Daily Archives: April 15, 2013

100 Years Old And Still Killing Us: America Was Much Better Off Before The Income Tax

Did you know that the greatest period of economic growth in American history was during a time when there was absolutely no federal income tax? Between the end of the Civil War and 1913, there was an explosion of economic activity in the United States unlike anything ever seen before or since. Unfortunately, a federal income tax was instituted in 1913, and this year it turned 100 years old. But there was no fanfare, was there? There was no celebration because the federal income tax is universally hated. Sadly, most Americans just assume that there is no other option to an income tax. Most Americans just assume that it has always been with us and that it will always be with us. This year, the American people will shell out approximately $4.22 trillion in state and federal income taxes. That amount is equivalent to approximately 29.4 percent of all income that Americans will bring in this year, and that does not even take into account the dozens of other taxes that Americans pay each year. At this point, the U.S. tax code is about 13 miles long, and those that are honest and pay their taxes every year are being absolutely shredded by this system. But wouldn’t the federal government go broke if we didn’t have a federal income tax? No, actually the truth is that the federal government did just fine before there was an income tax. In fact, the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger since the federal income tax and the Federal Reserve were created by Congress back in 1913. As I have written about previously, the Federal Reserve system was actually designed to trap the United States in a debt spiral from which it could never possibly escape, and the federal income tax was needed to greatly expand the size of the federal government and to soak the American people of the funds necessary to service that debt. But it doesn’t have to be this way. America was once much better off before the income tax and the Federal Reserve were created, and we could easily go to such a system again. (Read More….)

Radio Ministry Plans to Reach 60 Percent of World’s Population With Gospel

CARY, N.C. – The global media organization Trans World Radio (TWR) said that within less than two years they will be able to deliver Christian content to nearly 60 percent of the people in the world in their own language. The ministry plans to do this by integrating its broadcast capabilities through radio, Internet, and smart phone technology.

http://m.global.christianpost.com/news/radio-ministry-plans-to-reach-60-percent-of-worlds-population-with-gospel–93792/

NSA data center front and center in debate over liberty, security and privacy

Twenty-five miles due south of Salt Lake City, a massive construction project is nearing completion. The heavily secured site belongs to the National Security Agency. “The spy center” — that’s what some of the locals…, told our Fox News team as part of an eight month investigation into data collection and privacy rights that will be broadcast Sunday at 9 p.m. ET called “Fox News Reporting: Your Secrets Out.”

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/04/12/nsa-data-center-front-and-center-in-debate-over-liberty-security-and-privacy/

Doctor ‘beheaded’ 100 babies born alive during late-term abortions at clinic, former employee tells court

Horrifying details of the work inside an abortion clinic — allegations of babies born alive and then almost beheaded when their spinal cords were cut — have been told to a Philadelphia jury. This week, the “House of Horrors” murder trial of doctor Kermit Gosnell heard from one of his assistants, who said on five occasions she saw babies moving and breathing following abortions.

http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/04/12/kermit-gosnell-murder-trial/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NPWorld+%28National+Post+-+World%29

My prayer and fasting plea – Farah – Joseph Farah asks, ‘Where are preachers, prophets, spiritual leaders?’

Wow!

Last Friday, when I wrote a column calling for a national day of prayer and fasting this Sept. 11, I never expected to get such an overwhelming response.

I ended the column by saying: “Let me know if you’re on board.” As an afterthought, the commentary editor asked me if he should hotlink that line to my email address. I hadn’t thought about it, but I said “sure.”

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Kermit Gosnell and the Gospel

How could this murderous doctor walk in every day to a chamber of horrors and do what he did? How could his nurses and assistants suppress the screams of these children, the spattering of blood? They do so by suppressing the conscience and walling over the embedded revelation of the justice of God. They pretend as though there will be no reckoning, no Judgment Seat, that somehow all of this can be kept secret, that they can take these secrets with them to the grave.

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Lessons Forgotten So Soon

Four years ago, stock markets in the major developed markets hit their final lows, many having fallen 50% to 70% from their prior highs. Since that point all the policymakers in the world have been huffing and puffing, trying to put things back together again. To date their efforts have not met with sustainable success. If anything, they have been digging themselves into even deeper holes while at the same time dangerously inflating financial assets.

