Saturday, September 26, 2009
The apostles of Satan are not abortionists and sex traffickers, but are for the most part ordained ministers. Thousands of those who occupy our post-modern pulpits are no longer engaged in presenting the fundamentals of the Christian Faith, but have turned aside from the Truth and have given heed unto fables. Instead of magnifying the enormity of sin and setting forth its eternal consequences, they minimize it by declaring that sin is merely ignorance or the absence of good. Instead of warning their hearers to “flee from the wrath to come” they make God a liar by declaring that He is too loving and merciful to send any of His own creatures to eternal torment. Instead of declaring that “without shedding of blood is no remission,” they merely hold up Christ as the great Exemplar and exhort their hearers to “follow in His steps.” Of them it must be said, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” ( Romans 10:3).
Their message may sound very plausible and their aim appear very praiseworthy, yet we read of them— “for such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves (imitating) into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing [not to be wondered at] if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works” ( 2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
In addition to the fact that today hundreds of churches are without a leader who faithfully declares the whole counsel of God and presents His way of salvation, we also have to face the additional fact that the majority of people in these churches are very unlikely to learn the Truth themselves.
—A. W. Pink (1886–1952)
Mark Galli | posted 5/21/2009
I've heard the quote once too often. It's time to set the record straight—about the quote, and about the gospel.
Francis of Assisi is said to have said, "Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words."
This saying is carted out whenever someone wants to suggest that Christians talk about the gospel too much, and live the gospel too little. Fair enough—that can be a problem. Much of the rhetorical power of the quotation comes from the assumption that Francis not only said it but lived it.
The problem is that he did not say it. Nor did he live it. And those two contra-facts tell us something about the spirit of our age.
Let's commit a little history (let me un-humbly draw on some chapters from my biography of St. Francis).
First, no biography written within the first 200 years of his death contains the saying. It's not likely that a pithy quote like this would have been missed by his earliest disciples.
Second, in his day, Francis was known as much for his preaching as for his lifestyle.
He began preaching early in his ministry, first in the Assisi church of Saint George, in which he had gone to school as a child, and later in the cathedral of Saint Rufinus. He usually preached on Sundays, spending Saturday evenings devoted to prayer and meditation reflecting on what he would say to the people the next day.
He soon took up itinerant ministry, sometimes preaching in up to five villages a day, often outdoors. In the country, Francis often spoke from a bale of straw or a granary doorway. In town, he would climb on a box or up steps in a public building. He preached to serfs and their families as well as to the landholders, to merchants, women, clerks, and priests—any who gathered to hear the strange but fiery little preacher from Assisi.
He apparently was a bit of a showman. He imitated the troubadours, employing poetry and word pictures to drive the message home. When he described the Nativity, listeners felt as if Mary was giving birth before their eyes; in rehearsing the crucifixion, the crowd (as did Francis) would shed tears.
Contrary to his current meek and mild image, Francis's preaching was known for both his kindness and severity. One moment, he was friendly and cheerful—prancing about as if he were playing a fiddle on a stick, or breaking out in song in praise to God and his creation. Another moment, he would turn fierce: "He denounced evil whenever he found it," wrote one early biographer, "and made no effort to palliate it; from him a life of sin met with outspoken rebuke, not support. He spoke with equal candor to great and small."
Another early biography talked about how his preaching was received: "His words were neither hollow nor ridiculous, but filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, penetrating the marrow of the heart, so that listeners were turned to great amazement."
As a result, he quickly gained followers, and it wasn't long before he told his most devoted adherents to preach as well. In the fall of 1208, he sent the brothers out two by two to distant reaches. What did he tell them to say? In an early guide written during this period, Francis instructed his brothers to tell their listeners to "do penance, performing worthy fruits of penance, because we shall soon die … . Blessed are those who die in penance for they shall be in the kingdom of heaven. Woe to those who do not die in penance, for they shall be children of the devil whose works they do and they shall go into everlasting fire."
This last quote raises questions about the content of Francis' preaching. He was clearly a product of his age and his church. It's hard to tell sometimes if "penance" for Francis meant something more akin to biblical repentance, or to the medieval version of "works righteousness" that the Reformers eventually and rightly condemned.
The point is this: Francis was a preacher. And the type of preacher who would alarm us today. "Hell, fire, brimstone" would not be an inaccurate description of his style.
