All posts filed under: z18

And Jesus wondered at their unbelief. Modern-day Nazareth. Photo: Adam Jones/Flickr/Creative Commons

Has this punctured a hole in your faith?

When we study the New Testament, one of the major themes is faith. But equally as prominent is the concept of unbelief that is a major hindrance to miracles. Unbelief basically cuts a hole in our reservoir of faith allowing it to seep away. There are many things that can cause such a rip. One of them is offense. In Mark 6, we read how Jesus had arrived at His home town, Nazareth, and on the following Saturday popped into the local synagogue where the leaders invited Jesus to teach. At this point, Jesus’ reputation was starting to grow. From the congregation’s reaction, it was clear people were aware of the reports circulating about His miracles. Now as they listened to Jesus teach, they were “astonished” by what Jesus had to say. But not everyone. Some were offended. They had been attending the synagogue faithfully for years and now “this man” a carpenter, the son of Mary, was teaching their congregation. They had been attending this synagogue for years and now this upstart was teaching …

Mural: Dig out of the drug hole. Photo: photographymontreal/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Addiction Epidemic

I know a young man who turned out right. He has a wife and two children, a career, and a good attitude. When he was a troubled teen, a man in his church met with him for breakfast every second Saturday, and that simple kindness helped him to get focused, and stay away from trouble. A news article from Australia shows how bad it can get. An entire generation is being damaged by meth cooked in local labs. I have traveled through Montana, where large billboards warn about the dangers of meth, and many towns have lost their young people. Drug impairment is an important topic in defensive driving courses. Addiction is cheap, and addicts are profoundly sick. When I worked in a college, my favorite program coordinator was a recovering addict. One day, in a business meeting, she looked straight at me and said “I will be dead by Christmas.” I gave her my well-meaning Christian denial and I was sure God and the doctors would save her, but a few weeks later I …

Photo Garret Lesage/Flckr Creative Commons

A woman’s perspective: Can forgiving others make you feel lighter and jump higher?

I read an article recently referring to a study reported in Social Psychology and Personality Science that determined the act of forgiving makes us lighter both emotionally and physically? The study involved two groups. One group was to remember a time they forgave someone and the second group was asked to remember a time they couldn’t forgive. Through their mind’s eye, the group that was able to forgive perceived the slope of a nearby hill to be less steep than the second group that was unable to forgive. The researchers said it was the equivalent of a person with a heavy backpack finding it more difficult to climb a hill than a person without. Ryan Fehr, assistant professor of management at the University of Washington, also measured the vertical jumps of each participant in the study. He found that the group who forgave, on average, jumped higher than those who were unable to forgive. Fehr concluded that the act of forgiveness unburdened one’s mind and brought a lightness to their physical being and did in …

Meeting Jesus at Chicago O'Hare Airport Photo: Ronald Woan/Flickr

A Christmas Story

We had just arrived in Chicago, on our way home. Carol’s wheelchair attendant was, as promised, waiting at the cabin door for her. He was a cheerful fellow, with a cheerful smile and a cheerful demeanor as he very cheerfully asked me to take the wheelchair. I understood – his tablet read my name, not Carol’s. “No,” I said. “It’s for my wife.” That’s when he saw her and could clearly see she had the greater need. “No problem,” he said. “Can you make it to the top of the ramp?” Being satisfied I was taken care of, he pushed Carol to the top while I hobbled with my cane behind, already exhausted. At the top, he said “Sir, you must let me take you as well. Your next flight is just too far away. I’ll get another chair.” Gratefully, I accepted. When he got back, it quickly became obvious he didn’t misspeak when he said he would take me and Carol as well. With one hand on Carol’s chair and the other on mine, …

Are you a victim of your circumstances or your thinking? Photo Great Beyond/Flickr

Are you a victim of a victim mentality?

A few years ago at a seminar for emotional healing, a group of us were in the hallway waiting for the next session to start. We were all proud that we had survived our traumatic experiences over the years. We walked into the session unprepared for what was next. As the speaker explained the new principle we were learning, we looked at one another. Why should we be surprised that each one of us had operated in survivor mode and were manifesting the symptoms of a “victim mentality?” I was filtering my experiences through a ‘victim mentality’ mindset that created a distorted view of life. A person with such a mentality, expects bad things will happen. They consider themselves a perpetual victim. Because of this perspective, they twist the most innocent things as a personal attack on them. Even the good things are bent out of shape. My perception of life being hard was reinforced daily because of this mindset. Endurance and perseverance were key to weathering the storms of life that never seemed to …

Dinosaur blood vessel tell us the fossilized bones are not 80 million year old. Photo: Jarvemc/Flickr

Tests confirm it’s dinosaur blood!

