Daily Archives: January 6, 2016

Millions of Muslims are leaving Islam as they watch the extremism of Iranian & ISIS leaders, says a top Iranian Christian leader.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

hormoz-joel-sept13The violent, fanatical, and apocalyptic actions and rhetoric of the Iranian regime and the leadership of the Islamic State are causing millions of Muslimsto rethink whether they want to be part of such a religion, and many of them are turning to faith in Jesus Christ.

This is the assessment of Dr. Hormoz Shariat, a former Muslim who came to faith in Christ himself in the early 1980s. Today, Dr. Shariat is one of the the most prominent Iranian Christian pastors and evangelists in the world.

Last month, I had dinner with this dear friend, a man I call the “Billy Graham of Iran” because he is preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to millions upon millions of Iranians through his 24/7 Farsi satellite television network.

We were talking about the trends he’s seeing in the Islamic world, and I left the conversation surprised by how encouraged he is. Yes, the Iranian regime and ISIS…

View original post 1,703 more words

January 6, 2016 Briefing Report (US – World – Christian)

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Jan. 6, 2016

BLOOMBERG

Tears streaking his cheeks, President Obama launched a final-year push Tuesday to tighten sales of firearms in the U.S., using his presidential powers in the absence of tougher gun restrictions that Congress has refused to pass.

Stocks fell around the world and commodities slid after China’s central bank set the yuan’s reference rate at an unexpectedly weak level, a reminder of the shock depreciation in August that sparked a wave of financial-market turmoil.

North Korea’s claim to have joined an elite group of countries capable of detonating a hydrogen bomb was met with skepticism from weapons experts as Pyongyang once again tested the patience of its biggest ally, China.

HSBC will be one of the worst performers among European banks this year as waning growth in emerging markets more than doubles the bank’s bad loans in Asia, according to analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Managers at Wal-Mart Stores in Texas have a new task to add to their list of duties: asking customers if they have a permit to carry a handgun. To comply with state liquor rules, the world’s biggest retailer sent a written notice last month to stores that sell alcohol, telling managers to ensure that customers who openly carry firearms under a new law have licenses. Cashiers or door greeters who see someone with a gun are to alert the highest-ranking employee, who is to approach the customer and ask to see the paperwork.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government said about 1.1 million asylum seekers entered Germany last year, a record for Europe’s largest economy, as the nation’s debate on refugees is inflamed by a mass sexual-assault probe in Cologne.

As the effects of the most severe El Nino in almost 20 years still reverberate around the world, preparations are already under way for La Nina. La Nina, sometimes thought of as El Nino’s opposite, typically brings more rainfall to the region, threatening crops with flooding and delaying harvests.

The lowest oil prices since 2009 translated into a $115 billion windfall for consumers last year, according to the American Automobile Association — about $550 per driver. Analysts say four-fifths of that cash got spent — often within a stone’s throw of the fuel pumps. Rather than buy a new sweater or a toy for the kids, motorists have spent much of the money at restaurants and bars, or on items purchased in gas stations such as cigarettes and salty snacks.

AP Top Stories

Brent oil prices tumbled Wednesday below $35 for the first time in 11.5 years, plagued by abundant oversupply and the ongoing row between key producers Iran and Saudi Arabia dimming prospects for production cuts.

Bahrain said on Wednesday it had caught an Iranian-linked cell plotting attacks on its territory, days after it followed its close ally Saudi Arabia in cutting ties with Iran.

An astrophysicist has discovered something even rarer than a double-black hole galaxy: a skinny black hole. Black holes typically are surrounded by stars; this one appears “naked.”

China on Wednesday landed two test flights on an island it has built in the South China Sea, four days after it angered Vietnam with a landing on the same runway in the disputed territory, the Xinhua state news agency said.

Officials of a Christian college in suburban Chicago on Tuesday said they have begun efforts to fire a professor who was placed on leave after asserting that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

Greenland’s melting ice sheets are contributing more water to the oceans than previously realized, and that’s going to lead to even greater amounts of sea-level rise around the world, according to new research.

In a major drugs bust, Spanish police said Tuesday they had seized three tons of Colombian cocaine and arrested 12 suspected drug smugglers from Spain, Britain and the Netherlands.

Thousands of abandoned buildings will be demolished in Baltimore, starting in the neighborhood where black detainee Freddie Gray was fatally hurt in police custody, officials said on Tuesday.

BBC

Authorities investigating a deadly shooting in California have appealed for help in filling an 18-minute gap in the movements of the perpetrators.

Leading US Republicans have denounced President Obama’s move to tighten gun controls.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has limited the National Assembly’s powers over the Central Bank. President Maduro approved the changes, but it only became public on Monday. The president will now no longer need legislative approval to hire and fire Central Bank directors.

Heavy rains have started to fill Australia’s vast Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre and are bringing the desert to life. Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre fills only a few times in a century. When this happens it is Australia’s largest lake.

The situation in three besieged villages in Syria is “extremely dire”, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned. Activists say civilians have died because of a lack of food and medicine in rebel-controlled Madaya, near Damascus, or died trying to escape.

WND

Hackers caused a power outage in Ukraine during holiday season, researchers say, signaling a potentially troubling new escalation in digital attacks. “This is the first incident we know of where an attack caused a blackout.”

German authorities and media outlets attempted to cover up details of a sexual-assault spree by Arabic and North African migrants on New Year’s Eve.

A three-judge panel of 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the state of California can impose speech on pro-life pregnancy centers, requiring them to inform visitors about the state’s abortion offerings.


Top News – 1/6/2016

GOP will finally pass an Obamacare repeal. Do Republican voters care?
On Wednesday, House Republicans expect to pass a bill that guts Obamacare – their 62nd attempt to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act. The crucial difference is that this time it will get all the way to the president’s desk, instead of being blocked by Senate Democrats.

Washington Wants Assad to Go but Expects Him to Stay Until March 2017
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his “inner circle” will remain in power until March 2017, Associated Press reported, citing an internal document distributed among US officials dealing with the Syrian conflict.

5 Reasons a Televangelist Needs a Private Plane
Wealthy televangelists, or as some are referred to “Scamgelists,” with outrageous claims are nothing new to Christian news. We’ve heard it all before—the mansions, the expensive cars, the private planes etc. But this is a new take on why famous pastors need private planes.

Mass sexual assaults in Cologne test German openness to refugees
Police in Cologne said they had received 90 criminal complaints by Tuesday and quoted witnesses as saying that groups of 20-30 young men “who appeared to be of Arab or North African origin” had surrounded victims, assaulted them and in several cases robbed them.

Adalah, Dismantling Zionism
Adalah is also known as the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. It is funded by a number of left-wing organizations including: the New Israel Fund (NIF); the Ford Foundation; the Open Society Foundation (George Soros); Oxfam; and the European Commission. The group seeks to replace Israel as a Jewish State with a bi-national, multi-cultural state.

IDF officer to Saudi paper: Israel has ‘common language’ with moderate Arab states
Without specifying, the officer confirmed that Israel had secret relations and common interests with a number of Arab states besides Egypt and Jordan.

Remains of 3,400-year-old Canaanite citadel unearthed in Nahariya
“It seems that the citadel which we uncovered was used as an administrative center that served the mariners who sailed along the Mediterranean coast 3,400 years ago,” the archaeologists said in a joint statement. “There was probably a dock alongside the citadel.”

Vatican slams Charlie Hebdo cover commemorating anniversary of attacks
“You can’t provoke, you can’t insult the faith of others, you can’t make fun of faith,” he told reporters during an Asian tour. The Vatican later issued a statement that said the pope’s comments were not intended as a justification for the attacks.

Israeli Girl Who Fought ISIS Comes to Faith in Yeshua
The Israeli Messianic ministry Trumpet of Salvation is reporting that Gill Rosenberg, the Canadian-Israeli girl who gained renown for joining the Kurds in their fight against ISIS, has come to faith in Yeshua.

Outrage, skepticism greet North Korea’s claim of hydrogen bomb test
The world reacted with outrage and skepticism Wednesday after North Korea claimed that it had successfully tested a “miniaturized” hydrogen bomb.

Israeli Navy is ‘ready for any threat that comes its way’
Surpirse multilevel integrated training scenario illustrates high level of readiness in the navy and commando units.

North Korea Claims It Has Successfully Tested Hydrogen Bomb
The United States and Japan have called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council after North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, a senior U.N. official told ABC News.

New Jersey School Skips Legal Battle, Will No Longer Recite “God Bless America”
…Staffers at Glenview Elementary School say it became a daily ritual for students to say “God bless America” after the morning recital of the Pledge of Allegiance. …But Sassano says the ACLU sent the school board attorney a letter challenging the recital of “God Bless America” as unconstitutional.

Researchers taking power of locust to new heights
A locust-like robot could prove to be an inspired leap into the future of autonomous surveillance and emergency response systems. Inspired by the locust’s jumping mechanism and elastic energy storage, Tel Aviv University researchers designed a tiny robot made from carbon rods, steel springs and 3D printed plastic pieces. It weighs less than once ounce…and is approximately four inches…long.

Saudi-Iran row: Kerry calls leaders to urge calm
US Secretary of State John Kerry has repeatedly called leaders in Saudi Arabia and Iran to try to defuse their diplomatic row, US officials say. State department spokesman John Kirby said the phone conversations involved foreign ministers of both countries and the Saudi deputy crown prince. Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday after protesters ransacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Syria conflict: Thousands of refugees stranded at Jordan border
Jordan has acknowledged that thousands of Syrian refugees are stranded in a remote desert area on its northern border with Syria awaiting entry. Government spokesman Mohammed Momani told the Associated Press “the number is 12,000, but it is increasing”. Last month, he said a similar estimate by the UN was “greatly exaggerated”.

Planned Parenthood Abortionist Deborah Nucatola Wins Inaugural Veritas Award
The first annual Veritas Award has been conferred by Operation Rescue on Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services Deborah Nucatola, who became nationally known for her cavalier comments caught on video about committing banned partial-birth late-term abortions in order to harvest aborted baby parts for illegal financial consideration.

Man behind armed Oregon band says he’s on mission from God
The man behind the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge comes from a Mormon family that has been challenging government authority for at least two decades. Ammon Bundy, like his father in previous confrontations, says he is following directions from God and invokes his family’s faith when explaining the anti-government movement he is attempting to lead.

