Thursday, July 30, 2009


Maybe this will help us evaluate whether we are really in a health care crisis.

46 perent of African-American homes are headed by a single parent.

39 percent of twelfth graders engage in dangerous drug and alcohol behavior.

33 Percentage of the middle class who say they are doing worse financially than their parents

53 percent of Bogan High School (Chicago) students drop out.(JSMorton HS -5%

38 Percent of Americans say that they would get plastic surgery if they had the money.

26 percent of Americans are currently obese, while 86 percent of Americans could be overweight by 2030.

42 percent of Americans fear their children will make less money than they do.

33 percent of Americans are afraid they will never pay off their debts.

However, the good news is 89 percent of Americans are satisfied with their health insurancea>.(Including 70 percent of the 46 million without insurance)

Mr President, Come on- please, fix what is broken in our society. Abandon your call to socialize our health insurance!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

When the President acts 'Stupidly'

The Presdient this week waded into local political arrest of a Harvard Professor who was a friend of his. It is hard to believe that the President could not see the controversy coming. He, while claiming ignorance of all the facts, then presses forward into making an ill informed judgment.

Meanwhile, 1 in ten americans is unemployed. The economy is in the dumper- the stimulas is a failure (Ford posted 2 billion dollar profits- they refused stimulas money- yeah for capitalism adn the power of the market!) Race baiting is not the perogative of the highest office of the land. The presidents healthcare bill will largely and negatively impact seniors- some of the weakest of our citizens.

These are perilous times... People of God, we need to pray.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Seal with image of Jesus found in Tiberias

by David Hacohen

Two embassy volunteers find lead seal from sixth century in Tiberius depicting Jesus on one side and a cross on the other side

A lead seal from the sixth century depicting Jesus was recently discovered in excavations by the Antiquities Authority in the Old City of Tiberias.

The other side of the seal has a cross with an abbreviation of the name “Christos.”

This is the first time a seal with the image of Jesus has been discovered in excavations in Tiberias. A number of similar seals have been found in Caesaria, which in ancient times was the capital of the province.

The rare seal was discovered by two volunteers, employees of the American and British embassies.

Professor Yizhar Hirschfeld of the Hebrew University, who is in charge of the dig, notes that the seal shows an important church official.

"The church here was stronger than we thought. This also shows that Judaism and Christianity met here and lived together in harmony,” he says.

In February of this year, a tenth century C.E. coin was discovered in the excavations in Tiberias that depicted Jesus on one side, and had the Greek inscription “Jesus the Messiah, King of Kings” on the other.

Professor Hirschfeld belives that the coin was issued in Istanbul in honor of the first millennium. He notes that the fact that the Jesus coin was found in a dig in Tiberias indicates that the Crusaders continued going to Tiberias even in the Muslim period (the tenth century C.E.).

Tiberias is the only site in Israel where such coins have been found.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Spiritual Gifts- what's yours?

Far too often Christians fail to pursue their spiritual gifting. Often this is from simple ignorance. They do not know what their spiritual gifting is. When a christian cannot name his spiritual gifts he finds himself sampling areas of service and ministry that do not bear fruit. This leaves the Christian frustrated and longing for more fruitful and purposeful endeavors.

There are a number of passages in the NT that speak of the giftings of individuals. Rom 12, for instance, speaks of the motivational gifts of the Spirit. These are the directions for service and ministry that reside in the personality of the individual. This is quite different from the dynamic giftings of the Spirit that are listed in 1 Cor 12. Clearly, here the emphasis is on the Spirit's empowerment of the individual. This is relating to the unction or the anointing of the Spirit on a persons life.

I have found that the pursuit of living a purposeful life is often difficult. We try to be all things to all people- and of course, we fail to function at a high level. The key to this is to know your spiritual gifts. You can find your spiritual gifting by going to this page Take the inventory there find your spiritual gift. Then complile that information with the desires of your heart, the unique abilities, your personality, and your life experience and you will have gained some direction. Once this information is discovered, bring it into your pastor and ask him how best to use your gifts. You will find a life of spiritual purpose that can be used to make a difference in the world around you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Saying "no" to Gambling in Illinois

I am usually silent on this issue but with the Governor's newest budget proposals I feel that I have to speak out. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Governor is expanding the place of gambling and using it to balance the budget. Rather than cutting spending, which is what every responsible family and institution is doing these days, Illinois is going to expand spending on some things that should simply wait. Among them 5 million dollars to Northwestern University, a private institution!

So why shouldn't we gamble?

