Friday, August 08, 2014

The West’s Prostration to Islam; Mohler: Are Christian Missionaries Narcissistic Idiots?...more

ISIS: 'We will raise the flag of Allah in the White House'
A fascinating video recorded by a reporter for Vice who was embedded with the Islamic State for three weeks...

The black flag of ISIS is flying in London

ISIS claims gains, takes control of Iraq's largest hydroelectric dam

The West’s Prostration to Islam
...Again, one need only turn to history, followed by doctrine, to see that mainstream Islam has always been about power. Its founder and prophet, Muhammad, was a warlord, who went on caravan raids and incited his followers to attack and plunder other tribes that rejected his “prophecy,” seizing their property and women and children—and all in the context of “God told me so.” After his death, his followers did the same, giving people three choices: be part of their “team” by converting, or else keep their religious beliefs, but pay tribute and live as third class subjects, or else die. In this context, and over the course of several centuries of jihadi conquest, the Islamic world was forged.

All this is well justified by the Koran and Islamic Sharia. Compare and contrast this with Christianity’s founder, Jesus Christ: far from a warlord, he preached mercy, peace, and spirituality. And that’s one of the problems: Westerners are so well acquainted with Christianity that they tend to project its approach to Islam—naively thinking that all religions must be the same, primarily spiritual, not concerned with the temporal. But Islam is immensely concerned with the temporal—with power...

Mohler: Are Christian Missionaries Narcissistic Idiots?—A Response to Ann Coulter
...But that is hardly the point. On moral terms, Nicholas Kristof’s essay is infinitely superior to the column by Ann Coulter, but it also falls short of the true Christian reality. These two missionaries and all the others who have gone as authentic missionaries in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ have not been driven by a mere humanitarian impulse. They have not just gone to help those who are victims and patients. They have gone because they believe that every single human being on the planet is an individual made in God’s image. And they also believe that every single individual on the planet is a sinner in desperate need of salvation. They believe that every single human being on the planet, whether in West Africa or in the advanced Western nations including the US, are in great need of the gospel of Jesus Christ–and that what hangs in the balance is not just the outbreak of a contagion or the future of health but indeed the eternal realities of heaven and hell.

What is missing from both of these analyses are the final words of the gospel of Matthew. We know these words as the Great Commission. In Matthew 28:18-20 — “And Jesus came up and spoke to them saying, ‘all authority has been given to me on heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And, lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age.’” Those words may have escaped the attention of both Nicholas Kristof and Ann Coulter, but they had better be at the forefront of our minds and on our hearts at all times...

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Aborting in the name of Jesus; Defending the freedom of religious conscience...more

Fathers irreplaceable, says Bishop Nazir-Ali
“The role of fathers in the nurture of their children is unique and cannot be replaced”, says Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali.

Writing in the Mail On Sunday, Bishop Nazir-Ali said: “Research shows that children are best brought up in families where a mum and dad are present...

A time for heroism
If we hope to protect the unborn, promote sexual integrity, preserve the truth about marriage, and defend the freedom of religious conscience in our country, we cannot simply live good lives—we must live heroic ones...

Aborting in the name of Jesus
It is one of the most disturbing articles I’ve ever read. The current issue of Esquire magazine profiles the “abortion ministry” of Willie Parker, a doctor who flies in and out of my home state of Mississippi to perform abortions at the state’s only abortion clinic. The word “ministry” isn’t incidental. Dr. Parker says he aborts unborn children because Jesus wants him to.

Parker, the article says, preached in Baptist churches as a young man, before going into medicine. He had, he says, a “come to Jesus” moment where he became convinced that he ought to do abortions. “The protesters say they’re opposed to abortion because they’re Christian,” he says. “It’s hard for them to accept that I do abortions because I’m a Christian.”...

Pot growers illegally divert water in California
...The scene has been repeated across Northern California. Amid the state’s crippling drought, many communities are fighting not the mere cultivation of cannabis — which is legal in the state, though subject to myriad restrictions — but the growers’ use of water. Marijuana is a thirsty plant, and cultivating it at a time when California residents are subject to water restrictions has become a sticky issue...

Act Like Men: What It Means to Fight Like a Man
...This is the first article in a series called "Act Like Men." In this post, I'm going to talk about the spiritual life of a man. The next three will deal with the three basic life stages most men experience: singleness, married life, and being a father. Let's build a foundation for thoughts on those areas of life by talking about what makes a man.

I'm not saying this is not often applicable to women. I am a man writing to men in a world where manhood is often confused. I lead a mentoring group for women leaders and regularly seek to elevate women leaders. But, for this brief series, I want to talk to men about being godly, gracious, and discerning...

