Part Two: Christmas was designed to destroy our fears.

Now we continue with the last two kinds of fear that Christmas is designed to destroy.

The fear that you are helpless: Luke 1:29-33 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.   He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.   And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Mary’s fear of the future was justified.  She seemed trapped in a cruel drama.  She felt the crushing blow of forces she could not control.  We can see ourselves in it right now. There are a million new ways for modern life to make us feel helpless.   Right now we face the specter of government out of control.  There are only two ways left to see life today. It is either a cruel joke or it is a plan that will bulldoze whatever boulders and fallen trees that try to block our path. Here is how we can relate to her fear.  The first is that we feel that our government has turned against us.  The obscene greed of CEO’s plundered Wall Street and our retirement accounts with it and our leaders turned a blind eye to it.

This is what Mary and Joseph felt when Caesar Augustus’ law forced them to return to Bethlehem to pay taxes. This was not favor this was tyranny!  Yet a closer look reveals that government edicts must surrender to divine providence.  Prophecy trumps policy!  This was not a case of Mary being forced to go to Bethlehem but of Caesar being manipulated into writing a law that would fulfill the words of Micah 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me, The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”

God holds the strings not government.  He sets one up and takes another down.  The favored ones live on a plane of protection that is not known to mortal man.  Everything that comes at you must come through divine permission…that is favor!  Favor is a sense of peace that God is in control, not in a distant passive way but in an aggressive and immediate way that works to our advantage and for our good.  Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

 The fear of interrupting your schedule to celebrate: Luke 2: 8 “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

The story of the shepherds is a story of men out on the job, taut with tension, facing the threats of poachers, Romans and wild animals. They were watching their flocks knowing at any moment they might lose their livelihood.  Many of you can feel the drain of the long hours you must work.  Money pressures the keep us running.  We dare not stop lest we fall hopelessly behind.   The very idea of taking time out to celebrate can strike fear in our heart.

But, you also know that there is a deeper voice calling.  Here is what you need to see: THIS IS CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION!  There is nothing that the enemy wants to steal more from you than celebration.  It is the goal of the devil to make stop rejoicing.  There is a critical difference between joy and rejoicing.  Joy is the emotion of victory, rejoicing is the victory party.  As we said at the beginning of this letter, Christmas is an interruption.  The message of the angel was simple: “you have to go and celebrate. Go! We will watch the sheep.”

Jesus Himself modeled this truth for us when He wanted to celebrate the last supper.  The disciples had no idea how to accommodate Him.  After all they were in hiding because of threats on Jesus.  They thought, “Can we risk such rejoicing in this dark time and even if we wanted to how can we do it?  The Lord simply said “go to this address and tell this man we need his upstairs banquet room and he will give it to you.”  Bingo!   They had a party hall.

If you take the time to rejoice this Christmas, God will not only provide the party, He will give you an abiding peace and joy you will throughout your life.  After Christmas you must reenter the theater of the absurd and see the rest of the play, but so what.  Now you know better.  Now you know what the caroler meant when he wrote: “Joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies!”

 

 

How Christmas was designed to destroy fear.

Christmas is designed to destroy our fears.

 Imagine people gripped with panic and trembling at what might happen next.  Frantically, they seek ways to cope with the avalanche of terror.  Now there is the baleful knock of the wolf at the door!   The creature outside is the future, howling destruction!  Then just as suddenly, the house lights go up to reveal that this night terror is but a play.  Spontaneously, the audience and the cast retire to the grand lobby of the theater.  There they find a sumptuous feast awaiting them!   Celebration breaks out.   Laughter replaces weeping. Fond memories swallow fearful expectations.  The best music ever reawakens the innocence of childhood.  The delightful memory of simpler times overtakes them.  Aromas they have missed all year waft over them from the kitchen.  Silver bells ring out the call to rejoice; forget bills, aches, pains, threats and past hurts!  This is Christmas.  Everything is right with the world.

 No one wants to leave the grand lobby to face the second act, however, they all must.  The cast will return to the stage and the audience will resume its place in the hard demands of everyday life and the din of modern times.  This time however, they know better. They return with a deep sense that the life they once feared is a temporary reality.  They carry in their soul the great hope that one day soon the Lion is coming to finish off the wolf and the house lights will stay up and of His reign there will be no end.

