Monday, November 30, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Get Ready for the Holidays
By Jim Burns
For many of us, the holiday season is a time that is anticipated with both joy and anxiety. Sure, we love the celebrations, the family traditions, and we cherish the memories of holidays gone by; but along with them, we add the stresses of preparation, expectations and the fear of letdowns, or family squabbles that we have experienced in the past. Here are ten tips that I’ve found to be helpful in getting ready for an enjoyable, meaningful holiday season.
1. Set manageable expectations. Spend some time now setting realistic and manageable expectations for your holiday season. Understand that you can’t do everything! Be realistic about what you can do. Make a priority list of your most important events and activities for you and your family. Then, pace yourself. Organize your time. Keep in mind that it’s the holiday “season” (not “day”) and spread out your activities to lessen stress and increase enjoyment.
2. Remember the holiday season does not eliminate sadness or loneliness. Problems and difficulties arise even during the holiday season. And, for some, the holiday season evokes painful memories of events or the loss of loved ones in the past. Give room for yourself and your family to experience these feelings. Try not to let them become a consuming focus. Make an effort to work through present challenges and conflicts.
3. Acknowledge the past, but look toward the future. Life brings changes. Each season of life is different. Determine to enjoy this holiday season for what it is. Acknowledging the past, whether it was good or bad, is appropriate. But, if you find that this year has been a rough one and you don’t anticipate having the best holiday season ever, try not to set yourself up by comparing today with the “good old days.” Take advantage of the joys the present holiday season has to offer.
4. Develop and encourage a life of gratitude. Gratitude is an attribute that transcends circumstances. No matter what your circumstances, I believe there is reason to be thankful in them. Your circumstances may never change, but your attitude toward them can change…and this can make all the difference. Christians have a special reason to adopt the attitude of gratitude, because we know that whatever comes, our times are in God's hands. It was Jesus who said, in effect, "So don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow, too." (See Matthew 6:34.)
If you want to help your kids develop an attitude of gratitude, I encourage you to try an experiment that might radically influence your family. It’s called “Thank Therapy.” Thank Therapy is simply focusing on the many things in your life for which you can be thankful. Get started by having each family member create individual lists, of “Twenty Reasons Why I’m Thankful.” Thank Therapy is simply an act of the will to concentrate on the good and not the bad.
5. Do something for someone else. One of the ways we can demonstrate that we are grateful to God for His many blessings is to help others. To get more out of this holiday season, try getting involved in serving others.
6. Enjoy activities that are cheap or free. There are many good holiday-related activities that will add to your family’s enjoyment, such as driving around to look at holiday decorations, baking Christmas cookies, going window-shopping, and playing in the snow.
7. Enjoy a family holiday tradition. Traditions provide opportunities to keep your family’s legacy going. They create meaningful memories. So, from the silly to the sentimental, if your family has some holiday traditions, if possible, be sure to include them in your holiday activity plans.
8. Try something new. Celebrate the holidays in a new way. You may just create a new tradition that will keep going for generations!
9. Spend money responsibly. The holiday season brings with it a big temptation to spend money beyond your means and to rack up significant credit card debt, especially when it comes to purchasing Christmas presents for your family. Just say no! While your family may be thrilled by your gifts on Christmas Day, don’t forget that come springtime, your kids may well have laid aside or forgotten those gifts, even while you’re struggling to make the payments. Decide now to be financially responsible this holiday season!
10. Carve out some time for yourself! Don’t take on all of the responsibilities of your family’s holiday celebrations by yourself. Share the load. Create some space during the holidays for you to recharge your own batteries.
Printed by permission of HomeWord. For additional information on HomeWord, visit www.homeword.com or call 800-397-9725.
Monday, November 23, 2009
We had an installation service Sunday. Andrew Walker received his Local Preacher's License. Sue Lochmueller is now Minister of Visitation and Children's Ministries. Keith Kiper is now the Minister of Media. Joe Wriston retains his position as Assistant Pastor/Wesleyan Men and is still Pastor of our sister church in Dale Indiana, Faith Pointe Wesleyan. We had a special Thanksgiving Service at Ron Knirs' house followed by snacks.Our Woodmont service will be on Tuesday this week only at 6:30PM. You can view more photos in the left hand column of this blog in our Facebook Fan Page section. A special Thank-you to Eugene Heidorn for the morning service photos.
