Apr 172015
 

zgonside1Strays, both human and feline, seem to like my company and both pique my curiosity.

How did they end up where they are?

Where are they from?

Why did they leave there?

Those answers answer the question “why won’t they come in”?

 

We’ve been feeding a large, yellow, coon cat every day and every night for months.

He’s a big fellow and he is a very sweet tempered fellow to boot.

He was dangerously thin when he arrived…he’s not now.

Every morning he sticks his head in the door and lets me know he’s here if I would be kind enough to feed him again today.

As he’s become accustomed to me, he now waits after the meal to be petted a bit before he leaves again.

If I’m not paying attention to him when he’s finished eating, he will stick his head in the door to request the petting as well.

He likes me.

He seems to appreciate me.

He won’t come in.

Any attempt to bring him in, no matter the conditions outside, results in frenzied attempts at freedom.

He’s an adult…he used to live somewhere.

Something went really wrong wherever that was.

Someone, somewhere, taught him that inside is a dangerous place.

Now, he cannot trust, not fully or even much.

He still likes the idea of a home but the wounds received in his last one preclude him from accepting another one.

He will not be brought in by force or persuasion…only by love that is willing to go outside with him.

You may have to count a few scratches as the cost as well.

He may never come in…but I will always be willing to meet him where his is.

Strays, both human and feline…are worth it.

Make your own application…

 

 

 

 

Apr 162015
 

isis-generic-flag-gun-v3Yesterday, a story almost went viral that said ISIS had set up camp in Juarez, Mexico, just over the border from El Paso, Texas.

By mid morning it had been repeated by all the major conservative media and by mid afternoon it had reached the hallowed level of a “sign of the times”.

The only problem is that the story is a complete fabrication.

I hope this doesn’t delay the Second Coming.

Even worse, the story may be playing right into the hands of the terrorist group.

“This is exactly the kind of coverage Isis wants, for others to project and exaggerate its menace for it.” said one expert.

In the drug industry, Juarez is a major “plaza”, a trade route for the delivery of billions of dollars of drugs to the U.S.

The rights to that trade route for the cartel that currently controls it has cost millions of dollars and thousands of lives.

It was only a couple of years ago that Juarez had as many deaths per 100,000 as places that were declared war zones.

The very last thing the Juarez Cartel wants is the disruption of this plaza where income is measured in billions, not millions.

ISIS camped outside the city would bring that sort of disruptive attention.

In spades.

The story was debunked pretty quickly, but it is still flying around the internet and Facebook, aided by an army of conservative Christians sharing it.

The refutation of the story has barely been noted at all.

That army has been purposefully manipulated by the media it trusts.

This happens on the liberal side of the aisle as well, but without the full throated support of professing Christians for the most part.

All of the media in this country now have a vested interest in keeping us angry with each other and our perceived enemies and using our national and personal fears to do so.

The truth is of little value to them.

Christians are supposed to be completely invested in the Truth and the Gospel takes a beating when we buy what the media is selling.

“But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”

(Galatians 5:15 ESV)

 

Apr 152015
 

galleryDespite the stalling tactics of the Tom Randall paid defense team, the trial against two men accused of child abuse at an American run orphanage in the Philippines will continue.

Every time we have run a story on this situation we receive inquiries as to whether or not we have any proof that this is true as the former head of the orphanage, Tom Randall, and his pastor, Joe Coffey announced that all charges had been dropped .

That was a lie, a lie that has not been either confessed or retracted.

In the meantime, Randall continues fund raising junkets for his World Harvest Ministries.

The latest from the courts can be found here and here.

It is vital that this story be spread and direct questions asked of Coffey and Randall about their statements and their involvement in this case.

If you or your church  donates to World Harvest Ministries…you need to be asking some tough questions.

You can get the full background through all the stories we’ve written on this tragedy

Whistleblower Under Fire in Phillipine Child Abuse case.

Death Threats Alleged for Philippine Whistle Blowers

Randall Freed, Charges Remain Against Associates

Update and Podcast with One of the Whistleblowers and Victims

An update on the scandal.

Pray for justice.

Strange twist in the Philippine child abuse case.

Lie exposed in the Philippine child abuse case.

 

Apr 152015
 

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aToday, like every Wednesday, we will remember Saeed Abedini.

We do more than just remember, however…we stand with him by using our social media to advocate for his release.

We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like”  the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause.

We ask…that you remember him and his family in prayer…and that you refuse to give up on efforts to secure his release.

IMPORTANT UPDATE ON SAEED:

Today Saeed’s father was able to visit Saeed in prison. Saeed was encouraged to be able to have an in person visitation with his father after 5 weeks of no visitations. He wanted to thank you all for your continued prayers. Knowing that he is not forgotten and believers around the world continue to remember him in prayer and advocate for him has encouraged him to continue in this difficult journey and to hold on to hope.

Last week had been quite difficult for Saeed. He has been under a lot of pressure and attack from the hardliners. The guards have also been threatening Saeed that he will never go free and additional charges (and years) will be added to his sentence (which they have done to other Christians and fellow inmates). They continually threaten Saeed that the only key to his freedom is denying Christ and returning to Islam. Saeed refuses to deny Christ and continues to be a light and witness in that dark prison. These threats coupled with the fact that there have been mass executions during the last week in Rajayee Shahr prison, have really taken their toll on Saeed. He asks for prayer for continued strength.