 It is Christmas 2012 and not since October of 1929 have Americans felt this kind of fear.  This fear has spilled over to the Church as saint and sinner alike are cutting back on everything in anticipation of even more severe times ahead.  Many churches have let talented staff go and have halted vital services seeking to be wise with their dwindling resources.

In the face of such setbacks how should we celebrate Christmas this year?  Is a subdued, cut rate celebration is in order?  NEVER!  That kind of Christmas is way out of order.  We are not saying that you should load up your credit card and deal with the shock next year.  Nor are we prescribing a Disneyland denial.   Instead, we want a revelation of Christmas to overwhelm all of your fears.

December 25th is by definition a defiant holiday, a divine interrupter of worry and dread.

From the moment that the star appeared, a glorious triumph of the skies ensued and it interrupts again each year at this time.  (Before we go on, we must let you know how much we owe to my father in Christ, Ralph Wilkerson for the revelation that you are about to read.  Thanks Dad, for showing us the power of the Christmas.)

The Nativity is too big a miracle to adequately cover in any letter.   Instead, we want to focus on four amazing encounters with angels that prove Christmas is designed to destroy fear!  In fact, the Angels greeted each of the four main characters in the Christmas story with the very same greeting: FEAR NOT!  There is no doubt that fear was their primary target. When these heavenly visitors found each chosen vessel they confronted that person’s specific anxiety.  Then they instructed them to act against the grain of their dread and worry.   There were four different kinds of fear that the angel of the Lord attacked.  These also happen to be the fears that we facing now.   So, sit with us now.  Find yourself in the Christmas story and let an Angel touch your spirit.

The fear that God does not answer prayer!  Luke 1:1114 “Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.

We are bombarded with images of dread.  So much of that we have taken for granted has vanished.  The things we counted on to help us climb out of debt are proving to be brittle handrails.  CEO’s have ravaged companies and destroyed the retirement of millions.  Politicians have lied and lied to cover their lies.  Both Republican and Democratic leaders look utterly incompetent to handle crisis at home and abroad.  Everywhere we look, we see another broken promise.  No wonder the devil tempts us to wonder if prayer itself will also fail!  We may ask “does God hear my cry? Has He forgotten the promises He made to me?  Will I find surpassing peace, tangible breakthroughs and victory over my threats if I keep on asking, seeking and knocking?”

If ever there was a poster child for this condition it was Zacharias the priest.  Luke chapter one shows us that he walked in integrity.   However, the cold, cruel world created by Roman occupation and the wicked compromise of his fellow ministers had hardened him with unbelief.  His acts of worship in the temple once drew deep reverence, expectation and wonder.  Now they were the perfunctory acts of a burned out man.  Even his prayer for the Messiah to come and deliver Israel was reduced to rote.  There is nothing more heart-rending to witness than a child of God mumbling catatonic prayers in quiet despair.

The warrior angel gloriously startled him to jolt him out of fear!  What an eloquent rebuke!  “Hey!  Wake up, God heard you, He never forgot!  I am here to set you back on course and to fulfill the deepest desire of your heart.  You are going to have great joy after all!”

The fear that you must put away your dream: Matthew 1:19-24 “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife.

Joseph was an honorable man and he feared what society would do to the woman he loved.   Right now, Americans are afraid of what this crisis will do to the ones they love.  In a time when so many things seemed to have gone up in smoke it seems right to hunker down and brace ourselves for years of shortages.  Whether it is global warming or a moral cooling the logic of the moment seems to be to expect the worse.   He had night terrors voices that ran worst case scenarios in his mind.

Do you really want to prescribe a future of bleak limits to your children?   Everyone needs to know that their child will be safe on the way to school and on into their future.   However, children should not be warned to seek a career they can “fall back on.” They should be inspired to get a God given dream that they can throw their hearts into!   That kind of dream is so big that the facts don’t count and the flood of immorality will never stop it.

Not only this, but our children need to see us pursuing our dream.  We must remember that these hard times will not last but our dream will last.

It broke Joseph’s heart to think that he had to hide the woman he loved in order to save her.  While he was fretting over all of this the angel’s message loud and clear, “Do not fear current conditions. Why?  It was all summed up in this explosive statement: “what is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”  Since your dream is of the Holy Spirit nothing can stop it!  Paul said “He that began a good work in you will complete it to the day of Jesus Christ.”