Sexual assaults blamed on ‘Arab’ men in Germany inflame refugee debate
A series of New Year’s Eve attacks attributed to Arab and North African men threatens to fan the flames of Germany’s refugee debate.

ISIS executes first female citizen journalist: Report
Terror outfit Islamic State has executed first female citizen journalist on charges of espionage after detaining her for few days. According to media reports, extremists beheaded Ruqia Hassan, also known as Nisan Ibrahim, for writing about life under ISIS’s rule on Facebook page.

US Criminalizing Free Speech?
Eighty-two leading Democrats have cosponsored a House Resolution (H.Res. 569) “Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States”. The Resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives by Democrat Donald S. Beyer (Virginia) on December 17, 2015 — a mere 15 days after Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook gunned down 14 innocent Americans and wounded 23 in an ISIS-inspired terror attack at a Christmas party in San Bernardino, California.

Rev. Graham: It’s ‘Open Season on Christians — Sin Is Openly Celebrated By The Highest Office In Our Land’
“We are perilously close to the moral tipping point for the survival” of America and it is “open season on Christians” now, said Reverend Franklin Graham, who added that “sin is openly celebrated and flaunted by the highest office in our land,” the White House, and “men and women of deep and sincere faith are publicly scorned.”

Israel May Have Found a ‘Solution’ to Palestinian Knife Attacks
Palestinians and Israeli Arabs have carried out at least 100 knife attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians in recent months. Now, the Israeli military hopes it has found a way of keeping its troops safe: Neck protectors designed to prevent soldiers from being stabbed or slashed.


Top Headlines – 1/6/2016

North Korea Says It Has Conducted ‘Successful’ Hydrogen Bomb Test

North Korean 5.1 magnitude ‘earthquake’ appears to be due to a nuclear test

‘It changes things’: Successful North Korean H-bomb test raises threat to US and Asia, expert says

North Korea Conducts Nuclear Test: Investors Flee Won For Yen

North Korea says will continue to strengthen nuclear program

Security Council Briefed on Possible Sarin Use in Syria

Report: Russia sees high probability of chemical weapons use by ISIS in Syria

Canadian PM: We won’t bomb ISIS even if attacked

ISIS has 50 British children under its control, report finds

Sexual assaults blamed on ‘Arab’ men in Germany inflame refugee debate

ISIS executes first female citizen journalist

Vatican paper slams Charlie Hebdo’s anti-God cover marking anniversary of attack

British lawmakers will soon debate whether to ban Donald Trump from the U.K.

Trump campaign says proposed UK ban over Muslim remarks ‘a dangerous precedent’

U.S. Helicopter shot down while more than a dozen US troops trapped amid Afghanistan firefight

US soldier killed in Afghan mission

Report: Russia Tries to Rein in Hezbollah After IDF Convoy Attack

Israel May Have Found a ‘Solution’ to Palestinian Knife Attacks – Neck Protectors

Palestinian wave of violence marked by increased female role

Anti-BDS bill introduced in California legislature

Wheaton is planning to fire professor who said Muslims and Christians worship the same God

Iran Forcibly Converts Christian Church Property Into Mosque

State Department discussing Iran sanctions over missile test

Obama’s Middle East Balancing Act Tilts Toward Iran

Tears Of Rage: Obama Cries During Gun Control Speech

What Obama’s Executive Action Means for Mental Health Funding

Obama’s gun control actions open legal can of worms

Judge Napolitano: Why Obama’s executive action on guns is unconstitutional

Man behind armed Oregon band says he’s on mission from God

US Criminalizing Free Speech?

Bernie Sanders Attacks Hillary Clinton Over Regulating Wall Street

Saudi Arabia May Fall Victim to Oil Price War It Started

5.9 magnitude earthquake hits near Farallon de Pajaros, Northern Mariana Islands

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near San Isidro, Philippines

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 20,000ft

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 15,000ft

Copahue volcano in Argentina erupts to 14,000ft

Singabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

Karymsky volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 13,000ft

Tengger Caldera volcano in Indonesia erupts to 12,000ft

Soputan volcano in Indonesia erupts to 12,000ft

Dukono volcano in Indonesia erupts to 10,000ft

El Nino to drive flooding rain, mountain snow into California this week

Bad air plagued Beijing for nearly half of 2015: report

Virus That Causes Birth Defects Could Spread to Mainland U.S.

Surrogate Mother Fights for Custody of Third Triplet After Father Demands an Abortion

Mr. Obama, if You Care About Dead Kids, Why Do You Fund and Celebrate Abortion?

Costly beliefs: State squeezes last penny from bakers who defied lesbian-wedding cake order

Rev. Graham: It’s ‘Open Season on Christians — Sin Is Openly Celebrated By The Highest Office In Our Land’

School stops saying ‘God Bless America’ after ACLU threat

China: Villagers erect giant gold Mao statue

J.D. Hall – But They’re Reaching People

Prophets Declare 2016 The Year of the Re: Slipstream Crossover Excel Tide Turning….

Anne Graham Lotz Promotes Jewish Arian Mystic

Jim Bakker: Satan Using Fire Alarms To Silence Me

Christian Yoga: Bringing The Kundalini Serpent Into the Church

Pastor McConnell not guilty of ‘grossly offensive’ remarks about Islam

Wheaton to fire professor who said Muslims and Christians worship the same God


ZeroHedge Frontrunning: January 06

  • Obama, wiping tears, makes new push to tighten gun rules (Read More)
  • Global stocks hit by China worries, North Korea nuclear test (Read More)
  • Oil hits 11-year low, Saudi-Iran row cuts chances of output restraint (Read More)
  • North Korea says successfully conducts first H-bomb test (Read More)
  • Valeant Planning to Appoint New Leader as CEO Remains Hospitalized (Read More)
  • Treasuries Extend 2016 Winning Start With Growth Outlook Clouded (Read More)
  • Apple Scales Back Orders for Its iPhones (Read More)
  • Apple Suppliers Drop Globally After IPhone Output Cut Report (Read More)
  • Ad: Gold in your portfolio: get a free investing guide – Secular investors should start turning their attention to commodities and precious metals. Gold’s bull market is far from over. In this gold guide we explain why we believe so, and which indicators to follow to detect the next secular breakout. (Click Here to Automatically Subscribe)
  • Bank Options Turn Bearish as Favorite 2015 Trades Keep Unwinding (Read More)
  • Starboard Calls for Management, Structural Changes at Yahoo (Read More)
  • U.S. Apartment Vacancies Climb as New Buildings Crowd the Market (Read More)
  • JPMorgan Picks Virtu as New NYSE Market Maker (Read More)
  • China’s State Stockpiler Said to Seek Domestic Copper Supplies (Read More)
  • North Korea’s Hydrogen Bomb Claim Disputed by Weapons Experts (Read More)
  • Demographic Differences Tell the Tale in Early Voting States (Read More)
  • Islamic State threatens to destroy Saudi prisons after executions (Read More)
  • El Nino Is So Last Year, Here Comes La Nina to Wreak More Havoc (Read More)
  • Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA Doesn’t Regret Shkreli Album Sale (Read More)
  • Ad: Trades Of The Day — #1 FREE Trading Newsletter – Get timely trades from the world’s best stock traders… delivered daily and in just ONE email. No penny stock scams or pump and dumps: these are legitimate trade recs from trusted experts. Act now to get ‘Trades of the Day’ for no cost whatsoever. (Click Here to Automatically Subscribe)
  • Land Rover Climbs to the Top of a Record U.S. Car Market (Read More)

The Briefing

1) Obama’s announcement of gun control measures reminder of human limits to preventing evil

Tearful Obama Outlines Steps to Curb Gun Deaths, New York Times (Eric Lichtblau and Michael D. Shear)

2) Wheaton controversy tests identity of confessional evangelicalism

Wheaton College Recommends Terminating Tenured Professor over ‘Same God’ Comments, Christianity Today (Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra)

Wheaton is planning to fire professor who said Muslims and Christians worship the same God, Washington Post (Kirkland An)

Wheaton’s controversy over Muslims and Christians ignores the school’s own history, Washington Post (Aaron Griffith)

3) Christianity’s center of gravity shifting to global South, encounters opposition and success

The future of the world’s most popular religion is African, The Economist

Jacob Zuma blames Christianity for South Africa’s problems, The Telegraph (Barney Henderson)
In other news…

Reports of Attacks on Women in Germany Heighten Tension Over Migrants, New York Times (Melissa Eddy)

Charlie Hebdo Commemorative Issue Hits Raw Nerve in Anxious France, Wall Street Journal (Sam Schechner and William Horobisan)

2016: A Year For Living With No Fear

No Fear - Public Domain2016 is just a few days old, and already there has been a tremendous amount of shaking. Stock markets all over the world are crashing, a huge earthquake just hit India, the middle portion of the United States is dealing with record flooding, Islamic terror continues to spread in the Middle East and elsewhere, and Saudi Arabia has suddenly cut off relations with Iran. Our world is becoming increasingly unstable, and I believe that this is just the beginning. In fact, I am fully convinced that 2016 is going to be an incredibly chaotic year. (Read More…)


Stock Markets All Over The World Crash As We Begin 2016

Dominoes - Public DomainThe first trading day of 2016 was full of chaos and panic.  It started in Asia where the Nikkei was down 582 points, Hong Kong was down 587 points, and Chinese markets experienced an emergency shutdown after the CSI 300 tumbled 7 percent.  When European markets opened, the nightmare continued.  The DAX was down 459 points, and European stocks overall had their worst start to a year ever.  In the U.S., it looked like we were on course for a truly historic day as well.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 467 points at one stage, but some very mysterious late day buying activity helped trim the loss to just 276 points at the close of the market.  The sudden market turmoil caught many by surprise, but it shouldn’t have.  The truth is that a whole host of leading indicators have been telling us that this is exactly what should be happening.  The global financial crisis that began in 2015 is now accelerating, and my regular readers already know precisely what is coming next. (Read More….)


