Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Grammar of Love (1 Cor 13: 4&5 - Small Group Study)

by JM

“ 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).
To ignore basic grammar in speech or print is a recipe for serious miscommunications. If you start treating verbs as nouns, and nouns as adjective, you remove basic building blocks of language, universally accepted norms (at least universal within a particular language) that enable on mind to successfully interact with another.

I would insist that something like this is true of Love. There is a basic grammar of love; basic building blocks that enable one soul to successfully love another. Some of these are laid out in 1 Cor. 13: 5 & 6.

Before looking over the particulars of this passage, there are three basics of love that are suggested by a cursory reading:

1. Love is Verbal

“I want to point out something to you that you wouldn't know unless you were aware of the Greek. When you look at verses 4 to 7 in the English, it says: "Love is patient, love is kind, love is this, love is not that, and so forth." In the English, love is described with adjectives. But in the Greek, each of these descriptions of love is a verb...and verbs describe action. So, love is not something you describe with adjectives; love is something you describe with verbs. Love is only love when it acts” (John MacArthur)
2. Love is Relational
“Love is patience, love is kind, does not envy, does not boast… - Verbs that make sense only given a subject and an object.
3. Love is Oppositional
Again, “Love is patience, kind…” - Concepts that presuppose opposition or some form of resistance. Patience, of course is a virtue that assumes one coping with the delay or incompetence of another.
All this to say that 1 Cor. 13 isn’t written to instruct you so much what kind of feelings you can conjure up, or on how to act towards those that you find lovely and amiable, it’s written to us about how we are to act towards those who are quite irritating. This is merely a restatement of what Jesus had said a few decades before.

Matthew 5:44-48 44 "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 "If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. -
I detect three different kinds of challenging relationship

*One Way Relationships
*Top-Down or Bottom-Up Relationships
*Criss-Cross Relationships
I. One Way Relationships

What do One-Way relationships look like? A relationship in which people give very little and require much.

How does Love Respond to One Way Relationships?
“Love is patient, love is kind.”
Patience: Love Puts Up With A lot
A good natured tolerance of delay or incompetence of a person; bearing of provocation, annoyance, or pain without complaint or loss of temper…"It is the word which is used of the man who is wronged and who has it easily in his power to avenge himself but will never do it."
“A pearl is a garment of patience enclosed in annoyance.”
Kindness: Love Gives A Lot
II. Bottom-Up /Top-Down Relationships

How Does Love Act When I’m a Have-Not: When I’m on the Bottom looking Up

“It does not envy”
Envy Defined: Envy is a painful and resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another…accompanied by a strong desire to possess the same advantage. Envy wants to have what someone else possesses. Why? They don’t deserve it, but you do. The root word for envy, in the Greek, means "to boil." It refers to an inner boiling,seething, or steaming over something somebody else has.
1 Samuel 18:6-11 6 It happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments. 7 The women sang as they played, and said, "Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands." 8 Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, "They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?" 9 Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on. 10 Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, and he raved in the midst of the house, while David was playing the harp with his hand, as usual; and a spear was in Saul's hand. 11 Saul hurled the spear for he thought, "I will pin David to the wall." But David escaped from his presence twice.
How Does Love I Act When I’m a Have? When I’m on the Top looking Down

“it does not boast”
Boasting Defined: The root word means “windbag.” Boastfulness is the empty verbalizing of accomplishments for the praise and adulation of others.
“Empty Trucks Make the Most Noise”
Envy and Boasting are forms of Pride
“it is not proud”
In his Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis contended that we can even be proud of our humility. Pride is a telescope turned the wrong way. It magnifies self and makes the heavens small.
III. Criss-Cross Relationships

What are Criss-Cross Relationships? All relationships include conflict over superficial irritations and not so superficial values. A Criss-Cross Relationship are those associations in which there is abnormal conflict with idiosyncrasies and values. 1 Cor. 13 Love will force you to wrestle with these two questions:

Do I Easily Offend: Am I Insensitive to other’s Sensitivities?
“It is not rude (inconsiderate) , it is not self-seeking,”
Am I Easily Offended: Am I Oversensitive to My Own Sensitivities?
“it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
Tempering Conflict: Living out Romans 14:1-19

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ultimate Issues Hour: Prager v. Hitchens Re: God

Prager H3: Dennis debates Christopher Hitchens, columnist for Slate and Vanity Fair and author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

Listen Here

Monday, May 28, 2007

David Livingstone - A Biography (Pt.2)

Taken from Missionary Talks Podcast:

"Missionary Talks 26: David Livingstone (part 2)

This episode and the next of Missionary Talks will be a biography of the life of David Livingstone, the great missionary explorer of Africa. After these two episodes have been released, I will make a single file download from which you will be able to hear the whole story in one audio file." Click Here to Listen

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Primacy of Love: Having a Love-Sided Community (1 Cor. 13 -Small Group Study- Wk 2)

by JM

I think that it is healthy periodically to ask yourself the following questions:

(1) What are my greatest talents?
(2) What am I weak at when it comes to relationships?
(3) How can I take my greatest talents and strenghten my relationships?
In turning to 1 Corinthians 13, it is clear that the church Paul addressed was tremendously talented while at the same time relationally dysfunctional. They were unable, or better yet, unwilling to build a bridge between spiritual gifts and spiritual community. So long as a person was functioning with frequency and intensity in their spiritual gift, cultivating godly relationships seemed unimportant. In fact, whenever the two were opposed (gift vs. bother or sister), the gift always won. With this philosophy of radical individualism, the result was a church content in being contentions and chaotic. It appears that they prided themselves in the contention and chaos, for that was thought to display to the world their ultimate value of individualistic expression, even when it meant corporate upheaval. For the Corinthians, Gifts were far greater than Love.

A Lop-Sided Church: A Gift-Sided Church

The unbalanced is striking: Here we have an immensely gifted and talented church who appears to lack in no spiritual gift. Here we have a unique church, in that we have no other example in the NT of a church operating with the fullness and intensity of the spiritual gifts than they. However, despite all the spiritual gifts, there was very little spiritual fruit; much charismata, little character

Wrong Measurements of Spirituality

The Corinthian Church prided themselves as having attained spiritual maturity. Their justification was grounded in the sheer enormity and expression of supernatural phenomena in their congregation. Their logic followed this course: If the presence and practice of spiritual gifts is the measure of spiritual maturity, and there are no other churches that function with the fullness and intensity of the gifts, then there’s no church as mature as the Corinthian church. To get a glimpse of this hubris, check out 1 Cor. 4:1-16.

Wrong Expressions of Spirituality

What did the typical Corinthian church service look like? I imagine it would make our Pentecostal brothers and sisters look Baptist in comparison. I envision tongue talking matches (or clashes), prophecy show downs, and “I have greater faith than you” displays('Oh, you moved a mole hill, we’ll I moved a mountain'). Regardless of the apparent exercise in madness, there was method behind it all. It was all quite reasoned out. If the intensity and quantity of your spiritual gift is the fundamental sign of spiritual maturity, then each service I must give full vent and expression to my gift - I'm displaying to myself and others the degree to which I’ve arrived. To refrain is to be unspiritual.

Bringing Balance: The Love-Sided Church

1 Corinthians 12:31 - 13:3 31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way. 1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
In this foray of poetic expression, I believe Paul to be saying that a spiritual person will display his maturity primarily in godly character, and in particular in a loving character. Love cannot or should not be classed with charismata (‘just another spiritual gift among others’). It is not one gift among many, it is the matrix in which all gifts are to be expressed and orchestrated; an all-embracing style of life that utterly transcends in importance the claims of this or that spiritual gift.

The irony of this passage is as striking as the chaos in the church: Paul is here declaring that the primary evidence of the Spirit working in one’s life is whether 1 Cor. 13 love is in operation in one’s life. As applied to the Corinthians, here we have the self-professed spiritually mature church (allegedly outranking all churches in their spiritual progress), lacking the primary evidence of the Spirit - Love. They have all the Gifts of the Spirit, and little of the Fruits of the Spirit.

Illustrating Love’s Primacy

With the opening volley of love, there’s a powerful image that is suggested.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
A spiritual gift (be it tongues or prophecy…) is to love what cymbals are to sheet music in an orchestra (though of course full-blown orchestras were non-existent). Imagine a full-fledged orchestra. Cymbals and gongs are the kinds of things that are expressed only a few times compared to other instruments; expressions that are directed by the sheet music. We’ve seen the images the few cymbalists who are intently focused in on the sheet music, turning page after page with little activity of their own, awaiting for the crescendo and climax of the piece. And finally, the music is building up and their grand moment has arrived. In a moment that arrests the audience, with all instruments are at their peak, the cymbals and gongs are unleashed and as quickly terminated in a breath- taking musical tour de force. Notice the following things:

• The expressions of the cymbals are relatively infrequent.
• The expressions of the cymbals are strategic and timely.
• The expressions of the cymbals are subordinate (they play a supportive role) – they accentuate other instruments and/or the whole symphony
• The expressions of the cymbals are not-lime light instruments – not like the piano; or the violin.
• The expressions of the cymbals reach their potential due to their relationship to the sheet music, which determines their relationship to other instruments.
I would suggest that Paul is saying that this is the kind of relationship that should exist between Love and Spiritual Gifts. Love is incomparable in its importance, and should serve to dictate how gifts are expressed. The analogy is suggestive.

•The expressions of gifts are to relatively infrequent.
• The expressions of gifts are strategic and timely.
• The expressions of gifts are subordinate (they play a supportive role) – the accentuate other instruments and/or the whole symphony.
• The expressions of the gifts are never to be lime light gifts
• The expressions of the gifts reach their potential due to their relationship to love – They are spoiled and profit nothing if they deviate from love.
Introspection - Are We Lop-sided People?

Signs that you are gift-sided: You equate spiritual maturity with spiritual activity. It is enough in your mind that you are doing; that you’re active; that you’re in movement.

Signs that you are love-sided:

•You realize Most gifts are easier to perfect than the character needed to drive them: Anyone can brandish a knife and harm, but it’s only the surgeon that can cut to heal; anyone can brandish a tongue or prophecy, but can they do it out of love.

• You realize that spiritual maturity involves movement, but you realize that there’s something fundamentally more important and more difficult to get right than movement or activity = motive. (movement w/o right motive = nothing). In fact, right motive will inform the specific way you ought to act or express your gift.

• You will find yourself asking these questions:

o I’m I expressing my gift?
o Why am I expressing my gift? Am I expressing it to primarily build others or myself?
o Who do I express my gift to? Am I consciously trying to build others.
o How do I express my gift? Do I express my gift in a way to divert as much attention from myself as it possible?
o When I’m to express my gift? Am I able to refrain from expressing it so as to bring the greatest amount of blessings to others?
For two great messages helping to understand the context of 1 Cor. 13, listen to C.J. Mahaney's two outstanding messages:

Deflating the Puffed Up Church - 1 Corinthians 4

Concerning Spiritual Gifts

Next Weeks Memorization Verses: 1 Cor. 13:4 & 5.

Monday, May 21, 2007

David Livingstone - Biography

Taken from Missionary Talks Podcast:

"Missionary Talks 25: David Livingstone (part 1)

This episode and the next of Missionary Talks will be a biography of the life of David Livingstone, the great missionary explorer of Africa. After these two episodes have been released, I will make a single file download from which you will be able to hear the whole story in one audio file." Click Here to Listen

Saturday, May 19, 2007

No Spiritual “Monopoly” – A New Board Game For Pluralists

by JM

“A new board game by Enlighten Games Inc. ( takes players though six major in three historical/geographical categories. The goal? To be enlightened. Role the dice and you may just land on life’s “Rough Patches” – the only way out is to perform the Hindu spiritual rite of chanting om. Or you may land on the “Enlighten Path” and learn the true meaning of jihad. Does the winner become a pluralist” (Outreach Magazine May/June 2007)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Counter Cultural Love: Introduction to 1 Corinthians 13 - Week 1 (Outline of Small Group Study)

Pop-Culture on Love

by JM

One need only survey greatest hits to see that the American Culture has a love/'hate' affair with love.

First, you have pro-love songs vicariously sung by all love-struck lovers to each other:

I Will Always Love You/ Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston; Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer; The Power of Love by Celine Dion; Vision of Love by Mariah Carey; Endless Love by Lionel Riche and Diana Ross; All You Need is Love by John Lennon; Yummy, Yummy, Yummy by the Ohio Express.
When the couple breaks up, with ease they change their tune: shifting from singing the praises of love, to pronouncing curses on it. For Example:

Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benatar; Whats Love Got to Do With It by Tina Turner; Since You’ve Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson; Cry Me a River by Justin Timberlake; Don’t Wanna Fall in Love by Green Day; Love Will Tear Us Apart by Jose Gonzales
I could only imagine what a alien race oblivious to “love” would make of such shifting definitions. They might make the following conclusions:

Combine Riche & Ross with Gonzales: Endless Love + Love Will Tear Us Apart = Endless Tearing. Sounds painful.

Combine Houston and Clarkson: I Will Always Love You + Since You’ve Been Gone ('I can finally breath for the first time') = Love is an Allergy. We Get Asthma Everytime There’s Contact.

Combine Palmer and Green Day: Addicted to Love + Don’t Wanna Fall In Love = An addiction akin to Meth or Crank.

Combine Dion and Benatar: The Power of Love + Love is a BattleField = A scene from World War II – Saving Private Ryan from Dion and Benatar
Culture on Love

The kind of confusion trivially and humorously illustrated through pop-culture is illustrative of a fundamental misunderstanding and dilution of Love as originally intended. Here are some cultural perversions of Love:

1. Eroticism: How much sensual pleasure will I get?
Article - The New York Times: Children, Media, and Sex: A Big Book of Blank Pages

Article - The Baptist Press: FIRST-PERSON: Troubling stats about teen sex
2. Conditional Covenant Making: How can I guard my interests in this relationship?
Divorce Statistics: Click Here
Causes for Divorce:
Extra-marital affairs - 27% (29%);
Family strains - 18% (11%);
Emotional/physical abuse - 17% (10%);
Mid-life crisis - 13% (not in 2003 survey);
Addictions, e.g. alcoholism and gambling - 6% (5%);
Workaholism - 6% (5%)
3. Narcissism: How can I mask self-love with my love for others?
Being Kind to others to ensure Kindness in return
When Kindness isn’t returned, I cease to be kind
4. Minimalism: What’s the least amount I can get away with giving?

5. Tolerance: What values will I comprise to ensure people love me?
Counter-Cultural Love

Paul’s Treatise on Love in 1 Cor. 13 was penned as a corrective to polluted notions of Love imported from their culture; a culture not much different from ours, and therefore a chapter that will do much to correct our own faulty notions of love. We’ll divide this correction in the following way.

1. The Primacy of Love (Vss.1- 3): The Measure of True Spirituality.

2. The Grammar of Love (Vss.4&5): Love is a Verb which has an Object and a Subject.

3. The Boundaries of Love (Vss.6&7): Love is Not a Doormat, but it may be a Stepping Stone.

4. The Expressions of Love (Vss.8–12): Spiritual Gifts are Love’s Temporary & Inadequate Expression

5. The Cultivation of Love (Vss. 13): Towards a Trinitarian Love (faith hope and love)

6. The Frontier of Love: Group Outreach
Incarnating Love:Three Challenges To Our Group
Memorizing 1 Corinthians 13 – Verses 1-3 this week
How To Memorize Scripture:Click Here
Weekly Campaigns of Love in the Workplace
One Group Outreach

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bible drawn into sex publication controversy

Wed May 16, 2007 8:24AM EDT

HONG KONG (Reuters) - More than 800 Hong Kong residents have called on authorities to reclassify the Bible as "indecent" due to its sexual and violent content, following an uproar over a sex column in a university student journal.

A spokesperson for Hong Kong's Television and Entertainment Licensing authority (TELA) said it had received 838 complaints about the Bible by noon Wednesday.

The complaints follow the launch of an anonymous Web site -- -- which said the holy book "made one tremble" given its sexual and violent content, including rape and incest.

The Web site said the Bible's sexual content "far exceeds" that of a recent sex column published in the Chinese University's "Student Press" magazine, which had asked readers whether they'd ever fantasized about incest or bestiality.

That column was later deemed "indecent" by the Obscene Articles Tribunal, sparking a storm of debate about social morality and freedom of speech. Student editors of the journal defended it, saying open sexual debate was a basic right.

If the Bible is similarly classified as "indecent" by authorities, only those over 18 could buy the holy book and it would need to be sealed in a wrapper with a statutory warning notice.

TELA said it was still undecided on whether the Bible had violated Hong Kong's obscene and indecent articles laws.

But a local protestant minister shrugged off this possibility.

"If there is rape mentioned in the Bible, it doesn't mean it encourages those activities," said Reverend Wu Chi-wai. "It's just common sense ... I don't think that criticism will have strong support from the public," he added.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Can Moses Have False Beliefs While Penning Untainted Truth: the Implications for Biblical Inerrancy?

by JM
Concerning someone like Moses, some may try to insist that the following principle must be true: In order for statement S to be without error when spoken by Moses, is it the case that Moses must not have any mistaken views about S. For example, let’s say Moses was a geocentrist (someone who believes the earth is the spatial center of the universe), and let’s say he uses the phrase “the sun is setting.” Does this mean that Scripture errors when the phrase “the sun is setting” is used by Moses? Conversely put, is S is inerrant (without error) only if Moses understands S correctly. On this view, it is a necessary condition that when the phrase “the sun is setting” is used, that Moses must understand this within a heliocentric paradigm (believing that the sun is the center of the solar system) and not a geocentric paradigm.

I think there are considerations that suggest that it is not the case that Moses must understand S either fully or correctly before S is considered inerrant. For example, when Moses declares that God is eternal, does he mean that God is timeless or temporally infinite (a debate raging presently)? I suspect that Moses would have no clue, or a very impoverished notion of time and eternity. Perhaps he is convinced by one position, even though it is wrong. Is then Moses incorrect in his declaration, seeing that his declaration is either impoverished or fails in full correspondence of the facts? When Paul gives his benediction by using a Trinitarian formula, does Paul need to have the philosophically precise language or understanding of the Athanasian or Nicene creed to infallibly make a declaration about the Trinity? In addressing this, there are a few options available to us:

(1) The authors of Scripture knew fully about the matters that they communicated and made no errors. For example, when Moses describes creation ex nihilo, Moses has in mind something like the big bang.

(2) The authors of Scripture had a vague understanding about the things they reported and communicated no error. For example, a person who did not major in physics may have an impoverished understanding of gravity. In a crass and crude description, they may say something like “gravity occurs when rocks are let go from my hand.” Though crude, it isn’t incorrect; it’s a phenomenological description that lacks refinement and detail. So when Moses includes bats with birds, the crass similarity of “flying” suits him for classifying this type of creature. In this kind of language, categories are somewhat fluid. The same applies to analogical language. When I say that my dog is “good,” I mean that he is potty trained. When I say that my wife is “good,” I don’t mean that she is potty trained (even though she is), but that she is kind, faithful, vacuums well etc…. When I say God is “good,” I don’t mean exactly the same thing as when this word is used to describe my dog or wife. However, I don’t fully grasp what I mean by “good” when I apply it to God. I have a vague understanding of “goodness” that is confined to my sphere of understanding. I infer that this goodness is somehow an analogy to God’s goodness. Crude and impoverished, I know. Incorrect? No.

(3) The authors of Scripture had an incorrect view on the things they reported but communicated no error. This can be taken two ways:

(a) The author believing S is true, in making the statement S, means to communicate that S corresponds to reality. So, Moses believing rabbits to be ruminants, in penning Leviticus 11:6, means to share his conviction with the world. Yet, somehow Scriptures do not error in this event (hard to swallow, I know).

(b) It is possible for someone to state S, and not intend to communicate that S corresponds to reality, even though they believe that it corresponds to reality. Imagine a scientist who is at a cocktail party with his colleges. The atmosphere is jovial, and he decides to tell a joke. Whatever the joke is, the content includes something about how light is created when electrons drop from a higher to lower energy shell. In the middle of the joke, a fellow scientist (who is also a dogmatic skeptic) inappropriately interrupts the joke teller by asking whether or not he believes electrons really “drop.” Notice how the question is inappropriate given the purpose of the joke teller. Let’s say that he really does believe that electrons really drop, however his declaration of this fact in the joke was not meant to be taken metaphysically. He pauses, a little shocked by the rude interruption, considers the question, and then declares, “I believe that electrons really drop.” Consider that the different conversational contexts determine whether truth value is relevant. The first should not be considered as an issue of correspondence and truth, but of jargon and nomenclature. The second should be considered as an issue of correspondence, and therefore is true or false given if this correspondence obtains.

In other words, there can be significant distance between what someone says and believes, so that a person may declare X, believe X, and not be wrong in this declaration, even though the declaration fails the correspondence test. Why? Because in making declaration X, P does not mean to convey either what she believes, or whether or not X is true.
(4). The authors of Scripture had an incorrect view on the things they reported and communicated error because of this report.

Given the possibilities of (2) and (3b), I feel reasonable in dismissing (1), (3a), and (4). All this to say that it seems reasonable to maintain that Moses communicated inerrant truth without requiring inerranency of all his beliefs.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

King Herod's tomb may have been found

By STEVE WEIZMAN, Associated Press Writer
Tue May 8, 8:38 AM ET

JERUSALEM - An Israeli archaeologist on Tuesday said he has found remnants of the tomb of King Herod, the legendary builder of ancient Jerusalem, on a flattened hilltop in the Judean Desert where the biblical monarch built a palace.
Hebrew University archaeologist Ehud Netzer said the tomb was found at Herodium, a site where he has been exploring since the 1970s.

Netzer said a team of researchers found pieces of a limestone sarcophagus believed to belong to the ancient king. Although there were no bones in the container, he said the sarcophagus' location and ornate appearance indicated it is Herod's.

"It's a sarcophagus we don't just see anywhere," Netzer said at a news conference. "It is something very special."

Netzer led the team, although he said he was not on the site when the sarcophagus was found.

Stephen Pfann, an expert in the Second Temple period at the University of the Holy Land, called the find a "major discovery by all means," but cautioned further research is needed.

He said all signs indicate the tomb belongs to Herod, but said ruins with an inscription on it were needed for full verification.

"We're moving in the right direction. It will be clinched once we have an inscription that bears his name," said Pfann, a textual scholar who did not participate in Netzer's dig.

The fragments of carved limestone found at the sandy site are decorated with floral motives, but do not include any inscriptions.

Herod became the ruler of the Holy Land under the Romans around 40 B.C. The wall he built around the Old City of Jerusalem during the time of the Jewish Second Temple is the one that can be seen today. He also undertook massive construction projects in Caesaria, Jericho, the hilltop fortress of Massada and other locations.

It has long been assumed that Herod was buried at Herodium, but decades of excavations failed to turn up the site until now. The first century historian Josephus Flavius described the tomb and Herod's funeral procession.

Herodium was one of the last strong points held by Jewish rebels fighting against the Romans, and it was conquered and destroyed by Roman forces in A.D. 71, a year after they destroyed the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

Hebrew University had hoped to keep the find a secret until Netzer's news conference on Tuesday. But the university announced the find in a brief statement late Monday after the Haaretz daily found out about the discovery and published an article on its Web site.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Morning I Heard the Voice of God

By John Piper March 21, 2007

Let me tell you about a most wonderful experience I had early Monday morning, March 19, 2007, a little after six o’clock. God actually spoke to me. There is no doubt that it was God. I heard the words in my head just as clearly as when a memory of a conversation passes across your consciousness. The words were in English, but they had about them an absolutely self-authenticating ring of truth. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God still speaks today.

I couldn’t sleep for some reason. I was at Shalom House in northern Minnesota on a staff couples’ retreat. It was about five thirty in the morning. I lay there wondering if I should get up or wait till I got sleepy again. In his mercy, God moved me out of bed. It was mostly dark, but I managed to find my clothing, got dressed, grabbed my briefcase, and slipped out of the room without waking up Noël. In the main room below, it was totally quiet. No one else seemed to be up. So I sat down on a couch in the corner to pray.

As I prayed and mused, suddenly it happened. God said, “Come and see what I have done.” There was not the slightest doubt in my mind that these were the very words of God. In this very moment. At this very place in the twenty-first century, 2007, God was speaking to me with absolute authority and self-evidencing reality. I paused to let this sink in. There was a sweetness about it. Time seemed to matter little. God was near. He had me in his sights. He had something to say to me. When God draws near, hurry ceases. Time slows down.........

To Read More, Click Here

Friday, May 4, 2007

Thousands of Volcano Cult Members Turn to Jesus Christ

Christian Post Reporter
Tue, Apr. 24 2007 07:00 PM ET

"Thousands of cult members who used to worship a mythical messiah figure they believed to dwell inside a nearby volcano are giving their hearts to Christ after viewing the Jesus film.

The people on the isolated South Pacific island of Tanna, in the country of Vanuatu, have long put their faith in John Frum, a figure they insist is a former American GI during World War II who will someday emerge from the volcano and shower his believers with wealth and knowledge.

Frum has been described as a combination of John the Baptist, Uncle Sam and Santa Claus.

Yet members of the cult quickly forego their volcano “god” after viewing the Jesus film.

“As they see the film, as they see the picture it became more real to them. It is like Jesus coming alive and being in their presence,” said Pastor Phil Wiwirau, part of the Scripture Union team in Vanuatu, in a recently released Jesus Film video.

“The Jesus film also touched a lot of lives …[at] the crucifixion part… People came forward with tears and repentant heart because they could realize why Jesus had to die on the cross…”

Among the 10,000 islanders who formerly adhered to the volcano cult, more than 4,666 people from Tanna have converted to Christianity, according to Wes Brenneman, director of Campus Crusade for Christ in the Pacific Islands..."

Six-Figure Income - A New Respect for Mothers

"NEW YORK (Reuters) - If the typical stay-at-home mother in the United States were paid for her work as a housekeeper, cook and psychologist among other roles, she would earn $138,095 a year, according to research released on Wednesday.

This reflected a 3 percent raise from last year's $134,121, according to Inc, Waltham, Massachusetts-based compensation experts.

The 10 jobs listed as comprising a mother's work were housekeeper, cook, day care center teacher, laundry machine operator, van driver, facilities manager, janitor, computer operator, chief executive officer and psychologist, it said.

The typical mother puts in a 92-hour work week, it said, working 40 hours at base pay and 52 hours overtime."