New for 2012

December 27, 2011

Will they quote and refer to the history found in the Bible?

“California also becomes the first state to mandate the teaching of gay history. A new law requires schools to include in the public-school curriculum the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, along with disabled persons and others. The statute, which has no age limit, also bans instructional material that discriminates against those groups.”

The Gift

December 25, 2011

How has the Gift changed your life?

CHRISTmas 2011

December 25, 2011

10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

-Luke

7 Ways to…

December 22, 2011

“There are some churches—faithful, Bible-preaching churches—where the after-church conversations are so secular that you could swap them out for the lunch crowd at a local restaurant. And if after-church conversations are this secular, then others are likely to fare little better in terms of spiritual substance.

Why is this? Certainly different cultures will have different thresholds of what is comfortable to talk about, and with whom, and we must make some allowance for that.

Yet far deeper than cultural differences lies a spiritual battle. If Satan can keep Christians’ conversation on topics that don’t foster spiritual progress, even when you’ve stuck dozens or hundreds of them in a room together, then he’s got a pretty good footing from which to choke out their spiritual growth.

In other words, a culture of spiritual conversation in a local church is a powerful force for sanctification. Every pastor, then, should strive to cultivate the kind of culture in which it is utterly normal to confess sin, offer encouragement, share struggles, and apply Scripture to all of the above and more.

How? Here are seven suggestions.

SEVEN WAYS TO BUILD A CULTURE OF SPIRITUAL CONVERSATION

1. Recognize the spiritual battle. Conversation is not incidental. Words reveal the heart (Matt. 12:34). If people’s words are filled with worldly concerns, that’s because their hearts are filled with worldly concerns. Ultimately, only God the Holy Spirit can give the kind of spiritual life and growth which enables this kind of culture. So pray that he would.

This won’t happen by accident. It’s unnatural for us to speak of spiritual things not just because such matters are personal, but because we’re sinners, and sin likes to stay in the darkness (Jn. 3:19-20). So you can’t let your church culture just go with the flow—you have to constantly swim upstream.  

2. In your sermons, encourage people to talk about the sermon immediately after the service. As you’re applying God’s Word to your people’s lives, tell them to talk about these things with each other. Suggest a point of application for people to discuss right after church, or on the drive home, or at lunch. Make an encouragement to talk about sermon application one of your points of application. If you talk about talking about the sermon, people will start to talk about the sermon.

Further, it is entirely possible for the Word to fall along the path and for college football to snatch it up and carry it off. So encourage your members to discuss the sermon right after the close of the service.

Of course it’s allowable to discuss football, the weather, and the news after church. But it’s particularly strategic to discuss spiritual matters during the only time in the week when the entire church has come together in the same place and has just spent forty-five minutes listening to a sermon.

So show your people the preciousness of that opportunity. Encourage them to think strategically about how to use the times around the church service to do spiritual good to others. And encourage them not to be sermon critics, but to apply the Scriptures to the stuff of their lives, right then and there. That will set a precedent for the rest of the week.

3. If you have an all-church prayer meeting, have church members pray through the main points of the sermon every week. If your people talk to God together about the sermon, they’ll be more likely to talk to each other about it, and about other spiritual matters.

4. In discipling relationships, use the Bible and Christian books—or whatever it takes—as a third party. Many people who feel uncomfortable about discussing spiritual matters one-on-one will be more open if you add the Bible or a solid Christian book as the third member of your group. So read a chapter in the Bible or a book together and discuss that. Use it as a springboard into more personal matters.

For some men the “third party” might be working on their car or around the house. There are many men who wouldn’t be caught dead having a heart to heart at Starbucks, but who will open right up once they’ve got a hammer in their hand.

5. Constantly give away good books. Reading gives you something to talk about. If you liberally salt your congregation with good books, their conversations will slowly begin to reflect the contents of those books.

6. Lead by example. Consistently model spiritual conversation. Share judiciously about your own struggles, challenges, and areas of growth. Tell others about how you have been applying the Word to those issues through your own daily devotions. Be transparent about your own spiritual life—a see-through leader is a powerful culture-shaping force.