Poll: Government Named Top U.S. Problem for Second Straight Year

Capitol_Building_3cc

Gee, I wonder why? It’s so responsive and doesn’t take the citizenry for granted or anything. It’s not like the president is out there winging it with his “pen and phone” or that Congress is passing massive Omnibus bills chock full of cronyism and deals for the Washington connected. It’s not like the nation’s tax agency persecuted certain political groups, or that we can’t get on a plane without being groped or irradiated. It’s not like there is widespread policing for profit going on.

Read More


Bye-bye, Rick and Huck! Why GOP evangelicals have deserted their old pals

Bye-bye, Rick and Huck! Why GOP evangelicals have deserted their old pals

Posted on January 6, 2016 by Religion News

Christian social conservatives explain why they spurn Santorum and Huckabee, the 2016 candidates who focus the most on their agenda, for Ted Cruz and Ben Carson.

Read Full Article »


In One Year, Gun Owners Stopped Hundreds Of Criminals, Saved Countless Lives

In One Year, Gun Owners Stopped Hundreds Of Criminals, Saved Countless Lives

Posted on January 6, 2016 by Tru News

Gun owners who used firearms to stop criminal attacks saved at least 283 potential victims in a period between July 2014 and July 2015.

Read Full Article »


5 Suggestions to Help You Worry Less

5 Suggestions to Help You Worry Less

Posted on January 5, 2016 by Church Leaders

“Wouldn’t it be great to never worry again?”

Read Full Article »


10 Steps to Win Over Pornography

10 Steps to Win Over Pornography

Posted on January 5, 2016 by Church Leaders

&You are much less likely to turn to pornography when God means so much to you that pornography loses its lure.&

Read Full Article »


I’m Proud to Be a Christian, but the Way Some of Us Act Breaks My Heart

I’m Proud to Be a Christian, but the Way Some of Us Act Breaks My Heart

Posted on January 5, 2016 by Church Leaders

“Our job as followers of Jesus is to reflect an image of love.”

Read Full Article »


What to Do When Your Church Isn't Making You Happy

What to Do When Your Church Isn’t Making You Happy

Posted on January 5, 2016 by Crosswalk

Don’t approach church like a reviewer for Yelp, ready to rate its performance. Step up and initiate a change instead of being a critic.

Read Full Article »


Apologist Ravi Zacharias Challenges Passion 2016 Crowd: 'Does The Truth Matter To You?'

Apologist Ravi Zacharias Challenges Passion 2016 Crowd: ‘Does The Truth Matter To You?’

Posted on January 5, 2016 by Gospel Herald

Ravi Zacharias was received by the Passion 2016 crowd of 18-25-year-olds with cheers and wild applause. The conference that was attended by 40,000 young people came to an end on Monday evening. It was held in Atlanta, Georgia and Houston, Texas and also live-streamed.

Read Full Article »


Franklin Graham starts cross-country rallies: ‘America needs the Christian vote’

Franklin Graham starts cross-country rallies: ‘America needs the Christian vote’

Posted on January 5, 2016 by Religion News

(RNS) Two weeks after he announced his departure from the Republican Party, Graham kicked off a “Decision America Tour& urging evangelicals to vote for candidates who agree with their biblical values.

Read Full Article »


5 (More) Big Myths About God’s Word

by Erin Davis

We’re busy busting myths about God’s Word.

5 Big Myths About God’s Word

by Erin Davis

Indulge me as I write my very own MythBusters script. In this episode we’ll tackle five big myths about the Bible

Spread the Word About #ObessedLYWB

by Erin Davis

We’ve got a new obsession in 2016. Help us spread the word.

We’re Obsessed!

by Erin Davis

Psst. . . we’ve got a new obsession in 2016. (Nope, it has nothing to do with toned tummies or green smoothies.)


Obama and the Insanity of the Liberal Mind

Whether blinded by ideology, motivated by egocentrism and nihilism, or solely focused on their goals of destroying America’s exceptionalism (while ensuring that Democrats rule forever), liberals are incapable of scientific inquiry, common sense analyses, and reason. Their irrationality is best illustrated by examining some of the faux wars they have chosen to fight and the real ones in which they have surrendered.

View Insightful Article


‘Death panels’ resurrected under new Medicare rules

Federal health-care program undergoing sweeping changes in 2016

But lawmakers crafting Obamacare did propose panels that would decide whether or not a health-care procedure was worth paying for. And now, as the Associated Press reports, changes for Medicare in 2016 include “coverage for end-of-life counseling.”

The report said the voluntary counseling would have been authorized earlier by Obamacare if not for the outcry prompted by Palin’s “death panel” charge.

View Article


Anne Graham Lotz Gives Prophetic Warning About 2016

As I look ahead into 2016, I believe our national and global situation will get worse. A good friend has focused my attention on Isaiah 60:1-2 as a word from the Lord for the New Year: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For the darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord shall rise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you.”

I can feel the encroaching darkness of evil that is like a heavy moral and spiritual fog.

View Article


Column one: Obama’s constitutional overreach… and Israel – Caroline Glick

To advance its diplomatic opening to Iran, the administration spied on both law-abiding US citizens and on US lawmakers.

It is far from clear why senior Obama administration officials told The Wall Street Journal that under President Barack Obama, the National Security Agency has been aggressively spying not only on Israeli officials but on US citizens and lawmakers who communicate with Israeli officials. Perhaps they were trying to make Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu look like a fool.

View Article


Shock As Germany Forced To Admit That Cologne Has Become A Muslim ‘No-Go’ Zone For Women

 

Cologne town centre in Germany has been called a ‘no-go area’ by its own city council

EDITOR’S NOTE: It has barely been 6 months since Germany opened it’s borders to teeming hordes of Muslim migrants, and the results have been horrific, mind-numbing, and exactly what we told you would happen. Muslim ‘No-Go’ zones are already popping up, and the German government seems absolutely baffled as to the reality of what’s happening, with no plan of any kind to deal with it. This is not a migration, it is an invasion, albeit a highly-successful one at that. German women are being molested and raped, and German men intimidated and beaten by roving Muslim gangs. But just remember, Islam is a religion of peace!

An 18-year-old victim of the sex attacks in Cologne has described being surrounded by a group of 30 ‘angry’ men who groped her and her friends then stole their belongings as they fled. The teenager, named only as Michelle, appeared on German TV to recount the harrowing ordeal she endured during the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations last week.

Police say the wave of attacks – which has so far seen 100 women report being assaulted – were perpetrated by groups of ‘Arab or North African’ men in the city centre.

Michelle’s shocking testimony comes as the city’s own council today admitted its town centre was now a ‘no-go’ zone for women, while it has emerged similar attacks occurred the same night across Hamburg and Stuttgart.

Alarmingly, police in Dusseldorf fear the attacks may be linked to a known criminal gang comprising 2,000 North African Muslim men who use sexual assault as a means of distraction.

German Media admits Muslim migrant attacks at Cologne

And while German media and authorities stand accused of covering up previous incidents to avoid stoking tensions, there are fears the upcoming carnival celebrations in Cologne will see a repeat of the brazen attacks.

According to Bild, a student named Evelyn, 24, from Rheinland-Pfalz, who was at the train station in Cologne, said: ‘I had a knee-length skirt on, and suddenly I felt a hand on my backside under my dress. I turned round immediately and saw a grinning face.’ She said that she managed to get to the cathedral and sat on a bench and suddenly she was surrounded by men once again, and had only heard them speaking Arabic.

Her testimony comes as the city’s own council has admitted the town centre is now a ‘no-go area’ for women, while protesters angered by authorities’ alleged inaction held demonstrations last night.

Witnesses and police have described men working in ‘coordinated’ groups to grope women who were unable to escape, while two women reported they were raped.

German media and some public authorities are facing accusations they ignored or covered up simmering problems due to fears it would stoke tensions surrounding the country’s immigration policy.

German public broadcaster ZDF has apologised for delays in reporting on the wave of sexual assaults amid accusations of media self-censorship of the inflammatory issue. The rash of attacks and thefts was only widely covered by national media early this week, after police had initially reported no major incidents.

News editors of ZDF’s flagship ‘Heute’ [Today] evening news programme apologised on social media for not reporting on the incidents at least in its Monday evening bulletin, four days after the attacks.

‘The news situation was clear enough. It was a mistake of the 7pm Heute show not to at least report the incidents,’ wrote deputy chief editor Elmar Thevessen on the show’s Facebook page. Editors had decided to postpone the news segment to Tuesday, the day Cologne’s city hall and police held a crisis meeting on the attacks, he wrote, admitting this was ‘a clear misjudgement’. source


Daily Digest

January 6, 2016

THE FOUNDATION

“A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired.” —Alexander Hamilton, 1775

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Don’t Cry for Me, Gun Controller

2016-01-05-e27b8e36_large.jpg

During his Tuesday press conference rolling out his over-hyped executive actions on guns, Barack Obama even shed a “tear” for the children. “Every time I think about those kids [killed at Sandy Hook Elementary], it gets me mad,” he said, wiping away a tear. “Our unalienable right to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness — those rights were stripped from college kids in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara,” Obama said. “And from high schoolers at Columbine. And from first graders in Newtown. First graders. And from every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken by a bullet from a gun.” He continued, “We do have to feel a sense of urgency about it, because people are dying and the constant excuses for inaction no longer suffice.”

And to think, Obama once said, “Part of this job is also the theater of it” and that’s “not something that always comes naturally to me.” Please.

He then proceeded to introduce measures that would do absolutely nothing to reduce crime or so-called “gun violence.” He’ll target only the law-abiding, and he will likely continue the lax enforcement for which his administration has grown so infamous. Every American should be incensed when lives are taken senselessly, but also when craven politicians stand on the coffins of innocent victims to trumpet their preferred gun control policy. If Obama really wanted to save lives, he’d work with Congress to push for things like fewer “gun free zones,” which just happen to be where nearly every mass shooting takes place.

Instead, he lectured: “I believe in the Second Amendment. It’s there written on the paper. It guarantees a right to bear arms. No matter how many times people try to twist my words around, I taught constitutional law, [so] I know a little bit about this. I get it. But I also believe that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment.” He’s just not interested in those ways. And the Constitution is far more than just a piece of paper, however much Obama seeks to shred it.

