Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Stethoscope

Great commercial ... thanks, J!

Friday, July 20, 2012

God Can, Indeed, Use You!

The next time you feel like GOD can't use you, just remember…

Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rehab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
John the Baptist ate bugs
Peter denied Christ
The disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
Zacchaeus was too small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer…AND
Lazarus was dead!

No more excuses now!!
God can use you to your full potential.
Besides, you aren't the message,
you are just the messenger.

God bless!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Pastor's Son

Every Sunday afternoon, after the morning service at the church, the Pastor and his eleven year old son would go out into their town and hand out Gospel Tracts. 

This particular Sunday afternoon, as it came time for the Pastor and his son to go to the streets with their tracts, it was very cold outside, as well as pouring rain. 

The boy bundled up in his warmest and driest clothes and said, 'OK, dad, I'm ready.' 

His Pastor dad asked, 'Ready for what?' 

'Dad, it's time we gather our tracts together and go out.' 

Dad responds, 'Son, it's very cold outside and it's pouring rain.' 

The boy gives his dad a surprised look, asking, 'But Dad, aren't people still going to Hell, even though it's raining?' 

Dad answers, 'Son, I am not going out in this weather.' 

Despondently, the boy asks, 'Dad, can I go? Please?' 

His father hesitated for a moment then said, 'Son, you can go. Here are the tracts, be careful son..'

'Thanks Dad!' 

And with that, he was off and out into the rain.. This eleven year old boy walked the streets of the town going door to door and handing everybody he met in the street a Gospel Tract . 

After two hours of walking in the rain, he was soaking, bone-chilled wet and down to his very last tract. He stopped on a corner and looked for someone to hand a tract to, but the streets were totally deserted. 

Then he turned toward the first home he saw and started up the sidewalk to the front door and rang the doorbell. He rang the bell, but nobody answered. 

He rang it again and again, but still no one answered. He waited but still no answer. 

Finally, this eleven year old trooper turned to leave, but something stopped him. 

Again, he turned to the door and rang the bell and knocked loudly on the door with his fist. He waited, something holding him there on the front porch! 

He rang again and this time the door slowly opened. 

Standing in the doorway was a very sad-looking elderly lady. She softly asked, 'What can I do for you, son?' With radiant eyes and a smile that lit up her world, this little boy said, 'Ma'am, I'm sorry if I disturbed you, but I just want to tell you that * JESUS REALLY DOES LOVE YOU * and I came to give you my very last Gospel Tract which will tell you all about JESUS and His great LOVE.' 

With that, he handed her his last tract and turned to leave. 

She called to him as he departed. 'Thank you, son! And God Bless You!' 

Well, the following Sunday morning in church Pastor Dad was in the pulpit.  As the service began, he asked, 'Does anybody have testimony or want to say anything?'

Slowly, in the back row of the church, an elderly lady stood to her feet. 

As she began to speak, a look of glorious radiance came from her face, "No one in this church knows me. I've never been here before.  You see, before last Sunday I was not a Christian. My husband passed on some time ago, leaving me totally alone in this world. Last Sunday, being a particularly cold and rainy day, it was even more so in my heart that I came to the end of the line where I no longer had any hope or will to live. 

"So I took a rope and a chair and ascended the stairway into the attic of my home. I fastened the rope securely to a rafter in the roof, then stood on the chair and fastened the other end of the rope around my neck. Standing on that chair, so lonely and broken-hearted I was about to leap off, when suddenly the loud ringing of my doorbell downstairs startled me. I thought, 'I'll wait a minute, and whoever it is will go away.' 

"I waited and waited, but the ringing doorbell seemed to get louder and more insistent, and then the person ringing also started knocking loudly... 

"I thought to myself again, 'Who on earth could this be? Nobody ever rings my bell or comes to see me.' I loosened the rope from my neck and started for the front door, all the while the bell rang louder and louder. 

"When I opened the door and looked I could hardly believe my eyes, for there on my front porch was the most radiant and angelic little boy I had ever seen in my life. His SMILE, oh, I could never describe it to you! 

"The words that came from his mouth caused my heart that had long been dead, TO LEAP TO LIFE as he exclaimed with a cherub-like voice, 'Ma'am, I just came to tell you that JESUS REALLY DOES LOVE YOU .' Then he gave me this Gospel Tract that I now hold in my hand.. 

"As the little angel disappeared back out into the cold and rain, I closed my door and read slowly every word of this Gospel Tract. Then I went up to my attic to get my rope and chair. I wouldn't be needing them anymore. 

"You see -- I am now a Happy Child of the KING. Since the address of your church was on the back of this Gospel Tract, I have come here to personally say THANK YOU to God's little angel who came just in the nick of time and by so doing, spared my soul from an eternity in hell ..."

There was not a dry eye in the church. And as shouts of praise and honor to THE KING resounded off the very rafters of the building, Pastor Dad descended from the pulpit to the front pew where the little angel was seated.... 

He took his son in his arms and sobbed uncontrollably. 

Probably no church has had a more glorious moment, and probably this universe has never seen a Papa that was more filled with love & honor for his son ... Except for One.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Aramaic Taught in Israeli Village

I found this great article last month --

The Israeli village where Christian children are learning Aramaic in bid to revive ancient language that Jesus spoke

By Julian Gavaghan
A Christian village in Israel is teaching Aramaic in an effort to revive the ancient language that Jesus spoke - centuries after it all but disappeared from the Middle East.

Maronite children from Jish, who speak Arabic as their first language, are learning the tongue of their forefathers after their elementary school became the only one in the country to teach the subject.

The language, which was the region's dominant language 2,000 years ago, is still chanted in the church – although few understand it beyond prayers.
But, rather than rebel against learning an idiom that has little practical use, the 80 youngsters aged five to ten are embracing learning phrases such as ‘ah chop’ – or ‘how are you?’

Many Muslim children are even happy to learn it because, according to the school’s head teacher, it is part of the Arab community’s ‘collective heritage’.

In the Arab village of Jish, nestled in the Galilean hills where Jesus lived and preached, about 80 children in grades one through five study Aramaic as a voluntary subject for two hours a week. 

Israel's education ministry provided funds to add classes until the eighth grade, said principal Reem Khatieb-Zuabi.

Several Jish residents lobbied for Aramaic studies several years ago, he explained, but the idea faced resistance.

Jish's Muslims worried it was a covert attempt to entice their children to Christianity. 

And some Christians objected, saying the emphasis on their ancestral language was being used to strip them of their Arab identity. 

Passion: Atif Zarka, 64, a volunteer Aramaic teacher's assistant, plays the violin to forth grade students studying Aramaic in Jish
Passion: Atif Zarka, 64, a volunteer Aramaic teacher's assistant, plays the violin to forth grade students studying Aramaic in Jish

The issue is sensitive to many Arab Muslims and Christians in Israel, who prefer to be identified by their ethnicity, not their faith.

Ultimately, Mr Khatieb-Zuabi, a secular Muslim from an outside village, overruled them.

‘This is our collective heritage and culture. We should celebrate and study it,’ he said.
Carla Hadad, 10, who frequently waved her arms to answer questions in Aramaic from school teacher Mona Issa during a recent lesson, said: ‘We want to speak the language that Jesus spoke.’

‘We used to speak it a long time ago,’ she added, referring to her ancestors.

During the lesson, a dozen children lisped out a Christian prayer in Aramaic. They learned the words for ‘elephant,’ and ‘mountain.’ 

Some children carefully drew sharp-angled Aramaic letters. Others fiddled with their pencil cases, which sported images of popular soccer teams.

The children are helped in their studies by an Aramaic-speaking television channel from Sweden, of all places, where a vibrant immigrant community has kept the ancient tongue alive.

The only other filmed production to use the language is Mel Gibson’s biopic The Passion of The Christ.

The language is also being taught in the Palestinian-administered West Bank at a special school for Syrian Orthodox Christians.

In the village of Beit Jala, near Jesus’ birthplace in Bethlehem,  priests have taught the language to their 320 students for the past five years.

Some 360 families in the area descend from Aramaic-speaking refugees who in the 1920s fled the Tur Abdin region of what is now Turkey.

Priest Butros Nimeh said elders still speak the language but that it vanished among younger generations. 

He said they hoped teaching the language would help the children appreciate their roots.

Although both the Syrian Orthodox and Maronite church worship in Aramaic, they are distinctly different sects.

Ancient language: A copy of the Gospel of Luke in Aramaic script
Ancient language: A copy of the Gospel of Luke in Aramaic script

The Maronites are the dominant Christian church in neighboring Lebanon but make up only a few thousand of the Holy Land's 210,000 Christians. 

Likewise, Syrian Orthodox Christians number no more than 2,000 in the Holy Land, said Nimeh. Overall, some 150,000 Christians live in Israel and another 60,000 live in the West Bank.

They are helped by Swedish Aramaic-speaking communities who descended from the Middle East have sought to keep their language alive.

They publish a newspaper, ‘Bahro Suryoyo,’ pamphlets and children's books, including ‘The Little Prince,’ and maintain a satellite television station, ‘Soryoyosat,’ said Arzu Alan, chairwoman of the Syriac Aramaic Federation of Sweden.

There's also an Aramaic soccer team, ‘Syrianska FC’ in the Swedish top division from the town of Sodertalje. Officials estimate the Aramaic-speaking population at anywhere from 30,000 to 80,000 people.

For many Maronites and Syrian Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land, the television station, in particular, was the first time they heard the language outside church in decades. Hearing it in a modern context inspired them to try revive the language among their communities.

‘When you hear (the language), you can speak it,’ said Issa, the teacher.

Aramaic dialects were the region's vernacular from 2,500 years ago until the sixth century, when Arabic, the language of conquering Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula, became dominant, according to Fassberg.

Linguistic islands survived: Maronites clung to Aramaic liturgy and so did the Syrian Orthodox church. Kurdish Jews on the river island of Zakho spoke an Aramaic dialect called ‘Targum’ until fleeing to Israel in the 1950s. Three Christian villages in Syria still speak an Aramaic dialect, Fassberg said.

With few opportunities to practice the ancient tongue, teachers in Jish have tempered expectations. They hope they can at least revive an understanding of the language.

The steep challenges are seen in the Jish school, where the fourth-grade Aramaic class has just a dozen students. The number used to be twice that until they introduced an art class during the same time slot - and lost half their students.

Only 15% Believe in Godless Evolution

Terence P. Jeffrey at CNS News had an interesting summary of a recent Gallup poll (emphasis added) ...

Only 15 Percent of Americans Believe in Godless Evolution, Says Gallup

( - Only 15 percent of Americans say they believe that the human species evolved from a lower form of life and that God had no part in the process, according to a Gallup poll released on Wednesday.

A combined 78 percent of Americans believe that whether man developed over millions of years or was created from the start in his present form, it was God who did the forming.

In a survey conducted May 3-6, Gallup asked 1,024 American adults: “Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings: 1) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process, 2) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process, 3) God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so?”

Forty-six percent said they believe God created human beings pretty much in their present form within approximately the last 10,000 years.

Thirty-two percent said human beings develop over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided the process.

Fifteen percent said they believed man developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in it.

People with the last view—that man evolved from lesser beings without the guiding hand of God—are most likely to be found among people who seldom or never go to church and people who attended post-graduate school.

Only 14 percent of American college graduates believe in Godless evolution, the Gallup poll revealed. However, 29 percent of those who attended graduate school believe man evolved without any involvement by God.

Only 3 percent of Americans who attend church weekly believe in Godless evolution, and only 10 percent of those who attend church almost weekly or monthly. However, among those who seldom or never go to church, 26 percent believe man evolved without any involvement by God.

Among Americans who attend church every week, 67 percent believe that God created man pretty much in his present form within approximately the last 10,000 years. Fifty-five percent of Americans who attend church almost every week or monthly share that view.

Democrats and Independents, according to Gallup, are more likely to believe in Godless evolution (19 percent of each group do), than Republicans (only 5 percent do).

Gallup has been asking Americans this question about God and evolution since 1982. In its analysis of the current survey, the polling firm said Americans have been very consistent in believing God had a hand in man’s development.

“Despite the many changes that have taken place in American society and culture over the past 30 years, including new discoveries in biological and social science, there has been virtually no sustained change in Americans' views of the origin of the human species since 1982,” said Gallup’s analysis.

In 1982, according to historical data published by Gallup, 44 percent said that God created man as is within the last 10,000 years, 38 percent said man evolved with God’s guiding hand, and 9 percent said man evolved and God had no part in the process.
I think the comment regarding Americans remaining consistent in their beliefs over the past 30 years , in spite of ongoing medical innovations and discoveries,  coupled with data on education levels are especially meaningful to me.