Headlines & Articles — Thursday, November 30th, 2017
..;..Their Friend Sang Amazing Grace and Was Shot: Hostages Detail Their Terrifying Ordeal In Nigeria  -National Post
Stuck in a kidnap gang’s hideout in Nigeria’s lawless Delta area, missionaries David and Shirley Donovan and their two companions were trying their best to keep up morale. The night before, they had been dragged from their beds by men armed with AK-47s, who had burst into their lodgings near the Donovans’ bush clinic. Ignoring their pleas that they were missionary medics, not wealthy oil workers, the gang whisked them by speedboat to a shack on stilts in a remote swamp. Then, as the kidnappers unexpectedly handed back a few of their looted belongings, the captives saw a chance to raise their spirits. Among the items returned to them was an acoustic guitar belonging to fellow missionary Ian Squire, the clinic’s resident optician. Sitting himself on the shack’s broken TV set, he duly launched into Amazing Grace.
.;..Sexual Assault and the Scandal of Repentance    -Trevin Wax
.....Religious people have no room to point the finger and say, “I told you so!” to Hollywood moguls and corrupt politicians. In our own churches and institutions, we’ve seen how sexual abuse and assault can thrive in the shadows of piousness and self-protectiveness. Moral laxity is not the only condition necessary for evil to flourish. High moral standards or the “right positions” on biblical morality do not serve as a safeguard against those who would abuse their power in their pursuit of prey. How then should we respond?
..;.Will North Korea's Missile Miscalculation Lead to War?   -CBN News
World leaders are voicing grave concerns over North Korea's latest missile test. Is war on the horizon? South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the situation could "spiral out of control." "We must stop a situation where North Korea miscalculates and threatens us with nuclear weapons or where the United States considers a pre-emptive strike," warned Moon.
.;..New Tests at Jesus's Presumed Tomb Back Traditional Beliefs    -UK Telegraph
Scientific testing at what is believed to be Jesus’s tomb dates material there to the fourth century, supporting traditional beliefs surrounding the site, an expert involved in the study said on Tuesday. The study offers no further evidence whether or not Jesus was actually buried at the site in Jerusalem, but was consistent with the historical belief that the Romans built a monument there some 300 years after his death. It is the first time such testing has been carried out at the site, located at what is now the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and encased in an elaborate shrine, or edicule.
..;.What Would Jesus Do – About Transgender?   -David Robertson
It’s that moment you always know will arrive. You’re in the midst of an online discussion in which you are going against the general zeitgeist on a social issue (in this case transgender) and then it happens: someone comes up with what they think is a devastating riposte – ‘WWJD?’. The implication being that your response is not ‘Christlike’. Now apart from being pleased that non-Christians and atheists are so concerned about what Jesus thinks, how does one respond to this? The first thing is that we need to understand where the question is coming from. 
.;..Iranian Warships Heading to Gulf of Mexico?     -Jerusalem Post
As Iran continues to fight to become a global superpower, the Islamic Republic’s flag may soon be flying halfway across the globe on warships sent to the Gulf of Mexico, Iran’s new Navy commander has announced. “Our fleet of warships will be sent to the Atlantic Ocean in the near future and will visit one of the friendly states in South America and the Gulf of Mexico,” Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi was quoted…as saying.
..;.Why Do Some Christians Not Go To Church?   -Jack Wellman
What are the reasons more and more believers are not going to church today? ....You can say you love God but when you can’t stand to be around God’s children, what does that tell God? I’m a father and grandfather, and if someone says, “I love being around you, but I can’t stand being around your children because they’ve hurt me before,” I have to admit, I don’t think I’d like that very much.
.;..Kathie Lee Gifford Speaks Out After Matt Lauer's Firing: 'Only God Can Heal ... All Have Sinned'   -Christian Post
TODAY co-host Kathie Lee Gifford called for forgiveness after hearing that her longtime friend and colleague, Matt Lauer was fired by NBC after a "detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior."
..;..Scientists Re-Clone a Clone to See What Happens   -NewsWire
Scientists from Seoul National University, Michigan State University and the University of Illinois published a paper on re-cloning. Their objective was to see if duplicating animals speeds up the aging process or causes unknown birth defects. The original dog Tai, a male Afghan hound, received its duplicate named Snoopy in 2005, which became the world’s first dog clone.
.;..Palestinians Furious After Saudi Arabia Downplays Importance of Jerusalem   -Israel Today
Proponents of the Palestinian cause have tried to inflate the position of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in Islam, and thereby paint Israel’s sovereignty in this city as an affront to their religion. But, a couple years ago, renowned Egyptian scholar and novelist Youssef Ziedan acknowledged in a series of television interviews that Jerusalem holds no religious significance for Muslims.Today, it is common to hear that Jerusalem is Islam’s third holiest city, being the location of the “Al Aqsa Mosque” referred to the in the Koran. Ziedan said the whole thing is nonsense....
..;.Atheist Group Unintentionally Glorifies God    -Peter Heck
I've always found it amazing how a man like Barker who has distinguished himself in the atheist community as rather unremarkable except for his claim to be a former Christian minister, doesn't understand Christianity at all.
.;..When Your Church Disappoints    -Eric Davis
Let’s face it. Church is not always as exciting as we would like. Sometimes it’s boring and disappointing. It’s possible that there are good reasons for that. But it’s possible that there are not. Being bored is not the worst thing that can happen to us in our churches. In fact, it may be the best thing since it can present opportunity for personal change. Though not always, our personal boredom can often be symptomatic of a needed soul adjustment. Consider a few shifts before submitting to disappointment’s demands:
..;.Trusting God Through Financial Struggles    -Sarah Walton
.....God led us to a place where there was no other option but to let go of all we had saved, planned, and worked hard for. Within a few short months, my husband took a new job that brought significantly less income (but allowed him to be home more often). We sold our dream home, moved in with my parents, and were completely unsure of what the future held.  Where did we go wrong? Maybe somewhere, but maybe nowhere. 
.;..28 Non-Numerical Signs Of A Healthy Church    -Christianity Today
.....But just like a lack of numbers can blind us to some critical facts, an obsession with numbers can blind us to essential truths. Not only are numbers not the only way to determine church health, in many situations they’re not even the best way. Numbers may inform us, but they don’t define us. So, what non-numerical criteria can we use to determine church health?
..;.How To Live In A World That’s Shaking, Cracking and Crumbling   -Mark Altrogge
Do you ever feel like the world is cracking and beginning to crumble?  ISIS, changing sexual morals, disintegrating families, escalating crime, drugs, suicides….I don’t need to elaborate.  The world is shaking.  It’s passing away.  But believers in Jesus need not fear or be depressed, for God has given us an unshakeable kingdom. This world and everything in it is going to pass away. But we are receiving a kingdom that is permanent. It will last forever. It can’t be destroyed, let alone shaken. 
Headlines & Articles — Wednesday, November 29th, 2017
..;..Prayer of Thanks Removed From Elementary School’s Thanksgiving Program Following Complaint   -Christian News Network
A prayer thanking God for life’s blessings was recently removed from an Arkansas elementary school’s Thanksgiving program after one of the nation’s most conspicuous atheist activists groups lodged a complaint. The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to the superintendent of the Westside Consolidated School District on Nov. 10 after being informed by a parent that students at Westside Elementary School were sent home with lyrics to memorize for the program, which included a prayer of thanks to God. “Thank You for the world so sweet/Thank You for the food we eat/Thank You for the birds that sing/Thank You, God, for everything,” the poem was to have read. FFRF contended that the prayer is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
.;..Why the Tax-Reform Law May Change Political Speech in Churches  -Joe Carter
The Senate is planning to vote Wednesday on a motion to proceed to the GOP’s tax-reform bill. If passed, the legislation would increase the standard deduction, eliminate a number of exemptions, and eliminate restrictions on pastors endorsing candidates from the pulpit. If that last one seems out of place, it’s because Congressional Republicans are pushing to overturn a 63-year-old change to the tax code that was made by one of U.S. history’s most powerful Democratic senators.