While no passage of scripture explicitly forbids gambling, we can with confidence claim that gambling is wrong. We needn't be squeamish about calling calling gambling wrong because we have the intent of God revealed to us in Scripture.
Rev. Hershael York writes "...With good reason, Christians are hesitant to label sins that the Bible doesn’t mention, yet we often have to distill principles from the Bible that we apply to contemporary situations. Pornography, computer hacking, or cheating on tests aren’t mentioned in the Bible either, yet believers who want to live like Jesus know intuitively and correctly that these behaviors run counter to the will of God. While biblical texts may not mention them explicitly, biblical principles speak to them directly."

So why is gambling wrong?

First Gambling predominantly affects the poor. Not that wealthy people don't gamble but that the industry is based upon taking peoples money in games of chance largely stacked against them. this disproportionally affects the poor who have much less of a margin for mistakes in handling their money. Gambling houses, poker machines are in it to win. They don't go broke because the odds are stacked in their favor. YOU are the only one that is gambling... they are not.

Secondly, the concept of gambling is contrary to the way God intended man's economy to function. The Scriptures are replete with references like (Genesis 1:28-30, Colosians 3.23, 1 Thessalonians 4.11,5.12-13, 2 Thessalonians 3.10) We are created to work, to labor, to invest ourselves. It is so woven into the NT that help and mercy were not shown to those poor who were able bodied but didn't work! When you paint my garage for money- it is a win-win situation. Services or goods for money. Gambling is based on a win lose situation. There are winners (they be few!) and losers (by the score!).

Further,gambling plays to the basest instincts of men and women. It is based upon the sin of covetousness (Ex 20.17). This greatly overlooked sin of the ten commandments is the heart of gambling.

Also,gambling ignores the biblical principle of stewardship. This principle teaches that we are to be held responsible for the way we spend our life, our energy, and our money.

Gambling is addictive behavior. Even if it is not for me and you there are others who are being enticed into gambling by the way it is marketed. We never hear of the thousands of people who have lost cars, homes, and reputations due to gambling. But we are regularly treated to the visual of a person receiving an oversize check- why is that? When we gamble we participate in the ruination of lives.

So now the new governor wants to increase the number of video poker machines by 45000. They will be in bars, truck stops and restaurants through out the state. Your kids will hear of all the winners and never see the cost of gambling. And our children will pay the price of this lifestyle of greed. They are being taught that there is an easy way that doesn't involve working, investing, etc. This is directly contrary to the scriptural admonitions to work hard and live productive and quiet lives. Too bad we can't teach the government to do what we all have to do... tighten our belts, spend less on frivolous things, and work hard to benefit the rest of society.

Until then Illinois will be full of losers and very few winners!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Recipe for Restoration

To the Church in Ephesus

Rev 2.1“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

2“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

The Ephesian church was on the verge of crisis. It had been faithful and patient; they had been diligent and hardworking. They were bearing up under the pressure of demonic attack and spiritual warfare as well as the worldly influences that were assaulting them. Often we find ourselves on the brink of crisis because of the stress of living in our day and age and standing faithful for Christ. Like the Ephesians, we need the recipe for restoration.

1. Remember (v5)- the lofty heights of the intimacy that you once expereinced with Christ. It wasn't a fluke- it was the result of a devoted heart chasing hard after God. Find your first love again... love the Lord with everything in you.

2. Repent- otherwise you will be commiting spiritual suicide. All disobedience and rebellion is spiritual suicide. The Lord never wants to remove the anointing (lampstand) from our lives... that is always the discipline of the Lord to save us from ourselves.

3. Return -to your first works. Do the things that you once did when your hearts were on fire. Reading the Word, Radical prayer times, faithful obedience, etc.

When we practice these things, we avoid the impending spiritual crisis' of burnout,frustrations, and bitternesses and find again the joy of living in the love and service of a God who madly loves us.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Being Nice

Every year until now the family has gone on vacation. This year we rented a wonderful home on the beach in South Carolina (after visiting grandma for a day or so). The funny thing about vacations is that they often require a bunch of family members to be confined to small space, share meals for the week, and make decisions together. Here is my conclusion after being with the people that I love in cramped space for a week.

Close proximity demands being nice and being flexible.

It seems trite and perhaps, at first blush, a bit juvenile to say it. But being nice is important. Relationships are tough and hang on a thread many times- being nice is important to the survival of even the most tightly bonded relationships.

whether the relationships are family or working relationships there are demands placed upon the proximity. Though we are told to be nice since childhood we are loosing the art of being nice. Part of this is the disconnectedness of our generation. Electric media separates people. Our lack of being together places less demands on being nice. Politics, job relationships, family- etc they all show the lose of being nice. Below are some tips

1. Smile. Maybe just view everything positively.
2. Say hello. act friendly.
3. Ask people how they are doing. Ask some personal questions.
4. Be a good listener.
5. Be courteous.
6. Be positive.
7. Be humble.
8. Offer to help.
9.Be sincere.
10. Assume the best about others.

Remember the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Even though some people may not be nice to you at first, they will the more they get to know you.