Affordable Housing Draws Middle Class to Inland Cities
...The country’s fastest-growing cities are now those where housing is more affordable than average, a decisive reversal from the early years of the millennium, when easy credit allowed cities to grow without regard to housing cost and when the fastest-growing cities had housing that was less affordable than the national average. Among people who have moved long distances, the number of those who cite housing as their primary motivation for doing so has more than doubled since 2007...[graphic lists Syracuse as one of the more affordable]

Thousands of Iraqi Christians Stranded on Isolated Mountaintop Begin to Die of Thirst

By Loveday Morris
Washington Post
2014-08-06

BAGHDAD -- Stranded on a barren mountaintop, thousands of minority Iraqis are faced with a bleak choice: descend and risk slaughter at the hands of the encircled Sunni extremists or sit tight and risk dying of thirst.

Humanitarian agencies said Tuesday that between 10,000 and 40,000 civilians remain trapped on Mount Sinjar since being driven out of surrounding villages and the town of Sinjar two days earlier. But the mountain that had looked like a refuge is becoming a graveyard for their children.

Unable to dig deep into the rocky mountainside, displaced families said they have buried young and elderly victims of the harsh conditions in shallow graves, their bodies covered with stones. Iraqi government planes attempted to airdrop bottled water to the mountain on Monday night but reached few of those marooned.

"There are children dying on the mountain, on the roads," said Marzio Babille, the Iraq representative for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). "There is no water, there is no vegetation, they are completely cut off and surrounded by Islamic State. It's a disaster, a total disaster."... the rest

Chaos in Iraq’s north as Yazidi refugees starve and Islamic State presses Kurds  ...An estimated 10,000 to 40,000 of them sought refuge on the craggy peaks of Mount Sinjar — largely members of the minority Yazidi sect. They fear death if they descend into areas controlled by the extremist rebels, who consider them apostates. Kurdish forces have so far failed to break through the militants’ lines to reach them, despite launching a counteroffensive early this week...

Non-Muslim Minority Facing ISIS Genocide in Iraq Beg Obama for Water

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Family of eight Iraqi Christians shot in the face; IRS Heeds Demands of Atheists...more

Family of eight Iraqi Christians shot in the face
'They would not convert and it cost them their life'

Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad, who has witnessed extreme sufferings of Christians being killed and persecuted in recent weeks, has accused the British Government of doing nothing to help fleeing Christians. Bishops and other church leaders have added their voices his concerns... image

World Ignores Christian Exodus from Islamic World
"They were trying to kill us...because we were Christians." —Teenage girl from Homs, Syria.

[Atheists]"want to use the IRS as a weapon against christianity, against faith"
The IRS is set to begin investigating churches for politicking reports Charisma News. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a group of atheists and agnostics, has accused 99 churches of illegal electioneering; the IRS is now heeding the demands of the group and will begin investigations.

The FFRF is fighting such campaigning as an ad from Billy Graham’s ministry to “Vote Biblical” reports IJReview. The group has accused multiple small congregations of illegal politicking as well.

Mat Staver, chairman of the Liberty Counsel says the churches have done nothing wrong. "Churches and pastors may speak on biblical and moral issues. Pastors can educate about the candidates' viewpoints. Pastors can encourage people to vote and can assist them in getting to the polls.”...

Billionaire Pastor Unveils $300 Million Temple of Solomon Church Replica in Brazil
...The temple, which takes over an entire city block, is an 11-story building twice the size of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro, and is complete with stone from Israel and a helipad for its founder's, Edir Macedo, convenience.

"This temple is not about a denominational project, but something so glorious and spiritual that transcends reason itself," said Macedo, according to the Temple of Solomon's website. "It will certainly awaken the dormant faith of those who are cold and will prompt a national and worldwide revival."...

Chinese earthquake death toll rises to 589
The death toll from a 6.1-magnitude earthquake that struck China's southwestern Yunnan province on Sunday has risen to 589, with nine people still missing, China's state-run media said on Wednesday.

Among the reported deaths, 504 were in the worst-hit Ludian County and 72 in Qiaojia County. In addition to the deaths, 2,401 people were reported injured.
 
China’s Crackdown on the Cross Spreads

The Taboric Light

Sunrise
by Dale M. Coulter
8/5/14

In most Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox liturgical calendars today marks the Feast of the Transfiguration. For conservative evangelicals, the transfiguration has apologetic weight since it points toward the deity of Christ. As important as this aspect of the transfiguration might be, however, it’s greater significance resides elsewhere. Standing between Jesus’s baptism and ascension, Christian tradition interprets this event both in its iconography and doxology as a revelation of Christ’s divinity, a foretaste of the eschaton, and a pledge of the perfectibility of the human person.

