Archive for May 4th, 2006

Christians and “The Da Vinci Code”, Part 2

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

In part 2 of “Christians and “The Da Vinci Code”, we are going to take a look at the Gnostic writings from which Dan Brown claims to have taken most of the premises used in his story.

Click here to read the article

Click here to read part 1

Please Support the Asian Children’s Foundation

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

Of the seeming countless charities and missions one can support, I would like to urge you to support the Asian Children’s Foundation.
Founded by Steve Deal, in the Philippines on April 1, 2000, Asian Children’s Foundation is committed to assisting as many of the 1.5 million street children in the Philippines as possible. The Asian Children’s Foundation has also established a home for orphans in the country of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
What drove me to make the post supporting this organization is the impeccable integrity of Mr. Deal and his wife, Ahmie.
You see, back in 1989, when Steve and Ahmie where called to be missionaries, they didn’t know about the “way it’s supposed to be done”. Instead, they jumped right in, with both feet. Using their own savings and the proceeds from their property in the United States, they moved to the Philippines and built their first small mission house, completely at their own expense.
I don’t know about you, but not many people would have enough faith in God and courage to leave behind everything they knew to start an unsupported mission in the Phillipines.
Please take a moment to examine the ACF website and if you are led to do so, please consider supporting this very worthy cause.
Thank You!
Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Chrisitian’s Blog

Judge orders San Diego cross removed

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

Please pray that these “Constitutional Contortionist” decide to actually read the constitution sometime soon and actually enforce what it says, instead of making new laws from bench as they are currently doing.

Ruling on a 15-year-old ACLU case, a federal judge today ordered the city of San Diego to remove a mountain-top cross within 90 days or face a fine of $5,000 a day.
U.S. District Judge Gordon Thompson said, “It is now time, and perhaps long overdue, for this court to enforce its initial permanent injunction forbidding the presence of the Mount Soledad cross on city property,” the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Thompson ruled in 1991 the Mount Soledad cross violates the so-called “separation of church and state” but the case has remained in courts and become an issue of public policy for more than a decade.
ACLU lawyer James McElroy believes San Diego officials finally will give up their fight.
“I don’t think the city has its heart in taking more action,” he said, according to the paper.
A city lawyer argued during the hour-long court hearing today that citizens had voted for transfer of the land under the cross.
Proposition A, passed by 75 percent in July, called for the city to donate the cross to the federal government as the centerpiece of a veterans memorial.
The ballot initiative came about after the city refused to donate the cross and memorial to the federal government. A group called San Diegans for the Mount Soledad National War Memorial took just 23 days to gather 105,000 signatures.
In a ruling now on appeal, however, a Superior Court judge found the transfer unconstitutional.
The Union-Tribune said the group behind the public vote on transfer likely will appeal Thompson’s decision.
The 29-foot cross has stood on Mount Soledad as the center of a war memorial on city land since 1954. The first cross on the site was built in 1913.
A bill authorizing the federal government to take over the memorial was authored by Republican U.S. Reps. Duncan Hunter and Randy Cunningham. President Bush signed the bill into law in December.
Responding to today’s ruling, Mayor Jerry Sanders said he would recommend the city council and city attorney take action to save the cross.
The battle began in 1989 when Phillip Paulsen, an atheist, filed suit, and a court ordered the city to remove the cross. In 1998, the city sold the property to the Mt. Soledad War Memorial Association, which again was challenged in court. The sale originally was upheld but later ruled unconstitutional by the full panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco and remanded back to district court to work out a remedy.
During its brief period of ownership, the Memorial Association made significant improvements, including extensive landscaping and the addition of more than 3,000 plaques honoring military veterans.

Pro-Family Groups Campaign for Cable Choice

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

I think this is a good idea. We don’t watch a lot of TV in my house and quite a few channels are blocked now. Why should I have to pay for channels I never watch? I shouldn’t.

