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Archive for February, 2009

Why We Give Hollow Confessions

On a way too regular basis we observe others making apologies and/or confessions for wrongs done. This morning in my house, my one son hurt the feelings of the other and in working through the problem he made his apology under our direction. Not to be outdone, the other son wasn’t truthful about the situation and so later he too made a directed apology (aka, highly encouraged, but not forced).

Have you noticed that these kinds of apologies, whether from a ten year old or a 50 year old, ring hollow? It is easy from our stand point to concur that they don’t really mean what they say.

I think, in general, that this assessment isn’t accurate. Here’s why.

To hurt another; to do something for ourselves at the cost of others requires that we divorce empathy and self, reality and fantasy. So, when we do apologize, we cannot quickly reconnect these parts. Often the person does feel bad, guilty, afraid of the consequences. Notice that these feelings are rather self-centered. In time, if they go about reconnecting care for others and their feelings, they will feel much more empathy and concern for the wounded party. However, at the outset of their confession, these two things are still divorced. Thus the hollow confession. They do not know what they are really apologizing for beyond a few facts. The longer the deception, the longer the disconnection and time taken to reconnect to the experience of the other.

There are other confounding variables that hinder empathic confessions. One’s goal (get out of trouble, stop the pressure, smooth it over, please the other) may also decrease the likelihood empathy.

View article…

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Evidence of Ice Forming Quickly?

In a recent news article, there was a very interesting admission in regard to ice formation in the Antarctica. As you read this, keep in mind the work of AiG friend Michael Oard and his post-Flood, Ice Age model in which he says ice formed quite rapidly as a result of conditions at the end of Noah’s Flood. The news item stated:

Jagged mountains the size of the Alps have been found entombed in Antarctica’s ice, giving new clues about the vast ice sheet that will raise world sea levels if even a fraction of it melts, scientists say. . . .

“The surprising thing was that not only is this mountain range the size of the Alps, but it looks quite similar to the (European) Alps, with high peaks and valleys,” said Fausto Ferraccioli, a geophysicist at the British Antarctic Survey who took part in the research. He told Reuters that the mountains would probably have been ground down almost flat if the ice sheet had formed slowly. But the presence of jagged peaks might mean the ice formed quickly, burying a landscape under up to 4 km of ice.

The secularists will probably complain bitterly that this scientist would even suggest such a thing that goes against their millions-of-years ideas for ice formation in the Antarctica.

You can read the entire article here.

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Orissa Government Stops Rebuilding Of Church

by Nirmala Carvalho
The church was about to be turned into a Hindu temple. The authorities have stopped construction, but they are not permitting the Christians to rebuild the edifice, for “legal” reasons.

Bhubaneshwar (AsiaNews) – The church of Batticola, destroyed by Hindu extremists and replaced with a temple, may not be rebuilt: the government is not giving permission, because the Christian community does not hold the deed of ownership.

Just a few days ago, some news agencies reported that the government of Orissa had stopped construction of a Hindu temple on the rubble of the edifice, in the district of Kandhamal, which was razed to the ground and burned last August at the beginning of the pogrom against Christians.

But local sources tell AsiaNews that the report of the cease and desist order given to the Hindu extremists “does not make us happy, because the authorities are not permitting us to rebuild the church in the same place. The government is demanding that the diocese show the deed of ownership for the property. So we have filed a complaint, and we will see when we go to court.”

The church of Batticola was built on a tract of land bought in the name of a tribal priest, who is now deceased. Since there is no evidence that the ownership was passed to other parties, the government is bringing into crisis the legality of the building itself.

A priest who was pastor in Batticola for a few years explains: “The Catholic community in Batticola is a very small minority, which emerged around 1975. At that time, a tribal priest, Fr. Joseph Pradhan, bought a tract of land in his own name and built a church on it. All of this is legal, and the church of Batticola has the same status as other non-Christian religious buildings, all of them used for the needs of the inhabitants of the village, the land for which is bought by individuals and then transferred to the community.”