God’s Gift of Hope
I’ve got a confession to make. I watched that movie again. The one called “It’s a Wonderful Life.” My favorite line in that movie comes pretty close to the beginning. Clarence, the second class angel, is about to get his assignment. Clarence’s superior tells him, “You’ve got to go and help George Baley.” Clarence says, “Well, what is it? Is the guy sick?” The angel says, “No, no. It’s worse than that. He’s discouraged.” I love that line because it’s true. Discouragement, the lack of hope, can be a lot worse than physical illness.
There’s a guy by the name of Major Harold Cushner, who was a P.O.W. in Vietnam. He talks about the devastating effect of hopelessness on human beings. He describes one twenty-four year old Marine, also a P.O.W. in Vietnam. He went to his captors and promised he’d do whatever it took to help them if they promised to let him go. They said, “Sure.” He became a model prisoner, cooperating in every way he could. But after a while it became clear that they were lying to him; they weren’t going to let him go. Major Cushner describes it this way; “When the full realization of this took hold, he became a zombie. He refused to do any work, and he rejected all offers of food and encouragement. He simply lay on his cot, sucking his thumb. In a matter of weeks, he was dead.” I would guess that if there was one word to describe the cause of death, it would be “hopelessness.”
The human spirit needs hope to survive and to thrive. One expert said, “Since my early years as a physician, I’ve learned that taking away hope is, for most people, like pronouncing a death sentence. Their already hard-pressed will to live can become paralyzed, and they may give up and die.”
The writers of the Bible recognized this over 2500 years ago. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” It’s not surprising that if God created human beings with this craving for hope, that it would make sense that He would also serve as our ultimate hope. In fact Romans 15:13 describes God as the God of hope. There are 95 references to “hope” in the Old Testament. There are another 85 references in the New Testament. The theme of hope is woven all throughout Scripture. And that’s our theme today as we get ready to enter into this season on the eve of a New Year.
George Gallup has said, “People in many nations appear to be searching, with new intensity, for spiritual moorings.” Why is that? He said, “One of the key factors prompting this search is a need for hope in these troubled times.”
The point we want to make is that the God of the Bible is that source of hope; that God offers a hope that is so powerful that it can transform a person’s life and rewrite that person’s eternity.
That’s not the kind of hope we think of when we use the word in everyday conversation. Sometimes when we talk about hope, what we really mean is “wishful thinking.” What’s that? Wishful thinking is when we try to hope things in or out of existence. We blow out the candles on our birthday cake and say, “I hope I have another year of health and happiness.” We pick up the Wall Street Journal and say, “I hope my Blue Chips have gone up again, finally.” Wishful thinking is that kind of hopeful feeling that somehow, someway, things are going to go the way we want them to, even though we really have no power over the situation. We don’t have any power to make it happen.
Another kind of hopeful attitude is “blind optimism.” Now, I think it’s great to be an optimistic person. I tend to be one myself. But some optimists see everything through rose colored glasses. They paper over their problems as if they didn’t exist. They avert their eyes from the ugliness of the world. To them, everything is just fine all the time.
Like the sign on the bulletin board at the grocery store that read, “Lost. Dog with three legs; blind in left eye; missing right ear; broken tail; and recently neutered. Answers to the name, ‘Lucky.’” We can call him “Lucky” all we want, but he’s not a lucky dog. And sometimes people, in their blind optimism will pretend thing are great … when they’re not. That’s not biblical hope.
And then there are ambitious dreams. These are those lofty goals that we tend to set right about this time of year. We set this lofty goal; “Next year I’m going to retire.” We’ve been saving the money and carefully watching our portfolio. Or we say, “This next year, I’m really going to improve my golf game.” So we go out to the practice range and we really practice hard. Now, all of that is fine, it’s wonderful to set ambitious goals and then to work toward achieving them. The problem is that often we are restricted by our own limitations, or by things that are outside of our control. I can go to the practice range day after day and hit buckets of balls, but I will never realize the dream of beating Tiger Woods. Can’t even beat Ray Meinert! Thousands of people had the ambitious dream of retiring with a modest nest egg, but then the market crashed, and their dreams were dashed.
Let’s contrast wishful thinking and blind optimism and ambitious dreams with biblical hope. For most people, hoping is something that they do. But the Bible talks about hope as something that we can have. See the difference? The world thinks of hope as an action, something we do. The Bible says that hope is something we have; we can possess it; we can own it; we can grab a hold of it.
For someone who follows Jesus Christ, here is a definition of hope. Hope is the confident expectation that God is willing and able to fulfill His promises to us. God is not only able, He is willing to fulfill the promises He has made to you.
The Bible refers to this as living hope, because it is always directly linked to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:4 says; “In [God’s] great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you.”