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Clinton Can’t Distinguish Between Democrat and Socialist

For at least one question, Chris Matthews lived up to the name of his show on MSNBC, “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” When interviewing Hillary Clinton Tuesday, he asked her to define the difference between Democrat and socialist. She couldn’t, beyond saying that no, she wasn’t one. “I can tell you what I am,” she replied. “I’m a progressive Democrat who likes to get things done, and who believes that we are better off in this country when we’re trying to solve problems together, getting people to work together.” Matthews asked the same question of Democrat National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz in July. She, too, could not give a satisfactory answer.

This is dangerous for Clinton and establishment Democrats. Not only can she not draw a sharp distinction between herself and self-declared socialist Bernie Sanders, but the lack of explanation as to why she isn’t socialist will cost her votes, as 50% of the U.S. population will not vote for a socialist, according to Gallup. If it walks like a socialist and talks like a socialist… This leads us to conclude that the Democrat Party is filled with DINOs — Democrats (people who advocate democracy) in name only — and a sinister ideology has replaced the party’s old ideals.

“Not only is there little distinction between Soviet and German socialist systems of the 20th century,” Mark Alexander wrote in an essay about the “new” Democrat Party, “but there is no consequential distinction between Marxist Socialism, Nationalist Socialism, or the most recent incarnation of this beast, Democratic Socialism. The objective of socialism by any name, is to replace Rule of Law with the rule of men, and the terminus of this transformation is tyranny.”

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Cruz’s Iowa Success Endangers Corn Lobby

Could the corn lobby’s stranglehold on political rhetoric be cracking? With just weeks until the Iowa caucuses, presidential candidate Ted Cruz is leading the field, polling at 31%. He’s also an aggressive critic of the ethanol mandate. Known as the Renewable Fuel Standard, the mandate requires a massive amount of ethanol be used in the nation’s gas supply, and it sends a very lucrative stream of money flowing to corn producers. And Iowa is the nation’s largest producer of the stuff. Thus, Cruz’s lead has given the corn lobby a bit of heartburn. As the Washington Examiner’s Timothy Carney wrote, “If Cruz wins Iowa, especially if he wins big, it will confirm that the subsidies and mandates for ethanol are very important only to a sliver of the population (largely the lobbyists and executives of the giant agribusinesses that receive the lion’s share of the benefit). … If the ethanol lobby is a paper tiger, then the federal ethanol mandate is not long for this world.”

At the beginning of this presidential race, we saw the power the corn lobby had. In March, former candidate Scott Walker hired Liz Mair as a communications consultant but fired her hours later after the Iowa GOP machine skewered her because she wrote several tweets disparaging Iowa and how it hamstrung national policy. Reading between the lines, she was clearly referencing subsidies for ethanol. Meanwhile, the great ethanol boondoggle is an inefficient waste of food and natural resources all in the pursuit of corny science.

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FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

Obama Bypasses Law to Import More Foreign Workers

By Louis DeBroux

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Too many leftists applaud Barack Obama’s use of executive orders, his selective enforcement of the law, and his application of the federal regulatory apparatus as a bludgeon to enforce his will when Congress “would not act.” In short, these misnamed “liberals” approve of Obama’s petulant tantrums when Republicans don’t give him his way, and it’s not just on guns. These tantrums and abuses of power will be Obama’s legacy.

It’s painful obvious that these same leftists wouldn’t have such a favorable view had George W. Bush engaged in such lawlessness as president. For example, what if Bush had issued an executive order directing the IRS not to pursue collection of capital gains taxes, or to cease auditing income earners who fall in the top 1%? What if he had directed the Border Patrol to focus on deporting Mexicans, but to ignore those trying to get into the U.S. from Cuba (Cubans tend to vote Republican)? What if he issued an EO directing the IRS to set up a mechanism whereby the Social Security taxes of American workers were directed into a private investment account of their choosing — you know, since Congress had “failed to act” on Bush’s efforts at partial privatization of that bloated, bankrupt program?

Yet because Obama shares their progressive, statist, totalitarian worldview, leftists readily embrace a powerful executive who implements his agenda by sheer force of will, regardless of the Constitution, our traditions, or the will of the people. Yet if they were intelligent they would fear such a precedent, realizing that “their guy” will not always hold the reins of power, and precedents, once set, are hard to reverse.

One of many areas in which Obama has shown contempt for his constitutional duty to enforce the law as written is with the issue of immigration, both legal and illegal. We are all too aware of Obama’s de facto implementation of the DREAM Act, or variations of it, which failed to pass through Congress even when Democrats controlled both houses. Obama has also initiated by executive fiat his DACA and DAPA programs, which not only exempt millions of illegals from deportation, but he has attempted to give them a quasi-legal status, including work permits. Obama has continually sought to do this even when facing an injunction by a federal judge.

In true Obama fashion, while most Americans were celebrating the holidays with family and friends, and attempting to take a much needed break from politics, Obama snuck in a 200-page proposed federal rule on New Year’s Eve that would destroy the immigration caps set into established law and, in doing so, open the floodgates to importation of foreign workers at a time when tens of millions of Americans are struggling with unemployment or underemployment.

As Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions explains, the new rule “bypasses federal immigration caps, increasing significantly the number of foreign nationals authorized to work in the country above the limits set by Congress. These lower-paid foreign workers will be able to take jobs in technology firms, neighborhood pharmacies, energy companies, local schools, public administration, civil engineering, and innumerable other professions both sought and filled by millions of Americans. Whether young American graduates seeking that first job or longtime workers seeking that well-earned promotion, countless Americans will now find their chosen careers in jeopardy.”

Doubt that? Just ask the hundreds of American employees at Disney who were fired from their jobs, though not before being forced to train their foreign replacements or forgo their severance pay. Ask the thousands of highly qualified American computer programmers and tech workers who struggle to find work even as Microsoft and other IT-sector giants seek to import more low-wage foreigners. Median family income in the U.S. has dropped by nearly $5,000 under Obama, and bringing in tens or hundreds of thousands of low-wage, skilled workers will only further depress wages.

Our Founding Fathers were arguably the greatest assemblage of political minds in all of human history. Well versed in world history and in the successes and failures of other types of government, they brilliantly devised a form of government that did not naively assume benevolence and wisdom in powerful leaders, but rather acknowledged and accounted for the flaws in human nature — particularly the tendency of those in power to consolidate and expand that power and use it to reward friends and punish enemies.

They created a system of horizontal and vertical separations of power, dividing government into three branches (legislative, executive, judicial) and three levels (federal, state, local), and dividing the powers such that an encroachment by one level or branch of government by another would trigger a resistance by the one encroached upon. In doing so it allowed for a complex but surprisingly enduring balance of power that protected the rights of individuals, while also providing sufficient power to government to accomplish the tasks delegated to it by the governed, in which the rights and powers naturally reside.

So while a fool may cheer such an abuse of power simply because he or she is a beneficiary of fruits of that abuse, a wise man looks to the future and realizes that toleration of such abuses will undoubtedly come back to haunt him.

Whether Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, prudence and wisdom dictates that the time is long overdue that we rein in government, reacting with immediate and forceful resistance to any efforts by government to act outside of the sphere we’ve established for it. To do otherwise is to abdicate our role as masters of government, and prostrate ourselves as slaves.

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MORE ORIGINAL PERSPECTIVE

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more, visit Right Opinion.

TOP HEADLINES

For more, visit Patriot Headline Report

OPINION IN BRIEF

Ben Shapiro: “We’ve now reached the apex of the Feelings Age. It no longer matters what good policy looks like. It no longer matters what the Constitution says. All that matters is that our politicians care about people like us. During the 2012 election, Mitt Romney won a wide variety of exit polls regarding policy, from leadership skill to values. But he lost the election because Obama clocked him 81 percent to 18 percent on the crucial issue of ‘cares about people like me.’ And now Obama has come to collect. But he can’t do it without the tears. That’s because the tears grant him the patina of vulnerability. No one fears the dictator who shows his human side. We view those who violate our rights as nefarious members of an evil cabal, lurking in the night while cackling. We don’t view them as highly attuned, sensitive people — after all, the logic goes, if they were that sensitive, they’d stop before violating the rights of others. Which is why crying is such an effective tactic for those who would violate your rights. Crying on behalf of victims puts you on the side of the angels, and your opponents on the side of the demons. And we don’t tend to care what happens to demons. We’re too busy rooting for the angels.”

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SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Most of the change we think we see in life Is due to truths being in and out of favor.” —Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Non Compos Mentis: “Republicans have voted against the Violence Against Women Act. Now that, to me, is more important than anything that Bill Clinton did or didn’t do because it’s what [Hillary’s] going to vote for. … He is a dog. Let’s face it. … But I still will vote for Bill Clinton because he votes in my favor.” —The View’s Joy Behar

Upright: “Who is more mentally unbalanced, those who are doing the shooting or those who refuse to examine the facts about what kinds of places attract such shooters? Schools and religious institutions are sitting ducks, and the shootings there have gone on until someone else with a gun showed up on the scene. That is what puts an end to the carnage, not gun control laws. … Obama said that we are the only ‘advanced’ nation with so much gun violence. But there are a number of countries with higher murder rates than ours and stronger gun control laws. But that leaves the definition of ‘advanced’ to Obama — and makes for clever political theater.” —Thomas Sowell

For the record: “The [Obama] administration has overseen a striking drop in prosecutions of gun crimes, winning only about 6,000 convictions in 2015 — down more than 15 percent from five years ago. … Part of the reason is prosecutors are simply bringing fewer cases.” —The Washington Times (“For every elected or registered Democrat who actually wants to prosecute criminals, there are dozens who would rather prosecute the NRA and Republican politicians. Because they don’t care about the crime. Or the criminals. Just their own political agenda. And that agenda is to disarm you.” —Caleb Howe)

The BIG Lie: “Contrary to the claims of what some gun rights proponents have suggested, this hasn’t been the first step in some slippery slope to mass confiscation — contrary to claims of some presidential candidates, apparently before this meeting. This is not a plot to take away everybody’s guns.” —Barack Obama (So all that praising of Australia’s gun confiscation program wasn’t genuine?)

Begrudging admission: “Obama measures wouldn’t have kept guns from mass shooters.” —Associated Press

And last… “Here’s a way to immediately cut U.S. gun homicides by 5%: give Chicago to Canada.” —David Burge

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

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The Deity of Christ and the Reality of the Trinity

Sometimes things that confound us have a simple side to them. In a certain sense, this is true with the Trinity. The mystery may be confounding, but the biblical facts on the matter are really not that hard. The only thing required is a clear definition, then a little Bible “kitchen work.” That’s what I’ve provided for you in this month’s Solid Ground.