It is a moment of ecstasy on the part of the disciples in which they behold with unveiled faces the deified Christ. Maximus the Confessor and Gregory Palamas bring out the full meaning for the Orthodox tradition as the manifestation of divine power in the beauty of the transfigured Christ. The body of Christ became translucent when the Taboric light illuminated every dimension thereby underscoring both his divine nature and the complete transformation of creation... the rest image

O Wondrous Sight! O Vision Fair!

O wondrous sight! O vision fair
of glory that the church shall share,
which Christ upon the mountain shows,
where brighter than the sun he glows!

From age to age the tale declares
how with the three disciples there
where Moses and Elijah meet,
the Lord holds converse high and sweet.

The law and prophets there have place,
two chosen witnesses of grace;
the Father's voice from out the cloud
proclaims his only Son aloud.

With shining face and bright array,
Christ deigns to manifest that day
what glory shall be theirs above
who joy in God with perfect love.

And faithful hearts are raised on high
by this great vision's mystery;
for which in joyful strains we raise
the voice of prayer, the hymn of praise.
-John Mason Neale image

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Idyll of Hills - Jacky Bastek #LowdenYoungGuitarist


Aug 3, 2014

This is my entry for the Lowden Young Guitarist of the year competition. It's my original composition called Idyll of Hills. I really hope you like it!

Monday, August 04, 2014

These are the kind of downward steps...

Bible time
Bibles read without prayer; sermons heard without prayer; marriages contracted without prayer; journeys undertaken without prayer; residences chosen without prayer; friendships formed without prayer; the daily act of prayer itself hurried over, or gone through without heart: these are the kind of downward steps by which many a Christian descends to a condition of spiritual palsy, or reaches the point where God allows them to have a tremendous fall. ...JC Ryle image

Serenading the cattle with my trombone


Aug 3, 2014
Farmer Derek Klingenberg

Jesus, Elvis and Bishop Spong; Entire World Exploiting Open US Border: Boko Haram again; Fed. employees and porn...more

Look! A Distraction!
W are distracted. We are so distracted, and so accustomed to it, that after a while we almost become distraction. We lose the ability to be still. We fear the quiet. We are intimidated by the moments where there is nothing to look at, nothing to do.

Distraction is one of the costs of life in a digital world. Paul Graham says it well: “Distraction is not a static obstacle that you avoid like you might avoid a rock in the road. Distraction seeks you out.” We surround ourselves with devices that bring us so many good gifts, but even these good gifts exact a cost—the cost of distraction. The iPad that allows me to read the Bible anytime and anywhere also barges into my devotional life with notifications and alerts. The phone that allows me to stay in touch with my family while they are far away also wakes me at night with its buzzes and flashes. It giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other.

We are learning. We are learning the costs so that we might also learn the solutions. Here are three of the costs of all of this distraction...Challies

Report: Entire World Exploiting Open US Border
...The report reveals the apprehension numbers ranging from 2010 through July 2014. It shows that most of the human smuggling from Syria and Albania into the U.S. comes through Central America. The report also indicates the routes individuals from North Africa and the Middle East take into the European Union, either to illegally migrate there or as a possible stop in their journey to the United States. The data are broken down further into the specific U.S. border sectors where the apprehensions and contact occurred.

Among the significant revelations are that individuals from nations currently suffering from the world’s largest Ebola outbreak have been caught attempting to sneak across the porous U.S. border into the interior of the United States. At least 71 individuals from the three nations affected by the current Ebola outbreak have either turned themselves in or been caught attempting to illegally enter the U.S. by U.S. authorities between January 2014 and July 2014.

As of July 20, 2014, 1,443 individuals from China were caught sneaking across the porous U.S. border this year alone, with another 1,803 individuals either turning themselves in to U.S. authorities at official ports of entry, or being caught attempting to illegally enter at the ports of entry. This comes amid a massive crackdown by Chinese authorities of Islamic terrorists in the Communist nation... (and we're worried about the two American missionaries returning to the US with full precautions-PD)

Boko Haram attacks five churches in Northern Nigeria
Islamic extremist group Boko Haram has attacked at least five churches Borno State, northern Nigeria, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports.

Gunmen reportedly used IEDs and petrol bombs to destroy churches in the Hawal Local Government Area, which is home to a predominantly Christian community, on the evening of July 30.

No one is thought to have died in the attacks, but two people were murdered in the Shaffa District of Hawul on July 26 by Boko Haram militants. Eyewitnesses say the victims were each beheaded, and their severed heads placed on their chests...