7. Lead by example—through questions. One of the best ways to foster a culture of spiritual conversation in your church is to consistently and subtly force other people to do the talking. Ask questions like:

  • “What are you reading in your quiet times?” (“Um…I haven’t been having a quiet time.” “Well, OK, let’s talk about that.”)
  • How have you been growing spiritually lately?
  • What are some sins you’ve been struggling with lately?
  • What has God been teaching you lately?
  • How’s your marriage?

Don’t just ask questions like these, but listen hard afterward. If no response is forthcoming, let the silence grow heavy and uncomfortable. Awkward silences can be wonderfully revelatory, both to you and to your church members. At the very least, your people shouldn’t be able to avoid talking about spiritual things with you, their pastor.  

KEEP SWIMMING UPSTREAM

So ask spiritually pointed questions. Model godly conversation. Explicitly encourage spiritual conversations after church. Ask God to ignite a culture of godly conversation.

And keep patiently swimming upstream. Before you know it, more and more of your members will be swimming alongside you. ” 

-Bobby Jamieson  9marks.org

SNL

December 20, 2011

I don’t agree with everything Pat has said in the past, but I do agree with him here.

“Even in defeat, Tim Tebow continues to be a polarizing figure. A popular skit on the latest edition of Saturday Night Live which focused on the Denver Broncos quarterback’s obsession with religion has drawn a heated response from America’s leading televangelist.
Pat Robertson claimed the SNL skit was “anti-Christrian bigotry that’s just disgusting.” Robertson, 81, told viewers on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s 700 Club that had the skit been about another religion, things would have been much different.
“If this had been a Muslim country and they had done that, and had Muhammad doing that stuff, you would have found bombs being thrown off, and bodies on the street,” Robertson said, according to Mediaite. “We need more religious faith in our society, we’re losing our moral compass in our nation.”
Tebow has the full support of Robertson, a media mogul and powerful figure in the Christian Right . “I think he is a wonderful human being. And this man has been placed in a unique position and I applaud him, God bless him,” Robertson said of Tebow.
Roberton wasn’t the only one slamming Saturday Night Live’s producers; Bob Beckel called the sketch “despicable” during an appearance on Fox News . The political commentator and columnist for USA Today finds nothing funny when it comes to lampooning Tebow and religion.
“First of all, it’s despicable to display Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, like that on Saturday Night Live and they should be ashamed of themselves, Beckel said , according to Mediaite. “And the fact that this keeps drawing attention to Tebow and Christianity and faith and Jesus and they make it into some sort of commercial operation … there’s nothing funny about that.”
Tebow’s Broncos lost to the Patriots on Sunday — something feared by the SNL version of Jesus, who playfully suggested New England coach Bill Belichick was the devil — but the beloved quarterback has a 7-2 record as the Broncos’ starter.”

Beware!

December 19, 2011

Christians beware. Fb will be used one day to track you.

Leading GOP candidate Ron Paul has warned in recent interviews that the amendments passed in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) are not only dangerous, but authorize the establishment of total martial law inside the United States. Not only does the bill, in sections 1031 and 1032, declare the unconstitutional right to detain Americans indefinitely without trial, but it authorizes an Internet offensive and online Pentagon takeover under the pretext of cybersecurity and stopping online piracy.
Yes, America has been declared a battlefield, and average Americans portrayed as potential enemies. One front of that battle continues to be the 2012 elections, where a real battle of ideas is underway.
National polls show the Texas Congressman is consistently in 1st or 2nd place in Iowa, where he threatens to win the caucus that leads the GOP primary. A victory there would represent a significant upset to the war-loving status quo. This is exactly why the lapdog media have already begun pre-scripting the justifications for ignoring the historical significance of the Iowa caucus if Ron Paul wins. This is more than just politics as usual– the party lines are at stake, and Dr. Paul’s ideas represent a real change in the system. Those in power simply do not want to see him win.