Why is it, then, that we "remember" Francis as a wimp of a man who petted bunnies and never said a cross word, let alone much about the Cross?
I suspect we sentimentalize Francis—like we do many saints of ages past—because we live in a sentimental age. We want it to be true that we can be nice and sweet and all will be well. We hope against hope that we won't have take the trouble to figure out how exactly to talk about the gospel—our unbelieving friends will "catch" the gospel once our lifestyle is infected with it.
"Preach the gospel; use words if necessary" goes hand in hand with a postmodern assumption that words are finally empty of meaning. It subtly denigrates the high value that the prophets and Jesus and Paul put on preaching. Of course we want our actions to match our words as much as possible. But the gospel is a message, news about an event and a person upon which the history of the planet turns. As blogger Justin Taylor recently put it, the Good News can no more be communicated by deeds than can the nightly news.
Many have noted how Francis modeled his life on Jesus. But it wasn't just about the life of poverty, but also the life of preaching. We have no instance of Jesus performing a miracle and not speaking a word of comfort or challenge afterwards.
Paul articulated succinctly what Francis and Jesus felt in their souls: "How are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?" (Rom. 10:14).
To be sure, words used cheaply, thoughtlessly are worse than no words at all. As Westmont College professor Marilyn McEntyre says in an essay in the upcoming August issue of Christianity Today, "In an environment permeated with large-scale, well-funded deceptions, the business of telling the truth, and caring for the words we need for that purpose, is more challenging than ever before."
That being said, a better saying (which you can attribute to anyone you like) is this: Preach the gospel—use actions when necessary; use words always.
Honestly, we had no idea who this B-list soap star was…until she came to the Emmys with Obama’s mug plastered on her. And then we found out her name is Victoria Rowell…and that she’s not very smart. Don’t get us wrong…we’re not saying that anyone who voted for the Prez is of a lesser intelligent species…we’re just saying that when the campaign for “Change” is long over and the winds of “Change” have turned into a tornado of more bad news but you choose to show up in a silly, albeit glamorous ceremony meant to celebrate entertainment still campaigning and giving the thumbs up…well, then you’re a certified idiot…unless ofcourse you thought the color of the carpet and Obama’s face give the whole thing a deeper meaning…in which case also plastering the face of Castro somewhere along the hemline of the dress would make an even greater sense.
Lutheran bishop warns about withholding donatonsAssociated Press - 9/23/2009
CHICAGO - The presiding bishop of the nation's largest Lutheran denomination warns that withholding financial support to protest a recent gay clergy vote would be "devastating" to the church.
Bishop Mark Hanson lays out his concerns in a letter Wednesday to leaders of the 4.7 million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The ELCA voted last month to allow gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as clergy, dropping a requirement that gay clergy remain celibate.
Hanson's letter comes on the eve of a meeting in suburban Indianapolis of conservative ELCA group Lutheran CORE, which has urged supporters to "direct funding away from the national church" because of the vote.
Hanson says withholding funding would hurt the church's mission.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is holding its biennial national meeting this week in Minneapolis, with several controversial items regarding sexuality on the agenda.
Delegates of the ELCA will vote on a policy that would allow Lutheran churches to hire homosexual men or women in committed same-sex relationships to serve as pastors. They will also decide the fate of a statement on human sexuality that tries to establish a theological framework for differing views on homosexuality.
Reverend Mark Chavez is director of Lutheran Coalition for Reform.
"What's at stake is whether or not the ELCA is going to practice what it says it believes. Our confession of faith in the ELCA confesses that the Bible -- the whole Bible, the Old and the New Testaments -- are the inspired Word of God and the norm and authority for all our faith in life," he explains. "And what's being proposed is a clear rejection of that faith. And the other thing that's at stake here is the ELCA isolating itself from most other Christian churches in the world."
Chavez says his organization will be at the meeting in Minneapolis to educate voting members about the issues.
At least one ELCA leader is lamenting his denomination's decline as it debates the issue of homosexual clergy. Bishop Mark Hanson tells Associated Press the ELCA has lost almost 500,000 baptized members in the eight years he has served as its presiding bishop.
Hanson noted his denomination's decline when asked about the vote scheduled later this week on whether ELCA congregations should be allowed to hire pastors who are in homosexual relationships. He would not say whether he supports that, but he told reporters that partnered homosexual clergy are willing to serve, and that there are ELCA churches that want to hire them.
