Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Well whaddayaknow?

Republicans can’t win in ’08, it’s a pending national disaster, the Democrats will sweep into power …

Hold that thought a second. In Louisiana, Republican Bobby Jindal—a 36-year-old Oxford educated son of Indian immigrants, and a traditionalist Roman Catholic—won the election for governor of that state this weekend, tallying 54% of the vote in a field of 11 candidates (Jindal’s winning more than half the votes avoided a runoff election in November).

Political analysts noted that Jindal, a congressman who narrowly lost the governor’s race to current Gov. Kathleen Blanco four years ago, got many “buyer remorse” votes because of the Democratic governor’s bungling in the Hurricane Katrina crisis. How bad was her leadership? Just try and picture New York Mayor Rudy Guliani crying in front of cameras and microphones after 9-11; sends chills up and down your spine, doesn’t it? And yet, that’s what Blanco did in the midst of the worst disaster ever to hit her state. Her general ineptness (with the one exceptional instance of using the state's natural resources boats to rescue trapped residents) led to her not seeking another term as governor.

The “buyer remorse” votes indicate that Louisiana voters know who REALLY was responsible for the chaos that followed Katrina; blaming President Bush just doesn’t wash anymore (no pun intended). Now, if only New Orleans voters had a similar clue and thrown Mayor Ray “Evacuation Buses Under Water” Nagin out of office (Nagin couldn’t even explain to NBC’s Brian Williams why those buses-turned-submarines were never mobilized to evacuate residents in the first place)…

Republican Party Leadership: Looking for that candidate who could unite the party and give you a real winning chance five years from now (should Hillary rise to power and wreak havoc on our nation)? Here he is! Or how about drafting him for vice president for ’08? Maybe I’m jumping the gun, but Jindal comes off as a truly intelligent leader (unlike the pseudo intellectual John Kerry, whose college grade point average was actually one point lower than President Bush’s GPA), who has a strong moral backbone. I’ve known about Jindal for about 15 years, after reading some articles he wrote in the ultra-Catholic magazine New Oxford Review. Putting aside any theological differences I would have with him, Jindal’s articles were sharply written and showed a deep moral conviction rooted in his Catholic faith (not the flaky “As a Catholic, I’m personally against abortion or homosexual marriage, however…” ilk we’re so used to hearing).

Jindal’s election also shows that ’08 is not a done deal for the Democrats, even with Hillary’s media machines (including Media Matters for America) humming at full speed to trash anyone who opposes her. Hillary still has high unfavorable ratings in recent polls; her party will either have to sail with “Billary II” (with Barak Obama’s shallow campaign running out of steam) or draft their Nobel Prize-winning green crusader Al Gore. It could be REAL interesting … and readers, it’s never too early to pray that God’s will be done in the ’08 election.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


In keeping with the politically incorrect observation of Christopher Columbus’ discovering the Americas this month, I thought it might be interesting to point out some interesting (and not well-known) facts about him:

*Columbus was deeply religious, and would have prayers continually recited on his ships every six hours.

*If you read modern accounts of his life, you might get the impression that Columbus just woke up one day and suddenly decided to take up sailing and get some money raised to sail west. In fact, he could well have been the most accomplished sailor and sea captain of his time, having already sailed down the coast of Africa numerous times, and sailing as far north as Greenland on other expeditions. Sailors from all over Europe, even as far away as England, were on his voyage to the New World in 1492.

*Columbus carefully investigated whether heading straight west would lead him to Asia. On the westernmost islands in the Atlantic, he found vegetation and other objects washed on the shores that could not other be accounted for, correctly theorizing that they were from land due west. He also carefully investigated reports of other such sightings, and journals by other explorers about land they found in the west.

*Historians generally agree that Columbus was seeking a westward trade route to Asia, due to the Muslim armies closing the land route by overthrowing Constantinople. What is less well known (but nonetheless recorded in his journals and correspondence) was his desire to use money from the new trade route to finance a new Crusade to retake Jerusalem from the Muslims.

*Columbus is also the first person to figure out the trade winds in the Atlantic, a major discovery for navigation.

