Daily Archives: April 26, 2013

Close confidante of Netanyahu warns “it’s now or never” for military strike on Iran: Analysis.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

Tzachi Hanegbi — a close, trusted, long-time personal friend and confidante of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — made remarks on Tuesday at a security conference in Tel Aviv that did not make news in the U.S. But they should have.

Hanegbi explained that the time for sanctions and diplomacy and covert options to neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat is over, and the time for Israel to use its military option has come.

“It’s now or never,” said Hanegbi, “and the option of never does not exist.”

Hanegbi formerly served as the Minister of Intelligence and as Justice Minister in previous governments. He is currently a Member of Knesset (Likud).

“Israel has to act according to its own imperatives,” he said.

Given how close Hanegbi and Netanyahu are — and given how sensitive the current moment is — it is difficult to believe Hanegbi spoke without knowing the Prime Minister’s mind, and without having his blessing to make such ominous remarks.

I, for one…

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Total US Debt To GDP: 105%

Now that we have the first estimate of Q1 GDP growth in both rate of change and absolute current dollar terms ($16,010 billion), we can finally assign the appropriate debt number, which we know on a daily basis and which was $16,771.4 billion as of March 31, to the growth number. The end result: as of March 31, 2013, the US debt/GDP was 104.8%, up from 103% as of December 31, 2012 or a debt growth rate that would make the most insolvent Eurozone nation blush. There was a time when people were concerned about this unsustainable trajectory, but then there was an infamous excel error, and now nobody cares anymore.
In fact, moar debt is moar best-er.


They Claim To Speak For God

A very large part of Christendom in the United States is enamored with those who claim to speak for God. If you think that’s an overstatement, simply tune into some of the programing on Trinity Broadcasting Network or some of the other cable religious networks. What you will see are churches filled with thousands of Christians hanging on to every word of a man or a woman who is declaring what God has just revealed to him or her.


Congress works to repeal ObamaCare… for themselves

Is anyone truly surprised by this news, outside of a few dead-end Obama voters? There’s no way Congress was going to be part of the “train wreck” it inflicted upon the rest of America, to borrow retiring Democrat senator (and ObamaCare author) Max Baucus’ memorable phrase. The most urgent item on the American agenda is the full repeal of ObamaCare, but the political class is more interested in repealing it for themselves…


Scary, Isn’t It?

The very next moment my conscious soul is in torment in hell. At first, I think that it is just a dream…then, as time goes on, I realize it is not a dream. It is real, and I will never wake-up from this eternal, nightmarish situation. At this moment, I realize that certain people in my life were right after all.

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Should We Pray For Obama?

In the present-day church in America there is this frequented idea of praying for the president, and while this is not necessarily a bad thing, it has become but opportunities for pastors to act sycophantically to politicians. They pray that the president will make the right decisions, but they never describe what a right decision is. They pray for his well-being, but they never pray for the correction of his character. They pray that he be righteous, but they never detail as to what righteousness is. Its all vague, its all politics.

Here is a great example of Andy Stanley doing just this, because he was invited to a prayer for Obama service

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Sell or Tell?

I’m not much of a TV watcher, really.  That’s not an indictment on what’s on TV; not that I’m smug in saying that I don’t like what’s on TV, more that I just get easily bored as I seem to have less and less in common with much of what is popular these days.   (I’m even falling into the old-guy mode of calling “celebrities” by the wrong names and confusing one with the other.) That being said, I was flipping through the channels and after watching the History Channel actually airing a show about HISTORY, I landed on one of my guilty pleasures.. the informercials.

I’m fascinated in a train-wreck sort of way by these things! They’re just so obnoxiously, garishly WONDERFUL!  Too loud, too tacky, and such obvious, scripted knockoffs of one another…And then I started to think.. about how the two shows and their deliveries were complete, polar opposites. And, as always, this led me to think about the gospel, and the church..and how this fits.  And it does… perfectly.