“In 1995, a dispensary was added to the chapel, and the foundations were laid for a larger church. This began to annoy the Hindu extremists, who, bearing arms, repeatedly threatened the priest at the time, Fr. Norbert Nayak. They also vandalized the nearby cemetery, destroying all of the crosses. In the end, the priest had to abandon the area, and the parish was closed.”

In 1998, other priests tried to reopen it and to live in Batticola. But in 2000, there was an attempt to destroy it, again on the part of young Hindu extremists.

According to Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, Batticola is a special target of the anti-Christian campaign. “Last October,” he recalls, “the radical Hindus spread false information according to which there had been a meeting in Batticola to decide to kill the swami Laxamananda Saraswati.” The death of the swami last August 23 was the spark that ignited the series of attacks that killed at least 500 people, destroyed thousands of homes, burned hundreds of churches, and made more than 50,000 faithful flee. View article…

 

In Other News

Cuban government remains unfriendly toward Christians View article…

Fear spreads again through Orissa View article…

Religious freedom attacked in Myanmar View article…

Christian Killed in Orissa View article…

China: Christians Wary as Recession, Unrest Hit

As the recession hits China and reports spread about secret documents calling on government officials to “strive to prevent massive unrest,” Christians are concerned that they may be viewed as a threat. View article…

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Only 6,649 People Groups to Go!

http://www.calebresources.org/product_images/03-0416hr.jpg

In Revelation 5:9, John writes of Christ,

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

As of 2009, there are 6,649 people groups who have not yet heard of Christ. To be gospel-driven is to be mission-minded.

Paul tells us in Galatians 1:16 that the gospel and mission are inseparable. God the Father, Paul says was “pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles.”

As we seek to saturate ourselves in the Good News of Christ, may we like Paul come to understand that one of the grand purposes of the gospel is to be sent on mission.

May the gospel compel our hearts to pray for this unfinished task of reaching these 6,649 unreached people groups.

For more detailed information see The Joshua Project.

In Other News

Romanian church reaches Filipino women View article…

Malaysia to allow Christians to use ‘Allah’

Though the Catholic publication has been granted the right to use the word “allah,” in its Bahasa Malay edition so long as they print “For Christians Only” on the cover, the Catholic Herald will still push for that limitation to be lifted, as well. View article…

Iraq: Christian leader warns against security “vacuum”

An Iraqi Christian leader warned the allied forces not to create security vacuum when they leave Iraq. Christian and other minorities should continue to be protected against violence. View article…

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Wassuli People

Music has been called the universal language. Despite language and culture barriers, anywhere we go, there will be music and it always speaks to the heart!

The Wassuli people of western Africa have always loved their musical expression. Their style, known as wass, is known internationally, and people of all ages enjoy listening to it. Wass is best known via the talents of singer Oumou Sangare, a Wassuli from Mali. Her sound has been celebrated since the release of her first album in 1990. She has been known as “The Songbird of Wassoulou.”

The Wassulis have lived in parts of Mali, Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea for centuries. They are very congenial and hospitable. Many of their dwelling areas are very remote and inaccessible by car during the rainy season. Most Wassulis are farmers who raise rice, peanuts and corn. Their primary export crop is cotton.

Islam was brought to the Wassulis in the late 1800s, but many Wassulis still follow more strongly their traditional African beliefs, creating their own form of folk Islam. There are very few known followers of Christ among the Wassuli people.

Pray that the Lord would stir and move His servants to make their homes among the Wassulis so that they can share Christ with them. Pray for a spiritual breakthrough among the Wassulis that will lead them to faithful obedience and to use their musical talents to sing His praise among the nations.-JR

View article…

Sudanese of Egypt

People Name: Arab, Sudanese
Country Name: Egypt
Population: 4,135,000
Primary Language: Arabic, Sudanese Spoken
Primary Religion: Islam
% Evangelical: 0.20
Status: Unreached

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Many consider Belarus to have the most repressive religion law in Europe!