In part one of The Trinity: A Solution, Not a Problem, I discussed the significance of the Trinity, the problem of the Trinity, the definition of the Trinity, and the alleged contradiction of the Trinity. In this second part, I resolve the question of the deity of Christ (and therefore strengthen the case for the Trinity) by going back to the text, letting God’s Word speak for itself:

My method is simple: provide clear scriptural support for each element that is essential to the definition of the Trinity as it applies to the person of Christ. There are three components. One, there is only one God. Two, Jesus is a distinct person from the Father. Three, Jesus is fully God. We know this because Jesus is called God, He possesses divine attributes, and He exercises divine privileges.

Read The Trinity: A Solution, Not a Problem – Part 2.


A La Carte (January 6)

Daily Reading Links and Kindle Deals for ChristiansThere isn’t much to report by way of Kindle deals today, so we will just move on to some recommended reading. Here are some links you may find interesting:

Seven Reasons Not to Play the Lottery

John Piper lists them. I especially appreciate his first point: Playing the lottery is spiritually suicidal.

Significant Books for Pastors in 2015

Jeff Purswell rounds up some of last year’s especially notable books for pastors.

God’s Wonderful Plan for Your Life

Destinationism is the American myth: “God has a wonderful plan for your earthly life – He has a purpose for you. He has a destination for your life here and now, and when you reach it, all will be well.”

Across the Race Divide

Kevin DeYoung asks how America can bridge the deep race divide. “The short answer is: I don’t know. The slightly longer answer is that we can start by trying to understand what things look like from both sides. And by ‘sides’ in this case, I mean the law enforcement community and the African American community.”

The Universe in One Image

Here you go: It’s what the universe looks like from above, or below, or something. Whatever it is, it’s phenomenal. (Click here for a much bigger version of the graphic.)

This Day in 1850. 166 years ago today, preacher Charles Spurgeon became a Christian at the age of 16. *

CCEF Now

CCEF Now 2016 features articles from four of our faculty members and an interview with one of our contract counselors—David Powlison, Ed Welch, Winston Smith, Alasdair Groves, and Melissa Clemens.” It’s free for the taking.

Nomads of Mongolia

This one is very interesting to watch: “Life in Western Mongolia is an adventure. Training eagles to hunt, herding yaks, and racing camels are just a few of the daily activities of the nomadic Kazakh people. I spent a few weeks living with them and experiencing one of the most unique cultures in the world. Saddle up and enjoy the ride.”

Keller


Links I like

 

Kindle deals for Christian readers

The Gospel According to Taylor Swift

Trevin Wax:

In a matter of minutes and in just a few words, Taylor Swift’s music video provides a popular-level version of what philosophers and sociologists call “expressive individualism.” It’s the idea that the purpose of life is to find and express your individuality. You “find yourself” by fighting through all the constraints placed upon you by others. The goal is to emerge triumphant, fully aware of your own unique essence, so you can express yourself to the world.

This is one of the dominant narratives of 21st century American culture, so it’s no surprise to see our musical icons telling this story through song.

Pray For The Sheep

Mike Leake:

As a pastor I’m called to do two things well. First, faithfully preach the whole counsel of God’s Word. Second, devote myself to prayer. About 95% of my pastoral time and energies go towards that first one. The second one…well, I stink at it.

The One Word That Defines Our Parenting

Zach Crook:

It was in that moment, after my initial thought of how he didn’t deserve to get off the hook so easily that it dawned on me.  Isn’t that the whole point of grace? It’s a gift undeserved.  It isn’t for those of us who are most obedient, or most well-behaved.  Grace is for the chiefs of all sinners, myself included.

Wheaton College Recommends Terminating Tenured Professor over ‘Same God’ Comments

An update on the Larycia Hawkins situation at Wheaton College.

Is Gun Control a Christian Issue?

Russell Moore:

President Obama has announced his intention to tighten the nation’s gun control laws through executive action. This action, of course, comes in the wake of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, as well as numerous mass shootings over the past several years. I am often asked, “Is gun control a Christian issue?” After all, some might ask, if we are truly pro-life should we not also be as adamant about gun control as we are about abortion control? Is the gun control debate simply one that we should ignore?

The Question We Must Ask About Everything

Barnabas Piper:

Every book, every sermon, every blog, and every new idea  post must answer one question. It is the question I keep in mind as I write each of these posts and the one I used to ask when I evaluated manuscripts for publication. It’s the one I ask when a new strategy gets proposed at work. It’s the question I ask every Sunday morning at church and every time I delve into a new book or blog post.

SO WHAT? 


Six Early Warning Signs of Church Dropouts

If everyone who had dropped out of our congregations in the past decade returned, the typical church would triple in worship attendance.

Read that previous sentence carefully. One of the most significant reasons for stagnating and declining attendance is church dropouts.

The most challenging problem is church dropouts rarely return. Reclamation ministry is exceedingly difficult.

Stemming the tide of church dropouts begins before they dropout. And we have an abundance of information that informs us about those who are in danger of dropping out. Here are six of the most common early warning signs, with suggestions to address the issues early rather than later.

  1. Decreased frequency in attendance. If your small group or Sunday school class does not keep attendance records, please begin doing so. It’s not about the numbers per se; it’s about ministry to the body of Christ. With good records, you can tell when a person begins to attend less frequently. And you can contact the member to ask if there is anything you can do for him or her. Decreased worship attendance is more difficult to discern because records are rarely kept. But it is not unusual to hear church members say that they aren’t seeing someone as much as they once did. Those casual comments are a call to action.
  2. No longer attending a group. If someone stops attending a church altogether, there is an urgent need to contact him or her to see how you might minister to that person. Those who drop out of small groups typically leave the church completely within three months.
  3. Decreased giving patterns. Most pastors and church staff do not have access to members’ giving records. But those leaders can ask the person or persons who do see the records to let them know if a member has a significant decline in giving. When I was a pastor, our financial secretary did an excellent job of keeping me informed of potential needs. I would typically take the person to lunch. In every case, I did not bring up the giving issue. But in every case, I discovered the ministry need that precipitated the decline in giving.
  4. Major participant in a church conflict. There are, unfortunately, some church members who are constant complainers and conflict creators. If you, however, see church members get involved in a conflict for the first time, watch them carefully. Their involvement in conflict goes against their more peaceful nature. They may be embarrassed, ashamed, or just plain weary about their involvement. They see exiting the church as their best resolution to the problem.
  5. Family problems. Too many church members are embarrassed when family problems occur. They fear the church will be judgmental rather than redemptive. Church members need to know there is a safe place and/or person where they can share their problems and needs.
  6. Moral failure. Those who are involved in moral failure are the most likely to drop out of church life. Some of them do not want to change their lifestyle and repent. Others do not see the church as a place to confess and be restored. Too many churches do not know how to deal with members involved in moral failure.

Reclamation ministries, seeking to get those who dropped out active again in church life, are worthwhile. They are, however, very difficult with low success rates. It is much better to deal with dropout issues before dropout actually takes place.

Let me hear about dropout issues in your church. What are your challenges? What are your solutions?

The post Six Early Warning Signs of Church Dropouts appeared first on ThomRainer.com.


The Daily Discovery (January 6, 2016)

ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)

You Don’t Need A Bible Reading Plan; Try A Philosophy – “As the new year gets underway, we find ourselves squarely in resolution season. Of course in about three weeks we will be in the heart of resolution breaking season followed in late February by resolution forgetting season. And for Christians one of the most commonly made and then abandoned resolutions is to read through the bible in the coming year, and this is usually done using a reading plan. If you are the type that likes and responds to regimen and can keep it from becoming a simple task to be completed and continue to approach the Word of God with a worshipful heart, more power to you. But for the rest of us, let me make a modest proposal. You don’t need a Bible reading plan; you need a philosophy.”

Safely Navigating Inevitable Relationship Battles – “It’s inevitable. Like every year, this is going to be a year where relationship struggle will not be absent. While we are here on earth, it will not be heaven, which also means that there will be not-so-heavenly people around you. Whether a relationship with a spouse, kids, other family, co-workers, church members, fellow-leadership, or neighbors, you are going to encounter battles in your relationships. It’s just a part of life.”

What’s Wrong With The Passion “Translation”? – “In the circles I move in, people are beginning to ask me about The Passion ‘Translation’ (which, for reasons that will hopefully become clear in a moment, I am deliberately putting in scare quotes). Is it faithful? Do you use it? Should I read it devotionally? Publicly? Would you preach from it? Is it even a translation? Stuff like that. I was actually asked for my thoughts on the project very early on, via a good friend who is involved, so I had a heads-up before most people in the UK. But since then, partly through the influence of Bill Johnson (who is a fan), it’s gained in popularity in the Pentecostal and charismatic world, and that’s prompted people to start asking about it. Hence this post.”

We love routine – “My girls love routine. Emily and I do, too. We’re not slaves to our routine, and vacations are fun. But in all honesty, they create a different kind of stress for us as a family. The kids fight less and don’t ask to watch TV as much. They—and Emily, too—know what to expect each day. And let’s be honest: when I’m at home, I’m a disruptive presence. A welcome one, to be sure, but I throw the regular routine out of sync because it doesn’t include me.”

7 Ways to Approach Your Bible in 2016 – “If you’re a Christian, you believe reading the Bible is important. But have you considered how to approach it in the first place? What kind of ‘heart posture’ is necessary? God cares deeply about these questions. Here are seven ways we should approach his Word in 2016.”


SERMON:

THT0kxVq

Paul Luedke – Establishing Our Spiritual Bearings (Colossians 3:1-4)


VIDEOS:

MacArthur on Speaking Alongside False Teachers at Conferences (Start at 01:03:29)

In marriage/dating, how much should both people’s doctrine line up?


“All death can do to the believer is deliver him to Jesus.  It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior.” – John MacArthur

The post The Daily Discovery (January 6, 2016) appeared first on Entreating Favor.


