I’m really digging this version of The Beach Boys’ “Feel Flows” by Brooklyn’s Top Dreams. This is a great jam to cover for starters and I’m totes impressed by Top Dreams recreation of it. Think Washed Out meets Mika. It’s awesome, I mean nothing tops the original but oh this comes damn close! Feel Flows can be downloaded for free over at Bandcamp!
James W. Pennebaker’s new book “The Secret Life of Pronouns,” which I reviewed in The Times Book Review on Sunday, makes it hard to stop thinking about pronouns and the other little “function words” that Mr. Pennebaker, a social psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin, sees as “the keys to the soul.” Mr. Pennebaker is admirably omnivorous when it comes to looking for material that will show how these stealthy words — which include articles, prepositions, conjunctions and auxiliary verbs — reflect our social psyche. One of his more unexpected sources is the lyrical canon of the Beatles.
Mr. Pennebaker crunches the numbers on Beatles songs using text analysis programs and arrives at some fascinating conclusions. As the band aged their lyrics grew “more complex, more psychologically distant and far less positive.” The increasing complexity of the lyrics is manifested in “bigger words and more prepositions, articles and conjunctions.” There was also a big drop in the use of first-person singular pronouns, from 14 percent in the group’s early years to 7 percent in the final years. Self-absorption, it seems, gave way to more socially involved perspectives.
Paul McCartney recalls collaborating with John Lennon on the song “She Loves You” in the summer of 1963. “All our early songs,” Mr. McCartney said, “had always had this very personal thing,” pointing to “Please Please Me,” “From Me to You,” “P.S. I Love You,” and “Thank You Girl.” Then he said, “we hit on the idea of doing a kind of a reported conversation: ‘I saw her yesterday, she told me what to say, she said she loves you.’ It just gave us another little dimension really.”
Mr. McCartney was clearly attuned to how pronouns could provide different perspectives in songwriting (even if he goofed when he told the biographer Barry Miles that “She Loves You” was a “personal preposition song”). But Lennon was no slouch in the pronoun department. He could take a third-person song like “Nowhere Man” and use pronouns to forge a sense of identification: “Isn’t he a bit like you and me?”
Lennon’s play with pronouns reached absurd heights, of course, in the first line of “I Am the Walrus”: “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.” And let’s not forget about George Harrison. Even if the Beatles’ use of I-words declined over the years, Harrison penned the ultimate ode to first-person singular pronouns as badges of egocentrism in “I Me Mine,” the last song the Beatles recorded together.
Interesting read from Relevant Magazine. Full story HERE.
The United States has seemed oddly immune to the huge growth of religious skepticism over the last half-century. That perception changed two years ago when an American Religious Identification Survey noted the number of Americans who profess Christianity fell sharply from 85 percent in 1990 to 76 percent in 2009. Perhaps even more surprising was the surge in those who claimed no religion: The number nearly doubled from 8 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2009. In his April 2009 Newsweek article, “The End of Christian America,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jon Meacham suggested America had begun its encounter with an “old term with new urgency: post-Christian.”
“What has changed everything?” Christian apologist Josh McDowell asked his audience on July 15 at the Billy Graham Center in Asheville, N.C. His talk, titled “Unshakeable Truth, Relevant Faith,” had detailed a certain uncomfortable fact in anticipation of the question: that young Christians in America are rejecting Christian fundamentalism—and doctrinaire concepts such as absolute truth and biblical infallibility—in droves. Why is faith in God being supplanted, earlier and earlier, by relativism, secularism and skepticism? McDowell’s answer was simple: the Internet.
While Christianity enjoys a robust online presence, the edge still seems to belong to its unbelievers. ChristianForums.com, online since 1998, boasts a quarter-million members. But with an Alexa ranking of almost 12,000 in the U.S. and only 68,000 unique page views per month, it lags behind the most popular forums for the irreligious. The web’s largest atheist forum is a subcommunity of the social media site Reddit, launched in 2005. Its Alexa traffic ranking puts it in the top 50 sites in the United States with 2 million unique visitors per month, many of those to its “Atheist” subcommunity of 154,000. The Christian “subreddit,” a devoted group comprised largely of recovering evangelicals with a zeitgeist-oriented view of Scripture, enjoys less than a tenth of the atheists’ readership.
How will the Christian establishment respond? So far it’s employed much the same tactic it’s been using since the Jesus Movement: creating its own brand of popular culture instead of engaging pop culture at large. YouTube is too dangerous; try GodTube. Wikipedia is too liberal; use Conservapedia. Church remains the bubble in which rhetoric is exchanged; the bubble merely now extends to the web. The net result allows Christians to be “in the world but not of the world” and secularists to control the traffic flow on the largest thoroughfares of the information superhighway.