 Check back for Part Two Later Today!

We already have proof that Obama’s policies are not going to turn the economy around. Consider these two examples.

Obama Policies Copy Moribund California, Not Texas

ByJohn Merline Investor’s Business Daily

 

Anyone who thinks that President Obama’s economic policies will spur strong growth should consider U-Haul rates between California and Texas.

Renting a 20-foot truck one-way from San Francisco to San Antonio, for example, will cost $1,693. But the U-Haul tab to go in the opposite direction is just $983.

To University of Michigan economist Mark Perry, who has tracked this “U-Haul Index,” the difference in these rental rates is the result of straightforward supply and demand.

Put simply, far more people want to leave California for Texas than vice versa.   Why? Because California’s economy is moribund while Texas’ is thriving.

“The American people and businesses are voting with their feet and their one-way truck rentals to escape California and its forced unionism, high taxes, and high unemployment rate for a better life in low-tax, business-friendly, right-to-work states like Texas,” noted Perry, who is also a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.  American Enterprise Institute.

California Nation

The problem is that Obama’s economic policies are pushing the country to be more like the California people are leaving and less like the Texas they’re flocking to.

“Every dream program that the administration embraces — cap and trade, massive taxes on the rich, high-speed rail — is either in place or on the drawing boards” in California, notes Joel Kotkin, executive editor of NewGeography.

Like President Obama, California’s Gov. Jerry Brown pushed for a substantial new tax on the “rich” that raises the top rate to 13.3%, a hike voters approved in November. Even before these taxes kick in, California was the fourth most heavily taxed state, according to a ranking by the Tax Foundation.

Also like Obama, the state is regulation happy. The Mercatus Center at George Mason University ranks California as one of the four worst states in terms of regulations. The state also imposes one of the heaviest tax burdens on businesses.

As a result, California consistently ranks at or near the bottom for business friendliness.

And like Obama — who has pushed federal spending up to historic highs for the past four years — per-capita spending in California has climbed 42% from 2000 to 2010, even after adjusting for inflation. The state is now one of the biggest spenders in the country.

The contrast in economic policies between California and Texas — which otherwise share many things in common, since both are big-population border states with lots of immigrants — could not be more striking.

Sandy-Ravaged New Jersey Families Face $6,933 Tax Hike in Fiscal Cliff Stalemate

By  Christopher Goins
November 21, 2012
christiePresident Barack Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – Families in Hurricane Sandy-ravaged New Jersey will face the highest tax increase as a percentage of their income – 6.82%  or about $6,933 more in taxes — if Congress does not reach an agreement on the fiscal cliff tax issues during the lame-duck session, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation.

In its study of how the fiscal cliff would affect typical families in each state, the Tax Foundation reports that if the numerous tax provisions that are due to expire on Dec. 31 are not changed, a four-person family in New Jersey with a median income of $101,682 will see its taxes go up at a rate 6.82 percent of its income, which translates into about $6,933.

The tax issues in question are the expiration of the Bush tax rates, which also include the elimination of the 10 percent tax bracket and the reduced deduction for married filers; ending the 2 percent cut to employee-side Social Security taxes; and the Alternative Minimum Tax.

Maryland was ranked second by the Tax Foundation because a four-person family there, with a median income of $106,707, would see its taxes go up 6.74 percent as a percentage of income, or about $7,194.

Connecticut, ranked third, would see taxes for a family of four go up by 6.62 percent, or $6,653.

All five states with the top tax increases are “blue states” which President Obama won in the 2012 presidential election. But so are four out of the bottom five states with the exception of Kansas.

Top Five Tax Increases Tax Increases as % of Income

#1 – New Jersey $6,933                                6.82%

#2 – Maryland    $7,194                                 6.74%

#3 – Connecticut $6,653                                6.62%

#4 – Massachusetts $6,632                           6.53%

#5 – New Hampshire $5,660                          5.81%

Forty states would see tax increases between $3,000 and $3,999. Six states would see an increase between $4,000 and $4,999 and three would see increases between $6,000 and $6,999.

New Hampshire would be the only state to see a tax increase between $5,000 and $5,999 and Maryland would be the only state to see a tax increase over $7,000.

