Finally, a financial strategy that makes sense.
My suspicion, though I’m unable to confirm it, is that in order to reduce labor costs, either fewer ravens were used or an inferior grade of bird was used. Perhaps the common, ordinary wren.
At least financial wizards have identified the source and are making aggressing plans at increasing the number of spare ravens in Tower of London.
I’ll certainly sleep better at night.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
This is what happens when you let children play with scissors.
The logo for the 2012 Olympics in London has been unveiled, and it looks like this:
Click on the image for more wonderful hideousness. It sort of looks like an incomplete jigsaw puzzle, missing a couple of pieces, that has Pepto-Bismol spilled on it.
The jagged emblem, designed to define the image of the Games in five years’ time, comes in a series of bright shades of pink, blue, green and orange, and includes the signature five Olympic rings emblazoned onto the “0″.
What does it look like to you? Do you agree with critics that it looks “hideous?”Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Weâ€™re going return to the New Testament for the next 3 months and work through 1st and 2nd Peter, written by the apostle Peter approximately 30 years after the crucifixion of Jesus. In the 30 years since Peter denied Jesus three times, Peter has grown a lot. Within two years of writing 1st and 2nd Peter, Peter was martyred, proclaiming the glory of Christ till the very end.
Iâ€™d love to spend a lot more time discussing who Peter was, how he grew from a fisherman, and in Acts he was described as â€œunlearned and ignorant,â€ to the man who wrote these letters. Peter is a perfect illustration of 1 Corinthians 1:26-31.
Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised thingsâ€”and the things that are notâ€”to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from Godâ€”that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
Peter was in Rome when Rome burned; Nero, who â€œfiddled while Rome burned,â€ blamed the fire on Christians and martyred both Peter and Paul during this time. So you can see how much history is wrapped up in Peterâ€™s life, but we need to delve right into 1 Peter and see what this apostle has to say to us. So letâ€™s get started and see what the Holy Spirit has to say through this man of Christ and perhaps have hope that we, too, may become this unlearned and ignorant. So take out your bibles and turn to 1st Peter and letâ€™s dig in. 1 Peter 1:1-2 :
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
â€œStrangers in the worldâ€ is also sometimes translated as â€œtemporary residentsâ€ or â€œaliens residing in a foreign land.â€ Believers in Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit inside, soon find that their moral values are different from the world. We become new creations that donâ€™t seem to fit with the old world anymore. We turn from partying to service, we turn from selfish behavior to loving our neighbor. We become strangers in the world. Peter defines a whole bunch of characteristics of Christians in a single sentence â€“
- Godâ€™s elect, chosen according to the foreknowledge of God. God knows all, including knowing who will choose Him. It doesnâ€™t say God makes us choose Him, we have the gift of free will He gave us. But God knows all.
- Through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. When we accept Christ, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who turbocharges our conscience and begins the lifelong process of sanctification.
- Obedience to Jesus Christ. To love our Lord, we seek to find His will in our lives.
- Sprinkling of His blood. This is a also a gift given to us, and nothing we did to earn it. Christ died for us.
- Grace and peace be yours in abundance. Two more gifts given to Christians; as we allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify us, Godâ€™s grace and the peace from Christ lives in us. In abundance, too.
Wow. No wonder weâ€™re going to go through the books of Peter slowly. Thatâ€™s five descriptions of Christians and weâ€™re not out of the first paragraph yet, and each description we could devote a complete study. Not today, though, weâ€™re going to study 1 Peter 1:3-9 instead. Iâ€™d like to read this together as a class, and to make sure weâ€™re all reading the same version, Iâ€™ve provided a handout with these verses:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade â€” kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith â€” of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire â€” may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Peter tells us so much here, about how to have inexpressible and glorious joy, how our faith is protected by Godâ€™s power, how we suffer so that our faith may be proved genuine. Have you ever heard the phrase, â€œOnce saved, always saved?â€ I confess that before I started studying this week, I had some doubts about that. No more, no more doubts. And absolutely knowing that thereâ€™s not a thing I can do to mess that up brings me this peace and inexpressible and glorious joy. The salvation of my soul is secure, kept in heaven for me and shielded by Godâ€™s power. Thereâ€™s a lot of comfort in that. Peter tells us that through Jesus we have come into an inheritance that can never, spoil or fade, that this inheritance is kept in heaven and protected by the all powerful God.