From soupsoup and Reuters. Read entire story HERE. Be warned, America. We get the elected officals we deserve.
Republican White House hopeful Michele Bachmann insisted on Monday she was joking when she said a hurricane and quake were God’s warning to Washington, in an effort to control the damage from her latest controversial comments.
The Tea Party favorite raised eyebrows with a weekend remark to supporters in Florida that Hurricane Irene, which killed at least 24 people and left millions without power, and an East Coast earthquake were God’s way of telling politicians to cut spending and fix the budget deficit.
"I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’" Bachmann said at a campaign event in Sarasota on Sunday.
"Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending," she said.
Bachmann, among the top three candidates seen to have a chance to win the Republican nomination and take on President Barack Obama next year, made similar comments elsewhere in Florida on Saturday, drawing some laughs from her audience.
When the remarks began drawing wide attention, she went into some damage control.
"Of course I was being humorous when I said that. It would be absurd to think it was anything else," Bachmann said on Monday on a campaign stop in Miami.
"I am a person who loves humor, I have a great sense of humor," she said.
“Never before in the United States have producers of a lawful product been required to use their own packaging and advertising to convey an emotionally-charged government message urging adult consumers to shun their products.”—
Excerpt from a lawsuit filed by four tobacco companies over graphic labels the FDA is requiring on their cigarette packs. As a cancer survivor (who never smoked but had head and neck cancer, the type most smokers do get), all I can say is these guys just don’t get it. Why be in a business that kills people?
“It was not every oil that might be used in the Lord’s service; neither the petroleum which exudes so plentifully from the earth, nor the produce of fishes, nor that extracted from nuts would be accepted; one oil only was selected, and that the best olive oil. Pretended grace from natural goodness, fancied grace from priestly hands, or imaginary grace from outward ceremonies will never serve the true saint of God; he knows that the Lord would not be pleased with rivers of such oil. He goes to the olive-press of Gethsemane, and draws his supplies from him who was crushed therein. The oil of gospel grace is pure and free from lees and dregs, and hence the light which is fed thereon is clear and bright. Our churches are the Saviour’s golden candelabra, and if they are to be lights in this dark world, they must have much holy oil. Let us pray for ourselves, our ministers, and our churches, that they may never lack oil for the light. Truth, holiness, joy, knowledge, love, these are all beams of the sacred light, but we cannot give them forth unless in private we receive oil from God the Holy Ghost.”—Morning and Evening, Spurgeon commenting on Exodus 23:6, “Oil for the light.”
“I worry that we miss something in hailing him as either a master salesman or a master designer, though he is clearly both. His real gift, from an early age, has been the ability to see that these two worlds could, and should, productively collide. It isn’t just that he made computers cool or put them in pretty boxes. It’s that he put those computers in new conceptual boxes. A machine originally designed for processing equations and building bombs turned out to have a wonderful hidden potential: for song, laughter, poetry, community, family.”—
Steven Johnson, writing on Steve Jobs in the Wall Street Journal. Full story HERE.
The Moneymooners: Registering for Cash, Not Dishes
WHILE wedding guests can scour registries and rattle their imaginations to come up with an ideal gift, what many a bride and bridegroom want most, particularly in these times, is perfectly simple — money.
Yet many couples feel squeamish or even crass about asking. Registering for dinnerware or bed linens somehow seems more refined, even if the couple already have enough pillowcases and salad forks.
Now, though, many alternative registries allow for giving or contributing toward experiences that a couple can share. They also offer ways for faint-hearted couples to sign up for cash.
Most of the alternative sites give guests the opportunity to make a financial pledge toward things a couple might want. In the end, however, in many cases, the couple may spend the value of the gift any way they wish, even for rent rather than, say, a sky-diving trip. Many sites impose a user fee of 7 percent to 10 percent to either the giver or the recipient.
Melanca Clark, 36, and Moddie Turay, 34, of Washington, who plan to marry in Manhattan early next month, have a household complete with most of the things they need to be comfortable, so they resisted establishing an ordinary registry. They prefer money — for themselves and for others. Being socially conscious, Ms. Clark and Mr. Turay say on their registry, which is a hybrid called myregistry.com, that 10 percent of the money they receive for their “honey fund” will be donated to a charity.
With alternative registry sites springing up in recent years, couples can often select something that best suits them, cash or not. Foodieregistry.com of Chicago, for example, offers meals in dozens of restaurants in Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Denver. Though it’s nearly as good as cash to the couple, the site is associated with the restaurants (not the couple); the giver prepays for the meal at a chosen restaurant.
At honeymoonwishes.com, couples can register for travel-related gifts. The check they receive, though, can be used for anything, not just travel. “Eighty-five percent of the couples that register with us use the money for the experiences they ask for,” said Kristin Stark, the company’s chief executive, citing company surveys. “Fifteen percent do not.”
