Outside agitators torch structures; Christians have waited years for building permits.
JAKARTA, Indonesia, January 29 (CDN) — Suspected Islamic extremists burned two church buildings under construction in a village in North Sumatra on Jan. 22.
The attackers came from outside the area to burn the partially constructed buildings of the Huria Kristen Batak Protestan Church (HKBP) and the Pentecostal Church (GPdI) in Sibuhuan village, Padang Lawas Residency, during daylight hours, said the Rev. S. Lubis of the HKBP church.
“It was a quiet day when suddenly hundreds of people arrived on motorcycles and burned the empty church,” he said. “After that, the mob moved 200 meters down the road and burned the empty Pentecostal church.”
No people were hurt in the fires. Lubis said that those who burned the church buildings were not from the area.
“We didn’t know any of the mob who burned the church,” he said. “When we asked our neighbors, they didn’t know them either, and they did not help burn the church.”
Lubis said that his church had been worshipping at the site since 1970, and that in 1981 they had erected a simple structure. In 2009 – after local officials had held up an application for a permit to erect a permanent building for five years – the church began construction. Area Muslims stopped the construction before it was finished.
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Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
A charity suggests Churches will attract men by using swords rather than flowers as decoration.by Ruth Gledhill
Real men don't like going to church because they don't want to "sing love songs to a man", because the "vicar wears a dress", because they feel like "mongrels on parade at Crufts" and because they want to be waited on by women rather than queue for coffee after the service.
A number of distinctly non-pc ways to get men back into church are among those being advocated by a charity, Christian Vision for Men, which has discovered that the Church has lost nearly half of its men aged under 30 because it has become too feminine.
The charity admits some of its ideas might not be seen as politically correct.
But on a questionnaire on its website aimed at finding out why so many men have left church, they suggest a number of ways of making men want to return to church again.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
"Let no one ever say that he has nothing to pray about." Indeed. I really took this little devotional to heart when I read it. My entire trip to work these last couple of days has been about praying for those close to me and whomever God has brought to my mind. The funny thing was that my selfish nature kept wanting to drift back to me and my needs. Funny how that works!
We can never truly know this side of eternity what our prayers avail. Praise God and all glory to Him who has given us this gift of direct communication to Him through Jesus! --RT
by Henry Morris, Ph.D.
"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men." (1 Timothy 2:1)
Let no one ever say that he has nothing to pray about, or that he doesn't know how to pray in God's will, for it is always in the will of God to pray for other people! This is a great gift that any Christian can give, even if he is penniless or bedridden. There are none so poor as to be unable to afford such a gift, nor can even the wealthiest give a finer gift.
Note just a few of the relevant commandments to believers: First, we are to pray for all fellow Christians: "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" (Ephesians 6:18). We should also pray for the lost. Jesus commanded: "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest" (Luke 10:2).
There is a special command to pray for sick disciples. "Pray one for another, that ye may be healed" (James 5:16). We are even told to pray for our enemies. "Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you" (Luke 6:28).
We are told to pray for Christian brethren who "sin a sin which is not unto death" (1 John 5:16), though if the sin has already led to physical death (as in 1 Corinthians 11:30), there is no warrant for further prayer in that case. Finally, we are especially admonished to pray "for kings, and for all that are in authority" (1 Timothy 2:2), and for the ministries of those who proclaim the gospel (Colossians 4:2-4). In short, in the words of our text, we should offer up supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving for all men everywhere, "for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Prosperity preachers have exploited inherent weaknesses in charismatic theology, and many people—Christian and non-Christian alike—are left poor and disillusioned in their wake.
Before Christ, what responsibilities do Christians and Christian organizations have with regard to the Prosperity/Word of Faith Movement?
Another great resource concerning the problems with the Word Faith movement is the DVD entitled A Call For Discernment produced by the ministry of Justin Peters. View the video promo here.
HT: Grace To You Audio Blog
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I was blessed to be part of the Phoenix team. With Linda Essary as our team leader, we were able to distribute 2,000 copies of Origin of the Species 150th Anniversary edition in about two hours. Kudos to the team but all GLORY to God!
Monday, January 25, 2010
None of us would want to have our hearts photographed!
(J. R. Miller, "When the Song Begins" 1905)
"Having loved His own who were in the world--He loved them unto the end!" John 13:1
A friend is one who loves--and does not cease to love. Christ having loved His people--loves them unto the end.
One quality of true friendship, is trust. What could be more sacred than this comfort of feeling safe with a person, absolutely safe? That is the kind of friend Jesus is. You may always feel safe with Him. You may confess all your sins to Him. You may tell Him all your faults and your failures--how you denied Him the other night, how you failed to be true to Him, and all the evil thoughts of your heart; and He will be just as tender and gracious--as if you never had sinned! He loves unto the end!
