Monthly Archives: January 2016
It has been confirmed by multiple sources that US-Iranian Pastor Saeed Abedini has finally been freed from the Iranian prison he was held in for more than three years.
Sources including Christianity Today and his wife Naghmeh confirmed the release of Pastor Saeed as a part of a prisoner swap between the US and Iran. The United States released 7 prisoners and Iran released 4.
Pastor Saeed was first taken in 2012 while he was in Iran helping to build a government approved orphanage. He had been warned not to participate in house churches while Iran, but was given clearance to help with the orphanage. While on a bus he was taken, arrested, and sentenced to eight years in prison.
Pastor Saeed’s wife became a tireless warrior pleading for his release. She spoke with anyone that would listen, including religious and political leaders all over the world. Mrs. Abedini’s legal representation, The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), gathered more than 1 million signatures in its effort to secure Pastor Saeed’s release.
I spend a lot of time during my job talking about “market volatility.” It’s something people know exists, don’t quite understand, and have a lot of questions about. So I spend time explaining it, calming fears, and answering questions. As I thought about “market volatility” I was struck by a couple of articles that made me realize the pastorate is one of the most volatile markets in existence.
When we think of volatile markets we think of ups and downs, gains and losses. If you’re an investor you think of your account value and what the market does to your investment. When the market goes down you incur a loss that can take some time to recuperate. When the market goes up you see a gain that you want to protect. It’s easy to see how the pastorate is very much like the market in its volatility; ups and downs, gains and losses.
But while historically the market has always had periods of volatility – and that doesn’t look to end anytime soon – the pastorate doesn’t have to continue as a place of volatility.
A recent article at The Blaze shared the results of a study conducted by LifeWay Research. The study centered on the main reasons pastors quit the pastorate before retirement age. The study boiled the answers of 734 former senior pastors down to five main reasons:
Lawmakers in West Virginia’s legislature are hoping to continue moving forward after last year’s powerful pro-life statement. When Gov. earl Ray Tomblin vetoed a bill that would outlaw abortions after 24 weeks – when it is well-known that unborn children can feel pain – the legislature overwhelmingly voted to override his veto and pass the bill into law. Now, they are hoping to accomplish a similar outcome with a similar bill.
The Unborn Child protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act (S.B. 10/H.B. 4004) seeks to make dismemberment abortions illegal.
In the wake of the undercover videos showing how Planned Parenthood daily tears unborn children apart in order to sell them for body parts, West Virginia lawmakers are seeking to ban the practice. The undercover videos, released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) shocked the nation as they showed various Planned Parenthood executives discussing their regular practice of tearing unborn children apart in order to harvest organs for sale.
Knowing that at least two abortion clinics are in West Virginia – one in Charleston and one in Parkersburg/Vienna – and that they are associated with Planned Parenthood; it is reasonable to assume that the barbaric practice is taking place in our state. While we claim that “Mountaineers are free” we are subjecting our most vulnerable and helpless citizens to a practice that isn’t even done to violent criminals in our prisons. In fact, it’s interesting to note that should such a practice be done to animals there would be a public outcry so quick and massive that the media couldn’t contain it.
And yet, a torturous and barbaric practice is taking place against unborn children and hardly a whimper can be mustered. Until now.
I can’t help but wonder how many of my Christian friends have decided to “just buy one” in hopes of winning. No doubt it is with the promise that they will tithe and feed a small nation that they justify their purchase of what they hope will be a life-changing ticket. (Cue “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket” from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
While we dream of how large sums of money would change our life we need to come face to face with the reality that at times our dreams are full of envy and idolatry; and we lack faith and thankfulness. This is easily seen in the definition of “large sums of money” from one country to the next. As people cross our borders in hopes of making $30,000 a year working I am reminded that there is a family living in a tent in Haiti.
I was further convicted of my own selfish greed by John Piper’s blog post entitled “7 Reasons Not to Play the Lottery.”
