Thursday, August 8, 2013

Christian Man Sentenced for Preaching - In Iran

Just heard that a Christian man in Iran has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.  His crime was for preaching.  Mohammad-Hadi (Mostafa) Bordbar, a 27-year-old resident of the city of Rasht, was ‘tried by Judge Pir-Abbasi on the morning of June 9, 2013 in branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran,’ amid a wider government crackdown on spreading Christianity in Iran said Mohabat News, an agency of Iranian Christian and activists.  Iran seems to be in good company since they are arresting preachers in California, North Carolina and New Orleans.

Don't forget to pray for Brett Coronado and Mark Mackey as they face the potential for jail time in California.

See: Christian Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for PreachingPreachers Cannot Preach to Captive Audience

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Man arrested for reading Bible in public! Freedom of speech violation

Preachers Cannot Preach to a Captive Audience

The criminal trial of two California preachers began on Monday. The state of California found it necessary to prosecute these men for preaching early in the morning at the Department of Motor Vehicles parking lot.

In California, as in many other places, people go to the DMV as early as possible to apply for or renew their driver’s license. Recognizing this as a great opportunity to share their faith, the preachers showed up and started reading from the Bible.

A California patrol officer by the name of Darrin Meyer grabbed one of the preacher’s Bible and placed the preacher in handcuffs. The officer said that they could not “preach to a captive audience.” I could never imagine that in the United States the government could arrest preachers for preaching.  Then again, I did have my suspicions.  Obviously, they can in California.

The preachers were arrested for impeding an open business.  By the way, at the time of the arrest, the DMV was closed. The law that is being applied to the preachers states: “Any person who intentionally interferes with any lawful business carried on by the employees of a public agency open to the public, by obstructing or intimidating those attempting to carry on business, or those persons there to transact business with the public agency . . . is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for up to 90 days, or by a fine of up to four hundred dollars ($400), or by both that imprisonment and fine.”

An attorney for the State of California claims that reading the Bible and preaching creates “an intimidating situation for people who simply want to get their driver’s licenses renewed… He does not have the right to intimidate others and force them to listen, and impede their ability to do normal daily business activities, such as go to the DMV.”

Nice job California. I thought we would have to wait 10-15 years before this kind of persecution would occur in the United States. Make no mistake about it. Persecution is here. Prayers for Brett Coronado and Mark Mackey as they face the potential for jail time in California.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review of Austin Dragon's Thy Kingdom Fall

I enjoy science fiction. I am a big fan of Star Trek and Doctor Who, as well as many others. Many Star Trek fans are familiar with the Enterprise traveling to strange new worlds and that Gene Roddenberry created a future in which humans on earth eliminated war, money etc.

In Thy Kingdom Fall, Austin Dragon presents us with a different future for the end of the 21st Century. Although the Americans in this future enjoy the comforts of many technological advances - smart cars, smart houses, smart cities - this future is far from perfect. Certainly, this was not the vision of Madison and Jefferson. While crime has been significantly reduced, Americans have grown used to surveillance drones hovering over their cities.

Dragon masterfully looks at recent history and current trends to create this futuristic setting. Thus, America in the late 21st Century is completely secular, with the population proudly referring to themselves as "Pagans." In the future, the people of faith are the minority with the Pagans derisively referring to them as "Jew-Christians".

The book combines a murder mystery with political intrigue. A major conflict in the book focuses on the tension between the people of faith and the government. This tension presents challenging questions. How should a Christian respond when the government outlaws your Bibles? Should Christians live in separate communities or enclaves when the government is hostile toward you because of your faith? Should Christians launch surveillance and snatch missions that would make Mossad envious?

Austin Dragon has written an excellent book in Thy Kingdom Fall and I look forward to the release of the second book in the series as America moves closer to World War Three.

Is Jail Time Possible for Christian Baker Who Refuse to Bake Cake?

Should bakers and other vendors be allowed to refuse service to gays and lesbians, specifically when it comes to marital ceremonies? “No,” argues one gay couple who have filed a discrimination complaint against a Colorado baker who refused to provide them with a wedding cake.

Masterpiece Cakeshop, owned by Jack Phillips and based near Denver, Colorado, is at the center of the dispute after David Mullins and Charlie Craig attempted to order the baked good from the business last summer.