Through His resurrection, Jesus Christ demonstrated once and for all, beyond any doubt, that He is God, and that He really does possess the power to fulfill the promises that He makes to us. Promises that He’ll change our lives; promises that He’ll guide us; promises that He will walk side by side with us through the storms of life; promises that He will grant us eternal life in heaven with Him. The resurrection is an actual, physical event of history that sealed Christ’s identity as being the God who loves us and who is committed to helping us.
Hebrews 6:19 tells us; “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Think on that. Our hope is only as good as what it is attached to; as what it is anchored to. Hope, in and of itself, has no power. We can wish for something, we can hope for something, we might make ourselves feel a little better about it, but the only way hope as any real power is when it is anchored to the God who has real power. And not only real power, but a real desire, out of His love for us, to help us.
Why do Christians have hope? First, we have hope because we are absolved of our past. We are absolved of our past. Lamentations 3:21 tells us; “This I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning.” We can live with hope as followers of Jesus Christ. Because even though we may fail God, which we all do; and even though we may fail our children or parents in some way, which we all do; and even though we may fail our partner in some way, which we all do; even so … God’s compassion, His forgiveness, His absolution for those wrongs we’ve done in our past … is a renewable resource. It is never exhausted. It is fresh and available every single day.
Remember the movie City Slickers? In one of the scenes, one of the characters breaks down sobbing. He confesses that his wife had caught him in adultery and had left him; his wife’s father was his boss, so he’d lose his job. He was nearly 40 years old, and he was afraid that he had wasted his life. His friends tried to cheer him up and reminded him that when they were kids together, and the ball got stuck up in a tree or something, they’d call out “Do over.” They told him, “Your life is a do over!”
When I heard them say that, I thought, “Where is this guy … whose life is a mess … going to get a do over? Where’s he going to get a fresh slate … if not from Jesus Christ?” Jesus Christ is in the do over business! That’s His job; that’s His ministry; that’s His mission!
To give “do overs” to people like us. God says, “I forgive you; I absolve you of your past; because My compassions are new every morning. They never fail.”
Isn’t this the perfect time to ask God for a do over? If you feel weighed down by guilt in your life over something … the way you treated your kids while they were growing up … a marriage that fell apart … whatever it is … why would you want to carry this backpack of guilt into a whole new year? God is saying, “”My mercies are fresh every day.” In 1 John 1:9 God says, “You don’t have to wonder if I’ll forgive you. You just ask Me. Confess your sin, and I will forgive you.” The question is, are we going to ask?
The second reason Christians can have hope is because we are assured of our future. We are assured of our future.
Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ and other great books, spent the first 30 years of his life as an atheist. He tells how he woke up so many times in the middle of the night, looking into the blackness. He said that’s how his soul felt. Blackness. He realized there was nothing after he died. He realized that when he died everything he was, everything he had, would be buried in a casket, and that’s it. Talk about a prescription for hopelessness! And yet one out of every six Americans believe there is nothing after this life. No wonder there is hopelessness in our nation! It’s a hopelessness so black that people can’t face it.
So, some people engage in blind optimism. They say, “I just won’t think about it. Maybe by the time I get sick and I’m ready to die, they’ll find some cure for whatever it is I have.” Or they pursue ambitious dreams. They say, “Hey, I’ll lose thirty pounds, cut my cholesterol in half, I’ll extend my lifespan through discipline and self-control and hard work.”
Those defense mechanisms can make people feel alright for a while, but … there is one really ugly statistic in this world. And that is … death plays a perfect game. One out of one dies. That’s 100 percent.
I’ve learned over the years that how we face death says a whole lot about how we face life. And when we are assured of a future in eternity with God, then we have a sense of confidence and boldness and courage in this world. It turns us from hopelessness to hope.
Back before Nancy Kerrigan became real famous, she was filmed for a documentary on up and coming figure skaters. They filmed her doing this beautiful routine; then they panned down to a shot of her mother. She’s standing in front of a large TV monitor, with her face pressed against the screen. At age 31, she became virtually blind. Here her daughter was just a few feet away, skating this beautiful routine. And her mom is trying to watch her on the monitor. The correspondent asked her, “What do you see?” She said, “Well, I see a bit of color. I can see movement, I guess it’s when Nancy jumps. I can’t really tell.” Then she began to cry. She said, “But I can’t see her face. I can’t see my daughter’s face.”