Bottom Five Tax Increases Tax Increases as % of Income

#50 – Washington $3,362                                4.12%

#49 – Hawaii    $3,453                                    4.16%

#48 – Colorado $3,646                                    4.29%

#47 – Kansas $3,227                                      4.31%

#46 – Illinois $3,417                                        4.32%

The potential for tax increases on millions of U.S. taxpayers is still possible, the Tax Foundation explains, and would be especially devastating for lower-income families because of the changes to the child tax credit; the elimination of the 10 percent bracket, which would go back to 15 percent; and the reduced standard deduction for married filers — all of which are provisions in the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts.

Thank God for C.S.Lewis

Giving thanks for C.S. Lewis

November 22, 2012 By Joel J. Miller     

C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis

Besides Thanksgiving, November 22 this year marks the 49th anniversary of C.S. Lewis’ death.

I read a newspaper obituary about Lewis that my grandmother kept. She preserved the entire paper. The event was buried in the back–barely two column inches if memory serves. The rest of paper, or at least the majority of it, was dedicated to reporting the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Both men died the same day. Coincidentally, both men answered to Jack.

Though popular, this British author could not compete with an American president, and his passing was choked out by pages and pages of copy about the death of Kennedy.

Waning days

After remembering this fact earlier in the week, I spent some time reading about Lewis’ final years. The biographies of A.N. Wilson, George Sayer, and Alan Jacobs provided windows into his waning days.

A bachelor until late in life, Lewis eventually wed, but the marriage was brief. His wife, the American Joy Davidman, died of cancer in 1960 after just four years of marriage. Following her death, the grieving Cambridge professor found himself a single dad to Joy’s two boys.

Some eleven months later Lewis began experiencing difficulty peeing. Doctors concluded that his prostate was significantly enlarged and that his kidneys were infected, spreading bacteria through his bloodstream and causing heart problems. His condition didn’t go unnoticed by friends. One recalled that he looked “very ill”; another said that he appeared “unwell.”

Besides giving him blood transfusions, doctors put Lewis on a low-calorie diet and ordered him to quit smoking. He disobeyed. “If I did [comply], I know that I should be unbearably bad tempered,” he told George Sayer. “Better to die cheerfully with the aid of a little tobacco, than to live disagreeably and remorseful without it.”

Good spirits

Sayer says that Lewis “never lost his sense of humor.” Indeed, he was famously good natured.

My father, an English teacher, once told me a story that might illustrate just how good natured Lewis was. Another teacher he heard at a conference recounted how she once assigned her college prep students a book review. They could pick any book, and one of the boys in the class chose something by Lewis.

The teacher was excited when the student filed his report. She was a big Lewis fan and had read everything he’d written to that point. But the problem was that Lewis certainly hadn’t written this book. She was convinced the kid made up the report. So–much to the boy’s horror–she sent the report to Lewis.

Six weeks later, the teacher received a response. Lewis was famously serious about answering his correspondence. Inside the letter was a sealed note to the student. She gave the boy the note.

With more than a little fear, he opened it to find words to these effect: “I want to thank you for the review of a book I may someday write.” Lewis went on to say that if the imaginative boy should ever write a book of his own, to please send him a copy.

Lewis never did get to write that book.

Two years after his original diagnosis, he suffered a heart attack and slipped into a coma. The situation was dire and friends feared the worst. Some came and prayed. A priest gave the sacrament of extreme unction. Amazingly, after the sacrament, Lewis awoke, revived, and asked for a cup of tea.

True to form, he found a joke in it.

“I was unexpectedly revived from long coma,” he wrote his sister. “Ought one honor Lazarus rather than Stephen as the protomartyr? To be brought back and have all one’s dying to do again was rather hard.”

The wall of books

Though his health improved some, Lewis resigned his position at Cambridge, and settled into life at his home, The Kilns.

Jacobs records another story that captures his good spirits from the time. Following his resignation, Lewis sent his secretary, Walter Hooper, to collect his things from his rooms at Cambridge–including an extraordinary number of books for which he had little room. Back at the house, writes Jacobs,

some comedy ensued when Lewis talked Hooper into building a wall of books around the sleeping body of Alec Ross, Lewis’s live-in nurse, who had chosen the wrong time and place to take a nap.

Books always formed a key part of Lewis’ life, just as Lewis’ books have now long formed a key part in the lives of many others.

