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Tag Archives: Christianity
“I heard the kids at the house talking about the troubles in high school,” she said. “I felt like God was telling me that this is where I could help. High school can be a tumultuous time for teenagers.”
Mrs. Clancy is a volunteer extraordinaire at Lighthouse Christian Academy. She does everything from answering phones to counseling kids. And the extraordinary thing is that kids actually confide in her. She’s a high standard for loving staff among Santa Monica Christian schools.
“She is always there for me when I need advice or a little cheering up,” said Lizzie Hofer, a junior. “I can talk to her about anything and not feel weird that she is my friend’s mom.”
Mrs. Clancy is mother to two Lighthouse students and one graduate. A native of Chicago, Mrs. Clancy and her husband moved to Santa Monica four years ago with their four boys.
Now she is teaching an elective that helps students to discover their strengths and plan a future career. It’s called Passion Present Purpose and with nine students meets twice a week for an hour and a half. To teenagers, the future can be daunting, but Mrs. Clancy helps break it down. Continuing reading.
I’ve been overly anguished of late because my church, in dire arrears, is selling the property we purchased years ago for our high school, the Lighthouse Christian Academy. The property comprises three buildings and a yard; it has a double-story hall used by the high school, a church and a parsonage. The goal has been to keep the church a church in Santa Monica.
I’m appealing to all my blogging buddies to pray. This comes to a congregational vote May 20. I think we are behind in payments tens of thousands of dollars. We purchased the property for $2 million (something like that), and the sale price is $5 million.
The buyer won’t keep the church. One less church for Santa Monica. And, it seems to me, we are scaling back our commitment to Christian education. The high school will continue by packing the high school kids back in with the grade school and middle school kids at the main church building. We are past the eleventh hour.
What disturbs me also is that the secular buyer has a backer with $5 million cash to pay for it. Why do the Christians NOT have someone who can splash the cash to get us caught up with the bank loan and keep this property for God’s use?
I’m breaking my genre here and appealing for prayer and funds. If you know anyone who could donate $1 million (sorry, I don’t know the real numbers because I’m not on the Church Council) to keeping Christianity moving forward in Santa Monica, please contact me. Should I set up a gofundme account?
If you can give a $1 million, I can introduce you the reasons why you should give that money. There are almost 50 kids at Lighthouse Christian Academy, each of them a miracle of the power of God to transform lives, to rescue lives before they become totally destroyed. We have seen Lighthouse students become pastors and lawyers. We have seen lives be rescued out of gangs and other sins. To this ministry, I have dedicated my life. I teach here for free. My kids attend school here. I believe in this.
I can’t rule out the possibility that God would have something bigger for us in the future. But I also can’t get out of my mind that we’re not supposed to sell this property.
I wish I could give you the backstory behind these photos and tell you why these kids are worth more than $5 million each, but obviously I’m not at liberty to do so. They are stories of heartbreak and hope. You can find out more about Lighthouse Christian Academy by clicking here.
Before the Islamist gunman stormed a free speech rally armed with an assault rifle, Phoenix Pastor John-Mark “Vocab Malone” Rieser witnessed to him regularly at the package delivery service where both worked.
“When I heard about the attack, I wasn’t surprised,” said Rieser, a teacher-pastor at Roosevelt Community Church. “He’d expressed admiration for jihad before. He had told me Osama Bin Ladin was a hero. I’m just saddened he did it. It’s sobering to think he’s facing God’s judgment right now. Was there anything I could have said or done differently that could have saved him?”
Elton Simpson and an accomplice were shot dead by a cop with a handgun in Dallas on Sunday as they attempted to attack a Mohammad cartoon-drawing convention, a deliberate provocation to Muslims who feel offended by artistic renditions of their prophet.
Rieser considered him a friend.
“Elton was not insane. Elton was not mean. Elton was not rude. Elton was not wild-eyed. Elton was not constantly angry. Elton never threatened me,” Rieser wrote on his blog, streetapologist.com. “Elton was calm, level-headed, smart, and studious. He was generally kind and well-mannered. Bright and articulate, he spoke smooth and easy. Elton was not a poor unwanted outcast; a down-and-outer he was not. Neither the simplistic narratives of the right or left work for him.”
While the two were friends, they both tried to convert each other.
“We had interactions about who Jesus was, what the Bible is, who Mohammad was, what the Koran is,” Rieser said. “I cared about his salvation, and I believe that in his mind he was concerned for me.” Read the rest of the article.
I’ve been a lousy son. I’ve justified staying away from Dad because he stayed away from me when I was kid. Dad never went to a single ball game of mine when I was a kid. He never played with me. So when I grew up, I never visited him more than the perfunctory. I’m not avoiding him; I’m just busy.
That’s why I praise God he was put in the hospital. The health scare kicked-started a new dynamic for me: duty. I needed to visit him if for nothing more than to check up on him.
This has been good because a new communication is sprouting. Previously, my dad would talk only about what he liked and shut down any conversation on another topic. But now, he seems so grateful to have my company (my only brother is in Idaho and can’t visit him), that communication is becoming two way.