When I saw that, I thought, “That’s how I feel.” Unlike Lee Strobel, who was an atheist until he was thirty, I’ve been a Christian all of my life. And over the years, I have felt the Lord’s presence in my life. Sometimes it’s been a powerful feeling; sometimes not. I have felt the liberation that came when I finally realized He forgave me, and continues to forgive me. I have sensed His presence that comforts me when I’ve gone through tough times. I have sensed His gentle guidance when He’s led me through some tough choices in life. He’s very real to me at times. But I can’t see His face. I can’t see His face, and I want to. And I know that some day … I have the confident expectation that God is going to fulfill His promises to me … that one day I will stand in the presence of Jesus Christ, and I will look Him fully in His face. And it will be the greatest moment in my life! There will be nothing like that moment when we first “drink in” the face of Jesus.
Death is not something to be afraid of when we are assured of our future. So, here’s my question. As we approach a new year, why would you want to spend another 365 days wondering? “Is it going to be oblivion, or is it going to be the face of Jesus Christ?” Do we want to spend another year uncertain of our future? I don’t think so. So, what do we do?
Look at Titus 3, there in the outline; “He saved us through his mercy – not by virtue of any moral achievement of ours … We are acquitted by his grace, and can look forward in hope to inheriting eternal life.”
Where do we get that hope? One more story.
The summer when I was 8 years old, I stole a book off the Book Sale table at church. The pastor saw me take it, and he called my grandma, since he knew I was spending the month with her. She called me into the front room and said, “Bobby, what book did you steal from church?” I broke into hysterics! “I’m sorry, Grandma! I didn’t mean to steal it. I don’t know why I did it. I’ll never do it again! I promise! Cross my heart and hope to die!” Actually, I was so humiliated, I did hope to die! Grandma said, “I know, dear. I know you won’t do it again. But that doesn’t take care of now. Here’s what you’re going to do. First, you and I are going to church and you are going to apologize to Pastor. Then you’re going to pay for the book. Pastor said it cost $2.00. You’ll pay for that, and then you’re going to pay three times that much as a punishment. That’s $6.00. Do you think that’s fair?”
I didn’t have six dollars. Why did she think I stole the book in the first place? But I didn’t say that. In fact, I was terrified! I knew I was in deep weeds then. Where was I going to get the money? So I said, “Yeah, that’s fair … I guess.” I was still in tears. I felt hopelessness … despair … “What’s going to happen?” I thought.
Then Grandma did an amazing thing. She got up and went over to the china hutch and got down the cookie jar. She took out several folded bills and counted out six tattered dollars. She handed me the money and said, “I just want to teach you something about Jesus. Bobby, here’s the $6.00 for you. I want to pay your penalty so that you don’t have to. Now, why would I do that?” she asked me. “I don’t know.” “I’m doing it because I love you. You are valuable to me. Because I care about you. So I want you to take the money. We’ll go down to church and you can pay Pastor back. But I want you to remember something always. Jesus loves you, too. And this little $6.00 paying for your penalty … that’s just a little taste of what Jesus has done for you.”
I wish I could fully describe for you the look on my face. Relief, joy, wonder … I was giddy with gratitude!
I’ve seen that kind of face on adults when they’ve come to the realization of what Jesus did for them. When they come to the realization … they’ve done things, just like I have … things they’ve never should have done. And they ought to be held accountable for them. The Bible says the penalty is separation from God forever. Because God is perfect, pure, and holy … and we’re not! We’ve messed up.
But Jesus Christ, because He loves us, because we’re valuable to Him, went to the cross the pay the penalty for every sin we ever have and ever will commit. And just like Grandma offered me those tattered dollars, He’s offering a gift to you. He’s asking, “Do you want to be absolved of your past and assured of your future in heaven with Me? It’s a gift. Free. But you must take it.” I could have turned Grandma’s gift down, but why would I? Why would you?
The last written words I have from my Grandma I’ve shared with you before. She wrote them following her description of the last full year of her earthly life. It had been a year during which she and Grandpa had to give up their independence and worldly possessions and home of 50 years because of declining health. Yet, in spite of all that happened, she had the confident, expectant hope that God would yet fulfill all His promises to her. She wrote, “With Jesus as my Savior, I know the best is yet to be.”
That is my prayer for you. Claim God’s gift of hope this Christmas season … and then you will be assured that the best is surely yet to be!
Father, we’ve all done a lot of things that we know are wrong. We know the consequence of our wrongdoing. But we know, too, that Your Son died on the cross as my substitute, to pay for the sins we have committed. And even as we repent of our sins, we reach out and receive His free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. Thank You for giving us this ultimate gift of hope.
