancient warning that there would wolves infiltrating the church pretending to be sheep or Christians (Matthew 7:15). In this case they were impersonating pastor’s emails. The Gaston Gazette is reporting that members of Venture Church and Bethlehem Church based in Dallas, North Carolina, received emails purportedly from the church’s two head pastors asking for money. What is even more amazing is that Dallas is small community of under 5,000 people. These are obviously not big churches. According to Venture’s associate pastor, Chris Mintz, the emails mimicked the church’s two head pastors using a fake gmail account. The scammers used dspargo.bethlehembc@gmail.com for  Bethlehem’s Senior Pastor Dickie Spargo and Austinrammell.daretoventure@gmail.com for Venture’s pastor, Austin Rammell. In separate emails sent in late February to members of the two churches, people were asked to immediately send money to help either a “supposedly sick child” or a person sick with cancer in the church. According to Pastor Mintz, in each case the people were specifically asked to send $300 by purchasing a Google …

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Study: Why conservatives are happier than those on the political left

In his interesting article posted on the Daily Wire, author Jeremy Frankel cited a study in the Elsevier Journal of Research in Personality, that stated a person’s political leanings determines how happy they are. The study entitled, “Conservatives are happier than Liberals, but why? Political ideology, personality and life satisfaction,” concluded that people who lean to the political right are happier than those on the left of the political spectrum. The authors of the study, Barry Schlenker, John Chambers and Bonnie Le, said in their abstract: “Political conservatives are happier than liberals. We proposed that this happiness gap is accounted for by specific attitude and personality differences associated with positive adjustment and mental health.” They concluded that there are several reasons why Conservatives are happier. First Conservatives take personal responsibility for what is happening to them. It is not somebody else’s job to make your life better. They believe it is up to the individuals to take responsibility for what is happening to them, even if they were taken advantage by others. In contrast, those …

Credit: YouTube capture/The Last Reformation

Did Danish mainline media hit piece on evangelist Torben Søndergaard distort the truth?

In my previous life, I worked for an organization that often waded into political issues as it believed in smaller government and lower taxes. Shortly after I began working for them, I started getting harassing phone calls from an older gentlemen who believed the exact opposite. But the main gist of his conversation revolved around the accusation, that the organization I was working for was a front for another group that held a similar opinion. Now I completely respected this other non-profit organization. In fact, it wouldn’t have bothered me if we were associated with them. But we weren’t. After he called me three or four more times repeating this accusation, I finally got tired of it and in what would ultimately be my last conversation with him, he said that despite my denials he knew it was true. I answered: “Sir, the last thing you are interested in is the truth.” There was stunned silence on the other end of the phone and it was obvious by the brief conversation that followed I had …

Edinburgh, Scotland Credit: Ethan Trewhitt/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is the Scottish police’s anti-hate poster actually a bigoted, hate poster?

Barnabas Fund is an organization dedicated to helping Christians being persecuted for their faith around the world. The organization has offices set up in over 50 countries that are typically run by nationals. Though headquartered in England, Barnabas Fund recently made an accusation against the Scottish police for promoting hatred of Christians. This was the first time, Barnabas Fund had ever made such a charge in England where the organization was founded. The charge was the result of a poster campaign the Scottish police ran in October in c0njunction with an organization called One Scotland. The posters had the logo of the Scottish police displayed along the bottom. One of the posters started off with “Dear Bigot” and reads: “Division seems to be what you believe in. We don’t want your religious hate on our buses, on our streets and in our communities. We don’t want you spreading your intolerance. Or making people’s lives a misery because of their religious dress. You may not have faith in respect and love, but we do. That’s why …

De Peer city hall Credit: Royalbroil/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Big court case defends religious freedom in small city

It was an early Christmas present for churches in De Pere, Wisconsin and perhaps across the US. On Friday, December 21, 2018, the Pacific Justice Institute was in court in Green Bay, Wisconsin successfully defending religious freedom. The case revolved around an ordinance passed by De Pere, Wisconsin in November 2017. De Pere is a small city with about 25,000 residents, but the court case was huge and if left unchallenged could have set a precedent across the US. The law that came in effect in March, 2018, decreed that churches were for the most part “places of public accommodation.” Churches were only exempt from this ordinance during church actual services. This meant at all other times, churches, as places of accommodation, were subject to the city’s non discrimination law. This meant churches would be required to hire gay staff and would be restricted from what they could say publicly on sexual ethics including sermons posted on the internet. The law would also force churches to allow their facilities to be used for gay marriage. …

