Month: November 2014

Father sings to his dying newborn son

A video showing a father singing the Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’ to his dying newborn son after his wife died in childbirth is being watched worldwide.

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On Saturday, Nov. 8, Lennon James Picco was delivered by emergency C-section at 24 weeks. Hours later, Lennon’s mother, Ashley Picco, passed away in her sleep. She was 30 years old.

According to the YouTube video, Lennon’s lack of movement and brain activity had been a big concern for the doctors and nurses at Loma Linda University Hospital. However, during Ashley’s pregnancy, she would often feel Lennon moving to music. With this in mind Lennon’s dad, Chris Picco, asked if he could bring his guitar into the NICU and play for his dying son.

Several hours a day, Chris played music for Lennon during the last days of his life. Baby Lennon passed away Tuesday, Nov. 11.

Chris wrote this Facebook post after the death of his son:

“Dear friends, family, and supporters; it is with an unbelievably heavy heart that I write this. My little fighter, Lennon James Picco went to sleep in his daddy’s arms late last night. He was surrounded by family, friends, and the best doctors, nurses and hospital staff in the world. He was dressed in an outfit that Ashley bought for him, with little guitars on it, and wrapped in a blanket made by a dear friend. I am so thankful for the four unforgettable days I got to spend with him. His mommy would have been so beyond joy to see him and to hold him, touch him, bathe him, sing to him – as I have had the privilege of doing. I have been so blessed and honored to love him before he was formed, to cherish him while mommy carried him, meet him face to precious face, and hold his perfect little body while we said “goodbye for now”. There are no words, but I wanted to keep you updated, as your love and support has meant more than anything in the world. All you need is love.”

(Watch the video here) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lNBcTkssWA

Jesus came to set us free from fear of death and dying: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

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A new book claims Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had two kids…

According to The Lost Gospel, Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene…? — who was also the Virgin Mary…? — who also gave birth to Jesus? and they had two children…?

[Get ready to play the Mission Impossible theme song or the Twilight Zone theme song in your head] Also, according to this new book Jesus, Mary, and their children also escaped an assassination attempt years before Jesus was crucified.

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Wilson and Jacobovici, who have tried on numerous occasions to discredit claims about the historical Jesus before, “decoded” a story, which is about a man name Joseph and his wife, Aseneth — characters they believe are secret code names for Jesus and Mary Magdalene…

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Who are these people? the authors of this incredible story are Barrie Wilson, a professor at a Canadian University, and Canadian-Israeli screenwriter Simcha Jacobovici [a SCREENWRITER!!!! (a person who writes fictional screenplays on which mass media such as films, television programs, comics or video games are based.)]

They are basing their tale off the Ecclesiastical History of Zacharias Rhetor Mytilene), an Aramaic-language text that has been in the British Museum then the British Library for almost 170 years.

But scholars have said that “the new book shares more in common ‘with the fictional book written by Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) rather than historical or Biblical texts like Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.”

In my opinion, these pseudo discoveries are nothing more than a scam designed to stir up controversy by money hungry people who are trying to get people to waste their hard earned money on garbage with no substance or truth.

The Journey Of 40 Years As An Atheist Philosopher To Father Lazarus

An astonishing film about Father Lazarus who has been living in solitude on the Mount Colzim for several years now. He is originally Australian and worked at the university lecturing and teaching literature and Philosophy and spent about 40 years of his life as an atheist deriving his philosophy from Marxism.

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After his mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died, he abandoned his life in Australia and set out in quest of God and FREE MAN. His honest search and pilgrimage eventually led him to Jesus Christ.

If I were to point the story towards you I would ask, “Where’s Waldo?” and you might recall those popular children’s picture books from the 1980s. That little guy in the red-and-white-striped shirt and hat loved to hide in the pages amid a busy blur of images that made it nearly impossible to find him.

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Thankfully, finding Jesus is a lot easier than finding Waldo. Jesus doesn’t play hide-and-seek. He says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Rev. 3:20). You can find Him at the door of your heart—the core of your existence—and He is waiting to come in.  He doesn’t just want to meet you at church, or to be kept at bay on the outer edges of your life. Rather, Jesus longs to be in the center of your dreams, deliberations, and desires. He wants a real relationship with the real you.

And as wonderful as that is, I need to warn you that it may be a little unsettling. Your heart is no doubt harboring a few things that He will want to deal with – things that bring sadness, addiction, anger, hate etc… But it’s worth the pain because there is nothing that is more valuable than intimacy with Him.

Welcome Jesus in and He will clear out the clutter until the air is fragrant and fresh with the purity, power, and pleasure of His presence.

Who’s knocking at your heart’s door? It’s Jesus! How wonderful is that!

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To Worship Him Or Not?

Part 1. Only God deserves worship

In these first two verses God clearly states that we should not worship any other god besides Him

  • Exodus 20:2-6 “I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in Egypt.  “Do not worship any other gods besides me.  “Do not make idols of any kind, whether in the shape of birds or animals or fish.  You must never worship or bow down to them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not share your affection with any other god!
  • 2 Kings 17:38-39 “Do not forget the covenant I made with you, and do not worship other gods…”

In these next verses God clearly states that we will not share His glory with anyone else

  • Isaiah 42:8 “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not share my glory with another or my praise to idols.
  • Isaiah 48:11 “I will not yield my glory to another.”

Many verses instances the New Testament also forbid worshiping men, angels, or any created thing.

  • Acts 10:25-26 – Cornelius fell down to worship Peter. Peter forbade it saying that he himself was just a man. God deserves worship, but men do not.
  • Revelation 22:8-9 and 19:10 – John sought to worship the angel, but the angel forbade it because he was a “fellow servant.” “Worship God.”
  • Romans 1:25 – People who worship and serve created things, rather than the Creator, have left the truth of God.

To worship any created thing – whether man, angel, heavenly body, or some other object in nature (mountain, ocean, etc.) – constitutes idolatry.

  • Revelation 4:9-11 – God deserves this glory because He created all things. Note again the distinction between the creature and the Creator. [Revelation 5:13; Romans 11:36]
  • Isaiah 42:8; 48:11 – This glory is unique to God in that He refuses to share it with anyone else. Idols and created things have no right to receive this glory.

It follows that it would be blasphemy for anyone but God to receive this unique kind of glory. If anyone does receive this glory with God’s approval, then that one must possess Deity.

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Part 2. Jesus receives the unique worship, glory and honor of God

A. Jesus is worshipped

  • Matthew 2:11 As soon as the Magi laid eyes on the infant Christ, “they bowed down and worshiped Him
  • John 9:38 After Jesus had healed the blind man, He revealed Himself to be the Son of God. The man said he believed in Jesus, and he worshipped Jesus.
  • Matthew 14:33 “those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’”
  • Revelation 5:12-14Both the Father and the Lamb (Jesus) were worshipped and praised by the created things, who attributed to them “blessing and honor and glory and power.” Note that the same glory and honor belongs to both Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • Matthew 28:9 When they realized it was Jesus, they “came to Him, clasped his feet and worshiped him

B. Jesus receives Glory and Honor

  • John 5:23 – All men should honor the Son (Jesus) “just as” they honor the Father. To fail to give this honor to the Son is to fail to properly honor the Father.
  • John 17:5 – Jesus prayed to the Father to “glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was”

The clear implication is that Jesus and the Father both possessed the same glory before the world began. However, we have already learned that no one but God can receive the glory God has (Isaiah 42:8; 48:11). However, Jesus did receive that glory with the approval of the Father. Therefore, Jesus possesses Deity.

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Part 3. Conclusion

If Jesus is not Deity, then who is He? Who is this man who received glory, honor and worship equal to the Father in heaven? To understand God we must realize that God is not part of the created things. God is the Creator, separate and far above the creatures.

If we accept that Jesus is in fact God then we realize that He always has been God and always will be God, since God’s unique nature cannot change (Hebrews 13:8). God cannot cease to be God nor can God lose the characteristics of God. He can take on non-Divine characteristics as Jesus added the characteristics of a man when He came to earth, and He can limit the use of His powers in order to accomplish His Divine purposes as Jesus did on earth. But He cannot cease to be God and He cannot lose the power and characteristics of God.

Jesus possesses Deity.

A Tree Will Be Known By Its Fruit

LAHORE Pakistan (Reuters) –

A mob of Muslims were gathered by the towns mullah (the towns expert teacher of the koran and Islamic laws) outside the house of Shehzad Masih, 32, and his wife Shama, in her 20s, dragged them out and beat them to death, their bodies were then set on fire in a brick kiln where they worked while a mob of Muslims celebrated and jeered chanting “Islam is peace” according to police and witnesses.

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The Christian couple was charged with blasphemy (desecrating a koran) — however, no one could verify whether or not the charges were true.

Blasphemy charges, (in countries were the ruling population are Muslims) even when they go to court, are punishable by death. They are hard to fight because the law does not define clearly what is blasphemous. Presenting the evidence can sometimes itself be considered a fresh infringement.

  • Quick fact: Christians make up about four percent of Pakistan’s population and tend to keep a low profile in a country where Sunni Muslim militants frequently bomb targets they see as heretical, including Christians, and Sufi and Shi’ite Muslims.

Punjab police spokeswoman Nabila Ghazanfar said the couple, like many other poor Christians in the area, worked in a brick kiln owned by a local man who has also been arrested.

“Three days ago, a co-worker alleged that they had burnt pages of the Koran. On Tuesday morning, a mob gathered outside their house, dragged them out, beat to death and burnt them in the same kiln where they worked,” she said.

Pakistan’s minorities feel that the state fails to protect them, and even tolerates violence against them because the koran explicitly commands Muslims to kill, beat and treat poorly those who are non-Muslims.

  1. Quran (2:191-193) “And kill them (non-Muslims) wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out.”
  2. Quran (3:151)“Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers…”
  3. Quran (8:12)“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”
  4. Quran (2:191) “murder them (Christians and Jews) and treat them harshly

A local journalist, who spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons, said Islamic police are slow to act to protect non-Muslims.

  • Last month a British man with a history of mental health illness, sentenced to death for blasphemy earlier this year, was shot by a prison guard in his cell.
  • Also in October, a Pakistani court upheld the death penalty against a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who is also accused of blasphemy, in a case that drew global headlines after two prominent politicians who tried to help her were assassinated.

Jesus said in Luke 6:43-45

43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart…

Not Everyone Who Says To Me, “LORD, LORD” Will Enter The Kingdom Of Heaven…

Matthew 7:21-23 reads,

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

What is the will of God?

Part 1. God’s Will for All Believers

Bible Verses About God's WillJohn 7:17 If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.

Part 2. Doing God’s Will Out of Trust and Obedience

Mark 3:34-35 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.

Romans 8:27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

2 Corinthians 8:1-6 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints —and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace.

Ephesians 6:5-7 Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man

1 Thessalonians 4:2-4 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor

1 Peter 2:13-16 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

1 Peter 3:17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

1 John 2:16-17 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Part 3. Examples of God’s Will as a Plan (A Call)

Romans 1:9-11 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.  For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you

Romans 8:28-29 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Romans 15:30-33 I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

1 Corinthians 1:1-3 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus…

Ephesians 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God…

Colossians 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God…

2 Timothy 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus… 

Part 4. How Can You Know God’s Will?

Clearly the Bible tells us that it is God’s will for “all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1Timothy 2:4). Then as believers we are “to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). We are taught things in the Bible that will help us to do the things that please God. When you are looking for God’s specific “plan” for your life you must fervently pray for God to show it to you. Remember when you are praying that God will open and close doors along the way. When God opens a door – walk through it. When God closes a door; do not open it back up. Make your plan as though God will bless it and then execute it. He will reveal to you what He wants for you and don’t ever forget that His grace is sufficient for whatever come what may. That’s a promise!

How Churches Drive New Comers Away

If you attend a church regularly, you’ve probably noticed the phenomenon. A new person shows up for worship service, but he or she never returns. It is, unfortunately, a common issue in many churches.

One person created a Twitter poll to ask random first-time guests why they chose not to return to a particular church. While some of the responses were anticipated, I admit being a bit surprised with some of them.

Though my poll is not scientific, it is nevertheless fascinating and maybe eye opening to many church leaders. Here are the top ten responses in order of frequency.

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  1. Having a stand up and greet one another time in the worship service. People shouldn’t have to be told to get up and welcome new comers or each other. If the people in your church can’t be bothered to say good morning, or welcome a new face… then you have a real problem, and setting aside an official time of the service to force them to say good morning does nothing to fix that problem. We should naturally want to greet each other and not feel burdened to do so.
  2. Unfriendly church members. This response was anticipated. But the surprise was the number of respondents who included non-genuine friendliness in their answers. In other words, the guests perceived some of the church members to be fake.
  3. Unsafe and unclean children’s area. This response generated the greatest emotional reactions. If your church does not give a high priority to children, or it’s younger members don’t expect young families or young members to attend.
  4. No place to get information. If your church does not have a clear and obvious place to get information, you probably have lowered the chances of a return visit by half. There should also be someone to greet and assist guests at that information center as well.
  5. Bad church website. Most of the church guests went to the church website before they attended a worship service. Even if they attended the service after visiting a bad website, they attended with a prejudicial perspective. The two indispensable items guests want on a website are address and times of service. It’s just that basic.
  6. Poor signage. If you have been attending a church for a few weeks, you forget all about the signage. You don’t need it any more. But guests do. And they are frustrated when it’s not there.
  7. Insider church language. Most of the respondents were not referring to theological language as much as language that only the members know. My favorite example was: “The WMU will meet in the CLC in the room where the GAs usually meet.”
  8. Boring or bad service. People come to be encouraged, to be taught, to be challenged unfortunately the message, the music/praise are often of poor quality because many churches fail to provide what is needed – the Word of God. Many praise bands become there own “machine” instead of including others they fall in love with the stage and forget about their duty as praise team leaders.
  9. Members telling guests that they were in their seat or pew. Yes, this obviously still takes place in some churches.
  10. Dirty facilities. Some of the comments: “Didn’t look like it had been cleaned in a week.” “No trash cans anywhere.” Restrooms were worse than a bad truck stop.” “Pews had more stains than a Tide commercial.”

What should be done? What could be done?