After running tests, scientists from North Carolina State University (NCSU) have confirmed that non-fossilized organic material found in a dinosaur bone thought to be nearly 80 million years old are in fact blood vessels from that dinosaur and not another form of contaminate. The discovery of the soft material was made by a researcher from the University of Texas studying the demineralized bone of a 30-foot Hydrosaur found in Montana. Using high-resolution mass spectroscopy, the researcher noticed the soft tissue. Initially, it was believed the bone was contaminated in the lab. The university announced its findings in a news release and as well an article published in the November 23 edition of Journal of Proteome Research. This finding has caused serious problems for evolutionists because it is evidence these bones are not millions of years old as previously thought. How could there still be soft tissue in bones thought to be nearly a hundred million years old? Despite reports of organic material being found in fossilized bones around the world (here and here), many evolutionists …

Make your fields white for harvest. Photo: Cristian Malevic/Flckr

Is John 4:35 the most misunderstood verse in the Bible?

It seems every year, pastors preach the obligatory message on evangelism. It is an annual event in most churches. Invariably they will turn to the Gospel of John and quote Jesus’s words: “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” (John 4:35 NASV) The message is we need to share our faith, because the fields are white for harvest. The grain is ready to fall off the stem and we just need to be there to gather it in. Of course, everyone knows it isn’t true. Sure a few people are getting saved now and then, but for the most part our communities are a hard place. Maybe the fields are white somewhere else, but they are not white where we live. So was Jesus wrong? No. But the point we miss is that Jesus made the fields white for a harvest and it is something we can do as well. Jesus said these words after He encountered a woman at a well …

Thiago Brado: YouTube Capture

New Brazilian worship song “Minha Essência” (My Essence)

I encourage you to listen to this video by Thiago Brado, a worship singer from Brazil.  The song sung in Portuguese, entitled My Essence in English, has nearly 4.3 million views on YouTube. Thiago, 25, whose real name is Thiago Oliveira da Silva started singing at the age of 10. At 14, he attended a musical conservatory for further training after his grandmother gave him a guitar. Three years later in 2007, Thiago encountered the Holy Spirit at a Catholic Charismatic meeting in Brazil that transformed his life. He has been attending ever since. During these gatherings his attention was drawn to worship and today Thiago says: “I sing what the Lord wants me to sing.” Several years back, my wife and I met a young couple involved in the Catholic Charismatic movement in Peru. I was genuinely impressed with their faith. We spent an evening with them and our discussion eventually turned to doctrine. Ok I confess, I asked them their views on Mary, the mother of Jesus. Though they were still Catholic in …

Captured by sin. Photo: Chris Karr/Flickr

The difference between iniquity and sin

Several years ago, a 10 year-old girl was brutally murdered in the city of Toronto. The murderer cut up her body and deposited it in bags in nearby Lake Ontario. She was kidnapped while walking the few blocks from her friend’s place to her home. The 37 year-old man charged in this brutal murder had no previous record. But he became a suspect when police — while interviewing people in the neighborhood — noticed that he had recently painted his home and installed new carpet. To the trained eye, this was a subtle indicator of an individual trying to cover up a brutal murder. When the police went through his house, they found over 10,000 pornographic images stored on his computer, including some involving children. Though he had committed no previous crimes, the repeated viewing of these images apparently built such a potent stronghold in his life that it eventually manifested itself in the brutal sex slaying of a young girl. For years, I looked upon iniquity as merely another word for sin. Part of …

Paris Photo: Christian R Hamacher/Flickr

Separating myth from fact on man-made global warming

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) is going full-bore in Paris. The conference held annually started November 30 and is scheduled to end December 11. It will be the UN’s 21st attempt to have countries commit to binding agreements to reduce CO2 emissions to stop man-made global warming. Up to now, the UN has failed but they are hoping this year’s conference will be different. They are optimistic because of the recent change in the Canadian government, which has been one of the major opponents to a climate agreement. Recently elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is fully on board with reducing CO2 emissions. It also appears the terrorist attacks that took place in Paris ten days earlier on November 20th killing 129 people was just too much of a temptation for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who is pushing for an agreement. In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Ki-moon suggested there might be a connection between global warming and increased terrorism. Apparently, the Paris attack has nothing to do with radicalized …