..;.Australia Senate Squashes Attempts to Protect Religious Freedom During Same-Sex Marriage Vote  -CBN News
Australia's left-leaning Labor Party defeated an attempt by senate conservatives to protect religious freedoms in the country's new same-sex marriage bill. Conservative Coalition senators presented five amendments that would shield religious institutions, charities, and public officials from being punished for supporting Biblical marriage. The protections would also allow these religious institutions to decline serving same-sex weddings. However, The Guardian reports each of the amendments presented were voted down.
.;..Loss of the Night: Light Pollution Rising Rapidly on a Global Scale   -CNN
Artificial lighting at night is contributing to an alarming increase in light pollution, both in amount and in brightness, affecting places all over the world, a new study has found. Some regions have showed a steady increase in light pollution aligned with economic development, but more developed nations that were thought to be "going dark" by switching to energy-saving LEDs showed no apparent decline in their rates of light pollution.
..;.Donald Trump and the Principle of Divine Upheaval  -Michael Brown
.....In biblical terms, and with wholly positive connotations, the Lord told His people that He would come as a “refiner’s fire.” Such a fire reveals the impurities of gold and silver when they are tossed into the mega-hot flames. (See Malachi 3:1-5.) The precious metals may look fine to the naked eye, but once they’re subjected to the super-heated fire, all the dross rises up to the top, making for an ugly sight. To use another biblical image, an old Jewish man named Simeon prophesied over the baby Jesus that, through Him, “the thoughts of many hearts would be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35). Jesus, by His words and deeds, would expose the secrets of people’s hearts, as they came out radically for Him or against Him. When He came to town, you found out who people really were and where they really stood. When it comes to Donald Trump, his strengths are as glaring as his weaknesses, and people line up to bless him or curse him based on whether they admire his strengths or despise his weaknesses.
.;..There Have Been 698 Earthquakes In California Within The Past 30 Days  -Eco Collapse Blog
Why is the west coast shaking so violently?  According to the latest data from Earthquake Track, there have been 698 earthquakes in California within the past 30 days.  By the time that you read this article, that number will undoubtedly have changed.  In recent days I have felt such an urgency to write about the seismic activity on the west coast, and I am quite concerned that so few people seem to be paying attention to what is happening.
..;..Australia's Faithful Worried Over Gay Marriage  -Daily Caller
Jewish and Islamic leaders have demanded protections for religious officials who refuse to perform gay marriages under Australia’s new same-sex marriage law. Imams and rabbis from the the city of Perth said that any new law legalizing gay marriage should include express provisions for religious leaders who cannot perform gay marriages due to the tenets of the faiths they follow, according to The West Australian. The religious leaders’ concerns come in the wake of a postal referendum in which 61.6 percent of Australian voters cast ballots in favor of same-sex marriage.
.;..Pence On Israel It's Impossible Not to See the 'Hand of Heaven'   -CBN News
Vice President Mike Pence is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the United Nations vote that led to the founding of Israel.  The evangelical Christian received a standing ovation before his remarks at Queens Museum in New York City, which is the site of the original vote in 1947 that called for a Jewish state in the land of Israel.   "While Israel was built by human hands, it's impossible not to see the hand of heaven here too," he told the crowd.
..;.The LGBT’s False Dichotomy of Love and Hate   -Stand To Reason
Christians, it turns out, are given a choice. One option is to approve of people satisfying same-sex desires through sexual contact. If Christians do that, they are believed to love LGBT people. The other option is to affirm Jesus’ teaching that sexual activity is reserved for a married man and woman (Matt. 19:1–4). If they do that, then Christians are allegedly hateful towards LGBT people. It’s a tiresome, false dichotomy.
.;..People Are Noticing Something Very Different About The Trump’s Christmas Card Vs. Obama’s  -Daily Caller
The holiday season has just begun, but it’s pretty clear there’s a new president in the White House. Each year, POTUS celebrates the Christmas season in a unique way. Typically there are concerts, programs and mountains of decorations which surround the White House...However, each president has their own style. President Obama and Trump clearly have their own personal style, but it’s one small detail on their Christmas cards that is making waves....
..;.Christians In England Are Deemed To Be Dangerous, Says Tim Farron   -UK Guardian
Active Christianity is deemed dangerous and offensive, according to Tim Farron, who quit as leader of the Liberal Democrats in July saying he was impossible to be both faithful to the bible and a political leader. In a speech to be delivered on Tuesday, Farron will say: “If you actively hold a faith that is more than an expression of cultural identity … you are deemed to be far worse than eccentric. You are dangerous. You are offensive.”
.;..Although Persecuted, Sudan’s Christian Population Is Growing    -The Economist
.....The south seceded in 2011, taking with it most of Sudan’s Christians. After the split churches in the north were burned. Then came demolitions: at least 20 since 2011. Four took place in August this year. About 27 other churches are listed for bulldozing. The government says it is merely removing unlicensed buildings. But only churches seem to be getting knocked down. In any case, the government announced in 2013 that it would no longer grant licences for the construction of new churches.
..;.Fear Stalks Bangladesh’s Christians as Islamic Extremism Surges   -Japan tTmes
.....Christian leaders say many have left Bangladesh in recent years as the community increasingly finds itself targeted by Islamists. Last year, two converts from Islam were murdered and a Catholic grocer brutally hacked to death during a campaign by Islamist extremists that also targeted Hindus and other minorities. Christians make up less than 0.5 percent of Bangladesh’s 160 million people, but lived for centuries in harmony with the Muslims....
.;..The Hidden Hands of Caitlyn Jenner    -Andrew T. Walker 
.....The fact is that in the photo shoot, Jenner went to every possible effort to demonstrate femininity, and took every possible step to assert sex appeal as a woman—eyelashes, breasts, facial work. But the hands did not, could not, follow. And that tells us something: our existence simply can’t be remade or recast without remnants of our true self remaining behind. 
..;.Scam Artists and Sex Education   -Carl R. Trueman
One of the oddest aspects of the sexual revolution is its tendency to present the problem as the solution. For instance, during the 1980s, the least acceptable response to the AIDS crisis was the promotion of abstinence. Promiscuity was held to be normative, opponents of it were decried as idiotic and prudish, and any acceptable solution had to be built on these foundational truths.  Thirty years on, the failed pattern continues.
.;..Alcohol and Cancer   -David R. Brumbelow 
 A sobering Statement has been released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology on “Alcohol and Cancer.”  Excerpts from that article:  “The importance of alcohol drinking as a contributing factor to the overall cancer burden is often underappreciated. In fact, alcohol drinking is an established risk factor for several malignancies.”
..;.Training for Song Leaders    -David Cloud
The position of song leader is important. Just as orchestras need good conductors and armies need good officers, churches must have the right song leaders if they are to have effectual song services.  An individual can worship God alone effectively if he is so inclined, but a congregation must be led. That is why God has ordained leaders and has set forth high qualifications for them.  It is true that the New Testament does not spell out the position of song leader or music director, but the Old Testament plainly sets forth this pattern and there is no need to restate it in the New. 
Headlines & Articles — Tuesday, November 28th, 2017
..;..Moses Is Vindicated   -Randolph Parrish
Thirty-five hundred years ago, slaves toiling in the harsh mines of the Sinai scribbled some graffiti on the desert rocks.  One of them wrote: "Moses then provoked astonishment."  That, plus a lot of other inscriptions, deserves more than a passing glance.  Most of us know about the Exodus and Moses, courtesy of Cecil B. DeMille and Charlton Heston.  But archaeological evidence of those events has been slow to come by.  Now, in a new book, The World's Oldest Alphabet, Douglas Petrovich has deciphered the Sinai inscriptions, and for the first time outside the Bible, we can read how the slaves looked at things...Anyone familiar with the Book of Exodus will immediately spot parallels with the account of Pharaoh's attempt to reduce the number of newborn Israelites and the subsequent actions of Moses. So much for the dismissive arguments that the Israelites could never have numbered enough to be considered a threat to Egypt.  Or that there never was an Exodus.  Or that Moses never existed....All this should be headlines, but it isn't.
.;..Have Sodom and Gomorrah Been Found? -World Net Daily
Archaeologist calls discovery near Dead Sea a ‘no-brainer’. Is the Bible’s account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah just a myth? Not likely, says an archaeologist who believes, following 12 years of sifting sand near the Dead Sea in Jordan, that he has found the ruins of the largest twin cities in the area, one that fits all the criteria of the Bible account.
..;.Israeli Researchers Debunk Transgender Craze That’s Sweeping America  -Israel Today
The Bible warned that a day would come when good was called evil, and evil was called good. In other words, a day when reality and truth were turned on their heads. Anyone living in a Western society currently steeped in the transgender phenomenon might understandably think that day has arrived. Israel, at least in this context, is looking to play its role as “light to the nations” by releasing a fact-based rebuttal of the notion that gender is a matter of personal feeling and choice.
.;..British Missionary Was Shot Dead in Nigeria After Singing 'Amazing Grace'  -Christian Post
A Christian missionary was shot dead in Nigeria after playing "Amazing Grace" on his guitar, two of the British survivors who were rescued earlier in November revealed. Previous reports suggested that 57-year-old Ian Squire had died from asthma while held by kidnappers in Nigeria's southern Delta region. But new accounts from rescued hostages David and Shirley Donovan reveal that he was killed.
..;.China Tells Christians to Replace Images of Jesus with Communist President   -Christianity Today
Thousands of Christian villagers in China have been told to take down displays of Jesus, crosses, and gospel passages from their homes as part of a government propaganda effort to “transform believers in religion into believers in the party.”....The efforts were part of a government campaign to alleviate poverty in the region, since some CPC members believe families’ faith is to blame for their financial woes, according to SCMP. The poster swaps in villagers’ homes represent the party’s desire to have residents look to their leaders, rather than their Savior, for assistance.
.;..Free Speech for Pregnancy Centers? The Supremes Will Decide   -Christian Post
....On November 13th, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that could potentially affect the work of crisis pregnancy centers across the country. It's called National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra.
..;..‘Ignorant Infidels’ In U.S. May Have To Be ‘Forced’ To Accept Islam  -World Net Daily
Radical imams from Virginia, Maryland and Texas recently attended a fund-raising event organized by an Islamist charity in which they were treated to a smorgasbord of teachings from foreign-based Islamic thinkers. Ludhiavi believes America is a “land of infidels,” whom he described as “ignorant.” His comments are a ringing example of what Muslim leaders say when they are behind closed doors and in the company of other Muslims, as opposed to the public comments meant for gullible infidel ears, security experts tell WND.
.;..Getting Rich and Forgetting God    -Rob Schwarzwalder
....Economic liberty is a great thing. But we have left our moral sense sitting outside on the porch swing, always available for a reassuring chat, but an uncomfortable presence at the table of our souls. We’ve made the mistake of thinking that prosperity means happiness.
..;.Zimbabwe Can Be Born Again Church Leaders Explain Mugabe-Military Crisis    -Christianity Today
This week, church leaders in Zimbabwe called for prayer—and a transitional government—after 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe was placed under house arrest by the military. “We see the current situation not just as a crisis in which we are helpless,” wrote eight evangelical, Catholic, charismatic, and ecumenical Protestant leaders. “We see the current arrangement as an opportunity for the birth of a new nation.”
.;..Cyber Monday and the Soul of Christmas  -Jim Denison
....With Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the Christmas season in America has officially started. Shoppers are expected to spend an average of $967 each, up 3 percent from last year. But while the economy is strong and consumers are optimistic, this morning's headlines remind us that the things that matter most are not things. Shoppers were evacuated from a mall in New York yesterday after reports of a shooting. A man entered a Costco in Kansas waving...
..;.The Truth Behind ‘Transgender’ Deaths    -Trevor Thomas
.....Though the articles often hopefully hinted that a possible “hate criminal” was behind the murders, there was not one single person the media could definitively claim was the victim of a “hate crime.” Quite the contrary, more than one “transgender” person died as the result of violently attacking the police. Others were involved in dangerous activities such as prostitution, gang activity, or drug use, and still others had shown themselves to be prone to violence. In other words, much -- if not most -- of the “violence against transgenders” is due to the poor lifestyle choices of those who reject simple science and morality. If the mainstream media really wanted to tell the truth when it comes to death and the gender-deluded, it would do well to....
.;..The Early Christians Were Odd, Too   - Michael Kruger
It can be disheartening, not to mention frightening, when our culture rejects aspects of Christianity as strange or offensive. When Christians feel isolated and alone, it’s helpful to remember this experience is nothing new for God’s people.  Christians have been viewed as cultural misfits from the beginning, and the reasons for this assessment have changed little over the last two millennia.
..;..How Aging Hippies’ Attacks on Families Created Entitled Younger Generations  -Rachel Alexander
.....The younger generations are used to their parents providing them with iPhones and cars. They’re less likely to have gotten jobs in high school and paid for those things themselves, or to have saved for college. This is because Baby Boomers — the hippy generation — raised the Millennials. The Boomers revolted against their traditional parents and indulged their children. It’s been described as the “Me Generation” raising the “Me Me Me Generation.” Instead of taking on the tough parenting role of teaching their kids....they took the easy route and spoiled them. 
.;..Seven Things the Church Can’t Do for the Pastor    -Ron Edmondson
Pastor, there are some things your church can’t do for you. They simply can’t...And, if you think they can, or you leave it up to them to do these things, you’ll someday find out the hard way — they can’t. I’ve watched it many times as pastors didn’t do these. They followed the demands of the church and somehow expected the church to be providing these needs. It caused a void....Granted, you may have the greatest church of your ministry career, but regardless of how wonderful the church is they can’t do all the things for you that your soul, personal life and ministry demands. You’ll have to do them yourself – by God’s grace – if they’re going to be done.  Here are 7 things your church can’t adequately do for the pastor:
..;.Five Reasons Thankful Pastors Are Doing So Well in Ministry -Thom Rainer
As I was trying to discern some of the qualities and characteristics of pastors who are doing really well in ministry, I was surprised that the most common trait was an attitude of abundant gratitude. Simply stated, pastors who have an attitude of continuous gratitude are doing very well in ministry. They are joyous pastors. They serve joyous congregations. They see a steady flow of first-time guests at their churches....Why? Why are thankful pastors doing so well in ministry? As I have come to know these pastors, I see five common answers to this question.
.;..Breaking Bad Parental Patterns    -Thomas Overmiller
....Children look to their parents for hope, more than they look to anyone else. So, when they find that you repeatedly misunderstand them, hurt them, or let them down, they lose hope. They grow angry, embittered, or frustrated instead, but not only towards you. They grow bitter towards life and towards God as well. It is interesting to note the way that Paul gives these instructions. He assumes that causing frustration in the hearts of our children is our....
..;.When Going Through the Motions is Not Enough  -Mike Leake
You’ve likely heard the old Christian slogan, “Fact! Faith! Feelings!” I remember when I first became a believer, I stumbled upon a picture of a train with those words inside each train car. The caboose was labeled “feelings” and the locomotive was labeled “fact.”And it was explained this way: “The train will run with or without the caboose. However, it would be futile to attempt to pull the train by the caboose.” There is healthy truth in this slogan. 
.;..Thanks in Eternity    -George Stiekes
God’s people have always been a people of praise and thanksgiving. From the very beginning God chose us in order that we might praise Him...God created us to praise Him just as did the angels in heaven before the foundation of the world (Job 38:4-7).  In Old Testament times, the Israelites were known for their “singing faith.” Today, every Lord’s Day and at other times, the saints gather and most often sing praises unto God. It is not something optional for the child of God since God created us for this purpose. We are exhorted to praise God continually....What are you thankful for today? Why is it we have to stop and think about our answer? In glory, we will be so overflowing with gratitude that it will just stream out of our mouths.
..;.A Revival Of The Public Reading of Scripture  -Steve Burchett
I risk sounding old-fashioned, uninventive, or the promoter of something that “just won’t work these days,” but here’s my conviction: We should read even large sections of Scripture when the church meets. Throughout the Bible, God expected His people to hear His word read publically, and we have a few instances of that happening. Here are most of the references to relevant passages and verses I have discovered....
.;..The Transformative Power of Contemporary Christian Music   -David Cloud
Over the past 10-20 years many formerly fundamental Baptist churches have converted to New Evangelical rock & roll entertainment centers, and the adoption of CCM has been at the very heart and soul of these transformations. Consider Highland Park Baptist Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee. It came out of the Southern Baptist Convention in the 1940s. In the 1970s, when I was a student of the church’s Bible School, it was an old-fashioned independent Baptist church with glorious sacred music and high standards. It regularly ran several thousand on Sunday mornings. The church had a....
..;.A. T. Robertson and Preaching   -Wally Morris
....I have never lost my appreciation for the significant people in SBC history who helped shaped its beliefs and practice. For example, the men who helped form Southern Seminary (first in Greenville, SC, then in Louisville, KY) were pioneers in education for Baptist pastors. John Broadus’ book on preaching is still a classic (There is still a “Broadus Avenue” in Greenville).  Broadus’ son-in-law, A. T. Robertson is well-known for his Greek scholarship. But he was also concerned about preaching. When he became Professor of Greek and Homiletics in 1890, he gave an inaugural address entitled “Preaching and Scholarship”. Robertson was a demanding teacher and detailed scholar. But he did not believe that the purpose of seminary education was to produce only scholars. Below are some quotes from his inaugural address which may challenge and encourage those in the ministry....
Headlines & Articles — Monday, November 27th, 2017
..;..The Best Questions To Ask In Terrible Times of Terror   -Matt Recker
I have been asked many times in these terrible days of terror, “Why would God allow this if He is all-powerful and good? Or, “What is God doing?” Others question, “Where is God when that awful terror is happening? How can He let that happen?" These are the natural questions to ask, but in Romans 8:31-39, Paul reveals the best questions that require supernatural faith to ask.Paul lived in days of terror, sword, famine, peril, persecution and death for God’s people. Paul says bluntly, “As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter” (Romans 8:36). Paul could have asked, “Why, God” “What, God” or “Where is God?” He doesn’t, but rather he asks far better questions that demonstrate the divine perspective. Here are some the best questions with the answers upon which to hold as we live in terrible times of terror. 
.;..Pastor of Texas Church Where 26 Were Killed Shares Painful Yet Powerful Example of How God is Still Working    -CBN News
The pastor of the Texas church where a murderous gunman recently killed 26 people has revealed that nearly 30 people have reached out to him to proclaim that they have reconnected with their faith as a result of the horrific incident. Pastor Frank Pomeroy of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, teared up as he told NBC News that this has encouraged him to forge on in his pastoral work, despite losing many friends as well s his own 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle, in the carnage. “Prior to this, I was fighting the battle to the best of my ability,” Pomeroy said of his work as a preacher. “But even more so now, that I know there’s 26 more martyrs that have laid down their lives for that battle and the Lord left me here, I feel, means that he wanted me to continue that fight for him in their names as well.”
..;.Museum of the Bible Opens amid Artifacts Controversy  -Christian Headlines
 The Museum of the Bible officially opened it’s doors on Friday, November 7th, in Washington D.C, amidst an ongoing fury of debate over the authenticity of the artifacts on display there. After paying a fine and returning what was proven to be fake by Federal authorities in July, the Green Family’s vision trekked on to completion.  Criticism has followed the project from it’s birth. “It’s the most controversial topic in the world. It’s the biggest-selling book; most banned, destroyed, influential book … We will irritate everybody,” Cary Summers, museum president, said. 
.;..Why I’m Not Giving My Ten-Year-Old A Smartphone -Nicole Russell
.....Another reason I don’t think my son needs a phone yet is because smartphones are distracting. They encourage lack of focus and self control, not only on the present moment but on real people. How do I know? They distract me and my friends. Have I mentioned yet we’re grownups?
..;.Nine Things You Should Know About Sexual Misconduct    -Joe Carter
For the past several weeks, reports and allegations of sexual assault and harassment by celebrities and politicians have been in the news every day. Here are nine things you should know about these forms of sexual misconduct: 
.;..Church of Sweden To Stop Clergy Calling God 'He' or 'the Lord' Because of Gender Concerns  -UK Telegraph
The Church of Sweden is encouraging its clergy to use the gender-neutral term "God" instead of referring to the deity as "he" or "the Lord".  The decision was made on Thursday, wrapping up an eight-day meeting of the church's 251-member decision-making body. The decision will take effect on May 20 during Pentecost. It is the latest move by the national Evangelical Lutheran church to modernise its 31-year-old handbook ....
..;..Why Are America and the Entire World Beckoning the Beast?-Michael Bresciani
.....Political ideologies and religious beliefs seem too diverse and unapproachable to most, so a commonality is sought. Out of this is born political correctness, suspension of moral codes and a general commonality that declares that man will succeed when they have all things in common. It is the re-birth of the Tower of Babel, but with a modern touch. This time it is going to work. The only thing lacking in the plan to reduce everything to its least common denominator is a leader, ruler, despot, dictator or father figure to lead us into the well prophesied delusion. We hear about such a person from the purveyors of Biblical prophecy (eschatologists) and like most things religious, we take it all with the proverbial grain of salt. 
.;..Report: Israel Vows to Destroy Iranian Positions Within 40 Kilometers of Syrian Border    -Jerusalem Post
Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida revealed…an Israeli source disclosed a promise from Jerusalem to destroy all Iranian facilities within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of Israel’s Golan Heights. The source…said that…Damascus will agree to a demilitarized zone of up to 40 kilometers from the border in the Golan Heights as part of a comprehensive agreement between the two countries, but only if Israel does not work to remove Assad’s regime from power. 
.;..Beginning of the Islamization of Christmas? Norway School Includes Koran Verses In Christmas Program 
An elementary school in the city of Skien, Norway has announced its Christmas festivities this year will include not only the usual reading of verses from the Bible by students but also two verses from the Koran.  All of the verses in question are about Jesus, which Islam considers a prophet and not the Son of God.  Hanne Tolg, the blogger who broke the story, says some changes to the school's traditional holiday program was inevitable. Forty percent of the students speak Norwegian as a second language if they speak it at all. 
.;..Bill Gates’ New Orwellian Big Brother Curriculum    -Geri Ungurean
....After helping to further centralize and dumb down government education with Common Core standards, billionaire globalist Bill Gates has another “education” plan to meddle in your child’s schooling. However, after admitting that his previous schemes did not work out as planned, Gates vowed to pour almost $2 billion into everything from “new curricula” to “networks of schools that work together … and use data to drive continous improvement."
..;.15 Things Far Too Many Americans Are Foolishly Taking For Granted  -John Hawkins
...Many Americans don’t know why this country is so successful, don’t understand the long-term ramifications of the things they advocate politically and don’t get how lucky we are. Knowledgeable conservatives know better. We know that we are fortunate enough to live in what Reagan called a “shining city on a hill” and that eternal flame that sets us apart from other nations can easily dim. 
.;..The Statement of Chemistry On the Origin of Life -James Clinton
.....Science, specifically, astronomy, origin of life research via chemistry, biology, microbiology, the present ability to assess the efficacy of random mutation, geology, informatics, and probability all lead to the conclusion that a designer was necessary. The designer? Having reviewed the philosophies and religions of the world, the support for the different persuasions and the questions, there is no doubt in my mind that the Designer is the Person revealed in the pages of the Bible.
..;.America Is On Fire, as Love for God Cools    -Cheryl K. Chumley
America was built on Judeo-Christian principles, steered into existence by Founding Fathers who believed — yes, even the less religious ones — that this republic could not survive absent a moral, virtuous people.  My, how wise the founders.  That was then.
.;..“It’s a War on Christians”    -Raymond Ibrahim
As in former years, Easter was under attack in various Muslim nations, most spectacularly in Egypt. On April 9, two Coptic Christian Orthodox churches packed with worshippers for Palm Sunday Mass, which initiates Easter holy week, were attacked by Islamic suicide bombers. Twenty-seven people—mostly children—were killed in St. George’s in Tanta, northern Egypt. “Where is the government?” an angry Christian there asked AP reporters. 
..;..Why the Left Hates Thanksgiving   -Daniel Greenfield
Senator Schumer wants to argue about tax reform at Thanksgiving dinner. And he has a handy chart for lefties to take along and wave at their more conservative relatives while screeching about the 1 percent. In an article titled, “The Case for Ruining Thanksgiving,” GQ Magazine urges its readers to punish their parents who voted for Trump by staying away, insulting them or ranting about police brutality.  The Scientific American wants readers to push Global Warming over mashed potatoes. The organizers of the Women’s March want you to accuse your uncle of having “white privilege.”
.;..How Can Christian Couples Preserve Their Marriage?    -Jack Wellman
With divorces increasing, even among Christian couples, what can a couple do to preserve their marriage? ....I could not write about Christian marriage without mentioning the importance of God. In fact, this is the most essential element in any marriage….the Holy Spirit. We can grieve, quench, and resist the Spirit of God, and that creates a fleshly-tension in the marriage. When one of the spouses is living in the flesh, for example, not loving His wife like Christ loved the church, it makes it harder for her to respect her husband. 
..;.The Bald Eagle    -David Cloud
The majestic bald eagle has been the national bird of America since 1782, and as the emblem of America appears on the nation’s coat of arms, coins, etc. It is a massive raptor about three feet high, weighing 9 to 14 pounds, with a wing span of six to eight feet, second in size only to the California condor. The female is one-third larger than the male.  Its habitat covers most of North America and northern Mexico. 
.;..A Survey of Biblical Teaching on Alcohol   -Mike Harding
Scriptural Warnings & Prohibitions for Wine and Strong Drink....
..;.Some Advice About Church Fights   -Tyler Robbins
I’m posting an excerpt from a letter written around 96 A.D. It’s the earliest letter we have from Christians outside of the New Testament. Though it is traditionally titled “1 Clement,” it was really written from the congregation in Rome to the congregation in Corinth...The congregation in Corinth had apparently dismissed its pastors at the instigation of a few troublemakers in the congregation. It’s both encouraging and depressing to know that this has been a perennial problem. Politics, power struggles and infighting characterize every organization – and it’s always particularly depressing when it happens in a congregation which allegedly confesses allegiance in the same Lord, the same faith, and has the same baptism of the Spirit which has placed them into the New Covenant!  Read this excerpt, and consider how relevant it is for today. It could describe some churches in 2017 . . .
.;..Complicating Manhood and Womanhood   -Gabriel Williams
....From my background, the question of biblical manhood and womanhood was rarely discussed because we were raised with "church mothers" and "church fathers". These older saints knew their role within the church, and they functioned as the gatekeepers of the local church (under the authority of the pastor). They were the individuals who modeled the standard for godliness.
..;.Senior Saints and Sensibility, Part 1    -Rick Shrader
If you have ever heard someone say, “You just had to have been there,” or, “Hindsight is so much better than foresight,” then you are also hearing what senior saints often think in the church. No one knows how seniors think or feel until they’ve become one, and no one sees from their perspective until they’ve been a senior themselves. I turned 67 this year and only feel that I’m beginning to understand what many of these great saints are saying.
Headlines & Articles — Weekend, November 25th-26th, 2017
..;..SEASON'S BEATINGS: Shoppers Punch, Kick, Scream; Baby Hit With Shoe...    -UK Daily Mail
Black Friday madness has officially gripped the nation.  The elbows-out shopping bonanza began on Thursday night as stores across the country opened their doors early to crowds of frantic bargain hunters. It carried on throughout the day on Friday as millions flocked to malls, stores and retail websites to snag a bargain. While most were peaceful in their pursuit of cut-priced goods, brawls and tugs-of-war erupted in different stores. One, in a Buckle store in Hoover, Alabama, resulted in two women being arrested.  The violence was even more severe in Missouri where a 19-year-old man was shot outside a mall as shoppers rushed to snap up cut-price goods inside.  He is in a critical condition. For the most part, the shopping was civilized and, in some cases, orderly.....Traditionally, most on-the-ground shopping is done on Black Friday and online shoppers wait until Cyber Monday when prices are reduced even further.  But this year at-home shoppers flooded retail websites early, causing some, including Lowes, to crash. 
.;..Five Facts About Black Friday   -Acton Institute
....Here are five facts you should know about Black Friday. 1. The term “Black Friday” was coined by the Philadelphia Police Department’s traffic squad in the 1950s. According to Philadelphia newspaper reporter Joseph P. Barrett, “It was the day that Santa Claus took his chair in the department stores and every kid in the city wanted to see him. It was the first day of the Christmas shopping season.” Barrettt first used the term in the city’s newspaper, the Evening Bulletin, in 1961 to refer to the traffic problems on that day. Local merchants complained to police commissioner Albert N. Brown about the...
..;.Canada Rejects Christian Couple for Adoption Because of Their Faith  -WORLD Mag
A married Canadian couple is suing the Alberta government after being rejected for adoption because of their Christian beliefs. The lawsuit, filed earlier this month, alleges the province denied their application for adoption because of their religious beliefs on sexuality and gender. In October 2016, the couple—known only by their initials in court documents—applied to adopt with Alberta’s Child and Family Services. They had struggled with.....
.;..We Need to Have a Talk About Matt Chandler     -Pulpit & Pen
.....Aside from adopting the social justice, functional post-millennial culture-conquering common to New Calvinism, most of these errors are entirely due to one thing – Chandler’s insistence that the Apostolic Sign Gifts (which were only seen in Scripture as practiced by Apostles or by those upon whom the Apostles laid their hands) are for Christians today. In other words, it is Chandler’s charismaticism that is making him so wonky. 
..;.North Korean Defector Describes ‘Life of Hell’ for Christians   -Fox News
North Korean Choi Kwanghyuk is one of the lucky ones. The 55-year-old managed to escape from the work camp where he was sent after being targeted and persecuted by the government for his Christian faith. “We couldn’t raise our voice during a service, we couldn’t sing out loud during a worship … that was hard,” Choi told Fox News through a translator. “Also, we had to hide so that other people could not see us.”
.;..Abortions in America Drop to Historic Low, Says CDC Report    -Christian Post
Abortions in America have dropped to an all-time low, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found that the nation's abortion rate declined by two percent between 2013 and 2014.
..;..Five Christians Killed, Five Others Missing in Muslim Herdsmen Attacks in Nigeria  -Gospel Herald
Five Christians were killed and five others are missing after attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria's Plateau and Benue states in the past two weeks. Two members of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) were killed on Sunday (Nov. 12) in Plateau state's Wereng village, Riyom Local Government Area (LGA), as they were returning to their village at about 9:30 p.m., area resident Gyang Dahoro, a COCIN elder, told Morning Star News.
.;..Transhumanism And The Future Of Humanity: Seven Ways The World Will Change By 2030  -Forbes
Companies today are strategizing about future investments and technologies such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, or growth around new business models. While many of these trends will make for solid investments for the next 5-10 years, fewer companies are considering the revolutionary convergence of disparate trends pulled from technology, behavioral and societal changes, and medical advances to understand how  they will converge to transform society.  This transformation will be messy, complex, and sometimes scary, but signals already point to a future of humanity that will....
..;.Should You Display a Nativity Set This Christmas?  -Pulpit & Pen
.....Aren’t nativity sets relatively harmless? I mean sure, they’re historically inaccurate, what with the wise men and shepherds all in one place at Christ’s birth. But aside from presenting a false historical narrative, aren’t they the sweetest little things you’ve ever seen? What if I told you that for much of Christian history the idea of having an artistic or graven representation of Christ would have been considered a sin? So then, let’s look at both the Bible and history to inform our judgment.
.;..Why Evangelicals Might Vote for Roy Moore Anyway    -Christian Headlnes
To many onlookers, evangelical support for Roy Moore is simply a matter of politics. The U.S. Senate candidate, accused of making unwanted sexual advances to nine women when they were teens and he was in his 30s, is seen by many evangelicals — who are overwhelmingly Republican — as one of them. “He is nothing but a godly man trying to make this country come to its senses because of liberals and the other side of the fence trying to protect their evil ways,” an evangelical supporter of Moore recently told a reporter at Jackson, Ala.’s Walker Springs Road Baptist Church.
..;.Teachers In England Warned Not to Say ‘Boys’ or ‘Girls’ as It ‘Reminds Pupils of Gender’    -Breitbart
Teachers should avoid calling female pupils “girls” or “ladies” because it means they are “constantly reminded of their gender”, a former government mental health tsar has said. Natasha Devon, who was appointed MBE in 2015 for “services to young people”, said the move would help transgendered children as well as encourage female and male students to defy traditional notions of gender, which affect “well-being”.
.;..New Death Bed Helps People Commit Suicide   -The Stream
An Australian euthanasia activist has developed a machine to help people commit suicide on their own, according to the pro-euthanasia group Exit International. Exit International calls itself an “aid-in-dying organization.” Exit director Dr. Philip Nitschke and an engineer developed the Sarco euthanasia machine. They promoted it at a conference the group’s NuTech branch ran on “New Technologies for a Peaceful DIY Death” in Toronto....
..;.Scandals, Politics and Faith: In Whom Do We Trust?    -John Stonestreet
For Christians, selectively holding our political and prospective leaders to high moral standards reveals in us an unsettling lack of faith.
Headlines & Articles — Friday, November 24th, 2017
..;..US Stores Get Creative To Battle E-Commerce On Black Friday
The photo op with Santa Claus has long been a holiday mainstay for American children. But this year, shopping malls in several states are scheduling glamour shots for man's best friend.  As the Christmas shopping season kicks into high gear on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, portraits of St. Nick with a family's beloved dog are just one way retailers are looking to attract customers in the face of exploding e-commerce.  Brick-and-mortar stores have expanded their bag of tricks -- and gotten increasingly bold -- as they look to lure shoppers who might otherwise be happy to stay on the couch and pick up gifts while still in their pajamas.  The flagship Bloomingdale's store in New York has held yoga classes, and Nordstrom has....
.;..134 Earthquakes Rattle the San Andreas Fault In Just One Week   -UK Daily Mail
 Fresh fears have been raised that a huge earthquake is about to hit California after a swarm of recent tremors.  In the last week 134 earthquakes have hammered a three-mile stretch around Monterey County on the San Andreas fault.  Of those earthquakes, 17 were stronger than 2.5 magnitude and six of them were stronger than 3.0, with more tremors expected in the coming weeks, experts warn.  It follows fears raised last week that the 'Big One' is about to hit after a series of ten 'mini quakes' struck the same area.
..;.Pastors' Warning That They Are Heavily Armed, Ready to Use 'Deadly Force' Stirring Heated Debate
A Florida church that posted a controversial warning that its pastors are "heavily armed" and ready to use "deadly force" continues stirring debates online two weeks after the mass slaughter at a church in Texas.
.;..ISIS Recruitment Posters Show Pope Francis Beheading, Threats Against Christmas
The pro-ISIS Wafa’ Media Foundation is distributing a propaganda poster showing a beheaded Pope Francis poster just days after releasing a video showing a masked man driving towards Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Basilica. The gruesome image shows an Islamic State member leaning over the decapitated body of the Catholic Church leader in front of a destroyed cityscape and armed ISIS fighters. 
..;.Why Christian Kids Leave the Faith   -Tim Challies
Few things are sadder to witness than people who once professed faith leaving it all behind. This is especially true when those people were raised in Christian homes by God-fearing parents. These children were given every opportunity to put their faith in Jesus but determined instead to turn their backs on him. Why would they make such a tragic choice? 
.;..Inside Chilling Religion Creating ‘God Robot’ a Billion Times Smarter Than Humans
…When asked about how powerful his “god” would be, Levandowski was not shy in talking up its intelligence. He said: “What is going to be created will effectively be a god. “It’s not a god in the sense that it makes lighting or causes hurricanes. “But if there is something a billion times smarter than the smartest human, what else are you going to call it.”
..;.Algeria Shuts Down Church Accused of Illegally Printing Bibles and Evangelism Materials -Christian Post
A church in the Northeastern African nation of Algeria has been closed down after authorities claimed that the church building was being used to print Bibles and other Christian materials.
.;..Is a Door Opening for Christianity in Saudi Arabia?    -Worthy News
Stunning political developments in Saudi Arabia have some wondering if the strict Muslim-ruled Kingdom could become more tolerant of Christianity. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has said he intends to return Saudi Arabia to "moderate Islam" and open the country to all faiths.
..;.How America Turned Into a Nation of Small Gods    -Tom Gilson
America has moved beyond Christianity, beyond post-Christianity, to a new religion of small gods everywhere. How did we get to this point?  I’m not talking about old-fashioned self-worship. This isn’t merely, “I’m more important than you.” Individuals are assuming the very power of God to create their own realities and command others to comply.
.;..The Pragmatic Benefits of God-Given Sexual Boundaries    -Stand To Reason
....The Bible tells us that God designed us male and female and that there are sexual benefits because of that. There’s companionship, identification, procreation, and also happiness and safety when we follow God’s plan. God designed sex for marriage, not to be a killjoy, but for our flourishing.
..;.The Truth about Suicide    -Christianity Today
In 2015, more than 44,000 Americans died by suicide—one death every 12 minutes, as the Department of Health and Human Services put it. The overall suicide rate has grown by nearly 30 percent over the past 15 years, prompting some to call it a new public health crisis.
.;..Three Reminders About Politics In a Disheartening Age   -ERLC
Looking at the political headlines recently, it could be easy to give in to dismay, disgust, or discouragement.  There is certainly good reason for these feelings.  It’s disgusting when we see politicians pointing to Joseph’s relationship with Mary to excuse allegations of an older man abusing a teenage girl. It’s dismaying when it appears that the character of those who we select as leaders takes a back seat to political power and maintaining majorities.  It’s discouraging when some argue that we must ignore serious charges of abuse and vote anyway, that we must automatically vilify those who make....
..;.Church Plants Need Shepherds, Not Entrepreneurs  - Matt McCullough 
....Being wired as an entrepreneur is not necessary first and foremost because God doesn’t say that it is. An entrepreneurial spirit isn’t on any list of biblical qualifications. It can certainly be helpful in a church-planting context, but any advantage is prudential, not biblical. You can lead a church plant and not be an entrepreneur. But you shouldn’t lead a church plant if you’re not a pastor.
Headlines & Articles — Thursday, November 23rd, 2017
..;..A Beautiful Table and a Bitter Heart   -Melissa Kruger
.....As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, it’s easy to fall into the same grumbling and guilt cycle. We become Martha-like, busy with preparations and focused on all there is to do. Trying circumstances, unmet expectations, and relational disappointments tempt us to begin counting our bitters. We overflow with frustration and impatience to those around us. The celebration we hope to enjoy becomes impossible when our hearts are overtaken by murmuring and discontent. We may have a beautiful table, but we’re sitting at it with a bitter heart. Thankful hearts don’t happen naturally. We can always find something (or someone) that’s not quite right or good enough. It’s helpful to remember that thankful hearts aren’t the fruit of perfect circumstances or people. A thankful heart is fruit of time spent with the Lord. As we first give thanks to him, we abound with love, joy, patience, and kindness to others (Gal 5:22).
.;..What Is Thanksgiving Day?  -Stephen Nichols
....So we have a holiday of thanksgiving born in and further nurtured during times of great adversity and struggle. We might think that times of adversity and challenge would spawn ingratitude, while times of prosperity would spawn gratitude. Sadly, the reverse is true.
..;.The Pilgrims Gave Thanks Despite a Multitude of Difficulties  -Jerry Newcombe
With another Thanksgiving upon us, it's good to consider what the Pilgrims endured and how they thanked God through it all.
.;..Seven Things Evangelicals Can Be Thankful for in 2017    -Chelsen Vicari
When your family sits down around the Thanksgiving dinner table, pause to ask the time-honored question: "What are you thankful for this year?"
..;.George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation: What a Different Era-Intellectual Takeout
Thanksgiving is a quintessential American holiday. It is a holiday that in many ways requires some sense of the supernatural – whether we like the idea or not. Below you will find our first President’s proclamation of Thanksgiving in which his sense of the hand of Providence upon the American Republic, his mixing of church and state, of belief and practice is undeniable. When you read it, consider the tone, humility, and outlook of President George Washington and ask yourself if any current leaders match him.
.;..Dead Sea Scrolls Written by Celibate Jewish Essene “Monks”, Qumran Skeletons Confirm
Until now, the subject was a matter of debate, as scientists had identified both male and female skeletons in the site’s cemetery. But research done on 33 newly excavated skeletons from Qumran has revealed that almost all were male, with the genders of three skeletons indeterminate. The researchers also reexamined 53 previously unearthed skeletons from Qumran’s cemetery and discovered that six of seven individuals formerly tagged as women were actually men.
..;..The Jewish Origins of Thanksgiving  -Mosaic Magazine
In 1621, colonists at Plymouth held a feast, expressing their gratitude to God for a good harvest. This is widely understood to be the original Thanksgiving celebration—but Moshe Sokolow points to an even earlier celebration and its roots in distinctly Jewish practices.
.;..Stoned How Colorado's 5 Years of Legal Pot Is 'Devastating Communities' -CBN News
This week marks the fifth anniversary of Colorado's legalization of the commercial marijuana trade, and the reviews aren't good. An editorial in the Colorado Springs Gazette reports, "Five years of retail pot coincide with five years of a homelessness growth rate that ranks among the highest rates in the country. Directors of homeless shelters, and people who live on the streets, tell us homeless substance abusers migrate here for easy access to pot."
..;.Little Sisters of the Poor to Battle California, Pennsylvania Efforts to Overturn New HHS Rules   -Christian Post
The Little Sisters of the Poor are returning to court to stop the attorneys general of California and Pennsylvania from overturning a recently acquired exemption to the Health and Human Services Department's new birth control mandate exemption.
.;..Jehovah’s Witnesses Pay Out Millions to Cover-Up Child Abuse Claims
The group has caused outrage after it has been revealed that their operation is being used to cover-up child abuse within its confines. The religious body's internal protocols for crimes mean that criminal activity never gets reported to the police as their "laws" prohibit one Witness from reporting another to the authorities.  The rules also stipulate that to report a crime internally, a victim must have at least two witnesses to the incident, but with sexual abuse crimes rarely having any witnesses at all, the crimes are never prosecuted.
..;.Facebook Shouldn't Censor Pro-Life News Outlets
Facebook and other social media sites should take a clear stance in favor of free speech and resist the urge to censor articles and editorials because of their ideological content.
.;..What Is an EMP Bomb?  -Lifehacker
During a hearing on October 12th, experts warned the U.S. House of Representatives that an EMP bomb, likely from North Korea, could kill as many as 90% of all Americans within a year. But what is an EMP bomb? And could such a weapon really be that devastating?
..;.Trust God or Take Precautions?   -Aaron Blumer
The violence in Sutherland Springs Texas on November 5 got many of us thinking twice about whether our churches are safe places. From a purely rational, data-based perspective, they’re just as safe as they were a month ago. From a theological perspective, they are as well. But when something horrific like that happens, our hearts tell us it might be time to make changes. 
.;..Essential Elements of Young Earth Creationism and Their Importance to Christian Theology (Part 1)
....While many Christians and Christian organizations relegate a literal creation week to a secondary or tertiary level of Christian doctrine, I would suggest that it is an essential part of the faith. To relegate literal creationism to a peripheral doctrinal level minimally suggests an inconsistent view of Scripture’s perspicuity on this subject and pervasively promotes deterioration in other facets of orthodox doctrine.
..;.The Christian’s Job Description-Preachers & Preaching
Everybody has a job description. Regardless of who you are—a pastor, a church member, or a student—you have a job description. We all do. And they are nothing new. They’ve been with us since the beginning of history. Adam and Eve had a job description. Noah had a job description. Abraham, Moses and Saul too. They all had job descriptions. But sometimes we get so immersed in fulfilling the details of our divinely-given job description, that we lose sight of the big picture.
.;..Restoring the Discipling Church   -David Cloud
Most churches have moved away from the New Testament pattern, beginning with hastiness in evangelism, carelessness in receiving members, and a weakness in maintaining spiritual standards and exercising discipline, and as a result they are falling prey to all sorts of errors and moving into an increasingly weaker and softer stance. Following are some suggestions for moving a mixed multitude congregation to a discipling church position:
..;.The Most Repeated Command in the Bible   -Jon Bloom 
What do you think is the most repeated command in the Bible? It’s not any of the prohibitions or warnings. It’s not about sex, or money, or power. The most repeated command in the Bible will probably surprise you: Be happy. God tells us more than anything else, in different ways, to “praise the Lord,” “do not be afraid,” “rejoice,” and “give thanks” — all of which are commands, in essence, to be happy. 
Headlines & Articles — Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017
..;..Here’s Why We Should Still Celebrate the Pilgrims at Thanksgiving-Daily Signal
For most American families, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones, eat delicious food, and perhaps watch some football. But not everyone is pleased with the celebration of this holiday, and some have taken to maligning its “originators,” the Pilgrims. An editorial in Al Jazeera labeled Thanksgiving a “thoroughly nauseating affair,” one that is “saturated with disgrace.” Other articles have called the Pilgrims genocidal toward Native Americans, or argued that the original idea of a Thanksgiving feast is a “myth.” “Debunking” the nature and origin of Thanksgiving seems to be turning into its own cottage industry. But the Pilgrim Thanksgiving story is based on real events. The small band of religious dissenters who crossed an ocean to a dangerous new world have, rightly, been given special prominence in the origin story of the United States. A year after the Pilgrims landed in what is now Massachusetts, Gov. William Bradford called for a day of thanksgiving.
.;..Christian Man Barred From Preaching in Tennessee Town Without Permit; City Contemplates Rule Change
Administrators in a Tennessee town are thinking about altering a city ordinance that critics say infringes upon individuals' First Amendment rights after a Christian street preacher claims he was prevented from evangelizing on a public sidewalk.
..;.Ancient Skeletons Could Finally Reveal Origins of The Dead Sea Scrolls  -Science Alert
Ever since they were discovered some 70 years ago, the Dead Sea Scrolls have fascinated scholars and historians. But the precise origins and authorship of these ancient texts have always been shrouded in mystery. Now, an analysis of more than 30 newly discovered graves could give us our best clue yet on how these relics were ushered into modern history.
.;..There's a Scientific Reason Why You Should Put Your Christmas Decorations Up Early -Business Insider
While some people tut when they see Christmas lights, trees, and adverts as early as November, there's a scientific reason why getting excited for Christmas a few weeks ahead of everyone else is good for you. Spreading the festive cheer as early as November makes a person seem more sociable, friendly, and approachable, according to evidence from the Journal of Environmental Psychology. The report states that a house lit up doormat-to-chimney in blinking lights and tinsel "cues as a way of communicating their accessibility to neighbours." 
..;.BOOM! Mystery Blasts Are Rattling the Globe  -wnd.com
Was it a supersonic aircraft? A meteor? A ground explosion? The end of the world as we know it? Those are the questions experts and non-experts around the world are asking themselves in recent weeks as curiously loud mystery BOOMS have not only been heard around the world, but felt – shaking buildings and rattling nerves from Alabama to Michigan, Idaho to California, Russia to Denmark.
.;..Sterile, Exquisite, Colonizing, Scholarly: Experts Offer Impressions of D.C.’s New Bible Museum -Washington Post
.....Although, the facility was not intended to be a “Come to Jesus” experience, I was disappointed by the lack of depth regarding the ministry of Jesus. The role of the influence of the Apostle Paul and others on the writing of the New Testament was an obvious oversight. Although the Museum of Bible displays many Bibles, I found little in the way of critical analysis of varying content and numbers of chapters in each version, and the divergent theological directions they take. The various New Testament Bibles are presented as a matter of fact, and the exhibit moves on. I find that ....
..;..Trump's Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan Demands Sudan Stop Demolishing Churches   -Christian Post
A high-ranking U.S. State Department official has demanded that the Sudanese government put an end to the systematic confiscation and demolition of churches and mosques.
.;..13 Christians Detained, Questioned After Chinese Police Raid Worship Service-Christian Post
Thirteen Christians were detained and taken to a police station in China's Guangdong province earlier this month after authorities raided their Sunday morning worship service. According to nongovernmental Christian nonprofit organization China Aid, a team of police officers and officials from a government religious affairs bureau raided the Qingcaodi Church, a small house church in Jingmen, on Nov. 5.
..;.Getting a Dog May Save Your Life, Especially if You’re Single   -Bloomberg
Having a dog can bring a lot of love into your life. It could also make it last a little longer. A group of academics from Uppsala University in Sweden analyzed the health records of 3.4 million people in that northern European country, where databases contain detailed information on everyone’s hospitalizations, medical history and even whether they own a dog. Such detailed records made it relatively easy to suss out the impact of having a canine companion. The results were heartwarming.
.;..Christian Leaders in Nepal Demand Law Criminalizing Evangelism Be Struck Down -Christian Post
Christian leaders in Nepal have submitted a petition to the government demanding that a new law banning evangelism and religious conversions be struck down. "Christians have been cheated in the past with assurances that have never been put into practice," said C.B. Gahatraj, president of the Christian Federation of Nepal.
..;.The Many Faces of Martin Luther    -Christianity Today
....The towering figure who changed the course of Western civilization also had feet of clay. That is one reason why, 500 years later, we continue to find Luther captivating. There is a historical footnote that illustrates Luther’s ongoing impact. In 1934, Rev. Michael King Sr., pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, attended the Baptist World Alliance Congress in Berlin. So taken with the story of the German monk, Rev. Michael King changed....
Headlines & Articles — Tuesday, November 21st, 2017
..;..Blessed Even In the WorstHow to Give Thanks in Every Circumstance
A couple of years ago, social media revolted against the hashtag #blessed.  It often seemed to be employed to brag about expensive vacations or impressive accomplishments under the guise of humility. But home décor stores do not seem to have gotten the message. They have shelves stocked with all kinds of signs and accessories so we can declare to the world — or at least anyone who comes into our houses — that we are indeed “blessed.” But what do we mean when we say that we are blessed? Is it an expression of gratitude for the things we have, the health we enjoy, or the people we love? Are these things really at the center of what it means to be blessed?
.;..Grandfather Banned from Reading Bible on Public Sidewalk Hears from City on His Challenge to Their Ordinance   -CBN News
The attorneys of a Tennessee grandfather, who say a city law that bans their client from reading the Bible on a public sidewalk without a permit violates his constitutional rights, have received a response from the city of Sweetwater. "Thank you for your email/letters to the City of Sweetwater, its mayor, recorder and attorney regarding Paul Johnson's exercise of his first amendment right to freely express his religious beliefs on public ways in Sweetwater, Tennessee," wrote City Attorney John Cleveland, Sr., in a letter dated last Friday.
.;..Christians Can't Be Lawyers if Not Pro-Gay? University Fights Discrimination Case at Canada's Top Court   -CBN News
A Christian university in Canada is being told not to go ahead with creating a law school because if they do, the graduates won't be considered real attorneys due to the school's Christian standards. Although the case sounds ridiculous to most people, it's going to Canada's Supreme Court this week. With an enrollment of more than 4,000 students, Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia is Canada's largest and fastest growing Christian college.  For 55 years, they've been attracting students from all over the world. In 2012, the university decided it was time to add a law school. 
.;..Upsurge In Big Earthquakes Predicted for 2018 as Earth Rotation Slows  -UK Guardian
Scientists have warned there could be a big increase in numbers of devastating earthquakes around the world next year. They believe variations in the speed of Earth’s rotation could trigger intense seismic activity, particularly in heavily populated tropical regions. Although such fluctuations in rotation are small – changing the length of the day by a millisecond – they could still be implicated in the release of vast amounts of underground energy.....
..;.Christian Lawmakers Working to Keep Free Speech, Charitable Contributions in Tax Plan    -CBN News
In a victory for religious liberty advocates, the House voted to include a repeal of the Johnson Amendment in their tax cut bill that passed the House Thursday. Congressman Jody Hice, R - Georgia, co sponsor of the Free Speech Fairness Act, tells CBN News when he was a Baptist pastor he personally faced intimidation from the IRS and it's time to "liberate churches." 
.;..Christian Charity Takes Out Bible References From Nativity Story, Says Effort Is 'Misunderstood'    -Christian Post
A Christian charity in the U.K. has responded to media reports that it decided to remove Bible references in its latest version of the Nativity story in order to present a more accessible story for a largely unchurched population of youths.
..;..‘Stop Saying Christmas’ Catholic Priest Warns Christians to Abandon the Word
.....He told the Belfast Telegraph: “We’ve lost Christmas, just like we lost Easter, and should abandon the word completely. We need to let it go, it’s already been hijacked and we just need to recognise and accept that.
.;..The Next Big Middle Eastern WarSaudi Arabia vs. Iran-Daniel Greenfield
 The Syrian Civil War killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions. Its ripple effects brought terror to Europe and dragged the United States into the fighting. And it’s just the appetizer for the coming war. The real war is the one that the Saudis and the Iranians have been maneuvering toward for years. Those maneuvers included everything from Iran’s nuke deal, the fighting in Yemen, the Syrian Civil War, the Iraqi suppression of Kurdish....
..;.Why Did God Create Pets?    -Jack Wellman
Did God create pets especially for us? Do pets go to heaven? I cannot believe that pets are just an accident of nature, or that the love they have for their owners is only a byproduct of naturalistic evolution. How can love evolve by a genetic process? Is love really just a random accident of a chemical or biological process? If that is so, then isn’t our own love for our family, our children and others just a random cosmic accident? Is love simply a lucky mix of genetic material? My own experience, and the experience of many others that I’ve spoken with, is that our pets were a gift from God.....
.;..Eight Ways Churches Can Leverage the Ubiquity of Smartphones   -Jonathan Howe
In 2011, smartphones were almost a novelty. Just 35% of American adults had one. That number has more than doubled in the past six years, and more than 9 in 10 adults under 30 have a smartphone.  Now that this device has become almost attached to us 24-7....how is the church adapting? Or better yet, how should the church adapt and engage the smartphone? Here are eight ways.
..;.Mass Killer, Cult Leader Charles Manson Dies at 83    -Free Beacon
....Manson died of natural causes Sunday evening at a Kern County hospital, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement. It gave no further details of the circumstances surrounding his death. He had been serving a life sentence at the nearby Corcoran State Prison for ordering the murders of nine people, including actress Sharon Tate.
.;..Europe Destroyed by the West’s Indifference?    -Giulio Meotti
There are pictures one cannot forget — for instance, of Russian troops hoisting their flag over burning Berlin in 1945. It was the end of Nazism but the rise of Communism. Another photo is of U.S. Marines raising the American flag over the battle-scarred Japanese island of Iwo Jima. Today the West faces another totalitarianism: radical Islam. One place that witnessed the new horror is Mount Sinjar in the Nineveh province of Iraq, once a home to religious minorities, especially Christians and Yazidis. 
..;.North Korea and Bible Prophecy    -Britt Gillette
North Korea has nuclear weapons. They’re working to build long-range missiles. And many believe dictator Kim Jong-un is insane. He’s promised to blanket his neighbors in “a sea of fire” and threatens the United States on an almost daily basis. To some, war is imminent, and they’re fearful of what they see coming. But what does it all mean? How does North Korea fit into Bible prophecy? Does the Bible offer any insight?  I believe it does.
.;..Holiness -George Stiekes
Holiness is a subject that ought to always be on our minds in as much as we have been instructed to be like the Holy Trinity. How does the holiness of God currently impact your life? Yes, it is a theological subject, yet it is very practical in considering who we are in Christ Jesus. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness (I Thessalonians 4:7). The very meaning of the Word emphasizes that we are to be GOD LIKE, sanctified, set apart for God Himself, saintly. In order to be set apart UNTO God, we must be set apart FROM the world.
..;.The Blessing of a Bad Reputation    -Jon Bloom
.....We should want to be thought well of by others because of our integrity and the purity of our conduct. But it’s evil to want to be thought well of by others so much that, when push comes to shove, we compromise the integrity and purity of our conduct to get it...Consider this: the same God who commends a good reputation, also made this statement: “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.”