New web address for this blog!

There are no more updates to this site - please continue to follow us at our new address:

Monday, April 30, 2007

Christian Events in Connecticut This Week

The following events are coming up this week... for more details please visit the Connecticut Christian Events Calendar!

Wednesday, May 2:
Intercessory Prayer (Colchester)

Thursday, May 3:
The National Day of Prayer - visit the Events page here for a full listing!

Saturday, May 5:
Meme Stephens in concert (Windsor)

Sunday, May 6:
Arise Spring 2007 Regional Gathering (Waterbury)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Connecticut needs to repent

One famous Connecticut preacher, Jonathan Edwards, is definitely spinning in his grave tonight.

A Courant poll finds that Connecticut residents are of two minds on same-sex marriage, and also that we are fairly evenly split about whether marriage is something religious or secular. Polls ae funny things, but it certainly seems that same-sex marriage is becoming more acceptable. The incessant drumbeat of the political Left and their use of guilt-inducing rhetoric is paying off. The Courant article even admits that Connecticut is more liberal than most other places on this issue, which I find interesting.

Brian Brown, the executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, dismissed the poll results, saying the questions were skewed to draw a favorable response. Brown and other opponents of gay marriage want the issue to be put directly to the state's voters in the form of a referendum.

"Every state that's been able to vote directly on this has been with us," Brown said. Gay marriage isn't a civil rights issue, he said. "This isn't about rights and benefits. It's about redefining marriage...."

Legal and political experts who track national public opinion on same-sex marriage say they are not surprised by the intensity of the support in Connecticut.

The poll found 31 percent of the state's residents strongly support same-sex marriage. In national polls, the percentage of respondents who express strong support generally hovers between 10 percent and 15 percent.

"There is no question that Connecticut is at the liberal end of the spectrum when it comes to attitudes toward homosexuality, same-sex marriage and civil unions," said Nathaniel Persily, a professor of law and political science at the University of Pennsylvania. "Same-sex marriage will come first to the blue states and later to the red states."

Brian Brown is right. This is about redefining marriage and nothing else.

What gives them the right to overturn 4,000 years of human experience? Nothing at all. What society has ever sanctioned homosexual marriage and taught its goodness to elementary school children? None.

But as Dostoevsky said, if there is no God, everything is permitted.

Whether anyone likes it or not, the United States is at present the leading nation in the Western world. Therefore the legitimization of same-sex marriage in the United States will clearly mark the end of the Judeo-Christian worldview as the guiding principle in the Western World. It also marks the rebirth of paganism as the organizing force in Western society - not the paganism of dilettantes dancing in the moonlight, but the intolerant paganism of ancient history, cruel to the unborn, the weak, the poor and the elderly alike. And as in ancient times, it will act on its aggressive intolerance of traditionally minded Christians and Jews, this time using the modern weapons of lawsuits and hate crimes legislation.

The National Day of Prayer is this Thursday, May 3. Please pray that God will grant us repentance.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Is anyone praying about the war?

By today's frenetic standards and with reduced attention spans, it's been quite a long time since 9/11. Many were the calls in those days to pray for our nation and for protection in particular, but those calls have grown fainter and fewer. In contrast to prior generations, Americans of today seem reluctant to pray against their enemies' war plans.

Oddly, others here and in Europe even seem to be bending over backwards to accommodate the very principles of those who would destroy were they able - even stopping the teaching of the Holocaust in schools as it may offend the sensibilities of radical Muslims. We cannot imagine FDR indulging the demands of American Nazis in 1942.

A sense of unreality has taken hold in which we can no longer even admit the existence of our enemies. Obvious facts and clear connections are being glossed over or never even being reported if they do not match the political orthodoxy.

A case in point is this story from the Times of London:

The al-Qaeda leader who is thought to have devised the plan for the July 7 suicide bombings in London and an array of terrorist plots against Britain has been captured by the Americans.

Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, a former major in Saddam Hussein’s army, was apprehended as he tried to enter Iraq from Iran and was transferred this week to the “high-value detainee programme” at Guantanamo Bay.

Were you able to connect the dots? Glenn Reynolds points out,

Hey, wait -- an "al-Qaeda leader" who's also a "former major in Saddam Hussein's army"? But I thought there was no connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda. Or between Al Qaeda and Iran . . . .

You get the picture. Or at least I hope you do, because the public doesn't seem to be reading too closely any more. We need to begin seriously praying again about the war and praying for our leaders, whether we like them or not.

Is Taxation Killing Connecticut?

Maybe not, but it's certainly killing you, right? Don Pesci at Connecticut Commentary compares our State very unfavorably to some European countries whose economies are booming since adopting a flat tax:

Both the flat tax and its ugly twin sister, the progressive tax, have measurable consequences. Since the flat tax permits people to keep more of their own income, that income is returned into the general economic pool in the form of investments. Every time a consumer purchases a product, he is investing in the product; that is to say, he is sending a message to the producer to hire more people to increase production.

These kinds of investments increase business activity, create jobs and – though it seems counterintuitive – result in increased tax revenues by nurturing more tax producers. Capital formation is the pool of money available to industry to expand, create jobs and produce more goods. Connecticut is near bottom in capital formation.

I'm old enough to remember that our State income tax was going to be temporary, but that seems to be have been forgotten by most everyone else. What would be wrong with reducing taxes, seeing as we have nice surpluses, and then asking government to live within its means?

National Day of Prayer Events in Connecticut

This coming Thursday, May 3, is the National Day of Prayer. Please join Christians around the State in asking the Lord's favor and blessing on our nation and our public officials.

Find Connecticut National Day of Prayer events here.

President Bush's Proclamation of the day is as follows:

A prayerful spirit has always been an important part of our national character, and it is a force that has guided the American people, given us strength, and sustained us in moments of joy and in times of challenge. On this National Day of Prayer, we acknowledge God's grace and ask for His continued guidance in the life of our Nation.

Americans of many faiths and traditions share a common belief that God hears the prayers of His children and shows grace to those who seek Him. Following the tragedy at Virginia Tech, in towns all across America, in houses of worship from every faith, Americans have joined together to pray for the lives that were lost and for their families, friends, and loved ones. We hold the victims in our hearts and pray for those who suffer and grieve. There is a power in these prayers, and we can find comfort in the grace and guidance of a loving God.

At this important time in our history, we also pray for the brave members of our Armed Forces and their families. We pray for their safety, for the recovery of the wounded, and for the peace we all seek.