None of us would want to have our hearts photographed, and the picture held up before the eyes of our neighbors! We would not want even our best friends to see a full transcript of our secret life--what goes on within us:
the bitter feelings,
the impure thoughts,
the doubts and fears!
Yet Christ sees all this unworthy inner life--He knows the worst that is in us--and loves us still! We do not need to hide our weaknesses from Him. He never withdraws His love. We may trust Him absolutely and forever!
"Having loved His own who were in the world--He loved them unto the end!" John 13:1HT: Grace Gems
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Why not go into the weekend speechles? This is for real. Read the description from the users channel:
"New Day Christian Church house band uses the song Crazy Train as a teaching element. The series is entitled Everything is Spiritual, and is about finding God in unexpected places like entertainment."
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Having just taken a cruise of the Mexican Riviera in December/January, I can only imagine what passengers in the article below must be thinking. Many stay drunk and could probably care less.
Although I enjoyed the cruise with my family (21 of them to be exact) I was accutely aware of just how self focused these vacations are. Everything is about you. The service, the food, entertainment, the activities and excursions. The list goes on and on. Even under normal circumstances, I would think that such luxury would cause a Christian to really think about what is going on around them.
Just 60 miles from the devastation in Haiti, cruise ships continue to dock at at the heavily guarded resort of Labadee on the north coast, where passengers frolic and play, sip drinks in hammocks, and buy trinkets on shore.
The decision to go ahead with the visit has divided passengers. The ships carry some food aid, and the cruise line has pledged to donate all proceeds from the visit to help stricken Haitians. But many passengers will stay aboard when they dock; one said he was “sickened”.
“I just can’t see myself sunning on the beach, playing in the water, eating a barbecue, and enjoying a cocktail while [in Port-au-Prince] there are tens of thousands of dead people being piled up on the streets, with the survivors stunned and looking for food and water,” one passenger wrote on the Cruise Critic internet forum. …
[Royal Caribbean International] said the question of whether to “deliver a vacation experience so close to the epicentre of an earthquake” had been subject to considerable internal debate before it decided to include Haiti in its itineraries for the coming weeks.
“In the end, Labadee is critical to Haiti’s recovery; hundreds of people rely on Labadee for their livelihood,” said John Weis, vice-president. “In our conversations with the UN special envoy of the government of Haiti, Leslie Voltaire, he notes that Haiti will benefit from the revenues that are generated from each call …
“We also have tremendous opportunities to use our ships as transport vessels for relief supplies and personnel to Haiti. Simply put, we cannot abandon Haiti now that they need us most.”
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Rick Warren is wrong when he tweets that God does not judge the world through catastrophes (Romans 1:18).
Pat Robertson is wrong when he claims to know why the Haitian earthquake happened (Deut.29:29).
Perhaps these principles will help us figure out why tragedies happen and who is responsible.
God controls everything directly or indirectly by restraining His grace or allowing the devil a little more leash. Either way, God is sovereign over everything and happily accepts responsibility for both good and bad (but not sin).
The devil does not control the weather or rule the nations.
There are only two groups of people on the earth: pagans and Christians.
When God sends/allows disaster to the pagans, He does so for two reasons: as judgment or as a call to repentance. A disaster is not enough wrath for the pagans as it is merely a taste of God’s eternal punishment if they do not repent and trust the Savior.
When God sends/allows disaster to Christians, He does so for two reasons: to prune us or kill us and take us home. A disaster is never too much or too little for the Christian, the Pruner causes/allows just the right amount for our good and His glory.
While God may be sending judgment to an entire nation, each individual (pagan and Christian) should seek to determine why God caused/allowed himself to be hurt.
Christians are not victims of collateral damage. While there may be a primary reason God sends/allows a catastrophe, God orchestrates every detail in every situation.
Catastrophes happen to heathens as an act of God’s judgment, but they happen to Christians as an act of severe mercy.
God sends/causes a disaster for the onlookers to respond with apathy or kindness.
Jesus gave us the definitive statement on catastrophes in Luke 13:1-5. Please take a moment to read that text and you will never make the mistake of Rick Warren or Pat Robertson.
God is not to blame for the earthquake as it was the exact right thing to do. While God gets the credit for the earthquake, He is never to blame for anything. Charles Wesley wrote a number of hymns thanking God for two earthquakes that rocked England in 1751; we should do the same.