Are you pretty sure youâ€™re going to heaven? Unless something goes horribly wrong, thereâ€™s a good chance youâ€™re going to heaven? Or do you absolutely know, without a doubt, 100% guarantee, that youâ€™re going to heaven? God wants you to know and be absolutely confident, because there is joy and peace in this knowledge. Letâ€™s see if thereâ€™s any other scripture that talks about this confidence.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may *know* that you have eternal life.
It doesnâ€™t say â€œthinkâ€ we have eternal life. So that we may *know* we have eternal life. Itâ€™s not arrogance to say that I know I will go to heaven. Itâ€™s confidence, not in my ability, but in Christâ€™s sacrifice. Once a person places their trust in Jesus, God immediately and irrevocably grants that person eternal life and salvation and a guaranteed place in Heaven that can never be lost, regardless of what they do or what they donâ€™t do. Itâ€™s not based on you, never was. Itâ€™s entirely based on what Jesus did.
John 5:24, Jesus says,
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
Jesus uses certain Greek tenses of verbs here to make His point. When He says, â€œhasâ€ eternal life, Jesus uses the present tense. Then He switches to future tense, â€œwill not be condemnedâ€. Jesus says believers have it! And if that wasnâ€™t clear enough, Jesus says the believer â€œhas crossed over from death to life.â€ Jesus switches present tense to perfect tense, and is saying that the believer has already crossed, always will be crossed over from death to life. We are new creations already, we donâ€™t become new creations after we die. We *have already* crossed over, we *have* eternal life, and *will not be* condemned. Past, present and future.
John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son *has* eternal life.” John 6:47, â€œI tell you the truth, he who believes *has* everlasting life.â€ Itâ€™s an irrevocable contract Jesus makes with us when we confess Him as our Lord, written here in the Good Book for us to read the fine print anytime we wish. What does Jesus promise to do for us as our Lord? Well, hereâ€™s the fine print of the contract.
- Hebrews 10:17, God says, â€œTheir sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.â€ You and I canâ€™t forget, as hard as we try, but God will remember no more. Poof, itâ€™s as if they never happened. With the blood covering from Jesus, we become pure in Godâ€™s sight.
- Philippians 4, our names are inscribed in the Book of Life. Again, not *will be* inscribed. They *are* inscribed.
- Romans 8:1, â€œTherefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.â€ Now. No condemnation. Freedom.
- Micah 7:19, â€œYou will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.â€ Deeper than the Titanic, our sins are buried in the sea.
- 1 Corinthians 6:19, â€œDo you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?â€ The Holy Spirit lives in us, takes up residence, and gives our conscience a kick-start.
- Galatians 4:6, â€œSo you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.â€ We become adopted by God, we are His children, His heirs. We are no longer slave to sin and the death that comes with it.
- Romans 8:31-33, God has chosen us, we are Godâ€™s elect, and if God is for us, who can be against us?
- Ephesians 1:13-14, â€œHaving believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession.â€ Marked, sealed, identified, stamped. Seems like every translation I read used a different word here. Signed, sealed, delivered, Iâ€™m yours. We are indelibly branded, permanently stamped, and guaranteed our inheritance.
- John 10:27-28, Jesus says, â€œMy sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.â€ Jesus becomes our shepherd, we becomes His sheep, He gives us eternal life, we will never perish, and no one can change that.
- Any loopholes left in this contract? Romans 8:38, â€œFor I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.â€ Looks like an absolutely iron clad contract to me, how about you?
This salvation we already have. This eternal life we already have. Heaven is a destination where we go when our mortal chores are through, but our place there is already guaranteed. Peter says praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that our inheritance awaits us and to rejoice. Rejoice! Again I say, rejoice! I rejoice because I know if I could do something to lose my salvation, Iâ€™d have done it already. Iâ€™ve messed up so many times and if I was given a second chance, Iâ€™d just lose it again. Sometimes I can go for 6 or 8 hours in a row without sinning, but then I wake up and have to get out of bed. This is great news, knowing weâ€™re eternally saved. In order for us to lose our salvation,
- somebody would have to find some sort of loophole in the contract that isn’t up or down, present or future, angel or demon, and convince Christ not to love us anymore,
- change us from Christ’s sheep into a toad,
- remove the brand He sealed onto us,
- snatch us right out of the hand of Jesus even though He chose us,
- cancel God’s adoption papers and write us out of the will,
- evict the Holy Spirit out of His home in our heart and tell him to find someplace else to live,
- dive to the very bottom of the ocean and dredge our sins back up,
- remind God of all the things He’s promised to remember no more,
- and make God into a liar for putting all these promises down in writing.
Ya know, I just donâ€™t see any of that happening.
So what about all those difficult questions about â€œOnce saved, always saved?â€ What if I claim to be a Christian, but donâ€™t seem to be living a Christian lifestyle? I party and drink and do drugs and sleep around and so forth â€“ Am I still going to heaven? And what if I say Iâ€™m a Christian and I know Iâ€™m going to heaven, does that mean I can do anything I want? Lie cheat and steal, take candy from babies or be a serial killer? Am I still going to heaven? How about if I say Iâ€™m Christian, but then I curse God to His face, turn my back on Jesus and says I want nothing do with those uptight religious freaks anymore? Am I still going to heaven? And what about when I hurt or when Iâ€™m depressed and I just donâ€™t feel like getting up and going to church anymore? Am I still going to heaven?
Great questions. I hope somebody here can answer them, I ran out of time studying.
No seriously, they are great questions, and the answers are in this same Good Book.
Number 1. What if somebody claims to be a Christian, but doesnâ€™t seem to be living a Christian lifestyle? Partying and drinking and so forth? I think itâ€™s important to remember that eternal salvation is granted when you confess with all your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord. God does the rest. If we think our actions before God are better than somebody elseâ€™s actions, we have a fundamental misunderstanding of what Jesus did for us. Romans 3:20 says, â€œTherefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law.â€ No one, no matter how good we try to be, is good enough for God. Any righteousness we have comes not from ourselves but from accepting the blood covering of Jesusâ€™ sacrifice for our sins. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith â€” and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God â€” not by works, so that no one can boast.” It has nothing to do with what we do. We donâ€™t gain eternal life because of our good performance, and we donâ€™t lose eternal life because of our bad performance. Itâ€™s Jesus plus nothing; itâ€™s a gift. The church of Galatia thought the same thing, and Paul gave them a dressing down. In Galatians 3 Paul writes, â€œYou foolish Galatians! [...] After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?â€ 2 Timothy 2:13 Paul says, â€œif we are faithless, He will remain faithful.â€ Getting into heaven has nothing to do with our human performance and everything to do with Godâ€™s grace. We donâ€™t sing Amazing Human Performance in worship for a reason, we sing Amazing Grace. So if somebody has truly accepted Jesus Christ but doesnâ€™t seem to be living a Christian life, they still have an invitation to Godâ€™s Grand Afterlife Party.
Number 2. If our salvation is secure, does that mean we can do whatever we want? If Iâ€™m going to heaven no matter what I do, why does it matter what I do? Why not lie, cheat and steal? Why not cheat on my spouse? Why not party like itâ€™s 1999? Iâ€™m going to heaven! Well, thereâ€™s a serious problem with this. You may have that invitation to Godâ€™s Grand Afterlife Party and you are guaranteed entry, but what you do in this life has everything to do with what kind of reception youâ€™ll get when you get there. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 says
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames
The foundation is Christ, and with our mortal lives we build on that foundation. We can build on it with long lasting stuff â€“ obedience, servant hood, prayer, humility, or we ca build on it with disobedience, arrogance, and selfishness. The choice is up to us. But there will come a day of Judgement where we stand before Christ, and all our earthly deeds will be exposed for what they are. Everything bad or worthless will be burned away, and if thereâ€™s anything left, thereâ€™s a reward. What kind of reward? I donâ€™t know â€“ Iâ€™m guessing something made of chocolate. All I know if thereâ€™s a line forming to collect a reward from the almighty God, I want to be in that line. What if your building is all gone? Well, you donâ€™t get any chocolate, but you yourself will be saved. Youâ€™re not in heaven because of the building, youâ€™re in heaven because of the foundation.
Another problem with living a sinful, selfish life, the Holy Spirit is inside doing a number on our conscience. We will feel guilty. Things we could get away with before accepting Christ, we feel bad when we do them now. David writes in Psalm 32 that when he kept silent about his sins, not confessing, not repenting, his bones wasted away and he groaned all day long. When we accept Christ as our savior, we become more focused on pleasing God.
Number 3. What if somebody turns their back on Jesus, renounces God, becomes an atheist. Are they still going to heaven? Let me tell you a story about Robert Robinson, a young teen who lived in London from 1735 to 1790. He was a delinquent teen, but at 17 took his gang to an open air revival service where George Whitfield was preaching to â€œlaugh at the poor deluded Methodists.â€ Two and a half years later, Robert Robinson gave his life to Christ. He felt the call to preach, was appointed by John Wesley to pastor the Calvinist Methodist Chapel in Norfolk England, writing powerful sermons and hymns, and at the age of 23 wrote this powerful hymn:
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet, Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! Iâ€™m fixed upon it, Mount of Thy redeeming love.
Beautiful hymn, and 250 years later we still praise our Lord with these words. But these words were a spiritual, prophetic autobiography. Robert Robinson did not stay in the fold of Christianity, eventually dismissed by the church and he returned to his sinful ways, eventually turning his back on Christianity and became Unitarian who do not believe Jesus was the only Son of the Father. In his later years, while taking a stagecoach ride, and in a non-Christian condition, a female passenger offered to share a poem with him, that it might help him as it had helped her, and she began to read â€œCome Thou Fountâ€ to him, and when she got to the third stanza,
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love;
Hereâ€™s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.
Robert Robinson broke down and cried and said, â€œMadam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.â€ Robert Robinson never did return to Christianity, and died denying the deity of Christ.
So what happened? We canâ€™t know for sure, can we, because we canâ€™t ever know Robert Robinsonâ€™s heart. But we do know this â€“ if he ever truly trusted Christ, then yes, Robert Robinson is in heaven. Even if we are faithless, God is faithful. In Matthew 21:18-19, Jesus tells us what happens to people like this.
Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
In order to produce fruit, you have to be connected to the sap of the Holy Spirit. If youâ€™re not connected, the best you can produce is leaves, and Jesus says if youâ€™re not connected to the sap of the Holy Spirit, the sap of the church of a body of believers, you wither. You become bitter and angry. Iâ€™ve never met a person who has accepted Christ and then turned his back on him that was a joy to be around. Theyâ€™re hurtful, mean, selfish people. But when youâ€™re connected to the sap, you produce fruit. So when you meet a person like this, either they never truly gave their heart to Jesus, or they did give their heart, but through circumstance, weakness, persecution, suffering, whatever, they turned their back on Jesus. Itâ€™s not for us to determine, but the Lord knows their heart, and if they truly gave their heart, theyâ€™re in heaven. But not in the chocolate line, theyâ€™re in the … carob line.
Number 4. What if I just donâ€™t feel saved? What if I donâ€™t feel connected to the Holy Spirit, or connected to the church. Am I still going to heaven? One of Satanâ€™s tricks in our materialistic secular humanistic society is the â€œdo what feels goodâ€ philosophy. Feel bad about debt? Go shopping until you feel good. Feel bad about weight? Eat until you feel better. Donâ€™t like your spouse? Get a divorce. And you look at our society and see what happens to us when we let our feelings determine our direction. When our feelings are at the wheel, we donâ€™t have any idea what direction weâ€™re headed.
I know exactly first hand what happens when you let feelings rule. I left my wife because of feelings and my feelings drove me right off a cliff. But you know what? Christ caught me. Now instead of trying to get happy and going in whatever direction I wanted to, I let Christ take the wheel and let Him determine the direction, and I ended up far happier than when I was trying to be happy. Matthew 6:33, â€œBut seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.â€ Feelings arenâ€™t supposed to be driving your around; feelings are supposed to be in the passenger seat.
So do your feelings determine whether youâ€™re going to heaven? Does John 3:16 read, â€œFor God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,â€ as long as he feels like it? John 5:24 says, â€œI tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.â€ How do your feelings change that? John 10:28, â€œI give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.â€ Unless, of course, theyâ€™re unhappy? Romans 8:1, â€œTherefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.â€
Where do feelings come into play? Your feelings are something you do, and nothing you do will gain your salvation. I think we try to make this complicated, but itâ€™s almost too simple to believe. God gives us the gift of salvation, and we say â€œthanks.â€ Thatâ€™s it, and nothing we do or feel or say will change that. No performance evaluation, no report card. Just grace. Your destiny is already safe, already secure, you are already an eternal being. When youâ€™re not afraid to die, then youâ€™re not afraid to live.
So you donâ€™t have to get up every week and walk down the aisle every single week and give your life to Christ, Meredith. You already belong to him and nothing, not death nor life, not angels nor demons, not the present nor the future, nor any powers, not height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to change that one teeny bit. Your destiny is safe. And thatâ€™s why Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:8-9, â€œThough you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.â€
Once Saved, Always Saved? It really is that simple. Donâ€™t complicate it with man-made judgments and opinions. Salvation is a gift through Jesus that is eternally secure. To receive it, all we have to do is ask. And all we have to do to keep it isâ€¦ nothing.
* due credit goes to Lon Solomon of the McLean Bible Church and his sermon series on Bible bootcamp for the ideas and scripture references behind the “fine print of the contract” above.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 26 so far )
I can hardly imagine the cognitive disassociation necessary. Here’s a controversy from London; women are upset that, after an abortion, the hospital burns the aborted fetuses in the hospital incinerator.
One local woman, who asked not to be named, said after the heartache of deciding to have an abortion she was mortified to find the hospital had used the same furnace they burn rubbish in to incinerate her terminated baby.
She said: “I am furious and very hurt. Imagine my horror when I discovered that my baby was incinerated in the same furnace as the hospital rubbish.”
Can somebody explain to me why the woman is upset? To my mind, the fetus is one of two things -
- If the fetus is a baby, the abortion kills the baby. If one believes that (or even if one is not 100% sure), then if you don’t want the baby to be burned, don’t abort the baby.
- If the fetus is *not* a baby, why does it matter what happens to it? It would like discarding any other refuse.
What am I missing?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
That’s what a London Muslim says. The Pope must die.
1 – Pope says Muslims can be violent.
2 – Muslims riot, burn the pope in effigy, and say the Pope must die.
Have I misunderstood? I keep looking for quotes from leading Muslim leaders denouncing the violence, but if quotes like that exist, I can’t find them.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
December 28, 2005
We arrived in London at Heathrow Airport after the overnight, overseas flight, about as refreshed as, well, people that had been on an overnight, overseas flight. Simple little trip over to Gatwick; our flight to Nairobi doesn’t leave until tomorrow so we have an afternoon here.
I learned something about London. It gets cold here. It was approximately -23 centipedes in some sort of metric temperature. I had no idea it got this cold here. The bus to Gatwick was challenging, trying to get 8 people and all the luggage onto a bus in the cold. I think it took nearly 3 hours to finally get to the hotel for the overnight stay. A quick cleanup, then a trip to a pub for some lunch was the plan.
We hopped on the bus outside and when we arrived at the tube station, we hopped off to buy tickets. Well… most of us hopped off. In our jet-lagged condition we left 2 teammates on the bus, and now we have no idea where they are.
A huddle with the group: what now? We decided their most likely action would be to stay on the bus until they arrived back at the hotel, and we also found out the bus made a loop that took 40 minutes. We checked every bus for the next 40 minutes, and sure enough, it was like homecoming when we found our two missing teammates. Hurrah! We’re all back together again.
A short tube ride, then off to a pub. Except… the first pub was full. Ok, we’ll walk around in the cold to a second pub… which was out of food. Then to a third pub that was too small… and this pub was juuust right, said Goldilocks. I was ready to eat some darts and coaster by this point. The traditional fish and chips were better though.
Afterwards, we took a short afternoon tour of London, trying to stay awake long enough to make sure the jet lag was over in a day. I wish I could tell you what we saw, but I can’t. I was sleepy and cold… just leave me, save yourselves!…. and didn’t take good notes. Buckingham Palace, Westminster Alley and St. Paul’s Cathedral, for sure.
December 29, 2005
Yes, we’re on our third day of travel. You know, the language here sort of sounds like English here in England, but we don’t seem to be able to communicate. We took a bus from the hotel that went to the airport, but not our terminal. It took far longer than we expected to finally arrive at the right terminal and get checked in, moments before the flight to Nairobi took off. We skipped breakfast this morning because of the rush but survived by eating the airplane seat cushions (which, by the way, can also be used a flotation device.)
Another 9 hour flight nearly due south and we arrived in Nairobi after dark. We were met by our driver Sammy who took us to a local Methodist Guest House. Exhausted from traveling, we all crashed early. We’re still not yet at our destination and have a long van ride tomorrow.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
December 27, 2005
I’ve been remiss in my blogging duties; oddly, I actually crossed “blog about Kenya” off my todo list accidentally, and it wasn’t until a friend email yesterday that I realized I had not written about this trip.
Let me preface this whole adventure by saying that I thank God for the opportunity to serve in this way. Working through friends, families and strangers, the necessary prayers and money came together in a miraculous way. It was a wonderful replacement for our honeymoon; we were truly blessed by this experience.
The night before we left I stumbled across something that I wish I had found earlier; my son gave me Civilization IV for my birthday last year. Marvelous game, and the opening song is intriguing.
Turns out the opening song was The Lord’s Prayer in Swahili. Later, Kenya Christians would sing the same words to a different tune.
Baba yetu, Yesu uliye
Mbinguni yetu, Yesu, amina!
Baba yetu, Yesu, uliye
Jina lako litukuzwe.
Utupe leo chakula chetu
Makosa yetu, hey!
Kama nasi tunavyowasamehe
Katika majaribu, lakini
Utuokoe, na yule, milelea milele!
Ufalme wako ufike utakalo
Lifanyike duniani kama mbinguni. (Amina)
Our Father, Jesus, who art
in Heaven. Amen!
Our Father, Jesus
Hallowed be thy name.
Give us this day our daily bread,
Forgive us of
As we forgive others
Who tresspass against us
Lead us not into temptation, but
deiver us from Evil, and you are forever and ever!
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven. (Amen)
I had about 2 hours of this knowledge before we had to leave for the airport, so I didn’t do anything useful with it. Mom and my stepfather picked us up and drove us to the airport to save on parking fees since we’d be gone so long, and we met up with the rest of the team.
We were flying British Air out of Houston; they made a terrific deal to upgrade us to Business Class for something like $50 a person, but that was like $400 for the group. Considering where we were going, it was really hard to justify spending all that money just to be a wee bit more comfortable for 9 hours. I’m glad we skipped the opportunity.
Packing was heavy since we would be gone for 2 weeks. We packed jeans and slacks for the guys, long dresses for the women mostly (and since I’m a guy, I’m not going to be able to give a better description than that). We also have some suitcases with bibles and “Purpose Driven Life” that were really, really heavy. All in all 16 bags for check in plus a bag each for carry on. We were loaded down.
That’s it for the advance preparation, I think. Oh, shots for hepatitus and typhoid and yellow fever, pills for malaria, of course. I’m going to copy this to the Kenya mission team, so if I’ve forgotten something about the preparation, perhaps they can add it to the comments. We all watched a movie on the plane and crashed; we would be in London in the morning.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
While I may tend to go off on entertainers that bash America, I would rather highlight those that support America, not just for their patriotism but for their bravery in standing up to Hollywood leftists. I’ll give kudos to Bruce Willis who’s had enough of the bashing American soldiers take from Hollywood. From Michelle Malkin:
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ANGERED by negative portrayals of the conflict in Iraq, Bruce Willis, the Hollywood star, is to make a pro-war film in which American soldiers will be depicted as brave fighters for freedom and democracy.
It will be based on the exploits of the heavily decorated members of Deuce Four, the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, which has spent the past year battling insurgents in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul.
Willis attended Deuce Fourâ€™s homecoming ball this month in Seattle, Washington, where the soldiers are on leave, along with Stephen Eads, the producer of Armageddon and The Sixth Sense.
The 50-year-old actor said that he was in talks about a film of â€œthese guys who do what they are asked to for very little money to defend and fight for what they consider to be freedomâ€.
Unlike many Hollywood stars Willis supports the war and recently offered a $1m (about Â£583,000) bounty for the capture of any of Al-Qaedaâ€™s most wanted leaders such as Osama Bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri or Abu Musab al- Zarqawi, its commander in Iraq. Willis visited the war zone with his rock and blues band, the Accelerators, in 2003.
â€œI am baffled to understand why the things I saw happening in Iraq are not being reported,â€ he told MSNBC, the American news channel.
He is expected to base the film on the writings of the independent blogger Michael Yon, a former special forces green beret who was embedded with Deuce Four and sent regular dispatches about their heroics.
Yon was at the soldiersâ€™ ball with Willis, who got to know him through his internet war reports on http://www.michaelyon.blogspot.com. â€œWhat he is doing is something the American media and maybe the world media isnâ€™t doing,â€ the actor said, â€œand thatâ€™s telling the truth about whatâ€™s happening in the war in Iraq.â€
Al Franken is laughing it up, I suppose. Nobody else is, because he’s not funny.
He’s promoting his new book on Amazon with a video clip showing how good it feels to kick a conservative between the legs. Michelle Malkin has video stills and here is the video clip. Basically, he questions a reviewer who claims to be “a right wing jerk” who gave Al’s book a poor review. So Al kicks him between the legs, smashes a chair over his back, then cracks a bottle over his head. It makes Al look… deranged. Weird. Unglued.
Or at least, that’s how the news portrays it, labeling Fred Phelps as a far right Christian and giving Christians a poor image. Most Christians, though, have denounced Fred Phelps. I’ve read some of his stuff, and I think Fred is as loony to the right as Al Franken is to the left. It’s one thing to decry the degrading morals of western civilization; it’s quite another to gleefully rejoice over their deaths and wish for more.
The Sky Report has secretly filmed one of America’s most controversial Christian minister’s praising the London bombings.
Fred Phelps, who set up the controversial Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, told an undercover reporter about the attacks, which killed 52 people:
“Oh I am so thankful that happened. My only regret is that they didn’t kill about million of them. England deserves that kind of punishment, as does this country (America)”.
The church, which has 150 followers, recently started picketing funerals including those of American soldiers killed in Iraq, waving banners such as ‘Thank God 9/11′, ‘God Hates Fags’ and ‘Aids Cures Fags.’
This Fred Phelps fellow gives Christianity a black eye. It undoes the good works that Christians do in the name of love of our God as an expression of our faith. Fred has confused the “hate the sin” and goes all out to hate the sinner, too. While following Jesus teaches us discipline, insulting people and hoping they die does far more harm than good to Christianity. It’s not… Christian.
Nearly all conservatives denounce Fred Phelps. I’m still waiting for liberals to denounce Al Franken.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Even though the title of this article says, “Muslim world rejecting violence, says poll,” that’s not the conclusion I get from reading the results.
The survey found that in Turkey, Morocco and Indonesia 15% or fewer said that suicide bombings and other acts of violence against civilian targets in defence of Islam could be justified; the figure in Morocco last year was 40%.
In Pakistan, only one in four – 25% – took the view that suicide bombings could be justified, a sharp drop from 41% last year. In Lebanon, which has been the victim of several recent bombing attacks, 39% now regard acts of terrorism as often or sometimes justified compared to 73% in 2002.
The one notable exception to the trend was Jordan, where a majority – 57% – said suicide bombings and violence were justifiable in defence of Islam.
Muslims in the surveyed countries were divided on suicide bombings in Iraq. Nearly half in Lebanon and Jordan, and 56% in Morocco, said suicide bombings against westerners in Iraq were justifiable, but substantial majorities in Turkey, Pakistan and Indonesia took the opposite view.
Those figures concern me. A lot. While the mainstream media spins this as “Muslim World rejecting violence,” I’m reading that anywhere from 15% to 55% of Muslims, depending on the part of the world, feel that Al Qaeda is justified in bombing civilians. That’s a lot of Muslims that want to kill westerners. When I see a new, huge mosque being built on a plot of land on my way to work, am I supposed to feel comforted that only 15% of them think I should be dead?
Mohamed el-Amir, the father of 9/11 suicide pilot Mohammed Atta, thinks 9/11 was a good thing and would like to see more attacks like the 7/7 London bombings. Then he offered to let CNN videotape an interview with him for $5000. He planned on using that money to finance another terror attack.
This time, CNN declined, probably thinking they’ve financed enough terrorism. Back in 2002, CNN paid $30,000 for Al Qaeda videos of poison gas experiments.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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