Black Americans Are the Most Bible-Engaged Ethnic Group May 16, 2018

Black Americans Are the Most Bible-Engaged Ethnic Group
May 16, 2018

African American black Bible reading Pew Research

Jezael Melgoza photo | Freely

By Aaron Earls
If you’re looking for Christians who read the Bible regularly, believe it is the Word of God, and participate in Bible studies, you might want to start at a historically black congregation.
Nearly 8 in 10 African-Americans (79 percent) identify as Christian—more than any other ethnicity, according to analysis from Pew Research.
Slightly fewer Hispanics (77 percent) and whites (70 percent) do the same. Only a third of Asians in America (34 percent) say they are Christian. Overall, 71 percent of American adults identify as Christian.
Black Americans are also the most likely to identify specifically as Protestant Christian.
More than half (53 percent) of African-Americans are part of a historically black Protestant church. Fewer say they are evangelical Protestant (14 percent), Catholic (5 percent), mainline Protestant (4 percent), or other Christian (3 percent).
Not only are African-Americans most likely to identify with Christianity, they are also the most likely to be engaged with the Bible on a regular basis.
Black people in the U.S. are the most likely to say they read the Bible—or writings of another faith, such as the Quran or the Book of Mormon—at least once a week outside of religious services, according to additional analysis from Pew Research.
More than half (54 percent) say they read it on their own, compared to 38 percent of Hispanics and 32 percent of whites.
Only a quarter of African-Americans (24 percent) say they seldom or never read the Bible or other religious writings, while 40 percent of Hispanics and fully half (50 percent) of whites admit to such lack of Scripture reading.
Among religious groups, those in historically black Protestant churches are as likely to read the Bible outside of religious services (61 percent) as evangelical Protestants (63 percent).
Similarly, black Americans are more likely to see the Bible as God’s Word than other ethnicities—77 percent of African-Americans hold this view, compared to 65 percent of Hispanics and 57 percent of whites.
Close to 9 in 10 historically black Protestants (85 percent) and evangelical Protestants (88 percent) say the Bible is the Word of God.
African-Americans are the ethnicity most likely to believe the Bible should be interpreted literally. More than half (51 percent) feel this way, compared with 38 percent of Hispanics and 26 percent of whites.
Among Christians, historically black Protestants (59 percent) are most likely to hold this view as well. Slightly fewer evangelical Protestants (55 percent) and far fewer Catholics (26 percent) and mainline Protestants (24 percent) agree.
Almost 4 in 10 African-Americans (39 percent) take part in prayer or study groups for religious writings at least weekly. Around a quarter of Hispanics (27 percent) and whites (22 percent) say they do the same.
Forty-four percent of both historically black Protestants and evangelical Protestants say they take part in such groups each week.
Related:
Reviving the Black Church: Q&A With Thabiti Anyabwile
One State Dominates Bible-Minded City List
Americans Say the Bible Is a Good Book, But Not Good Enough to Pick Up
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.

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When We All Get to Heaven? Americans Picture Inclusive Eternal Life April 25, 2018

Facts & Trends

When We All Get to Heaven? Americans Picture Inclusive Eternal Life
April 25, 2018 Leave a Comment

Samuel Zeller photo | Unsplash
By Aaron Earls
In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” but some modern Christians aren’t quite sure about that.
According to Pew Research’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study, 66 percent of American Christians say many religions can lead to eternal life.
That sentiment is most popular among mainline Protestants (80 percent) and Catholics (79 percent).
Most Orthodox Christians (68 percent), black Protestants (57 percent), and evangelicals (52 percent) also agree.
Among non-Christian groups, Hindus (96 percent), Buddhists (83 percent), and Jews (79 percent) are most likely to agree many religions can lead to eternal life.
A majority of Muslims (65 percent) agree, while fewer Mormons (40 percent) say the same.
The least likely religious group in America to believe there are many ways to eternal life is Jehovah’s Witnesses (8 percent).
While still high, belief in many paths leading to eternal life drops among Christians when specifically asked about non-Christian faiths.
When asked if some non-Christian religions can lead to eternal life, 50 percent of Christians agree.
Almost 3 in 10 Christians (29 percent) say their religion is the only true faith and another 12 percent say only Christianity will lead to eternal life.
Majorities of Catholics (68 percent), mainline Protestants (65 percent), and Orthodox Christians (59 percent) say some non-Christian religions can lead to eternal life.
Historically black Protestants (38 percent) and evangelicals (31 percent) are least likely to say some non-Christian religions can lead to eternal life.

LifeWay Research heaven chart
In 2016, LifeWay Research found 64 percent of Americans say God accepts the worship of all religions. The one demographic holdout is Americans with evangelical beliefs, among whom 48 percent agree.
Americans are also hesitant to say non-Christians spend eternity in hell. While 84 percent of those with evangelical beliefs say that is the case, only 40 percent of Americans as a whole agree.
Contradictory beliefs about the afterlife are seemingly no problem for many Americans.
Sixty percent say heaven is a place where all people will ultimately be reunited with their loved ones, but 54 percent say only those who trust in Jesus alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.
A slim majority of Americans (52 percent) also say they partly contribute to earning their place in heaven with the good deeds they do.

The Bible Reveals The Hydrologic Cycle Thousands Of Years In Advance Of Modern Science

The Bible and TRUE science have always been in total harmony.  Although the Bible is not solely a book on science per say, whenever scientific principles are brought up in the Bible, there is never a contradiction.  The only exception that I can think of, are the miracles that God has performed, whereas He breaks His own laws, such as Jesus walking on water, the parting of the Red Sea, the ax head floating, and a myriad of others.  Enjoy the following article which graphically describes the Biblical narrative of the earth’s hydrologic cycle, written thousands of years before scientists understood it.  In His Service, Pastor Steve  <><

 

DAYS OF PRAISE DAYS OF PRAISE
The Rivers and the Sea
BY HENRY M. MORRIS, PH.D. | MONDAY, APRIL 09, 2018

“All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.” (Ecclesiastes 1:7)

As the ancients observed the mighty Nile and Euphrates and other great rivers flowing into the ocean, they could not help but wonder why the sea level never rose. They knew that many of the waters in the rivers came from rainfall, especially during floods, but they had only quaint notions, at best, as to where the rains originated. Not until the days of modern science did men discover that rainfall actually comes from the oceans via evaporation and atmospheric transportation.

But the Bible writers somehow seemed to know about the true nature of the hydrologic cycle thousands of years in advance of modern science. The rivers come from the same place to which they return—that is, the sea.

But how do the waters of the sea ever rise into the sky? “He maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: Which the clouds do drop and distill upon man abundantly” (Job 36:27-28). Water droplets are made very small by the process of evaporation so they can be carried aloft by the up-rushing air forces over warm waters; later they “distill upon man abundantly.”

There are other references in Scripture to different phases of this great hydrologic cycle, but one of the most significant is Isaiah 55:10-11: “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth. . . . So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please.” The waters return to the skies only after doing their good work on the lands. Just so, the life-giving Word of God returns to Him, not void, but full of the spiritual fruit for which He sent it. HMM

Artificial Intelligence & The Coming Global Empire

The following article sounds like science fiction but it is not.  Do not be intimidated by the following article, as fallen man focuses on his “utopia” and the New World Order (NWO) without God.  These are prominent signs of the soon return of Jesus Christ.  Jesus Himself said, “When all these things begin to happen, look up for your salvation is near!” (Luke 21:28). In fact, He said the generation witnessing these signs will not pass away before He returns (Matthew 24:34). The appearance of these signs is the #1 indicator the end of the age and the Second Coming of Jesus are near.  For the first time in history, we see those signs. They’re all around us. So don’t doubt it. Jesus is coming!

Note:  It is also important to keep in mind that the availability of technology does not mean it will be used immediately.  The atom bomb was first used seventy three years ago at the close of World War II, but by the grace of God, has not been used since.  The Artificial Intelligence (AI) you see below, is currently being discovered and refined, yet will not become a danger to mankind until it is mass produced and under the dominion of evil leaders.  This, of course, is all under the hand of God’s sovereignty and is where prayer comes in for we Christians.

Yours in Christ, Pastor Steve <><

 

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ARTICLE
Artificial Intelligence & The Coming Global Empire
By Britt Gillette February 16, 2018
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A series of recent news stories have highlighted the massive advances made in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Several of those focus on China’s Yitu Technologies, a company at the forefront of AI development. Yitu created a technology called Dragonfly.

Dragonfly can search and analyze billions of photographs and locate a single person in a matter of seconds. Connected to cameras in the Shanghai Metro, it identified over 500 criminals in a three month period. It’s so powerful it can recognize people wearing disguises. And it can identify people using pictures that are more than 30 years old.

Think of the power this gives the Chinese government. As Dragonfly connects to every camera in the nation, criminals will have nowhere to hide. Unfortunately, no one else will either. Chinese dissidents, political activists, ethnic minorities, Christians, and other “enemies of the state” will also have nowhere to hide. And it’s quite unlikely China will be the only state to take advantage of this technology.

The Rise of Big Brother

In George Orwell’s novel 1984, we’re first introduced to “Big Brother” – an omnipresent, all-powerful and “well-intentioned” totalitarian regime. The book’s hero, Winston Smith, lives in a world where every citizen is under 24/7 surveillance. Personal privacy doesn’t exist.

 Government controls every part of life. Monitors in Winston’s apartment spy on him when he’s home. Other devices spy on him when he’s not home. Hidden cameras and microphones capture his words, deeds, and even his facial expressions. His mail is opened, and “thought police” search for and arrest any citizens who dare to have thoughts or feelings outside of those sanctioned by Big Brother and the ruling elite.

Winston’s world is a place of absolute government control. No conversation, movement, or transaction goes unnoticed. The government is watching – always. In the decades since Orwell first released 1984, people have marveled at what they see as great insight into our future.

And they’re right to do so. Because 1984 is becoming our reality. And unfortunately, Yitu Technologies and Dragonfly are just a small part of what’s coming. Why do I say that? Because we’re only in the first stages of the AI revolution.

What’s Coming

In the near future, technologies like Dragonfly will be commonplace. And the ability to see and hear everything will be even easier for government. Unfortunately, while most people object to this type of surveillance and invasion of privacy, their everyday actions bring it closer and closer to reality. How? Many people voluntarily reveal the most intimate details of their lives.

They upload pictures of themselves and their friends to Facebook, and they tag them so AI systems can recognize them. They reveal personal information on Snapchat and Twitter. And they set up devices like the Google Mini and the Amazon Echo in their homes.

These devices respond to voice commands and make life easier. But they also have a downside. By definition, they’re always listening. That means a microphone is in your house listening at all times. And some of the newer devices feature cameras as well.

As time goes by, these devices will become smaller and cheaper. And as they become smaller and cheaper, they’ll become ubiquitous. They’ll be everywhere. How much smaller and cheaper will these devices become? Imagine trillions of HD cameras and microphones – each one the size of a dust particle.

Some might be so small the naked eye can’t see them. These cameras and microphones will constantly record everything. How will they be placed? They won’t. Like dust, they’ll spread across the earth and settle on every surface. They’ll be everywhere.

They’ll settle on your clothes. They’ll come in through the ventilation in your house. They’ll stick to the bottoms of shoes, and they’ll blow through the streets. And this “nanodust” will send raw video and audio content straight to the government.

“But wait,” you might say. “How will the government sift through all this data? It would take legions of intelligence analysts a century or more to listen to just one day of global conversations, right?” That’s true. But humans won’t comb through all this data. AI will.

Technology similar to Dragonfly will search and analyze everything – not just faces. In the same way Dragonfly analyzes faces, AI systems of the future will search audio recordings for specific phrases and undesirable language.

They’ll analyze video to find certain patterns of movement or behavior. And AI systems will be able to identify common traits shared by enemies of the state. With the ability to process mountains of information at high speeds, AI systems will analyze information with a much higher level of precision than any human analyst ever could.

A global network of such technologies will have the ability to “listen” to every conversation on earth. No one will be able to escape the ever watchful eye of “Big Brother.”

The Coming Global Empire

So why does all this matter? Because two thousand years ago the Bible said a single government will rule all the people of the world (Revelation 13:7). It also said the leader of that government will exercise such total control he’ll be able to decide who can buy or sell anything (Revelation 13:17). Think about those statements.

A global government will have total and complete control over all commerce. To achieve this feat requires a police state the likes of which the world has never seen. Was such a state possible in the 1st Century? No. Was it possible in the 20th Century? No. How about in this century? Yes. It will be. And it won’t just be a possibility. It will be reality. Government won’t be able to resist the temptation AI offers. It’s just one more sign we’re nearing the end of the present age.

Remember, global government isn’t the only sign of the end. But it’s appearing at the same time as the other signs Jesus and the prophets said to look for. Israel is back in the land (Jeremiah 23:7-8)… The Jewish people once again reside in Jerusalem (Luke 21:24-28)… Though small, Israel has an exceedingly great army (Ezekiel 37:10)… Europe is unifying (Daniel 2:31-45)… And the Gospel is being preached to the ends of the earth (Matthew 24:14). These are all signs Jesus and the prophets said to look for. And our generation is the first ever to witness these signs. Think this is mere coincidence? I don’t either.

Jesus Himself said, “When all these things begin to happen, look up for your salvation is near!” (Luke 21:28). In fact, He said the generation witnessing these signs will not pass away before He returns (Matthew 24:34). The appearance of these signs is the #1 indicator the end of the age and the Second Coming of Jesus are near.

For the first time in history, we see those signs. They’re all around us. So don’t doubt it. Jesus is coming!

Britt Gillette is author of the free ebook Coming to Jesus as well as the books Signs of the Second Coming and Racing Toward Armageddon.

Read more at http://prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=2023#QstiL18BK74qWvzS.99

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Rule The World

Look no farther for the “Mark Of The Beast.”  Manmade Artificial Intelligence will rule during the Great Tribulation period, and what we are now seeing is a foreshadow or precursor.  Elsewhere on this blog site, a gentleman in a large auditorium full of spectators, holds a small drone, lets it go, and it went deep into the skull of a pre programmed dummy.  Of course anyone can be programmed with this kind of weaponry.  This kind of weaponry and crime fighter will one day get into the wrong hands.  It is the perfect fulfillment of man’s false god(s), fulfilling fallen man’s incomplete utopia outside of God in the number six (6).  Praise the Lord, He is the ONLY One who will fulfill our spiritual needs, and He is represented by His perfect number of spiritual fulfillment – seven (7).

Maranatha, Pastor Steve

Meet The New Crimefighter: AI

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is in the headlines every week now from driverless cars to high-frequency stock trading algorithms that outperform any human. Computers now beat the best human players at chess and almost any other game and have even begun to interpret emotions from facial expressions and create works of art.

AI has also surprised human doctors at diagnosing difficult-to-spot eye conditions on scans. Yet as much as these advances may make our lives easier, it is this last area, visual recognition, that corporations and governments around the world are now using to build an unprecedented surveillance state.

There are between 5 and 5.9 million surveillance cameras in the United Kingdom and over 176 million now in China. But for this vast network of recording devices to be truly effective, they would need an equally vast number of humans watching them in real time, around the clock.

It would be impossible to monitor every camera in real time and experiments have demonstrated that human attention spans reduce significantly after only 20 minutes of video footage, and dramatically so if they attempt to watch more than one screen. Artificial intelligence trained to detect human activity, recognize faces, identify silhouettes and track movement in shadows has no such limitation.

Not only will artificial intelligence monitor tens of millions of video feeds in real time, but it will enter the data into a predictive matrix.

When computer recognition for video footage, by itself, is combined with the vast pattern-matching potential of artificially intelligent algorithms, the system begins not only to detect crimes in progress but predict them before they occur and send law enforcement or security resources there ahead of time.

Though this idea may sound farfetched, a location-based variant is already in use in Milan, Italy and Los Angeles, California.

By mapping very specific crime statistics (time of day, type of crime, location) onto a map and creating a complex pattern of associations within the data, the algorithm is able to predict the probable time and location of the next crime. Whereas it remains simply a general prediction, this crude system allows law enforcement better to deploy their resources.

The system employed in Milan is known as KeyCrime and has been predicting robberies for more than ten years. The American version, PredPol, is now hard at work in 40% of the nation’s largest police departments, again providing estimates of the time and location for future crimes. But the systems now coming online in China and elsewhere go much further.

With the use of video-linked artificial intelligence, the system grows exponentially more powerful and can operate in real time. By linking security camera footage to individuals and feeding it with thousands of data points about each subject, the goal becomes not simply to predict when and where a crime might occur, but who will be responsible.

The artificial intelligence watches you purchase a kitchen knife and it files the information away and does not act. But a week later, if you buy a roll of tape and a set of gloves, the system may consider this alongside a variation in your daily traffic patterns to flag your behavior for analysis.

The Chinese company Uniview is tasked with identifying Chinese citizens who travel to specific countries, such as Vietnam and Myanmar, and then marking them for more intensive data collection. In July of this year, the Chinese government announced that it plans to spend $150 billion to construct an artificial intelligence industry by the end of 2030.

With the ability to design new products, develop, build more advanced AI systems, and surveil citizens, the use of AI in policing is set to become pervasive.

Li Meng, the vice-minister of science and technology in China, pointed to crime prediction as a task for AI within the government, “If we use our smart systems and smart facilities, we can know beforehand… who might be a terrorist, who might do something bad,” the vice-minister said. Bad, such as opposing the authoritarian rule of the Communist Party.

In Russia, VisionLabs is providing advanced, real-time facial recognition software to the government and in the United States, the software and hardware company Nvidia is doing so as well. Marc Rotenberg is the President of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

He has been active in pointing out how the accelerated growth of these technologies raises privacy risks. “Some of these techniques can be helpful, but there are huge privacy issues when systems are designed to capture identity and make a determination based on personal data,” Rotenberg believes. “That’s where issues of secret profiling, bias and accuracy enter the picture.”

With traditional computer programming models, the code may be complex but is still decipherable to human programmers. With trainable and evolved artificial intelligence systems, the code is now becoming a black box because it is modified not by the programmers but by its own interaction with the environment.

With such systems as are being developed to match patterns among vast seas of complex data, there really is no way to understand how it thinks, and thus controlling or policing such a system becomes impossible for humans.

It is entirely possible that we are building the perfect police state and its level of control will be both absolute and outside of the reach of its human masters.

Read more at http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=1902#X1dlWwlSGiAvYPKT.99

Scary Video Of The Future – AI & Autonomous Weapons Will Change Everything

Watch The Mind Boggling Video Below.  Are These Potential Tools For The Coming New World Order?

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Imagine a world in which people who hold a certain political ideology could be sought out and summarily executed with surgical precision using autonomous microdrones and with no collateral damage. While this may seem like a great way to eliminate terrorist organizations like ISIS or Al-Qaeda, it could also be used by them to wipe you out.

As the Future of Life Institute points out, autonomous weapons can select and engage targets without human intervention.

They might include, for example, armed quadcopters that can search for and eliminate people meeting certain pre-defined target criteria such as age, sex, ethnicity or even use big data to incorporate a profile that shows religious affiliation, groups you have liked on Facebook, websites you have visited, places you have been or even items you have purchased.

Nothing is truly private and creating a target profile is quite easy – just ask any major advertiser. Thanks to facial recognition technology and the prevalence of surveillance technology there is no place to hide.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has reached a point where the deployment of such systems is — practically if not legally — feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms.

All the technology to assemble these machines which would carry out autonomous assassination exists right now. However, as far as the public is concerned, it has not yet been implemented to the point we see in the ominous video below which was created by the Future of Life Institute to raise awareness to this encroaching dystopian reality.

We encourage you to watch it to the end for the full impact of what is being presented as a potential future scenario if left unchecked:

Read more at http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=1806#Ll7CsMxXDOkW5bBZ.99

Read the following commentary about the demonic locusts mentioned in Revelation 9.  The above video reminds me of this chapter:

Image result for locusts in revelation 9

Image result for locusts in revelation 9

The Locusts and Their King
Visitors to a recent exhibit at the Museum of Science in Boston viewed huge models of a number of common garden insects, enlarged hundreds of times over. Such a visit makes us all grateful that God created the world and its creatures on the scale he did! John, building on the prophet Joel’s comparisons of locusts to lions (Joel 1:6) or to horses galloping into battle (Joel 2:4), affords us a terrifying glimpse of what a different scale might look like. Such comparisons also occur in Middle Eastern poetry and folklore, both ancient and modern (see Beasley-Murray 1974:162). John’s vivid description (vv. 7-10) serves to underscore and heighten the horror of the preceding account of the demonic invasion. We learn, for example, that the scorpion like authority (v. 3) of the locusts was no abstraction, but that John perceived them with actual tails and stings like scorpions (v. 10), with the power to inflict intense physical pain. Small wonder that in those days people will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them (v. 6).
The awful description ends by introducing the locusts’ king, the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon (v. 11). The Hebrew Abaddon is commonly translated “Destruction,” and it is closely associated with “death” or “the grave” (see Job 26:6; 28:22; Ps 88:11; Prov 15:11). But instead of the word normally found in ancient Greek translations of these passages (Apoleia, “Destruction”), John uses the personalized Apollyon (“Destroyer”), in keeping with his point that this destructive power is personal–both a king and an angel. John Bunyan, in The Pilgrim’s Progress, transformed Apollyon into an almost human adversary. Even though he had “scales like a fish . . . wings like a dragon, feet like a bear, and out of his belly came fire and smoke, and his mouth was as the mouth of a lion,” Apollyon reasoned with Christian like any human enemy to turn him from the path to which he was called, and finally engaged him in single combat (Sharrock 1987:102-5). “In all but the name,” wrote H. B. Swete (1908:120), this Apollyon was “a creation of Bunyan.”
In the book of Revelation, Apollyon is personal but far from human. Some interpreters (for example, Caird 1966:120) identify this king, or angel of the Abyss, with the fallen star that first released the terrible locusts from the shaft of the Abyss (v. 1). Although stars can sometimes represent angels in John’s visions (as in 1:20), this angel is more likely one of the locusts from the Abyss. He is named in connection with John’s description of them, and like them belongs to the Abyss itself, just as the angels of the seven congregations belong to their respective congregations (1:20; chaps. 2-3) or “the angel of the waters” (NRSV) in a later vision belongs to the “rivers and springs of water” that are turned to blood (16:4-5).
The point of the naming is to call attention to the destructive effects of the locust invasion (Beckwith 1922:563), in much the same manner that the name “Wormwood” calls attention to the bitter effects of that figure. If the result of the third trumpet (8:11) was “bitterness,” the result of the fifth trumpet is “destruction.” A still further possibility is that the name “Apollyon” was intended also to suggest the Greek god Apollo, who in John’s time was widely associated with prophecy, and therefore in the minds of early Christians with false prophecy (see 6:1; Kerkeslager 1993:119). Just as “Wormwood” recalled biblical denunciation of false prophets (see Jer 23:15), so “Apollyon” calls to mind false prophecy in the Graeco-Roman world.
“Destruction” (whether in Hebrew or Greek) is more terrible than “bitterness,” yet a voice now breaks in to remind us that even this is not the end: The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come (v. 12). Whether these are John’s words or words that he hears, they recall the threefold “woe” of the eagle flying overhead in 8:13 and are to be understood as a continuation or resumption of that announcement. The same will be true in 11:14. John does not reintroduce the vulture or eagle here, but its presence is implied.
Previous commentary:
The Opening of the Abyss

[ON MISSION] ~ The Pulse

[ON MISSION] is a quarterly publication of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), representing the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the International Mission Board (IMB).  The following data comes from both the spring and summer editions of this seasonal publication:

The Pulse

3 million adolescents in the U.S. ages 12 to 17 are reported to have had a major depressive episode in the past year.

19.5% females experience depression, compared to 5.8% of males.

6.3 million youth ages 13 to 18 have an anxiety disorder, representing 25% of the adolescent population in 2015.

30.1% females have an anxiety disorder, while at 20.3%, males are more likely to deal with anxiety over depression.

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After-school Satan club

A school district in Portland, Oregon, approved an after-school “Satan Club” at a local elementary school this past September.  The Satanic Temple advocated for this club in response to a 2001 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Child Evangelism Fellowship could have access to school facilities to host their “Good News Club.”  -Source:  The Washington Post, An open letter from the Satanic Temple Los Angeles, August 1, 2016.

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From global to local

In 2015 the United States was home to 46.6 million people who were born in other countries.  More than 2 million of those immigrants were from China, and almost another 2 million from India – the two countries with the most unreached people groups.

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Baptist students provide aid

About 450 students from collegiate ministries spent their 2016 Labor Day weekend serving those affected by the Louisiana flooding.  Students pried up waterlogged wood flooring, tore out drywall and helped salvage homeowner’s precious mementos from the mold.

Source:  Baptist Press, September 6, 2016

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Supernatural healing

A recent Barna poll showed that the majority of American adults (66%) believe people can be physically healed by God, supernaturally.  The study also showed millennials are the more skeptical of this belief than elders, and evangelicals are the most likely to believe in supernatural healing.

Source:  Barna, September 29, 2016

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Dirty Mouths

Work place etiquette has undeniably taken an informal turn since millennials have entered the workforce.  A new survey reported that two-thirds of millennials swear at work and 40% even prefer working in an environment where there is cussing.  Furthermore, a third of those surveyed said the use of profanity strengthens the team.

Source:  The Week, October 21, 2016

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The Latino impact

The United States is now home to 55 million Hispanics – 17% of the nation’s population.  Hispanics are projected to account for 52% of new homeowners by 2030.  They have also contributed to 47% growth in small businesses between 2007 to 2012 – a rate 60 times higher than that of non-Latinos.

Source: TIME, September 26, 2016

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Moving home

According to the Census Bureau, Americans are on the move.  About one in eight Americans move each year, and many end up living close to mom.  The New York Times reported that 50% live within 18 miles of their mom.  Only 5% live over 1,400 miles away.

Source: Facts & Trends, Summer 2016

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Reasons they will come

In a survey by LifeWay Research of 2,000 Americans who do not attend church, several events were identified that may draw non-church attendees to participate in church-sponsored activities.

62%  Meeting about neighborhood safety

51%  Community service event

46%  Sports or exercise program

45%  Neighborhood get-together

35%  Worship service

25%  Recovery group

24%  Seminar on a spiritual topic

Source:  Christianity Today, September 2016

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Getting Social

For over a decade, social media has played a vital role in North American culture.  On average, U.S. adults spend about 10 hours and 39 minutes a day consuming social media.  Percentage of U.S. Internet users who access social networks weekly.

70% Facebook  (36% between the ages of 18-34)

32% Instagram  (46% between the ages of 18-34)

30% Twitter  (40% between the ages of 18-34)

25% Snapchat  (53% between the ages of 18-34)

25% Pinterest  (38% between the ages of 18-34)

Source: TIME, March 13, 2017, AdWeek.com, June 27, 2016

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America’s aging pastors

In partnership with Pepperdine University, Barna recently released a new study on the ages of American pastors.  The study found that the median age of pastors today is 54, while in 1992, the median age was only 44.  The study also found the percentage of pastors who are 65 and older has tripled since 1992, while only one in seven pastors today is under 40.

Source:  Barna.com, March 1, 2017

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Independent living?

Around 40% of recent college grads are receiving help from their parents to pay for rent.  On average, 22- to 24-year-olds receive about $3,000 a year from their parents to make ends meet.

Source:  The New York Times, February 9, 2017

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Losing the war on drugs

For the first time ever, 50,000 people died from overdose in one year in the U.S.  Seventy-three percent of overdose deaths in 2015 were from prescription opioids and heroin, up from 57% in 2010.

Source: The Week, March 10, 2017 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

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A new normal

Cohabitation before marriage is now what the majority agrees is the best indicator for whether a couple is ready to get married.  Sixty-five percent agreed that cohabitation is a good idea, according to a recent survey by Barna.  Seventy-two percent of millennials agreed with the statement, compared to only 36% of elders.

Source: Barna.com, June 24, 2016

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What millennials want in a church

The Fuller Youth Institute has spent the last four years studying over 250 congregations of diverse sizes, ethnicities, denominations and geographic regions and found that one of the most compelling characteristics of a church for millennials is a church’s vision to be the best neighbors to their community.

Source: RelevantMagazine.com, November 16, 2016

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Women in power

Although most American adults would say they are comfortable with a female CEO, evangelicals show the lowest level of acceptance.  A recent Barna study showed the following results when they asked the question:  Are you comfortable with a female CEO?

94%  All adults

90%  Men

97%  Women

77%  Evangelicals

Source:  Barna.com, March 8, 2017

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The cost of parenting

On average, it will cost $233,610 for a middle-income family to raise a child born in 2015 through age 17.  According to a new government report, at 29%, housing is the biggest cost for parents.  Another major expense is childcare, which costs an average of $37,378 per child.

Source:  The Week, January 2017

 

 

 

Are Dinosaurs Extinct?

All right.  You are from Missouri and say “show me.”  Watch the following “hot off the press You Tube” from Kim Joiner in Florida.

Published on Jan 16, 2017

Who says Dinosaurs are extinct?”
Giant gator caught strolling through Polk nature center
A giant alligator was caught on camera during a morning stroll at a nature center in Polk County.
The Lakeland Police Department shared the video, taken by Kim Joiner, on their Facebook page saying, “Who says Dinosaurs are extinct?”
The big daddy gator was strolling through the Circle B Bar Reserve, an area of of protected lands in Polk County.
In the video you can see four other people recording the surprise encounter, and not from a far distance – Ekkk!
Thanks for watching.
Please like, comment and subscribe for new videos!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo5FmTLvz2g

What these folks do not know, is that a giant alligator IS a dinosaur.  Dinosaur means “terrible lizard.”  I would suggest the aforementioned “You Tube” qualifies.  And so does the following, featuring the Komodo Dragons, the largest lizards on earth.  The folks in Indonesia who live near these reptiles, leave their lights on at night because there is no end to what they will try to eat – including the poor soul whose turn it is to take out the trash.

Dinosaurs coexisted with man.  Science, history, paleontology, archaeology, and anthropology all prove this to be true.  The best proof to the born again Christian is found in the book of Job.  Read Job 40:15-24 and all of chapter 41.  In these pages you will find a reference to a giant land dinosaur, a plesiosaur, and a fire breathing dragon.  Every continent and every major ancient culture refers to dinosaurs.  A dragon is featured on the national flag of Wales, one was carved on the ancient Ishtar Gates of Babylon, they are carved on the Ica stones in Peru, and they were observed by Marco Polo during his explorations throughout the Far East.  They are represented in the parades in China when they celebrate the new year.  They are replete throughout history.

 

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The Lottie Moon You Didn’t Know

Lottie Moon was a Southern Baptist  missionary to China.  She was single, well under five feet tall, and probably about ninety pounds soak and wet.  She broke all of man’s rules for women missionaries, yet obeyed the Lord’s plan for all of her life.  She personified the Great Commission.  She is the namesake and poster girl for the annual Southern Baptist International Mission Board (IMB) Christmas Offering.  She never took a furlough while serving in China.  Barely over one hundred years ago, and prior to finally going back to Virginia, she gave all of her sustenance to the needy Chinese people, and died of malnutrition on a ship on the way home on Christmas Eve.  She is truly a heroine of mine.

Blessings, Pastor Steve

 

Lottie Moon: The Rebel I Want to Be

Lottie Moon. I want to be like her, but I didn’t realize how much until I dove into her life story.

You could draw a line in the sand, mention the name Lottie Moon, and people who revere her will move to one side of the line while people whispering, “Who’s that?” will migrate to the other. I had one foot in each camp.

My current church is in the “who’s that?” category. Most people at my church, planted fifteen years ago, did not grow up thoroughbred Southern Baptists. While they participate in and give to global missions, they’re not familiar with Lottie. But I grew up in a church that revered her, and I raised money for missions in my rice-bowl-shaped piggy bank to give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

Her photos in a Victorian-laced collar might give the impression she was a stuffy school marm who adhered to strict rules. Yet, she was playfully defiant, poking fun at the church until she chose to follow Christ at age eighteen. And she was ambitiously smart and became one of the first women in the South to earn a master’s degree.

Whether you’re already familiar with her story or this is your first introduction, you’ll find that her somewhat terse language flows from a contagious, tenacious heart for God’s mission.

WHY I WANT TO BE LIKE LOTTIE

1. She confidently believed that salvation was personal and so was the Great Commission.

The gospel came through Christ to us to save us, but not to stop with us. We are saved for God’s glory and then appointed to declare his glory. “Should we not press it home upon our consciences that the sole object of our conversion was not the salvation of our own souls, but that we might become coworkers with our Lord and Master in the conversion of the world?” Lottie asked.

2. She daringly called for an insurrection in status quo mission thinking.

If the Great Commission is for all believers, then we must personally answer the question, “Am I going or sending?”

  • She challenged young men: “Ask not if it is his duty to go to the heathen, but if he may dare stay at home. The command is so plain: ‘Go.’”
  • She challenged pastors: “Knowing the loud call for laborers in the foreign field, will you settle down with your home pastorates? So many could be found to fill your places . . . so few volunteer for foreign work.”
  • She challenged women: “Thousands of women will never hear the gospel until women bear it to them.”

3. She unapologetically asked believers to give.

Although salvation is free, sending people where the gospel has not been shared has a cost. Giving to God’s mission is an investment. Lottie’s questions create a jolt meant to stir hearts to an urgent need. Why this strange indifferences to missions?” she wrote. “Why these scant contributions? Why does money fail to be forthcoming when approved men and women are asking to be sent to proclaim the ‘unsearchable riches of Christ’ to the heathen?”

4. She unwaveringly obeyed God and abandoned comfort to live in a hard place.

The eternal reality that people were dying without hearing of Jesus trumped the reality of living in a place devoid of convenience and comfort. Living in China during political upheaval and among people who “had an aversion to foreigners”were mere splinters of the difficulties she faced. Yet she wrote from a village, “The circumstance would suggest an utter absence of comfort, yet we find ourselves more than contented.”

5. She didn’t shy away from pleading for a legion of workers to be sent.

Lottie didn’t merely play at missions but confidently persuaded others to consider the reality of people going to an eternal hell. “We implore you to send us help. Let not these heathen sink down into eternal death without one opportunity to hear that blessed gospel, which is to you the source of all joy and comfort,” she wrote.

Lottie defied the limits of generational, cultural, and missional norms for the sake of the gospel. I want to be so bold. With nearly three billion people who have never heard of Jesus, we should dare be the same kind of rebel, disrupting casual mission thinking and ambitiously resolved to get the gospel to all nations at all costs.

I’ll unapologetically ask the same words as Lottie: “Is not the festive season when families and friends exchange gifts in memory of the Gift laid on the altar of the world for the redemption of the human race, the most appropriate time to consecrate a portion from abounding riches and scant poverty to send forth the good tidings of great joy into all the earth?”

Let us go. But if we stay, let us give, so that others may be sent.

*All quotes are from Lottie’s letters written while she lived in China.  


Lori McDaniel is church initiatives leader at IMB. She served with her family for several years in Africa before returning to plant a church in the United States. You can find her on Twitter @lorimmcdaniel.

To be a part of the ongoing missions efforts that are Lottie Moon’s namesake, visit here nd explore the opportunities.

 

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America’s New Civil War ~ Red States/Blue States

We observe this phenomena becoming more plainer with each new presidential election.  Our nation is polarized right down the middle.  We can even see the regional dichotomy between the Red States and Blue States.  The Red States are the interior and heartland of our country.  The Blue States consist of the large populated cities and coastal states.  These areas present two different, divergent and opposing world views.  Let us examine each.  The following observations are by no means conclusive, and a mere thumb nail sketch by the blog author.  I am sure you could add more examples to this article:  

Blue States:  The recent mantra at their demonstrations is “Black lives matter.”  A heavy handed,  government is desired, with high taxation for the middle class in order to underwrite expenses.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the concept of “Global Warming” are promoted, and the ramifications of them produce an endless sea of ridiculous taxes, red tape and bureaucracy.  Sanctuary cities are desired in order to protect the “rights” of illegals and criminals.  Abortion is not a problem, and a viable option for anyone who desires one.  Our nations’ borders should be wide open and allow anyone to enter at will.  This mindset also reveals a receptivity to the New World Order (NWO).  Illegals are welcome, and should be supported through our tax dollars.  American distinctives and the Judeo Christian ethic upon which our nation was built, are not held in high regard in the least.  Our countries’ Constitution is a fluid document and can be ignored and/or modified.  Patriotism offends many, especially minorities, and the American flag can be burned and trampled upon.  The American flag is not displayed at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) until someone complains.  At the DNC, they even vote on whether or not to pray!   Instead of our immigrants learning our culture, language and way of life, we are suppose to cater to their every whim and desire.  Anyone who fears the heavy infiltration of Muslims and their Sharia Law, is labeled Islamophobic.  If you believe that homosexuality is a sinful lifestyle and repudiated in the Bible, then you are homophobic.  Guns are evil and no one should be permitted to own one.  Our public restrooms should be open to transvestites, and every other form of sexual perversion.  Gays and lesbians should be permitted to marry.  Moral values, and determining right from wrong may differ from person to person.  There are no moral absolutes.  President Obama is attempting to employ lesbian farmers throughout our nation.  He is doing this in order to break up rural conservatives.  Note how these values go against our nation’s foundation beliefs that espouse God and Country.  There is no desire to seek harmony in our country following the elections.  There is an anger expressed towards those who disagree with them, going so far as attempting to overturn the election results.  The Left broke windows, led in riots, overturns cars, etc., after losing the election.  Celebrities threatened to leave the country if their candidate lost the election (they all cried wolf and stayed).  Also noteworthy was the post election “sore loser” infantile behavior of the left wing weenie brigade, featuring cuddling with puppies, drinking hot cocoa, lying on the pavement in the fetal position, group screams at Yale University, as well as a wide variety of other reprehensible deeds whose actions were reminiscent of those we use to call brats.  In the You Tube below, you can see their leader setting the tone for immature meltdowns:

HILLARY CRYING UNCONTROLLABLY ALL NIGHT PROTESTS AND WHAT DEMOCRAT STANDS FOR

HILLARY CRIES DURING EPIC ELECTION DEFEAT SPEECH

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Red States:  It is realized within this group that “All lives matter.”  There is a desire to keep taxes down as much as possible, and keep governing to a minimum, thus allowing our citizenry to make their decisions on the local level.  The failed Obamacare is rightly interpreted as unconstitutional.  The evangelicals are still found in the heartland and have great influence in the red states.  82% of evangelicals voted Republican.  There is a desire to curb the immigration of illegals and those who would seek the harm of our nation.  Abortion is rightly interpreted as pure unadulterated murder.  The Judeo Christian ethic upon which our country was founded, is greatly esteemed and respected.  Sanctuary cities are seen in a very negative light, and as a method to harbor criminals.  Patriotism is a positive trait, and the flag is raised as we love God and Country.  The flag is esteemed and adored, not burned and trampled upon.  There is no hatred for the LGBT Community; yet they are seen as living a perverted lifestyle, totally contrary to the will of God.  Public restrooms should remain the way they have always been – for men and for women period.  Marriage is ONLY between one man and one woman.  Muslims are welcome to America insofar that they submit to our Constitution and do not attempt to implement Sharia Law.  Since this scenario is very unlikely, the immigration of Muslims to the United States of America will always be a difficult issue.  Second amendment rights are endorsed, and afford protection for our citizenry.  It is a well established fact that where people are allowed to carry arms, there is less crime.  The United States Constitution is fully endorsed, and is seen as representing the very law upon which our nation and government were built.  The Brexit decision in Great Britain is greatly appreciated, as Britain decided they do not desire allegiance and unity with the European Union.  The New World Order (NWO) is interpreted as the enemy of the sovereignty of the United States of America.  Many nations in the United Nations are Islamic, and a danger to our beliefs as Americans.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is observed as a political football that carries a huge bureaucratic agenda with it.  (i.e. Taxing farmers hundreds and even thousands of dollars for each cow they own, and heavily taxing the land that animals graze on, etc., etc., etc.)  The citizens of the red states are saddened when their candidates lose the election, yet do not enter the riot or self pity mode, or threaten to somehow usurp the election results.

Yes, there is a deep chasm running through our nation, and two totally opposing world views.  Will they eventually threaten the unity of our United States?

Pastor Steve

Pray For Revival In America!