Once again, the Cassandra songs voiced here at Infowars.com and other alternative news outlets for years and years have only proven true, as tyranny predictably marches on. It was never about making predictions, but reading the writings on the wall. We have all been warned, and it’s all really happening. Real preparations for martial law and WWIII have taken place– including recent calls to staff emergency detention camps ready for use if an national emergency is signaled over civil unrest and a takeover goes red hot.
Among the many prescient films put out by Alex Jones is Police State 4: The Rise of FEMA, which accurately warned that various emergency provisions have long worked in conjunction to build a framework for martial law takeover inside America. And again, it has all come to pass, incrementally ratcheting up assumed powers over the people– from TSA at the airports, to highway checkpoints and now, the claimed power to indefinitely detain anyone the feds view as a threat to national security.

Of course, the most recent attempts to pass draconian bills to control the Internet have also been warned about for many years via our writers and reports. (For example, here, here and here)
Now, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and portions of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) have openly declared “offensive war” on the Internet, implementing Pentagon censors & spies and instituting a Kill Switch to selectively shut down content on the basis of suspicion or accusation, without a vehicle for recourse, appeal or the burden of proof. Indeed, a chief lobbyist for the SOPA legislation, former Senator Chris Dodd (now head of the Motion Picture Association), admits that it is modeled on China’s ‘great firewall’.

System Failure

December 18, 2011

This happened to me, but in a much lesser way.

The fatal shooting of a New York City police officer allegedly during a botched robbery by a quartet of career criminals last week might have been avoided had a local judge acted on a warrant issued in another state for the alleged gunman.

It’s a systems failure that experts say has become all-too-common in courtrooms across the country.

Lamont Pride, 27, who was arrested Monday and charged with the murder of NYPD officer Peter Figoski, was freed from custody in November by Brooklyn Criminal Judge Evelyn Laporte — even though a prosecutor mentioned that he had an outstanding warrant for a shooting in North Carolina. The prosecutor then requested that bail be posted at $2,000, and soon after that, Pride was back on the streets.

Barely more than a month later, Pride was back in jail, this time charged with murdering a cop.

“There’s something terribly wrong when a system functions like this for years and years,” said NYPD Sgt. Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association.

“There’s no doubt that this would have never happened had things been done properly in court,” Mullins said, referring to the death of Figoski.

The conditions that put Pride back on the street happen often, due to negligence or a justice system tangled in red tape.

A 2002 report released by New Orleans-based Center for Society, Law, and Justice, titled “Consequences of Inadequately Integrated Justice Information Systems,” cited numerous similar examples.

In April 1998, Jose Serrano was arrested by narcotics officers in Brooklyn for heroin possession. He gave the officers a fake name, Joseph Figueroa. He was processed and released with a desk appearance ticket eight hours before results from a fingerprint check came back from the state capital, Albany.

When the prints were returned, cops learned that Serrano had given them a bogus name and was wanted for a parole violation.

Nearly one month later, cops went to Serrano’s home to arrest him after he missed a court date, and they were ambushed by the criminal, who shot and murdered Officer Anthony Mosomillo.

Serrano was also killed during the shootout, and his girlfriend, Betsy Ramos, had pulled a gun from one of the officers, a decision that led to her trial for murder. A jury found her not guilty on the murder charge. She was convicted on lesser charges of second-degree manslaughter, assault and obstruction of justice.

A man named Leonard Saldana was arrested in Austin, Texas, in March 1998 for violating a court order to stay away from his common-law wife, Sylvia Hernandez. The judge set bail at $4,000. What he did not know was that Saldana had been jailed 19 times in 10 years for various incidents that included violation of protective orders and domestic assault.

The court was not aware of Saldana’s priors because, at the time, the police department refused to grant municipal courts on-line access to criminal histories. The only way they could obtain the histories was orally in response to individual requests or in written copies if investigators from the court retrieved them from the police department.

After he was released on bail, Saldana stabbed his wife to death. He was then brought to trial where prosecutors sought the death penalty. Saldana was found guilty but sentenced to life in prison.

In February 2000, in New Orleans on the day before Valentine’s Day, Leo Mitchell was released on $26,000 bail after allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Elena Smith. At the time, he was on parole for a 1991 shooting. While out on bail, Mitchell returned to Smith’s house, where he murdered one man and wounded Smith’s brother before kidnapping Smith. Mitchell was charged with third-degree murder.

It was later discovered that an oversight in the Louisiana probation and parole office prevented a detainer — which would have kept Mitchell in custody — from being filed.