And the people said, “Amen.”
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Today marks the public release of the Manhattan Declaration, which Chuck Colson invited me to sign several weeks ago. After reading it, I gladly agreed to do so.
I am posting only the Preamble below, as well as a part of the Declaration about life, in the hopes that it will interest you in reading the full statement, posted at www.manhattandeclaration.org. If you read and agree with it, you may sign on with us if you so choose.
I do not participate in many things like this, but both the content and the tone of this statement is something I wish to affirm. It expresses truth, but I believe it does so with grace. May God use this statement to help galvanize the Church to walk in a spirit of bold humility, full of grace and truth, as we face the critical issues of our culture.
PreambleYou can read the rest of the statement at www.manhattandeclaration.org
Christians are heirs of a 2,000-year tradition of proclaiming God’s word, seeking justice in our societies, resisting tyranny, and reaching out with compassion to the poor, oppressed and suffering.
While acknowledging the imperfections and shortcomings of Christian institutions and communities in all ages, we claim the heritage of those Christians who defended innocent life by rescuing discarded babies from trash heaps in Roman cities and publicly denouncing the Empire’s sanctioning of infanticide. We remember with reverence those believers who sacrificed their lives by remaining in Roman cities to tend the sick and dying during the plagues, and who died bravely in the coliseums rather than deny their Lord.
After the barbarian tribes overran Europe, Christian monasteries preserved not only the Bible but also the literature and art of Western culture. It was Christians who combated the evil of slavery: Papal edicts in the 16th and 17th centuries decried the practice of slavery and first excommunicated anyone involved in the slave trade; evangelical Christians in England, led by John Wesley and William Wilberforce, put an end to the slave trade in that country. Christians under Wilberforce’s leadership also formed hundreds of societies for helping the poor, the imprisoned, and child laborers chained to machines.
In Europe, Christians challenged the divine claims of kings and successfully fought to establish the rule of law and balance of governmental powers, which made modern democracy possible. And in America, Christian women stood at the vanguard of the suffrage movement. The great civil rights crusades of the 1950s and 60s were led by Christians claiming the Scriptures and asserting the glory of the image of God in every human being regardless of race, religion, age or class.
This same devotion to human dignity has led Christians in recent decades to work to end the dehumanizing of human trafficking and sexual slavery, bring compassionate care to AIDS sufferers in Africa, and assist in a myriad of other human rights causes – from providing clean water in developing nations to providing homes for tens of thousands of children orphaned by war, disease and gender discrimination.
Like those who have gone before us in the faith, Christians today are called to proclaim the Gospel of costly grace, to protect the intrinsic dignity of the human person and to stand for the common good. In being true to its own calling, the call to discipleship, the church through service to others can make a profound contribution to the public good.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
Although public sentiment has moved in a pro-life direction, we note with sadness that pro-abortion ideology prevails today in our government. Many in the present administration want to make abortions legal at any stage of fetal development, and want to provide abortions at taxpayer expense. Majorities in both houses of Congress hold pro-abortion views. The Supreme Court, whose infamous 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade stripped the unborn of legal protection, continues to treat elective abortion as a fundamental constitutional right, though it has upheld as constitutionally permissible some limited restrictions on abortion. The President says that he wants to reduce the “need” for abortion—a commendable goal. But he has also pledged to make abortion more easily and widely available by eliminating laws prohibiting government funding, requiring waiting periods for women seeking abortions, and parental notification for abortions performed on minors. The elimination of these important and effective pro-life laws cannot reasonably be expected to do other than significantly increase the number of elective abortions by which the lives of countless children are snuffed out prior to birth. Our commitment to the sanctity of life is not a matter of partisan loyalty, for we recognize that in the thirty-six years since Roe v. Wade, elected officials and appointees of both major political parties have been complicit in giving legal sanction to what Pope John Paul II described as “the culture of death.” We call on all officials in our country, elected and appointed, to protect and serve every member of our society, including the most marginalized, voiceless, and vulnerable among us.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
We would like to focus our "spotlight" this week on Penny Williams. Penny plans our church Birthday parties and has also been leading the singing since Ron Knirs, Sr.'s health no longer permitted him to do so. Next time you see Penny tell her how much you appreciate everything she does at Boonville Wesleyan!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Americans are greatly confused as to what to think about the Muslim religion. Our political leaders constantly tell us that Islam is a “religion of peace.” Presidents Bush one and two, President Clinton, and especially President Barak Obama all repeat this like a ‘mantra’ of indisputable truth. Yet Islam’s own foundational books and its history show conclusively that is not true. The problem is based in a contradiction within the very foundation Islam itself.
