Thursday, August 31, 2006

Getting Crazy For Jesus

Crack reporters at NBC affiliate Channel 12 in Jacksonville Florida have uncovered what they say has turned into a Miraculous story.

By First Coast News Staff - "We make the news for you's"

PHOENIX, AZ -- Apparition's of Jesus have appeared on walls and in chapels. Now, in Arizona, a patient at a dentist's office says he sees one on an x-ray.

The dentist, and staff at a Phoenix dentist's office agree that the x-ray contains an image resembling Jesus.

The patient came in for a routine exam on Tuesday and when the x-ray was developed, he saw the image of Jesus.

The patient describes himself as a devout Christian, but says he's never before seen Jesus in an x-ray.

By the way, the patient's exam was perfect.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Behold How Good...

This hymn was sung on last week's Prairie Home Companion show. I've sung it in synagogues and with friends. It's message is timeless and true.

Psalm 133, vs. 1: “Hinei ma tov u’ma nayim, shevet achim gam yachad"

(How good and how pleasant it is when brothers dwell together as one)”

Monday, August 28, 2006

Blessed Are You Who Are Persecuted In My Name...

Saudi Arabia strictly forbids the practice of any religion other than Islam within its borders. Those who fail to comply could face arrest, torture or even death. Brian O'Connor, a Christian and a native of India, experienced that persecution first hand.

O'Connor was charged with "spreading Christianity" in Saudi Arabia in 2004. The "muttawa"—Saudi religious police—originally arrested O'Connor on the false allegation of selling liquor and possessing pornographic videos. The muttawa have the authority to detain persons for violation of strict Islamic standards regarding proper dress and behavior.

During his interrogation, he was brutally beaten, then sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and 300 lashes. While in prison he was pressured to convert to Islam. According to Compass Direct, after serving seven months in prison, he was deported to India.

Saudi Arabia is considered one of the most religiously intolerant nations in the world, ranking No. 2 on Open Doors' 2006 World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most severe persecution. Last fall the U.S. Department of State re-designated Saudi Arabia—along with seven other countries—as "Countries of Particular Concern" for severe violations of religious freedom.

Although the Saudi Arabian government claims to exercise "practical tolerance" toward the thousands of non-Muslims working in the country who worship privately in their homes—like O'Connor—even "house church" Christians are rounded up and tried without defense counsel. In 2005, in what was called Saudi Arabia's largest crackdown on Christians in a decade, 70 expatriate Christians were arrested during worship in private homes. Most of the arrested Christians were released over a period of time.

Apostasy—conversion to a non-Muslim religion—is punishable by death. No missionaries are allowed into the country, and custom officials routinely open mail and shipments to search for contraband, including Christian materials.

After his release, O'Connor said that through his witness 21 of his cellmates came to Christ. "I was there for a purpose," he stated.

Pray for:

That imprisoned Christians will be released and there will be justice for members of all religious faiths.

Freedom for Christians to worship openly.

Safety for Christians who worship in house churches

From the July/August issue of Today's Christian - By Jerry Dykstra

A Muslim woman named Lena Joy is faced with the aspect of torture within Saudai Arabia. Because she wants to marry a man who is Catholic, she has asked the government to allow her to convert to Christianity. The government has turned the matter to the religious court. The probable outcome will be a three year sentence to a rehabilitation facility that is surrounded by razor wire, that is ironically called The House Of Prayer.

Many Christians in Muslim countries use two names. They have a given Muslim name and a Christian name. They must meet in secret meeting houses and worship in fear. May God watch over them and give them His protection.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Peggy's Funeral

My cousin Peggy passed away on Monday. She was a very young 62 year old lady. She left behind a beautiful daughter and two grandchildren and many, many friends. I went to her funeral last night and came away puzzled.

Peggy was a very special person. She was one of those folks that seemed to be blessed in all ways. She was beautiful, extremely intelligent (she had a PHD), she had several different enviable careers throughout her life and she had made a great life for herself and her daughter. She was married and divorced early in life and spent the rest of her days as a single mom and eventually a grandmother. She was a breast cancer survivor. From her obituary I thought that was what did her in. However she had a heart attack and passed on suddenly.

She was my cousin on Mom’s side of the family. Her father had died at 54 from the effects of non-filtered Camels.

 My Mom had married a hardworking grocery store owner. Mom’s brother, Uncle Clyde, Peggy's dad was a suit & tie kind of guy.

Her mother Aunt Margaret was tall and very Southern. She was an elementary school teacher and taught my wife in the 2nd grade. She was nice but very imposing to a very young boy. Subsequently I was never real close to Peggy. But I certainly admired her. We went to the same high school. Peggy stood out and was respected by all.

She got her undergraduate degree and married. She and her husband joined the Peace Corp. These were the Viet Nam War years. After the Peace Corp, she went back and got several graduate degrees, went to work at a school, became pregnant, divorced and continued her education and career. I sort of lost track of her at this time.

When I go to most funerals, I expect to see the deceased with family and friends gathered, crying, hugging and reminiscing among the flowers. Peggy’s funeral was different. Peggy had been cremated and her remains were in a small decorative wooden box on a table.

I supposed that I am accustomed to having one last look and give one last good-bye to my relatives and friends that have passed on.

In my careers I have done physical labor and white collar jobs. Most of my friends have similar life experiences.

Peggy’s friends were a mix of old hippies that cleaned up nicely and the “education” crowd from various universities and colleges where she had worked. The only person among them that seemed visibly shaken was Peggy’s daughter, who was still obviously in shock.