These and other facts about Columbus can be found in The Last Crusader: The Untold Story of Christopher Columbus by George Grant.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Favorite songs (Pt. 2)

Keith Green, Holy, Holy, Holy (1982)
Keith Green had a great number of songs that I really liked, but this one—his rendition of the classic hymn—was used by God to solidify my belief in the Trinity, or in the words sung by Keith’s soaring voice, “God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity.”

Some time before this, I had embraced an erroneous “Oneness Pentecostal” view of the Godhead. In the variation I was (mis)taught, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were three “ages” of God’s dealing with man. This led to my faith in Jesus being very unstable for a time. I still remember in 1985 when I shared this “revelation” with a friend who was a Methodist minister. He answered by pointing out the most obvious contradiction: if the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were only three “ages” of God, what was the Holy Spirit doing in the second verse in the Bible (Genesis 1:2, hovering over the waters), in the “age of the Father”? And the heretical house of cards came tumbling down.

But at this point, I only assented to the Trinity doctrine, and pushed it to the back of my mind. Then I heard this hymn sung by Green three years later, the last track on his Songs for the Shepherd album (released shortly after his death in an airplane crash in 1982). For some reason, it REALLY got my attention, and forced me to totally reexamine the Trinity doctrine in the light of the Bible. What I found was that the more I examined what the Bible says on the Godhead, the more contradictory I found the Oneness view—and the more in harmony with the Scriptures I found the Trinitarian view. This, in turn, solidified my faith in the Lord Jesus, and my Christian walk became noticeably stronger as a result.

If you want to examine this issue for yourself, a good friend of mine has a blog site you can visit: www.pastorcraigsblog.blogspot.com. Just several points from me on this: 1) How can Oneness proponents explain the Father and Jesus speaking in the place at the same time, such as in Matthew 3:15-17 and John 12:27-30? (Ventriloquism maybe?) 2) When I once pointed out to a Oneness proponent that Jesus prayed to His Heavenly Father, he responded that Jesus only did this as “an example” for believers. The problem with this view is that Jesus is STILL praying to His Father in heaven, on our behalf (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25 and 9:24; 1 John 2:1). 3) When Oneness proponents quote Revelation 4:2 to say there was “only one throne in heaven, and One sitting on it,” they need to read a little further down in Revelation 5:6-7, where the Lamb appears (see John 1:29) and takes the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sits on the throne (also, the Holy Spirit appears in the scene as the “seven Spirits,” signifying His fullness, in Revelation 4:5 and 5:6).

For further reading on this, Pastor Craig’s blog has some really good books. Several others I recommend are: God in Three Persons by E. Calvin Beisner, which traces the development of the Trinity belief back to the early church (Beisner also demonstrates that there was a Greek word for the Trinity used in the church in the early second century, within several decades of the Apostle John’s death); Why You Should Believe in the Trinity by Robert Bowman, which is an answer to Jehovah’s Witnesses, but is an excellent basic resource on Trinity doctrine; and another book called God in Three Persons by Carl Brumback. I’ve also written a booklet, The Truth About the Trinity, a direct answer to a popular Oneness tract; if you would like a copy, send me an e-mail at sk32900@hotmail.com.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

North Korea: About Face

Talk about an about face: North Korea now wants to take down its nuclear program—and even wants to have U.S. inspectors come in to make sure they are in compliance. There is also an official proclamation between the leaders of North and South Korea to officially sign a peace treaty (technically, both sides are still at war under an armistice). Earlier this year, I wrote about geopolitical scientist Dr. Jack Wheeler’s assertion that China, with the 2008 Olympics coming to Beijing, won’t tolerate a nutty regime in North Korea starting a war on its doorstep. This would lead to a coup orchestrated by Beijing which, Wheeler speculated, could lead to North Korea being a vassal state to China, and being rapidly converted to Christianity. Immediately after that statement, interestingly, North Korean dictator Kim Jung Il profusely apologized to China for all the trouble it caused (including testing a nuclear weapon, which turned out to be a dud). Could this be an interesting maneuver by Kim Jong Il to get on America’s good side—to avoid a possible Beijing-inspired coup to overthrow him?

It appears President George W. Bush may release some humanitarian aid as a return gesture. Let’s pray that the president use godly wisdom to deal with Kim Jung Il and North Korea—and that God will open the doors of this closed nation to the gospel of the Lord Jesus!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


I need to get something off my chest this morning:

The election of Hillary Clinton to the presidency would be a frightening national nightmare.

Now that I got that out of my system, you might be asking why. No, it’s not necessarily tied to national security or the war in Iraq. It’s one of those “by their fruits you shall know them” observations (to quote Jesus in Matthew 7:20). It’s because of a little-known “media watchdog” group her people have created that is all too much of an echo from her husband’s presidency: Media Matters for America.

Over the past several weeks, this group has been creeping behind the scenes, using their “mainstream media” lapdogs to attack Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly through misquotes and more misquotes. They operate by looking for “missteps” (which aren’t really missteps except in the Media Matters “investigators’” minds), then twisting those quotes and packaging them for lazy mainstream reporters (lazy because they don’t do one ounce of research into the original context of the quotes) to spew out.

What makes this so frightening is that it basically follows them same pattern that Bill and Hillary’s media manipulating machine perfected in the 90s, to club anyone who may try to expose Bill’s immoral exploits or corruption. Indeed, the phrase “bimbo eruptions” actually originated from CLINTON campaigners during the 1992 election. When anyone stood up to tell the truth about Clinton, they were tarred and feathered by the “watchdog” media before the week was out.

Even during the Monica Lewinsky scandal (exposed thanks to The Drudge Report), Clintonistas managed to eventually demonize Ken Starr, transforming him into a salacious, hypocritical prude.

Contrast all this with what you have seen during President George W. Bush’s presidency. Has President Bush, or any other president in recent memory (with the exception of Richard Nixon), conducted his presidency wielding such frightening slander against opponents? Not even the so-called Valerie Plame “scandal” holds up as much of a media “attack”: she used her CIA post to campaign for her husband Joe Wilson—an ardent enemy of the administration—to be appointed to investigate whether Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium from Niger (British intelligence still says he did). This unfortunate appointment of such a lying partisan (made during the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, when partisanship was understandably at a low ebb), would be puzzling to reporters, and it’s easy to see why people in the administration would want to explain this contradictory move by Bush’s White House (Richard Armitage, by the way, revealed Plame’s CIA connection, not Scooter Libby).

If that’s the worst the Bush White House has done in the way of “media attacks,” you can see why I sleep a lot better at night knowing our current president is occupying the Oval Office—and why the thought of a Hillary presidency would, well, give me nightmares.

Favorite songs (Pt. 1)

Once in a while I’ll write about which Christian songs are my favorite of all time. Feel free to let me know your favorites, or if you agree or disagree with how I describe these songs.

Bob Dylan, Gotta Serve Somebody (1979)
The “Poet of This Generation” caused quite a stir in the late 70s when he announced he had become a born-again Christian. Then he followed up the proclamation of his new faith with the album Slow Train Coming, and watch out! What an uproar among his longtime fans, especially when they went to his concerts at the time to hear his NEW music! Even so, a number of critics who may not have liked Dylan’s new-found faith still like the rejuvenated sound that came across on the album.

Among his new songs was Gotta Serve Somebody, which is about as direct a song about following Jesus as you can get: “You gotta serve somebody/ it may be the devil, or it may be the Lord/but you gotta serve somebody.” Some listeners may have whined about the song being dogmatic—but enough liked it to put in the Top 25 on the Billboard charts. The song earned Dylan a Grammy in 1980 for Best Rock Vocal Performance.

The song musically avoided the genres that dominated the charts in 1979, disco (which was waning) and punk/new wave (that was on the rise). The song may also contain an interest nudge in the ribs of another artist who (until this time) was a friend of Dylan—John Lennon.

Back in 1970, Lennon recorded an atheistic anthem called God, in which he denounced belief in God and just about everyone else he could think of—Jesus, Buddha, even his ex-band The Beatles (except when he warbled “I just believe in me/Yoko and me/and that’s reality.” Uh, sure, whatever you say, John). Anyway, in the song, he screams, “I don’t believe in Zimmerman” (being Dylan’s real last name). Now in Gotta Serve Somebody, one of the last lines is: “You may call me Bobby/Or you may call me Zimmy,” with the stanza later ending, “You can call me anything/It don’t matter what you say/You’re still going to have to serve somebody…” Could Dylan have been taking a sideswipe at Lennon’s reference to him in God? It makes you wonder, especially with Lennon’s caustic reaction to Gotta Serve Somebody, writing an awful tune called Serve Yourself as his “answer” (then again, Lennon may simply have been upset about Dylan getting a Grammy out of the song).

Regardless of whether all that holds any water, Gotta Serve Somebody is still just as challenging today to Christians and non-Christians alike, as it was when it was first released.

Rich Mullins, Peace (A Communion Blessing from St. Joseph’s Square) (1993)
"Do this in memory of Me," Jesus said about the ordinance of communion—and yet I’m not aware of many songs about this important part of our Christian walk that reaffirms our salvation covenant. Up until I first heard this song, I was only aware of two: the 70s song I Am the Bread of Life and Trust by Smalltown Poets (technically, you could also include How Beautiful by Twila Paris).

Peace, like many of Mullins’ classics, captures our imperfect attempts at living out our faith. Just the first few words in the song are stunning: “Though we’re strangers, still I love you/I love you more than your mask/And I know you have to trust to be true/And I know that’s much to ask…” In the midst of this struggle to put aside our masks to accept true fellowship, one can almost see Mullins opening his arms to his brothers and sisters: “But lay down your fears/Come and join this feast/He has brought us here/ You and me …”

This song can make you appreciate the Lord’s Supper so much more, especially if your church faithfully practices it on a consistent basis (and it can sadden you if it doesn’t). You can find this gem on Mullins’ classic CD A Liturgy, a Legacy and a Ragamuffin Band and the compilation Songs 2.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lessons from the sports world

*The Bible says a good name is desirable above great riches (Proverbs 22:1). So what to make of the New England Patriots filming opponents against NFL rules? You could argue whether the hefty fines and forfeiting of a first-round draft pick next year was enough of a penalty. But really, what was the head coach THINKING? Did the team really NEED to steal signals? For crying out loud, they were stealing signals from the JETS when they were caught; it wasn’t like they were facing the Colts or Packers! I’m sure their Super Bowl victories were legit—but look at the price being paid, so far as their reputation is concerned. A cloud will be hanging over those triumphs because of this idiocy.

*Never give up, never give up, never give up. The New York Yankees, all but written off after being 14 games out in May, post the best record in the second half of the season and make the playoffs. The Philadelphia Phillies, counted out after slipping to 7-1/2 games out of first place in the NL East on September 1, plow ahead to a division pennant while the “sure thing” New York Mets go into inexplicable tailspin. The Colorado Rockies storm back to take the NL wild card from the Padres, after tying San Diego on the last day of the season and winning a 13-inning slugfest in the one-game playoff. The picture of perseverance, all of them.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

This just in ...

Seems General Petraeus is not the only target of moveon.org ... not even the first:


Cooking the Books for the Continental Congress
General Washington is a military man at war with the facts. He is propagating the need for an outrageous—and unnecessary—war with the mother country. He continues to make greedy pleas for “supplying his troops” at Valley Forge, only to lead them on pointless expeditions in the name of “freedom for our new nation.” All of this, in the face of overwhelming expert testimony from London that this poorly-planned war can never be won. And most important, he is irresponsibly ignoring the pleas of his fellow citizen colonists, to bring the troops back home to their families where they belong.

General Washington, in carrying out the failed policies of the Continental Congress, will go down in history as General Washed-Up.

This non-political ad paid for by Ye Ole Moveon.org

40 Days of WHAT?

This latest from the Barak Obama camp, according to CNN:

"Barack Obama's presidential campaign is hoping to increase the candidate's profile among African-American voters in South Carolina by launching a grassroots effort called '40 Days of Faith and Family.'

"The effort, which began on Saturday, will organize Bible study programs and gospel concerts across the state over the next month in order to engage voters and boost Obama's name identification among Palmetto State voters who may be more familiar with the Democratic frontrunner, Sen. Hillary Clinton ...

"According to a release from the campaign, '40 Days of Faith and Family' is 'an opportunity for people of faith to come together, across racial and denominational lines, to talk about how they live their faith outside the four walls of the church, what they want to see from their presidential candidates and how Obama’s faith informs how he thinks about the issues of our time.'