There are Muslims who believe that Islam is a peaceful religion and they prove it from verses in Islam’s two most holy and foundational books – the Koran and Hadith.
Yet in the history of Islam’s origins, the first four successors of Mohammad known as the “Divinely Guided Ones,” who personally knew and studied under Mohammad, were anything but peaceful. Inspired by verses from the Koran and the sayings of Mohammad later gathered into the Hadith, they exploded off the Arabian Peninsula and started a conquest that inside of 100 years conquered peoples and lands from the Atlantic into the Pacific. So what did the ‘Divinely Guided Ones’ see in the Koran and Hadith that the “peaceful” Muslims today do not? Listen carefully, because the answer will help you to understand the paradox of trying to deal with Muslims. In the early days of Mohammad in Mecca, he was only accepted by a few as Allah’s Prophet. So he had few followers and no army to protect him and enforce his teachings. He finally fled to Medina where he flourished and won many converts in just a few years. From these converts of Medina, he built a powerful army. Now we have to integrate these conditions with the “revelations” that Mohammad received in each situation. During the early days in Mecca, his “revelations” were primarily about peace, kindness and justice. These have come to be known as the early Meccan verses of the Koran. During Mohammad’s days in Medina, his “revelations” became increasingly aggressive, violent and conquest oriented as his followers grew into an army. After he broke a covenant with Mecca, invaded and conquered them, his “revelations” called for spreading Islam and converting people by the sword. At least 109 of those “later Meccan verses” are now known as the war verses. Since every verse of the Koran is held to be absolutely infallible and binding upon the faithful, it presents a real problem. The “war verses” not only over-ride the peaceful verses of the early Meccan “revelations”, they contradict them. I am going to quote from some of those verses and let you see for yourself what they clearly say. But I strongly recommend that you go to the Religion of Peace Website.
- Koran (4:76) “Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.” “The martyrs of Islam are unlike the early Christians who were led meekly to the slaughter. These Muslims are killed in battle, as they attempt to inflict death and destruction for the cause of Allah. Here is the theological basis for today’s suicide bombers.”
- Koran (4:89) “They who believe fight in the cause of Allah …” This is an absolute, easy to understand statement from Allah. If you believe, you will fight in the cause of Allah. If you do not fight, you really don’t believe in Islam. Fight is “Jihad” and means physical conquest.
- Koran (8:12) “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.” Here Jihad is not just to bring the conquered into submission, but to strike terror into the hearts of those who would resist by the use of savagery. Thus acts of Terror for the spread of Islam to the Infidel are commanded in the Koran. So we should not be surprised with the savage, senseless killing of women, children and the helpless by Muslim suicide-martyrs in the cause of Allah Ahbar.
- Koran (9:5) “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.” The literal truth of this is that converts are to be won by war and the sword. All idolaters, such as Jews and Christians, are to be slain. However, if they repent, which means to forsake their religion and convert to Islam, they are to be spared. They are to be commanded to continue in daily prayers and pay the poor tax (zakat), which are two of the Pillars of being a Muslim.
What a contrast, Christians are to proclaim and plead with people to receive the gift of pardon the Lord Jesus Christ died in their place to purchase for them. Muslims are commanded to bring the world into submission to Allah at the point of a sword. As the Bible says, “Herein in love. Not that we loved God, but that He first loved us and gave His Son as the payment for our sins.” (1 John 3:10)
- Koran (9:29) “Fight those who believe NOT in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” The Koran refers to the Jews and Christians as “people of the Book” or Bible. They believe we have rewritten it and filled it with lies. We are to therefore to be brought into submission by force until we feel the domination of Islam over us.
- Koran (61:4) “Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way.” Well, so much for the Religion of Peace. The Koran and Hadith teach in other verses that those who fight in the cause of spreading submission to Allah will have the greatest rewards in heaven. And the Martyrs will have the highest place of all with 72 virgins to fulfill his wildest sexual fantasies.
Now the main point is this. Not all Muslims have become devout enough to believe and act upon these war verses. But when a Muslim like Major Hasan becomes devout and truly believes these war verses from Mohammad’s latter Meccan “revelations”, he ceases being a peaceful Muslim and becomes a martyr in the cause of bringing “infidels” into submission to Allah by an act of terror.