He wants you all to know that the Lord continues to move in that prison and lives are being transformed! That they had a great Easter in prison celebration our Savior’s resurrection. Saeed desperately missed being with our family on Easter, but new Easter traditions were created in prison!

Over the years this Journey has truly become more difficult and painful for Saeed and for the kids and I. Our family appreciates your continued prayers.

God Bless you all!

Naghmeh

Apr 142015
 

timthumb.phpDoctor calls Jesus the greatest of all child advocates…

Live stream of TGC conference…

Nine unbiblical statements Christians believe…

Retail religion…

On communitarianism…

A Protestant affirms purgatory…

God is not a monster…

The Jujitsu of Same-Sex Marriage

Mars Hill lawsuit moving forward…

New ESV bible app…

Matt Redmond on the messy Christian life…

Christian fiction sales crash, non fiction rises…

Five things not to say to a stay at home mom…

When people with power do not fear God…

Why is mysticism a dirty word?

Is it possible the Shroud of Turin is real?

Unplanned pregnancy, unplanned grace…

A new approach to mental illness in the church…

Preston Sprinkle starts a debate on the New Testament and gay sex…

Sea lion deaths and end times prophecy…

Can churches disagree and stay together?

Petition to remove Driscoll from Hillsong conference…

An interview with Sandra McCracken…

Good article about the debates over English bible versions…

GoFundMe for Alex legal fees…

Apr 132015
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. In an somewhat unexpected development, the book I’ve been trying to compose for a couple of years came gushing forth from my soul last week. I hope to have the initial chapters and the book proposal in my long suffering agents hands by the end of the week. Writing the book has created both a release of a great deal of pain and the need to relive it as it’s released.

It’s a bit like throwing up after you’ve drank too much…not that anyone here would identify with such an analogy. I forgot what a long, dark road I’ve been on for a very long time.

2. It is an undeniable fact that the faith of the realm is free market religion. The question is whether free market religion is the faith once delivered to the saints.

3. I have an even clearer understanding now of why people are leaving evangelicalism for more ancient expressions of Christianity such as Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and even Lutheranism.There is a stability and surety in traveling ancient paths not lit with neon…

4. Remember when churches taught the doctrine of “separation”?

5. I had to laugh because I’m bad that way…I got an email blast from C. Peter Wagner and his wife detailing all the physical woes they are afflicted by and how it took a long time for the doctors to diagnose the cause of one of Peters ailments. These are the folks who do healing services and train prophets…

6. I believe the New Year starts on opening day of baseball season…

7. Whilst pondering the doctrine of separation last night, I caught the new “Daredevil” series on Netflix…it’s intense. Maybe a little too intense for me, but really well done.

8. My boy turned 13 last week…and I grow more and more concerned about how I’ve stewarded what God has given me. My hope comes from the fact that he still says “I love you” at least once a day…

9. No matter how badly I get beat up during the week, I get refreshed and restored by the love of our local church. I wish everyone could testify to the same experience…

10. Writing the book and reliving all the stuff that has happened over the last dozen years or so has also made me somewhat nostalgic about all those who have travelled with me here on the blog. When did you start reading? How did you discover this place?

Apr 122015
 

Christianity  tourism destinations“For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.”

(Ephesians 3:1–13 ESV)

There is a tremendous truth hidden in the first few words of our passage today.

Paul calls himself “a prisoner of Jesus Christ”.

Now we know that in an earthy sense that wasn’t true…he was a prisoner of Rome.

The truth Paul knew was that his incarceration by Rome was part of the plan of God, that there was always a purpose in his pain, and that it was neither accidental or coincidental that he found himself in prison.

Paul knew that there were no accidents or coincidences in the kingdom of God…that there is always a heavenly plan and purpose behind every situation.

This situation called for Paul to suffer, but he knew that in the end his suffering would have great benefit for others and for the kingdom of God.

Even in his suffering he declared his confidence in Christ and the power of prayer.

He knew that despite outward appearance, his God was in complete control of the situation.

This doctrine that declares Gods active plan and participation in all things is called the “providence of God”… and it’s the pillow I rest my head on at night.

So can you.

Wherever you are right now, whatever situation you find yourself facing…God is in it, for your good and His glory.

It’s part of His plan, there is purpose in your pain, and you can be assured of his love, grace,and presence through it all.

Paul didn’t enjoy suffering any more than you or I do.

He just knew who his God was and trusted in His ways.

Go and do likewise…knowing that you are deeply and eternally loved and you will never be abandoned to chance.

More next week… 

Apr 122015
 

thumbnail.aspxYou voice the worlds into being,

You voice the church into obedience,

You voice us, now and then, into newness,

You speak and call into existence that which does not exist.

You speak and address us, and make all things new.

And we should answer you:

 

we in our shabbiness before your splendor,

we in our timidity before your magnificence,

we in our poverty before your wealth,

we in our foolishness before your wisdom.

We stammer and stutter and pause and parry, silent, mute, reluctant, with only one gift back to you-that of tongue.

So for our tongues-thousands and thousands of them, we give you thanks:

that we may speak back to you your wonder,

that we may sing back to you your presence,

that we may vow back to you our obedience.

You speak and we are,

You listen and we are voiced, always again on our way rejoicing.

Amen.

 

Walter Brueggemann;Anna Carter Florence. Inscribing the Text: Sermons and Prayers of Walter Brueggemann (Kindle Locations 329-332). Kindle Edition.

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