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Turkish Pianist Sentenced for ‘Insulting Islam’ through Twitter

The New York Times reports from Istanbul:

A court here handed down a suspended 10-month jail term on Monday for Fazil Say, an internationally acclaimed Turkish pianist and composer convicted of insulting Islam and offending Muslims in postings on Twitter.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/16/world/middleeast/turkish-pianist-sentenced-for-twitter-postings.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Merchandising ‘The Bible’

It has been over two weeks since the popular miniseries, ‘The Bible,’ finished airing on The History Channel. The show, which was produced by Roman Catholic Roma Downey (of the series ‘Touched By an Angel’) and her husband Mark Burnett (producer of ‘Survivor’), garnered the praise of many professing evangelical Christians in spite of its gross historical and theological inaccuracies. While not all denied the existence of these inconsistencies, supporters of the series argued that the production caused people to open their own Bibles and thus helped to renew an interest in the sacred text.

If this truly was a goal and purpose for the miniseries, however, then one cannot help but wonder why there would be a need to merchandise ‘The Bible.’ Perhaps the numerous errors contained in the production could have been redeemed at least in part if, upon conclusion of the series on television, viewers were urged to open a copy of God’s Word. Instead, throughout the five weeks the series aired and in the days following, a merchandising campaign began that promoted this hopelessly inadequate small-screen rendition of ‘The Bible’ and accompanying resources. Read more of this post

Man claims to know the exact day that Christ will return

Reformedontheweb's Blog

wolf-angry4When will these nut cases quit making false claims? I know, I know, they will not quit making false claims until Christ actually returns; for Peter declared: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies……2 Peter 2:1”

Here is another man who claims to have worked out a secret formula that will give him the revelation knowledge of when Christ will return. This man, not only claims to know the exact year, but the very day in which Christ will return. This is contrary to what Christ told his apostles; for Christ told them “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

Nevertheless, in this age of technological breakthrough it seems that hosts of people have come out claiming all kinds of…

View original post 378 more words

Beware of thinking your sins are so great that you can’t be forgiven

Reformedontheweb's Blog

fullerConsider, and beware, I say again, as you regard your eternal salvation, that you take up your rest in nothing short of Christ! Particularly,

1. Beware of brooding over your guilt in a way of unbelieving despondence; and so of standing aloof from the hope of mercy. Say not, ” My sins have been too great, too numerous, or too aggravated to be forgiven.” “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from all sin,” Believest thou this? You are not straitened in him, but in your own bowels. God’s thoughts are not as your thoughts, nor his ways as your ways: as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his thoughts higher than your thoughts, and his ways than your ways. On the sinner that returneth to our God he bestoweth abundant pardon. It is not, “if thou canst do any thing, help me;” but, “If thou…

View original post 283 more words

Pastor: Jesus got it ‘wrong’ on marriage

A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

You’ve got to love the preachers of these days! They are more in tune with the pulse of pop culture than what their good old Bible says. It’s therefore not surprising that when it comes to being quizzed on moral issues they will stand with the drift of popular sentiment than say ‘ Thus sayeth the Lord’.

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Enter Sean Hannity whose show featured a fascinating exchange with Terry Jeffrey, a news editor from CNS News Service, and Rev. Oliver White, a pro-same sex marriage pastor. Because Hannity is not constrained by the limitations of a TV news schedule and the need to change subjects every 5 minutes, as is so often the case on cable news, he was able to allow the on-air debate over the scriptural basis for marriage to naturally unfold to the point where the lack of scriptural foundation for same-sex marriage was laughingly evident.
This exchange…

View original post 230 more words

Liberty Univ. Under Fire For ‘Destructive’ Counseling, Winking at Sexual Immorality on Campus

CN) — Liberty University is coming under fire following a recent essay released by a former student who shared his story of being a practicing homosexual on campus.

As previously reported, The Atlantic published an essay last week penned by former Liberty student Brandon Ambrosino, outlining his personal experience of life on campus after coming out as a homosexual.

Continue reading this story >>

Thirty Barriers to Growth by James Emery White

Rather than asking “How do I grow my church?” the more penetrating question is usually “What is keeping our church from growing?”

The Holy Spirit wishes all churches to grow – and specifically through conversion growth. So if a church isn’t growing, what is keeping it from fulfilling its full redemptive potential?

