Thursday, August 30, 2012

Like A Drug: The Rise Of American Megachurches

American megachurches use stagecraft, sensory pageantry, charismatic leadership and an upbeat, unchallenging vision of Christianity to provide their congregants with a powerful emotional religious experience, according to research from the University of Washington. 

"Membership in megachurches is one of the leading ways American Christians worship these days, so, therefore, these churches should be understood," said James Wellman, associate professor of American religion at the University of Washington. "Our study shows that -- contrary to public opinion that tends to pass off the megachurch movement as consumerist religion -- megachurches are doing a pretty effective job for their members. In fact, megachurch members speak eloquently of their spiritual growth."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Food Shortages May Force World Population To Go Vegetarianism

Water scarcity's effect on food production means radical steps will be needed to feed population expected to reach 9bn by 2050

Leading water scientists have issued one of the sternest warnings yet about global food supplies, saying that the world's population may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortages.

Humans derive about 20% of their protein from animal-based products now, but this may need to drop to just 5% to feed the extra 2 billion people expected to be alive by 2050, according to research by some of the world's leading water scientists.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Titanic! By Clifford Goldstein

Benny Beeman told the story like this: In 1912, he was coming over on a ship to America. He was a child, about 10 years old, leaving the Old World, where life for Jews wasn’t so good. He was heading for the New World, where he and his family hoped it would be better.

As they steamed west, word circulated on the decks about a ship in the area that had gone down. His vessel veered off course in order to help. In the morning, as the sun rose on the calm sea, young Benny and hundreds of others stood on the chilly deck. In the calm water below, debris floated silently—furniture, clothing, packing boxes, and, worst of all, bodies—as far as the eye could see. 

“Even now,” Benny said in a conversation during the 1990s, “I will never forget it. It was the wreckage of the Titanic.”

Monday, August 27, 2012

America Trashes 40 % or 165 billions of Food Supply

As Food Prices Rise, NRDC Offers Tips to Cut Food Waste from Farm to Table

Americans are throwing away 40 percent of food in the U.S., the equivalent of $165 billion in uneaten food each year, according to a new analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council. In a time of drought and skyrocketing food prices, NRDC outlines opportunities to reduce wasted food and money on the farm, in the grocery store and at home. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Oprah interviews seventh-day adventist Hollywood film executive DeVon Franklin

• "Super Soul Sunday" Full Episode: Oprah and DeVon Franklin on Keeping the Faith in Hollywood

Oprah Winfrey interviews seventh-day adventist author and Hollywood film executive DeVon Franklin about how to find your life's purpose. In just fifteen years, DeVon has climbed the ladder from being an intern at Will Smith's production company to Vice President at Columbia Pictures. He talks to Oprah about how his faith has always been at the forefront of his career, how anyone can maintain their beliefs in the face of conflict and how conflict can help propel you to achieving great success ... (1)

Forks over Knives│documentary film

What has happened to us? Despite the most advanced medical technology in the world, we are sicker than ever by nearly every measure.

Two out of every three of us are overweight. Cases of diabetes are exploding, especially amongst our younger population. About half of us are taking at least one prescription drug. Major medical operations have become routine, helping to drive health care costs to astronomical levels. Heart disease, cancer and stroke are the country’s three leading causes of death, even though billions are spent each year to "battle" these very conditions. Millions suffer from a host of other degenerative diseases.

Could it be there’s a single solution to all of these problems? A solution so comprehensive but so straightforward, that it’s mind-boggling that more of us haven’t taken it seriously?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Final Events (1 Thess. 5:1-11) / Lesson 9, August 25-31

Online Access to all Sabbath School Bible Studies and all resources you need

Read for This Week’s Study: 1 Thess. 5:1-11, Gen. 3:15-24, Isa. 13:6-9, Luke 21:34-36, Rom. 1:18

Memory Text: “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8, ESV).

Key Thought: The reality of Christ’s return calls us to continual readiness.

Sabbath School University

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Adventists Claim Hacker Swiped Manuscripts. By Adam Klasfeld

A "theological investigator" broke into a database of unpublished manuscripts by a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to hawk the documents online, the Ellen G. White Estate claims in Federal Court. [...] Lead defendant Brendan Knudson, who calls himself a "private detective, specializing in theological and historical investigations," has tried to unearth the unpublished pages since 2006, the estate says in its lengthy complaint.

The estate claims that Knudson sought help from hackers to break into its database after the organization rebuffed his demands for unrestricted access.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

White Estate database hacked, stolen copyrighted materials sold online

The website containing all of the writings of Seventh-day Adventist Church co-founder Ellen G. White was hacked and some of its copyrighted documents were offered for sale online, church officials said.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Why Liberty of Conscience Is the Most Important Issue in 2012. By Stephen Allred

When it comes to discussing political viewpoints with fellow church members silence is often eloquence. After all, haven’t we been wisely counseled to check our political viewpoints at the door when we come together as believers in Christ?[i] Besides, most of us have learned this from experience. I’ve been “un-friended” by at least one Facebook friend (who was also my church member) because of a certain politician’s Facebook page that I “liked.”

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Unity in the Church

Adventist Church president appeals for unity in 3ABN interview

Seventh-day Adventist world church President Ted N.C. Wilson appealed to the world church family to remain united in the face of issues that threaten to create dissension and distraction.

Wilson made his appeal in a one-hour interview televised on 3ABN, a private network supportive of the church, and also carried on the denomination's official television network, Hope Channel. The discussion took place last week at the 2012 Adventist-laymen’s Services & Industries convention in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Dead in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) / Lesson 8, August 18-24

Online Access to all Sabbath School Bible Studies and all resources you need

Read for This Week’s Study: 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Acts 17:3; 1 Cor. 15:20-23, 51-58; John 5:28, 29; Rev. 20:4-6.

Memory Text: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

Key Thought: Paul gives the Thessalonians (and us) a powerful hope for the future, the promise of the second coming of Christ.

Sabbath School University

Hope Sabbath School Study with Derek Morris at the Forest Lake Adventist in Florida / HopeTV

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Climate Change Poses Food Distribution Risks, Experts Worry

Downpours and heatwaves caused by climate change could disrupt food supplies from the fields to the supermarkets, raising the risk of more price spikes such as this year's leap triggered by drought in the United States.

Food security experts working on a chapter in a U.N. overview of global warming due in 2014 said governments should take more account of how extremes of heat, droughts or floods could affect food supplies from seeds to consumers' plates.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Adventist Olympian says post-marathon celebration is testament to faith in God

When Seventh-day Adventist long-distance runner Abel Kirui crosses a finish line, he drops to his knees and bows his head, offering a prayer in celebration. 

The whole world witnessed his gesture of gratitude this week when the 30-year-old Kenyan won the silver medal in the men’s marathon at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

White supremacy: The real ‘homegrown’ terrorism. By Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite

"...the idea of white supremacy depends on a fundamental theological error, that of the ownership of the image of God by the white race..."

The most dangerous enemy is the one who most resembles you. That is why the danger of white supremacy is so underestimated as a severe domestic terror threat. White supremacy is the true “homegrown” terrorism, dating back to the 18th century in the United States. 

White supremacy is the greatest danger we as Americans face as a source of domestic terrorism, and one of the least recognized. It is difficult for law enforcement, as well as ordinary white Americans, to recognize the extraordinary threat coming from those who look like them in terms of race. That makes them all the more dangerous. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Census shows that the Amish are the fastest growing religious group in U.S. and Canada

A new census of the Amish population in the United States estimates that a new Amish community is founded, on average, about every 3 ½ weeks, and shows that more than 60 percent of all existing Amish settlements have been founded since 1990.

This pattern suggests the Amish are growing more rapidly than most other religions in the United States, researchers say. Unlike other religious groups, however, the growth is not driven by converts joining the faith, but instead can be attributed to large families and high rates of baptism.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Living Holy Lives (1 Thess. 4:1-12) / Lesson 7, August 11-17

Sabbath Afternoon 

Read for This Week’s Study: 1 Thess. 4:1-12; Matt. 25:34-46; Gen. 39:9; John 13:34, 35

Memory Text: “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life” (1 Thessalonians 4:7, NIV). 

Key Thought: Though human sexuality is a gift from God, as with all gifts, it can be abused.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What Is the Real Terrorist Threat in America? By Steve Coll

Satwant Kaleka, who served as president of the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, arrived in the United States from India three decades ago with thirty-five dollars in savings. By last Sunday, he owned several gas stations, according to the Los Angeles Times. He turned up early that morning at his temple to oversee worship and preparations for a large birthday party.  

Wade Michael Page, a former bassist and guitarist in a white-supremacist rock band, drove to Oak Creek just after 10:15 A.M. He pulled out a pistol and shot worshipers remorselessly. An eleven-year-old-boy, Abhay Singh, watched him shoot one victim seven or eight times.

Kaleka tried to tackle the gunman. Page shot him, too; Kaleka dragged himself away, but he bled to death. He was sixty-two years old. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Atheism on the Rise in Asian and Europe

Atheism is on the rise. While the gains are relatively small, studies continue to corroborate the fact that those embracing non-belief constitute a growing minority.

Recently, TheBlaze told you about the growth of “nones” in America — those individuals who do not embrace a higher power (one in five Americans now fit this category). Now, a new study by RedC Opinion Poll, part of WIN-Gallup International,has found that atheism is on the rise globally as well.

On the whole, the majority of the world still embraces faith, with 59 percent of global citizens reporting that they consider themselves religious people. In contrast, 23 percent of those surveyed count themselves as nonreligious, with an additional 13 percent claiming that they are “convinced atheists.”

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Church Leaders Issue ‘An Appeal for Oneness in Christ’. By Mark Kellner

Responding to Columbia Union Conference Action, Unity is Stressed

Leaders of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists issued “An Appeal for Oneness in Christ,” on August 7, 2012, urging the Church’s constituent union conferences to shun “unilateralism” in deciding on ordination policy. World church executives and the 13 division presidents issued the statement, which can be found online here.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day & National Same-Sex Kiss Day

• Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day: Thousands flock to restaurants, company has record sales

The Atlanta-based chain hasn’t released sales figures from the supporter-driven appreciation day Wednesday another statement released Thursday morning marketing executive vice president Steve Robinson confirmed record sales had been achieved.

We are very grateful and humbled by the incredible turnout of loyal Chick-fil-A customers on August 1 around the country... While we don’t release exact sales numbers, it was an unprecedented day. 

Overnight and early Thursday, there were many reports about brisk business and long lines inside and outside restaurants as well as possibly breaking records in sales including megachurch pastor Rick Warren’s tweet sent Wednesday night:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Friends Forever (1 Thess. 2:13-3:13) / Lesson 6, August 4-10

Sabbath Afternoon 

Read for This Week’s Study: 1 Thess. 2:13-3:13; Rom. 9:1-5; 11:1-12, 24-32; Matt. 24:9-22; 10:42

Memory Text: “May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones” (1 Thessalonians 3:13, NIV).

Key Thought: Paul continues to praise the Thessalonians for the good things he sees in them and to encourage them amid the persecution they are facing.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

2011 International Religious Freedom Report

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. Article 18, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

To think, believe, or doubt. To speak or pray; to gather or stand apart. Such are the movements of the mind and heart, infinitives that take us beyond the finite. Freedom of religion, like all freedoms of thought and expression, are inherent. Our beliefs help define who we are and serve as a foundation for what we contribute to our societies. However, as the 2011 International Religious Freedom Report documents, too many people live under governments that abuse or restrict freedom of religion. People awaken, work, suffer, celebrate, raise children, and mourn unable to follow the dictates of their faith or conscience. Yet, under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, governments have committed to respect freedom of religion. As President Barack Obama said, they ought to "bear witness and speak out" when violations of religious freedom occur.