Monument displaying Communism's hammer and sickle being installed in a park in China: Credit: Serpentaz/Youtube capture

The Communist revival and rising persecution of Christians

Two recent stories this Christmas season reveal Communism’s utter hatred for Christians and it is concerning because it may be a foretaste of what is coming in North America as some political parties seem to be taking a radical turn to the left. Writing for Faithwire, Vernon Brewer shared a story of what is happening in North Korea under its Communist despot Kim Jong-un.  Brewer regularly helps bring Bibles into North Korea that is not only dangerous for him, but those receiving them. On one of his journeys into the communist country, he shared a story told him by a young man who Brewer referred to as Eun to protect his identity. Eun was in the third grade when his teacher made an unusual request of her class: “When you go home, I want you to look for a book. Normally [the book] is black. Normally it’s hidden, and your mom or dad read it when you are asleep. If you look hard enough, you can find the book. And if you bring it, we …

Nativity scene in France Credit: (required by the license) © Guillaume Piolle / CC BY 3.0/Wikipedia

Did an ‘all-knowing’ God impregnate Mary without her consent?

Minnesota State University (MSU) professor Eric Sprankle recently received his 15 minutes of fame when he  tweeted that God impregnated, Mary, the mother of Jesus, without her consent. Similar to many provocateurs, Sprankle sent the tweet out purposefully during the Christmas season. In his tweet, Sprankle wrote: The virgin birth story is about an all-knowing, all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen. There is no definition of consent that would include that scenario. Happy Holidays. — Eric Sprankle, PsyD (@DrSprankle) December 3, 2018 Apparently, Sprankle considers himself as an expert on sexuality and leads the Sexual Health Research Team at MSU and now he claims to be an expert on theology and the Bible as well. Well, let’s take a closer look at Sprankle’s tweet. He describes God as “all-knowing,”  In theological terms, God is “omniscient” which mean He knows everything, past, present and future. So if God is all-knowing, would He know if Mary would consent to being impregnated? Obviously yes. And that is exactly what happened in the birth story found in Luke. An …

Nativity Scene, New York City Credit: Gary Wong/Flickr/Creative Commons

Christmas Without Jesus

When I was in high school, we had a Christian club called BASIC. That meant “Bothers And Sisters In Christ.” Looking back, our weekly huddle in a classroom, with our dry sandwiches, was the first time I got to be a Christian without supervision. My older generation liked to control the kids, and religion was pushed on me constantly, at home and in church. We knew how to behave, to avoid criticism and discipline, but I think most of my friends dropped out of church as soon as they grew up, and they don’t identify as Christian now. In BASIC, we made our own choices. Maturity had to start somewhere, and I learned about Christianity that was just Jesus. The members of BASIC came from different churches, and some had no family church. I remember two girls from a Plymouth Brethren group, and they seemed to detest Christmas. To them, the season was filled with pagan symbols and idols and shrines, especially those decorated trees. I struggled with their ideas, but I learned that the …

Credit: Marie Coleman/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Liberal Grinch who just about stole Christmas: She wanted ‘J’ for Jesus banned?

According to Liberty Counsel, candy canes are now in the sites of liberal wanting to wipe out any hint of Christ this Christmas season. The story of the Grinch who just about stole Christmas was reported by The Blaze. Liberty Counsel is a non-profit law firm that fights for religious liberty in the US and it recently sent a demand letter to the superintendent of Elkhorn Public Schools about the actions taken by Jennifer Sinclair the principal of of Manchester Elementary School in Omaha, Nebraska. Apparently, this is Sinclair’s first year as principal at the school and she wanted it to be a memorable one. It worked. She is getting her 15 minutes of notoriety. She sent a memo to teachers in her school telling them what their children may or may not do at school to celebrate the Christmas season. In her memo, Sinclair wrote that she “come(s) from a place that Christmas and the like are not allowed in school.” RELATED: Read Sinclair’s Memo So what is on Sinclair’s banned list? Well Candy …

Credit: Jason Pearce/Flickr/Creative Commons

What does the Bible say about drinking alcohol?