(AgapePress) – If the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), pro-family groups, and consumers get their way, cable television customers may soon receive and pay only for the channels they want. The change could be mandated through legislation or come about as cable companies voluntarily offer the channels a la carte.
Presently, the majority of cable companies and program producers are unfavorable to such a change, claiming that in the end consumers will have fewer programming choices and pay more each month. They say the practice of offering only packages of channels — especially the “expanded basic” bundle — is the most cost-effective method of delivering their products. In recent decades, the industry has built its business around that model.
The American Family Association (AFA) and a coalition of pro-family groups who support a la carte pricing see the changes as a tool for families to protect themselves against offensive programming content. The 24-member coalition campaigning for cable choice includes other high-profile groups such as Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, Morality in Media, Concerned Women for America (CWA), and Parents Television Council.
“It only makes sense for a cable company to allow a family to pick what channels they want, and only pay for those,” says Tim Wildmon, AFA president. “Such an a la carte approach would also help parents keep smutty television out of their homes.”
The debate over a la carte came to the public’s attention in the summer of 2004 when pro-family groups lobbied the FCC and key members of Congress to enact legislation that would require cable companies to allow consumers to pay only for the stations they selected. In response, Congress told the FCC to study and report on the impact of a la carte pricing.
In November 2004 the Media Bureau of the FCC issued its report to Congress. The report, which contained the Booz Allen Hamilton study (BAH), concluded that a la carte pricing was not economical.
However, a re-examination of the report revealed errors in calculations, underlying assumptions, and conclusions of the study, particularly in the BAH. As a result, the FCC reversed its earlier findings, stating in a February press release that consumers would be “better off under a la carte ….” (See related story)
The Further Report on the Packaging and Sale of Video Programming Services to the Public stated that in certain scenarios customers could purchase up to 20 selected channels and still save as much as 13 percent on their cable bills. Although the popular “expanded basic” package commonly includes 200-300 channels, most viewers only watch 15-17 channels a month, according to industry statistics.
Currently cable companies base their advertising rates on the number of people their systems reach. Expanded basic — the “big bundle,” in industry lingo — reaches the most viewers, so it commands the largest subscription fees and ad rates. A la carte would likely reduce the number of big bundle customers, thus cutting into cable industry profits.
Critics largely agree that loss of profits is the reason the cable industry continues to stand against a la carte. In March the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and The Walt Disney Company released separate studies that support that position. A Disney executive called a la carte “an appealing and superficial sound bite.”
However, CWA’s Lanier Swann says the FCC’s new report shows that the claim that a la carte will cost customers more money is untrue. Congress now has no excuse not to act on legislation calling for cable choice, she says.
Pro-family leaders have applauded FCC chairman Kevin Martin’s support of a la carte. Along with recent large fines against CBS, they see a la carte as breaking the cable industry programming and pricing cartel while empowering families to reject offensive channels.
Other countries that already provide a la carte pricing include Spain, Italy, Canada, and Hong Kong.

Brownback Calls for Pressure on Senate Dems to Support Marriage Amendment

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

Please make sure your senator knows how you feel about this issue.

(AgapePress) – There is good news and there is bad news for supporters of a federal marriage amendment. The good news? The bill should be acted upon soon. The bad news? There may not enough support to pass it.
Kansas Republican Senator Sam Brownback says the federal marriage amendment will finally see action within a matter of days. “We will have it up probably coming to the full Judiciary Committee in two weeks,” he says. “It will probably pass on a strict party line vote, defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman.”
Then the measure will come to the Senate floor, he explains. “And I wouldn’t doubt that the same thing will happen this time around that happened last time. That is, the Republicans will vote for it, and the Democrats will vote against it,” he states.
That could be a problem — because the current make-up of the U.S. Senate shows 55 in the Republican column. A two-thirds vote (67) would be necessary for the bill to move out of the Senate to the House for consideration. Brownback says without help, the amendment will not make it out of the Senate.
“I would urge people to contact their senators, particularly Democratic senators, and urge them to support the definition of marriage by the United States Congress as a man and a woman,” the Kansas lawmaker says, adding that he sees that as the only way the amendment will have enough votes to pass.
Meanwhile, about 100 African-American and Latino pastors and religious leaders from around the country met in suburban Washington on Wednesday (May 3) to learn what they can do to work for passage of the federal marriage amendment scheduled to be introduced next month in the Senate. The gathering was hosted by Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church, in Lanham, Maryland.
Jackson, who is also the founder of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, tells Associated Press that a marriage amendment is needed to cover holes in existing law. “There is a superseding amendment needed because of the things that may happen if a person tries to take a marriage license from Massachusetts and then go and get all the benefits of marriage in the state of Maryland, for example,” he says.
Rev. Jackson says the Church has always had a role in the formation of marriage laws, and that contrary to what the press might report, the marriage amendment is not anti-“gay.”
“There is a Judeo-Christian basis for all of our laws in America, and marriage came from the Church — in a sense — to the secular society,” he explains. “We believe that marriage is a sacred right, not a civil right, and that there are ways that we can make sure that the civil rights of gays are taken care of.
“We don’t have anything against gay people. This is for the protection of marriage, and we think a national ‘umbrella’ is necessary.”
Jackson says support of the proposed legislation crosses cultural lines — and that minority church leaders should be involved in promoting the marriage protection amendment. He cites a startling statistic.
“In the black community we have such a breakdown in the family structure now — seven out of ten of our babies are born out of wedlock — and there is a postponing of marriage,” he states. “Therefore we can’t sit idly by and let this go on. The whole Church — black and white — needs to say marriage is important ….”
Jackson says social justice issues such as justice and poverty are no less pressing, but that protection of marriage is critical.

Re-Post: Nearing Midnight for May 1st (Part 2)

Thursday, May 4th, 2006
Israel: The World’s Greatest Burden

The tiny nation, Israel, continues to be front and center in the building storm termed “Armageddon.” We read the prophecy that points directly to the fact:

“The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zech. 12:1-3).

While the sands of history continue to shift, one thing remains constant. Israel is the greatest single potential ignition point for world war -Armageddon. This is observable in many ways, but the breaking news involving Israel, the so-called Palestinian government, and funding to bankroll the thugs of Hamas shine the light of prophetic truth from God’s Word. The headlines are bringing stage-setting for Zechariah’s prediction into sharper focus by the day.

Armageddon, as most all things of the seven-year tribulation era, will have economics at the core. Love of money (mammon) after all, is said by God’s Word to be the root of all evil. So, it should come as no surprise that economic factors are at the core of Israel’s increasingly becoming marginalized-i.e., isolated as the culprit that is fanning the flames of conflict in the Middle East.

Conflict in the Middle East, of course, means trouble for the whole world -economically. We all know what is the commodity that most drives world economy today…Oil! Every time we turn on our radio for news, or watch TV, or read the newspaper, or go to the Net, we see oil price per barrel is up. That translates to our gasoline prices -and all associated with oil being on the rise. There are those who are working hard to make Israel look to be the national entity most responsible for this troubling trend.

We can almost sense history’s repeating, the rise of anti-Semitism, the closer we get to the tribulation hour -Daniel’s seventieth week. This report shows the trend toward the prophesied marginalization of Israel that will eventuate in Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7).

“Israel, and not the European Union, holds the key to avoiding an economic disaster in the Palestinian territories,” the bloc’s external relations Commissioner told EU lawmakers on Wednesday.

The Palestinian government has warned of economic collapse within months, after Israel froze tax revenues and Western nations cut direct aid to the Palestinian authority following the victory of Islamist militant Hamas in elections in January…(Reuters AlertNet, “EU says Israel key to avoiding Palestinian crisis,” 26 Apr 2006).