Phillips, declining to provide service after learning of the couple’s sexuality, cited his Christian beliefs. But Mullins and Craig aren’t accepting Biblical arguments as a viable basis for the refusal.

....the Colorado Attorney General’s office also filed a formal complaint. If the baker loses and continues to refuse service to gays and lesbians, he could be fined $500 per instance — and given up to a year in jail, his attorney claims. Phillips will stand in front of the state’s Civil Rights Commission in September.


Friday, July 5, 2013

You Are Kidding? Preachers of L.A. Trailer: Coming This Fall

I see nothing good coming from this program.  A pastor living with his "baby mama." Am I the only one seeing something wrong with this picture.  Preacher comparing himself to P Diddy and Jay Z.   We are not expecting perfection, but these "ministers" have to walk to a higher standard.  More later.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Going Off Script at Graduation

In South Carolina, a high school valedictorian had to have his speech approved by the local administrators.  The school district, agents of the state, probably did not want the young man to make statements hostile to the government.  At the podium, the speaker ripped up his prepared remarks and began to recite the Lord's Prayer to the cheers of all...errrr.....most of the attendees at the ceremony.  Well done, young man! Well done!!

For the story see:  Valedictorian Rips Up Approved Speech on Stage, Recites Lord's Prayer

See video here:  Valedictorian Speech/Prayer

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Oh No What You Gonna Do - Are They Gathering the Lions in DC?

In my last post, I made a note of the Army blocking the Southern Baptist Convention website.  Since that post, the Army indicated that was a mistake, and the block has been removed.

So, the military is not persecuting Baptists.  Now it is my understanding that Southern Baptists are among other things are known for being serious about the Great Commission.  See Matthew 28:18-19 and Mark 16:15-18.  Yet, two stories concerning the Pentagon appear to be hostile towards Christians who embrace the Great Commission.

Over last week or so, David Jeremiah on his radio show Turning Point has been preaching on the book of Daniel.  I happened to catch a brief portion of his show Tuesday morning and thought how it was relevant to today.

An excerpt of Daniel 6 reads:

“King Darius, live forever!  All the commissioners of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the high officials and the governors have consulted together that the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, shall be cast into the lions’ den.  Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which  may not be revoked.”  Therefore King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction.

It is amazing how this passage in Daniel ties in to a recent decision made by the military to appoint one of these satraps to serve as a special advisor to the Pentagon.  This advisor is none other than Mikey Weinstein.  If for some reason you don’t believe there is no relationship, consider the following quotes from Mr. Weinstein:

“Today, we face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation’s armed forces.”

 “We should as a nation effusively applaud Lt. Col. Rich.” He adds that the nation should “venture further” than Rich’s recommendations, saying, “We MUST vigorously support the continuing efforts to expose pathologically anti-gay, Islamaphobic, and rabidly intolerant agitators for what they are: die-hard enemies of the United States Constitution. Monsters, one and all. To do anything less would be to roll out a red carpet to those who would usher in a blood-drenched, draconian era of persecutions, nationalistic militarism, and superstitious theocracy.”

“This is a national security threat. What is happening [aside from sexual assault] is spiritual rape. And what the Pentagon needs is to understand is that it is sedition and treason. It should be punished.”

And Mr. Weinstein said, “O King live forever.”  All of the above came out on Tuesday.

Wednesday's news indicate we are moving closer to the lions than anticipated:
The Pentagon has released a statement confirming that soldiers could be prosecuted for promoting their faith: "Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense. ... Court martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis."
The statement, released to Fox News, follows a Breitbart News report on Obama administration Pentagon appointees meeting with anti-Christian extremist Mikey Weinstein to develop court-martial procedures to punish Christians in the military who express or share their faith.

Laugh or cry, Laugh or cry.  I suppose it all does not matter, because at the end of the day, We Win!

EDIT:  The Dept. of Defense fights rumors that sharing personal faith is banned but aggressive proselytizing could draw punishment.  