Why We Talk About Sin

Every preacher knows that people do not like to hear about sin. People regard sin as a dreary, negative topic and prefer to think about more positive and comfortable themes. The situation is like that of a visitor to a leper colony, a comparison that is especially apt since the Bible uses leprosy as a picture of sin. The last thing lepers want to hear about is leprosy! They have to deal with it all the time, so they are not likely to gather in large numbers to hear someone speak about the nature and effects of leprosy. Since they are suffering, they prefer to listen to something entertaining to divert their minds!

So why should Christians dwell on sin? James Montgomery Boice answers: “It is simply because Christians are realists. They recognize that sin is an everyday experience and the number one problem of mankind. What is more, they recognize that the Bible everywhere insists upon this.”

However, Christians do not talk about sin simply as an exercise in realism, but because we have good news to bring. It is one thing to gather lepers to lecture on skin ailments. It is quite another to stand among those who are suffering and dying in order to proclaim the cure that will save them! Christians speak about sin because, in Jesus Christ, we have found and offer to others a cure for this all-pervasive plague.

This excerpt is taken from Jesus the Evangelist by Richard Phillips.


Why We Talk About Sin

Every preacher knows that people do not like to hear about sin. People regard sin as a dreary, negative topic and prefer to think about more positive and comfortable themes. The situation is like that of a visitor to a leper colony, a comparison that is especially apt since the Bible uses leprosy as a picture of sin. The last thing lepers want to hear about is leprosy! They have to deal with it all the time, so they are not likely to gather in large numbers to hear someone speak about the nature and effects of leprosy. Since they are suffering, they prefer to listen to something entertaining to divert their minds!

So why should Christians dwell on sin? James Montgomery Boice answers: “It is simply because Christians are realists. They recognize that sin is an everyday experience and the number one problem of mankind. What is more, they recognize that the Bible everywhere insists upon this.”

However, Christians do not talk about sin simply as an exercise in realism, but because we have good news to bring. It is one thing to gather lepers to lecture on skin ailments. It is quite another to stand among those who are suffering and dying in order to proclaim the cure that will save them! Christians speak about sin because, in Jesus Christ, we have found and offer to others a cure for this all-pervasive plague.

This excerpt is taken from Jesus the Evangelist by Richard Phillips.

Read more


Check out

Blogs

How the Laments Speak to Our Fears | The Christward Collective
“How do we live in a broken and fallen world where fears surround us on every side? How do we turn to God in the midst of such fears? …One of the most profitable parts of His word–often overlooked, yet full of instruction for the life of faith–are the Psalms of Lament. Most of us have turned to the Psalms when we are overwhelmed by the cares of this life–and, for good reason. ”

Too Much Bible? | The Proclamation Trust
Tim Ward notes that we live in an age in which we are deluged with information, and then asks if, for the Christian, the deluge can include Bible information?

‘Married At First Sight’ Explains Why Americans Can’t Commit
“Finding love is hard. Making love deepen and last is even harder. If reality TV is any indication, love has gone off the rails in America.”

Obama’s Legacy Will Be Executive Overreach
“Obama can’t do much on guns, but he has mainstreamed a dangerous idea about governing.”

The top 10 risks to the world in 2016 — the ailing trans-Atlantic partnership is number one | Daily Telegraph
“The top 10 risks to the world in 2016 – the ailing trans-Atlantic partnership is number one”

In-house or Plugged In? The Advantages and Drawbacks of Cyber-Counseling | Biblical Counseling Coalition
The case for and against counseling through video chat (or over the phone) and a few pointers to make sessions as profitable as possible.

A Child Was Bored in the Service | Banner of Truth
“Many consider the worst sin a church can commit is to bore children.”

P& R’s Top-selling Books of 2015

New Book

Spreading the Feast: Instruction and Meditations for Ministry at the Lord’s Table by Howard Griffth.

Kindle Books

100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love $1.99. This and the next one might change not just your physical life, but your mental, emotional, and spiritual life too. I just bought both of them.

Sugar Free: The Complete Guide to Quit Sugar & Lose Weight Naturally $0.99.

Laser-Sharp Focus. A No-Fluff Guide to Improved Concentration, Maximised Productivity and Fast-Track to Success $0.99.

Videos

Church Leaders: Focus on the Big Picture



Christian Headlines

 Country Singer Craig Strickland Found Dead from Hypothermia
 15 Christians Arrested in India While Praying
 Anne Graham Lotz Gives Prophetic Warning and Calls Christians to Pray
 Mark Driscoll Book Contract Reveals how Pastor Manipulated Ratings
 Priests for Life Call on Christians and Churches to Make a Political Impact
 School District Loses Fight to Keep Ten Commandments Monument on Property
 Nigeria: Largest Statue of Jesus Unveiled in Front of Hundreds of Onlookers
 Supreme Court Justice Scalia: Constitution Says Government Can Favor Religion
 ISIS Attacks Christian Restaurants in Syria, Killing 16
 Ted Cruz to Supporters: ‘Strap on the Full Armor of God’
New Obama rule allows doctors to declare patriots, conservatives and Constitutionalists mentally ill to ban their gun rights without due process

Posted: 06 Jan 2016 06:36 AM PST

Following the Alinsky–Marx playbooks to the letter, one thing Barack Obama and complicit members of Congress have managed to do during his tenure is create suspicion, distrust and anger between Americans and the various professions they used to trust. One of the new groups on the “outs” under Obama is police officers. Through the racial politicization of the relatively few instances where cops have used excessive and deadly force, Obama – and a compliant, Praetorian guard lamestream media – have successfully turned entire communities against the thin blue line that protects them from anarchy and chaos, even to the point where officers are getting killed more often.

Another group that Obama is set to put on the outs with Americans is doctors and other primary care providers, and he will use the issue of gun control to get that done.

As reported by Politico, the White House’s new executive gun actions will empower healthcare providers to actually report gun owners they suspect of being mentally ill to the FBI’s firearms background check system. Once freedom-minded Americans learn about this, how many do you think will trust their doctors not to “out” them to federal law enforcement? How many legitimately mentally ill people who own guns will go seek treatment? FULL REPORT

The post New Obama rule allows doctors to declare patriots, conservatives and Constitutionalists mentally ill to ban their gun rights without due process appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Obama “Has Essentially Written Off Netanyahu”

Posted: 06 Jan 2016 06:32 AM PST

In the early days of his administration, President Barack Obama had a theory about Israel. “It was a wrong theory of the case,” says longtime diplomat Martin Indyk, but a theory nonetheless: If the president could put distance between the United States and Israel, then just maybe he could build up credibility with the Arab world — and ultimately be in a better position to help Israel negotiate for peace.

But here’s where things went wrong, says Indyk, a U.S. ambassador to Israel during the Clinton administration, and from 2013 to 2014 a special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations: “After 16 years of Clinton and Bush, of unalloyed affection, the Israelis really didn’t like that.” The theory cost Obama support among Israelis, which meant he couldn’t move the Israeli public, says Indyk, “and if he couldn’t move the Israelis, then the Arabs had no use for him.”

In the below interview, Indyk says that the fallout today can be seen in everything from the stalled peace process and last year’s negotiations over the Iran nuclear agreement, to the president’s fractious relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who the former ambassador says was “essentially written off” by Obama after his 2012 reelection. FULL REPORT

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RUMORS OF WAR – North Korea’s H-bomb Test Sets Globe On Alert

Posted: 06 Jan 2016 06:25 AM PST

The United States and Japan have called on the U.N. Security Council to hold an emergency meeting to discuss North Korea’s claim of a successful hydrogen-bomb test, an act that violates several international resolutions.“The DPRK’s nuclear test, if confirmed, is in clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and is deeply regrettable,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said, the Guardian reported. “I strongly urge the DPRK to implement fully all relevant resolutions of the U.N. Security Council and the IAEA.”

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the test could not be independently confirmed. But North Korea has called its detonation “a perfect success” and the U.S. Geological Survey recorded a sizable earthquake near the site of supposed testing.

Still, the Associated Press found the level of explosion measured near the site was much smaller than what would have been recorded for an actual bomb. And so did Bruce Bennett, an analyst with the Rand Corporation, in the Guardian: ” The bang they should have gotten would have been ten times greater than what they’re claiming. So Kim Jong-un is either lying, saying they did a hydrogen test when they didn’t, they just used a little bit more efficient fission weapon, or the hydrogen part of the test really didn’t work very well.” FULL REPORT

 

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Worldwide Stock Market Crashes Kick Off 2016

Posted: 06 Jan 2016 06:18 AM PST

(Michael Snyder) The first trading day of 2016 was full of chaos and panic. It started in Asia, where the Nikkei was down 582 points, Hong Kong was down 587 points, and Chinese markets experienced an emergency shutdown after the CSI 300 tumbled 7 percent. When European markets opened, the nightmare continued.

The DAX was down 459 points, and European stocks overall had their worst start to a year ever. In the U.S., it looked as though we were on course for a truly historic day as well. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 467 points at one stage, but some very mysterious, late-day buying activity helped trim the loss to just 276 points at the close of the market.

The sudden market turmoil caught many by surprise, but it shouldn’t have. The truth is that a whole host of leading indicators have been telling us that this is exactly what should be happening. The global financial crisis that began in 2015 is now accelerating, and my regular readers already know precisely what is coming next. FULL REPORT

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The Almond Tree Is Budding

Posted: 06 Jan 2016 06:15 AM PST

(Prophetess Glennitta Battle) The Season of Almond Tree are Budding. The priest of G-d shall be resurrected in this season. The Hebrew word for almond is “watch or wake”.

The priest have awaken out of their season of winter and are now forming Apostolic Fires with sphere of manifestation of the Supernatural shall through the “Ekklesia”(Called Out). My husband spoke on that Aaron rod (Sign, Wonder and Miracles) budded, flowered and produce almond overnight. I mean supernaturally things are going to BUD in your life on today.

The laws of physics and science will not apply to you in this season. The Almond Tree wait 5 years (Five-Fold) before expecting fruit. Almond trees take some time to start producing nuts. Typically, this “waiting” period lasts about five years. However, depending on the species of tree, it can take as long as 12 years (Governmental Authority) for it to reach full nut-producing capacity.