The article further pointed the finger of responsibility at Israel:

“Israel has also increased the closure of territory in the West Bank and into and out of Gaza. Addressing these problems will do more to help the Palestinian people than any measure the EU can take,” Ferrero-Waldner [an EU official] said…(Reuters AlertNet, “EU says Israel key to avoiding Palestinian crisis,” 26 Apr 2006).

It is more than merely interesting that the EU has its tentacles so tightly wrapped around the situation as it develops between Israel and its neighbors -most of whom are blood-vowed to completely eradicate all Jews. The EU is a major contributor to the welfare state called “Palestine.” Despite the fact that it has tentatively cut support for Hamas so long as the terrorist organization that now rules the Palestinian government officially declares death to Israel, the Europeans continue to give more than 500 million euros ($620.6 million) to “humanitarian assistance” for the Palestinian people. But, who administrates the distribution to “the people” is the question.

Remember Yasser Arafat and his distribution of such funding? Arafat, his relatives, and cronies, somehow ended up with billions by the time of his death.

We have looked many times at the prophesies involving the ancient Roman Empire and its revival at the end of human history. Also, we’ve looked many times at the prophetic truth that Israel will be at the center of the great trouble that will pervade that era. Seems like this generation is alive at a most exciting time on God’s prophetic timeline!


Re-Post: Nearing Midnight for May 1st (Part 1)

Thursday, May 4th, 2006
Calamity Strikes Again, Again, and Again

It appears that Australia is having the same type of historic tropical storm season North America experienced last year. Once again, that nation has been struck by a powerful cyclone. This time around, the northern region of the country was the target of nature’s wrath.

With peak winds of 190 mph, Monica may be the most intense cyclone ever to impact Australia. At one point, the storm had central pressure of 879 mb. For reference, average sea-level pressure is 1013.25 mb, and the lowest pressure ever recorded in the Pacific Ocean was 870 mb in Typhoon Tip.

The threat to life and property was limited by the low population and desert condition of Australia’s northern coast. Because of the dryness of the region, Monica quickly lost its strength upon making landfall. Still, several small communities suffered heavy damage from the storm.

Just a month ago, in my March 27 update, I was talking about how Australia had just been struck by the strongest cyclone in 30 years: “Larry was the most powerful tropical system to hit Australia since Christmas Eve 1974, when Cyclone Tracy made a direct impact on the northern city of Darwin, killing 65 people.”

I’m surprised that the frequency of these tropical storms failed to spark debate over their rapid occurrences. The knowledge that these storms should be 30-year events makes me wonder if I’ve fallen into some time wormhole and entered the year 2040 A.D. The fact that we are seeing disasters pass by like a string of railroad cars demands some sort of explanation.

I had planned to only cite Monica in this week’s update. As events would have it, Cyclone Mala suddenly appeared in the Indian Ocean and grew into a Category 4 storm. On Saturday, Mala made landfall on the nation of Burma.

I’d hate to think that the recent rash of deadly tropical storms is connected to global warming. If the burning of fossil fuels is to blame, we are all in very big trouble. The earth has only warmed by an average temperature of one degree. Any further warming would imply that Category 5 storms would become regular occurrences.

I doubt that global warming is the root cause for the destructive weather events of the past few years. Tropical storms are the result of a number of ingredients working together. The addition of carbon dioxide over several decade fails to explain why we’ve seen an abrupt shift to storms of Katrina’s magnitude.

I am persuaded that Bible prophecy is the essential factor for understanding why we are seeing so many hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones. The Word of God warns us that the calling card of the tribulation will be an increase in “birth pangs,” and this seems to be the case.

The thing I find the most interesting about the birth pangs is how they imply finality. Once we reach a point where the indicators become a common occurrence, we can trust that the final end-time hour is very near. As believers in Christ, the only unknown factor is how bad things will get before our Lord calls us home.

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth” (Luke 21:25-26).

— Todd