Young frustrated Muslim men can potentially be latent time bombs. So to treat this clear and apparent danger with misguided “political correctness” is suicidal as a nation.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Laughter is the Best Medicine ... Really
By Samantha Landy
Faith and Fitness Magazine
CBN.com – In our busy, over-committed world, laughter seems to have been lost along the way. We don’t find much of it in our everyday lives. We have to choose to follow after it. As we age, it is so easy to get overwhelmed with the varied challenges we face, and we neglect the very thing that will help us deal with our issues and challenges.
Laughter is one thing we can choose to help us in our circumstances. I’ve been studying a lot about laughter and the potential power it has in our lives. Of course, my favorite is affirming, loving words from someone who thinks I’m terrific and makes me laugh. I had one such phone call today, and after I hung up, I had a little smile in my heart and on my face all day long. Maybe you should make such a phone call to a friend of yours?
If you choose to smile, even when you don’t feel like it, others will almost always respond automatically with a smile in return. A friend of mine said, “Smiling is rather like a kiss—in order to get any good out of it, you have to give it to someone else.” However, that isn’t necessarily so. We can choose to smile or even laugh when we are alone and lighten our own life.
Physically, a smile requires the use of approximately 36 muscles, but a frown uses 97 muscles. Also, a smile releases the muscles on your scalp, which in turn lets the blood flow more easily, which brings more oxygen to the brain, which results in a buoyancy in your personality. At the point of choosing to smile and laugh, you may not feel happier, but as you continue to smile, releasing the oxygen into the brain, you actually become happier!
There is another benefit to smiling and especially laughing. Medically, doctors know that good blood flow to the brain is critical for efficient and comprehensive brain functioning. So when we laugh more, it stands to reason we should have a better functioning brain. Maybe that’s the reason I keep forgetting where I put my glasses; I’m not laughing enough!
If we are going through a stress-filled day, and make the decision to have even one moment in the day for ourselves, to experience laughter and joy, it will change our lives. We must train ourselves to keep looking at the possibilities in any situation rather than the problems. As we take time to dwell on the possibilities, we will amaze ourselves as our subconscious works and solutions appear, enabling us to handle the challenge more effectively.
Where can we find joy and laughter when our lives are stressed out and everything seems to be crashing around us? As I have had to learn for myself, there are resources; we just have to choose to tap into them. One easy place to find laughter is to go to funny movies or watch them on TV. Sometimes it is only in the laughter provided by external sources that we can find relief.
Some time ago I was traveling and had put in a long 8-hour day on the road. In addition to the exhaustion of driving, I also had insurmountable difficulties in my life at the time, and so most of those eight hours were spent “mullygrubbing” around in the mess of my life.
As I was looking for a hotel that evening, I noticed a comedy was playing at the local theatre. Thankfully, it was also a PG13. It’s been said that laughter is like scrubbing out our insides, and so I went to the movie and chose to laugh. Afterward, the tragic circumstances of my life had not changed, but inside my body, I had changed. I was more relaxed and able to face my life.
I have studied enough about affirming words and laughter to know that good, out-loud laughter actually releases endorphins into the brain. When endorphins are released into the body, and oxygen is released into the brain eventually, we will feel up-lifted and relaxed.
But what happens when we don’t have someone to encourage us and life gets tough? I imagine most people are like I am; we have all had formidable issues in life, perhaps some more than others. But even during the difficult times, we can choose our attitude about life. We may not be able to change the circumstances, but we can choose how we respond to them.
Viktor Frankl, concentration camp survivor wrote a book, Man’s Search for Meaning. He said it was in the concentration camp experiences that he learned, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Our attitude is the most important characteristic of the quality of our life, as we deal with various aspects of aging. There will often be circumstances we can’t change or control, but our attitude determines how we define our existence.
One bedrock source that will help us keep a good attitude in times of tragedy is to remember to pray about our lives, about our circumstances. Does it feel like I’ve changed the subject? Not really. The wisdom of King Solomon supports my approach to a good attitude and laughter as well: “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”
As we continue processing our lives in these years over fifty, our faith in God, our dependence on Him, and our attitude will shape our relationships and circumstances. When we stay in faith and walk in excellence, we will see God’s plan and destiny for our lives unfold. While our past history may teach us about our mistakes, it is in choosing to live in the moment, choosing to look to the future God has for us, that will enable us to live in Hope, Joy, and Love. As we seek God’s wisdom, walking through the events of our lives, we will be able to move from success to lives of significance.
I believe that keeping our faith strong in the Lord, combining that with a love for adventure, an appetite for learning, a curious mind, and a sense of humor will help us in these challenging years from fifty and beyond.