Lewis’ books have been part of my mental atmospherics for two decades now. I read the Space Trilogy in high school and my first year in college, followed by Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters. I read Till We Have Faces then as well and have come back to it several times since. Somewhere in that period I also read Sayer’s biography, Jack, for the first time.

A friend’s dad was a minister and had a dust-jacketless hardcover of God in the Dockthat he’d given his son. In those dark days before Amazon and AbeBooks, this was a treasure of inestimable value. I traded my friend a nearly-complete collection of Charles Williams’ novels to secure the important collection of essays.

Williams was a close friend of Lewis and wrote a series of eerie stories that were characterized as supernatural thrillers. One, The Place of the Lion, which imagined Plato’s forms breaking into the material world, influenced Lewis’ creation of his most memorable character, Aslan.

Some years later I wanted to reread Williams’ novels. I lucked out and found the set at a used bookstore. But I had the pearl of great price, Lewis’ God in the Dock, and was able to make much use of it.

In time I found and purchased many Lewis volumes: The Four LovesChristian ReflectionsStudies in WordsMiraclesThe Weight of GloryPresent Concerns, and others.

The Narnia stories actually came late for me. I only read them about five years ago now. It’s the same story with Reflections on the Psalms, four years ago or so. About two years ago I read The Discarded Image for the first time.

I haven’t checked, but I would guess that I quote Lewis more than any other author on this blog. I keep coming back to his books, particularly his essays.

The pleasure of re-reading

Lewis was always a serious re-reader. “I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once,” he once wrote a friend. Rereading “is one of my greatest pleasures,” he said.

Holed up at The Kilns, he reread the Iliad and other books. Sayer lists not only theIliad and the Odyssey but mentions that he read them in Greek, that he read theAeneid in Latin, as well as “Dante’s Divine Comedy; Wordsworth’s The Prelude; and works by George Herbert, Patmore, Scott, Austen, Fielding, Dickens, and Trollope.”

Surrounded by his books, Wilson says that Lewis “remained . . . propped up in the very room where Joy had spent so many heroic hours suffering.”

And then he joined her.

It was Friday, November 22. He was cheerful but had a hard time staying awake. He ate breakfast, got dressed, answered some letters. After lunch, his brother Warnie “suggested he would be more comfortable in bed, and he went there.” Warnie took him tea at four. An hour and a half later he heard a crash. Lewis had collapsed at the foot of his bed. Unconscious, as recorded Warnie, “[h]e ceased to breathe some three or four minutes later.”

C.S. Lewis wrote dozens of books some of profound theological, psychological, literary, and cultural insight. If you’re a fan like me, is there a better way to express our thanks for his life and work than rereading one or two of our favorites this holiday weekend.

Portland Oregon: The grand prize for the anti-Christian movement or for a revival.

Portland Oregon: The grand prize for the anti-Christian movement or revival.

You know that there is an invisible war in America.  It is raging with great intensity.  On the one side is the Body of Christ pressing into neglected truth, forgotten power and seeking to restore America to one nation under God.

On the other side is a strange confederation of atheists, socialists, secular progressives and Islam (85% of Muslims voted for Obama), hell bent on removing all things Christian. How a group that wants gay marriage, legalized drugs and no God found common ground with a religion that subjugates women and executes gays is strange.

Have you noticed how tedious the atheists are right now?  I have reported to you about their legal actions against Manger scenes, Charlie Brown and even Mother Teresa. (See our blogs)  But this is just a tiny fraction of the thousands of legal actions they are pursuing in their giddy frenzy.

However, the really big prize continues to elude the Pro Gay Obama Anti-Christian/Israel movement in America.  They still cannot seem to look normal and normal is the trophy.  The love the term “New Normal”

Try as they will to be MAINSTREAM, Atheists still come off like the annoying kid in the back of the classroom.  Islam still looks like…well; Islam… and parents are still queasy when two men drop off their “child” at school.  Most Americans still see the new normal as nothing but the old abnormal.

San Francisco was thought to be the prize, a city that could be a winsome community of radicals.  This backfired of course.  San Francisco became nothing but activism. San Francisco does not inspire, it polarizes.

Enter Portland Oregon.   Ah, here lies the treasure. Portland: a place where radical can look nice. Here at last is a place with the potential to neatly package radicalism as normal.