Christian conservatives have grown increasingly alarmed in recent weeks over reports and rumors that the Pentagon is considering new policies aimed at discriminating against Christians and disciplining or even court-martialing those who share their faith.
But the Department of Defense on Thursday sought to debunk that speculation, saying that while aggressive proselytizing is barred, evangelization is still permitted and the rights of all believers — and non-believers — will be protected.
"The U.S. Department of Defense has never and will never single out a particular religious group for persecution or prosecution," Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen said in a statement. "The Department makes reasonable accommodations for all religions and celebrates the religious diversity of our service members."
"Service members can share their faith (evangelize), but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith or no faith to one's beliefs (proselytization)," Christensen added.
Source: Pentagon - No Crackdown on Christians for Sharing Their Faith

Thursday, April 25, 2013

US Army and the Southern Baptists

I've been out of the military for more than 20 years, but always consider myself an Army guy.  I have a great deal of respect for the military leaders of our past, Grant, Lee, Eisenhower, and MacArthur.  And I also have a great deal of respect for our military leaders of recent history (not withstanding their flaws) Petraeus, Mattis, McChrystal and Powell.

Recently, we have been seeing troubling news from the military.  For instance, last week I posted about the Lieutenant Colonel  labeling certain Christian ministries as hate groups. See: Army LTC E-Mail.  The week before that, a briefing slide for Army reservists included evangelicals and  Catholics on a list of extremists, right next to Al Qaeda and the Klan.  I would hope these are isolated incidents.  Unfortunately, we received more negative news concerning the military and Christianity.  Today, I just read a report in which a military officer was prevented from viewing the Southern Baptist Convention's website because it allegedly contained "hostile content."  See:  US Army Labels Southern Baptist Convention 'Hostile.'   The Southern Baptists are known for having a very high view of scripture. In most towns, you couldn't throw a rock in a parking lot without hitting a Baptist.  The Southern Baptist Convention remains the largest protestant denomination in the U.S.   I truly do not believe that this is the official position of the military.  Indeed, I thought the Baptists had another 3-5 years before they would receive the "hostile" label.  Not sure which way things are going.  To my Christian brothers and sisters, all is not lost.  The Army still has good men in leadership who have a respect for and live by Christian values, e.g., the next Superintendent of West Point, LTG Robert Caslen.  Along with LTG Caslen, you cannot overlook General Vincent Brooks, who was a prominent spokesperson for the military during the early stages of the Iraq War.

Edit:  I certainly am not an alarmist.  Nor do I believe the Army is anti-Christian.  I do believe, however, that a time is approaching where Bible believing Christians will be marginalized, if not persecuted.  This recent report indicates that time is coming sooner than anticipated.

But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not  fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 1 Peter 3:14

Friday, April 12, 2013

New Jersey Teacher Fired For Handing Student Bible

Just came across an article indicating that a teacher from New Jersey was fired for handing a student a Bible.  The teacher is suing the school district for religious discrimination.  The details are not clear, but according to the story, the teacher handed the student the Bible in response to the student's intellectual curiosity.  In other words, it does not appear that the teacher was trying to convert the student. Go to: Terminated NJ Teacher Files EEOC Complaint Against Phillipsburg School District.

Quick edit:  The termination decision followed an incident in which Walter Tutka quoted the Bible saying, "So the last will be first, and the first will be last" to a student who was last in line to leave the classroom.  The student reportedly inquired about the origin of the statement numerous times before Tutka produced his personal copy of the New Testament to show the student.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Army Lieutenant Colonel Sends Email Labeling Certain Christians as Hate Groups

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:18-19

An Army lieutenant colonel has sent members of his unit – I am guessing officers and senior NCOs – a lengthy email, that among other things, label Christian ministries as hate groups.  So far, the story has hit only a handful of news sources, but I am sure it will generate some publicity within the next day or two.  To the colonel’s credit, he has commanded Rangers in combat, and he is currently the battalion commander of a storied unit in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.  While I am sure my Christian brothers and sisters will soon write the Pentagon demanding his removal, I feel bad for the guy.  Unfortunately, with this new Army, he has been forced to accept new lifestyles. He probably sat through one PC lecture too many and made a huge mistake in his effort to share what he learned with his leaders.  I have a feeling that his email will certainly hinder his career. If he had plans of making it to the general officer’s ranks, he can forget about it.  What worries me is in a few short years when the next officer writes a very similar email and that email becomes the Army Values.  The following is a reporter’s description of the LTC’s email:

A U.S. Army officer sent an email to dozens of subordinates listing the American Family Association and Family Research Council as "domestic hate groups" because they oppose homosexuality -- and warned officers to monitor soldiers who might be supporters of the groups.