Luther sought every means he knew within the confines of the monastery to satisfy the demands of God’s law, yet he had no peace. Luther was an expert in the law of God, and every day he was in terror as he looked in the mirror of the law and examined his life against God’s righteousness. We are not in terror, because we have blocked out the view of God’s righteousness. We judge ourselves on a curve, measuring ourselves against others. We never judge ourselves according to the standard of God’s perfection. If we did, we would be tormented like Martin Luther was in the monastery.
Anybody can believe in God. What it means to be a Christian is to trust him when he speaks, which does not require a leap of faith or a crucifixion of the intellect. It requires a crucifixion of pride, because no one is more trustworthy than God.
”—Romans: St. Andrews Expositional Commentary (St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary) by R.C. Sproul
Wake up America: It is wise to worry about tomorrow today (when it comes to your financial future)
Wake up, America. Most of you reading this will be young, but here is a clear glimpse of the future. The message: If you don’t start planning for your financial future, there will be a rude awakening coming. The following article is the results of a study of folks from my generation who are horribly and tragically unprepared for the future.
Their mistake? Acting like grasshoppers, not ants.(Read the Aesop Fable HERE if you don’t know the story). Living large now without any consideration of the future. Or worse, assuming our government will somehow provide for you. It is simply foolhardy to assume the government is the solution; the solution is you and you only.
Delayed gratification is not just a good idea, it’s a life skill. As Aesop says, it is wise to worry about tomorrow today. Read this and ask yourself just how smart you are when it comes to thinking about your financial future. If you have no answers, give me a call. There are plenty of resources to help.
New research released by the non-profit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (“The Center”) underscores how American workers are largely unprepared for retirement and further, how relatively few have a backup plan in the event they are forced into retirement earlier than planned. (Read a summary of the report HERE. and the entire report HERE.)
The results of the 12th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey—conducted among 4,080 American workers—found that for many Americans, the foundation of their retirement strategy is simply to not retire or to work considerably longer than the traditional retirement age of 65.
According to The Center’s research, 40 percent of respondents now expect to work longer and retire at an older age since the recession began. Altogether, 39 percent of American workers plan to retire after age 70 or not at all, and over half (54 percent) of workers plan to work in retirement. Of those who plan on working after retirement or age 65, the most commonly cited reasons are out of necessity (44 percent).
“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.”—
We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit. “No man can come to me,” said our Lord, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him,” and it is by this very prevenient drawing that God takes from us every vestige of credit for the act of coming. The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him; and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand: “Thy right hand upholdeth me.”
The whole transaction of religious conversion has been made mechanical and spiritless. Faith may now be exercised without a jar to the moral life and without embarrassment to the Adamic ego. Christ may be “received” without creating any special love for Him in the soul of the receiver. The man is “saved,” but he is not hungry nor thirsty after God. In fact he is specifically taught to be satisfied and encouraged to be content with little.
God is a Person, and in the deep of His mighty nature He thinks, wills, enjoys, feels, loves, desires and suffers as any other person may. In making Himself known to us He stays by the familiar pattern of personality. He communicates with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills and our emotions. The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion.
UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, announced 3,500 “staff reductions” on August 23rd in efforts to save costs. Last week, Bank of America reported it would cut 3,500 jobs (adding to the 2,500 it had already made this year) and last month Cisco, the world’s largest maker of networking equipment, announced it was shedding 6,500 jobs. But of the world’s biggest corporate employers (our chart excludes state behemoths like China’s army) the US Postal Service shed the most jobs between 2009 and 2010, cutting its workforce by 6%. The contrast between the two charts below is striking: the biggest employers includes several Chinese state-backed companies that may be unfamiliar to readers outside China. The companies that have shed most jobs, on the other hand, are almost all Western outfits with famous names.
The 313 Apple patents that list Steven P. Jobs among the group of inventors offer a glimpse at his legendary say over the minute details of the company’s products — from the company’s iconic computer cases to the glass staircases that are featured in many Apple stores. Check out this interactive feature to get a look at all of them. Entire article is HERE.
There is today no lack of Bible teachers to set forth correctly the principles of the doctrines of Christ, but too many of these seem satisfied to teach the fundamentals of the faith year after year, strangely unaware that there is in their ministry no manifest Presence, nor anything unusual in their personal lives. They minister constantly to believers who feel within their breasts a longing which their teaching simply does not satisfy. I trust I speak in charity, but the lack in our pulpits is real.
Thanks to our splendid Bible societies and to other effective agencies for the dissemination of the Word, there are today many millions of people who hold “right opinions,” probably more than ever before in the history of the Church. Yet I wonder if there was ever a time when true spiritual worship was at a lower ebb. To great sections of the Church the art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has come that strange and foreign thing called the “program.” This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the type of public service which now passes for worship among us.
Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the Living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.
Though maybe the discovery isn’t that surprising. Over the years, the Libyan leader’s comments and actions related to the former secretary of state have raised a few eyebrows.
Consider how he talked about her in an interview with Al-Jazeera television in 2007, where he hinted that then-President George W. Bush's top diplomat wielded considerable influence in the Arab world.
“I support my darling black African woman,” he said. “I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders. … Leezza, Leezza, Leezza. … I love her very much. I admire her, and I’m proud of her, because she’s a black woman of African origin.”
A court ruling this week clears up some gray areas in cloud music.
The decision by the U.S. District Court in New York could pave the way for Google’s Music, Amazon.com’s Cloud Player, Dropbox and other providers of online storage services to add time-saving features.
Amazon and Google have been cautious in how they implemented their respective Web-based music lockers, a CNN study found. Amazon Cloud Drive and Music Beta by Google each upload users’ entire music catalog and store separate copies of each track, a very lengthy process even with today’s broadband Internet speeds, according to the study.
Technically, they could check a song for an exact match on their servers in order to save people the time of uploading everything. But they don’t, in an effort either to play it safe amidst murky law or to partially appease record labels that the two technology companies have tried negotiating with before.
Apple is readying a program called iTunes Match, which is part of the upcoming iCloud suite of Web tools, that can do just that. For $25 per year, iTunes Match will scan a person’s music library against the iTunes Store’s catalog, and if it finds a match, it will unlock access to that track. Before doing this, Apple secured agreements with the record labels.
Sprint to start selling iPhone 5 mid-October: report
Sprint Nextel will start selling the next version of the Apple iPhone in mid-October, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal that cited unnamed sources.
Sprint, the third U.S. operator to become a cellphone distributor for Apple Inc, would be the only iPhone provider offering unlimited use data services for a flat monthly fee if it sticks with its current wireless data offerings.
Verizon Wireless and AT&T will also start selling the device — dubbed the iPhone 5 — in mid-October, according to the story. Sprint, AT&T and Verizon declined comment and an Apple spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
A mid-October launch for the next iPhone agrees with Verizon’s expectation, announced in July, that it would have a new iPhone in the fall.
AT&T Inc and Verizon Wireless already sell the iPhone 4 but these companies have eliminated flat-fee data plans and instead charge more for customers who use more data services.
At the nub of all those worries, of course, is how much people share on Facebook, with whom and — perhaps most important — how well they understand the potential consequences.
The company has struggled to find a balance between giving users too little control over privacy and giving them too much, for fear they won’t share much at all. Seeking a happy medium, Facebook announced changes on Tuesday that it says will help users get a grip on what they share.
When the changes are introduced on Thursday, every time Facebook users add a picture, comment or any other content to their profile pages, they can specify who can see it: all of their so-called Facebook friends, a specific group of friends, or everyone who has access to the Internet. These will be indicated by icons that replace the current, more complicated padlock menu.
Similar controls will apply to information like users’ phone numbers and hometowns and whether they like, say, death metal bands, on their profile pages. Users will no longer have to seek out a separate privacy page to tweak who sees how much of that personal information. Nor will they have to bother to remember what those settings were.
Inasmuch as Jesus has gone before us, things remain not as they would have been had he never passed that way. He has conquered every foe that obstructed the way. Cheer up now thou faint-hearted warrior. Not only has Christ travelled the road, but he has slain thine enemies. Dost thou dread sin? He has nailed it to his cross.
Dost thou fear death? He has been the death of Death. Art thou afraid of hell? He has barred it against the advent of any of his children; they shall never see the gulf of perdition. Whatever foes may be before the Christian, they are all overcome. There are lions, but their teeth are broken; there are serpents, but their fangs are extracted; there are rivers, but they are bridged or fordable; there are flames, but we wear that matchless garment which renders us invulnerable to fire. The sword that has been forged against us is already blunted; the instruments of war which the enemy is preparing have already lost their point. God has taken away in the person of Christ all the power that anything can have to hurt us.
Well then, the army may safely march on, and you may go joyously along your journey, for all your enemies are conquered beforehand. What shall you do but march on to take the prey? They are beaten, they are vanquished; all you have to do is to divide the spoil. You shall, it is true, often engage in combat; but your fight shall be with a vanquished foe. His head is broken; he may attempt to injure you, but his strength shall not be sufficient for his malicious design. Your victory shall be easy, and your treasure shall be beyond all count.
”—Morning and Evening, Charles Spurgeon reflecting on Micah 2:13: "The breaker goes up before them; They break out, pass through the gate and go out by it. So their king goes on before them, And the LORD at their head."
“From the moment of painting the figure 1 until the day he died, when he had reached well past 5500000 (no commas marred his work), his daily task was painting numbers and whispering their names, eventually into a tape recorder.”—For 46 years Roman Opalka painted canvases covered in numbers, a project only curtailed by his death this month. Our obituary remembers him. (via theeconomist)
Did the idea for the iPad come from 2001 A Space Odyssey?
If something about Apple’s iPad had a back-to-the-future vibe to it, court documents by Samsung assert one explanation: the classic science-fiction film “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
The Korean electronics giant is in a patent war with Apple, which among other things has accused Samsung of infringing a patent on the basic design of the iPad. One of the ways defendants respond to such charges is by trying to get a judge to declare a patent invalid, often by citing earlier inventions to make a case the patent should never have been granted.
Samsung, along with a motion that is still under seal, filed a declaration in federal court in San Jose, Calif., by a lawyer for the company suggesting that the basic design of the iPad was already envisioned by such popular works as Stanley Kubrick’s seminal movie, which came out in 1968.
“In a clip from that film lasting about one minute, two astronauts are eating and at the same time using personal tablet computers,” the lawyer wrote, adding a Web link for watching the film on YouTube. As with the design claimed by Apple’s patent, “the tablet disclosed in the clip has an overall rectangular shape with a dominant display screen, narrow borders, a predominately flat front surface, a flat back surface (which is evident because the tablets are lying flat on the table’s surface), and a thin form factor.”
I wanted to approach life like Jesus had. The mind of Christ hadn’t been consumed by business gains or money or fame but instead was endlessly focused on one thing: people — those who were lost and found, young and old, rich and poor, sought-after and rejected. Never has anyone displayed such a prodigious obsession with people as did Jesus. And in his customarily straightforward style, Dr. B reminded me that Jesus’ expectation is that his followers share this magnificent obsession. “True followers of Christ who really get it right,” he said, “give themselves to people. Most importantly, they give themselves to pointing people to faith in Christ. That is the highest and best use of a human life — to have it serve as a signpost that points people toward God.” Dr. B summed up my entire belief system with a brilliant flash of insight: if you really believe in the redeeming and transforming power of God’s presence in a person’s life, then the single greatest gift you can give someone is an explanation of how to be rightly connected to him.
It’s as though Jesus is saying to his followers, “What I did as I walked across the cosmos all those years ago, I now want you to do. Every day, try to point every person you meet to me. Live as though you actually believe that your parent, your coworker, and your neighbor would be better off if they knew my Father — if they were on the receiving end of his counsel, his wisdom, and his guidance.
”—Just Walk Across the Room: Simple Steps Pointing People to Faith by Bill Hybels
Should I Stay or Should I Go: More High School Reunion Drama, with a twist from the Violent Femmes and Grosse Pointe Blank
As I continue to ponder attending my high school reunion in September, I caught the song Blister in the Sun on WXRT today. Made me think of Grosse Pointe Blank, the all-time champ of high school reunion films. I’m a big John Cusak fan (and a Minnie Driver fan), and while this movie has a few moments to avoid (for language mostly), it still is very funny and comes with a great sound track. Do watch if you’re ready for some great escapist fun. Dan Ackroyd almost steals the show and in the end makes a great comment about television. In the meantime, while I’m thinking high school reunion, enjoy a listen to the Violent Femmes, Milwaukee’s best emo band. I’ll let you know what I decide.
New Beginnings in Uganda: A Recap by Hayden Murrell
Recently, a dream six or more years in the making came true. A team of four from Kentucky—all products of the Southland High School Ministry and earlier HSM mission trips, headed to Uganda to work alongside a team from Northern Ireland at the New Beginnings village north of Kampala. (Uganda has well over 2.5 million orphans, and no government programs to help. NGOs are there, but it is hit and miss. Add in corruption and other African political and cultural problems, and it is tough to try and rescue children. But New Beginnings has done that. In three short years, and with God’s help and the leadership of an amazing young man, Roger Annett, a builder and mason from Kilkeel, County Down in Northern Ireland. Roger’s dream and vision have given a new beginning to nearly 70 children. Read more about New Beginnings HERE.)
The team was Brenda Sawyer, Hayden Murrell, Josh Pugel and Crawford Ifland. So proud of this team. These folks “get it,” and as Jon Weece spoke last week, they understand compassion as lived out in Jesus. The whole team was amazing, but we’d like to share with you a trip recap Hayden wrote which I think speaks volumes for what we’d like to see in all of our students. It is a win for God, for our HSM programs and mission trips that set down “roots” and a mission mindset in students. And it is a wonderful reminder that God’s work, His Kingdom work, is in good hands as we look at this generation of students.