Despite these issues, no policies seem to be in place to prevent a repeat.

“It varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but unless there is a statewide adoption of policies, this could happen again,” said Steve Kardian, a former chief investigator for the New York City Department of Investigation.

“So many things have to be taken into consideration, and that could be difficult even on a state or national level.”

BS

December 17, 2011

Can a kid get a break?

This is BS. I’m calling out the admin. of the school.

Classy response by Tebow.

“The “Tebowing” that reportedly led to the suspension of two New York high schoolers continues as more than a dozen students chanted Tebow’s name and struck his kneeling, fisted signature pose in front of the school Friday, the New York Post reports.

The students gathered Friday as one of the 17-year-old twin brothers who were suspended this week served out his single-day punishment for leading dozens of students in the same homage all week in a hallway.

Twin brothers Tyler and Connor Carroll of Riverhead HS in Long Island and classmates Jordan Fulcoly and Wayne Drexel were hit with one-day suspensions for kneeling and bowing their heads like Tebow does when he scores a touchdown, the New York Post reports.

“It’s not the most exciting day. I sat there. I did my work.” Connor told the New York Post in response to the suspension.

Tyler is set to serve his suspension Monday saying, “I feel like we were kind of singled out,”Tyler, who also plays football and baseball. “If we were told to stop, we would have stopped.”

The weeklong “Tebowing” craze was a distraction and a hallway hazard after dozens of classmates followed their lead, administrators told the newspaper.

“It was basically just a tribute to Tim Tebow,” said Connor, 17, who planned the prank with his brother and friends. “It was more than a religious thing. There was some of that involved obviously, because he prays. I guess it was basically like a moment of silence.”

The brothers have to serve their suspensions, while the others were rescinded because the other participants had not been given warnings, officials said. About 40 students had been gathering in the hallway all week emulating Tebow.

School administrators said the stunt jammed the hallway, creating a fire hazard.

“This is not about religious discrimination,” Riverhead School District Superintendent Nancy Carney told the Post. “It is about being sure kids are able to get to class on time and keeping the kids safe and orderly.”

But Tebow himself said the kids should play by the rules.

“You have to respect the position of authority and people that God’s put as authority over you,” Tebow told the media.

“So that’s part of it, and just finding the right place and the right time to do things is part of it, too.

“But I think it does show courage from the kids, standing out and doing that, and some boldness.’’

Tebow has led the once-lowly Broncos on an unlikely winning streak filled with late-game heroics while touting his religious beliefs by praising God to reporters and taking the kneeling stance on the field, the New York Post reports.”

Here’s another article.

“No running in the halls — and no Tebowing either.

That’s what one Long Island administration said Wednesday when it suspended a group of high school athletes for replicating Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow’s popular pose in the hallway at school.

Jordan Fulcoly, Wayne Drexel and brothers Tyler and Connor Carroll of Riverhead High School were all handed a one-day suspension Wednesday, after three days of taking a knee with their foreheads resting on their fists, the same way Tebow does in the end zone and on the sidelines. The news was first reported by Yahoo! Prep Rally earlier Thursday.

Riverhead superintendent Nancy Carney said that two of the students’ suspensions were later rescinded, citing that administrators found that those students were not given the same warnings that the other two were.

Tebow has made headlines for the move, a display of his devotion to his Christian faith. The students were not suspended for bringing religion into the school, but instead for clogging the hallway.

Carney said that she supported the administration’s efforts to maintain a safe environment and was surprised that the incident has received this much attention. Since the news broke, Carney said she has been receiving hate mail from people charging that the suspension is due to religious prejudice.

“It’s very unsettling,” she told ESPNNewYork.com on Thursday. “It’s a shame that people out there are so ready to judge when they weren’t there to see what happened.”

Reports said that the students had been Tebowing all week, starting Monday. It was meant to be a joke, only paying homage to one of pro football’s newest stars. But other students started joining in and administrators claimed it had become a disturbance. District officials reportedly told the students that the celebration was making it unsafe for students walking the hall in between classes.

The incident saw about 40 students engaging in the popular Tebowing. Only the four students, all athletes, were suspended. Caroll told Prep Rally that the administration told them “that our Tebowing was blocking the halls and could potentially cause a riot, because they were growing in number and if the wrong kid gets pushed a brawl could ensue.”