“Just want to ensure everyone is somewhat educated on some of the groups out there that do not share our Army Values,” read an email from LTC Jack Rich to three dozen subordinates at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. “When we see behaviors that are inconsistent with Army Values, don’t just walk by – do the right thing and address the concern before it becomes a problem.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told Fox News he was disturbed by the contents of the email.
The 14-page email documented groups the military considers to be anti-gay, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim. Among the other groups mentioned are Neo-Nazis, Racist Skinheads, White Nationalists and the Ku Klux Klan.
 “The religious right in America has employed a variety of strategies in its efforts to beat back the increasingly confident gay rights movement,” the officer wrote. “One of those has been defamation.”
The officer accused the “Christian Right” of “engaging in the crudest type of name-calling, describing LGBT people as ‘perverts” with ‘filthy habits’ who seek to snatch the children of straight parents and ‘convert’ them to gay sex,” he wrote.

 See: Army Officer's Email Labels Christian Ministries as Domestic Hate Groups
See related: DOD Briefing Classifies Catholics and Evangelical Protestants as "Extremist Groups"

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Iran Suffers Quakes that Happen to Coincide with "National Nuclear Day"

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. Matt. 24:6
And there was trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and the raiders also trembled; and the earth quaked, so that it was a very great trembling. 1 Sam. 14:15

This is the stuff that would appear in a novel, not real life.  First, Iran announces the opening of uranium-processing facilities on “National Nuclear Day.” Then, within hours, it is hit with a 6.3 magnitude

Two days after nuclear talks with world leaders yielded little progress, Iran announced it has opened a new uranium-processing site to mark "National Nuclear Day."
The country opened a uranium-processing facility as well as a uranium mine in the central province of Yazd, state-run TV reported Tuesday.
Iran's enrichment of uranium has been one of the most contentious issues in nuclear talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 countries -- the United States, France, Britain, China, Russia and Germany.

Although, April 9, was National Nuclear Day in Iran, they are now dealing with a huge tragedy.  I personally do not think this was an accident.
A powerful earthquake struck close to Iran's only nuclear power station on Tuesday, killing 37 people and injuring 850 as it destroyed homes and devastated two small villages, Iranian media reported.
The 6.3 magnitude quake totally destroyed one village, a Red Crescent official told the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA), but the nearby Bushehr nuclear plant was undamaged, according to Iranian officials and the Russian company that built it.
Memo to Iran.  Now might be a good time to put to a screeching halt your nuclear program.  Also, you need to stop that talk about pushing Israel to the sea. 

Defense Department classifies Catholics and Evangelical Protestants as “extremist groups”

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.  John 16:33

Defense Department classifies Catholics and Evangelical Protestants as “extremist groups”

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Don't Miss Lee Grady's "The Problem With Rob Bell's Gospel"

 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2 Tim. 4:3

I have nothing to add to J. Lee Grady's article that is linked below.  Baseball season just started and with this article, Lee Grady knocked it out of the park.  The subject is Rob Bell who allegedly is a Christian minister.  Lee addresses Bell’s recent comments on marriage and  touches on the “gospel” according to Rob Bell.  You have to read: The Problem With Rob Bell’s Gospel.

For whatever it is worth, I think the popularity of Rob Bell and other like minded leaders have waned significantly.  The problem is what will happen 5, 10, or 15 years from now when the next Rob Bell starts preaching the same message.

Again, don't miss Lee Grady's:  The Problem With Rob Bell’s Gospel.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A New New Testament: You Have Got to Be Kidding Me

Have you ever heard of the Jesus Seminar?  This is the team of "scholars" who came together to tell us which parts of the gospels are true or false. As a result of their research they rejected the virgin of birth, the presence of angels, Jesus healing, the resurrection, etc.  I think after they were done, approximately 2% of the Gospels was determined to be accurate.  This afternoon I learned that these "scholars" have suggested that several books were left out of the New Testament.  They want to correct this error by introducing "A New New Testament."  For more on this read the following:  A New New Testament: Are You Serious by Daniel B. Wallace.

For the record, I am in no way endorsing what the suggestions of these scholars.  In other words, I am happy with the current Bible and have no desire to join these men in adding more books.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Swarms of Locusts in March 2013

"By morning, the wind had brought the locusts; they invaded all Egypt and settled down in every area of the country in great numbers. Never before had there been such a plague of locusts, nor will there ever be again" (Ex. 10:13-14).