Several decades ago, I was part of a church that took a strong stand against drinking alcohol, but it wasn’t just alcohol, it also had an opinion on several other things like long hair on men. The list of unwritten rules and regulations was quite extensive. Looking back now I realize the church was caught up in a religious spirit which I define as making up rules for Christian living that are not required by Scripture. The church leaders were essentially adding man-made rules to Christianity. In fact, one of the respected teachers that the church connected with wrote a book trying to prove that when the Bible talked about wine, it was speaking of non-fermented grape juice. Yes, he believed when Jesus turned water into wine at the Cana wedding, the headwaiter was shocked that the bridegroom had reserved the “best grape juice” for last (John 2:1-11). Though the Bible condemns becoming drunk, it does not forbid drinking wine. In fact, the exhortation forbidding drunkenness proves that the wine people were drinking was alcoholic. …

Morris home with its 200,000 Christmas tree lights Credit: Youtube capture/Fox News

Hide your faith?

In our rapidly changing culture, some are now demanding that Christians hide their faith in public. Recently, First Liberty, a non-profit legal organization defending religious freedoms in America, sent a letter to a school district in Texas that allegedly forced students wanting to pray at lunch time to hide behind a curtain. According to First Liberty the problem started when a group of students from Honey Grove Middle School in Honey Grove, Texas met during lunch hour to pray for a former student who had been injured in an accident. When the school principal saw them praying he ordered them to stop. When the students met the next day to try praying again, the principal said that they needed to either go behind the curtains in the cafeteria or into the gym or even outside if they wanted to pray. At the bequest of student Hannah Allen and her mother, First Liberty sent a letter to the school district telling them that under the US Constitution the school had no business infringing on student’s right …

Lahore, Pakistan Credit: Dr Ranjha/Flickr/Creative Commons

Oops, Did the Muslim Prime Minister of Pakistan just question the Koran?

I know it wasn’t his intention, but Imran Kahn, the Muslim Prime Minister of Pakistan, inadvertently took a swipe at the Koran, while bashing the Christian faith. Officially known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the country has a population of 212 million where 94.6% of the people are Muslim and only 1.5% are Christian. Yet despite the small percentage of Christians, in his speech honoring the birthday of Mohammad on November 30, 2018, Kahn decided to take a swipe at Jesus stating that He is not mentioned in human history: “There were prophets of Allah other [than Muhammad] but there is no mention of them in human history. There is negligible mention of them. Moses is mention of Jesus in history… But the entire life of Muhammad, who was Allah’s last prophet, is part of history.” Khan made this statement as part of his push to have any defamation of Muhammad and the Koran declared illegal by the international community. Now here is where it gets tricky. Because the Koran cites Jesus several times. …

Churches in South Korea often display red crosses. In what is described as Reverse Missionary, South Korean Churches are sending missionaries to the West. Two churches side by side in Suwon, South Korea Credit: donut2D/Flickr/Creative Commons

Have you met a Reverse Missionary?

Recently, a young man named John Allen Chau traveled to a place that belongs to India, North Sentinel Island, where the natives attacked him and probably killed him, although some family members think he might still be alive. The North Sentinelese have a long history of killing anyone who visit their island, and it is likely that Mr. Chau is dead. The government of India bans all travel to the place, and now no one can recover the body, or even identify it. RELATED: Missionary wrote ‘God, I don’t want to die’ right before tribe killed him Mr. Chau was a missionary, he went to the island to tell the natives about Jesus. His las name “Chau” might seem Asian, but he is from the U.S. Apparently his home is Vancouver Washington, on the north side of Portland Oregon, and I think he trained to be a missionary in Kansas. His story, and his probable death, have generated some discussion, like ‘He’s crazy.’ and ‘Those Christians are colonial imperialists.’ and ‘Why do those island people …

United Church on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia Canada converted into a museum. Credit: Harvey Barrrison/Flickr/Creative Commons