You’re about to BUD before time in the promises of G-d in this season. I also heard that the budding is limited in the earth realm and will have maximum capacity, but this law will to a[apply to you. G-d ask the Prophet Jeremiah a one question “What do you see, Jeremiah?” and Prophet Jeremiah replied “I see the branch of an almond tree,” The L-rd replied to Jeremiah “You have seen correctly, for I am watching[a] to see that my word is fulfilled.”

The priestly garment have been restore. You shall receive power and authority to complete every assignment that G-d give you because He is watching for His word to be fulfilled. It is time for you to BUD! Jeremiah 1:11

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Hidden workforce of 100,000 foreigners quietly imported to US

Posted: 06 Jan 2016 06:10 AM PST

Industry executives and university advocates have successfully duped nearly every reporter, editor and anchor nationwide about the scale and purpose of the H-1B professional outsourcing program. The journalists–and Americans—have been kept in the dark while universities and many allied name-brand companies have quietly imported an extra workforce of at least 100,000 lower-wage foreign professionals in place of higher-wage American graduates, above the supposed annual cap of 85,000 new H-1Bs.

Less than one-sixth of these extra 100,000 outsourced hires are the so-called “high-tech” computer experts that dominate media coverage of the contentious H-1B private-sector outsourcing debate.

Instead, the universities’ off-the-books H-1B hires include 21,754 professors, lecturers and instructors, 20,566 doctors, clinicians and therapists, 25,175 researchers, post-docs and biologists, plus 30,000 financial planners, p.r. experts, writers, editors, sports coaches, designers, accountants, economists, statisticians, lawyers, architects, computer experts and much else. The universities have zero legal obligation to recruit Americans for these jobs. FULL REPORT

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LIGHTS OUT – Hackers caused blackout for the first time

Posted: 06 Jan 2016 06:07 AM PST

Hackers caused a power outage in Ukraine during holiday season, researchers say, signalling a potentially troubling new escalation in digital attacks. “This is the first incident we know of where an attack caused a blackout,” said John Hultquist, head of iSIGHT Partners cyber espionage intelligence practice. “It’s always been the scenario we’ve been worried about for years because it has ramifications across broad sectors.”

Half of the homes in Ukraine’s Ivano-Frankivsk region were left without power for several hours on December 23rd, according to a local report that attributed the blackout to a virus that disconnected electrical substations from the grid. Researchers at iSight on Monday said their analysis of malware found on the systems of at least three regional electrical operators confirmed that a “destructive” cyberattack led to the power outage.

Electrical outages can lead to ripple effects that leave communities struggling with things like transportation and communication, according to security experts who have long warned about the potential for cyberattacks on the power grid. FULL REPORT

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LIVING ON THE EDGE – Most Americans one paycheck away from the street

Posted: 06 Jan 2016 06:02 AM PST

Americans are starting 2016 with more job security, but most are still theoretically only one paycheck away from the street. Approximately 63% of Americans have no emergency savings for things such as a $1,000 emergency room visit or a $500 car repair, according to a survey released Wednesday of 1,000 adults by personal finance website Bankrate.com, up slightly from 62% last year. Faced with an emergency, they say they would raise the money by reducing spending elsewhere (23%), borrowing from family and/or friends (15%) or using credit cards to bridge the gap (15%).

This lack of emergency savings could be a problem for millions of Americans. More than four in 10 Americans either experienced a major unexpected expense over the past 12 months or had an immediate family member who had an unexpected expense, Bankrate found. (The survey didn’t specify the impact of that expense.) “Without emergency savings, you may not have money to cover needed home repairs,” says Signe-Mary McKernan, senior fellow and economist at the Urban Institute, a nonprofit organization that focuses on social and economic policy. “Similarly, without emergency savings, people could raid their retirement account.” FULL REPORT

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Our Time is Short

Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)


What is The Gospel?

God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.

The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.

God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.

But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.

This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.

God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.

God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.

Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.


What Is the Gospel?

There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.

The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.


The Gospel on 5 Fingers

If you picked up a hitchhiker (not that I recommend doing that) and he saw a Bible on your car seat and said, “I’ve heard about this thing called the Gospel – can you explain it to me before you drop me off in one minute up the street?” What would you say?

Can you explain the gospel in 30 seconds? In one minute? In five minutes?

Here’s one way I have found helpful. The five main components of the gospel can be remembered on 5 fingers of one hand. Here they are:

1) Jesus’ birth
2) Jesus’ life
3) Jesus’ death
4) Jesus’ resurrection
5) Jesus’ ascension

Obviously each point can be elaborated on depending on how much time you have. Here’s the short version:

1) Jesus’ birth – Jesus, God himself, the creator of the universe, the Messiah, became a human being – took on flesh, and was born of a virgin.

2) Jesus’ life – Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father. Though he was tempted in every way as we are, he never once sinned.

3) Jesus’ death – on the cross, Jesus himself took all our sins and paid for them. God the father counted all our sins to Jesus as if he himself had personally committed them. Then Jesus bore God’s wrath towards sin – the punishment we deserved – as a substitute for us.

4) Jesus’ resurrection – within 3 days, Jesus rose physically from the dead, proving that his sacrifice for sins have been accepted by God, since the punishment for sin was death. Jesus was seen by numerous people after he rose including 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15).

5) Jesus’ ascension – Jesus ascended physically into heaven where he reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And someday he will return to the earth.

That’s the gospel, the good news, and if we believe in Jesus Christ and this good news and call upon him he will save us from our sins and give us eternal life.

That’s a simple way to remember the gospel – five fingers. Even a child can do it. So ask God to give you opportunities to share his good news today.


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Resource Links

CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.

Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!

30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


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(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

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Are Campus Crusade and IVCF still Christian? Or are they just leftists?

WINTERY KNIGHT

Eagle eggs are protected, unborn babies are not Eagle eggs are protected, unborn babies are not

The latest news is about IVCF’s rejection of the pro-life cause.

Here is an article from Touchstone magazine.

It says:

Happy New Year, Everyone! Urbana 2015 ended on January 1, 2016. Urbana is a triennial major Christian (mostly Evangelical) student missions conference in St. Louis, Missouri, sponsored by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (“InterVarsity”), primarily for college and graduate students.

[…][O]ne of the speakers prominently featured at Urbana was the “Rev.” Michelle Higgins. “Rev.” Higgins is the director of Faith for Justice, an advocacy group in St. Louis (she also serves as worship director at South City Church). Ms. Higgins is active in the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the St. Louis area.

[…]“Rev.” Higgins… described the pro-life movement as merely “a big spectacle.” In her remarks, she said:

We could end the adoption crisis tomorrow. But we’re too busy arguing to have abortion…

View original post 1,239 more words

CultureWatch: Dealing with Cults

Source: Dealing with Cults

Just this morning a Christian friend in another country contacted me, greatly worried about family members who had obviously gotten themselves involved in a deceptive and nutty cult. She was terribly concerned – and rightly so – about all this and asked for some advice, which I sought to give.

But this scenario is sadly far too common. The cults are certainly out and about, seeking to devour their prey, leading many astray. Thus it is vital for all believers to know a bit about the cults, what they believe, why they are so influential, and how we can protect ourselves and loved ones against them.

cultHaving spent my earliest year as a believer involved in several cults, I certainly have an interest in them. But we all should be interested, since they involve deceptive groups who are leading many people into deception and error – both Christians and non-Christians alike. Jesus and the disciples warned about such groups and individuals, so we had better be concerned.

So, what exactly is a cult? Well, there are various definitions, and sometimes folk distinguish full-fledged cults from aberrational Christian groups. And we can speak of counterfeit religions or heretical groups as well. But let me offer a few definitions from some experts in the field.

A “cult” is a religious group that has a “prophet”-founder called of God to give a special message not found in the Bible itself, often apocalyptic in nature and often set forth in “inspired” writings. (Ruth Tucker, Another Gospel)

A cult may be briefly defined as a separate religious group claiming compatibility with Christianity but whose doctrines contradict those of historic Christianity and whose practices and ethical standards violate those of biblical Christianity. (John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions)

Cultism, in short, is any major deviation from orthodox Christianity relative to the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith. (Walter Martin, Rise of the Cults)

A cult, then, is any religious movement which claims the backing of Christ or the Bible, but distorts the central message of Christianity by (1) an additional revelation, and (2) by displacing a fundamental tenet of faith with a secondary matter. (Gordon Lewis, Confronting the Cults)

It may be helpful to pad these definitions out by examining the various marks of a cult. At least two broad areas can be covered here: theological and sociological. As to theological or doctrinal marks, a cult will tend to deny or distort the key teachings of Scripture. The doctrines most often twisted include:
-The deity of Christ
-God and the Trinity
-The final revelation of Scripture
-The nature of salvation

There are of course many warnings in scripture about false teachers, false prophets, and false doctrine. Here are just a few of them:

-Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing.
-Matthew 24:4-5 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ, and will deceive many’.”
-Mark 13:22 False prophets and false Christs shall arise with signs and wonders to seduce even the elect.
-Acts 13:9-10 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?
-Acts 20:28-31 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
-2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
-Ephesians 4:14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
-2 Timothy 4:2-4 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

The New Testament everywhere offers us such strong warnings against false teaching and false teachers, against deception and wrong doctrine. We would expect an unbeliever who may know nothing about the Bible and basic Christian doctrine to be susceptible to the deception of the cultists, but sadly many Christians can and do fall into their traps as well.

This is because they have not been given basic training of biblical truths and core Christian teachings in their churches, and/or have never studied Scripture and theology much at all. They may just run their Christian life on feelings, emotions, and entertainment, which is never enough to counter satanic deception and demonic doctrines.

There would also be various sociological reasons why people fall for the cults. These would include:

1. Often the cult has a strong, centralized authority structure, many times with a charismatic, domineering leader. Many folks are looking for some sort of security and authority, and these cults and cult leaders seem to provide that.
2. Often the cults have a very strong ‘us versus them’ mentality. And they are often quite isolationist. Thus they may keep people from interacting with others or getting out into the wider society. And often they will even ban all other books and materials, cutting off all contact with the outside world.
3. Often the cults are very committed to proselytizing others. Many for example will have mandatory periods of witnessing and proselytizing. Thus they can be much more evangelistic for their beliefs than most Christians are.
4. Often the cults are very legalistic, both in terms of trying to earn your salvation and keep your salvation. Often certain foods, drinks, activities and so on are strictly forbidden, and to partake of such things is seen as a damning apostasy, and an indication of not being a true follower of the group.