Peggy’s life touched and influenced many besides her immediate family. She brightened the world while she was here and left it a little better place than before she arrived.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mega- Church

My daughter Elizabeth is very interested in the Jesus Movement and she asked me when Mega Churches started. What follows is my reply.

How did mega-Churches start?

My thoughts are that during the Jesus Movement and Charismatic Movement large conferences and festivals somehow contributed to the idea that bigger was better. We enjoyed praying together and worshiping in the Spirit with like-minded people. Some of the mega churches grew as the people that organized these events discovered that perhaps it would be feasible to come together as a congregation.

The first mega church in America was probably started by evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson back in the 1930's. She had a huge following due to the new phenomenon of radio. Her church was a result of her public appearances.

Mega churches have been huge in other countries before gaining popularity in the USA. South Korea and the Philippines in particular have churches drawing in excess of 10,000 members a week.

The first mega church that started during the Jesus Movement was Calvary Chapel. A small group of people were all that was left of a church and they held a prayer meeting to decide their fate. They felt that God was speaking to them and He told them that Chuck Smith would become their pastor, their church would be overcrowded and they would have a radio ministry. That was in 1968.

Within a year all of those things came true. Today Calvary Chapel has many different congregations and a college. If you remember going to see The Second Chapter of Acts when you were young, those folks were members of Calvary Chapel from back in the day.

The Vineyard is another example. It was originally a Charismatic based church, but over the years it's message has become sort of a middle ground that will appeal to all Christians.

From the Charismatic viewpoint, The University Of Notre Dame in Indiana became a huge congregation and drew folks of all denominations from all over the world. In Cincinnati we had St. Bernard's that was led by Father Rick Roher. Some of our friends moved to the St. Bernard area to live close to each other.

 Rock Church in Virginia was another mega church that started in the late 1960's.

Christians were faced with the dilemma of the lowered moral values of many Americans, particularly in the public schools. They sought out alternative schools, shops and entertainment. Hence there are some mega churches that have their own shops within them.

Top 10 Reasons To Go To A Mega Church

There is a mega church north of Cincinnati that has a huge statue of Jesus in their front yard. It's just south of Middletown. They draw in members from as far north as Michigan that drive there on Sundays. I think baby boomers, the offspring of the folks that founded the suburban cheese box home had everything to do with founding mega churches. Most parents of baby boomers faced the Depression and WWll and wanted better lives for their children. So I think baby boomer feel entitled to bigger, better and a quest for knowledge.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Walid Shoebat - Former PLO - Now A Christian

For six days and six nights, Walid and his family hid in the bathroom of their home in Jericho, as fighting raged outside.

"On the sixth day, everything went quiet," Walid told BBC News Online.

"My father was listening to Arab radio and the news said: 'We cleansed Jerusalem of the Jews'. Then we opened the door and there was this Israeli tank with the Star of David flag standing in our street!"

Less than a week after the war began, Jordan had been repelled from the West Bank, Israel had taken over and the map of the modern Middle East had been redrawn.
A humiliating defeat for the Arabs, the Israeli victory spawned a new generation of young nationalists determined to restore lost pride, vanquish the enemy and establish a Palestinian state.

"From kindergarten we were taught that Jews were dogs," said Walid. "We were taught that Jews were the converts of monkeys, that Jews were Sabbath breakers and prophet killers. We even considered Arabs in pre-1967 Israel traitors because we could not understand how they could co-exist with Jews."

As a teenager in the mid-1970s, Walid joined the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and became a local activist - printing fliers, organizing demonstrations and confronting Israeli troops.
"My whole dream was to die as a shaheed [martyr]. At demonstrations I would open my shirt hoping to be shot - but the Israelis would never shoot at the body, so I never succeeded," he said.

One day, in the middle of a riot, Walid was part of a group which snatched an Israeli soldier who was trying to quell the violence. They beat him senseless and tried to lynch him, before he was rescued by troops and the group fled.

"We ran to a monastery where the nuns protected us - even they hated the Jews!"
Walid was eventually caught and imprisoned in the Muscovite Prison in Jerusalem, but was released after a few weeks. He returned to violence straight away, bombing an Israeli bank in Bethlehem.

The course of Walid's life took a turn when his parents sent him to the United States to get a better education. Walid enrolled in Loop College in Chicago, where he became president of the Palestinian Students' Association, raising funds for the PLO and recruiting volunteers to fight in Lebanon. He eventually moved to California, where he met his current wife, a Catholic from Mexico.

"I wanted her to convert to Islam," he said. "I told her Jews had corrupted the Bible and she asked me to show her some examples of this corruption. At this point I had to go and buy a Bible and I started reading it and I saw the word 'Israel' all over it. I had to be brutally honest - the very word I hated the most was throughout this book!

"I thought: 'How do you explain this?' Then I started thinking, really the Jews didn't do us any harm but we hated them and accused them of all this horrible stuff. I began to think more openly."

In the mid-1990s, Walid went to a family reunion in southern California where a row broke out after he defended the biblical matriarch Rachel, whom his uncle had called a "Jewish whore".
" 'You deserve to be spat at'," my uncle said, "and they threw me out the house".

"I realized they knew nothing about history, all they knew was the same propaganda that I had been taught."

Walid's convictions led him to renounce violence and convert to Christianity but it was at a price: his family disowned him and his own brother threatened to kill him for abandoning Islam.

His disappointment with his own family's ideology and remorse at the folly of his youth strengthened Walid's resolve to speak out against militancy as a way of solving the Palestinian problem.

"Yes, there is personal risk to myself. If I went back to my village of Beit Sahour I would live five minutes, I can guarantee it. But I hope that by speaking the truth I will open other people's eyes."