1 Belarus stumbled into an unexpected independence and is still searching for a national identity. Progress is crippled by the lack of political and economic freedom needed for growth. Pray for true democratic and religious freedom.

2 The cultural dominance of Poland and Russia lasted for many centuries. Pray for a truly indigenous expression of Belarusian Christianity to be developed and then spread using all methods: church services, theological education, literature, broadcasting.

3 The Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986 occurred in the Ukraine, but affected Belarus most severely. The environmental, economic, and psychological impact of the nuclear fallout has since devastated the country. Twenty-five percent of the land area — much of it formerly productive agricultural land — is considered uninhabitable. Radiation-related health problems still occur at 80 times the global average. Pray that in this climate of despair God may use believers as ministers of restoration and hope.

4 The post-Communist honeymoon with religion is ending. While the Orthodox Church enjoys privileged status as a Slavic religious entity, other denominations are experiencing opposition from the establishment. While many call themselves Christian, there is still a great need for renewal within the large Orthodox and Catholic structures. Pray for the Holy Spirit to sweep through Belarus, bringing people to personal faith in Christ.

5 Evangelical Christians are increasing despite low-level persecution. Pray that the various evangelical groups — different denominations, registered and unregistered churches — might be able to work together in unity. The inability of Evangelicals to use public buildings for church meetings and the forbidding of public evangelism hampers growth. Pray for:

a) The governmental and social pressure against any evangelism by believers to be lifted.

b) The cultural bias against evangelical Christianity to be overcome by Spirit-led sharing of the gospel.

c) Training of the hundreds of Belarusians in full- or part-time ministry. Ask the Lord to raise up bold and godly leaders to guide the church in His steps.

d) Greater cooperation to replace the mistrust between many denominations.

6 Missions. Belarus has received far less attention from missions than her Slavic neighbors, Russia and the Ukraine. Pray that the Lord might call more people to serve long-term in this needy land. Pray that Western missionaries in Belarus might have a sensitive and humble spirit, working as servants with the local churches. Pray for a spirit of wisdom in ministering which avoids drawing negative attention from hostile authorities and the media.

7 The less evangelized. There are some significant non-Christian minorities:

a) Jews. Nearly 50,000 Jews live in Minsk, but many are emigrating. There is a Messianic Jewish group in Minsk, but the majority still need to be reached.

b) Muslims. Small communities of Azeris and Tatars exist. Diverse Muslim immigrants are moving illegally into the most contaminated regions of the country, and have little chance to hear the gospel.

8 Christian help ministries for prayer:

a) The Bible Society (UBS) has found a widespread desire for the Bible and Children’s Bibles in both official languages. Thousands are being distributed, and a new Belarusian New Testament has been commissioned in cooperation with the Orthodox Church.

b) Christian literature needs to be made more available. CLC has a presence in the country, but more solid evangelistic and teaching material needs to be translated into Belarusian and then distributed throughout the country.

c) EHC has reached every home, with millions receiving Christian tracts.

d) The JESUS film has been seen by most of the population in Belarusian or Russian. Resources for follow-up are still too limited to help all who are touched.

e) TWR has established a local base for programme production. They are also broadcasting into the country in both major languages.

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In his extremely helpful book, The Writings of John Calvin, Wulfert de Greef makes a passing reference to the articles that John Calvin used for the regulation of worship after he became a minister in Geneva (January 16, 1537). This document was entitled the Articles concerning the Organization of the Church and of Worship in Geneva. I found the following to be an interesting note regarding congregational singing in Calvin’s church:

The ministers expect the singing of psalms to have a positive influence on the prayers and on the glorification of the name of God. A number of qualified children are to be selected to lead the congregation in the singing of the psalms (pg. 111).

View article…

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