"...Though Obama and Clinton are in a dead heat among African-Americans, Clinton still leads Obama by a wide margin in most statewide polls."

My response: Somebody please get me an air sickness bag. Please tell me there are no Bible-believing Christians stupid enough to fall for this cynical grasp for votes. Still, it's pretty creative to be able to rip off Rick Warren's 40 Days of Purpose campaign so smoothly.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I’m not one to go around judging other people’s ministries, believe me I don’t. And I am not sure this will ever wind up on this blog (as it is being tapped out in Word). But I couldn’t help but notice an article in a local Christian newspaper by a writer identifying himself as an apostle.

If you can’t make any sense of the following paragraph, don’t worry—there doesn’t appear to be any sense involved:

In his article regarding two recent divorces of mega-ministry leaders, the apostle/writer “showed” how the deaths of Ruth Bell Graham and Tammy Faye Messner were separated by multiples of 12 days (12 being the Bible number of government)—and further, the recent mega-ministry divorces, and the death of D. James Kennedy, occurred in multiples of 2 and 5 (2 for division, 5 for grace). And the central event that linked these number “signs”? The bridge collapse in Minneapolis. Uh, yeah, sure.

Please excuse me if the preceding statement sounded more like something you would read in Chuck Shepherd’s “News of the Weird.” I’m not sure how these number games are supposed to appeal to the hearts of the unsaved or encourage the faith of believers. It strikes me more as something along the lines of those “prophecies” that came out after 9-11 (“Nostradamus predicted the fall of the Twin Towers…the Koran said the eagle will cleanse the lands of Allah”…blah blah blah, with no such “prophecies” being recorded anywhere). I’m glad the apostle addressed the low standards to which we now hold such mega-ministry leaders (and to be honest, I had never heard of either couple). But can we skip the goofy (and spiritually suspect) numerology in the process?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9-11 "Conspiracy"

Six years later, many of us may still harbor some disbelief that the 9-11 terrorist attacks actually happened. For some, it’s a TOTAL case of denial. Several days ago, I was at a retail store when I spotted a couple with black shirts, with faces that looked oddly haunted and hunted. Their shirts probably had a lot to do with that: they proclaimed that 9-11 was an “inside job,” and gave the web address to a site that treats the whole event as a grand conspiracy theory. So the Twin Towers weren’t brought down by demonic suicide jihadists; no, they were demolished from the inside (I guess the Pentagon, part of the big “conspiracy,” no doubt, did their own dirty work; plus United Flight 93 was probably shot down, right? For what reason, the conspiracy buffs won’t tell us).

As someone who a long time ago used to buy into, at least in part, “the same ten people control history, they own all the money” theory, I’ve grown pretty tired of it all. Let me make it clear right now from the start: no, I DON’T believe in these conspiracy theories. FDR didn’t let the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. President John F. Kennedy wasn’t murdered by government conspirators trying to keep us in Vietnam, but by a lone nut, who was a trained Marine quite capable of carrying out the assassination.

Is there a coming Antichrist? Yes, the Bible, I believe makes that clear. And it’s likely some technological and global trends could well help facilitate his global rule. But in all this conspiracy talk, we forget about the one who truly is in charge of the planet—GOD! Daniel 2:21 proclaims that it is GOD who sets up kings and brings them down! GOD is in control of history—and no Illuminati or Trilateral Commission or whatever is going to change that!

I’m not talking about having a “run for the hills” mentality—we need to be active in our society, to be Jesus’ light and salt to this society, and that includes in the area of politics. Why am I so down on “conspiracy theories”? For one, as I just pointed out, they ignore the God of the universe who is truly in charge. So let’s say some Illuminati is trying to rule the earth. Do you think they are somehow escaping the notice of the God who knows the hearts and minds of every human on this planet? As a side note, I’ve written quite a bit about the threat of America being Islamified (which is well documented through a slew of media reports and studies I have cited). But the way to counter this threat is first through prayer, then in active witness to those around us, and especially to Muslims in this country (and through supporting missionaries around the world reaching them). It is also done by holding our elected officials to account—to stop giving Islam favored status (in the Victoria State in Australia, it is now a “hate crime” to criticize Islam; a Christian who was tried for this “crime” was not even allowed to read passages form the Koran to show Islam’s true nature!).

It must be remembered that when the murderous French Revolution threatened to wash ashore in England, it was John Wesley’s peaceful public witness (by passing out tracts he wrote about how honoring the government was a biblical command) that stopped it.

Two other points about conspiracists: They tend to be ruled by fear. The fear and paranoia in the eyes of the couple I saw the other day was the same I saw in a student I met when I was a Chi Alpha minister about 10 years ago, who was consumed by the “fact” that the Catholic Church was allegedly infiltrating Protestant churches to eventually rule the world. I still remember the secretive tones in which he spoke (I guess he concluded I was a stooge for the Vatican, since he never came back to visit). I wish I could go back to that encounter, and tell him one thing (well, two things: if the Catholic Church is so great at infiltrating and controlling our country, please explain all those millions of dollars they’re handing out in settlements for sexual abuse of children by some miscreant priests): If THAT’S your idea of following Jesus—looking under every rock for “Jesuit agents” or taking orders from Jack Chick, living in a constant state of fear for the rest of your life (please see 2 Timothy 1:6-7 and 1 John 4:18)—you can KEEP IT! Jesus came so that we would have life, and have it more abundantly (John 10:10b)! A fear-filled life ruled by conspiracy theories just doesn’t fit that bill!

Finally, those caught up in conspiracies can never face truth. They look away from the clear fact about how 9-11 happened, the cameras trained on the towers, the innumerable eyewitness accounts, the human suffering—it’s all seen through their warped “conspiracy” lens as being an “inside job” by some international cabal as part of a bid for world conquest and enslavement. Look at about 15 years ago, after all those JFK conspiracy books had been published for forever. One book, Case Closed by Gerald Posner, proved scientifically that Kennedy WAS murdered by Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone. The conspiracy lie has so permeated our society, that Posner’s book was met with a blistering response (that did not succeed in dispelling the book’s truth).

You’ll have to excuse my venting on all this. I still remember that morning on Sept. 11, frantically trying to call my sister who worked across the street from the World Trade Center towers (praise God she was safe, having left the Deutch Bank building after the first plane struck). I still remember driving home from work that day, looking at all the familiar sites where I lived and worked in Venice, FL, knowing that the world would never be the same again. I still remember the national mood, the patriotism mixed with the mourning on that day. Maybe those idiotic t-shirts set me off; still, you have to feel sorry for such people who would want to live in such fear and delusion.

On this day, we need to remember in prayer those lost in the terrorist murder attacks, and their families and loved ones they left behind; we need to pray for justice, that the Satan-inspired al Qaeda and its chief thug Osama bin Laden, weakened but not eliminated, would be totally brought down; we need to pray as we face the threat of radical Islam (which would wipe out our Christian heritage in America, as it is already doing in Europe); and, in all this, pray Daniel’s prayer from Daniel 2:20-22: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.”

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Once in a while in reading the scriptures, you run into a saying that can really leave you scratching your head. For years, one of those for me was Jesus’ call to discipleship in Luke 9:60, after a would-be disciple asks permission “to go and bury my father” (v. 59). Jesus replies, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.” Did Jesus get up on the wrong side of the bed that day? Maybe he was super-harsh in order to make a point.

Actually, when the man told Jesus he wanted to first bury his father, it’s not likely his father was dead or even sick. In other words, the man was telling Jesus it would be best for him to follow our Lord EVENTUALLY, after his father EVENTUALLY died. William Barclay, in commenting on this verse, recalled how a Middle Eastern student was offered a scholarship to a college; he replied he would attend the school after his father was buried—and his father was a healthy (and very much alive) 40-year-old. So this is not an uncommon way to speak in that culture.

The man Jesus called to follow Him wanted to wait until circumstances were “favorable” before responding to Jesus’ call. Jesus replied that His call requires an IMMEDIATE obedient response, trusting in the Lord of all circumstances. It’s a scary prospect that, as I heard a pastor once say, we can never regain through sacrifice what we lose through disobedience.

“It's too late to be stopped at the crossroads
Each life here each a possible way
But wait—and they all will be lost roads
Each path's growing shorter the longer I stay
I was dead with deciding, afraid to choose
I was mourning the loss of the choices I'd lose
But there's no choice at all if I don't make my move
And trust that the timing is right…”
from Hold It Up to the Light by Smalltown Poets

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Stop the presses!!! According to an e-mail I just received from "reliable" sources, a so-called "faction of the US government" and VP Dick Cheney are planning a "false" terrorist attack as a pretext for a war with Iran and suspension of America's civil liberties (intelligence agencies have been picking up increased "chatter" among terrorist groups, according to media reports). This warning was co-signed by such reliable eminent officials as (thankfully former) Congresswoman Cynthia "Cop-Slapper" McKinney and Mother Cindy Sheehan.

So, let's see if we can make sense of all this: The same ilk that accused the Bush administration of not "connecting the dots" and warning the public before 9-11 now gets mad when the government now, well, connects the dots and warns the public. Their solution is, of course, is to impeach Cheney. That's right, let's freeze D.C. with a major governmental crisis. That will solve the problem (well, maybe we should be relieved they've laid off of President Bush for the time being).

No word from this same "peace" group on the not-so-peaceful bellowing of Iran's president, who has publicly promised to wipe Israel off the map (with his puppet master mullahs looking on with approval).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

So much for a "new direction"

A national Gallup poll reported this week that Congress (yes, the newly-minted Democratic Congress) has matched its lowest rating ever at 18%. Still waiting for Nancy Pelosi to bring the millenium to Capitol Hill, anyone? That's what you get when you have a national temper tantrum at the polls (in the words of Dr. Jack Wheeler).

Thursday, August 16, 2007

If you didn't get The Observer this month ...

For those who usually receive The Observer e-mail newsletter: if you haven't received it this month (August 2007), please send me your updated e-mail address. Thanks and God bless!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Slanted history

On my library shelf I have a book called The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History by Michael Hart. I dive into it once in a while for historical research or even anecdotes for sermons (for example, Alexander the Great, unlike nearly all other generals, led his forces into battles instead of staying in the back. While he did suffer many wounds, he was demonstrating to his troops that he would not ask them to do something he was not willing to do himself—a good principle of leadership).

The reason I’m discussing this book here is because it demonstrates how modern historians tend to whitewash the history of Islam, while giving no quarter to the Bible as a historical record (let alone as being the inspired Word of God).

Many Christians won’t like this book for the mere fact that, in terms of influence on world history, Hart places Muhammad at No. 1 on the list, with Jesus only at No. 3 (Sir Isaac Newton, by the way, was No. 2). Hart argues that Muhammad was influential in both religious and political realms; plus, Hart splits the credit for Christianity’s spread between Jesus and the Apostle Paul (No. 6 on the list).

Hart’s entitled to his (wrong) opinion I guess, and anyway, I always felt deep down that Jesus shouldn’t be on the list in any event—Jesus is the God of the universe with the Father and Holy Spirit, so how could one put our Lord and Creator on a list to compare Him with mere mortals anyway?

Still, Hart’s observations about Jesus and Muhammad (made in 1978, by the way) are instructive, so far as they prove my above point. Hart’s comments on Muhammad’s rise to power and the violent spread of Islam seem like they are in a tone of wonderment: “…in a scant century of fighting, these Bedouin tribesmen, inspired by the Word of the Prophet, had carved out an empire stretching from the borders of India to the Atlantic Ocean—the largest empire the world has yet seen. And everywhere the armies conquered, large-scale conversion to the new faith eventually followed” (p. 35). Nothing here in Hart’s narrative speaks of these being FORCED conversions—you and your family converted, unless you chose death, slavery or permanent, oppressed second-class status.

Hart also makes completely ignorant claims on p. 39 while discussing the Koran: “Most of (Muhammad’s) utterances were copied more or less faithfully during Muhammad’s lifetime and were collected together in authoritative form not long after his death. The Koran, therefore, closely represents Muhammad’s ideas and teachings and to a considerable extent his exact words. No such detailed compilation of the teachings of Christ has survived” (emphasis mine). Has Hart not heard of the Gospel accounts? Well, he has: “Unfortunately, the Gospels contradict each other on various points. For example, Matthew and Luke give completely different versions of Jesus’ last words …” (p. 49). There’s no consideration that the “contradictory” statements could have BOTH been made by Jesus, or that the varying perspectives given be each gospel writing (far from being “contradictory”) actually show the gospel accounts to be VERY historically reliable. No one seems to question eyewitness accounts by Muhammad’s followers, or those of Socrates for that matter. Only the Bible (including the Gospels) is God’s inspired Word, making it a prime target of “downgrading” by “scholars.” Let’s put it this way: don’t expect a “Muhammad Seminar” questioning the authenticity of the Koran anytime soon.

Hart also takes a swipe at Paul for allegedly being oppressive toward women (taking verses in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy out of context) on p. 64, while ignoring Paul’s words in Galatians 3:28 (“there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”), and his work with the husband and wife apostolic team of Priscilla and Aquila in the Book of Acts. For that matter, Hart doesn’t DARE touch the Koran’s oppressive view of women: a women’s testimony is half of that of a man (Koran 2:282); is entitled to half an inheritance that a man would receive (4:11); compares women to fields to be tilled by men (2:223); and orders men to beat disobedient wives (4:34). But surely, these verses are not taken seriously in today’s Muslim world, right? “The Pakistani Institute of Medical Science has determined that over 90 percent of Pakistani wives have been struck, beaten or abused sexually—for offenses on the order of cooking an unsatisfactory meal. Others were punished for failing to give birth to a male child” (from Amnesty International, April 17, 2002 news briefing, cited in The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) by Robert Spencer, p. 70).

Again, Hart’s book in general is very good for concise history and good anecdotes—but it isn’t hard to see the “scholarly” slant towards Islam and against Christianity in his book—a slant that has sadly permeated much of modern American scholarship and the media.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

War of the Worlds

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing: ABC TV was devoting an entire broadcast to what they called was the greatest threat to civilization—global warming. Complete with live action shots from around the globe, they featured melting ice caps, freaky weather aberrations, the works. I was overwhelmed with shock—not at the “shocking reports,” but at the amount of wasted airtime.

It also reminded me of another “shocking newscast” from the days when radio ruled: the famed 1938 “War of the Worlds” broadcast. The Mercury Theater (featuring Orson Welles) did a dramatization of H.G. Well’s classic novel, with newscast-like acting that made it sound like an invading army from Mars was REALLY landing in New Jersey to take over planet Earth. A mass hysteria occurred during the broadcast, with listeners arming themselves, evacuating their homes and a few even trying to kill themselves. The irony of the whole incident, as Welles noted later in a TV show recounting the incident, is that Americans jumped at believing the phony Mars invasion news reports (why didn’t they just turn the radio dial? It was only broadcast on CBS radio), while turning a deaf ear to a REAL threat that was looming in Europe (you might have read about it: something having to do with Hitler and Nazis trying to take over the world, triggering a REAL war, namely World War II).

It looks like that’s what is happening now with the country jumping to the sound of global warming alarms—while ignoring the steady Islamification of Europe, with remnants of the continent’s Christian heritage on the verge of being wiped out (a phenomenon that is making its way to our shores, slowly but surely). We hardly blink an eye when Islamic terrorists come to within a hair of blowing up a dozen places in Britain, or plot to blow up Kennedy Airport in NY and surrounding places—but we shudder when a chunk of ice breaks off in Antarctica. Is it maybe because we realize, deep down inside, that global warming really IS an illusion, that warming cycles are part of nature? Maybe it’s far easier to watch Al Gore pine about his “inconvenient truths” (then again, staying awake for that COULD be a chore in itself) or watch some innocuous worldwide concert, so we can pat ourselves on the back about doing OUR part to stop tidal waves from coming to New York or multiple hurricanes hitting Florida.

Of course, should we ever come to live in the Islamic Republic of America, you can be sure than global warming will take a back seat to other “big” issues (which would be something to truly shudder about).

Matthew 16:3

My blog is inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:3: “…you know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.” I have a private e-mail newsletter I send out, but this site gives me room between those newsletters (which are infrequent anyway) to “vent” about some of these “signs” we are seeing in today’s world.
If you’re looking for news on whether the nutty president of Iran is the Antichrist, you may want to try another blog. I’m basically going to address news items, especially less than well reported ones, that give a good glimpse into the times we’re living in. Of course, I’ll probably throw in some unrelated stuff along the way while I’m at it.