So why do people join cults? There would be various reasons for this. I already mentioned some theological reasons above: people just do not know their Bibles or basic Christin teaching, so they are so readily susceptible to false teachings which the cults specialize in. Here are some more reasons:

1. Sadly genuine churches are often not doing their jobs, whether in terms of real Christian love and concern, or offering genuine fellowship, a sense of community, and the meeting of basic needs. Cults seem to offer all these things in large doses.
2. A strong sense of community and purpose often seems to characterize a cult. They seem to offer love and acceptance. For someone involved in family, marriage or relationship breakdown, this can lead to a search for an alternative family structure, which the cults seem to offer.
3. As mentioned, cultists are quite keen on proselytizing, while so often most real Christians are not. Thus genuine seekers may encounter a cultist first before meeting a real Bible-believing Christian.
4. Satan of course seeks to deceive and turn people away from the truth. That is one of his specialties, and he is at it day and night.

So how can we best protect ourselves and others against the cults? Well, many of the points mentioned above just need to be turned around – eg., the Christian church needs to be providing real love and acceptance and genuine community. Alas, too often a superficial social club atmosphere seems to describe so many churches today.

Theologically speaking, a key area is to know the real thing. In this case, we must know our Bibles well, and we must know in some detail basic Christian doctrines. One popular illustration is worth sharing here: Bank tellers are not trained to become experts in counterfeit money. Instead, they are trained to become experts in the real thing, so that counterfeits are quite easy to spot.

So in one sense we too need to be experts in what we believe. We need to know our Bibles and know our basic Christian doctrines so well, that we can easily spot heresies and deviations from the truth whenever they appear. But sadly sound doctrine and good theology are ignored or minimized in far too many churches today.

That is a recipe for disaster, and that is why so many people are succumbing to the cults. While external deception and doctrines of demons will always be there, there is no excuse for internal weaknesses, such as a lack of solid teaching and real Christian love. Churches are often their own worst enemy in this regard, and we need to repent of this and seek to turn things around.

GTY: The Pathology of a Doomed Culture

1 Timothy 5:6; Proverbs 16:18; Romans 1:28-32, 12:19; Ephesians 4:31;

Code: B160106

by Jeremiah Johnson

Do you ever forget how sinful the world is? Not that any believer could mistake this place for an untouched paradise—but do you ever lose sight of the depth and breadth of this ruined world’s corruption?

I think if we’re honest, it’s easy to get caught up in our everyday routines and temporarily forget or ignore the depth of the depravity around us. Sometimes we are overexposed and desensitized through entertainment, or too invested in relationships that skew our view of the world. Other times we simply get caught up in short-term issues of life—work, school, and other pursuits—that warp our perspective and distract us from eternal matters.

Clearly corruption, depravity, and sin aren’t the most delightful things to think about. That’s why many pastors avoid such topics like the plague. But it is vital to have the right perspective on those issues because a biblical understanding drives us to guard against distraction and keep at the work of God’s kingdom. Rightly understanding the world around us ought to motivate us to invest in God’s people and work for His purposes in this ruined world.

In a landmark sermon titled “Hope for a Doomed Nation,” John MacArthur describes the pathology of a culture sprinting to its own demise. I want to share some of the points he raised—and some of his comments—with you as we look at this sinful world from God’s perspective.

Living for Pleasure

Perhaps no culture in the history of the world has been more eager for pleasure, or more adept at heaping distractions and entertainment in its own way. As John explained in his sermon, the reprobate mind doesn’t think deeply or broadly—it’s not disciplined or productive. It exists merely to pursue its own lusts, which today equates to one long, inebriated stupor.

God’s Word warns about the dangers of living for pleasure. In 1 Timothy 5:6, Paul writes, “But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives.” The point, as John explained, is that the intense pursuit of pleasure reveals the spiritual death within.

You kill yourself chasing pleasure. It’s the death of dignity, it’s the death of respect, it’s the death of potential, it’s the death of achievement, it’s the death of refinement, it’s the death of individuality, it’s the death of development, it’s the killing of your life, it’s the killing of your future. You’ve got to get past being endlessly entertained and fulfilling your lusts. . . . That’s hard for this culture to do.

We’re surrounded by evidence of the high cost of pursuing wanton pleasure. It robs you of your usefulness, your productivity, and your discipline. Worst of all, it dulls your senses and deadens your conscience, leaving unrepentant pleasure-seekers numb to their need for a Savior.

Selfishness and Pride

The people of this world are consumed with their own agendas, their own desires, and their own satisfaction. Humility and meekness are considered weakness, as everyone strives for their own achievement and fulfillment. Healthy relationships are impossible to sustain in this epidemic of pride. And considering someone else as more important than you (Philippians 2:3) is a laughable concept in our arrogant culture.

As John MacArthur explains, at the root of this tidal wave of selfishness and pride is the satanic lie of self-esteem.

Psychologists have created this thing called “self-esteem.” That is a satanic idea. You’re not as important as you think you are. You are far less important than you think you are, and so am I, so are all of us. You’re not better than you think you are, you’re worse than you think you are. You are far worse than you think you are, and so am I. In God’s eyes, you are inconceivably sinful. In your own eyes, you’re something wonderful.

God’s Word is clear about the destructive effects of pride and selfishness. Proverbs 13:10 says, “By pride comes nothing but strife” (NKJV). Proverbs 16:18 expands on that point: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” And Proverbs 29:23 warns, “A man’s pride will bring him low.”

Broken relationships, shattered families, and ruined lives are all sacrificed at the altar of self-fulfillment and self-interest. Today no price is too high to pay for happiness and satisfaction. And that kind of wicked selfishness and pride inoculates you from recognizing any purpose for your life outside of your own enjoyment, or any spiritual or eternal need that you can’t fulfill yourself. Our world’s runaway pride blinds people to the reality of their true spiritual condition and their need for humility, repentance, and salvation.

Immorality

Another hallmark of a doomed society is the absence of any morality. People who don’t know God are driven by their lusts and passions (1 Thessalonians 4:5), and we see the evidence of that throughout our culture.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul describes how rejecting the Lord leads to further moral decline. It begins with forms of idolatry—and while physical idols dominated in previous eras, today the individual has unseated God and self reigns in the heart of every man (Romans 1:18-23). In turn, Paul explains how that leads to sexual deviance and perversion that assaults God’s design (Romans 1:24-27)—the rampant and celebrated immorality of our day proves the accuracy of the apostle’s warning. The corrupting process culminates in Romans 1:28-32, where Paul spells out the end results of man’s degradation:

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

I struggle to think of a more accurate way to describe our society than that. Every characteristic Paul lists is embodied in our culture—not the least of which is the pervasive, hearty approval of each other’s sin. Countless men and women are sprinting to hell, and the rest of the world is cheering them on.

Anger and Vengeance

The culture’s perspective on anger and vengeance has shifted in recent years. As John MacArthur explained in his message, anger wasn’t always considered a valuable asset:

Anger was once recognized as a sin. Everybody recognized it as a sin. Just a normal, healthy culture recognized that anger had no place; that anger ate up the person who was angry and damaged the relationships of everybody around that person.

Self-control used to be something socially valuable. It used to be valuable if you thought something and kept your mouth shut and didn’t say it. It didn’t all of a sudden become a virtue for you to vent every angry thought you have as if some kind of psychologically freeing experience. [That kind of constant, angry venting] is in itself damaging.

Again, Scripture leaves no doubt about what God thinks of unchecked anger. Ecclesiastes 7:9 bluntly says, “Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, for anger resides in the bosom of fools.” In Ephesians 4:31, Paul exhorts his readers to “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”

But our society excels as excusing its sin, and one of the prominent excuses for the anger consuming so many people is vengeance. As John explains, vengeance lends false credibility and legitimacy to sinful anger pointed at one another:

This is another dominant sin in our day. It’s hailed as a virtue: retaliation, getting back. Chain reactions of evil: you get them back, they get you back. You get them back, they get you back, and that’s how life is lived. It’s like life in a biker gang, or like in an inner-city gang: you do them, they do to you. So you do to them and they do to you, and you have an amoral, antisocial, destructive, murderous culture—all because of vengeance.

The lust for vengeance is hardwired into our sin nature. In the clutches of sin, we all want to exact our own revenge against those who wrong us. The Lord recognizes that tendency in the sinful heart, and made provisions against acts of vengeance with His people, going all the way back to the Old Testament law. In Leviticus 19:16-18, the Lord issued this command to the Israelites:

You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the Lord. You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.

Quoting from God’s Law, Paul made the same point in Romans 12:19, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

But it’s no surprise that a culture which has so thoroughly rejected the Lord and His authority is so defiantly bent in the expression of its anger and the pursuit of its vengeance. The fixation on fulfilling their own wrath blinds people to the reality of God’s wrath, and the due penalty they owe to Almighty God.

There are many other characteristics of a doomed culture that we could discuss—disrespect for authority, civil rebellion, prejudice, and others (I’d encourage you to listen to John Macarthur’s sermon for his complete list)—but for now I think you get the point: God’s people need to see the world the way He sees it. We need to rightly appraise the corruption of the world around us, and not lose sight of the desperate spiritual needs we encounter on a daily basis.

And when talk in the church turns to the prospect of “redeeming the culture”—as it likely will in this election year—we need to have a strong, biblical grasp on the true depth of this culture’s wickedness, and understand what methods we actually have at our disposal to make any difference at all. More on that next time.


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Returning to Rome: How Mystical New Age Teaching is Drawing Evangelicals Into the Cult of Catholicism

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

kenneth-copeland-pope-francis

My research on a pastor who insists that our God and Allah are one and the same, made me curious as to what other errant teachings might also abound in the Evangelical churches. Suddenly, I realized that I was seeing only the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

“Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:30 (KJV)

It seems that the Emergent Church which teaches Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) has slithered its way into our Evangelical churches. The proper spirituality of the Christian, being sola Scriptura, is being replaced by spiritual mysticism, which can be traced back to the Roman Catholic church.

From Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries:

“Leaving this aside now the evangelical community is embarking upon a very dangerous spiritual game of Russian roulette embracing highly subjective Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM), such as that taught by Living Spiritual…

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