There is a small problem however.  Deep under the soil of Portland are wells of revival.  That God has a troubling habit of falling on this city, is a very inconvenient truth for atheists.

-The Spirit fell upon rugged, fiercely independent pioneers in the early logging camps throughout the 1800s. This pattern has been repeated with several movements of God  

-In the early 1900s, businesses shut down in Portland from noon till 2PM so the people could go to the churches and pray. 

Of course many dismiss this as a simpler time when people were more religious and conservative.  Not true.  Darwinism was in full flower and Marxism was a global fascination.  A great skepticism swept the world and scientists were more outspoken against the Bible then than now.

Mario Murillo Ministries also has a stake in the spiritual landscape of Portland. We have watched towering miracles come in our outreaches there since the early 1980s.

But on Tuesday Night November 20th it all came flooding back to me.  You would think that I would be used to it by now.  After all that we had seen in Clearlake, Santa Rosa, and Chanute Kansas, it would almost be impossible for me to use terms like “the greatest fire yet.”  However, that is precisely what this was.

These photos demonstrate how deeply God hit the people.  Entire sections came under an irresistible blanket of healing.  The people did not have a selfish agenda.  They want to take the revival to the city.  Many pastors were present to drink deeply of the living water and be ignited.

I felt a great earthquake under my feet.   The people got lost in the firestorm of revival.   Something truly amazing is unfolding in this City.   God has done a very singular work in the hearts of Senior Pastors Joel & Robbin Hjertstedt here at Destiny to lead this movement of the Holy Spirit.

What happens now?  We are all in a wonderful state of helplessness.  We wait on God for what to do next.  One thing is for God knows the plans of the anti-Christian forces and He has plans of His own.  More soon.

http://www.destinycf.org/    Click here to learn more about  Destiny Christian Fellowship

‘Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ draws biggest audience in 4 years

Remember this?    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (CBS Atlanta) — Charlie Brown has been caught in the crossfire of the “war on Christmas” mantra.

KARK-TV reports that some parents were upset that Terry Elementary School in Little Rock wanted to take children to go see a play of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at a local church.

“The parents that we know in this situation are reluctant to speak up because they are concerned about their kids being singled out and bullied,” Anne Orsi, a lawyer and member of the Arkansas Society of Free Thinkers, told KARK.

The group is a volunteer organization of secular individuals whose goals are to “promote public acceptance of nonbelievers” and “defend science education and the separation of church and state.”
Orsi said on the group’s Facebook page that the school is “sponsoring field trips to evangelical churches.”

“While everyone loves Charlie Brown, the religious content of the program is a problem, as is the trip to a church to see it,” she said.

Parents had mixed feelings about the controversy.   WELL THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN.

‘Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ draws biggest audience in 4 years

By James Hibberd

It’s remarkable how strong the Charlie Brown specials continue to perform in the ratings, year after year.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is not the most popular entry in the beloved animated franchise (both A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown deliver bigger numbers). Yet the program still managed to hold its own against CBS’ Survivor and Fox’s The X-Factor (in fact, the special edged out Factor in total viewers, see below). Plus, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving delivered its biggest audience in four years — 8.1 million viewers and a 2.2 rating in the adult demo, up 22 percent from last year. Pretty spry for a 39-year-old repeat, huh?”

Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving miracle

It is said that he loved America more than any man in history.  Life used that love against him by breaking his noble heart again and again.  No President has ever had his soul so tortured, as Lincoln did by the crashing waves of bad news he received from the great civil war.

 

But it was Gettysburg that inflicted the incurable wound in his soul.  During the first week of July of 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg occurred, resulting in the loss of some 60,000 American lives. Four months later in November, Lincoln delivered his famous “Gettysburg Address.”

Historians with a secular agenda have tried to hide a miracle that happened to Lincoln.  They had a good reason!  His miracle strikes at the heart of God’s relationship to America.

It was while Lincoln was walking among the thousands of graves there at Gettysburg that he committed his life to Christ. As he explained to a friend:

“When I left Springfield [to assume the Presidency], I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ.”

One of the immediate results of his conversion to Christ is the holiday you celebrate today.   You see, Mrs. Sarah Joseph Hale, the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book promoted the idea of a national Thanksgiving Day for thirty years, contacting President after President until President Abraham Lincoln responded in the very month of his conversion, by setting aside the last Thursday of November as a national Day of Thanksgiving.