The Congress, by Public Law 100 307, as amended, has called on our Nation to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society and to respect the freedom of religion by recognizing each year a "National Day of Prayer."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 3, 2007, as a National Day of Prayer. I ask the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, each according to his or her own faith, for the freedoms and blessings we have received and for God's continued guidance, comfort, and protection. I invite all Americans to join in observing this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hispanics Changing American Christianity

Here's an interesting profile piece on religious trends among Hispanics in the U.S., based on a recent survey of 4,600 people. A casual observer would probably have to say that these trends are at work in Connecticut as well:

'Evangelicalism as we know it in this country is fast disappearing in many places,'' said Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which conducted 4,600 interviews for the survey with the Pew Hispanic Center. ``Not surprisingly, we're beginning to see some of that in the immigrants who are coming to this country. They're helping to transform American Christianity.''

In South Florida, Pentecostal and evangelical worship is growing among Hispanics as storefront churches multiply and megachurches draw thousands of Hispanic worshipers with lively worship and extensive social programs.

Calvary Chapel, a 20,000-member church in Fort Lauderdale, has about 4,000 Hispanic congregants, said Guillermo Novoa, Calvary's Spanish ministry assistant. The church's Hispanic outreach includes English classes, live Spanish translation of services and Bible study, discipleship and marriage counseling in Spanish.

Attendance in the Spanish-language services has grown to 300 people, up from 40 people when the church launched its Hispanic outreach seven years ago.

''The majority of them are Latin American immigrants who are Roman Catholic when they come here,'' Novoa said. ``They see it's a huge difference to be a Christian in this country.''

At El Rey Jesus, a 7,000-member church in West Kendall, worship services are punctuated with Pentecostal practices such as casting out demons and hands-on healing.

Some Spanish-speaking Pentecostal megachurches -- such as Alpha and Omega Church in south Miami-Dade County -- are offering live English translations of their services for second-generation Hispanics who prefer English.

Connecticut has a new Chief Justice

Congratulations to the Hon. Chase Rogers, who has been confirmed as Connecticut's new Chief Justice. (It's always nice when there's something the Senate and House can agree upon unanimously!) Bio here.

At the young age of 50, Chief Justice Rogers is positioned to lead the State Judiciary for the next two decades. Please keep her and all Connecticut's judges in your prayers.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What's the best outreach and evangelism resource for churches?

We're not sure... it depends on the DNA of your church and your location, among other things.

However, Outreach Magazine has named Bill Hybels' book Just Walk Across the Room: Simple Steps Pointing People to Faith as the "Best Outreach Resource of 2006."

With more than 100,000 copies sold since its August 2006 debut, Just Walk Across the Room: Simple Steps Pointing People to Faith by popular Christian author and megachurch pastor Bill Hybels continues to affect its readers and transform the way churches approach evangelism.

The book, and its related resources, center on the power of Christians to fulfill the Great Commission through intentional friendships, faithful prayer and the ability to share the Gospel by telling their own spiritual stories. Hybels writes: “When you communicate your personal faith story with sincerity, you will see supernatural sparks fly as God uses it for His glory and your listener’s good....”

Building off the book’s foundation, Hybels and co-author Ashley Wiersma created a four-week churchwide evangelism campaign by the same name, which more than 1,000 churches have already completed. The “Just Walk Across the Room Experience” has allowed church members to learn and respond to Hybels’ teaching through a small group DVD curriculum or through 90-minute satellite broadcast events held in October 2006 and January 2007—with more simulcast events planned for this fall.

Hat tip: Christian Post.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Is Jesus still Lord?

They succeeded in getting many people to stop calling God Father... now there's more - apparently we shouldn't call Him, or Jesus "Lord."

An Arizona Episcopal Church thinks it's inappropriate and unseemly:

"Lord" has become a loaded word conveying hierarchical power over things, "which in what we have recorded in our sacred texts, is not who Jesus understood himself to be," St. Philip's associate rector Susan Anderson-Smith said.

"The way our service reads, the theology is that God is love, period," St. Philip's deacon Thomas Lindell added. "Our service has done everything it can to get rid of power imagery. We do not pray as though we expect the big guy in the sky to come and fix everything."

St. Philip's isn't the only local church to re-examine its language. Other local religious leaders already are eschewing the use of "Lord" for similar reasons.

First Congregational United Church of Christ in Midtown even has a different name for The Lord's Prayer. They call it "The Prayer of Our Creator."
"We do still use the word 'Lord' on occasion, but we are suspicious of it," First Congregational pastor Briget Nicholson said. "Inclusive language is important. Our United Church of Christ hymnal does have hymns that will say 'Father' and 'God.' but the next verse will always then say 'Mother' and 'God.' It's gender-balanced."

Hierarchical power? If Jesus said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth," isn't that enough hierarchical power for you? As far as I can understand the New Testament,

...God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

The Episcopal priest has her own interpretation of the New Testament, too:
"Jesus was for an egalitarian community. He did not have room for titles or status. And it is recorded that many of the disciples called him Lord. But they had a different idea about worshipping him," she said. "Jesus was a rabbi and teacher. It was a relationship of mentoring, looking up to him for that kind of companionship."

Umm, yeah. When will these people have the intellectual honesty to drop the pretense and acknowledge that they are not Christians? Imagine my relief to discover that the Christian faith still exists in pockets of Arizona:
"We call him 'Lord' because he is Lord," said the Rev. Joe Bettridge, senior pastor at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church on Tucson's Northwest Side. The church is part of the mainline Presbyterian Church U.S.A. "If you read the Bible, he — God — created everything from nothing. That's pretty powerful to me."

Amen and amen, Pastor Joe.

More here from the Arizona Daily Star. Hat tip to Titus 1:9.

Korean students pursue God and education at Yale Divinity School

An interesting profile of Korean divinity school students at YDS. Looks like Chris Tomlin really is popular everywhere.

The congregation continues to sway to and fro through four more songs accompanied by a five-person band. Here, at 9:30 a.m. on a Sunday, in a pew at the back of the New Haven Korean Church in Hamden, Conn., worships a cluster of Korean-American students enrolled at the Yale Divinity School (YDS). Yeon Soo Lee, DIV ’09, a boyish, bespectacled YDS student in his late twenties, has freshly arrived from Seoul. Lee is going to teach Sunday school after services today, and I am going to observe. He didn’t tell me it would be conducted entirely in Korean—a language that nearly everyone in this church understands, but that I do not.

The several Korean Christian churches sprinkled throughout New Haven serve primarily Presbyterian and Methodist worshippers. Ethnic churches may seem like a curious oddity, but in fact are part of a growing trend among Korean immigrants. Although Christianity arrived in Korea barely 100 years ago, the religion boasts unusually devoted followers. Like Lee, they leave behind families, friends, and promising careers in Korea to pursue theological studies 8,000 miles away in a quiet nook of Connecticut, on a grassy hill tucked behind several University science buildings in New Haven.