Piper, speaking to both Christians and people in general (which is presumably why he did not title his post “7 Reasons Christians Should Not Play the Lottery”), lays out a case for being wise stewards of all that we’ve been given. More than that he argues that the lottery is enabling poverty and keeping people from growing out of poverty. Some of his reasons include:
A new video has been released by the Center for Media Progress (CMP) showing Planned Parenthood executives explaining how they alter the abortion procedure to harvest fetal organs. This might be surprising to some, but if you know anything about Planned Parenthood you know they will do anything for money.
Just to be clear, altering the abortion procedure is against federal law. And Planned Parenthood CEO Cecil Richards has repeatedly claimed that alterations do not happen. And yet, the video below clearly shows otherwise. CMP president David Daleiden made the following comment about Planned Parenthoods tactics:
uppose you went to church on Sunday morning to hear God’s Word and listen to a sermon or lesson intended to help grow you spiritually. You’re eager to know how God’s Word applies to your life today and how you can look through a biblical lens at the issues that permeate our culture. You sit eagerly waiting to hear the message God has given your pastor when the pastor begins by say he/she wants to discuss the biblical support for abortion!
That may seem far-fetched; as if there is no way any pastor would express support for something so obviously wrong. Right?
Unfortunately the reality that there exists members of the clergy that regularly teach God’s Word to those gathered in their congregation while also supporting abortion is true. Even sadder is that it is not one or two “rogue” or isolated pastors adhering to this lamentable position. In fact, according to a recent article, 53 pastors in the state of Texas alone support abortion:
One of the most striking features of this decade is the slow but certain death of cultural Christianity. By that I mean there was a time when you could say you were a Christian, spout off a few cliché “biblical” phrases, and people shook your hand and said “God bless you, brother.” But that time is coming to an end as we realize that many people have mistakenly believed they were Christians for one wrong reason or another.
Cultural Christians are becoming easier to spot due to their use of clichéd statements that have no foundation in Scripture. We’ve all heard these statements come out of the mouth of church-goers at one time or another. We’ve probably even said one or two ourselves.
Statements like “cleanliness is next to godliness” and “God won’t give you more than you can handle” have been used so often that many people believe they are biblical and can be found somewhere in the Bible. When you mention that such phrases are man-made and have no root in Scripture you will be met with confused looks and questions. But, like many things that came out of cultural Christianity, these, and other statements are simply…wrong.
A recent article listed “9 Unbiblical Statements Christians Believe.” As I read through the article I couldn’t help but recall conversations with friends that have used each statement. And, as one might expect, these phrases appear often on social media either as a post or as a response to a friend.
So what are some of the statements used often by Christians despite the fact that they are not biblical? The list includes:
VidAngel is a movie streaming service that allows users to customize their movie-viewing experience. From editing out specific words to nudity, VidAngel is the ultimate movie-watching experience for the discerning watcher. Here’s how it works.
Movies on VidAngel are crowd-filtered with “tags” for potentially offensive content. You simply choose the filters you desire, editing out words and content you find offensive such as the f-word and nudity. Once your filters are chosen you can stream and watch any movie on the VidAngel site with those filters in place for a customized movie-watching experience.
According to their website, VidAngel has many movies not even on Netflix yet. Movies such as: Furious 7, Mad Max Fury Road, Insurgent, American Sniper, Gone Girl, and Parker. And perhaps one of the best features of the VidAngel service is that you can stream movies and then sell them back!
Story #1: Speaker Paul Ryan: We’re Sending Obama a Bill Next Week That De-Funds Planned Parenthood A bill is set
I’ve almost come to the conclusion that nothing is shocking anymore. In a world where people get paid obscene amounts of money to sing, act, or play sports while the people educating our kids struggle to get by. It’s hard to fathom too much that would be shocking.
For that matter, we live in a world where our government works hard to protect plants and animals while they endorse the whole-sale murder of unborn children. So I say once again that it seems we are living a time when nothing can shock us.
Then I ran across this gem of a story.
Methodist Minister: I Help Women Get Abortions at Planned Parenthood Because I’m a Christian
Emma Akpan is a self-identified Christian, minister, and Planned Parenthood volunteer. She says that helping women at Planned Parenthood to kill their unborn children is something she does “because of my faith.” She recently said: