Saturday, April 30, 2011
Dr Francis Collins (Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute) explains why he believes in a personal God and how his faith is compatible with science.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Since 2000, when the Reeds arrived in La Paz, they have seen the Mexican Baptist Convention of Southern Baja expand from 6 churches to 11, and three of those are planting new churches. An interesting fact is that these churches are growing through new believers. 98% of the people joining the Baptist Churches did not previously know Jesus. One growing church doesn’t have enough space for worship because more than 500 are now coming!
In 2005, the Convention partnered with Lacey Seminary in Oaxaca to begin a Theological Extension School to train new leaders. In 2010, the school will graduate its first group of students from a three year program, and 6 more people have joined the program as first-year students. David and Joyce have also seen one student travel from La Paz to Oaxaca to study full-time.
Their ministry to English-speaking people continues to grow by leaps and bounds! In the last 9 years, they have seen this ministry grow from 8 people that met for a Bible study in their living room to a stable church of 50+ called Crossroads. The Reeds have seen God glorified through the growth and transformation of many lives.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Ask the above question to ten people, and you will probably receive ten different answers.
Easter can be about pageantry and spectacle. I know several churches that produce lavish productions of the trial and death of Jesus. One church even rents a donkey for Jesus to ride in on Palm Sunday, complete with diaper (just in case you were wondering).
Other churches dress their sanctuaries in black during the week, covering all of their beautiful art and decorations. Then on Easter Sunday morning they unveil it all and dress their pulpits and vestments in white to celebrate the risen savior.
And then there are groups of believers who carry crosses in a dramatic reenactment of Jesus’ walk of pain to Golgotha. I took part in a cross walk when I lived in Pennsylvania. At the end of a five mile walk in which we shared the burden of carrying a cross, we had a prayer service at a local church. I found it to be very moving.
Beyond the ceremony and celebration, the meaning of Easter can have a life changing impact upon believers. There are two important ideas we can take from the story. First is receiving new life through faith in Jesus Christ. And second is the love of God shown to us through Jesus’ willingness to sacrifice himself for us. The first concept is easy to talk about. The second one, sacrifice, is a lot harder. But I think that it is the idea of giving of oneself that needs to be emphasized and promoted more often during the Easter season.
So much of our lives are devoted to the attainment of what we want or need. And yet if we think about the most important moments in our lives, the attainment of things rarely makes the list. Meeting and marrying my wife was an event that filled a gaping hole in me and made me a better person. Throughout our 25 year life together we have had to compromise and sacrifice in order to have a wonderful relationship. Selfishness just doesn’t work. The same goes for my children. I have given up so many dreams and desires in order to provide for them. I have sacrificed so much for my family, and they have sacrificed for me. This is what it’s supposed to look like. And it is the love expressed through the act of sacrifice that makes these precious moments so powerful.
On Easter Sunday Jesus rises out of the tomb and proclaims a new life. And we all cheer. But with that new life, comes a demand to sacrifice for the ones we love. Because sacrifice and love go hand in hand.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
It’s Easter and so it is the season for fights to break out at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. The site of Jesus’ tomb is also the site of annual brawls over which Christian group controls which square inch of floor in the building. It’s gotten so out of hand that the groups in the church cannot decide where to place a fire exit door (there is only one way in and one way out). And a ladder put up in the 19th century is still standing in the same place because the groups can’t decide who is responsible for removing it. If these fervent believers can’t get along in one of the most important religious shrines in the world, then what hope peace on earth?
Here are two links to stories about the situation in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
This story is about the problem of creating a fire exit door.
This story describes a brawl that occurred several years ago.
Please Pray for Peace in Jerusalem between Christians.
Pray for Peace in the Holy Land between Christians, Israelis and Palestinians.
Please Pray for Peace in Our World.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
These men were called by God to live the comtemplative life of a Benedictine Monk. Listen to their story and find out why. This video is from Portsmouth Abbey in Portsmouth, RI.
Find out more about them...
Monday, April 18, 2011
The Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA), founded in 1915, is the largest association of Messianic Jews and non-Jewish believers in Yeshua (Jesus) in the world. Its purpose is threefold:
To testify to the large and growing number of Jewish people who believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is the promised Jewish Messiah and Savior of the world:
To bring together Jews and non-Jews who have a shared vision for Jewish revival;
and Most importantly, to introduce our Jewish brothers and sisters to the Jewish Messiah Yeshua.
Why is this necessary? For many centuries Jews have frequently suffered at the hands of those calling themselves followers of Jesus. At the same time, the "Good News" or gospel of Yeshua was often presented without mention of this gospel's roots in God's relationship with His Jewish people throughout Scripture, and His promise of salvation through the Jewish Messiah. These factors lead many Jews to assume that to follow Yeshua is to leave the faith of their fathers and become non-Jews. The MJAA has worked to combat this misperception for nearly 90 years.
Friday, April 15, 2011
A spoken and sung redition of the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic.
This is the everyday language spoken by Jesus.
This video presentation was put together by the Syriac Orthodox Church. The church claims to be the oldest organized Christian organization in the world. It began in Antioch, Syria in the first century. The disciples relocated their ministry to Antioch after persicution forced them to leave Jerusalem.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
In 325 AD a group of Christian leaders got together in a room and tried to settle, among other things, the Easter mess. It was a mess because people around the world were setting the date of Easter on different days of the week and at different times during the spring season. The work the council did lead to a fix. But I think right now we need to get everyone together in room and fix the fix, as well as some other things surrounding modern Easter.
Every year the date of Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox. Did you understand that – because I don’t. But it gets worse. The church has fixed the equinox to March 21st. However, the real equinox can be a day before or a day after. And so if the real equinox and the full moon is March 20th, then that’s not the full moon the church uses to set Easter. It will be the next one later in April. I think this system is dumb and does not work in the modern world. We have to get together and fix the date to the second Sunday of April so I don’t have to figure out when it is every year.
Speaking of change, what is with the bunny rabbit? This symbol of fertility and the rebirth of the world in springtime came from German immigrants and became very popular after the civil war. I don’t know about you but I don’t see any rabbits procreating around my home in the spring or any other time of the year. So I propose that we change the symbol of Easter to the mosquito. As soon as spring comes they come and as far as procreating rabbits can’t hold a candle to them. What do you say? Let’s get together and talk.
Why do we give kids candy during Easter? My kids get hyper, lose their teeth, and fight over the big chocolate bunny. Other than aggravation, what do I get out of it? We need to get together in a room and decide to give the kids something useful. Like turkeys and hams. A great gift that lowers my food bill.
And finally we should do something about the name. The word Easter has German roots. Estre was the goddess of the rising light of day. Brought to England by the Saxons the word was applied to the Christian holiday. But this is not what Easter is about. It is the day that celebrates the hope of a new life that will extend into eternity. It is the day that Christians all around the world believe is the sure sign that there is more to this life than daily struggles. We believe Jesus rose from the dead and promised that we would do the same. The name Easter should be changed to Resurrection Day.
And so some changes need to be made. We should get together in a room somewhere and fix these things, as well as a few other minor problems like world peace, eliminating hunger and poverty – stuff like that. Now I think I will go and arrange to get at that chocolate bunny before the kids do.
Happy Resurrection Day,
Pastor Bill Whitehead
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
We have several people on our prayer list suffering from Macular Degeneration. This means their eyesight is slowly disappearing. I love looking at plants and animals, and the stars in the sky. I can’t imagine losing my ability to see. Please pray for these folks and everyone else who is having problems with their eyesight.
To learn more about this problem…
National Eye Institute
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
(From Christian Today Australia)
Frequence Vie – or Life Frequency – is still managing to broadcast inspirational programs despite its repeater transmitter north of Abidjan being destroyed in clashes between opposing forces.
The studio building was also pierced by stray shrapnel, which put a hole in the roof and damaged doors and windows.
Forces loyal to internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara are holding incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo siege in the presidential palace in Abidjan. Gbagbo was defeated in last November’s presidential election but refuses to relinquish power to Ouattara.