Read more here.

Christian Events in Connecticut this week

The following events are coming up this week... for more details please visit the Connecticut Christian Events Calendar!

Wednesday, April 25:

School of the Spirit with Pastor Jan Nel (Darien - St. Paul's Church)

Thursday, April 26:

Hopeline Annual Fundraising Banquet, with guest speaker Ryan Dobson and the Warrior Poetes (Trumbull)

Thursday, April 26 - Saturday, April 28:

Ignite 2007 (West Haven)

Saturday, April 28:

Small Group Leadership Seminar (Thomaston)

Key of David Christian Coffeehouse (Ansonia)

Coming up on Thursday, May 3:

The National Day of Prayer - visit the Events page here for a full listing!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

When they kicked God out of the schools

This is a hard word...

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Governor Rell declares Sunday "Stupa Day" in Connecticut. What's a stupa?

A Buddhist spiritual monument known as a stupa is being erected in Old Saybrook and is being dedicated tomorrow with what our spiritual forebears would have called idolatrous rites.

The New London Day reports:

The squat, white monument in the midst of a New England farm field certainly catches the eye of drivers along Ingham Hill Road.

The structure, which stands about 15 feet high, is made of brick overlaid with stucco and painted a bright white. Around each side of the square monument are 13 steps that lead to a domed top. The steps, explains Rana Samphel, a Tibetan immigrant who has helped build the stupa, represent steps of enlightenment for those who seek reflection here.

While some stupas are big enough for people to enter, this one is not. When completed, it will be entirely enclosed, and a statute of Buddha will be placed behind glass in its domed top.

This week Samphel and Tsultrim Gyatso, a Buddhist monk from Middletown who has overseen the stupa project, placed the “life tree” in the center of the monument. The tree is a piece of cedar, taken from a live tree, that Gyatso has spent hours intricately carving with prayers. The cedar pole will protrude from the top of the stupa and then prayer flags and Buddhist spiritual symbols will be placed on it, Brown said.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell has issued a proclamation to the town proclaiming Sunday as Stupa Day in Connecticut, and about 1,000 people are expected to attend the consecration ceremony, planned for noon.

[Farmer and property owner David] Brown said the ceremony would be attended by several Buddhist monks, as well as clerics representing a variety of religions, including a Catholic priest, protestant ministers, a Muslim imam and a rabbi.

The town's first selectman, Michael Pace, also is expected to take part, along with state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

The New Haven Register adds more:
Brown says he first had a notion to build a stupa more than a decade ago. He’d lived in Asia for a number of years and seen them. But it wasn’t until two years ago that a friend urged him to finally act on the idea. Brown decided to visit a Buddhist lama in upstate New York for advice.

"He told me to talk to town officials," Brown says, stoking the wood stove in his studio. "He said to get permits for everything."

Brown followed those words of wisdom and got a zoning variance and a building permit, which he keeps handy for anyone to see. "The town planner even showed up at the mantra rolling," he adds. More on that mantra rolling later.

Nearly 50 people, including many people who aren’t Buddhist, helped dig the hole for the stupa’s cement foundation last summer. Brown and his friends also set up a bank account to collect donations to pay for construction.

"We’ve gotten a lot of contributions of manpower and money," notes Kelsang, who also is negotiating to obtain a Buddhist religious relic from India for the stupa. "It’s good for the town and good for the Tibetan community in Connecticut."

However, as Brown points out, "You don’t just go and build a stupa. There’s a ritual for every step of it."

What spiritual influence will be released into our State by this object?

I do not know to what extent the Catholic priests and Protestant ministers may be participating in the ceremonies.

What would our ancestors think if they could know that these days our officials are attending Buddhist ceremonies, while challenging the propriety of persons naming the name of Christ to even have a voice in the formulation of public policy?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Catholic Church abandons the concept of limbo

An interesting religion story today as the Roman Catholic Church abandons the idea of limbo. The Catholic News Service reports that "[a]fter several years of study, the Vatican's International Theological Commission said there are good reasons to hope that babies who die without being baptized go to heaven."

In a document published April 20, the commission said the traditional concept of limbo -- as a place where unbaptized infants spend eternity but without communion with God -- seemed to reflect an "unduly restrictive view of salvation."

The church continues to teach that, because of original sin, baptism is the ordinary way of salvation for all people and urges parents to baptize infants, the document said.

But there is greater theological awareness today that God is merciful and "wants all human beings to be saved," it said. Grace has priority over sin, and the exclusion of innocent babies from heaven does not seem to reflect Christ's special love for "the little ones," it said.

"Our conclusion is that the many factors that we have considered ... give serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptized infants who die will be saved and enjoy the beatific vision," the document said.

"We emphasize that these are reasons for prayerful hope, rather than grounds for sure knowledge," it added.

The 41-page document, titled "The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized," was published in Origins, the documentary service of Catholic News Service. Pope Benedict XVI authorized its publication earlier this year.

The 30-member International Theological Commission acts as an advisory panel to the Vatican, in particular to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Its documents are not considered expressions of authoritative church teaching, but they sometimes set the stage for official Vatican pronouncements.

The commission's document said salvation for unbaptized babies who die was becoming an urgent pastoral question, in part because their number is greatly increasing. Many infants today are born to parents who are not practicing Catholics, and many others are the unborn victims of abortion, it said.

Limbo has never been defined as church dogma and is not mentioned in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states simply that unbaptized infants are entrusted to God's mercy.

But limbo has long been regarded as the common teaching of the church. In the modern age, "people find it increasingly difficult to accept that God is just and merciful if he excludes infants, who have no personal sins, from eternal happiness," the new document said.

Read more here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

More on Justice Kennedy and partial birth abortion

Law Professor G. Tracy Meehan, III has picked up on the idea we discussed here that it was socially useful for Justice Kennedy to spell out the horrors of abortion. Writing in the American Spectator, Professor Meehan says:

Reading Justice Anthony Kennedy's opinion in the partial birth abortion decision, just handed down, can be tough going even for a recovering lawyer like me. While he came out on the right side, i.e., banning the horrific practice, he justified his majority opinion through a close reading of and maneuvering through the labyrinth of the jurisprudence established in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.

Contrast Kennedy's majority opinion with the short, concise concurring opinion of Justice Clarence Thomas (Justice Scalia concurring). While joining the Supreme Court's opinion "because it accurately applies current jurisprudence," Thomas hastens "to reiterate my view that the Court's abortion jurisprudence [citations omitted] has no basis in the Constitution." Period. End of story. Unfortunately, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito were no-shows on this concurring opinion.

Notwithstanding that Justice Kennedy's opinion remained firmly grounded in the deformities of Roe and its progeny, the man deserves credit for an excruciating, factual, and grueling statement of the underlying facts of the case, specifically the horror which is abortion and partial birth abortion. He does not mince words....

It remains to be seen if he will conform his jurisprudence to real life. But for now, at least, Justice Kennedy deserves our praise for his landmark decision and his unflinching description of what is at stake.

Well said. Read the rest here.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

12 Keys for Excellence in the Prophetic Ministry, from the Life of Samuel

In order to provide some inspiration as well as information and prayer points, we plan to begin posting teaching articles and other devotional material from time to time. While we do look, out of necessity, at issues which are political, we also want to help strengthen the Church in our region. With that in mind, we hope you'll enjoy some teachings every now and then. When articles are final, they'll be posted on the Pray Connecticut website in the Articles section.

This teaching is from an ongoing class I've been helping to teach on the prophetic ministry in today's Church. We pray it will bless you.

12 Keys for Excellence in Prophetic Ministry from Samuel’s Life

And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. (1 Sam. 3:19)

(To prepare for this teaching, please read 1 Samuel 3.)

I am always impressed by Samuel, not just by his prophetic ministry but by the impact of his life on his nation. What he accomplished was astounding – he was an anchor of stability in his nation for many years, and kept the people tied to the Lord and the Lord’s ways.

I’m impressed by what he did to lay a foundation for prophetic ministry in Israel. When Samuel was a boy, it says that the word of the LORD was precious or rare – there was no open vision. And yet, without probably having the benefit of what we nowadays think of as prophetic training, Samuel came to a place where his words did not fall to the ground. Not only this, we believe that Samuel founded what became known as the schools of the prophets in Israel. How did he do this when he most likely had no mentors? I think the answer was found in his heart, as well as his giftings. We know it’s God who gives gifts, but there is the human side of the equation in which we cooperate with God’s grace. If we study his life we see that he wasn’t perfect, but this I think makes him more appealing. Let's see what we can find from the Word concerning Samuel’s life which can propel us into excellence in the prophetic.

This passage, 1 Samuel 3, gives us a great capsule summary of Samuel’s commission and also sets forth our goals as prophetic people:

Display excellence in both your character and your ministry: “And Samuel grew…”

Become a person of impact: “…and the LORD was with him…”

Speak words that have an impact: “…and did let none of his word fall to the ground.”

Notice that it is the Lord who lets none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground.

What are the keys in Samuel's life that made him a person of impact?

1. Take time to minister to the Lord, both personally and with others

And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. (1 Sam. 3:1)

Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (Acts 13:1-2)

Samuel ministered to the Lord individually. He did this as part of his ceremonial duties, but we are sure he had devotional times or worship and intercession before the Lord. The Word speaks of him passing the night in prayer to God. The Antioch example is a great example of how leaders must minister to the Lord together. If you are in leadership, even the leadership of a ministry if not the leadership of your whole church, I challenge you to take times where you simply wait on God together, even with fasting. When you do, the Spirit will come alongside with words of direction and even commissioning, as happened in Acts 13.

2. Be quick to respond to authorities and to obey .

…the LORD called, “Samuel;” and he answered, “Here am I.” And he ran unto Eli, and said, “Here am I; for you called me.” And he said, “I called not; lie down again.” And he went and lay down. (1 Sam. 3:4-5)

We know that Samuel probably did not learn this type of obedience from serving Eli the priest, because Eli did not discipline his own sons. Notice the instant obedience of Samuel’s heart. How many children or young people come literally running the first time they are called?

3. Put yourself in a position to listen to the Lord’s Voice.

Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, “Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD; for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, “Samuel, Samuel.” Then Samuel answered, “Speak; for your servant hears.” (1 Sam. 3:9-10)

Do we have our own times of solitude and reflection? Are we training our senses? I bet Samuel was fully ready, his ears fully open when the Lord came by again. So let it be with us!

4. Carry on with the normal responsibilities of life in this world.

And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. (1 Sam. 3:15a)

Some of us, if we’d had this type of revelation, would get on the phone and tell our friends. It doesn’t say he slept, he was probably too excited to sleep. But notice that he got up and performed his duties. Be careful that when we begin to have experiences in the Spirit that we leave off doing the normal things of life. We still have responsibilities in this life if we are to function and to maintain a good testimony.

5. Learn to deal well with rejection, and don’t become overly sensitive.

[The elders of Israel] said unto him, “Behold, you are old, and your sons walk not in your ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto you: for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” (1 Sam. 8:5-7)

It seems that Samuel took this personally. Many prophetic people have to deal with a lot of rejection in life and we need to bring that to the Lord and let it be crucified. The Lord pulled out of Samuel’s heart the real issue – it had become about Samuel a little bit!

6. Walk with integrity – even in the smallest of matters.

“Behold, here I am: witness against me before the LORD, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose donkey have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind my eyes with? and I will restore it to you.” And they said, “You have not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither have you taken anything of any man's hand.” (1 Sam. 12:3-4)

7. Love and pray for those to whom you minister.

…God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way. (1 Sam. 12:23)

8. Learn to speak difficult truths to others in love, as your position may require it.

And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” (1 Sam. 15:22)

Notice I say as your position requires it. If your position does not require you to speak a corrective word, you may enter into great presumption by delivering it. Samuel was the senior prophetic figure in the nation. However, this word still cost him something. By the next chapter, he tells God he can’t go anoint David because if he does, Saul will kill him!

9. Love the whole body and mourn over sin.

Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul. And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul… (1 Sam. 15:34-35a)

10. Don’t “turn your eyes and ears off” – your own wisdom and experience can fail you.

And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, “Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him.” But the LORD said unto Samuel, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:6-7)

11. Have a correctable spirit – and then take heed to the correction.

Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” (1 Sam. 16:8)

12. Prepare the next generation – individuals, prophetic people, and other leaders.

Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed [David] in the midst of his brethren: and the spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. (1 Sam. 16:13)

And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. (1 Sam. 19:20)

All these who were chosen to be gatekeepers in the gates were two hundred and twelve. These were recorded by their genealogy in their villages, whom David and Samuel the seer did ordain in their office of trust. (1 Chron. 9:22)

Let's pursue excellence in the prophetic!

FEMA officials coming to Connecticut

FEMA officials will be in the State today assessing the aftermath of the nor'easter. Governor Rell will also be asking that Connecticut be named a disaster area. Please continue to pray for all those affected by the storm.

Supreme Court decision shows that abortion supporters are paving over the truth

Abortion supporters must pave over the truth and invent euphemisms (a fancy way of saying "doubletalk") so that people will not be disgusted by the reality of abortion and so pull down the whole rotten edifice that is Roe v. Wade. Therefore, it was refreshing in an odd and tragic way, to read the U. S. Supreme Court 's language this week approving a ban on partial-birth abortion in the case of Gonzales v. Carhart.

Public officials don't often describe the horrors of abortion to the citizenry, and much less do we receive the hard facts from the Supreme Court itself. In a spiritual and prophetic sense, the mere act of stating these obvious and appalling truths has the power to change hearts and opinions, awakening the conscience. What follows is difficult to read but should be read by every American. I want to apologize in advance for the content and want to suggest to parents that they exercise their judgment in letting their children read what follows.

Writing for the majority of the Court, Associate Justice Kennedy describes abortion:

Abortion methods vary depending to some extent on the preferences of the physician and, of course, on the term of the pregnancy and the resulting stage of the unborn child’s development. Between 85 and 90 percent of the approximately 1.3 million abortions performed each year in the United States take place in the first three months of pregnancy, which is to say in the first trimester. The most common first-trimester abortion method is vacuum aspiration (otherwise known as suction curettage) in which the physician vacuums out the embryonic tissue. Early in this trimester an alternative is to use medication, such as mifepristone (commonly known as RU–486), to terminate the pregnancy. Nat. Abortion Federation, supra, at 464, n. 20. The Act does not regulate these procedures.

Of the remaining abortions that take place each year, most occur in the second trimester. The surgical procedure referred to as “dilation and evacuation” or “D&E” is the usual abortion method in this trimester. Although individual techniques for performing D&E differ, the general steps are the same.

A doctor must first dilate the cervix at least to the extent needed to insert surgical instruments into the uterus and to maneuver them to evacuate the fetus. The steps taken to cause dilation differ by physician and gestational age of the fetus. A doctor often begins the dilation process by inserting osmotic dilators, such as laminaria (sticks of seaweed), into the cervix. The dilators can be used in combination with drugs, such as misoprostol, that increase dilation. The resulting amount of dilation is not uniform, and a doctor does not know in advance how an individual patient will respond. In general the longer dilators remain in the cervix, the more it will dilate. Yet the length of time doctors employ osmotic dilators varies.Some may keep dilators in the cervix for two days, while others use dilators for a day or less.

After sufficient dilation the surgical operation can commence. The woman is placed under general anesthesia or conscious sedation. The doctor, often guided by ultrasound, inserts grasping forceps through the woman’s cervix and into the uterus to grab the fetus. The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through the cervix and vagina, continuing to pull even after meeting resistance from the cervix. The friction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman. The process of evacuating the fetus piece by piece continues until it has been completely removed. A doctor may make 10 to 15 passes with the forceps to evacuate the fetus in its entirety, though sometimes removal is completed with fewer passes. Once the fetus has been evacuated, the placenta and any remaining fetal material are suctioned or scraped out of the uterus.The doctor examines the different parts to ensure the entire fetal body has been removed.

Some doctors, especially later in the second trimester, may kill the fetus a day or two before performing the surgical evacuation. They inject digoxin or potassium chloride into the fetus, the umbilical cord, or the amniotic fluid. Fetal demise may cause contractions and make greater dilation possible. Once dead, moreover, the fetus’ body will soften, and its removal will be easier. Other doctors refrain from injecting chemical agents, believing it adds risk with little or no medical benefit.

The abortion procedure that was the impetus for the numerous bans on “partial-birth abortion,” including the Act, is a variation of this standard D&E. The medical community has not reached unanimity on the appropriate name for this D&E variation. It has been referred to as “intact D&E,” “dilation and extraction” (D&X), and “intact D&X.” For discussion purposes this D&E variation will be referred to as intact D&E. The main difference between the two procedures is that in intact D&E a doctor extracts the fetus intact or largely intact with only a few passes. There are no comprehensive statistics indicating what percentage of all D&Es are performed in this manner.

Intact D&E, like regular D&E, begins with dilation of the cervix. Sufficient dilation is essential for the procedure. To achieve intact extraction some doctors thus may attempt to dilate the cervix to a greater degree. This approach has been called “serial” dilation. Doctors who attempt at the outset to perform intact D&E may dilate for two full days or use up to 25 osmotic dilators.

In an intact D&E procedure the doctor extracts the fetus in a way conducive to pulling out its entire body, instead of ripping it apart. One doctor, for example, testified:

“If I know I have good dilation and I reach in and the fetus starts to come out and I think I can accomplish it, the abortion with an intact delivery, then I use my forceps a little bit differently. I don’t close them quite so much, and I just gently draw the tissue out attempting to have an intact delivery, if possible.”

Rotating the fetus as it is being pulled decreases the odds of dismemberment. A doctor also “may use forceps to grasp a fetal part, pull it down, and re-grasp the fetus at a higher level—sometimes using both his hand and a forceps—to exert traction to retrieve the fetus intact until the head is lodged in the [cervix].”

Intact D&E gained public notoriety when, in 1992, Dr. Martin Haskell gave a presentation describing his method of performing the operation. In the usual intact D&E the fetus’ head lodges in the cervix, and dilation is insufficient to allow it to pass. Haskell explained the next step as follows:

“‘At this point, the right-handed surgeon slides the fingers of the left [hand] along the back of the fetus and “hooks” the shoulders of the fetus with the index and ring fingers (palm down).

“‘While maintaining this tension, lifting the cervix and applying traction to the shoulders with the fingers of the left hand, the surgeon takes a pair of blunt curved Metzenbaum scissors in the right hand. He carefully advances the tip, curved down, along the spine and under his middle finger until he feels it contact the base of the skull under the tip of his middle finger. “‘[T]he surgeon then forces the scissors into the base of the skull or into the foramen magnum. Having safely entered the skull, he spreads the scissors to enlarge the opening.“‘The surgeon removes the scissors and introduces a suction catheter into this hole and evacuates the skull contents. With the catheter still in place, he applies traction to the fetus, removing it completely from the patient.’”

This is an abortion doctor’s clinical description. Here is another description from a nurse who witnessed the same method performed on a 26½-week fetus and who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee: “‘Dr. Haskell went in with forceps and grabbed the baby’s legs and pulled them down into the birth canal. Then he delivered the baby’s body and the arms—everything but the head. The doctor kept the head right inside the uterus. . . .“‘The baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall. “‘The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby went completely limp. . . . “‘He cut the umbilical cord and delivered the placenta. He threw the baby in a pan, along with the placenta and the instruments he had just used.’”

Dr. Haskell’s approach is not the only method of killing the fetus once its head lodges in the cervix, and “the process has evolved” since his presentation. Another doctor, for example, squeezes the skull after it has been pierced “so that enough brain tissue exudes to allow the head to pass through.” Still other physicians reach into the cervix with their forceps and crush the fetus’ skull. Others continue to pull the fetus out of the woman until it disarticulates at the neck, in effect decapitating it. These doctors then grasp the head with forceps, crush it, and remove it.

Some doctors performing an intact D&E attempt to remove the fetus without collapsing the skull. Yet one doctor would not allow delivery of a live fetus younger than 24 weeks because “the objective of [his] procedure is to perform an abortion,” not a birth. The doctor thus answered in the affirmative when asked whether he would “hold the fetus’ head on the internal side of the [cervix] in order to collapse the skull” and kill the fetus before it is born. Another doctor testified he crushes a fetus’ skull not only to reduce its size but also to ensure the fetus is dead before it is removed. For the staff to have to deal with a fetus that has “some viability to it, some movement of limbs,” according to this doctor, “[is] always a difficult situation.”

D&E and intact D&E are not the only second-trimester abortion methods. Doctors also may abort a fetus through medical induction. The doctor medicates the woman to induce labor, and contractions occur to deliver the fetus. Induction, which unlike D&E should occur in a hospital, can last as little as 6 hours but can take longer than 48. It accounts for about five percent of second-trimester abortions before 20 weeks of gestation and 15 percent of those after 20 weeks. Doctors turn to two other methods of second-trimester abortion, hysterotomy and hysterectomy, only in emergency situations because they carry increased risk of complications. In a hysterotomy, as in a cesarean section, the doctor removes the fetus by making an incision through the abdomen and uterine wall to gain access to the uterine cavity. A hysterectomy requires the removal of the entire uterus. These two procedures represent about .07% of second-trimester abortions.

It is astounding and gratifying to see the Supreme Court baldly and boldly describe abortion. For ease of reading I edited out the legal and other citation references so that it reads more like ordinary prose rather than as a legal opinion - but there is no way to soften the blow of reading the actual content. These procedures - all of them - should be enough to make any person vomit, unless he has been desensitized to violence. They are the stuff of horror movies.

What about this quote: For the staff to have to deal with a fetus that has “some viability to it, some movement of limbs,” according to this doctor, “[is] always a difficult situation.”

Why would that be difficult is abortion is noble and wonderful and merely the removal of "tissue?"

End abortion now.

(To read or download the actual Supreme Court opinion in its entirety, go here.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Students observing "Day of Truth" tomorrow

Students across the US will be observing the Day of Truth tomorrow. According to the ADF:

Students at more than 300 schools nationwide will participate Thursday in the Day of Truth, sponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund. The number of students participating continues to grow, even on the day before the event.

“The Day of Truth is an opportunity for Christian students to counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda at schools across America,” said ADF Senior Counsel Joseph Infranco. “The Day of Truth, held after the Day of Silence, encourages respectful debate rather than silence.”

Students participating in this event will wear “Day of Truth” T-shirts and/or pass out cards during school hours, but outside of class time, with the following message:
I am speaking the Truth to break the silence. I believe in equal treatment for all, and not special rights for a few. I believe in loving my neighbor, but part of that love means not condoning detrimental personal and social behavior. I believe that by boldly proclaiming the Truth, hurts will be halted, hearts will be healed, and lives will be saved.
Keep praying for America's youth!

More reaction to partial birth abortion case

Not to be obnoxious, but we can tell how significant this is by who's appalled by it...

"Today's decision is alarming," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in dissent with justices Stephen Breyer, David Souter and John Paul Stevens. She said the ruling "refuses to take ... seriously" previous Supreme Court decisions on abortion.

Ginsburg said the latest decision "tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists."

"This ruling flies in the face of 30 years of Supreme Court precedent and the best interest of women's health and safety," Eve Gartner, deputy director of litigation and law for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a news release.

"Today, the court took away an important option for doctors who seek to provide the best and safest care to their patients," Gartner added. "This ruling tells women that politicians, not doctors, will make their health-care decisions for them."

More here from

First Major Crack in Abortion Wall

This is breaking news: the Supreme Court has apparently upheld the constitutionality of the Federal law banning partial birth abortion.

The 5-4 ruling said the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2003 does not violate a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.

The opponents of the act "have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.

The decision pitted the court's conservatives against its liberals, with President Bush's two appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, siding with the majority.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia also were in the majority.

It was the first time the court banned a specific procedure in a case over how—not whether—to perform an abortion.

More here.

New, easy web address for the Pray Connecticut Blog

In addition to a new color palette, for ease of use we've gotten a new domain name:

Please note that the old Blogspot address still works and will direct you to the new address automatically. We hope this will help people remember our address better as the Blogspot addresses are a bit of a mouthful.

Thanks for your support as we continue to grow and are gaining traffic all the time. We appreciate your prayers as we seek to help unite Christians across the State!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Connecticut Christian radio station profiled

If you live in the Milford area, you probably already know about it, but the Connecticut Post has a nice piece on WFIF (1500 AM). The joke is that it stands for "We fade in Fairfield," but WFIF has faithfully served the Bridgeport - New Haven coast and northwards with a great mix of Christian programming for many years.

Recap of Judiciary Committee Hearing on Same-Sex Marriages

Peter Wolfgang at the FIC Blog has a great recap of the testimonies and votes of various Representatives on the Judiciary Committee in last week's same-sex marriage bill vote.

Bright spot: Democratic Rep. Bruce Morris, who isn't buying the equation of same-sex rights and civil rights for African-Americans:

He cited Loving vs. Virginia, the case striking down laws forbidding people of different races to marry, on how “marriage is fundamental to our very existence and survival.” He said Brian was right about 2 men being biologically incapable (”without outside intervention”) of having a child and that it was for reasons like this that a very liberal court in Washington ruled against same-sex “marriage.” He mentioned the remarks of another African-American member of the Committee, saying that he too had thought about this as an African-American–and concluded that the civil rights analogy employed by same-sex “marriage” proponents doesn’t hold up. It isn’t arbitrary for the legislature to say marriage is between a man and a woman because, historically and culturally, it is true.

Well, of course. This is so patently obvious that the Left must resort to Stalinist tactics of erasing history to get us to think otherwise. Still, it's comforting to hear someone in the State Democratic party state these truths so clearly.

Read it all here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Time for a change

Hope you like the new look of the blog... it was time to freshen up a bit and also to change our colors to look a little more like "Connecticut Colors!"

Christian Events in Connecticut This Week

The following events are coming up this week... for more details please visit the Connecticut Christian Events Calendar!

Monday, April 16:
Litchfield County Regional Prayer Meeting (Torrington - Advent Christian Church)

Wednesday, April 18:
School of the Spirit with Pastor Jan Nel (Darien - St. Paul's Church)

Friday, April 20:
NCS Men's Breakfast with Guest Speaker, Jerry Root (Stamford)

Saturday, April 21:
Reclaiming Our Spiritual Heritage Tour (Torrington)
Christian Coffeehouse (Danbury)

Sunday, April 22:
Unity Service with Pastor Jan Nel (Greenwich - Presbyterian Church of Old Greenwich)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Rearranging the furniture on the deck of the Titanic

Powerful commentary by Canon Gary L'Hommedieu on the Episcopal Church and the destruction of that church and society in general by guilt-driven leftists: I'm Guilty: You Repent - The Spiritual Impulse of Liberalism.

This is not fluff; it is real meat, and deserving of your time. Here's a statement of the problem:

If anyone thinks the present spiritual malaise is mainly about The Episcopal Church, or mainline Christianity in America, then I daresay they're naïve about spiritual warfare - not to mention reality outside their window. The demons that have ransacked TEC (to take a single example) are the same ones which have targeted the West as a whole. Indeed, the assault upon orthodox Christianity only makes strategic sense as part of a massive assault upon civilization as we know it.

The Episcopal Church makes an important study as a group that sold itself to play in a high stakes game before it was clear what the game was. Here we see the promiscuous quality of the affluent American Left that emerged from the Viet Nam era. The time was an eschaton of sorts. Here at last was a generation uniquely qualified to fix and save everything that was broken or oppressed, and it literally jumped into bed with any cause that promised a moment's notoriety.

Here at last was the generation qualified to overhaul a 450-year-old liturgy - one universally acknowledged as embodying the spirit of a global communion. That was just the beginning. From now on the visionaries would declare open season on any aspect of the church's tradition that could be tinkered with in such a way as to leave signs of their tinkering, all in the name of "liberation".

What's driving their tinkering?

Today's liberals live a pretty good life, and they feel bad about it. They have more of everything than any generation before them, and they sense this is unfair. But rather than repent and become Gandhians, they remove Christmas trees from the village green, or put bike lanes on four or five roads in their town. They might tighten up rules on what people can eat, drink, or smoke, and when. Are these the abuses that have been crying out for redress for the welfare of the community? Probably not. More likely they are the result of conscience-stricken busybodies scanning the horizon for opportunities to impose their heightened awareness on others.

Don't forget the name of the disease: I'm guilty; now you need to repent.

Governor still standing by pledge to veto bill for same-sex marriage

Channel 8 reports that Governor Rell still intends to veto same-sex marriage legislation.

"I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. The vote in the committee does not change my mind on that," said Rell. "I will veto the bill...."

Peter Wolfgang and the leaders of the group most opposed to the bill [note: that would be the FIC] say that this committee was stacked against their position. They will now push for a constitutional convention to allow for a public vote on the issue.

"This goes beyond even the same-sex marriage issue. There are a lot of people from both sides of the fence on all kinds of issues who understand that the legislature is being less and less representative of its constituents every day," said Wolfgang.

Keep praying over this issue!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Connecticut House Judiciary Committee approves gay marriage bill

"There are many organizations that advocate multiple-party marriage," said T.R. Rowe, a Republican from Trumbull. "There are institutions that advocate man and boy relationships … this isn't about civil rights. This is about radically redesigning the most basic … institution that society has."

You betcha. More from the Courant here.

The Connecticut Post has a little more here.

An AP story from the Danbury News-Times.

And here's Channel 8, with video.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

More on Day of Silence / Day of Truth

The Danbury News-Times weighs in on the free speech controversy at Danbury High:

The Day of Silence promotes a safe and nonjudgmental environment for students, particularly those who may be gay, lesbian or struggling with their sexual identity. The Day of Silence was part of Peace Week at the school, an annual event that includes a day for random acts of kindness and another for giving others compliments.

The Youth Alive Club, though, wanted to observe a national Day of Truth with the speaker who believes that gays need to change what she considers sinful behavior.

Peace Week? Who could disagree with that? At least they didn't put Day of Truth in quotes.

The subtitle of the editorial reads, "Decisions should not be based on threat of lawsuit." I agree.

The problem is that this is not what happened.
The subtitle would have better read, "Public schools need to stop violating the First Amendment rights of citizens and stop forcing them to run to Federal court to have their rights upheld, especially when the law is so clear."

Anyone in Connecticut with children in a public high school needs to ask their children about the amount of time that is spent on activities such as Peace Weeks, Days of Silence, and various skits, plays, films and other similar vehicles designed to being about the politicization of youth rather than their education, and the quasi-criminalization of alternate viewpoints.

On the other hand, since some schools are apparently giving kids "gag orders" not to tell their parents about the homosexual indoctrination they are receiving, it may not do any good.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

How many people are actually gay?

The objectivity of government reporting is called into question by a study suggesting that the percentage of homosexuals in the population is overstated and does not take into account the fact that homosexuality is strongly linked to an early death. You may need some understanding of statistical analysis for this one, but go here for the report.

Who would have an interest in not telling the public:

a. That there aren't nearly as many homosexuals as people are being told; and
b. That homosexuals die substantially earlier than other people?

Some strong language from the report:

If the prevalence of homosexuality diminishes with age, eliminating older adults from sexuality surveys tends to conceal this diminution and to increase the apparent fraction of homosexuals. Furthermore, if the prevalence of homosexuals declines because of the early death of those engaging in same-sex sex, and if the practice of homosexuality were to be directly tied to a foreshortening of life, contemporary public health cannon [sic] would dictate condemnation and discrimination against such behavior (e.g., consider the parallel of smoking).

New churches added to the Connecticut Church Map

We've added some new churches to the Connecticut Church Map, which remains the most popular page on our website. Here they are:

Fairfield: Church of the Apostles

Glastonbury: NewLife Christian Fellowship

Storrs: Arise! Christian Community

To suggest a church to add to the map, write us at!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Notes from home and beyond

A great piece on changed lives at the Bridgeport Rescue Mission from the Connecticut Post...

With help from TIME magazine, Bible classes are springing up all over the place. Who'd have guessed?

Race and risk-taking among Connecticut teens...

While many Connecticut school enrollments are soaring (Greenwich, Danbury), The New York Times says one district is shrinking and shrinking...

Why do people change churches anyway? Here's why...

Can't handle YouTube or Google Video? Now there's God Tube!

Christian Events in Connecticut this Week

The following events are coming up this week... for more details please visit the Connecticut Christian Events Calendar!

Wednesday, April 11:
School of the Spirit with Pastor Jan Nel (Darien - St. Paul's Church)

Thursday, April 12:
Regional Prayer Meeting (New Haven)

Friday, April 13:
NCS Men's Breakfast with Guest Speaker, Allan Houston (Stamford)
Sozo Cafe Friday Night Jam (Hamden)

Saturday, April 14:
Statewide Intercessors Gathering (Kensington - Wellspring Church)
House of Grace Community Coffee House (Milford)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

He is Risen!

Wishing you all a wonderful Easter season. We'll catch up with you next week!

More on honking for Christ

More and more media outlets are picking up the Naugatuck Honking for Christ story. Here's NPR with an audio file.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Danbury High School allows "Day of Truth" activities, countering "Day of Silence"

The Alliance Defense Fund reports that Danbury High School will permit a student to participate in Day of Truth activities after first denying her that right. The Day of Truth is designed to let Christian students prevent an alternate viewpoint to the pro-homosexual Day of Silence. From ADF's press release:

After receiving a letter from attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund, the principal of Danbury High School agreed Wednesday to allow a student to promote and participate in the Day of Truth after first having prohibited the student from doing so. The school officially endorses the Day of Silence, an event promoting the homosexual agenda, but had thwarted student Rosemary Shakro’s attempts to promote the Day of Truth by inviting a speaker to a club meeting and posting signs announcing the event.

“Christian students should be allowed to express their viewpoint just like any other student,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “The Day of Truth is an opportunity for Christian students to respectfully present a different viewpoint than students participating in the Day of Silence. Allowing students to have a Day of Silence without allowing students to have a Day of Truth limits free speech and the free exchange of ideas.”

“We are pleased that we had the opportunity to explain the law so that the school could do the right thing and respect the First Amendment rights of this student and any other students that wish to observe the Day of Truth. We hope other schools will follow this example for their students,” Bowman added.

Shakro wished to invite a guest speaker to her “Youth Alive” after-school club meeting this Thursday as part of activities leading up to the Day of Truth. The school has allowed other clubs, such as the Gay-Straight Alliance, to have outside guests speak at school assemblies and club meetings. However, the school’s principal, who prohibited a speaker for last year’s Day of Truth, prohibited this year’s speaker as well, saying that the Day of Truth is too “controversial” and “counteractive.” The principal had also claimed that “anti-homosexual” speech is prohibited at the school and that the presentation could cause contention among students.

To see the letter sent by the ADF to Danbury High School, click here.

See the full story from ADF here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

God is stubborn

God stubbornly refuses to leave the scene. And, as we are reminded this week, has proved very hard to kill indeed.

Here's a wonderful CNN interview with Dr. Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., the Director of the National Human Genome Project. Well worth your time to read how this medical doctor and physical chemist found faith and not fuzzy faith either - faith in Jesus Christ. A few pieces:

I had to admit that the science I loved so much was powerless to answer questions such as "What is the meaning of life?" "Why am I here?" "Why does mathematics work, anyway?" "If the universe had a beginning, who created it?" "Why are the physical constants in the universe so finely tuned to allow the possibility of complex life forms?" "Why do humans have a moral sense?" "What happens after we die?"

I had always assumed that faith was based on purely emotional and irrational arguments, and was astounded to discover, initially in the writings of the Oxford scholar C.S. Lewis and subsequently from many other sources, that one could build a very strong case for the plausibility of the existence of God on purely rational grounds. My earlier atheist's assertion that "I know there is no God" emerged as the least defensible....

....Here was a person with remarkably strong historical evidence of his life, who made astounding statements about loving your neighbor, and whose claims about being God's son seemed to demand a decision about whether he was deluded or the real thing. After resisting for nearly two years, I found it impossible to go on living in such a state of uncertainty, and I became a follower of Jesus.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Honking for Christ - a message of religious intolerance?

This one has been spread around a bit... Civil strife on Rubber Avenue in Naugatuck as a photo store owner has a sign urging people beep their horns for Christ. The neighboring tattoo store counters by having people beep for Satan. It's all too much noise for the town fathers, who tell them to stop.

Here's the Courant/AP story. Channel 8 sent Sara Welch out to do a story here.

This is a fun sort of news story, especially at this time of year, but it raises larger issues. Here's what I mean: although Channel 8 made the gentleman sound reasonable, in a country where Christianity is the religion of most citizens, can't we even enjoy Easter Week without listening to this sort of nonsense from the tattoo shop owner?

Claudette Soden, owner of Photos Onto DVD, had put similar signs up at Christmas when her business was at a different location and said she was continuing that tradition at Easter.

By Tuesday, [tattoo store owner Phil] Young's sign was gone. Soden was refusing to remove hers.

"Easter has not passed yet," she said.

Young, who did not respond to a request by The Associated Press for comment, has said he viewed Soden's message as a sign of religious intolerance for non-Christians.

So now a sign that says "Beep for Christ" during Easter Week is a message of religious intolerance? Where did Mr. Young learn this idea and master this rhetoric?

It's instructive and frightening to watch Americans and Europeans spout this stuff all the time while bending over backwards to promote preferential treatment for Islamic radicals and homosexual activists. Now they're even casting Christian terrorists as the villains in school terror drills. We are being trained slowly but surely to view any expression of Christian faith as illegitimate in a pluralistic society, when in fact it is Christianity that makes possible the existence of a society allowing other faiths to exist and be practiced without consequence.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Jesus The Messiah

This week we'll focus on things that are a bit more eternal...

I hope you know this already, but if not let me clear the air. "Christ" was not Jesus' last name. In fact, Christ isn't even a name at all; it's actually a title. It's a Greek word meaning The Anointed One. It's the Greek translation of the Hebrew word moshiach, from which we get our English word "Messiah."

So when you say Jesus Christ (or, better yet, Jesus the Christ), you're really saying Jesus the Messiah, or Jesus the Anointed One.

OK, then, what does it mean to be the Anointed One? Anointed by whom?

In ancient Israel, people were anointed by religious leaders, sometimes by prophets, to signify that the Spirit of God had come upon them to mark them and enable them for a specific task. Kings were among those anointed by prophets to show that they had been chosen by Israel's God to rule His people. Within the Hebrew Scriptures were prophecies of a great king - a great anointed one or Messiah who would rule all the nations and bring salvation to all who would trust in Him.

In the 61st Chapter of the Book of Isaiah, we read this prophecy of the Messiah:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound...

In the Gospels, Jesus claimed to be the fulfillment of these words - to be the one anointed to do those very things. Proof of the truth of His claims, as well as proof of the truth of the integrity of the Bible as the Word of God, can be found through the study of what is called "Messianic prophecy." These are the prophecies of the Hebrew scriptures which foretold the mission and the identity of the Messiah.

Was Jesus the Messiah? Christians of course say that He was and is. Most Jews throughout history have said "no," although many have also said "yes."

Are you interested in seeing some of these Messianic prophecies? There are many places on the Web to research these matters, but here's a good starting place, at the website.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,