Carney said students have three minutes to reach their next class.

“It’s just high school kids being kids and administrators doing what they do on a daily basis — keeping kids safe,” Carney said, “and with today’s world and cell phones and people taking pictures and video, it can be taken out of context.”

Tyler and Connor Carroll are on the football team along with Drexel.”

Christopher Hunt is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

Suck it!

December 17, 2011

Are they able to say, “Suck it!” instead?

“Looks like the PC police have threatened members of the House of Representatives against wishing constituents a “Merry Christmas,” if they want to do so in a mailing paid for with tax dollars.
Members who submit official mailings for review by the congressional franking commission that reviews all congressional mail to determine if it can be “franked,” or paid for with tax dollars, are being told that no holiday greetings, including “Merry Christmas,” can be sent in official mail.
“I called the commission to ask for clarification and was told no ‘Merry Christmas.’ Also told cannot say ‘Happy New Year’ but can say ‘have a happy new year’ – referencing the time period of a new year, but not the holiday,” said a Hill staffer who requested anonymity.
Another Hill staffer told The Washington Examiner that “we were given that advice after submitting” a draft mailing.”

No Prosecution?

December 15, 2011

There should have been criminal charges. This is the only way you reduce violence in sports. When does this madness stop? How far does it have to go before someone gets permanently injured or killed? If it’s not dealt with appropriately in the professional or collegiate arena, it’ll be seen as ‘okay’ in the HS and MS setting.

“CINCINNATI — A prosecutor said Wednesday he has decided against filing criminal charges in an on-court brawl involving Cincinnati Bearcats and Xavier Musketeers basketball players.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said he made the decision following an investigation that included review of films and interviews with the two teams’ coaches and some players and witnesses. He also said that Xavier center Kenny Frease was satisfied with an apology from Bearcats forward Yancy Gates after the two “reached out to each other privately.”

Gates punched Frease in the face during the melee, which occurred late in the archrivals’ annual “Crosstown Shootout” Saturday.

The 7-foot, 275-pound center fell, bleeding from below his left eye, and was kicked by someone else while on the floor. X-rays were normal. The 6-foot-9, 260-pound Gates was suspended by Cincinnati for six games.

Officials and players of both schools have apologized, and the schools each suspended four players. Xavier (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) won the game 76-53. It was stopped by referees with 9.4 seconds left.

“This was an unfortunate situation,” Deters said in a statement. “However, after talking with both coaches, I truly believe that the teams will be able to deal with the situation more effectively than the criminal justice system.”

Messages for comment were left with the two schools’ athletic departments.

Criminal prosecutions from player confrontations in sports events are rare. A handful of NHL players have been charged with assault over the years. But there were no charges in a 2010 melee in Cincinnati between the St. Louis Cardinals and Reds baseball players that left Cardinals catcher Jason LaRue with a concussion after being kicked by Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto.

After a 2008 brawl between teams in a minor league baseball game in Dayton, Ohio, a Peoria Chiefs pitcher was convicted of felonious assault for causing serious injury for hitting a fan in the head with a ball thrown into the stands.

School officials have said they would work together to promote sportsmanship and cooperation to try to preserve the Shootout, one of Cincinnati’s most eagerly anticipated annual events. Xavier students camped out overnight in freezing temperatures to get tickets to this year’s Musketeers home game.

Xavier guard Tu Holloway was suspended for one game. He acknowledged making comments directed at Cincinnati’s team right before the brawl, and afterward described his team’s toughness as “a whole bunch of gangsters.”

He said later he regretted using the term “gangsters.”

Holloway was irritated during the buildup to the game when Cincinnati guard Sean Kilpatrick said in a radio interview that Holloway, one of the nation’s best guards, wouldn’t even be a starter on the Bearcats.

Xavier junior guard Mark Lyons was suspended for two games, and freshman Dez Wells and sophomore Landen Amos for four games each.

Besides Gates, suspended Bearcats are starting junior center Cheikh Mbodj (six games), freshman forward Octavius Ellis (four games) and freshman guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (one game).”