Underline this verse in your Bible to remind you of one of God’s promises: “Since my youth, O God, you have taught me and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare Your power to the next generation, Your might to all who are to come.”
Samantha Landy serves on several national Christian boards and is best known as an international conference and retreat speaker as well as author of over eight books. She also hosts the program "60 Seconds for Savvy Singles" heard on Christian radio stations nationwide. To find out more, visit her website at www.samanthalandy.com.
From Faith & Fitness Magazine April/May 2008. Reprinted with permission. Copyright © 2008 Faith & Fitness Magazine and Lifestyle Media Group.
Faith & Fitness Magazine is a lifestyle resource to build physical and spiritual strength. It helps readers make connections between the Christian faith and the fitness lifestyle. To contact the publisher of Faith & Fitness Magazine, Brad Bloom, for reprint permission, e-mail email@example.com.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
We will begin taking pictures for our Church Directory this Sunday morning. We will take them as we can until we have a picture of everyone. For more info contact Pastor Ames or myself at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hoosier Harmony Mission Statement:
"We desire to not only lead people to the Lord but to let them know of the joy which serving the Lord brings. We desire to not only uplift spirits but let people know of the joy that we have. It is our desire to be a light and example to those around us, not only in our business transactions but in the business and spiritual dealings of Hoosier Harmony Quartet. We desire to encourage people that no matter what the trials or tribulations the Lord is always there and that, ultimately, "The Lamb Wins."
November 15, 2009
Hanging of the Greens
November 29, 2009
Annual Christmas Dinner
After Morning Service
December 6th, 2009
Planned Parenthood Director Quits After Watching Abortion on Ultrasound
Monday, November 02, 2009
The former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in southeast Texas says she had a "change of heart" after watching an abortion last month — and she quit her job and joined a pro-life group in praying outside the facility.
Abby Johnson, 29, used to escort women from their cars to the clinic in the eight years she volunteered and worked for Planned
'When I was working at Planned Parenthood I was extremely pro-choice," Johnson told
Johnson said she became disillusioned with her job after her bosses pressured her for months to increase profits by performing more and more abortions, which cost patients between $505 and $695.
"Every meeting that we had was, 'We don't have enough money, we don't have enough money — we've got to keep these abortions coming,'" Johnson told FoxNews.com. "It's a very lucrative business and that's why they want to increase numbers."
A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood told FoxNews.com that it offers a range of services at it 850 health centers nationwide, providing pregnancy tests, vaccinations and women's health
"Planned Parenthood's focus is on prevention," wrote Diane Quest, the group's National Media Director. "Nationwide, more than 90% of the health
But Johnson said her bosses told her to change her "priorities" and focus on abortions, which she said made money for the office at a time when the recession has left them hurting.
"For them there's not a lot of money in education," she said. "There's as not as much money in family planning as there is abortion."
Without a doctor in residence, she said, her clinic offered abortions only two days a month, but the doctor could perform 30 to 40 procedures on each day he was there. Johnson estimated that each abortion could net the branch about $350, adding up to more than $10,000 a month.
"The majority of the money was going to the facility," she said.
Johnson said she never got any orders to increase profits in e-mails or letters, and had no way to prove her allegations about practices at the Bryan branch. She told FoxNews.com that pressure came in personal interactions with her regional manager from the larger Houston office.
But she said she got involved with the clinic "to help women and ... [do] the right thing," and the idea of raking in cash seemed to go against what she felt was the mission of the 93-year-old organization.
"Ideally my goal as the facility's director is that your abortion numbers don't increase," because "you're providing so much family planning and so much education that there is not a demand for abortion services.
"But that was not their goal," she said.
A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood refused to answer questions about Johnson's accusations, but released a statement noting that a district court had issued a temporary restraining order against the former branch director and against the Coalition for Life, an anti-abortion group with which Johnson is now affiliated.
"We regret being forced to turn to the courts to protect the safety and confidentiality of our clients and staff, however, in this instance it is absolutely necessary," said spokeswoman Rochelle Tafolla.
It is unclear what made Planned Parenthood seek the restraining order. Johnson said she did not intend to release any sensitive information about her former patients at the clinic.
A hearing is set for Nov. 10 to determine whether a judge will order an injunction against Johnson and the Coalition for Life, which has led protests outside the clinic and joined her in a prayer vigil there last month.
Johnson hasn't found a job since she quit on Oct. 6, but she said she's enjoying the time off to be with her 3-year-old daughter.
"It's been great just to spend some time at home and get a break," she said.