The Bottom Line
While each individual should endeavor to learn the lesson that God has in the storm, there is an ultimate purpose (forty days or otherwise): God is endeavoring to glorify His Son. God sends a taste of His wrath to the heathens that they might look to the cross and be saved. God prunes Christians that we will live in greater gratitude for what Jesus has done to rescue us from eternal destruction.
Catastrophes, like everything, are about the cross.
HT: Wretched Radio
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
What could this possibly mean? You be the judge.
Monday, January 18, 2010
by Phil Johnson
Emergent Village is collapsing on itself. The EV Weblog, once a busy and heavily-trafficked stream of Emergent semi-consciousness (replete with a near-manic discussion forum) is barely functioning these days. The current average wait-time between posts over there is at least two weeks. In fact, the eight posts currently residing on the EV blog's front page constitute everything that has been posted on that blog since September 9. One of the posts is a desperate-sounding "Call for Voices," and another begs readers to "Save the House of Mercy Podcast," which, evidently, has been gasping for life over the past year.
It's already too late, I gather, to save the official Emergent Village Podcast. Their last release was in mid-August.
Meanwhile, Emergent Village's best-known celebrity voices have likewise fallen silent—mostly. Andrew Jones and Tony Jones, both living icons of "emergence," had a little back-and-forth exchange last week, which culminated in Andrew's public, formal separation from the organization. I'll give a link to that exchange in a moment.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Paul Beltis –– a partner in Deloitte–– said his company has coordinated a security team that is rescuing company employees and has now turned its efforts to evacuating the Mission Viejo missionaries on a helicopter. They are expected to be taken to a U.S. ship or the airport. Deloitte has also contributed $100,000 to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts in Haiti.
Friday, January 15, 2010
“It is the will of God.” How easily these words fall from the lips or flow from the pen. How difficult it is to penetrate exactly what they mean. Few concepts in theology generate more confusion than the will of God.
One problem we face is rooted in the multifaceted way in which the term will functions in biblical expressions. The Bible uses the expression “the will of God” in various ways. We encounter two different Greek words in the New Testament (boule and thelema), both of which are capable of several nuances. They encompass such ideas as the counsel of God, the plan of God, the decrees of God, the disposition or attitude of God, as well as other nuances.
Augustine once remarked, “In some sense, God wills everything that happens.” The immediate question raised by this comment is, In what sense? How does God “will” the presence of evil and suffering? Is He the immediate cause of evil? Does He do evil? God forbid. Yet evil is a part of His creation. If He is sovereign over the whole of His creation, we must face the conundrum: How is evil related to the divine will?
Questions like this one make distinctions necessary—sometimes fine distinctions, even technical distinctions—with respect to the will of God.Coram Deo
What is your response to the questions raised in this reading: How does God “will” the presence of evil and suffering? Is He the immediate cause of evil? Does He do evil?
Passages for Further Study
HT: Ligonier Ministries
Thursday, January 14, 2010
On the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “700 Club” today, after a lengthy interview with a missionary who talked about helping the victims earthquake in Haiti, Rev. Pat Robertson had some interesting thoughts as to why the earthquake struck the impoverished nation:
"And you know, Kristi, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it.
“They were under the heel of the French, uh, you know Napoleon the 3rd and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the Devil.
“They said, 'We will serve you if you'll get us free from the French.'
“And so the Devil said, 'Okay, it's a deal.’
“And, uh, they kicked the French out, you know, with Haitians revolted and got themselves free.
“But ever since they have been cursed by, by one thing after another, desperately poor.
“That island of Hispaniola is one island. It’s cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti on the other side is the Dominican Republican.
“Dominican Republic is, is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etcetera.
“Haiti is in desperate poverty.
“They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to God and out of this tragedy I’m optimistic something good may come. But right now we’re helping the suffering people and the suffering is unimaginable.”
Robertson’s tale stems from a legend that Jean Jacques Dessalines, who led the Haitian revolution against the French Army, entered into a pact with Satan disguised as a voodoo deity in exchange for a military victory, which finally happened in 1803.
One minister of a Haitian-American church -- who does not believe this legend -- recently wrote about the frequent references in Haiti “to a spiritual pact that the fathers of the nation supposedly made with the devil to help them win their freedom from France. As a result of that satanic alliance, as they put it, God has placed a curse on the country sometime around its birth, and that divine burden has made it virtually impossible for the vast majority of Haitians to live in peace and prosperity in their land…The satanic pact allegedly took place at Bois-Caïman near Cap-Haïtien on August 14, 1791 during a meeting organized by several slave leaders, under [Dutty] Boukman’s leadership, before launching what would become Haiti’s Independence War.”
