Today’s post at Thinking Out Loud contained a leak of classified information including communications previously known only to a select number of high security personnel, including the audio frequency at which the glass in the Crystal Cathedral shatters, and has been removed at the request of the U.S. State Department and one church janitor.
November 30, 2010
November 29, 2010
November 28, 2010
This was sent out by Walk in the Word to e-mail subscribers this week:
You should try it out. These three words will help you point to Jesus and lead you into some great conversations with both believers and non-believers.
It’s so easy to forget that Christmas is about the fulfillment of prophecy: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6). It’s a boy!
And the miracle of a virgin birth: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us)” (Matthew 1:23). It’s a boy!
And the mission accomplished by this baby: “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). It’s a boy!
Why do I like this response so much? It’s God’s answer for the universal problem of sin in the world. It’s what makes it possible for me to look forward to eternal life. It’s what gives me the peace and joy so I can have a Merry Christmas. It’s a boy!
So try this response. It’s just one way to stay focused on the real meaning of Christmas.
November 27, 2010
November 26, 2010
Yesterday, while every other television in North America was tuned to football, I decided to watch Letters to God, a Christian movie about a young boy with cancer. Not the kind of movie I usually watch. I tend to watch films that will entertain, and by entertain, I usually mean, films that will make me laugh, as in LOL and ROTF LOL. And once in awhile, a good mystery, but not if the tension level is too high.
Letters… just isn’t my usual choice. But there has been a lot of interest in the movie at Christian retail, and who doesn’t have someone in their wider sphere of influence who is dealing with cancer in their immediate family.
I’ve never been one to confront pain willingly. I have an aversion to all things medical. I don’t read sad books. I didn’t go into church ministry because I really suck at hospital visits, and try equally hard to avoid funerals. But life isn’t a bed of roses.
Watching a movie like Letters… is a reminder of the medical challenges some families are dealing with in general, and pediatric cancer in particular. Similarly, Pete Wilson’s book Plan B was an eye-opener into the world of pain some people face, but I was especially made aware of the issue of childless couples, whether through miscarriages or infertility, something Pete has had to face many times in both his pastoral career and his personal life. Bottom line is, lots of people are dealing with many different issues.
I guess that somewhat summarizes my feelings after watching the movie, except for one thing. This is very definitely a “Christian” movie, but it is so in the sense of Facing the Giants and Fireproof; that is to say, it’s part of the “new,” higher quality generation of Christian productions. While I thought the first 30 minutes of the 114-minute film were paced a little slower, I found the plot and the dialog moved forward considerably as the story progressed.
Letters to God may not be for everybody, but it is worthy of receiving my full endorsement for both Christian and general audiences.
For more information go to LettersToGodTheMovie.com
For info about the book, Plan B, mentioned above, click this link.
Do you like to watch “happy” movies, or are you okay with films that tug at your emotions, and find the “entertaining” movies not all that interesting?
November 25, 2010
We’re back with another year of giving our online friends in Canada an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people in need. The program is called iKettle. Any of my Canadian readers can host a kettle with a few clicks of the mouse.
Fellow-Canadian blogger Rick Apperson got us on to this last year. Back then, we decided that if we could raise nearly $4,600 to sponsor my oldest son’s summer working at Camp Iawah, using our mailing list alone, we ought to be able to raise at least $1,000 for the Salvation Army. We found out quickly that it was going to be a greater challenge. Not sure why.
Last year we launched this through an e-blast to people in our personal and business e-mail address books. This year we’re launching it in the blogosphere.
So this is where my Canadian* blog readers kick in. You can’t toss spare change in the kettles anymore because you pay for everything with plastic cards, and you don’t get change. Any bills in your wallet are probably there for emergencies. Plus, while it pains me to say this, a lot of you shop online and don’t even have the collection kettles in your face anymore. (Maybe that’s why you shop online!)
Donations stay in the community where you live, so if that’s Winnipeg or Calgary or Ottawa or Halifax or some place in-between, that’s where the money will be applied to the Salvation Army Family Services branch; including smaller towns where they have an active presence.
I really hope you’ll help us launch this over this weekend. We will be repeating this appeal on the blog several times during the next few weeks. Our giving can meet the needs both in overseas relief and development and in the cities and towns closer to home. This is an opportunity to do something on the domestic front in yet another year that’s been rough on many people.
*For my U.S. readers — and there are lots of you — I couldn’t find a direct link to the U.S. program, if there is one. Contact the SA in your local area to find out ways an online donation can serve your own community.
November 24, 2010
November 23, 2010
Technology may not always be as labor-saving as it should be, but in this case, it definitely helps. This is an extension of something I did last week at Christianity 201, and began with the discovery that in revising the NIV for the new release for March, 2011, some books of the Bible got changed more than others. The second-most modified text was in III John. The most greatly updated text was Galatians.
The red text indicates 1984 text that was deleted, and the green text indicates the 2011 replacement version. It’s not just whimsical to play Bible translator and ask yourself what might be behind the revisions you see here, it’s actually good Bible study.
Note: Section headers, while part of the copyrighted texts of the respective versions are not considered part of Biblical text. This comparison was done at textdiff.com … Care was taken to place the translations of each chapter in the correct order for comparison purposes, so yes, in the fruit of the spirit passage, “patience” is the current text and “forbearance” is the revision. 32.21% of the verses in Galatians saw some reconstruction. Some additional verses had other word changes or punctuation changes… Text as accessed 22.11.10 at BibleGateway.com … For the sake of space, this comparison does not include the footnotes.
Chapters two through six continue after the break.
1 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers and sisters[a] with me,
To the churches in Galatia:
3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
No Other Gospel
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you byto live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let himthem be eternally condemned!under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let himthem be eternally condemned!under God’s curse!
10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men,human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please men?people? If I were still trying to please men,people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Paul Called by God
11 I want you to know, brothers,brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up.of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from birth[a]my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I didmy immediate response was not to consult any man,human being. 17 nor did I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and laterArabia. Later I returned to Damascus.
18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter[b]Cephas[b] and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 21 Later
21 Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they praised God because of me. (more…)
November 22, 2010
Whether or not a cat truly has nine lives, I know three people who really have lived three lifetimes:
- Stormie Omartian — Recording artist and songwriter, host of exercise and fitness videos, author of books about prayer.
- Sheila Walsh — UK recording and touring Christian musician, co-host of The 700 Club, author of books for adults and children and, as of this month her first fiction title.
- Brian Stiller — This one you may not know, but is the one I know personally: President of Youth For Christ Canada, Executive Director of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (our equivalent of the NAE), President of Tyndale University College and Seminary.
I’m sure I am also aware of others. And each one of these qualifies because they did what they did for a considerable length of time.
I started thinking about this today because of the release of Brian Stiller’s new book on leadership: You Never Know What You Have Till You Give It Away (Castle Quay Books). Brian’s decade-long commitment to each of the three aforementioned ministries was rich, lasting and significant.
So what are you accomplishing? Do you feel you’re making a contribution? The Bible tells us to “redeem the time.” Other translations say, “Make the most of every opportunity.” A writer in another generation put it this way:
Only one life, t’will soon be past.
Only what’s done for Christ will last.