See, the guy on the History channel was passionate, but he was stating facts. Real, historical events. Facts. He didn’t feel any great need (and frankly, I would have been skeptical) if he had been over-the-top in trying to “sell” me on the history of the events he was describing. They happened, and he was simply telling me why it happened, what it meant, and why I should care.  He was trying to TELL me something.

On the other hand, the infomercial guy was also stating facts, but he was over-the-top in his embellishment because, well, he was trying to convince me and SELL me something.

And then it hit me.. this is the state of the church today.

There are two types of men standing behind the pulpit (or sitting on a stool behind the plexiglass stand) these days.  Sell or Tell?

One view is that the role of the Pastor is to proclaim the real, historic, news of the gospel. That Jesus Christ, very God of very God, begotten not made, the second person of the trinity.. in order to save men from sin, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.. lived a sinless life, died an atoning death, was buried, rose again on the third day, ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty making intercession for us, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.

The men who proclaim that truth and who believe that preaching the very written words of God are both sufficient and *effective* as promised by God to be used to turn men to faith in Christ… these men sound an awful lot like the guy on the History Channel.  Since God has ordained that the means He would use to awaken His people to faith is the simple, spoken words of scripture, their faith is in that promise, and faith in the proclamation of scripture.  The call here is for people to BELIEVE… so they TELL!

On the other hand, there are those who believe the role of the Pastor is “life change”, who   “cast vision”, in an attempt to “live missionally” as they have a “coversation” about faith in “community”.  Since the goal here is to create a vision, convince people of its worth, and call them to join it (with both funding and effort) this isn’t a simple proclamation. This isn’t telling people what happened, it’s SELLING.  And like any sales organization, you need a vision and a spokesman. In this case it’s not simply enough to state the facts so that people believe, you need to convince and call people to action! It’s not just something to believe in faith, but something to DO… so you SELL!

I know it’s going to be very easy to mischaracterize this as “cold/dead knowledge” vs. “passion and excitement”.  Or “intellectual ascent” vs. “living faith”.  Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is, BOTH the Historian and the Informercial guy were extremely passionate.  The difference is in what they based their faith in; the reality of the event, or the skill in the speaker to sell a vision.

As a test, I’d like you to find videos of several well known Pastors. Ask yourself if this isn’t true….

The more “SELLISH” (Sham-wow, “infomercialish”) the speaker is, the less he is actually speaking about the birth, life, death, burial and resurrection of Christ and the more likely he is to be selling you something. (A vision, a program, a “new” way to solve your problems/get what you want, a “secret of the bible”, a push for cash, or a call for free labor.) Is he preaching about Jesus, or about himself, his church and his programs?

The more “TELLISH” (History Channel Guy) the speaker is, the more likely he is to be actually proclaiming the gospel of faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sin.

So, does the speaker sound more like the infomercial guys or the History Channel guy?  Does he sound more like the TV News Anchor, or the commercials following him?

And can I make one last challenge for your consideration?

What does God, in scripture, define as the role of the Pastor.

Feeding the sheep by preaching the word.*

“[Jesus] answered, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 3:14–4:4)

In other words, feeding the sheep. The sheep. The sheep. The SHEEP! (Get it? Not the goats. There is absolutely no biblical grounds for saying that the church “isn’t for us, it’s for the lost.”  That’s not Jesus. That comes from guys who are trying to sell you stuff.

And what are they to feed the sheep?

The word of God.

So next time you listen to a sermon, receive a flyer/marketing card, watch a commercial or see a billboard, ask yourself.  What are they selling and who are they telling you about? How hard to you have to look past the marketing of people, programs, and products to find Jesus?




* Chris Rosebrough at http://www.fightingforthefaith.com/ has done great work in this area.

Strengthened in Faith

Strengthened in Faith (via http://preachingchristcrucified.com)

“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;” —Romans 4:20 Last time, we examined what it means to be “Strong in Faith.” In this lesson we will examine how we are strengthened in faith.As a quick reminder, being strong faith means…

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