Jesus, Elvis and Bishop Spong
piscopal Bishop John Shelby Spong used to be a big deal. In the 1980s he appeared on talk shows and wrote provocative books suggesting the Virgin Mary was impregnated by a Roman soldier, or Jesus’ body was torn apart by wild dogs instead of resurrecting. In later years he rejected “theism” altogether. Despite his clerical collar, he’s essentially a materialist who rejects the supernatural. For him Christianity is chiefly an instrument for socialization and political justice.

One of Spong’s books was “Why Christianity Must Change or Die,” its thesis being that orthodox Christianity would be rejected by rising new generations, so the oldsters needed to get hip, like he had. But he was essentially peddling an already aged form of Protestant modernism that peaked 100 years ago. Unsurprisingly, during his 20 year reign over the New Jersey Episcopal Diocese, there was a 40 percent membership loss. Who really wants to go to church to hear that Jesus is not divine, didn’t rise from the dead, doesn’t forgive sins, and doesn’t offer eternal life?

Several years ago IRD Anglican staffer Jeff Walton, visiting a liberal Methodist seminary to hear Bishop Spong, joked he could find the event by simply following the old people. Even on a college campus, Spong’s audience was all white headed, probably mostly retired oldline Protestant clergy who still can’t figure out why their theology and churches had failed...

A Church for Exiles-Why Reformed Christianity Provides the Best Basis for Faith Today
...Perhaps I am mistaken and have portrayed my Christian brothers in a way that over-emphasizes weaknesses and downplays strengths. But of this I am convinced: Reformed Christianity is best equipped to help us in our exile. That faith was forged on the European continent in the lives and writings of such men as Huldrych Zwingli, Martin Bucer, and John Calvin. It found its finest expression in the Anglophone world in the great Scottish Presbyterians and English Puritans of the seventeenth century. It possesses the intellectual rigor necessary for teaching and defending the faith in a hostile environment. It has a strong tradition of reflecting in depth upon the difference between that which is essential and that which, though good, is inessential and thus dispensable. It has a historical identity rooted in the wider theological teachings of the Church. It has deep resources for thinking clearly about the relationship of Church and state.

It’s not surprising that Reformed Christianity equips us well for exile, because it was itself forged in a time of exile, often by men who were literal exiles...First Things

Assigned no work, federal employees entertain themselves with online pornography
...Behind closed doors, in private offices off Washington’s corridors of power, there are a lot of mouses getting double-clicked, if you know what I mean. At the Environmental Protection Agency, a senior official spent so much time watching pornography while on the federal clock that the Office of the Inspector General dispatched a special agent to look into it — and the official continued watching porn while the OIG agent was in his office. At the Federal Communications Commission — which, among other things, polices pornography — employees routinely spend the equivalent of a full workday each week watching porn. At the General Services Administration — which, like the FCC, has a lot of fingers in a lot of pies, being charged with minimizing federal operating costs — employees spend up to six hours a day watching porn on the taxpayers’ dime. At Commerce, paralegals were paid upward of $4 million to do no work — any guesses how they filled their days?...

I'd Kill Myself if I Had That Many Kids
...We were seated with about eight coaches and some parents we didn't really know.

So what's the first thing someone we don't really know will bring up as a conversation starter? Well, it's the only thing they know about us which is that we have five kids. This one coach said he knew it was us when we arrived because he saw all five of our kids walking in. "That could only be the Archbolds," he laughed.

The mom directly across from me, who I didn't really know and hadn't seen at many games, leaned in conspiritorially and asked, "Who has five children? I'd kill myself if I had that many kids."

Dopey me, I actually felt embarrassed for her. I figured she couldn't hear all that well and didn't know who they were talking about and would regret her comment when she learned it was the man and woman sitting directly across from her.

I shouldn't have worried. The coach seemed flummoxed, pointed at us, and then quickly engaged in a conversation on the other side of the table. The woman, didn't appear to be embarrased though.

"You two have five kids?" she laughed. "You seem like normal people."

Yup. She actually said it...

Against the Emerging Dhimmitude: Dreher on cancelling his NYT subscription over the Josh Barro tweet
...The world the New York Times is trying to bring about is a world in which the only thing that matters about Christians like me is our opinion on LGBT issues. They are actively anti-religious, except for Christians (and Jews, and Muslims) who behave like good dhimmis — that is, second-class citizens who know their place and who do not challenge the social order. The Times and its reporters and writers — Barro, Egan, and all the rest — are going to continue on with their hateful and illiberal and unjust project of purifying the public square of anti-gay thoughtcrime, and all manifestation of traditional religion that offends their progressive sensibilities.

But they’re not going to do it with my money...
Related: Church of The New York Times keeps preaching its own faith