He seems to be moving beyond the same old discussions about TV shows: pro golf, tennis, Dancing with the Stars and Bachelor. He finally shared some of his experiences in Korea with the post WWII occupation troops and his experiences as a skunk works engineer at Lockheed. I’ve been able to mention a few things about God.
I have this picture posted on the wall in my kitchen where I write. He’s smiling because I cracked some forgotten joke just before I snapped it. Usually he has a curmudgeon face. I like this one better.
I’m trying to improve the father-son relationship. Maybe I’m not the only one it’s hard for. It’s worth it to try to improve. Don’t wait for a health scare to spend more time with your parents. They’re lonely. They need you.
A raped and pregnant 9-year-old girl is among 200 Yazidi captives released by Islamic State fighters in an attempt to demoralize their enemies in northwestern Iraq, the Star world news reported.
Since last summer when the Islamic State rampaged onto the world scene, its jihadists massacred the men and subjected women to rape, forced marriage, torture and enslavement. After eight months suffering barbarism, the women and girls have wandered back to their relatives. They are traumatized and humiliated.
The 9-year-old is the youngest victim, according to international workers at refugee camps.
“This girl is so young she could die if she delivers a baby,” aid worker Yousif Daoud told the Star. “Even a caesarian section is dangerous. The abuse she has suffered left her mentally and physically traumatized.”
[Editor’s Note: Please forgive the horrific content, but I include it because I wrote it for God Report’s and because awareness is part of the solution. To read the rest of the story, click here.
His fellow gang member thrust a pistol into his hand. Go ahead and kill the kid, he was instructed.
Wedged between the dangerous Mara Salvatrucha and the Dieciocho gangs in a neighborhood where even police feared to go, Mario Ajcip’s gang had successfully fended off rivals to keep their turf in one of the most violent neighborhoods in Guatemala City.
When a rival dared to make incursion into Mario’s neighborhood, there was only one gang-inflicted punishment — death. This time it was Mario´s turn to execute the cornered kid on the dark dirt alley.
Never shy to physically beat up a rival, Mario balked at murder. A leader himself among the 100 gang members, he began talking about teaching the guy a lesson and letting him go. Read the rest of the story.
Carla Cedillo got spooked as soon as she set foot in Africa.
“Africa is a different world,” she said. “I felt like we were in a movie. I felt like we were an infomercial that says, ‘For $1.00 a day, you can help save a life.’ I remember my mom saying there are poor people in Africa, but it never hit home until we we went to Africa.”
On the Lighthouse Medical Missions trip to Tanzania in 2015, Carla, who works at the Lighthouse Christian Preschool, fell in love with all the children. “I wanted to hold them all,” she said. “They were all so adorable.”
When a little child came through the clinic with her tongue attached to the bottom of her mouth, Dr. Bob Hamilton offered to cut it loose immediately. “I thought blood was going to gush everywhere,” she said.
During most of the 5-day clinic, Carla manned the pharmacy and gained a great appreciation for pharmacists. “It wasn’t easy,” she said. “Now I know why pharmacists are always in a bad mood.”
When the clinic was over and it was time to head to the airport, it hard to say “Goodbye.”
Tears streamed as Salome recounted how the C-section didn’t save the baby. Katelyn Myer became painfully aware of the gaggle of kids screaming and laughing and tumbling around the clinic as she listened to the Tanzania women share her sorrows.
Lighthouse Medical Mission’s 2015 clinic to Mwanza “made me think and know and feel that we are all God’s children,” she said. “The medicine and the science had overtaken my point of view. They’re not just bodies that are sick but people who have hurts and feelings.”
An actress in Hollywood, Myer only recently became a Christian. She joined the Santa Monica-based charity LMM this month to give of herself. “It was a really intense and beautiful and incredible experience,” she said.
Medically, the doctors couldn’t do much to help Salome. Her pain was in her heart from the stillborn child. So Myer gave her emotional support.
Then she remembered a prophetic word her boyfriend had received before coming to Africa. Someone had told him, “You need to say the word ‘Life’ to somebody over there.” It was time to say the word.
We don’t know yet if Salome is pregnant again.
Yes, he called himself “a Satanist” when he was a punk kid rebellious towards his parents’ Christianity. Yes, he beat up kids and got kicked out of schools. Yes, he played hard rock with — um — not the best lyrics.
But when he faced a truly demon-possessed person, it was different. Arti, who turned his life over the Lord years ago and was now serving in Tanzania on the Lighthouse Medical Missions, freaked out when the lady he prayed for started behaving erratically.
After the first day of assisting doctors at the clinic in Mwanza, Arti requested permission to set up a prayer station and pray for all the patients after doctor visits. “I really wanted to be like Jesus and lay hands on the sick and see them recover,” he said.
That done, he was engaged in praying for a lady with back and leg pain. When he asked her to forgive all who had harmed her, she grew eerily silent. Then she started getting aggressive.
When it was done, he led her to get her pills. But he watched his back, lest she become aggressive again. His buddy, Johnny Huerta, didn’t seem to have the same fears. He went over to her and gave her a hug.
“I was more afraid she would jump on me, and he was more concerned to let her know that she was loved,” Arti reflected.
Arti turned his life over to the Lord in the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica, which is part of the same church that indirectly oversees Lighthouse Medical Missions.
The lady showed up at church that night. She raised her hand at the altar call to receive Jesus. She testified that the pain in her back and legs was gone.
“She came possessed and oppressed with pain,” Arti marveled. “She got delivered and saved. Then she had no pain. God is so good.”
Arti saw the supernatural on the “natural mission” of dispensing medicine. He also saw how to become more like Jesus and minister compassion.
“I had always assumed that faith was based on purely emotional and irrational arguments and was astounded to discover that one could build a very strong case for the plausibility of God,” he noted on CNN. “My earlier atheist’s assertion that ‘I know there is no God’ emerged as the least defensible.”
A geneticist, Collins was appointed director of the $3 billion international Genome Project in 1993, which completed sequencing the 3.3 billion pairs of nucleotides by 2004. The resulting gene map offers hope to cure genetic disorders.
It also gave Collins a spectacular view into the magnificence, order, and finely-tune perfection of the DNA molecule, God’s software for every living thing. Directorship of the Genome Project was touted as the most prestigious job in science at the time.
“At the most fundamental level, it’s a miracle that there’s a universe at all,” he told National Geographic. “It’s a miracle that allows the possibility of complexity and laws that follow precise mathematical formulas. Contemplating this, an open-minded observer is almost forced to conclude that there must be a ‘must’ behind all this. To me, that qualifies as a miracle, a profound truth that lies outside of scientific explanation.” Read the rest of the articles: scientists who believe in Jesus.
It wasn’t long before he found himself in his bedroom proclaiming his destiny: “I’m gay. I’m a homosexual,” he said out loud with no one around. It was a pivotal moment of his life. “There’s power in confessing both good and bad things. When I declared I was gay, I gave a right to a spiritual force in my life.”
When he was 13, he ran away to Hollywood and threw himself headlong into the partying and gay lifestyle. “I just got sucked right into it,” he recalls. “I thought it was great.”
He was too young to be admitted to the gay bars but prostituted himself to support a lifestyle that included drugs like Quaaludes, coke and meth.
“I just ran rampant,” he says. “I had different boyfriends. We would panhandle every day to buy drugs and pay our hotel.”
He slept at anybody’s house who’d have him, in Plummer Park and in the “Hotel Hell,” once posh lodgings for movie luminaries that became decrepit and abandoned on Hollywood Boulevard. Read the rest of the story.
Another 2,000 pastors were granted the entrance/exit pass needed to visit Hong Kong, which retains some of its freedoms since the British colony was turned over to China in 1997. Some of the attendees were from Taiwan, which is not under Chinese dominion.
The conference – sponsored by China Aid, China Ministries and Evangelistic Ministries Intl. – featured well-known pastors, lawyers, professors, authors and scholars. It focused on evangelism, “kingdomization,” and aligning the Chinese church with Christian values, China Aid reports.
China Aid spokesperson Rachel Ritchie was reluctant to speculate as to why some invitees were barred from the conference. But a pastor who has traveled to and ministered in China says persecution comes in waves and is sporadic.
The barring is being seen as part of an intensifying of persecution under the new Communist Party regime – with a new president and new prime minister assuming offices in March 2013. The leaders are looking to consolidate their power and thwart any potential adversaries, real or imaginary. Since the Christian church is growing astronomically, it is viewed as a negative, Western influence and a potential mobilizer of the masses.
In Wenzhou – called “China’s Jerusalem” for its high concentration of Christians, the Central Government ordered the demolition of churches and the removal of crosses, some of which had won permits with local authorities in early 2014. Continue reading.
At Lighthouse Christian Academy’s opening of our annual student-teacher mixup 3-on-3 basketball tournament, I spent more time on the ground than on my feet.
Despite the inordinate clumsiness, we still won. One of my teammates, Raymond, a Chinese student who LOVES bball, did just about everything. He scored, defended, hustled, passed, pressured, ran. dribbled, shot.
This all fun in the Son. This is what having a small Christian school is all about: good friends, lots of fun, lots of learning.
I’ve been teaching at LCA since I got back from missionary work in Guatemala, where in addition to a church, I planted a church, during almost 16 years. While I was there, I learned soccer.
What am I doing playing basketball?
My height — at 6’3″ — should be an asset. My weight too. (Well, I guess my height isn’t going to help much since I pass most of the time on lying on the ground.)
Last year, I was on the winning team. But that was due mostly to Pastor Zach Scribner, who took me. Pastor Zach snuffed his competition in another game today. He looks like the team to beat.
I know, I know. I’m not supposed to ask for prayer to win basketball games. The next one is Wednesday for me. Basketball is game played by talented people.
“I’m gonna stick a needle in my arm, God,” he uttered, as quoted in the biography Twice Dead. “The same way You killed my father, You can kill me.”
At age 11, he fulfilled the vow and jabbed his arm.
Roman grew up on San Antonio’s west side, where drugs and violence were pervasive, the child of a broken home. He was sexually abused at age seven. He became a fighter and a partier who lived recklessly because he hated life.
The rage following his dad’s death was only compounded by the fact that he received the news when his dad was supposed to pick him up for some father-son time. His was a life void of love.
His first arrest came when he and friends broke into a local convenience store late at night to steal alcohol. Since they heard no alarm, they carted off case after case. Eventually, a patrol car pulled up and nabbed the youngsters.
While in juvenile hall, he busted a kid’s nose for mocking his father’s death and seven months were added to the original six-month sentence.
Read the rest of the story and his conversion here.
Then, his brainchild, Lighthouse Christian Academy, started a football program. Since it was a small school, they played 8-man CIF league.
Of course, among the new jerseys was #33. And one of the best players picked that number. He would continue the tradition of legends. Twice, the lowly Lighthouse, with a fraction of the enrollment of its competitors, nearly snatched championship from the entire Southern Section.
All the while its aura of greatness grew. Opposing teams could have figured out who to double-guard on offense, who to avoid on defense. Who would blast past them with a 90 yard sprint into the End Zone? Who would tackle them so hard that they would see stars from the sidelines – for the rest of the game?
Yup. Number 33 was not to be messed with — ever.
Then, the mighty number — which spoke volumes of history — was handed out to 107-pounder Chinese student who had never played football before.
When Henry Sihao Yu, our not-too-formidable tight-end, donned the prophetic mantle, was he our best player? Read the rest of the article.
Pastor Adrian Rodriguez has been preaching the gospel, translated by his wife, to about 30 people every Sunday in a church on the outskirts of Hartford, Connecticut, and not one of the congregants is Christian.
All of them are Muslim.
“We’re dealing with very hardcore Muslims,” he says of the immigrant refugees from the Middle East who are drawn to his church. “They’re very indoctrinated. But God is speaking to their hearts.”
Pastor Adrian’s response to America’s burgeoning Muslim enclaves is perhaps Christianity’s best model: View them with eyes of compassion, not with eyes of suspicion.
With 375 Muslims per 100,000 residents, Connecticut is the 14th most Muslim state in the nation, according to a Huffington Post article in 2012. The number of mosques has doubled to more than 2,100 nationwide since the year 2000, according to a survey.
While most Americans are not hostile towards Islam according to reports, there has been concern about radicalized youths. The Homeland Security Department estimates 100 U.S. citizens have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS.
As a scout for the U.S. Marines 4th Light Armored Battalion, Tyler Smith is no stranger to weapons. But now in Iraq on a dangerous mission near the Islamic State war, the Santa Monica resident is completely unarmed.
Tyler, who studied and worked in Santa Monica, is currently deployed in Iraq with Operation Soul Shepherd helping refugees. He and seven other men as part of an advance team are setting up a safehouse for women and girls who have been raped by ISIS jihadists.
“I couldn’t let myself sit at home doing nothing while people here were suffering so immensely,” said Tyler. “I CAN help, so there’s no reason not to. I’m just a man trying to do the right thing. I’m not a hero.”
Not everyone agrees with his self-effacing.
“Every one of these guys are heroes,” said Paul Neier, founder of Mississippi-based non-profit that fights human-trafficking. “They made made a choice to go into harm’s way. The craziest thing about this is they are in the belly of the beast. They have no weapons to defend themselves.”
[Editor’s note: Forgive me for posting such disturbing news. This blog has generally been a place for uplifting devotionals. I post this because it is my reporting on GodReports.com and because I believe exposing evil and raising awareness is part of the solution.]
As a means to finance their murderous “caliphate,” the Islamic State is harvesting organs to sell on the black market in Turkey and Saudi Arabia, according to the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations.
Mohamed Alhakim said his country has found dozens of bodies with surgical incisions and missing body parts in shallow mass graves in recent weeks outside Mosul, where ISIS remains in power, the UK Daily Mail reports.
“We have bodies. Come and examine them,” says Alhakim, who made the allegations before the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday. “It is clear they are missing certain parts.”
Furthermore, dozens of doctors in Mosul have been executed in Mosul for refusing to perform organ harvesting, he says.
Read the rest of the article: click here.
The latest foreign fighters to flock into the war zone in Iraq and Syria are Christians who want to do more than their western governments allow.
U.S. vet Jordan Matson engages in firefights regularly with ISIS soldiers alongside pro-Western Syrian Kurds, according to an interview with Fox News.
“I decided that if our government wasn’t going to do anything about it, I would,” says Matson, who’s fought ISIS since September 2014. “We’re getting shot at on pretty much a daily basis. It’s more of a World War II or Vietnam style fight. We don’t have the technology that the United States military has to push our enemies away.”
Read rest of the article here.
Our students are experiencing revival. After frolicking on slopes of Utah snow, they savored a sermon by Pastor Zach Scribner and then Five Guys burgers. Since there was a community board, they posted “Jesus loves you” notes.
And even them I’m stuck here in Santa Monica writing articles about the Islamic State and not enjoying the fun, I rejoice. While other religious schools have trouble with church kids bolting their faith, at our Christian high school in Santa Monica kids are embracing Christ wildly.
I pretty much got kicked off Reddit, a mecca for sarcastic atheists. Have you seen American Sniper? You could call Reddit “American Snippier.” In any case, post after post mocks Christian warnings against sin.
Once I read about a former Christian school kid forming a “support group” for those who were subjected to the horrors of being forbidden alcohol. I remarked on that message board that it was ironic that some ran from alcohol to Jesus and that others from Jesus to alcohol. I never heard from him. Nor do I know if she could appreciate the irony.
Excuse me for being so curmudgeonly on this post, but I’ve seen so many suffer and even die for flouting God’s ways. It is a joy to see kids embracing God’s ways. Some of them have been bullied in public schools. Some were lost in cutting. Now they are living happy serving Jesus. Why would you make fun of that?
But here’s a key to a happy marriage: don’t make it “me” time. It is “her” time. Don’t impose on your wife what you like to do. (You can do what you like some other time — say, with your buddies, for example.)
When Dianna and I shop together, time goes into slow motion. Words get slurred, shoppers drudge about, my eyes cake up with glaze. I lose my ability to see color — everything runs grey (more than 50 miserable shades). There wasn’t even a Starbucks for me to take refuge at the
concentration camp premium outlet. (No, it wasn’t a concentration camp. I couldn’t concentrate on anything.) It was surreal. (This is not hyperbole. This really happens.)
Why did I subject myself to such woe-begone suffering? Why did I willingly (yes, willingly) do what no man in his right mind would normally do? No, I’m not in torture training with plans to report journalistically from the Islamic State with risk of being kidnapped.
No. I did it to make my beautiful wife happy. (Her beauty was the only glimmer in the
T.S. Elliot-styled wasteland outlet.)
You see, if you manage to make your wife happy, she’ll make you happy.
If you always expect her to make you happy (because you’re the fist-pumping, Bible-thumping leader of the household), then maybe you have failed to notice that the Bible says you’re a leader only as Jesus was a leader (remember He laid his life down in sacrifice for the beloved church?).
Sacrifice yourself a little to be happy a lot.
We were down 0-2 at halftime, and the kids walked off the field dejected.
Hey! We’re only down two goals. It’s not over! Let’s go out there and win this! I gave specific instructions to the kids. We needed more longer balls, through balls that our forwards could run on and beat defenders.
When the whistle blew, my son Hosea and his partner, Garrett Lahood, zipped through the midfielders and defenders straight to goal with three crisp passes. Garrett smashed it home. Woohoo! Now let’s get some more!
But we didn’t win. Our inexperience began to show more. Errors were made, and our opponents, Westside Neighborhood School, beat Lighthouse Church School 7-1.
I’m not upset. Winning would have been almost impossible. For our small school with a co-ed team, to have made it to round 2 of playoffs was already an impossible dream. I’m proud of the kids.
It was a fun season. Kids learned about soccer, teamwork, effort. These are lessons they must apply to life.
A reporter seasoned in war zones, Goto traveled to Syria hoping that Japan’s pacifist stance would grant him relative safety, unlike other journalists from nations leading airstrikes against ISIS.
He failed to take into account this new brand of terrorists are breaking all previous norms, with no apparent limits to their depravity.
“You, like your foolish allies in the Satanic coalition, have yet to understand that we, by Allah’s grace, are an Islamic caliphate with authority and power, an entire army thirsty for you blood,” a masked militant says in the video while holding a knife to Goto’s neck. To read the rest of the article, click here.
Overcome by the darkness, this young Grant High School student decided she would end her life at the end of the school day. But instead, she went to an on-campus Christian club and heard Brian Barcelona share with about 150 other students.
After a stirring message, “she came running up to the front. She was weeping. She asked Brian to pray for her. She was going to commit suicide that day, but instead she found God,” says Allan Giglio, a coordinator for One Voice, which is seeing extraordinary revival in Los Angeles and Orange County high schools.
About 2,500 students at 15 high schools hear the gospel each week through campus Christian clubs, which invite One Voice representatives to speak, Giglio says. Kids have been saved from drugs, violence, sexual sin, and hopelessness.
But when we started playing B- and A-teams, we lost 0-8. Then the kids realized they didn’t know squat about soccer and would need to really learn. We have lost every league game (the win was a scrimmage) — except yesterday.
In the last game of the regular season, we tied 2-2. Now the kids are learning how to play.
Losses are valuable. You tend to learn more from a loss — if you don’t cast yourself in the pit of self-pity. A lot of people learn nothing from a win — in the self-congratulation there is no self-study, no refining, no fixing.
If you are currently losing, rejoice. Study, work and improve. The win is ahead. You can’t get to win except by losses.
I’m proud of the progress of my co-ed team (playing against all boys teams) at Lighthouse Church School in Santa Monica.
I have a winninger attitude. I’m the happier coach. I coach for free, and I’m seeing the fruits of my labor, most importantly kids drawn to Christ at a Westside Christian school.
So far we have lost every league game of Middle School soccer in CIF Pacific League Basin. Monday will see if we finally win one.
Despite the dismal outlook, I’m enjoying the positives:
- Our goalie, an adapted basketball player, won the opposing coach’s praise with “five first-rate saves.” “We thought we weren’t going to be able to score on you,” he said.
- We limited an A-team to four goals.
- My son scored a goal.
- My son juked four defenders to get to goal and almost scored an individual effort.
More important than game highlights are kid highlights:
- Kids are really enjoying soccer.
- One kid told me he used to not like soccer; now he really likes it.
- Beginners are scoring (at practice), and that’s a thrill for them.
- There’s such a good feeling of Christian good attitude and fun.
So I wouldn’t take the paid coaching position. The unpaid is better because the rewards outweigh financial compensation.
In 2007, Marcelino de Leon saw kids in the his neighborhood who didn’t sign up for first grade. Illiteracy is high in Guatemala, where people struggle to survive and have a hard time supporting their kids in education.
So Marcelino decided to teach them himself. Every Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 he taught nine kids first grade materials. When the next year came around four of those kids tested into second grade.
Nobody paid him for this. No one applauded. Marcelino didn’t get any awards. A professional teacher, Marcelino just wanted to help where he could. He lost track of those kids when he moved, but we expect them to find him one day and report on their success at college.
Marcelino helped us at the Liceo Bilingue La Puerta. As always, it was voluntary, since we were/are strapped for money. We charge most students a minimal fee, and it doesn’t cover expenses.
I was so impressed by his willingness to pitch that I offered to teach him English. Extraordinarily, after I left Guatemala, he continued helping our school.
It’s people like Marcelino who inspire me. Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds — Heb. 10:24. He came to visit me today. I’m wanting to do more for God.
To go back and admit you were wrong is one of the hardest things to do. But to save your marriage, it’s worth it! Anything to save a marriage!
But if it can’t be saved, then don’t remain single and sad. It is not good that the man should be alone, God said of Adam and created Eve. If you have coursed the awful pain of a divorce, do things better next time.
But if you CAN restore your marriage, by all means do it.
God sent me to Guatemala on the mission of restoration. Only now do I realize it. I’m teaching on marriage. Not that I am such an expert. But my pastor, Rob Scribner of the Santa Monica Lighthouse Church, has taught me a lot of great tools to make marriage happy.
It’s funny: we work at our jobs, our studies, but we think that love should just be easy and require no work.
I got one assist. That’s kinda amazing because I’m 47 playing against teens.
I learned soccer while being a missionary when I was 35 years old, a late breakout into the sport. It’s not easy to outrun those kids but a lot of fun.
I’m visiting the church my wife and I founded in Guatemala. By playing soccer with the kids, I realize we have the seeds of revival. Even though not all these kids attend church, they come for soccer. They have a strong mental association with their school, a ministry of the church. When they get to a moment of desperation, they’ll know where to go to find God. They have a strong reference point of God.
After playing for a couple of hours, I gave them all my testimony: raised in the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley in relative comfort but lonely and empty. Only Jesus filled my heart.
1. Slow. Confused for a “no,” but God is working on something first before giving the answer.
2. Go. The answer is yes. Do all your part now.
3. No. You don’t want to twist God’s arm into granting you something that you want but He knows is not truly good for you.
4. Grow. Also confused for a “no,” but God first must mature you for the blessing. You wouldn’t be able to sustain the blessing yet.
Praying is like giving birth to something in our lives. But we ought to recognize that prayer, more often than not, is NOT instantaneous. We need to develop maturity to recognize these four answers to prayer.
No longer was it impossible to please a completely holy God, who demanded an animal sacrifice for every sin. That’s A LOT!
Jesus was the last sacrifice to end all sacrifice. He was the price paid in ransom for us; we sold ourselves to sin, death and Hell.
If you experience the love of a family during Christmas, that’s a mere taste of the full flavor of love from God. If you didn’t experience human love during Christmas, you are missing a drop of the ocean of love God has for you.
Even surrounded by family, you can feel incredibly lonely.
Jesus’ parents lacked a friend’s house to crash on the couch. In a filthy stable, Joseph provided for Mary to give birth to their first son. Jesus was born in loneliness.
He’s with you now in a very special way. The times I’ve been loneliest have also been times that I’ve had the sweetest communion with God. With tears in my eyes, I lifted my heart to the Lord.
Those were beautiful moments.
Nobody every expected Jesus to be born in a manger. Nor was riding on a donkey worth calling a triumphal royal entry into Jerusalem.
The leading interpreters were completely blindsided by the appearance of the Messiah — partly because their envy blinded them, but also because they interpreted erroneously.
Try to resist making God fit your theology. He’s a boundary buster. He’ll surprise with unconventional means: Muslims who see Jesus in a dream and serve the Savior without leaving the mesquite, for example.
- If this man were of God, He wouldn’t heal on the Sabbath.
- Does anything good come out of Nazareth?
- He eats with tax collectors and prostitutes.
Their exclusionary clauses eventually excluded themselves from the things of God.
This Christmas, don’t wait for Santa to come down your chimney. Ask Jesus to come into your heart. Don’t limit God.
Photo credit: Beautiful pictures on google+. I’m not making any $ on this picture, and I don’t own the rights to it.
So when He paid our ransom, it was a light thing. He could afford whatever price the devil set.
His only limited resource was His son. He had only one.
I’ve known parents to suffer prolonged acute grief over the loss of a son. That pain is assuaged many times by the presence of other children. God had no other children. He couldn’t preserve His favorite son and send the brat to die for humanity.
Even though Christ resurrected and triumphed over death, I believe God’s grief was unbearable.
Really, no one told God that it had to be His Son. God makes the rules, so He could have sent an angel to die on the cross for us. He could have sent all of His angels.
But to show how great His love is, He sent His one and only Son. He didn’t send money, which He possesses in limitless supply. He sent the one thing that most touched His heart.
I’m not so rich that I can give gifts without experiencing any personal loss. Such was God. The greatest gift is Jesus. Merry CHRISTmas!
Original photo from Tumblr.
When we read the Christmas story, the opposite of fear proves to be joy. Angels visit Zachariah, Mary and Joseph. Each time they say: Do not fear. They explain their news, and then they say that it is cause for great joy.
So you can either be joyful or fearful, but not both.
Why is Christmas so joyful? It’s more than just a feel-good, help-the-less-fortunate time of year. It’s the time that Christ lifted off our shoulders an impossible burden. Christ paid an unpayable price. The separation from God that initiated in the Garden of Eden was finally ended. Humanity can now enjoy relationship with the Heavenly Father.
In the gif, Tim Cocker gives what he calls “terrible” Christmas gifts to his kids in 2011: a banana and an onion (she thinks it’s a tiny pumpkin). But the kids are joyful.
Will be joyful or fearful this Christmas?
Could you not but pray for an hour?
In his hour of desperation, Jesus couldn’t count on his disciples to pray. He was in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew they were going to arrest him within minutes. He was so stressed out, he sweated blood drops. He prayed, and he asked his disciples to pray.
They fell asleep.
Do we likewise fall asleep when it is time to pray?
Nicholas gave his money away to help people. The legend is that he anonymously helped young ladies pay their dowry by throwing the money in the window. It fell into socks hanging on the hearth. His good deeds became known, and he was named bishop of Myra in what is now Turkey.
Then he died and went to Heaven, where he is alive and well. Don’t look for him at the South Pole. You’ll only find penguins.
The real gift-giver is Jesus. He’s not bringing a sack of toys. He offers far greater presents: the unpayable ransom of your soul, forgiveness, restoration, blessing, acceptance. Sorry Toys-R-Us, Jesus gives priceless stuff.
The wise men came bringing gifts to Jesus, but Jesus IS the gift to humanity.
This generation believes — oddly — that humiliation brings reformation.
But Joseph refused to open his — apparently unfaithful — fiance to public scandal. She was found to be pregnant before the wedding, and Joseph knew he wasn’t the father.
Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily –– Matt. 1: 19 KJV. Justice — righteousness — was being considerate and tender with her.
Shaming can be traumatic, emotionally damaging. It is antithetical to God’s plan: He forgives and forgets. His lovingkindness (not severity) is what leads to repentance (Ro. 2:4). We despise the Puritans, and then we practice their worst.
This Christmas give the ultimate gift: forgiveness with forgetfulness. If restoration is your aim, drop the Nazi tactic of shaming.
No, through more than three decades of rubbing elbows with Christians, most often I hear people brag about how much they have already given. Usually, they compare themselves to others and point out how superior their giving us.
When someone gives quietly (without blowing the trumpet in announcement of his gift, as Jesus said), it inspires me to give.
When someone brags (and usually there’s an undertone of bitterness, as in: they wasted my gift), it’s completely uninspiring.
This Christmas, give without bragging and bitterness. Give God gold, frankincense and more.
Don’t be afraid of God. He is loving. The commands of the Old Testament are satisfied in the New Testament through Jesus. Christmas is, in the words of the angel, “good news of great joy” because God is forgiving the sins of all who ask. The gap separating man from God is bridged by the cross. Reconciliation is possible. Perfect love drives out all fear — 1 John 4:18 NIV.
God loves you with a perfect love. All you need to do, as with a Christmas present, is open it.
Bring back the lightheartedness, the laughter, the rush of romance, the sensation of feeling in love.
If you have banned that from your marriage, if you evolved through a business-like partnership into dwelling on faults, you are in danger. It is hard for any marriage to survive where love has turned to bitterness and anger.
Without the delicacy and delight, with difficulty a marriage may survive. But where love is renewed and refreshed with romance, it may grow through the years.
Make love, not war.
They were awakened abruptly by the sound of two explosions as a masked gunman burst into Daniel and Colleen Jaquith’s missionary complex in the Philippines and demanded money.
The gunman shot a Filipino pastor in the foot, pointed a handgun at his head, and demanded to be taken to the Americans, according to a report by Christian News Northwest.
The Jaquiths shared about the March 4, 2014 incident on a home visit to Newberg, Oregon recently.
Awakened by the explosions, the Jaquiths were then startled to see the gunman appear in their doorway with the pastor as hostage. “Give me the money, or I will kill you!” he shouted.
In response, the Jaquiths dropped to their knees and began to pray. “Colleen and I were desperate and defenseless there on our bed,” Dan said. “In our desperation we both began to unitedly cry out to the Lord with very loud and intense prayers. I prayerfully went to my knees.” Read the rest of the story.
The missionaries website: http://btti.org
Humans have the capacity to love — and the capacity to turn off the love valve. It is a horrifying reality: to stop loving what naturally we love. To be so caught up in drugs and alcohol that a parent neglects a child. To be so embittered by moral failures that a spouse chooses hate.
“The greatest fury comes from the wound where love once issued forth,” said Pat Conroy, author who conducted minute forensics on his own divorce. “I find it hard to believe that this number of people voluntarily or involuntarily submit to such extraordinary pain.”
If love is the most ennobling emotion of all humanity, shutting off the valve the most diabolical. By turning off the valve, you think you are asserting control over your life and destiny. In reality, you become a mini-Hitler annihilating your own race.
Don’t give up on love. God made humans different than animals! The tragic consequence of belief in evolution is that notion we are basically no different than animals, so we can/should behave like animals do. But the human heart shrieks against this wrong-headedness. We are different! We need to receive and give love. To deny it is to lower our image-of-God imprint into the sewer.
God’s love will NEVER fail you. 1 Cor. 13:8 says: Love never fails.
If your spouse has failed you, don’t give up on love. If you parents have failed you miserably, don’t become an unbeliever in love. Bitterness is a deforming solace.
If you have received nothing but despising, you should:
- Throw yourself on the love of Christ.
- Give love to other needy people.
- Keep believing in love.
Love is eternal. Many things will end when we enter Heaven. We won’t take our Taylor Swift songs with us. No Teslas in Heaven. But love, which starts like a spark here on Earth, carries on into a Heaven a powerful conflagration.
I believe in God because I believe in love.
Here’s every element of the series:
1 Cor. 13:4
1 Cor. 13:5
1 Cor. 13:6
1 Cor. 13:7
1 Cor. 13:8
At some point, too much treachery will kill a marriage. But about a zillion marriages have survived some amount of unfaithfulness. And the offended spouse eventually comes to trust the untrustworthy partner. Infidelity is never acceptable, but it’s always worth it to try to save a marriage — for the children, and for the partners themselves.
Jealousy can tear apart a marriage. Often jealousy breaks out without any reasonable justification. Jealousy is a sin. True love trusts and learns to trust again.
1 Cor. 13:6 says: Love always trusts.
Here’s every element of the series:
- 1 Cor. 13:4
1 Cor. 13:5
1 Cor. 13:6
1 Cor. 13:7
1 Cor. 13:8
A sinister side of the human heart secretly rejoices when bad happens to another — and worst case is when it happens to your spouse.
The is the opposite of envy, which angers over another’s blessing. It must rank up there with Hitler’s concentrated evil. The Bible says that married couples are one flesh, and you are mistaken to think that means only the physical union. It’s also emotional and spiritual.
So when good happens to your spouse, it happens to you. When bad happens, bad happens to you too. You are one flesh. Expel such rejoicing from your evil heart.
1 Cor. 13:6 says: Love does not delight in evil.
Here’s every element of the series:
- 1 Cor. 13:4
1 Cor. 13:5
1 Cor. 13:6
1 Cor. 13:7
1 Cor. 13:8
Insignificant habits irritate us supremely in marriage. The she talks, the way he eats. She forgets your favorite spice, he forgets to tuck his shirt in.
1 Cor. 13:5 says: Love is not easily angered.
Dianna and I took a personality test before marriage at the behest of her church. I was angered that I had to take the test. Were they going to tell us we were incompatible and shouldn’t marry?
When the results came in, we were both surprised: You both have above average levels of anger. Honestly, neither Dianna nor I were aware. But as our marriage progressed, we crossed swords often. We had to learn to calm down, to defer anger, to analyze outside of ourselves, to negotiate, to accept each other and stop trying to change each other.
We’ve made it to 24 years, and we’re still devising strategies to get along We’re still working on being less angry.
Here’s every element of the series:
- 1 Cor. 13:4
1 Cor. 13:5
1 Cor. 13:6
1 Cor. 13:7
1 Cor. 13:8
We have heat-seeking missiles, but a love that is self-seeking hones in on its own destruction. Love gives.
They say it is give-and-take, but if it is to survive, it must give more than it takes. Stop trying to get out of your spouse more. Start trying to give more.
1 Cor. 13:5 says: Love is not self-seeking.
Here’s every element of the series:
- 1 Cor. 13:4
1 Cor. 13:5
1 Cor. 13:6
1 Cor. 13:7
1 Cor. 13:8