The Frequence Vie studios are located close to the Ivory Coast’s national radio and television network in Abidjan, the scene of intensified clashes in recent weeks.
The radio station is operated by US mission group, SIM, in partnership with local churches and broadcasts Christian programs in numerous West African languages.
SIM’s Tim Welch said the station director’s apartment had also been damaged by shrapnel and that the family was now staying in the recording studios.
He added that the station’s coverage had been weakened after the destruction of their 4,000-watt transmitter, which could only be replaced by a spare 300-watt transmitter.
HCJB Global’s Francoise Dossmann, who worked at the station for several years in Abidjan, said that around 100 people are sheltering in a nearby evangelical church. Although Dossman now lives in France, she has been in contact with close friends in the Ivory Coast.
The “Path of Life” radio Bible study program produced by her husband is continuing to air on the station, while a new program, “Facing the Crisis”, has just been launched.
Welch said one pastor had braved the streets to come to the studio and record a program on loving your enemies.
However, Dossmann said she had learned from her contacts that the station had in recent days only been airing songs and some pre-recorded programs.
“Their stress is such that it would be impossible for them to produce new programs,” she said.
Curt Cole, one of HCJB Global’s vice presidents of international ministries, said: “The situation in Abidjan has worsened considerably in recent days and we are praying much for Frequence Vie.”
For More Information…
Surviving Gbagbo: Escape from Ivory Coast – Time Magazine.
Frequence Vie and SIM (Serving in Mission)
Monday, April 11, 2011
Our friend Mavis spent recently three months in India. She worked with two wonderful Indian Missions. Ark Family Ministries and Adopt A Village. If you wish to learn more, and hopefully support them, just click on the link. Below is a letter from Mavis on her return home.
HI FAMILY AND FRIENDS, BY THE GRACE OF GOD I REACHED HOME SAFELY ON THE 5TH OF APRIL. IT IS A GREAT FEELING TO BE HOME WITH FAMILY, ESPECIALLY WITH MY THREE LOVING GRAND CHILDREN. MY 4 YEAR OLD GRAND DAUGHTER, LEAH, ASKED ME, "YOU ARE NOT GOING BACK TO INDIA?" I SAID, "NO", SHE SAID, "THANK GOD, WELCOME BACK AMMAMA". SHE IS SO CUTE. I STAYED IN INDIA IN THE WARM WEATHER FOR 3 MONTHS & I DID NOT MISS THE SNOW AT ALL. I ENJOYED VISITING MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS. I ALSO ENJOYED VISITING ASHIRVAD HOME WHICH HAS 39 CHILDREN-MOST OF THEM ARE HIV POSITIVE CHILDREN,(PL.READ BELOW NO. 8). GOD GAVE ME THIS MINISTRY AND I AM HAPPY TO SERVE HIM. I HAVE TAKEN UP ANOTHER MINISTRY CALLED ADOPT A VILLAGE-THERE ARE SMALL VILLAGES THAT DO NOT HAVE TV CONTACT SO THEY CAN LISTEN TO GOSPEL MESSAGES. THEY ARE SO POOR AND CAN NOT AFFORD TO GET THE TV CONNECTION. I CAN NOT GO AND PREACH TO THEM , BUT WITH LITTLE EXPENSE I CAN SEND GOD'S WORD TO THEM WITHOUT ME GOING OUT. IF ANY ONE IS INTERESTED IN THESE TWO MINISTRIES AND WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT IT PL EASE LET ME KNOW I WILL BE VERY HAPPY TO TALK ABOUT IT. GOD BLESS YOU ALL . VERY HAPPY TO BE HOME . I HAD VERY GOOD VACATION. MAVIS
Friday, April 8, 2011
It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. - Psalm 18:32
This is a Christian worship video from China. The music recording is excellent. The animation is interesting to say the least. I think it shows that the mixture of western influences and Chinese culture create really unusual artistic forms. Enjoy.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
(This was written about ten years ago. My son Edward is now a college graduate. We still have cats, unfortunately)
We ran into money problems again. After all of the times my family and I have been short of cash, you would think that I would know not to get too upset. We have always solved our cash problems before. Money comes and money goes. I usually figure out what bills to pay and what to hold off on paying. Then after a while the money shows up and everything goes back to normal. But every time this happens, I just can’t help getting upset. And the emotional turmoil is clearly stamped on my face. I usually develop a grim look and start barking at my family. It’s as if I broke out in measles, the little red spots telling everyone around me that something is wrong.
