Friday, January 29, 2010

Teen Pregnancy on the rise....Abortions too....

Today's link finds us with a report that teen pregnancy and abortions were on the overall increase in 2006. Although the increase was small (3% rise in teen pregnancy and 1% rise in abortions), the fact that the numbers increased instead of decreasing as had been consistently happening is a concern.

In the article, the author suggests that an "abstinence-only" policy that was supported by Bush Jr. could be a cause for this, simply because where abstinence only is preached, instruction about the use of contraceptives is non-existent. 

Now I am sure there are some other attributes the author is not considering, nor have been uncovered as to why the abortions/pregnancies has increased, but let's for today's discussion, just assume that the main reason for the increase is due to government policy on education of intercourse and teenagers....

I'm going to be completely transparent here: I don't have a firm opinion either way, but I can see the difficulties and dangers of enforcing an "abstinence-only" policy. Simply for the fact that if kids cross that "abstinence-only" line and choose to end their celibacy, they will not be prepared on how to handle the intercourse. Why would someone use contraceptives when they haven't been told to use contraceptives as a method to be better safe than sorry?

I'm really not trying to stir the waters here....But I just struggle with trying to enforce a Christian-based ethic  such as abstinence-only on the rest of the secular world, simply because there seem to me to be some limitations in the practicality of the theory. 

On one hand, the amount of intercourse amongst teenagers would definitely be on the decrease (in theory) if abstinence-only is preached. However, it seems that the likely-hood of teenage pregnancy and abortion could potentially increase by the same message.

I really am torn here. What do you guys think?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Who Will Be Reading Their iPads?

With all the hubbub about Apple's iPad, many are wondering what the statistical breakdown is for future readers. Happily, Galleycat offers some hard stats:

"Avid readers are using their eReaders to supplement their print reading habits. There is an emerging hybrid market--they will continue to buy books but split those purchases [between eBooks and print books]," he said, cheering up the publishing crowd.

Haggard Revelations: Wife Chose to Love

Ted Haggard's wife gives her side of the story about the evangelical leader who consorted with a male prostitute.

Says Gayle Haggard:

"My heart broke in that instant. I knew the importance of physical touch ... And I knew the damage rejection could cause. Broken people need to be touched, and by reaching out, Ted was pleading for my help. I wanted to help him; I didn’t want to reject him — but what was I supposed to do with the anger, revulsion and pain that were warring in my heart? I had coached other women through this. Now it was my turn .... And so that night I began my journey of choosing ... Choosing to love.”

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Haiti...lest we forget

I know we have been hearing and seeing so much about Haiti (if you own a television, Haiti literally owned a whole evening of it), but I think this overexposure is for good reason. To sympathize we need to be exposed to the pain and destruction. Should we want to be comfortable in our own environment and ignore the pleas for help, shut yourself in and live in your own kingdom as if God intended us to turn a deaf ear to the hurting world he once asked us to save....

So, yet is one more video from Haiti, post-earthquake....with some really awesome technology that lets you control the camera on a car to see the destruction with 360 degree perception.

Friday, January 22, 2010

BOTT 2010: Review

Today I am heading back to my homeland of Wis-CON-sin (as they say in the south). I will be posting a review of BOTT 2010 some time soon.

There is a treasure chest of pictures located at if you'd like a detailed look at what went on during the conference.

I, along with many others, have a feeling of renewal in my spirit. Looking forward to what the future holds!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

BOTT 2010: God's Calling

In his unique way, Bro. Arnold is reminding us that just because we make a mistake we don't lose our calling.

"God can use you even though you messed up. He can restore your vision! You have a destiny, a work to accomplish. We have an anchor that's holding us!"

Energy in the room is on a high level!

BOTT 2010: Jeff Arnold

Nothing like Jeff Arnold's preaching style -

"Any people looking to the government for a bailout is headed for slavery. We got a God who will take care of us!"

"The devil couldn't keep my daddy in the grave, and he can't keep me in no grave."

"I've got an anchor sure and steadfast that is connected to the presence of God! No devil can move me!"

"As long as you and I keep going in the right direction, nothing can hold us back. Don't worry about those nuncumpoops that dislodged their anchors and are going in the wrong direction of truth, our anchor holds!"

"My hope anchoreth to that which is within the veil."

BOTT 2010: Jeff Arnold Speaking

"God wants to make a sweep in the house while I speak. God wants to make the altar call while I'm speaking. If you can release your faith, God can heal while I am speaking"

"God spoke to me and said: 'If you can convince the people, I will confirm My word.'"

"You have got to become convinced that God holds true to His word."

"If we can be convinced of God's mindset, I will release such supernatural energy, it will chase every infirmity out of their body."

"How can you not have faith for a lesser miracle but for a greater miracle?"

BOTT 2010: Spirit of Unity

After the message, Brother Anthony Mangun told us to turn to a brother or a sister and pray strength over them to reach their goal of winning souls. The feeling of unity was seemingly tangible as men and women began to pray for one another. God is good!

BOTT 2010: Challenge

At the conclusion of his message, Brother Mitchell had ushers hand out cards. One for each person. Each card has the statement on the front:

"I will seek to invest in others who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ and invite them to my church."

On the back are three spaces for names of three people that the cardholder will attempt to invest in and invite to their church. Also a pledge:

"I will pray daily for them, share my testimony with them, and invite them to my church."

Below that is a place to sign and date the card.

If every person in the room won those three people, 9,000 people would be added to the church.

We have been challenged to reach the lost! Even if you are not at BOTT 2010, you too can join this evangelistic effort to reach the lost!

BOTT 2010: Candles

Brother Robbie Mitchell had two tables - each with several lit candles on them - placed on the platform on either side of the pulpit. Every minute the men standing by the tables put out a candle. Each candle represented the 107 people around the world that died in that minute.

We cannot stand by and let souls go to hell without giving them a chance to meet Christ.

BOTT 2010: Evangelism Continued

"When it comes to evangelism, we talk the talk but we don't walk the walk. We need a radical change of action!"

"We don't need to gain any approval to experience Apostolic revival."

"Brothers and Sisters, I come before you tonight to ask you if you are willing to stand before God with the blood of thousands of men and women on your hands. You can't do it by yourself. We need to bind together to win cities for God!"

"It is the deceptive ploy of hell to distract us from the area of soul-winning. We blatently neglect the purpose of our calling when we focus on non-important issues."

BOTT 2010: Mission Personal Evangelism

Robbie Mitchell's message is focused on evangelism, evangelism, evangelism.

"The enemy's goal is to distract us from the purpose of our existence - evangelism! The eternal destiny of man's soul rests in our hands."

"We cannot be content and satisfied in our churches, we must set up camp to the doorway of hell, saving those who are on their way in."

"We have a diving opportunity right now for a great revival, a great harvest, and a great increase. Revival is not coming, it's here!"

"We are the bride, not big business!"

BOTT 2010: Presence of the Almighty

The presence of Almighty is moving through the place as the praise team and choir lead us in worship. Such a powerful display of God's glory!

BOTT 2010: Song Service Thursday

Church just started with a hymn led by Madonna Massey. Her golden voice was carried on the wings of anointing as the words became alive and the congregation joined in singing.

"Oh how I love Him, how I adore Him. My breath, my sunshine, my All in All. The great Creator became my Savior. And all God's fullness dwelleth in Him."

Excellent start to the last night of BOTT 2010.

BOTT 2010: Jeff Arnold

Came 45 minutes sooner than last night and people are already lined up at the doors! People will do anything for a good seat. Anticipation and expectation levels are at an extreme high. Tonight is the last service of BOTT 2010 with Robbie Mitchell and Jeff Arnold preaching.

Because of the Times 2010

Editor's Note: Long-time reader Ty is live-blogging from Because of the Times (BOTT) 2010 in Alexandria, La.

Testing out posting capabilities from my iPhone. Having a blast thus far at Because of the Times 2010!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Facebook, our new substitutionary version of Big Brother

1984, the novel by George Orwell is very dear to the heart of every American, whether they have read the book or not. The idea of Big Brother knowing the thoughts and actions of the private citizen creates paranoia and protests from many. For what is more fearful than an intrusive government keeping an eye on our every action in the name of security for our country?

But perhaps our perceptions of what may constitute a Big Brother may need to change. Google is scarily silent about some of it's methods of gathering information (every notice how the advertisements in gmail eerily reflect a recent email you had read? Not a coincidence).

But for today's post, i present to you Exhibit B: Facebook. In today's link,  we read quotes from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his defense for recent privacy setting changes on facebook, and the apparently inevitable loss of our privacy. The changes to the privacy settings won't alter our lifestyle in any way, but it just makes our information on facebook that much more readily available to advertisers and facebook stalkers alike all in the name of "the times they are a-changin."

Needless to say this does not resonate well with the author of the article, nor myself...your thoughts are welcomed.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Haitians Praise God after Apocalyptic Quake

Wow! This article sure puts life in perspective, doesn't it? (It also points out how difficult it is for secular reporters to adequately and accurately cover religious issues.)

If you'd like to donate, the Pentecostal Compassion Services International is sending relief to Haiti.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Weekend Fun: Pigeon Impossible

Here's a light-hearted, clever take on the spy genre that is full of chuckles. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Kissed Kissing Goodbye....

Link of the day: A Brief essay on the Virgin Lips Movement

Virgin Lips movement being in that people are actively administering a "no-kiss" policy in dating and engagement relationships. They are not being legalists about it, but there are people who are indeed waiting until they hear the words "I do" until they kiss.

While I do not have a stance at this moment, I must say, on the practical side of things I can see this actually working for couples that date (or court), get engaged, and marry all within a year. Outside of that, I see the whole process as quite maddening.

What do you think?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Calling vs Giftedness

Regular Word blogger Marjorie makes some astute arguments about "Callings vs. Giftedness" in her latest post:

"I think confusing calling and giftedness sets people up for a faulty relationship with God and others. Calling is by definition an external act (God calls you) which does not have any guards on it (if you say God called you to preach, how can I speak to that? No other person has input on this) whereas giftedness is more internal and much more able to be assessed from the outside."

She offers a compelling argument, that your giftedness has a Christian responsibility that directs and hinders your artistic inclinations. Hmmm.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Kings of Leon....Representin Jesus and the Holy Ghost?

Everyone's favorite Ex-UPC gone secular rock band (or least favorite) these days is Kings of Leon. When I first heard them in my college dorm 5 years ago (I was a rebel rouser at the time), I was intrigued at their unique bluesy-rock sound. My draw to them grew when I discovered their UPC connection. Their dad was a southern evangelist in our ranks (now removed), and they grew up as UPCers. You don't have to look too hard in our denomination to find someone who either is related to them or knew them personally in their younger days.

That said, there really is nothing Christian about their lyrics, except for a subtle reference here or there to their religious ways of old. However, as they got bigger (they are the biggest rock group in England, and arguably one of the top 5 most popular rock bands in the United States), their connection with the UPC got stranger...

In 2007, their breakthrough album was titled "Because of the Times." Named after the annual Because of the Times conference at the Pentecostals of Alexandria church....

After this album blew up, the oddest thing was how much they had blown up in the UPC amongst teenagers and twenty somethings....It was not because of any uplifting message in their songs, but simply because of their roots....Secular music is generally discouraged amongst us (if not outlawed), but yet Kings of Leon was the hip permissible exception to the rule for many youth's even more confusing when on their most recent album their biggest hit was titled "Sex on Fire" and supposedly describes the difficulties of having an STD.

But just yesterday, my friend alerted me to a song that Kings of Leon has been playing live for the past year that is apparently gaining legendary status amongst Kings of Leon's unnamed at this point but online fans have given it such titles as "Devil's song," "Lucifer," or "New Song." (don't be fooled by the titles)...While no studio version of the song exists, feel free to listen to a live version below....

The lyrics are the most interesting part:

ain’t gonna sell my soul to the devil.
ain’t gonna get down on her level.
ain’t gonna sell my soul to Lucifer.
Tell your girlfriend I aint’ got no use for her.
I went and I sold my soul to Jesus.
Nobody knows just what he means to us.
I went and got me some of that Holy Ghost fire.
Ain’t nothing in this world that can take me higher.

Now I am in no way giving them a stamp of approval, and in no way am I suggesting that one song redeems their whole catalog of other less than Christian songs. I just think it's kind of cool hearing a shout out like this as a direct reference to their Apostolic roots.... (video below)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Judgment Day: May 21, 2011

My earliest memories of church revolved around the declaration that God is coming back sooner than you realize...

There are some very strong arguments that without an emphasis of Jesus' second coming (a focus on eschatology), there is no Pentecost. Pentecostalism and eschatology go hand in hand.

But few are willing to put precise dates to this second coming....

Except for the man pictured, HAROLD CAMPING...a minister with quite an international following.

In today's link, we see Harold Camping laughing off the recent speculations that the world is ending in 2012, based on the ending of the Mayan Calendar and publicized through a recent Hollywood movie named 2012.

Why is Harold Camping laughing? Because God will have come back by then. In fact, Harold has done some "number crunching" based on biblical prophesy and he knows that the rapture will take place on May 21, 2011.

Never mind that he had previously predicted the return of Christ on September 6, 1994...