"I chose to speak out because I was a victim, as a child I was a victim of this horror. Now I see other victims, millions of them, kids.

"I was taught songs about killing Jews. You need to get rid of the education system where they are teaching this type of thing and get rid of the terrorist groups. It will take a generation, but until then, there's not going to be peace, it doesn't matter what kind of land settlement you have."

Please read Walid's Book "Why I Left Jihad" to get the real story of the Islamic crisis.

excerpts from a 2004 BBC Interview by Raffi Berg

Jesus Festival Revisited

The Wild West Arena was rocking Friday night to the sounds of good, family time Christian music. Hundreds of parents and children came to the Revelation Rock Concert presented by Jesus Ministries.

"I had a plan to get families together for a fun-filled night of entertainment and I hope to be able to do this again next year," said Phil Rimpley, founder of Jesus Ministries.

The concert started with Luke Mills from "After the Order" from Kearney telling the audience about his band breaking up. He performed a couple of songs from the After the Order album and introduced his new band, "Pilot for Kite" and entertained the audience with their new single, "Spinner."

The band "Remedy Drive," who have been performing for 10 years or more, got the audience involved with a couple of songs from their album. Remedy Drive is comprised of four brothers.

"Not to be known as or compared to the Band of Brothers," David Zach said. The band members each have a different vision of music and bring their unique talent to the band.

"We have had concerts in the six to seven states around Nebraska and in California and Oregon," David Zach said. Remedy Drive has performed with Casting Pearls numerous times.

Last to perform for the night was "Casting Pearls" from Lincoln. Between songs, Bryan Olesen, the lead vocalist, shared the history on how each song was written and why.

"Our band has a connection for the love of music and wanting to write. It is important to have a foundation as a band that thrives together," Olesen said. The band has been to Germany twice and Switzerland once on tour.

"It is very exciting going to other countries and their love of music," Olesen said.
Casting Pearls has been on tour with Columbine (Colo.) survivor, Crystal Woodman Miller, going to schools in the United States and talking to students about the tragedy she experienced. The 180 Tour is a joint effort with Miller and Casting Pearls. They want to make students aware of the need for a purpose for living, and getting students to understand that as they prepare for tomorrow, who they are today is what matters most. For more information about scheduling a program by the 180 Tour, go to

Mix97.One in North Platte has added After the Order and Casting Pearls' music to their play list for North Platte listeners.

Camp Comeca of Cozad gave away T-shirts, coloring books and bags to families before and during the concert event. Camp Maranatha representatives told families about their camp events. For more information about the camps visit their Web sites at or

North Platte business VK Electronics of North Platte was one of the lead sponsors for the concert and gave away T-shirts between band set-ups.

Pastor Paul Pack from Skateboarding Ministries of Lexington spoke with families about skateboarding and Christ. Pack helps repair skate parks and equipment for children to enjoy. His Web site includes more information about his ministries at

All proceeds from the event went to Youth for Christ youth programs in North Platte.

From the North Platte Telegraph - excerpts from an article by Rebecca Allen
It's good to see events such as this still going on and being enjoyed in 2006.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

We Are The Light Of The World - Persecution In Afghanistan

NGO's accused of preaching Christianity (from the Pajhwok Afghan News)

KUNDUZ CITY, Aug 17 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Ulema council of the northern Kunduz province on Thursday demanded immediate expulsion of two NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) accusing them of preaching Christianity in the province.

Maulvi Faiz Mohammad Faiz, head of the ulema council, the body comprising pro-government religious scholars, told Pajhwok Afghan News they had proofs regarding involvement of the two Korean-funded NGOs, Ilham and Shukrana, in converting destitute children to Christianity.

He said they were ready to produce the evidence before the court if the government demanded so. "If the local officials fail to close offices of the two NGOs till Saturday, the ulema council will take action against them on its own," he warned.

However, Haji Toryalai, in charge of the Shukrana NGO, rejected the accusations as baseless and said they were imparting education to orphans and the NGO was funded by the United States and Korea.

Attaur Rahman, in charge of Ilham, also rejected the allegations and said there was no difference between those torching schooling and those who are closing its gates for students. He said both were the same people with different names.

Provincial Governor engineer Mohammad Omar said over one hundred ulema and elders had gathered at Wakil Abdur Rahman Khan Mosque in the province and demanded closure of offices of the two NGOs.

The governor said he had warned the NGO officials that action would be taken against them if found involved in any such act. He said the ulema had lodged the same complaint with the provincial government last week.

The Lord said that We Are The Light Of The World.

World Vision Clinic in Afghanistan

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


When I first became a Christian I met a fellow that became my best friend and my mentor... He had attended a very conservative Christian college. This was during the Jesus Movement and he was asked to leave due to his outspoken nature and views. He had long hair too and that did not go over well with the administration. I digress.

I admired this guy. I dare say he was my role model. He had a great impact on the Jesus Movement in the Cincinnati area. He wrote for and published an independent newspaper and gave lectures in churches and at schools about the Jesus Movement. He was a very charismatic and beloved person. When he was stricken with an illness that required immediate surgery all his bills were paid by donations since he had no insurance. When he needed a career, it was provided for him. His education was paid for by the church. When he had an idea, he would make it happen. Not only was he blessed, he was driven. He was a crusader.

Yes he was a crusader.

As I grew older and married, my friend and I went in different directions. Our paths would occasionally cross. About ten years went by and I ran into him at a function. One of our friends was taking her final vows in the Roman Catholic Church. I made a lunch date with him.

