All posts filed under: z102

Credit: Magdalen_A_T/Flickr/Creative Commons

How to Really Mess up Your Life

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

Credit: Ron Adams/Flickr/Creative Commons

Reach for your thread of hope

God’s faithfulness has been my lifeline through  the desperate times when it seemed that there was no hope in sight and nothing to reach for. But at the last moment when my faith was at its lowest and my desperation at its peak, a  very thin thread of hope would appear dangling in thin air, barely visible . This was the case of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’s garment – it was her last thread of hope. Mark said she had suffered at the hands of physicians for years (Mark 5:26) and the fringe of Jesus’s cloak was her lifeline. “20 And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; 21 for she was saying to herself, ‘If I only touch His garment, I will get well.’” (Matthew 9: 20-21) There is a thread of hope hanging from the hem of Christ’s robe just for you. Desperation and fear often brought me low, but it also positioned me to …

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 …

75% of Americans concerned about country’s increasing secularization

According to a recent Gallup poll, 77% of American believe religion’s influence in society is declining. But when asked if the country would be better off if more Americans were religious, nearly as many said yes. Gallup has been asking questions on religion’s influence in the U.S. since 1957. This year’s number represents the highest percentage ever of American’s who believe religious influence in America is declining. This year’s percentages nearly reverses the 1957 poll in which 14% believed

Church vandalized with satanic symbols

U.S.: This past weekend (August 3, 2013), a Brethren Church in Danville, Virginia was vandalized with three satanic symbols and two words oddly written in Latin. The symbols included an inverted cross and pentagram and the Latin words, when translated, read ‘hail satan.’ Danville is a small community and people were shocked something like this would happen there.  Read the full story: Historic Danville church vandalized It may only be a coincidence, but a similar thing happened during protests this past July at the Texas legislature, as the state government was passing the toughest pro-life legislation in the U.S.  Pro-abortion protestors opposing the legislation could be heard chanting “hail satan” as a pro-life speaker addressed a group opposing abortion.

Gay couple wants court to force Church of England to marry them

ENGLAND: A homosexual couple in England want the courts to force the Church of England to marry them. On July 17, 2013, legislation allowing gay marriage in England was formally passed. The law is expected to come into effect in 2014. There was a provision in the bill automatically exempting Churches from performing such marriages. Churches need to officially opt-in if they want to perform gay marriages. Many churches,

Archaeologists discover palace of King David

Researchers with the Hebrew University (HU) and Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) discovered one of King David’s palaces located at the Biblical city of Shaarayim, near where David killed Goliath. This is the first time a building of this stature had been uncovered in Israel. The site located Southwest of Jerusalem has been under excavation for seven years. This past year, the remains of two large buildings were discovered dating to the time of David — one being a palace. The 1,000 sq metre palace, located at the high point of the city with a great view of the Mediterranean,

Jesus healing a blindman by Andrey Mironov/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Did a Bible miracle prove itself?

The Bible is a book of miracles. But there is one miracle that stands out from the crowd. It’s not on anyone’s list of  top ten Bible miracles.  Some have even called it a failed healing. But I argue it is one of the great miracles of the Bible, because this curious healing actually proves itself to be true. But before we study this account, we need to look at an intriguing story told by Dr. Oliver Sacks. Dr. Sacks is professor of neurology and psychiatry at  Columbia University Medical Centre in New York. In his book, An Anthropologist on Mars, he tells the intriguing story of a man who received his sight after nearly a lifetime of blindness. In 1991, Sacks received a call from a retired minister about his daughter’s fiancé Virgil (pseudonym for Shirl Jennings) who was diagnosed as a young boy with retinitis pigmentosa. It is a hereditary disease that destroys the retina causing permanent blindness. This diagnosis was compounded by cataracts so thick, Virgil’s retina could not be seen. His doctor labeled …