What normally happens is I look at the check register and see something strange in it. As the checkbook balance goes down I get more and more agitated. And then, checks to companies I don’t recognize. Checks for things that are way outside of the budget. For example, there was a check written to Pet Smart the local pet supply store. This normally wouldn’t get me aggravated except for the fact that the check is a lot higher than I would think kitty treats should cost. A lot higher. Like the difference between the cost of a used Yugo and a new Porsche.
So the conversation with my wife usually goes like this.
“What did you buy at Pet Smart?”
My wife answers, “The cats needed food, kitty litter and I got them a couple of treats.”
“Are the cats going to pay the bill for all of this stuff?”
“You know I have to buy these things for the cats.”
“Maybe we should look into replacing them with pet rocks. The maintenance would be less, and they wouldn’t wake us up at night.”
Not appreciating my sarcasm, Betsy leaves in a huff. And I am left stewing about expenses above and beyond the budget. The expression on my face now changes into something more like Frankenstein with a toothache. Not a pretty sight.
And so it should be of no surprise to me when my son picks up on my problem. He takes one look at my face and can tell something is wrong. Eddie is a good kid. He looks after his parents. He looks into my face and without hesitating asks me what is the matter. I appreciate his asking, though I usually say that nothing is wrong and try to change the subject. My oldest son is very sensitive to the feelings and emotions of his parents. He reads us very well, not just by looking at our faces, but also by checking out our body language and listening to the tone of our voices. Eddie and his brother and sister are sensitive enough to pick up the signals their mom and dad send.
The question I ask is, can I do the same thing? Can I be as sensitive to the needs of the people around me as my children are to my emotional ups and downs? I ask this question because I think it is extremely important for me to know and understand the people around me. I want to be able to read the signs that someone is in trouble. I want to be able to spot the cry for help without a word being exchanged. Jesus said that God knows what we need even before we have asked. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know the needs of my wife or my kids without their having to ask? I know that I am asking for a lot here. But how much more supportive a relationship we all would have if we could only be able to read the silent communication of the people around us.
Now I don’t really want my son to know that there are bills that we are having trouble paying. I don’t want him to be concerned about this. He is too young to be worrying about money. And I just don’t want to deal with the embarrassment of talking about this subject. But, strangely enough, I am glad he noticed. I feel good when my son comes up to me and asks me if there is anything that he can do. It feels good when people see that something is bothering me and take some time to respond to it. Showing concern for others is an important part of life. And I hope that I will show that I care for the people around me each and every day.
God Bless You,
Pastor Bill Whitehead
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
So called minister Terry Jones presides in March over a Qur’an burning in a small church in Florida. An Iman in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan hears about it and on April 1st, calls upon his followers to do something about it. They attack a UN compound and murder four guards from Nepal, and three UN workers from Norway, Sweden and Romania. How insane is this?
Please pray for the victims and their families. Pray for the perpetrators, including the Floridians who incited it, to repent of this terrible crime.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
An explosion of religious belief has accompanied the last 30 years of economic reform in China -- and some estimates indicate that Christians now outnumber communists.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Following a distribution of Scriptures to men in a jail in Egypt, a letter was received at The Gideons International Headquarters. The letter was signed by fourteen men incarcerated in the jail in Egypt, all who received a copy of God’s Word from The Gideons. The prisoners were from Ghana, Canada, Nigeria, Spain, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, and the Philippines.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Don't forget to keep praying for the people of Haiti. Here is a video of people marching on the streets of Port au Prince singing a song of praise to God, right after last year's earthquake.