Hayden, a senior majoring in nursing at Murray, has wanted to do mission work in Africa since she was in high school. Little did we know that years of work in Northern Ireland (and Hayden was a big part of that work) would help us discover the route we took to Africa. Hayden’s heart for God and her desire to follow God’s plan in her life is inspiring and encouraging to all of us. Please read her story and then offer a pray of thanksgiving for the seeds planted in so many by our high school ministry, for great parents trusting us to lead their students as they partner with us in ministry and for the mission work God is doing in and through this generation. Only God.
Greetings Family and Friends,
One week post-return from Uganda and I still don’t think I’ve processed it all. My heart is still overflowing with a curious combination of joy and disbelief. I want to take some time to share with you my amazing journey but far more important the awe-inspiring work that the LORD is accomplishing through faithful servants in Uganda. I pray you are encouraged as you too catch a glimpse of the kingdom work you have supported. I pray for both you and myself that these aren’t just treasured memories or sentimental stories but a tool of growth and a call to continued prayer and support for causes, children, and lives who are dear to God’s heart. I want to send a heartfelt thank you for being a faithful team member and for allowing me to begin to understand why the LORD has given me a passion for these people. Thanks for sending me to love on individuals that have been given a new chance at life, are meeting Jesus, and hold the potential not only for change in Uganda but to cause a holy movement in a dark place. I could write pages on my experience and talk for hours about all the LORD is teaching me but for brevity’s sake I will try and summarize without compromising the magnitude of those 20 days.
Walking through the slums and the government orphanage on the first day I saw brokenness. Not only were the physical frames of these people frail, but their spirits were sluggish and dead, their movement zombie-like. The sight of tiny bodies lined up on the sidewalks sleeping in feed sacks and echoes of young boys slurred speech high on jet fuel made me want to weep. I quickly realized that this picture was not just of a minority and though it was their way of life, these people, like the scrap-metal shacks they live in yearn for something more sturdy and constant. They live day to day without a real hope. I saw tragedy, hunger, and real need for the first time. Overwhelmed at the weight of these issues I spent the night in prayer to the only one with a lasting solution.
The next day the founder of New Beginnings Children’s village, Roger Annett, took me back to the government orphanage and we rescued 4 girls! Their quiet, timid, demeanor on the ride to New Beginnings told stories of abuse, neglect, and loss; and all I could do was hold them tight.
When we pulled into the village is when I first saw it. JOY! Joy and hope rang out loudly. 62 smiles and sweet voices lined the drive singing in unison their welcome song in the best English they could muster. The oldest of the new girls in the truck with me began to cry; she saw it too. As days went on at the village it was apparent that these kids had something different. Taken from the very slums I had walked through the stark contrast in their spirit was as obvious as the only white girl in the market. Through diligent workers these kids truly have a new beginning. The children have met Jesus and they are beginning to understand who they really are. Every night they sing and pray together about their new beginning. Not only of the physical one they’ve been experiencing but the one they have because of Jesus. What a beautiful picture of redemption and rescue it is!
Yes, the problems of this country are great; BUT JESUS! We serve a creator who has made a way and holds the perfect plan to draw all things back to himself. I’m just thankful he’s willing to use his fallen people to help accomplish this great work. There is much to be done and I am passionate about working to meet the needs of the hopeless and forgotten so that they too have a chance to hear. The task is daunting when you witness the large numbers of hurting and lost people who are truly hungry, but a song the village kids sing nightly keeps ringing in my head;
‘My God never fails- Hey, Master!
He never fails, he never fails,forever more.’
That’s the truth I choose to rest in. I’ve been describing it to some as the most beautiful chaos I’ve ever seen. Heartbreaking as it initially appears, I’ve never felt more at home than I did in the hours spent loving on those kids. There’s a certain feeling, knowing that you are exactly where God wants you that goes beyond all comparison. Maybe for you that place is not in the middle of the African bush, but I pray wherever it is, you come to experience the fullness that comes in working for the kingdom.
Click the “Read More” link to finish Hayden’s story.
Watch out germaphobes: Antibacterial Chemical Raises Safety Issues
The maker of Dial Complete hand soap says that it kills more germs than any other brand. But is it safe? That question has federal regulators, consumer advocates and soap manufacturers locked in a battle over the active ingredient in Dial Complete and many other antibacterial soaps, a chemical known as triclosan.
The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the safety of the chemical, which was created more than 40 years ago as a surgical scrub for hospitals. Triclosan is now in a range of consumer products, including soaps, kitchen cutting boards and even a best-selling toothpaste, Colgate Total. It is so prevalent that a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the chemical present in the urine of 75 percent of Americans over the age of 5.
There is a joke in this town that goes something like this: If you want to guarantee that a problem does not get solved, convene a committee to study it.
On the heels of a nasty showdown that led the nation to near default, a joint Congressional committee is preparing to try to devise a deficit-reduction plan that both parties can live with — a goal that has eluded Congressional leaders, a cadre of senators and the president.
The difficulty that this new committee will have scaling the steep walls of ideology and partisan mistrust is lost on few, including its own members. All six Republicans on the committee have signed the pledge not to raise taxes dictated by Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform.
“I approach this task like all tasks in Washington, with high hopes and tempered expectations,” said Representative Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican and co-chairman of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, whose six Senate members and six House members are divided evenly by party. “This committee has very serious work to do, but it should not be confused with Captain America or any other superhero.”
I think we all feared his might be true, but now there is evidence to back it up. Too much TV will kill you—-or at least shorten your life. Read the introduction from a new Time article.
Sitting in front of the television may be a relaxing way to pass an evening, but spending too much time in front of the tube may take years off your life.
That’s what Australian researchers found when they generated life-expectancy tables for people based on mortality information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics as well as participants’ survey responses about how much TV they had watched in the past week.
The TV-viewing data from more than 11,000 participants older than 25 years showed that Australian adults watched an estimated 9.8 billion hours of television in 2008. People who watched an average six hours of TV a day lived an average 4.8 years fewer than those who didn’t watch any television, the study found.
Even more humbling: every hour of TV that participants watched after age 25 was associated with a 22-minute reduction in their life expectancy.
Being Michele Bachmann: The terrifying truthfulness of the victor of the Ames straw poll
Interesting opinion piece from the Economist on Michele Bachmann. Stay smart, America. Full article HERE. Also, good reading HERE on the Republican race after a rather good candidate with real credentials, Tim Pawlenty, dropped out.
If Mrs Bachmann’s cleverness was ever in question, the doubt should have been dispelled by her performance since confirming in June that she was running for the Republican presidential nomination. Before that she had attracted rather little national attention beyond the rapt circles of the tea-party movement. Her signature legislation, a light-bulb freedom of choice act, designed to protect the God-given right of every American to waste as much electricity as he pleases, had attracted more mirth than votes. In January she irritated the Republican leadership by insisting on delivering her own rebuttal, as creator and leader of the tea-party caucus in the House of Representatives, to Barack Obama’s state-of-the-union speech. It was an amateurish affair, in which she appeared to stare throughout at the wrong camera.
But how the lady has turned. Since joining the race for president she has exhibited a flair for organisation and a political cunning above the ordinary. If her victory in Ames was no great surprise—an evangelical Christian with hard-boiled pro-life, anti-gay-marriage credentials was always likely to prosper in the God-fearing cornfields of Iowa—her disciplined comportment as a campaigner has been. When, before Ames, Chris Wallace of Fox News asked her outright whether she was a “flake”, she refused to be baited, maintained an icy insouciance and, later, received a grovelling apology. A Newsweek cover picturing her with crazed eyes as “The Queen of Rage” probably did more damage to Tina Brown, the would-be saviour of that troubled publication, than to the would-be saviour of America, who affected to pay it no attention. Under attack in the debate at Ames, she coolly disposed of one of her main challengers, Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota.
Still, there is a reason why that “flake” question was posed. Mrs Bachmann has a record of making factual mistakes, repeating untruths and adopting preposterous stances. Though some of the mistakes have been mere slips, they were slips of a sort that a candidate who claims a close familiarity with America’s founding ought never to have made. At one point she said that the “shot heard round the world” had been fired in Lexington, New Hampshire (it was Lexington, Massachusetts); at another that the Founding Fathers “worked tirelessly until slavery was no more” (wrong by almost a century). She claimed in 2008 that Mr Obama held “anti-American” views, and last year that his visit to India would cost taxpayers $200m a day, a fantastic number apparently plucked, unchecked, from Indian newspapers. She continues to maintain, preposterously, that Standard & Poor’s downgraded America’s credit because Congress raised the debt ceiling. The opposite is true: the agency wanted more deficit reduction but expressed alarm at the spectacle of politicians like Mrs Bachmann turning the debt ceiling into a political bargaining chip.
The day after Google (GOOG) announced a $12.5 billion cash deal to buy Motorola Mobility, Silicon Valley and Wall Street on Tuesday questioned the value of the move — as the initial glow surrounding the bold combination dimmed amid concerns about the challenges ahead.
The strongest skepticism came from Standard & Poor’s, which on Tuesday downgraded Google stock in part over concerns that the biggest deal in Google’s history would take longer than expected to close, and that Motorola’s more than 17,000 patents would not adequately protect Google’s Android mobile software from a barrage of intellectual property challenges from such rivals as Apple (AAPL), Microsoft and Oracle (ORCL).
"I’m not disputing (the Motorola patents) will help protect Android, but the way people seem to be looking at the company and its actions yesterday is that Android is now all clear when it comes to IP issues, and that clearly, in our opinion, is not the case," said Scott Kessler, information technology analyst for Standard & Poor’s Equity Research, which downgraded Google to “sell” from “buy.”
The move by Google to buy the maker of smartphones and tablets is expected to change the landscape of the mobile computing industry and put Google in direct competition with Apple. Even though CEO Larry Page said Motorola would be operated as a “separate business under Google,” some industry watchers wondered how an 83-year-old Midwestern hardware company that made its name on car radios and walkie-talkies could mesh with an Internet-era software company known for launching products and improving them on the fly.
Read the rest of the story from the Mercury News HERE.
I am sure that the apostle introduces the wrath of God at this point because no one can fully appreciate the good news as good except against the backdrop of our guilt before God. The good news is an announcement to people who universally are under the indictment of God and exposed to his wrath. People today are not particularly concerned about the gospel because they do not know anything about the law of God, and they are not at all familiar with the revelation of his wrath. If people were sensitive to the manifestation of God’s anger toward them, they would be so moved by enlightened self-interest that they would flee as fast as they could to hear the gospel, but their necks have become so hardened, their hearts so calcified, that they have no fear of God. People do not believe in God’s wrath; they think he is incapable of it. They listen to preachers everywhere tell them that God loves them unconditionally, and when they hear that, they see no reason to fear his wrath.
People say God is a God of love, not a God of wrath, but that is not the God of Scripture. The God of love revealed in Scripture is also angry with sin. He is the God of justice, righteousness, and holiness. We cannot embrace the attributes God that make us comfortable and reject the rest. When we do that, we join the throng of humanity that suppresses the truth of God and refuses to honor him as God or be thankful.
We must disavow ourselves of the idea that there are innocent people anywhere. People also ask, “Will God send people to hell for rejecting Jesus, of whom they have never heard?” God is not going to punish someone for rejecting somebody he has never heard of, but their destination is hell for the rejection of the One they have heard of. Every human being knows of God and clearly perceives God but rejects that knowledge. For that, every person is exposed to the wrath of God. The only possible way someone can be rescued from that wrath is through the Savior. Paul is setting the foundation for the urgency of the gospel.
”—Romans: St. Andrews Expositional Commentary (St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary) by R.C. Sproul(Commenting on Chapter 1 of Romans)
Not sure I agree with all the list (full story is HERE), but to me the top song has got to be “Gilligan’s Island.” You can sing the words to Amazing Grace to this tune, or sing the lyrics of Gilligan’s Island to the music of Amazing Grace. Weird, but try it.
Katy Perry Makes History: Five Numer Ones from One Album
Katy Perry has equalled a US chart record after having a fifth number one single off the same album. The singer’s latest track Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) has made it to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 after being kept at number two by LMFAO.
The other four chart toppers off Katy Perry’s third album Teenage Dream were California Gurls, the title track, Firework and E.T.
Michael Jackson set the original record in 1987 with his album Bad.
Katy Perry is the first female artist to have five number ones off the same album in the 53-year history of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
She broke the Billboard Pop Songs Chart record, which is based on radio airplay, earlier this month.
Michael Jackson scored his five number ones over a shorter period than Katy Perry but the 26-year-old has spent longer at the top of the chart.
So far, her singles have spent 18 weeks at number one.
Katy Perry has also broken the record for the most consecutive weeks (66) in the Billboard chart’s top 10, which was previously held by Swedish act Ace of Base (48).
According to Nielsen SoundScan, Teenage Dream has sold 1.7 million copies so far.
The singer is in the middle of her California Dreams world tour.
Rachel Weisz (yes, of Mummy fame but also a powerful actress who has won an Academy Award for a must see movie, The Constant Gardner) is in a movie worth your time. The Whistleblower (based on a true story) is a portrayal of forced prostitution in Bosnia. We all need to be sensitive to the problem of sex-trafficking and human injustice (our friends at Unearthed are doing amazing things to bring awareness to this problem), and this film will get you thinking. Read a short review HERE and go find this film.
“Over the years I have ministered quite a lot in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and other parts of the former Soviet Union. The church in those countries, repressed by Communism for so many decades, is nonetheless vibrant and dynamic today. One of the significant things that struck me when I first began to minister there was the terminology that virtually all Russian-speaking believers us to describe conversion. They do not speak of accepting Christ as one’s personal Savior. They would never say merely that someone ‘made a decision for Christ’ or that the person ‘invited Jesus into his or her life’. The language they use is simple and entirely biblical: the new believer is someone who has repented. If a person shows no evidence of repentance, he or she would not be embraced as a Christian, no matter what sort of verbal profession of faith was made … by contrast, we live in a culture of such shallow religion that most of what goes by the name ‘Christian’ in Western society has little or no emphasis on repentance of any kind. The call to repentance has been deliberately omitted from the most popular gospel presentations of our generation.”—John MacArthur, quoted in Iain Murray, John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock (Banner of Truth, 2011), 152.