During our lunch conversation he confided in me that he had lost his faith. All the blessings that he had received were forgotten memories. He said he no longer believed that there was a God. In fact, he had chosen another god. In his new life choices he was once again a crusader. He rushed into his new life with the same zealousness that he displayed in his Christian walk.

I provide this story as a warning. Take caution with zealots. There are people that need an audience. There are people that need a cause. There are people that need to be champions. Age, wisdom and moderation are highly desirable qualities.

Be cautious with crusaders.

Monday, August 14, 2006


“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

I’ve been through a lot of changes in my Christian walk that started back in 1970. I’ve seen many “seeds” fall on rocky ground and not grow. 

I’ve seen other “seeds” be carried off by the birds of the air. 

It always blesses me to run into someone that has blossomed. I’m glad to say that many old friends and acquaintances have grown and still seek Him. Some have gone on to be with Our Lord.

Life has not been easy, but without the knowledge that I am a child of The King and that my Father in Heaven will provide for all of my needs, I do not know how I would survive.

As I put together my entry for this evening I am remembering two “seeds” that were special to me over 30 years ago. Both were carried off by the birds of the air. Tonight I pray that God will touch their hearts and remind them of their days 30 some years ago when they were called and they answered and knew what real Love was. 

May they be reunited with their families and the with the Body of Christ and may they know Your Forgiveness oh Lord Almighty.

May God protect and bless my family and all those that I know.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Christianity and Europe - What Happened?

Excerpts from an essay by Bruce Walker 08/11/2006 from the American Daily

The problem with Europe is not its systems. The problem of Europe is its loss of faith. The problem with Europe is not new, but rather old and it is the natural progression of a loss of faith in God, particularly the God of Judeo-Christian heritage and, because of the history of Europe, more specifically a loss of faith in Christianity. The seeds of failure are at least as old as the French Revolution, which was so hostile to Christianity that one hundred and twenty-five years later in the First World War France suffered from a serious shortage of nurses, which had historically been sisters in religious orders (which had been persecuted systematically in differing degrees since 1789.) How silly to imagine that France, which thumbs its nose at America, is really too timid to take on its Moslem immigrant population! The problem is that the French are trying to fight something with nothing: faith, however misguided, beats nihilism.

Before the First World War authors were writing about how unserious Germans took Christianity. During the years of the Weimar Republic other authors wrote of Germany as a “spiritual graveyard.” The hatred of Christianity by the Nazis was profound and authors during that awful time noted that Nazi Germany had gone farther down the road of “de-christianization” than even the Soviet Union or Fascist Italy.

Mussolini, the leader of Fascism, loathed ethical monotheism of any sort. His first essay, never repudiated, was entitled “God does not exist.” Although he entered into political arrangements with the Vatican, he never embraced Christianity. He, too, made himself into a sort of little god.

This is the opposite of what happened in America. The Founding Fathers warned that free democracies only work with people firmly grounded upon faith in God. Immigrating to America was an act of faith, just like immigrating to Israel. It is not accidental that America, where church-going is higher than in any nation on Earth, the will to resist evil is still strong. It is not accidental that the historical homeland of the Jewish people has an equally strong will to resist evil. Good democracies work, but goodness comes only from God. It is not accidental that godless Europe is failing.

Friday, August 11, 2006

There Is Hope

Dr. Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA, says the failed plan is evidence of the spiritual darkness in which Muslims exist.

"In the war against terror," says Moeller, "we have to give Muslims a reason for living before they come to us with a reason for dying."

Moeller's group assists Christians living and serving in persecuted countries such as Pakistan, the country of origin for most of the terror suspects in the foiled plot.

"These suicide bombers, these suicide terrorists, are laboring in a hopeless reality, without Christ, without hope of eternal life," he notes, "except -- in their belief -- if they martyr themselves for the cause of Islam.

The Open Doors president says the failed plot shows the importance of Christians living and working in Islamic nations to reach others with the gospel. "We have to reach out in Christ's love to witness to these people so they don't come to us with bombs," he says. "We can go to them with the weapon of love in Jesus Christ."

In the aftermath of the planned terror plot, Moeller is concerned that Christian missionaries in those nations are on the front lines in a war that has eternal consequences. "It is a spiritual battle that has real, physical results on the ground," he explains. "These days are extremely tense right now throughout the Middle East with Israel's and Lebanon's war going on."

And these latest developments, he says, certainly do not help matters. "[W]ith this terror plot unveiled about our transportation between the U.S. and the U.K., these things create increasing tension for our brothers and sisters on the ground in those countries.

"We need to pray for them," he says. "We need to pray that their witness remains strong."
Moeller expects persecution and tensions to increase in Muslim nations as more come to Christ throughout the region.

Islamic Fascists

According to an Associated Press report, officials say most of the suspects arrested in an alleged plot to blow up trans-Atlantic jetliners are believed to be British Muslims, at least some of Pakistani ancestry.

Accounts leaked by investigators described a plan, just days away from being carried out, that would have used liquid explosives to bring down ten planes in a nearly simultaneous strike.

A federal law enforcement official in Washington says that at least one martyrdom tape was found during ongoing raids across England on Thursday. Such a tape, as well as the scheme to strike a range of targets at roughly the same time, is an earmark of al-Qaida. President Bush said the foiled plot is a reminder that America "is at war with Islamic fascists."

Officials with the Washington, DC-based Council of American-Islamic Relations are worried that such language used to described the suspects could spark a "religious war." The group takes issue with President Bush's statement that "his nation is at war with Islamic fascism," saying that it "contributes to a rising level of hostility to Islam and the American-Muslim community."

The group's executive director says Muslims do not link Christianity to fascists or terrorists, and he would like the same courtesy extended to Islam, which he calls a "religion of peace."

Islamic -Main Entry: Is•lam
Pronunciation: is-'läm, iz-, -'lam, 'is-", 'iz-"
Function: noun
Etymology: Arabic islAm submission (to the will of God)
1 : the religious faith of Muslims including belief in Allah as the sole deity and in Muhammad as his prophet
2 a : the civilization erected upon Islamic faith b : the group of modern nations in which Islam is the dominant religion

Fascist - Main Entry: fas•cism
Pronunciation: 'fa-"shi-z&m also 'fa-"si-
Function: noun
Etymology: Italian fascismo, from fascio bundle, fasces, group, from Latin fascis bundle & fasces fasces
1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

Islamic and Fascist are two different words. Perhaps the majority of Muslims are peaceful. In regard to recent issues they seem to be keeping a low profile. This group of terrorists, according to Mr. Webster, are indeed Islamic Fascists.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

They Are Seeking To Destroy US

The debate rages regarding the Israeli War against Hezbollah. NATO would like to see resolution to stop the violence and destruction of Lebanon. Lebanon would like to see its infrastructure restored and the war to end. The US would like the war to end and the status quo returned. Some members of our Congress want the War in Iraq and Afghanistan to end.

As long as situations such as this persist, no war will end. The following CNN article is further proof of this. As long as those who oppose Judaism and Christianity seek to destroy us. And they are seeking to destroy us.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Terrorists were in the final stages of planning to blow up planes heading to the United States from Britain, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Thursday.

The plot was the "greatest terrorist threat" against the United States since 9/11, government officials are saying privately.

Information gathered after recent arrests in Pakistan convinced British investigators they had to act immediately to stop the plot, sources told CNN.

A British security official told Reuters news service the plotters could have been just days away from their attacks.

The plans were "suggestive of an al Qaeda plot," Chertoff said.

British police said they had arrested 21 suspects in the plot to blow up passenger jets flying between the United Kingdom and the United States.

The effects of the plot rippled across the globe Thursday.

The U.S. raised the terror threat level to "severe" for all flights leaving Britain for the United States. Britain raised its alert level to "critical."

The plot involved hiding liquid explosives in carry-on luggage, U.S. officials said.

Passengers at all U.S. and British airports, and those boarding U.S.-bound flights at other international airports, are banned from taking any liquids onto planes. British police are also banning passengers from carrying electronic key fobs, which have the potential to trigger bombs.

A U.S. administration official said the plot targeted Continental, United, British Airways and American Airlines flights to New York, Washington and California.

Six to 10 flights were targeted, U.S. officials said.

U.S. and British officials said some suspects could still be on the loose and their investigations were continuing
Flights were canceled or delayed at airports across Europe and the United States as the new security measures produced massive lines at airports.

In a sign of the heightened security, Chertoff said the U.S. was dispatching extra air marshals to Britain.
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney ordered the National Guard to Boston's Logan Airport.
Police said they were still raiding businesses and homes, and Chertoff said it was unclear if all suspects were in custody.

Chertoff said the plotters were "getting close to the execution phase."

"There were very concrete steps under way to execute all elements of the plan," he said.

The plot was "intended to be mass murder on an unimaginable scale," London's Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Paul Stephenson said.


You can take your diamonds and lock them in your room
And you will lose everything you save.

You can take your flowers and lay them on His tomb,
But I know he rose up from the grave.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Make Me Over

Lord make me, make me over,
Wash me clean in Living Water.
To love you more, more than before,
Lord, my Lord.

Lord wake me, to wake others,
Let me go and tell my brothers.
In every land, raise up Your Hand,
Lord, my Lord.

With a song on my lips and a yearnin’ in my heart.
Let Your Spirit come and meet all of my needs.
There’s a River that flows, deep inside of me it goes,
Rushing forth to quench the thirst in me.

Lord fill me, with Your Spirit.
Speak Your Word, let me hear it.
Open my eyes, open my heart,
Lord, my lord.

This is one of my favorite songs. It was written by Pastor Michael Wilshire of Cornerstone Church of The Roanoke Valley Virginia.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Miracles Happen

For most of his daughter's three years, Gashawoy Asfaw Tessema has had to flush her colon out with water every three days to keep her alive.

In between, he prayed.

Last month, his prayers were answered when the toddler was brought to Cincinnati from her native Ethiopia for the complicated surgery that saved her life. It was largely the generosity of the local community - particularly one tiny Covington church - that made it all happen.

The 50-member West Covington Baptist Church launched a campaign last winter to bring 3-year-old Kalkidan to Cincinnati after learning she was dying of Hirschsprung's disease, a defect which shuts down much of the colon. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center operates the world's only center specializing in the treatment of pediatric colo-rectal problems like Hirschsprung's.

After learning of the little girl's plight, the hospital agreed to perform her surgery at no cost. But her father - an evangelist earning about $50 a month - still needed visas and more than $7,000 to make the trans-Atlantic trip.

The local community responded to that call.

After stories in The Kentucky Post earlier this summer, thousands of donated dollars and services poured in to West Covington Baptist Church, which brought Kalkidan and her father to Cincinnati in early July for surgery July 14. Two weeks later, Kalkidan - who her father said once rarely cracked a smile - giggled constantly as she played with stuffed animals at the Ronald McDonald House in Avondale, where she and her father are staying.

The 29-year-old father spoke softly in his native Amharic of his daughter's transformation. Translator Hareg Fissehaye relayed his words in English.

"She used to hate me, I think, because I always had to do the enemas. And mostly she didn't smile much before the surgery," he said. "But now she's very happy and laughing. My wife and me were always expecting this laughing, but I've never seen this laughing until now. ... Now we have more fun together, and she tells me she loves me and that she will share with me always whatever she has.

"It's very hard to explain what has happened to us. First, we were in the dark, and now we are in the light. I can't believe we are here. We are very, very happy." Kalkidan's doctor here, Colo-rectal Center Associate Director Dr. Marc Levitt, said Kalkidan is receiving approximately $40,000 in free medical services. He said Children's Hospital agreed to donate its services because her case was ideally suited to the hospital's mission.

"The hospital recognizes that this center can take care of things like this that can't be (treated) anywhere else in the world," Levitt said. "This was an ideal case because it was complicated ... and we felt it was unique enough that we could really help her. There was really nowhere else for this little girl to turn."

Levitt said the 8-hour surgery removed the dysfunctional part of Kalkidan's colon and connected her remaining healthy colon to her anus, allowing her to have normal bowel function. Levitt said Kalkidan is thriving since the operation, but she will remain in the country another month to ensure there are no complications.

"She is a very special little girl - tough and very bright. ... And her father is a unique individual who has really gotten into the nitty-gritty of taking care of her. ... He has saved her life ... to get her here. So I thanked him and the (West Covington Baptist Church) congregation that pulled this off," Levitt said. "He said he was just observing God's work. I told him, 'It's your job to point out to us what is God's work.' ... And it truly is God's work because they made a miracle occur here."

More miracles may be needed as Kalkidan heads home to a place with very little food and even less medical care. Tessema's eyes well up as he speaks of his fears for his only child's future. He whispers that he would much rather leave her with a family here than put her in harm's way again, although he knows the Ethiopian government has mandated they must both return soon.

"But, myself and my wife, we have huge questions on her future. We have no hospital, no labs, no X-rays. There is no doctor. I am worried. ... My main fear is she will not get enough food or the medicine she needs. I know what it is like in the place we live, and we cannot afford to live in a better place like Addis Ababa (Ethiopia's capital). ... So I am fearful."

But the church community that pulled off Kalkidan's small miracle is not about to abandon her or her worried father now.

The missionaries and West Covington Baptist are mulling ideas about helping the family by possibly establishing a trust and devising a plan should she need medical care in Ethiopia.

"I think he (Tessema) is scared to death that she will go back to the way she was before ... and he did talk to us about the possibility of leaving her here with us," said Wilson. "As complimented as I am by that, I don't feel God is leading us in that direction. I think the doctors feel she can go back and lead a perfectly normal life in her country. And I think she will grow up to do great things in her country, too."

excerpted from the Cincinnati Post 08/07/2006

Saturday, August 05, 2006

We Did Not Listen, Therefore This Trouble Has Come Upon Us

Genesis 42:21. When the brothers stand for the first time before Joseph, they realize that the hand of God is at work. They have been brought low, and they know this is because of their past sin. And so they say to each other, "Indeed, we have sinned and are guilty because of what we did to our brother. We witnessed the pain of his very life when he pleaded with us and we did not listen. Therefore, has this trouble come upon us."

This principle is later transformed, as is always the case in the Torah, from narrative into mitzvah, law, and commandment. The Torah uses the very language of the Joseph narrative when it teaches about suffering.

God says, "For indeed if he or she cry out to me, I will hear their cry, and I will become enraged with you. … and it will be when he or she cries out to me, 'I will hear, for I am compassionate.'"

Exodus 22:21. Thou shalt not molest a stranger, nor afflict him: for yourselves also were strangers in the land of Egypt.You shall not hurt a widow or an orphan. If you hurt them, they will cry out to me, and I will hear their cry and my rage shall be enkindled, and I will strike you with the sword, and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.

It is obvious that we may not commit evil against another person. In this verse, the Torah is teaching us something new. A person may not be in a situation in which there is suffering and someone is crying out and the response is that of the brothers of Joseph: callous indifference.

We must hear the cry of their suffering in Lebanon. Evangelicals must hear the cry of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim citizens of Israel. Likewise we must also come to hear the cry of the nation of Israel.

What are the principles that we should use to understand what is happening, to more clearly discern the cries of the innocent? Yes, it is true that Hezbollah kidnapped "only" two soldiers, killed "only" eight, and fired many dozens of inaccurate missiles into Israeli towns on that day two weeks ago that initiated this latest conflagration. Yes, it is true that Israel responded with war against Hezbollah. That seems disproportional. Can the world hear that Israel's response is proportional to the threat? Or how does it imagine the proper Jewish response to the demonization of Israel, in which only one party to the conflict is held responsible from its very birth for all evil in the region?

Israel unilaterally withdrew from southern Lebanon six years ago. Despite sporadic hostilities inflicted across the border by Hezbollah, Israel has kept the peace by not responding to the provocations, Israel's message was clear: peace at almost, but not any, price.

During those six years, Hezbollah (with the blood of more than 200 American Marine peacekeepers on their hands) was allowed by all those who sat in Lebanon, by all those who were in witness, to function as no group may function in a civil, democratic society, to run a military state within a state, to arm itself with thousands of rockets and missiles that have no target other than Israel's civilian population, to develop an armed force of its own, unaccountable to the struggling democracy that is Lebanon and supported by two states that have called for the "erasure" of Israel.

It is the responsibility of the Jewish people in relationship with Christians to assert at one and the same time the moral obligation to practice self-defense and the acknowledgement of the suffering that brings upon the innocent. This is the dilemma of the moral person in an immoral world. There is shared responsibility.

The Christian who sits in Lebanon must acknowledge that he or she, with nary a word of protest in the past six years, has witnessed this murderous group build huge stores of rockets with the purpose of raining down upon the civilian population of Israel, and to embed themselves in the midst of the civilian populations. How was it allowed that armed terrorists could take up residence in hundreds of Lebanese homes to play upon Israel's excruciating difficulty in attacking the wicked who dwell in the midst of the righteous?

And in response to this, Israel does what no other army in the world does: She announces in advance where she will bomb, thus giving the enemy the opportunity to flee. Or worse yet, to lie in ambush. When Israel bombs, and Lebanese civilians die, that is a mistake, a failure, and unintentional—and it is mourned, painfully regretted, and not forgotten. When Hezbollah rockets fall on Israeli civilians, it is purposeful, a success, and intentional—and celebrated as a victory.

Already palpable is the Jewish people's anguish for the loss of civilian life and for human suffering in Lebanon. There will be more of this accompanied by deeds in the days and weeks to come. This will be based on the Torah's standard that even where there is no guilt, there is responsibility Deut.21:1-9.

1. If a man is found slain, lying in a field in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess, and it is not known who killed him, (2.) your elders and judges shall go out and measure the distance from the body to the neighboring towns. (3.) Then the elders of the town nearest the body shall take a heifer that has never been worked and has never worn a yoke( 4.) and lead her down to a valley that has not been plowed or planted and where there is a flowing stream. There in the valley they are to break the heifer's neck.

(5. )The priests, the sons of Levi, shall step forward, for the LORD your God has chosen them to minister and to pronounce blessings in the name of the LORD and to decide all cases of dispute and assault.

(6.) Then all the elders of the town nearest the body shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley, (7.) and they shall declare: "Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it done. (8. )Accept this atonement for your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, O LORD, and do not hold your people guilty of the blood of an innocent man." And the bloodshed will be atoned for.

(9. )So you will purge from yourselves the guilt of shedding innocent blood, since you have done what is right in the eyes of the LORD.

Indeed, Israel has in the past affirmed this principle for its armed forces. And how will the evangelical world learn to hear the Israeli sense of the threat that awaits on borders where evil crouches?

excerpts from an article by Rabbi Yehiel Poupko

Friday, August 04, 2006

Jesus Camp

There is a new documentary that is scheduled for release very soon. It is titled Jesus Camp.

It is about the youngest foot soldiers for the Lord in their native environment. Becky Fisher is a children's pastor who runs "Kids on Fire," a summer camp for evangelical Christian children in North Dakota. Fisher believes in the political and moral importance of a Christian presence in America, and uses her camp to reinforce the religious training most of her charges are already receiving at home (the majority of the campers are home-schooled by their parents).

Using video games, animated videos, and group activities to help put her message across, Fisher encourages the kids to pray for George W. Bush and his Supreme Court appointees while urging them to help "take back America for Christ." For the most part, the children seem reasonably ordinary beyond the fact they pray with uncommon fervor and sometimes speak in tongues.

Along with Fisher and her cohorts, Jesus Camp features interviews with Ted Haggard, an evangelist and advisor to George W. Bush, and Mike Papantonio, a Christian talk show host who believes the right-wing slant of many Christian evangelists is taking the church into a dangerous direction. Jesus Camp was directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.

Some controversy has raised it’s ugly head this past week. Michael Moore wanted to screen this feature at his film festival.

In case you aren't aware, Michael Moore has his own festival up in Michigan, where he showcases hand-picked films that he loves, as an alternative to the "assembly line" movies made in Hollywood. This year's festival begins next week, but without one of the films that Moore had planned on screening. Magnolia Pictures has pulled Jesus Camp so that the documentary will not be tainted by being associated with Moore. The distributor is hoping to market the film to Evangelical Pentecostals as well as to liberal documentary fans.

They are afraid that Mr. Moore will put his stamp on the film. He has a reputation for producing left wing documentaries that are somewhat beyond the pale.

As I read about this film it would appear that the producers fear Moore may equate the fervor at this Christian youth camp with an Al-Qaeda camp that trains young terrorists. While many Christians may not understand the traditions of the Pentecostal Church or even agree with their tenants, I believe as Christians we can all agree on the principal that the Word of God will not return void.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Why Is This Not On The Frontpage? Seattle Jew Shot and Killed - Five Are Wounded

Last week a Muslim from Seattle, Washington vented his hatred of Jews on 6 women that were in the town’s Jewish Center. He shot one woman to death and wounded the other five. In my opinion this is certainly newsworthy and deserving of the front page. Yet the big story over the past couple of days has been Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic, drunken tirade that occurred when he was arrested last Saturday.

Here is the story:

A mother-of-two who was shot dead when a Muslim gunman stormed the offices of a Jewish organisation was buried on Monday as the Seattle community tried to come to terms with the shocking attack.
Pam Waechter, 58, was killed and five others injured in the shooting spree at the downtown offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle on Friday in what the police are treating as a race-hate attack.

The suspect has been named by police as Naveed Afzal Haq, 30, who lives around 200 miles from Seattle. He appeared in court on Sunday where a judge ordered that he be held on $50 million bail pending formal charges of murder and attempted murder.

According to police reports, the suspect waited in hiding outside the organisation’s offices before grabbing a teenage girl as she entered the building. He then opened fire with two handguns before emergency response workers were able to convince him to surrender himself

Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske told reporters: “He said he wanted the United States to leave Iraq, that his people were being mistreated and that the United States was harming his people. And he pointedly blamed the Jewish people for all of these problems. He stated he didn’t care if he lived.”

Waechter, who was the Jewish Federation’s annual campaign director, was remembered during a funeral service at Temple B’nai Torah on Monday. She had been a member of the shul for some 30 years after converting to Judaism when she married four decades ago.

In a message on the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle website, the organisation’s head, Robin Boehler wrote: “I cannot express enough my personal sense of loss from the death of one of our dear friends, Pam Waechter, who many of you know well given her countless years of committed service to the local Jewish community. Pam was killed only yesterday and yet we feel her absence already.”

She added that “Cheryl Stumbo, Dayna Klein, Carol Goldman, Layla Bush and Christina Rexroad were shot and taken to Harborview Medical Center. We are hopeful that ongoing reports of their improving conditions continues”.
Muslim groups in the region expressed their sorrow at the incident and issued a plea for the Middle East conflict not to be “transplanted to this country”, while security at synagogues and mosques was beefed up, with a heavy police presence around Jewish institutions.

But Rabbi Marvin Hier, head of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, said: "We will not be intimidated. We will attend our Shabbat services and gather at our institutions. This is the United States of America and we have full confidence in our police to ensure the community's safety."

Mel Gibson has his own demons to deal with and I hope he seeks God's help. His words were hurtful, but not fatal. When a man decides to anihilate a group of people that he disagrees with due to religious, cultural or racial issues and he lives within the United States of America, I say this needs to be something that should be trumpeted much louder than Mel's issues.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

What Would Jesus Sell?

This week in Denver Colorado there is a convention going on for retailers of “Christian” merchandise. Marc is feeling nauseous about this. So here is a synopsis of what the money changers will be offering this year. (From Celebrity Theatre)

The fake rose petals strewn across the tablecloth gave Milton Hobbs' booth a romantic aura. He stacked crystal-cut perfume flasks in a pyramid and set out pink candles tied with ribbon. The effect was almost sexy -- at least compared with the other booths at the International Christian Retail Show.

Hobbs liked it. He needed a striking display to call attention to his most unusual product.

"Christian perfume," he said. "It's a really, really new genre. We're the first.”

“Virtuous Woman perfume comes packaged with a passage from Proverbs. But what makes the floral fragrance distinctly Christian,” Hobbs said, is that it's supposed to be a tool for evangelism.

More than 400 vendors packed the Colorado Convention Center in July to showcase the latest accessories for the Christian lifestyle. There were acres of the predictable: books, CDs, greeting cards, inspirational artwork, stuffed animals wearing "Jesus Loves You" T-shirts. Many of the newest items, however, put a religious twist on unexpected products -- marketed as means to reach the unsuspecting and unsaved.

Follow the Son flip-flops, for instance, have patterned soles that leave the message "Follow Jesus" in the sand. A start-up company called Christian Outdoorsman was taking orders for a camouflage baseball cap marked with a red cross. And, in Booth 235, Revelation Products of St. Louis was pitching Gospel Golf Balls with the slogan "a great golf ball with a greater purpose."

Manufactured by Top-Flite, the golf balls are printed with well-known verses from the Bible, such as John 3:16 ("For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son ..."). Dave Kruse, president of Revelation, said they were meant as "conversation starters," to help men share their faith while teeing up.

Michael McCarron has no time to contemplate capitulation.

Wearing a stars-and-stripes shirt and a harried look, the owner of Scripture Candy rushed about filling plates with samples of Christian chocolate for the more than 9,000 vendors and retailers who visited the five-day trade show. His company, based in Birmingham, Ala., sells an extensive line of candy packaged in little bags printed with Bible verses.

The candy is all top-quality, he said: "You can't put the word of God on something that someone will taste and go 'Blech!' and throw away."

McCarron absolutely believes his sweets can and do save souls. He once received a letter from a man who came across a Bible verse on a packet of candy corns while going through his son's trick-or-treat loot. "The verse touched him and he decided right there to stop drinking and go back to Christ," McCarron said.

Skin-tight, scoop-neck T-shirts for teenage girls bore slogans that practically begged those not in the know to ask questions. "Wood & nails -- a powerful partnership," one read. On another: "Life without you is not an option."

Would-be evangelists can carry little plastic key chains printed with the slogan "Got Christ?" They can serve their child's birthday cake on a paper tablecloth bearing the message "May God Bless You Today and Always." And for rebels with a cause, Good News Temporary Tattooz lets kids stamp their love for "JC" on their arms -- and rub it off next time they shower.

I know where you're coming from if you think it looks like we're merchandising or trivializing Christ, but this is a way to connect," said David Lingner, who developed the Christian Outdoorsman line, including a camouflage-print Bible cover.

Though she doesn't doubt the vendors' sincerity, Ellie Cupps was taken aback to see booth after booth of Christian kitsch. She and her husband, Don, had come to the trade show seeking handcrafted gift items for their two Catholic bookstores in Albuquerque, N.M. They had to search for them amid Queen Esther action figures, Christian pirate decals, David and Goliath balloons, Armor of God pajamas and Bible-based cartoon greeting cards.

"It's getting a little bit overboard," Cupps said. "It's faddish. If you can slap Jesus on it, it will sell."

I’m with you Ellie.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Leonard Cohen
This song has been used recently on several television shows. It was written by Leonard Cohen and sung by Jeff Buckley.

Jeff Buckley
Cohen is a wonderful tunesmith and poet. His lyrics are awesome and the simple but aggressive repetitive pattern of the tune pulls the listener into the song's message.

This song is perhaps Buckley's finest vocals. He passed away in 1997 at a very young age.


Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you do not really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah