Sunday, September 30, 2012

Churchgoers Believe in Sharing Faith, Most Never Do. By Jon D. Wilke

When it comes to discipleship, churchgoers struggle most with sharing Christ with non-Christians according to a recent study of church-going American Protestants.

The study conducted by LifeWay Research found 80 percent of those who attend church one or more times a month, believe they have a personal responsibility to share their faith, but 61 percent have not told another person about how to become a Christian in the previous six months.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Great Controversy: The Foundation / Lesson 1, September 29-October 5

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Read for This Week’s Study: Gen. 3:15, Rev. 12:1–17, Isa. 14:4–21, Ezek. 28:12–19, Isa. 53:6, Rom. 1:20–28, John 16:2.

Memory Text: “‘And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel’” (Genesis 3:15, NKJV).

Key Thought: The great-controversy motif is the overarching concept that gives cohesion to Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Beliefs.

Central Study Hour with Doug Batchelor at the Sacramento Central Church / Amazing Facts

Fundamental Beliefs. By Kwabena Donkor

• Introduction: Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide│4rd Quarter 2012

Everyone believes in something. Even those who claim to believe in nothing, or in nothing absolute, still believe in something (in this case, their relativism). Beliefs are important because they greatly impact how we live. For some Christians, however, more important than belief or behavior is belonging, a sense of community. Yet, community must be based on shared beliefs, shared goals, and common concerns.

For Seventh-day Adventists—people from almost every conceivable manifestation of humanity—what holds us together as a community are our “fundamental beliefs,” all 28, which are foundational for growing in Christ and living as a community of faith in the light of eternity.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

German court warns Catholics: pay church tax or face expulsion

Judges back bishops' cash demands over grassroots opposition

A German court gave its backing yesterday to a decree by the country's Catholic bishops declaring that believers who refused to pay an eight per cent church tax could not be considered Catholic and would automatically lose the right to receive Holy Communion and a religious burial. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Did Jesus have a wife? By Lita Cosner

It seems the only time Christianity makes the news is when there is a discovery which might change the way early Christianity is viewed. A few years ago, the lead codices made headlines, with breathless exclamations that these may be the earliest Christian documents. When a fragment of an alleged fourth-century Coptic text was announced that put the words “My wife … ” in the mouth of Jesus, it took only days for it to be named “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife”.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mormons and Romney: The Myth About Separation of Church and State. By Derrick Shore

Growing up in a devout Latter-Day Saint (Mormon) family in a suburb of Salt Lake City, I knew my religion as well as my name. My mom played the organ in a Mormon temple, I was a Boy Scout, and there was rarely a Sunday when we would miss church. Praying at least three times daily and studying the Book of Mormon were as essential as brushing our teeth or making dinner. 

For the first time in American history a Mormon is the presidential nominee for a major political party. And while the Romney campaign has swiftly dismissed questions about his religion as inappropriate and irrelevant, it may seem that much of the media have tiptoed around this topic and have discussed the LDS church in glossy, broad terms. But here's why Mr. Romney's religion is relevant: For Mormons, there really is no such thing as separation of church and state. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Religious intolerance on the rise worldwide, says Pew Research Centre report

The report says the US and UK are among countries showing a worrying rise in religious discrimination

Three-quarters of the world's human population of seven billion live under strong government curbs on religion, or among serious "social hostilities" involving faith issues, find researchers.

The US and UK, say the researchers, are among countries showing a worrying rise in religious discrimination.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Muslim rage: Why they won’t calm down

Mischief, not madness, often underlies Muslim anger

TO OUTSIDE eyes it is as bizarre as it is repellent. A single event, book, cartoon, film or teddy bear, which represents nothing but its originator, who may not even be American, sparks lethal outbursts of mass protest. What, to prejudiced Westerners, could better exemplify Muslim backwardness and depravity?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Keeping the Church Faithful (2 Thess. 2:13-3:18) / Lesson 13, September 22-28

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Read for This Week’s Study: 2 Thess. 2:13-3:18, Acts 17:11, Luke 10:25-28, Matt. 7:24-27, 18:15-17.

Memory Text: “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter” (2 Thessalonians 2:15, ESV).

Key Thought: Even with all the grand and glorious promises for the future, we have to deal with daily challenges and struggles in the church. The Thessalonian church was no exception.

Central Study Hour with Doug Batchelor at the Sacramento Central Church / Amazing Facts

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How to build a bomb in the public school system. By David Catchpoole

How could they shoot and kill their fellow students? That was the question asked following the shooting deaths of 15 people at Columbine High School in Colorado, USA, on 20 April 1999. 1 Why would young people kill, destroy and bomb in a suicide attack?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Story of Stuff │animated documentary

The Story of Stuff is a short polemical animated documentary about the lifecycle of material goods. The documentary is critical of excessive consumerism and promotes sustainability.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Boy Scouts covered up hundreds of child sex abuse cases, files show

When volunteers and employees were suspected of sexually abusing children, Boy Scout officials often didn't tell police, files from 1970-91 reveal. In many cases they sought to hide the situation.

Over two decades, the Boy Scouts of America failed to report hundreds of alleged child molesters to police and often hid the allegations from parents and the public.

A Los Angeles Times review of 1,600 confidential files dating from 1970 to 1991 has found that Scouting officials frequently urged admitted offenders to quietly resign — and helped many cover their tracks.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

America's fascination with the Apocalypse

“In America, everyone believes in the apocalypse: The only question is whether Jesus or global warming will get here first.”

That’s how Mathew Barrett Gross, co-author of The Last Myth: What the Rise of Apocalyptic Teaching Tells Us About America introduces the short video ‘America’s Fascination with the Apocalypse’. 1 

The end of the world is nigh. Or so you might think if you immersed yourself in American popular culture.

From TV adverts to Hollywood movies, depictions of post-apocalyptic worlds are everywhere.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:1-12) / Lesson 12, September 15-21

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Read for This Week’s Study: 2 Thess. 2:1-12, Matt. 24:1-14, Zech. 3:1, Dan. 8:8-11, Acts 2:22.

Memory Text: “Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction” (2 Thessalonians 2:3, ESV).

Key Thought: In correcting the Thessalonians’ false theology of last-day events, Paul reveals truth about end-time deceptions.

Central Study Hour with Doug Batchelor at the Sacramento Central Church / Amazing Facts

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Vatican's Latest Target in the War on Women: Nuns. By Norman Birnbaum

No organization survives for two millennia by marching, upright, in a straight line. The history of the Roman Catholic Church is one of a constant struggle to adapt to changes that threatened its authority. In the modern age, it has had to deal with Protestantism and the Enlightenment. It has had to deal politically with democracy and fascism, imperialism and nationalism. Industrial capitalism made its vision of solidarity obsolete. Indifference, secularism and cultural pluralism deprived it of the unquestioning obedience of Catholics themselves.

In this twisted and often tormented tale, two things have been remarkably constant. One is Rome’s claim to ultimate decision in matters spiritual and worldly. The other has been unyielding insistence on the rule of men—in church and by implication in society.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

California Governor approves Workplace Religious Freedom Act

Seventh-day Adventist religious liberty advocates say a new bill banning workplace religious discrimination in the U.S. state of California offers more protection for church members whose jobs are jeopardized by Sabbath observance.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

One-fifth of US children are living in poverty

2011 data also show decline in household income for second year as presidential candidates debate economic recovery

New figures have been released by the US census bureau revealing a yearly decline in median household income for Americans, growing inequality and more than one in five children under 18 years old living in poverty.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The 11 Most Compelling 9/11 Conspiracy Theories

Many 9/11 conspiracy theories surfaced shortly after the September 11th attacks, some bringing compelling arguments, and some not holding up at all. Theorists believe that the World Trade Center buildings were demolished by bombs, phone calls from the planes were made up, and the former President George W. Bush secretly profited from the attacks.

I have compiled a list of the 11 most compelling 9/11 conspiracy theories that exist:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Top 10 media manipulation strategies. By Noam Chomsky

Renowned critic and always MIT linguist Noam Chomsky, one of the classic voices of intellectual dissent in the last decade, has compiled a list of the ten most common and effective strategies resorted to by the agendas “hidden” to establish a manipulation of the population through the media.

Historically the media have proven highly efficient to mold public opinion. Thanks to the media paraphernalia and propaganda, have been created or destroyed social movements, justified wars, tempered financial crisis, spurred on some other ideological currents, and even given the phenomenon of media as producers of reality within the collective psyche.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Take: Moon’s death marks end of an era. By Eileen Barker

With the death of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon at 92, we see the end of an era.

Moon was the last surviving charismatic leader of the wave of movements that spread throughout California and the rest of the West in the 1970s and ’80s – other examples included L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology, David Berg’s Children of God and Prabhupada’s Hare Krishna movement.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Promise to the Persecuted (2 Thess. 1:1-12) / Lesson 11, September 8-14

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Read for This Week’s Study: 2 Thess. 1:1-12, John 1:18, Rom. 2:5, 12:19, Rev. 16:4-7, 20:1-6, John 14:1-3.

Memory Text: “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:11, ESV).

Key Thought: The second coming of Jesus is the culmination of all Christian hope.

Central Study Hour with Doug Batchelor at the Sacramento Central Church / Amazing Facts

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Keeping the faith at home. By William Hageman

Even if families don't belong to an organized religion, instilling spirituality in children still matters

We are a nation of believers. Mostly. A Gallup poll last year found that 91 percent of Americans believed in God or some universal spirit. Yet a more recent poll by WIN-Gallup International and published by Religion News Service found that the number of Americans who say they are "religious" dropped from 73 percent in 2005 to 60 percent today. And in that poll, 5 percent of Americans said they are atheists, up from 1 percent in 2005.

Believing in God doesn't necessarily translate to belonging to an organized religion. And parents who do not belong to a religious institution, as well as those who don't believe in a higher power, are faced with a difficult question: How do they instill spirituality and faith in the children?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Why Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan believe wealthiness is next to godliness. By Diane Roberts

The poor and vulnerable would suffer greatly under these republican puritans who see money as a sign of God's favour

God loves Republicans, as they'll be the first to tell you. A Florida pastor is taking credit for praying Hurricane Isaac away from the Republican national convention. Instead, the wind and water went off to smite the wicked (and largely Democratic) city of New Orleans.

The GOP faithful see the US as a chosen nation, blessed with prosperity through a special relationship with the almighty. At the convention in Tampa, speaker after speaker invoked the deity almost as often as they talked about money. There's a long history of this, of course, going back to the Puritans. John Robinson, pastor to the Mayflower pilgrims, said: "The blessings of the Lord make rich, and as riches are themselves God's blessings, so we do desire them, for the comfortable course of our natural and civil states."

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Church Life (1 Thess. 5:12-28) / Lesson 10, September 1-7

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Read for This Week’s Study: 1 Thess. 5:12-28, Matt. 5:43-48, Gal. 5:22, Phil. 4:4, John 15:4-6.

Memory Text: “Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21, ESV).

Key Thought: Paul gives these Thessalonians, both leaders and lay members, very practical as well as spiritual advice about how to relate to one another.

Central Study Hour with Doug Batchelor at the Sacramento Central Church / Amazing Facts