In contrast, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod views homosexual behavior as "intrinsically sinful" and a lifestyle that is contrary to the Word of God.
Religious Sect Denied Permit to Build on Fort Hall
FORT HALL - The Tribal Land Use Commission denied a building permit for Joseph D. Ahlstrom, a member of the Church of the Firstborn and the General Assembly of Heaven, who planned to build a three-story dormitory for about 20 people on the Fort Hall Reservation.
The Land Use Department also sent a violation notice and a cease and desist order to the group Thursday afternoon.
It states that Ahlstrom is misusing the property at RR2 Box 24A-5 Reservation Road because of the amount of people living in the home and several others that are living in trailers which is in violation of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes laws and regulations.
The order also points out the occupants are putting a strain on the water resources, overburdening the septic system, endangering the underground water source and the health and welfare of the Reservation residents.
The commission added the large number of people coming and going at the home is disrupting the peace of the community.
If the group does not immediately comply with the order, the commission said it will take legal action.
Ahlstrom has ten days to request an administrative conference.
The Church of the Firstborn moved to the area three months ago from Utah. They said they prayed about the move and the spirit of God directed them to Fort Hall.
Their home lies on the boundary of tribal lands.
Geody Harman, First Counselor, spoke with Local News 8 about their plans for a 38-room home. He also touched on the harassment the group had been getting since they arrived.
Harmon noted that if the permit was denied, the sect would go to God for direction on what to do next.
By using direct optical lobe stimulation, the bugs can be steered left and right and up and down, and they also respond to stop and start commands. Basically, everything you could want in a remote control bug.
REMOTE-CONTROLLED insects may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but they have already been under development for some time now. In 2006, for example, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA, the Pentagon's research and development branch) launched the Hybrid Insect Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems program, whose ultimate aim is to turn insects into unmanned aerial vehicles.
Such projects provide proof of principle, but have met with limited success. Until now, that is. In the open access journal Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, a team of electrical engineers led by Hirotaka Sato of the University of California, Berkeley, report the development of an implantable radio-controlled neural stimulating device, with which they demonstrate, for the very first time, the accurate control of flight in freely flying insects.
The miniaturized system developed by Sato and his colleagues is mounted onto the pronotum (the dorsal, or upper, plate of the exoskeleton), and consists of electrodes implanted into the brain and wing muscles and a microbattery. Flight commands to start and stop flight and control the insect's elevation and turning were generated on a personal computer running specialized software, and transmitted to a microcontroller equipped with a radio transceiver.
The device is much simpler to program and use than similar ones developed previously, because it makes implicit use of the beetle's own flight control capabilities. The researchers found that flight could be initiated by simply applying a single pulse of electrical stimulation via the electrodes implanted into the left and right optic lobes. A single pulse from the same electrodes was also sufficient to stop the wing beats. Exactly how this occurs is unclear; it is known that visual inputs can initiate flight in locusts and fruit flies, and the researchers speculate that stimulation of the optic lobe activates large diameter "giant fibre" motor neurons which project from the brain to the wing muscles.
Once initiated, flight continued in the absence of further stimulation. The beetle powers its own flight, and levels with the horizon on its own, so that the neural and muscle stimulators are only used when a change in orientation or elevation is required. Turning could be initiated by asymmetrical stimulation of the muscles at the base of the wings, with a left turn being triggered by an electrical pulse to the right flight muscle, and vice versa. The stimulator could also be used to modulate the frequency of wing oscillations, which caused changes in altitude.
Electrically-controllable insects have obvious military applications. They could be used as micro air vehicles for reconnaissence missions, or as couriers which deliver small packages to locations that are not easily accessible to humans or terrestrial robots. The beetles used here (Mecynorrhina torquata) are among the largest of all insect species, and are capable of carrying addditional loads of up to 30% of their 8g body weight. But they could also be very useful to researchers who study insect mating behaviour, the foraging behaviour of insect predators, and flight dynamics and energetics. More..
The lead Prosecutor in the federal case against suspected Terrorist Najibullah Zazi is now stating that the Afghani was planning to attack Subway and Metro Stations in the New York area with Weapoons of Mass Destruction.