The dynamics of an effective church haven’t changed for 2,000 years. We are to evangelize the lost, assimilate those evangelized, disciple those assimilated, and unleash those who have been discipled for ministry and ongoing evangelistic impact.

Recently, with that in mind, I asked our staff to consider the following thirty areas and rank each one on a scale from 1 to 10. It’s not a unique list – it’s pretty basic to any veteran. We then compiled the average score for each area. The key was to highlight the lower scores, which reflected areas that might be hindering growth and, as a result, stand in need of attention.

Let’s just say it was a conversation starter.

And a darn good one.

Here it is. Maybe it will get you and your team talking too.

**********

Teaching
(offering both engaging content and effective/dynamic communication)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Assimilation
(enfolding newcomers into community within 3 months; small groups; membership)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Invitation
(creating a culture of invitation; ease of invitation)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Evangelism
(intentional evangelism among attenders; evangelism training)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Structure
(lack of bureaucracy; ease of decision-making; letting leaders lead)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Location
(ease of access from major roads/interstates)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Facility
(seating/parking capacity; cleanliness; signage; first impression)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Atmosphere
(warmth/friendliness; guest services; sensitivity/orientation toward first-time attenders)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Worship/Music
(reflective of contemporary tastes/styles; audience engagement; leadership; quality; ability to embrace as a first-time attender)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Children’s Ministry
(quality/attractiveness of program; security; parental engagement/affirmation)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Student Ministry
(effectiveness at outreach to student community; quality/attractiveness of program; effectiveness at reaching students from existing families/weekend attendance; parental engagement/affirmation)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Participation
(members and attenders are actively participating in ministry opportunities; serving teams, church-wide events, etc.)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Serving Recruitment
(enlistment for serving teams; discovery of spiritual gifts; new ministry development)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Internal Communications (among staff)
(internal awareness of events and programs; professionalism)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Communication to Church Members/Attenders
(alerting them to upcoming events and activities; website; weekly emails)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

External Communications
(community awareness of church; regular media coverage; engagement within the local community)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Marketing
(clear branding of the church; brand known to the community; effective marketing campaigns)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Discipleship
(Meck Institute – classes, seminars, specialized small groups and studies; knowledge of such resources; enlistment into such resources)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Next Steps
(clear next steps to move people from the “crowd” to the “core”; classes to take; ways to get involved)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Vision
(clearly articulated vision of future and growth/outreach)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Mission
(strong sense of mission; clear target on the wall; turned outward vs. inward; knowledge of who we are trying to reach)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Internal Morale
(spirit of the church; enthusiasm toward the church and its staff/leadership; energy and commitment levels)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Volunteers
(engaged, encouraged, and enthused volunteers pursuing the mission; commitment of volunteer base; clear communication of need and opportunity for volunteers)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Staff Morale
(attitude of staff; unity of staff; staff’s perception of appreciation)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Staff Quality
(abilities of staff; capacity of staff; professionalism of staff; effectiveness of staff)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Leadership
(staff well-led at all levels; vision and direction clearly articulated; wise decision-making; effective communication; staff training and development)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Volunteer Leadership
(identifying and training key leaders; finding those who understand the church’s DNA – the mission, vision and values)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Macro-Thinking
(sub-ministries of the church relate to each other and the church as a whole does not seem to fall into “silos” where they think only of their own interests)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

The Relay Race
(if the goal is to evangelize the lost, assimilate the evangelized, disciple the assimilated, and then unleash the discipled…how are we doing at handing the baton off at each juncture?)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Prayer
(clear reliance on God through prayer on the staff level, team level, volunteer level, church level)

_____________________________________________________
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

There you have it.

Thirty areas for thoughtful reflection. I’m sure there are many more areas for consideration, but at least this gets your conversation started.

Like it did ours.

And again, the point is not “How do I get my church growing?”

It’s “What is keeping our church from growing?”

And then answering the question.

James Emery White

Editor’s Note

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. His newly released book is The Church in an Age of Crisis: 25 New Realities Facing Christianity (Baker Press). To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, log-on to http://www.churchandculture.org, where you can post your comments on this blog, view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.

http://www.churchandculture.org/blog.asp?id=4236