Just read that a swarm of locusts have invaded Egypt.  Egypt is using its military in an effort to get the locusts to change course.  To the east, Israel is watching the development and preparing for a potential onslaught.  For whatever its worth, the swarm is not as bad as in the days of the pharaohs.  The Christian Post provided the following:

 Locusts have swarmed Egypt, leaving devastation across the country. According to reports, some 30 million individual locusts have invaded the area and taken over the country's farms, causing increased fears of starvation and economic destruction.  

Against our predictions, a swarm of locusts has reached the region south of Cairo and is causing great damage to agriculture in the Giza area. Egyptian armed forces and; the border guards are attempting to fight the swarm with the means at their disposal

The interesting thing about this story is the experts did not see this coming.  The whole thing makes you wonder what is going in the Middle East.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

2013 Challenge at South Brandon Worship Center

Following are notes from Pastor Len Harper at South Brandon Worship Center

Last Week’s Challenge

“Let the Lord Build Your House”
1) Pray or personal Spiritual Growth for 2013
2) Read all 4 Gospels ea. month for Next 3 months.
3) Pray for the lost and for our Church (South Brandon Worship Center) to Grow!
4) Meet once a Week for 1 month in a “House of Prayer.”
Mark 11:7=> Jesus said:  “My house will be called a House of Prayer for all nations!” See also Is. 56:7

This Week’s Challenge
1) Why Should We Pray?  “Because  You Need It!”
Luke 11:1 => After Jesus finished praying, one of His Disciples came to Him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray!”

John 15:5  => Jesus said “Apart from me you can do nothing”

2) How Should We Pray? “Humbly to Your Father!”
Luke 11:2 => Jesus said, “This is how you should pray: ‘Father!’”

3) What Should We Pray For? “His Kingdom & Will”
Luke 11:2 => “Hallowed be Your Name, Your Kingdom come!”

Acts 4:29-30 => Enable your servants to speak Your Word with great boldness.  Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders!” After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly!”

4) What Else Should We Pray For?  “Pure Hearts”
Luke 11:3-4 => “Give us each day the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us!”

Luke 11:4 =>  “And don’t let us yield to temptation.”

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Verse of the Day via Jer. 17:7-8

But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
                      - Jer. 17:7-8

If anyone reads Jeremiah, they will see that the book is kind of depressing.  Many passages contain warnings of bad things that are about to happen. Then the bad things happened - i.e., exile at the hands of the cruel Babylonians - and we have the book of Lamentations.  In the midst of those dire warnings, there are words of encouragement, such as those found in 17:7-8.  If you put your trust in the Lord, you will be blessed.  Although you are being taken out of your homes, you will be blessed.  Despite the cruelty of the Babylonians who have you, your friends and family in captivity, you will experience blessings.  The passage tells us that we may experience drought, but put your trust in the Lord and you will have no worries.  

What about today?  We worry about terrorism.  Mass shootings such as what we saw in Connecticut.  The federal government is trillions in debt and we are worried about what the leadership in Washington is going to do next.  What happens out there really does not matter, though we may talk about it a lot.  We should have no worries in the midst of these things and place our trust in the Lord. I am not against being like a tree planted by the water.

He Reached Out and Caught Him

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”   Matt. 14:31

We are like Peter because we gave great potential to display very little faith.

Still, by walking on water Peter did what few of us will ever accomplish.

Although we struggle and at times will doubt, the Lord is there.  Do you feel like your sinking?  Are you over your head?  He will reach ou and catch you.

He promises to be with us even if we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  Indeed, he promises to be with us until the end of this age.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Healing From Fear and Shame by Prince Handley

Came across this blog post on receiving healing from fear and shame.  Here is an excerpt:

Fear is a spirit; therefore, you must speak to it. God is love and He is spirit. Love is stronger than fear. Perfect love casts out fear“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)If you are afraid of someone, ask G-d to give you His love for them. You can bind fear in the name of Yeshua, and cast it away from you.
To read the post in its entirety, go here: Healing From Fear and Shame.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Verse of the Day via 1 Cor. 13:4

1 Cor.13:4 El amor es sufrido, es benigno; el amor no tiene envidia, el amor no es jactancioso, no se envanece; no hace nada indebido, no busca lo suyo, no se irrita, no guarda rencor;

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self‑seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails.