Join us this Sunday as we begin a new teaching series, Elijah.
Print This Post
A great post by missionary Chatty Daniels.
Yesterday I cut my finger with a razor blade while working at Imani. Some of you may remember that Imani is a workshop for individuals who are HIV positive. I wasn’t in any danger as no one was bleeding except me and I was even working outside at the time but it made me think a little bit. These women are mostly between 20 and 40 years of age. Many of them have children and families. All of the have hobbies and dreams and ideas. I wonder if they ever sit and think, ‘how did my life become so different from other people my age?’ Granted, thanks to Imani, their lives aren’t so diffierent but when one is living with a disease inside of you that you know will one day be the likely cause of your death, things do change. How would you react? How would I react? Would you carry on with life as usual (which is the only choice most of these ladies have.) Or do you pretend to be the subject of the latest country song and jump out of planes and ride bulls and dance on the table tops?
So my day consisted of waiting for the vet to come and treat one of our cows and give the puppy a rabies shot. I then went into town and greeted some people at the market before heading to Imani to visit with the ladies and do some work with them. I then ran (stopping only to buy a new coloring book and colored pencils) to meet Steve (if you remember he was the only name I heard out of the 33 youth my first meeting) for lunch in some shady, but tasty, little cafe. Steve then helped me find my friends who were spending their last day in Eldoret before going to Mombasa, 18 hours away! After he left I had to help them find some take away food for the bus and a super market. I then, picked up some random food stuffs I needed (like milk in a bag… odd) and carried it all the 6K back to the compound, stopping to pick up a couple kilos of potatos and a quarter watermelon closer to home. During my long walk home I had that same question in mind. How did my life become so different from other people my age. This month has been full of weddings and engagements, new jobs and school holidays. Now-a-days there are many more white folk around town as its time for good christian americans to be about their summer mission trips. I look at all of this and then I look at my life. Hand washing my basket of clothes, looking back over the school on the hill to see if rain will fall before they dry, commenting on the status of various crops, drinking 4 cups of chai a day and talking about peace and reconciliation, cutting up a torn pair of jeans and converting it into dog toys, head bands and other useful items… How did my life get so different? When I spoke this weekend at the girls school they had sung a song ‘he leadeth me’ OLD SCHOOL! But i mentioned to them that THAT song is my life. He leads me in good and bad and if I choose to really follow he will lead me to a life that is dramatically different from what I ever could have imagined by looking at the world around me. There are days when I think a normal life might not have been so bad… then there’s every other day when I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that where he’s lead me is EXACTLY the best place and time and purpose I could hope to be experiencing!Print This Post
BARBERTON, Ohio — A developer has found new life for an old church in northeast Ohio by redesigning it as a workout center.
Developer and bodybuilder Al Horvath converted a Methodist church in Barberton into a training facility he calls Faith Gym.
Horvath kept the church's original 1892 stained-glass windows and added murals depicting such biblical characters as David and Goliath and Samson and Delilah.
He created a Superman theme for the church's sanctuary and replaced the pews with rows of workout equipment. He donated the pews to a Kentucky church gutted by fire.
Horvath bought the building in 2005 after the former Moore Memorial United Methodist Church merged with another Methodist church and moved out. He says he's targeting people just beginning exercise programs and experienced athletes accustomed to strenuous workouts.
Information from: Akron Beacon Journal
We are wrapping up the One Prayer series this weekend with a message by Francis Chan; "God is Strength". Francis is a gifted speaker and writer. If you want to get a preview, check out his Crazy Love book website.Print This Post
Religious bigotry is alive and well in the scientific community, as evidenced by its response to President Obama's decision to appoint Dr. Francis Collins as the head of the National Institutes of Health.
Though renowned for leading the team of scientists that successfully mapped the human genome, Dr. Collins is making headlines for something else: his faith.
In spite of his professional qualifications and accomplishments, many in the scientific community are less than enthusiastic about the president's decision to appoint a self-described evangelical Christian to lead the world's leading organization for scientific research.
This skepticism results from a prejudice against a theistic worldview that has become entrenched in the scientific community—an irrational attitude born of historical ignorance and intellectual myopathy that is increasingly dismissive of moral questions and ethical concerns.
The idea that a tension exists between science and theism is relatively new.
The most brilliant philosophical minds of the western intellectual tradition—dating all the way back to the time of Plato and Aristotle—operated on the assumption that our existence came into being through the actions of a divine creator, described as the First Cause or Unmoved Mover.
For centuries after, theology reigned as queen of the sciences, and scientific inquiry was animated by the belief that human reason was a gift imparted by God so that man might gain knowledge about him, his attributes, and the laws which govern his creation.
Without this belief that the physical world is the result of an intentional design governed by fixed laws—laws which we discover through reason and experience—there would have been little cause to engage in scientific pursuits.
Faith in the goodness of God's creation and the intelligibility of its design inspired history's great minds to forge ahead into new worlds of knowledge and discovery.
Indeed, many of the great heroes of science pioneered their discoveries under the auspices of this inspiration.
Groundbreaking advances in astronomy, chemistry, physics, mathematics, genetics, and other fields of knowledge were made by men dedicated to systematically investigating God's creation—men like Copernicus, Kepler, Pascal, Boyle, Kelvin, Mendel, and Faraday.
Over time, however, the scientific community came to question whether the advancement of human knowledge might be better served by separating itself from ethical constraints arising out of religious beliefs.
The idea that man should be guided by transcendent moral principles in his quest for answers to life's mysteries, the idea that some boundaries should not be crossed, was an intolerable thought. Scientists wanted to answer the question "can I?" without having to ask "should I?"
Hence today, when a man who professes faith in the risen Christ is given the reigns of America's preeminent scientific organization, eyebrows raise in skepticism.
Prominent atheists like Richard Dawkins go on late-night TV talk shows to denounce the ridiculous notion that any intelligent person, let alone a scientist, could actually embrace the fantastic teachings of the Bible.
Believing that the world is the result of an intentional act of creation on the part of a benevolent and loving God is likened to believing in unicorns or the tooth fairy—Peter Pan fantasies embraced by those too young or too dumb to cope with the cold hard facts of reality.
Regardless of the specifics of Dr. Collins's Christian identity, the idea that his faith impedes his fitness to serve as the head of the NIH operates on the absurd premise that only atheists and agnostics are capable of being good scientists. One might argue the precise opposite of this.
If, as previously stated, the origin of scientific inquiry was based upon the belief that the physical world operates according to fixed and intelligible laws, one might ask what kind of foundation underlies a scientific worldview which denies an intelligent design or an ultimate purpose?
If there's no designer, no fixed laws, no first principles, then there is no real meaning—no context in which to evaluate the value and significance of newly acquired knowledge.
When there is no acknowledged moral source to draw a clear line between the permissible and the forbidden, then human curiosity and ambition are left as the only arbiters of science's use.
Those who profess a commitment to science while rejecting a belief in God want to expand the breadth of scientific inquiry without being subject to ethical constraints. Inevitably, this kind of thinking leads to manipulating or destroying the weaker among us in order to empower the stronger.
This is the philosophy that has animated some of our history's most gruesome acts of scientific "experimentation," and it is espoused today by none other than President Obama's "science czar," John Holdren, who has advocated forced abortion and mass sterilization in the name of environmental responsibility.
If this is the kind of ideology that results when the age-old relationship between faith and science is destroyed, then Dr. Collins' "embrace" of religion is the least of America's troubles.Print This Post
We pray to Jesus asking Him to answer our prayers - what if we became the answer to His? In John 17:20-24, He prayed that we would be one, and One Prayer is an opportunity to see what can be accomplished when the Church works together.
In June 2008, God worked in amazing ways as more than two million believers stood together to pray, fast, learn, and love others. This year, we'll be joining forces once again for an extraordinary worldwide experience: One Prayer 2009.
Last year, One Prayer churches partnered to make an eternal difference in the world through an ambitious mission initiative: planting 500 new churches in Cambodia, India, Sudan, and China in 18 months. With the funds from just one offering collected during One Prayer 2008, more than 660 churches have been planted! The Gospel is being spread throughout remote villages around the globe, and lives are changing so dramatically that people around them want to learn more about this Jesus who can heal and restore those who seemed without hope. Here's a look at the latest info from the field:
Pastors Enrolled: 609
Evangelistic Contacts: 65,563
Bible Study Participants: 44,618
Churches Planted: 667
Join us this Sunday as we continue the One Prayer series.Print This Post
AP - The nation's largest group of atheists and agnostics filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to block an architect from engraving "In God We Trust" and the Pledge of Allegiance at the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington.
The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in western Wisconsin, claims the taxpayer-funded engravings would be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.
The House and Senate passed identical resolutions this month directing the Architect of the Capitol to engrave "In God We Trust" and the pledge in prominent places at the entrance for 3 million tourists who visit the Capitol each year.
The resolution came in response to critics who complained Congress spent $621 million on the new three-story underground center without paying respect to the nation's religious heritage. The center opened in December after years of construction.
The foundation is seeking a court order to stop the engravings, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will cost less than $100,000.
"In God We Trust" has been the national motto since 1956 and has appeared on U.S. currency since 1957.
The lawsuit says both the motto and the words "under God" in the pledge were adopted during the Cold War as anti-communism measures. Engraving them at the entrance to the U.S. Capitol would discriminate against those who do not practice religion and unfairly promote a Judeo-Christian perspective, it says.
Members of Congress who supported the measure swiftly denounced the lawsuit.
"This lawsuit is another attempt by liberal activists to rewrite history and deny that America's Judeo-Christian heritage is an essential foundation stone of our great nation," said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.
Rep. Daniel Lungren, R-Calif., said he was expecting a lawsuit but called the claims "patently absurd."
The foundation also is challenging the constitutionality of the National Day of Prayer in federal court.Print This Post
I was reading last night and Ephesians 4:25 made me stop and reread it several times.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
Paul is writing at length about maturity. In a short sentence, Paul gives us all something to consider. Since we are all one body within Christ, speak the truth, otherwise you are just lying to everyone, including yourself. The whole chapter has many nuggets of wisdom, verse 25 just hit me in a different way. My prayer is that someone needed to hear that today.Print This Post
Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection may be able to explain how living creatures can evolve from one form to another, but it cannot explain how something that was not alive evolved into the first life on Earth.
Stephen C. Meyer, a Cambridge trained scholar in the philosophy of science, does have an explanation for how life on Earth began: the DNA in every cell of every creature shows unmistakable evidence of having been deliberately designed by an intelligent being.
This is a rather lengthy article but very interesting. Read the full article at CNSNews.com.Print This Post
The surviving pages of the world's oldest Christian Bible have been reunited — digitally.
The early work known as the Codex Sinaiticus has been housed in four separate locations across the world for more than 150 years.
But starting Monday, it became available for perusal on the Web at http://www.codexsinaiticus.org so scholars and other readers can get a closer look at what the British Library calls a "unique treasure."
"[The book] offers a window into the development of early Christianity and firsthand evidence of how the text of the Bible was transmitted from generation to generation," said Scot McKendrick, head of Western manuscripts at the British Library.
As it survives today, Codex Sinaiticus comprises just over 400 large leaves of prepared animal skin, each of which measures 15 inches by 13.5 inches (380 millimeters by 345 millimeters). It is the oldest book that contains a complete New Testament and is only missing parts of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha.
The 4th-century book, written in Greek, has been digitally reunited in a project involving groups from Britain, Germany, Russia and Egypt, which each possessed parts of the 1,600-year-old manuscript.
They worked together to publish new research into the history of the Codex and transcribed 650,000 words over a four-year period.
The Codex was both a key Christian text and "a landmark in the history of the book, as it is arguably the oldest large-bound book to have survived," McKendrick said.
Codex Sinaiticus, which loosely translated means "the book from Sinai," was discovered at the Monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai by German Bible scholar Constantine Tischendorf in the mid-19th century. Much of it eventually wound up in Russia — just how exactly the British Library won't say, citing lingering sensitivity over the circumstances surrounding its removal from the monastery.
The British Library bought 347 pages from Soviet authorities in 1933. Forty-three pages are at the University Library in Leipzig, Germany, and six fragments are at the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg. And in 1975, monks stumbled on 12 more pages and 40 fragments stashed in a hidden room at the monastery at Mount Sinai.
Juan Garces, the Codex Sinaiticus project manager, said putting the book online was a "definitely a historical moment."
"It's special because it's the oldest almost completely preserved bible," Garces said.
Garces said the only other Bible that rivals Codex Sinaiticus in age is the Codex Vaticanus, which was written around the same time but lacks parts of the New Testament.
"It's such an important book — that's why it should be accessible," Garces said. "If you would have liked to see it before you would have had to travel to four countries in two continents. If you want to see the manuscript right now all you have to do is go online and experience it for yourself."
On the Codex parchment leaves is written around half of the Old Testament and Apocrypha, the whole of the New Testament and two early Christian texts not found in modern Bibles. Most of the first part of the Bible manuscript — containing most of the so-called historical books, from Genesis to 1 Chronicles — is missing and presumed to be lost.
Garces said Codex Sinaiticus was handwritten by four scribes. Experts had previously believed there were only three, but researchers at the British Library looked at the script with high quality digital imaging that revealed the hand of a fourth penman.
"From Parchment to Pixel: The Virtual Reunification of the Codex Sinaiticus," an exhibit about the Bible's reunification process, opened at the British Library on Monday and runs until Sept. 7.
The digitized manuscript includes more than 800 pages and fragments, including the pages discovered in 1975 — published for the first time.
"There's a high demand," Garces said. "Our Web site has crashed because people want to look at it."Print This Post
Yesterday, Jon talked about the Two Debtors parable and the surrounding story of dinner at the Pharisee Simon's home. At the end of his message, he asked the tough question, "How much are you like the Simon?"
Have you ever heard the saying "Don't point a finger at someone else because four fingers are pointing back at you"? I have a masters degree in pointing a finger and then analyzing the four hypocritical fingers pointing back at me. The sad and humbling aspect of it is just how easy it is to uncover areas of my life that imitate my pointing finger. It is after the quick analysis that I realize what an idiot I am and how much I need the grace of God.
The Stuff Jesus Made Up series has come to a close. It has been a a great learning series from three levels: historal background, a new perspective of God and introspection.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - What happens when you put a Muslim imam, a Christian priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist monk in a room with 10 atheists?
Turkish television station Kanal T hopes the answer is a ratings success as it prepares to launch a gameshow where spiritual guides from the four faiths will seek to convert a group of non-believers.
The prize for converts will be a pilgrimage to a holy site of their chosen religion -- Mecca for Muslims, the Vatican for Christians, Jerusalem for Jews and Tibet for Buddhists.
But religious authorities in Muslim but secular Turkey are not amused by the twist on the popular reality game show format and the Religious Affairs Directorate is refusing to provide an imam for the show.
"Doing something like this for the sake of ratings is disrespectful to all religions. Religion should not be a subject for entertainment programs," High Board of Religious Affairs Chairman Hamza Aktan told state news agency Anatolian after news of the planned program emerged.
The makers of "Penitents Compete" are unrepentant and reject claims that the show, scheduled to begin broadcasting in September, will cheapen religion.
"We are giving the biggest prize in the world, the gift of belief in God," Kanal T chief executive Seyhan Soylu told Reuters.
"We don't approve of anyone being an atheist. God is great and it doesn't matter which religion you believe in. The important thing is to believe," Soylu said.
The project focuses attention on the issue of religious identity in European Union-candidate Turkey, where rights groups have raised concerns over freedom of religion for non-Muslim minorities.
Detractors of the ruling AK Party government, which is rooted in political Islam but officially secular, accuse it of having a hidden Islamist agenda, a charge it denies.
Some 200 people have so far applied to take part in the show and the 10 contestants will be chosen next month.
A team of theologians will ensure that the atheists are truly non-believers and are not just seeking fame or a free holiday.
(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Dominic Evans)Print This Post