He is quoted by the AP via Google News:
"The evidence suggests a chilling, disturbing sequence of events showing the defendant was intent on making a bomb and being in New York on 9/11, for purposes of perhaps using such items," prosecutor Tim Neff told [Judge] Schaffer.Even more disturbing, evidence now indicates that at least 3 of his alleged accomplices in the New York area have escaped. Continuing:
At least three and possibly more of his accomplices remain at large, and investigators have fanned out across New York in pursuit of suspects. Authorities also issued a flurry of terrorism warnings for sports complexes, hotels and transit systems.Court records also show that Zazi checked himself into a Colorado hotel suite 4 days before his cross-country trip to NYC, and spent those days attempting to concoct a lethal mixture of a bomb-making material known as TATP (triacetone triperoxide). This is the same substance used by 2002 shoe bomber Richard Reid (photo).
Court papers say that during the summer, Zazi and three unidentified associates bought "unusually large quantities" of hydrogen peroxide and acetone — a flammable solvent found in nail-polish remover — from Denver-area beauty supply stores.
The UK Daily Mirror is suggesting that Zazi was planning a similar attack to the 7/7 attacks on London 4 years ago:
He allegedly bought large amounts of hydrogen peroxide and nail-polish remover - items that were used to make explosives in the 2005 London bombingsInvestigators say they found bomb-making instructions on his computer and believe Zazi received explosives training from al-Qaeda...Additionally, the Ottawa Citizen is now confirming that Zazi traveled to Canada on at least 2 occasions:
Experts call alleged conspiracy one of the biggest threats since 9/11... An Afghan immigrant living in Colorado who is suspected of being linked to al-Qaeda and a plot to bomb targets in the United States travelled to Canada twice in the last decade, according to the prosecution... U.S. Attorney David Gaouette confirmed Friday that Zazi had crossed the border...Meanwhile, other reports are suggesting that Zazi may have sought refuge within the "Afghan-Muslim" community in Queens during the final phase of the plot. From CNN:
The arrest of a local imam for allegedly lying to the FBI about tipping off a suspected terrorist sent shock waves through the Afghan community in New York... Prosecutors said Zazi received explosives training with the intent to bomb a high density target in the United States, and that Afzali jeopardized their investigation by telling Zazi that federal investigators were on to him.The imam (mullah) is affiliated with the Masjid Al-Saaliheen (mosque) located in the Flushing section of Queens.
Friday, September 25, 2009
A video showing elementary school students learning songs praising Barack Obama for his "great accomplishments" and efforts to "make this country's economy No. 1 again" is generating anger from conservatives today.
In the video at left, students at New Jersey's B. Bernice Young Elementary School are shown singing about the president, in one case to the tune of "Jesus Loves the Little Children," according to Fox News....
Thursday, September 24, 2009
School kids taught to praise Obama
From an earlier post:
(Little Green Footballs props) -- New Video, the old one was pulled... this one ends with the Hitler Youth singing to their leader who tried to change the world.
NBC chief behind Obama kids sing
(World Net Daily props)
Kids singing praises to their leader
Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women? The sun, the moon, and the stars have been worshiped. Shall we then pluck them out of the sky?
…see how much he [God] has been able to accomplish through me, though I did no more than pray and preach. The Word did it all. Had I wished I might have started a conflagration at Worms. But while I sat still and drank beer with Philip and Amsdorf, God dealt the papacy a mighty blow.
Martin Luther, quoted in:
Drinking with Calvin and Luther – A History of Alcohol in the Church by Jim West
When House leadership brings a final health care bill to the full House floor, it may be more liberal than moderate House Democrats expected, according to reports.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is planning to include in the bill a tax on wealthy Americans, as well as a more robust government-run health insurance plan (or "public option"), abandoning the compromises leaders in a key committee worked out with the moderate Blue Dog Democrats, according to Roll Call.
The original tri-committee health care bill introduced in the House would have raised taxes by 5.4 percent on taxpayers making more than $1 million a year, but some Democrats have opposed the measure.
The original House bill also included a public option that moderates in the House Energy and Commerce Committee made less robust. The Blue Dogs in the committee worked out a deal with committee leaders to make a public option negotiate payment rates with medical providers — instead of dictating them. This is intended to put a public option on a "level playing field" with private insurers. Pelosi, however, reportedly plans to peg public option payment rates to Medicare payment rates.....