In the name of ‘diversity,’ an atheist allowed to pastor a church in Canada

It is a bizarre world when an atheist is allowed to pastor a church, but that is exactly what happened recently in Canada. Now to be fair, it took place in the United Church of Canada, a very liberal denomination and holds some flexible opinions on God, Jesus and the Bible. Over the past several years, attendance has been in a free fall in the denominations with church closings happening regularly as congregations are no longer viable. But being a religious organization, one would have thought that there would be a line drawn in the sand somewhere on how liberal its views would get, but apparently not. Rev. Gretta Vosper, 60, pastors West Hill United Church in Toronto. In 2001 she came out publicly as an atheist in a sermon to her congregation. It had an impact as over the next several months people started leaving including 100 who left when Vosper decided to no longer say the Lord’s Prayer during Sunday services. The United Church was aware of Vosper’s announcement, but in the name …

California fire in August 2018 Credit: Forest Service. USDA/Public Domain

Church becomes a refuge in California’s devastating fire

The Baptist Press reports a remarkable story in midst of the catastrophic fires sweeping California. The fire, that started November 6, 2018, has resulted in the deaths of 42 people and the destruction of 7,000 buildings as of November 13. This makes it the deadliest fires in California’s history. The story involves the preservation of a church in the town of Magalia, a small town of 12,000 people, in Northern California, that became a refuge for 30 people. On November 9, with the fire sweeping down on the town, Doug Crowder, who pastors Magalia Pines Baptist Church, was with 30 residents of the community, including 4 members of the Church planning to evacuate the town. Though most of the town residents had already left, Crowder stayed behind to help those who were unable to flee on their own, including the homeless, elderly and disabled. As they were loading into their vehicles, the forest surrounding the town dramatically burst into flames. A small restaurant across the street also exploded and suddenly they were surrounded by fire. …

Credit: Marc D. Thomas/Flickr/Creative Commons

Beware of wolves wearing ‘I Love Jesus’ hats?

This story out of Chesterfield, Virginia, may serve as a warning for Churches across North America. Times are changing and Christians need to take note. Late in the evening on election day, November 6, 2018, a man wearing a black hat with the words “I (heart image) Jesus” imprinted on it broke into Ironbridge Baptist Church. The church had earlier served as a polling station, but the building was now closed. Apparently one of the doors had not locked properly or perhaps was left ajar. A man, between 20 and 30 years old, entered the church found Bibles and began ripping pages out of them. He then shattered a nearby window and spray painted a wall. The church estimates damage was minimal at around $500. The intruder was caught on surveillance cameras and according to the Ironbridge’s executive pastor, Dennis Green, there is indication the “I Love Jesus” man knew his way around the building. Though this happened at night when no one is around, why was he so familiar with the church? Now we …

Stretcher bearers at the Battle of Passchendaele, August, 1917, World War I Credit: Wikipedia

Major English cinema bans short film of Bible comforting World War I soldiers because it’s “too religious”

On the 100th anniversary marking the end of World War I, a short video produced by the UK Bible society that talked about the importance of Bibles to British soldiers fighting in that war was banned by a Empire Cinema as being too religious. The UK Bible Society produced the clip as part of this year’s Remembrance Day services where nearly 19 million people died. The film showed that during World War I, the British military included a Bible in the kit of every UK soldier. For many soldiers fighting in that horrific war, these Bibles were an important source of hope. During the three-minute video several people recited a passage in the Book of Revelation that spoke of a new earth, where all tears will be wiped away: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride …

Priscilla Shirer: YouTube capture

Don’t be out of step with the Gospel in terms of race

I was recently struck by the words of Priscilla Shirer, 44. She is a black woman, a motivational speaker, TV host, author, preacher and founder of Going Beyond Ministries. Priscilla recently had her first acting role in the Christian movie War Room playing Elizabeth, the wife of Tony Jordan. Chuck Bernal, the pastor of Lifepoint Church, recently shared a video on Facebook of some profound statements Priscilla made about race, politics and the Christian faith. On the video that has been viewed nearly 7.5 million times, Priscilla said: “I do not describe myself as a black woman because that gives too much power to my blackness. “I don’t want my race to be the describing adjective of who I am as a woman. I am not a black woman. I am a Christian woman who happens to be black. “It’s the job of your adjective to describe the noun of who you are. If there’s gonna be an adjective describing me it’s not gonna be my race, it’s going to be I’m a woman who …

Credit: Ashers Baking Co/Ashersbakingco.com

Supreme court rules in favor of freedom of speech and conscience in England

The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court issued a ruling of sanity in favor of an Evangelical couple, Daniel and Amy McArthur, who manage a family owned bakery, Ashers Baking Co. in Northern Ireland. In 2014, Northern Ireland was embroiled in a campaign to legalize gay marriage and a gay activist approached the bakery’s Netwonabbey location to have it create a cake supporting the gay marriage campaign. The activist wanted a photo of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie along with the words “Support Gay Marriage” written on the top of the cake. Though an employee in initially took the order, the McArthurs later turned it down stating that they would not be able to make the cake because of their Christian beliefs. The activists took the case to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland that ruled against the company and ordered them to produce the cake within seven days. The owners refused and have been embroiled in a series of court cases ever since, that finally ended up in the Supreme Court. The Christian Institute of England …

Regular church attendance has positive impact on children in their 20s. Photo: Evergreen Church, Evergreen, Colorado, USA Credit: Kent Kanouse/Flickr/Creative Commons

Harvard Study: Church attendance as a child has positive influence on a person in their 20s

According to a study at Harvard University, children who attended church at least once a week while they were growing up reported having better lives in their 20s than those who didn’t. The study conducted by researchers from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health sampled data provided in the Growing Up Today Study that was part of the Nurses’ Health Study II. This study followed children in their early teens for upwards of 14 years. The sampling sizes were not insignificant and ranged in size between 5,700 and 7,500 people. The researchers were trying to find out if “religious involvement” as a child that included church attendance, prayer and meditation had any impact on a person’s physical, emotional and mental well-being later in life. The results published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed the positive influences that faith has on children, years later. Compared to those who didn’t, the study found that children who attended church at least once a week reported in their 20s as being: 18% happier; 30% more likely to …

Television in abandoned home in Detroit, Michigan Credit: Thomas Hawk/Flickr/Creative Commons

Emmy host insults Christians

Hollywood is so out of touch with real life that they can’t even figure out how to build a successful business. But maybe it is just me who is out of touch, but I have never thought it was a successful business model to insult your customers. Take this year’s Emmy Awards, the Oscars for TV equivalent. One of the co-hosts, Michael Che, took the opportunity to seemingly slag Christians and Republicans. According to reports, Che is also a co-host of Saturday Night Live. During one of his Emmy rants, Che said: “My mother is not watching. She said she doesn’t watch white award shows because you guys don’t thank Jesus enough. That’s true. The only white people that thank Jesus are Republicans and ex-crackheads.” The only good thing about this lame excuse for a joke is that there was only a smattering of laughter and applause. Che set this joke up by commenting on the free fall in viewership for the Emmy Awards. There are a number of methods to measure viewership of a …

Dallas skyline Credit: jayRaz/Flickr/Creative Commons

A call to be peacemakers

On Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, Botham Shem Jean, 26, was in his Dallas apartment when Amber Guyger, a police officer just finishing her shift, allegedly walked into what she mistakenly thought was her apartment. She saw Botham and convinced he was an intruder, Guyger pulled her gun and killed him. Botham was a believer. Originally from St Lucia, he attended Harding University, a small Christian college in Arkansas, where he sang with the Good News Singers. After graduating with an accounting degree, Botham went to work for  PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dallas. He faithfully attended church and served as a youth pastor at Dallas West Church of Christ where he also led worship with what people described as a wonderful baritone voice. But here is the kicker. Botham was also black and because it took police three days to charge Guyger with manslaughter, some have accused the police of protecting her. This past Sunday (Sept. 9, 2018), the church mourned the passing of a favored son. Sammie Berry who serves as pastor of the church Botham attended …

Matagalpa, Nicaragua Credit: Jono Hey/Flickr/Creative Commons

Antichrist Marxism rearing its head in Nicaragua?

Things have taken a dark turn for Christians in Nicaragua being ruled by its Marxist president and former guerilla Daniel Ortega. Though a democracy, Ortega has recently declared Christians “enemies of the state.” With a population of six million people, Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America. About half the population is Catholic and another third consider themselves evangelical. There have been growing public protests against Ortega’s regime because of its rampant corruption, growing totalitarianism and gross mismanagement of the economy. The anti-government protestors are calling for Ortega to step down and call an early election. Ortega has taken to violence to oppose the protests and even set up a secret police force who wear masks or hoods to attack those opposing the regime.. Because of the growing crack down on the anti-government protests, the UN sent a commission to Nicaragua to monitor the situation. After the UN issued a report condemning Ortega for his violence, the president ordered the UN out of the country on September 1. Since April this year, about 300 …

Church in Montbovon, Switzerland Credit: keepps/Flickr/Creative Commons

Stopping the ‘social justice’ creep into the church

A number of evangelicals have recently organized to oppose the growing intrusion of “social justice” into evangelical churches. The group has issued a Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel where they are expressing their concerns about this philosophy that is becoming increasing popular in the secular world and is now making its way into the Christian one. In their statement, they say: “We are deeply concerned that values borrowed from secular culture are currently undermining Scripture in the areas of race and ethnicity, manhood and womanhood, and human sexuality,” declares the statement.” At this point, over 4,500 Christian leaders have signed the petition. I remember a couple of years back during testimony time at the church we were attending, a woman came to the front and expressed how the church needs to become concerned about “social justice” and the unfairness in the world. It seemed so spiritual, but is it? The problem is that this social justice push is trying to reinterpret the Bible. The Bible speaks often of justice, but now where does …

Abu Dhabi Credit: Stephane PERES/Flickr/Creative Commons

That Expensive Jesus in Abu Dhabi

Hey, would you like to see Jesus, the savior of the world? It’s gonna cost you. When viewing becomes possible, you will have to travel to the heart of the Middle East, and buy a ticket, if you can get one, and line up. Here’s the story. Leonardo Da Vinci is credited with painting the most expensive work of art in the world, although possibly some of his students contributed. The painting is a picture of Jesus and it’s named “Salvator Mundi” or “Savior of the World.” This painting recently went up for auction in New York and there was a fierce bidding war for it. The final price was $450 million US. The first reports were that a wealthy prince in Saudi Arabia named Mohammed won the bid; Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. That was corrected by records that showed the bidder was actually Saudi Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, a relative of the first prince. So, some wealthy Saudi princes just paid too much for a picture of Jesus, Savior of …

San Antonio, Texas Credit: Brandon Watts/Flickr/Creative Commons

Religious Wars in Texas

Recently, a man took his stepdaughter to a Christian school in San Antonio Texas, to register her as a student. The interview went well until someone asked if the girl was a Christian. The answer was “no” because the whole family was Muslim. I think they are from Lebanon. The school administrator rejected the girl’s application because the private school was only for Christians, or at least one parent had to be a professing Christian. The stepfather was outraged and made a video about the experience, which went viral. This has produced much debate, and someone has pointed out that the local Jewish school only accepts Jewish students. As long as the school is funded with private money, they can reject anyone who does not believe what they believe. RELATED: Muslim family upset after daughter rejected from Texas Christian School I understand the debate and I’m not surprised. I hope the community can find a solution because they will still live together in the same space, after this argument is forgotten. There is one thing …

The main mound of the ancient city of Nineveh on the Plains of Nineveh Credit: fredarch/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

The power of forgiveness

When the Islamic extremist group ISIS invaded the Nineveh Plains in North Eastern Iraq over four years ago, the 140,000 Assyrian Christians living there were given three choices convert to Islam, die or flee. The Nineveh Plains are home to the ancient ruins of Nineveh, the city that the prophet Jonah called to repentance. Christians have inhabited this area for 2,000 years and many speak modern Aramaic, a version of the language that many believe Jesus spoke. Tens of thousands of Assyrian Christians fled into neighboring countries where they lived for years as ISIS ravaged their homeland. The Islamic extremists were determined to wipe out any evidence of the Christian faith on the Nineveh plain. ISIS leveled an estimated 13,000 homes of Christians, destroyed 263 Christian churches and obliterated Christian monuments including the tomb of Jonah. Christian cemeteries were also destroyed and purposefully desecrated. ISIS was determined to wipe out the memory of the Christians who had lived on this plain for the past 2,000 years.  But with ISIS routed, four years later Christians are …