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
An examination of how the Bible connects the terms "binding" and "loosing" to the apostle's unique role in founding the church will help you determine if believers can or should bind Satan.
Jesus gave the apostles sole authority to bind and loose things on earth. In Matthew 16:18-19 Jesus says, "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Later He said essentially the same thing to the rest of the apostles (18:18). Ephesians 2:20 tells us the church is "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone."
After Jesus commanded His disciples to receive the Holy Spirit in John 20:22, He told them, "If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained" (v. 23). He was not giving them the power to forgive sins--only our Lord Jesus Christ can do that (Mark 2:7-10; Acts 4:12). Rather, He gave them the authority to declare what God has already done in heaven (cf. Matthew 6:10).
Jesus gave the apostles the authority to bind and loose--speak and act under God's authority--as the foundational representatives for the church. They did not act arbitrarily, nor did they operate apart from the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:42-47; 4:28-33).
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
It's called Reborn and Reforming. There isn't much more I can adequately say to give it justice. Just go check it out.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Our friends at Sacred Sandwich continue to supply us with top-notch eye rolling humor.
I'll have the next giveaway posted sometime this week. Keep your entries coming!
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Friday, January 8, 2010
A lady walked into her pastor's office and announced, "I'm leaving my husband to live with my lover."
The pastor calmly asked what led her to that decision.
The woman confidently proclaimed, "Ephesians 4:24 says we are supposed to 'put on the new man.'"
Now, you might think that is just a joke, but it was told as a true story by the pastor. That makes this story the opposite of a joke. That makes it a tragedy.
Five centuries ago, Erasmus (who laid the egg that Luther hatched) argued with Dr. Luther about translating the Latin or Greek Bible into the vernacular of the peasantry. Erasmus warned there would be no end of misapplication of the Bible if regular folks were allowed access to the sacred text. Erasmus was right.
Do the benefits outweigh the negatives? My answer is the same as Martin Luther's. The ability for lay people to read the Bible far outweighs their often ridiculous interpretations.
That leads us to the big question, "How do we help people understand how to read their Bibles correctly so they don't end up ditching their spouses?"
It seems to me the answer to that question lies in another question. Are people stupid or not?
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Rob-roy draws a great comparison here concerning decisional regeneration and true saving faith with the miracle Jesus performed in the resurrection this young girl. How could she have had anything to do with coming back to life? How can the sinner have anything to do in bringing himself from death to everlasting life without a miracle? This doesn't necessarily have to have anything to do with Calvinism/Arminianism but rather with the understanding of God's sovereignty.
Her choice did not bring life. It was the evidence of already having it.
When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him
except Peter, John and James, and the child's father and mother. Meanwhile, all
the people were wailing and mourning for her. "Stop wailing," Jesus said. "She
is not dead but asleep." They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he
took her by the hand and said, "My child, get up!" Her spirit returned, and at
once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Luke
In Luke 8 we see a dead girl who Jesus commands to rise. THEN the spirit enables her to move from death to life and she rises. Her choice to freely rise came AFTER Jesus freely choose to give her life through the speaking of His word. He commanded her to do the very thing she could not do and it was those very words that brought her life. Her choice did not bring life. It was the evidence of already having it.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Here's an interesting article from Politics Daily. Do you think Brit Hume's remarks were enough, or should he have mentioned the name of Jesus Christ specifically rather than a general reference to "the Christian faith"? Do you think he was being sensitive given the circumstances or a bit watered down? Read the article and view the clip below.
On "Fox News Sunday," Fox anchor Brit Hume suggested that Tiger Woods should trade his Buddhist faith for Christianity if he wants to make a personal comback. When host Chris Wallace asked the show's roundtable to predict the biggest sports story of 2010, Hume said:
"Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a person I
think is a very open question, and it's a tragic situation for him. I think he's
lost his family, it's not clear to me if he'll be able to have a relationship
with his children, but the Tiger Woods that emerges once the news value dies out
of this scandal -- the extent to which he can recover -- seems to me to depend
on his faith. He's said to be a Buddhist; I don't think that faith offers the
kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my
message to Tiger would be, 'Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make
a total recovery and be a great example to the world.'"
After a moment of awkward silence, fellow panelist Bill Kristol quipped, "Well, Brit's concerned about Tiger's soul, which is admirable, but I just made a more straightforward sports prediction, which was that he'll come back and win the Masters."
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
by Michael Spencer
Why We Watch. Why We Shouldn't.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Happy New Year from StreetFishing.org. Thank you so much for your prayers, support and encouragement. Here's to a new year in The Lord Jesus Christ. May you be renewed in your spirit and zeal for our wonderful Savior.