In that same supernatural month, God gave him the one speech that he is most remembered for and is still considered the greatest speech in our history.  Take a moment and reread it in the form that most historians say is the true version:

The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Now Mr. Lincoln wishes to make a few statements to you in this Thanksgiving to a deeply divided and vulnerable nation.

-When you sit down together remember I had in mind for this day.  To bow in humble gratitude to God for the miracle that is America.    Remember that because of God she is unique and exceptional in the entire world.

To thank the millions who fought and died to give you the freedom to have this meal today and every day.   Those who died have consecrated not only the hallowed ground of Gettysburg but of every square inch of what is America.  Even the ground that angry anarchists stand upon with freedom to curse this nation and burn our flag is hallowed by the blood of brave American soldiers.

Let their sacrifice renew our gratitude and deepen the value we place upon those ideals for which they died.

-Rededicate yourself.  God is not punishing you but He has honored you by letting you live in the time of His greatest works.   Let their sacrifice renew our gratitude and deepen the value we place upon those ideals for which they died.

Do not despair or look for escape.  You have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this.  Do not look at the impossibility of the task before you; “to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

-Believe that a miracle once begun cannot be stopped but can be renewed even in the darkest seasons of history.  America can come back. America can be resurrected from her anger, division and soul sickness.  Let your dinner be a time of rejection of fear and a reaffirmation of faith in the future, “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Atheist group at Dartmouth plans anti Mother Teresa event.

 

 Atheist group at Dartmouth plans anti Mother Teresa event.

By Oliver Darcy, on Nov 16, 2012

An atheist group at Dartmouth College is planning an event aimed at skewering the reputation of the late Mother Teresa.

The Atheists Humanists Agnostics (AHA) club sent out a campus-wide e-mail announcing the program on Tuesday and promising a “full-out romp against why one of the most beloved people of the century, Mother Teresa, is as Hitchens put it… ‘a lying, thieving Albanian dwarf.’”

Mother Teresa is widely known for her life’s work of aiding the poor and comforting the sick.

The e-mail says the group plans to screen an anti-Mother Teresa film, discuss Hitchens’ book, Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, and question how the public has been “conned into thinking this woman [Teresa] was good.”

The e-mail states Teresa, who is on her way to sainthood in the Catholic church, “was not a friend of the poor,” but “was a friend of poverty.”

The email links to a now infamous article by the late Christopher Hitchens which attempts to debunk much of the lore that surrounds Teresa.

The event has ignited controversy on the Ivy League campus, with students telling Campus Reform they were upset AHA was hosting such an event.

“It’s easy for a group of privileged Ivy League students who have never experienced poverty to meet in a ‘super secret room’ and think themselves as intellectuals by bashing Mother Teresa,” Melanie Wilcox, Executive Editor of the conservative Dartmouth Review, told Campus Reform.

“I’d like to know what they have done, if anything, to help the needy,” she added.

AHA President Adam Hann, however, defended the event, but admitted he had intentionally used “provocative” language in the e-mail to excite interest among students.

“What I like to do is, when there are areas that people just get vitriol or angry even for bringing it up, I like to go and have that discussion,” said Hann.

Hann added that he estimates about five to ten people will participate in the event slated for this Saturday.

Mother Teresa is widely known for founding the Missionaries of Charities, a charity tasked with aiding the poor. She was beatified in 2003 by Pope John Paul II, a step toward possible sainthood.

 

Atheist Group Backs Parents Who Are Upset School Wants To Take Kids To See ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’ At Church

Atheist Group Backs Parents Who Are Upset School Wants To Take Kids To See ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’ At Church

November 20, 2012 11:09 AM
Photo of a display of "Peanuts" cartoons by the late Charles Schulz at the Frankfurt Book Fair on Oct. 15, 2008. (credit: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (CBS Atlanta) — Charlie Brown has been caught in the crossfire of the “war on Christmas” mantra.

KARK-TV reports that some parents were upset that Terry Elementary School in Little Rock wanted to take children to go see a play of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at a local church.

“The parents that we know in this situation are reluctant to speak up because they are concerned about their kids being singled out and bullied,” Anne Orsi, a lawyer and member of the Arkansas Society of Free Thinkers, told KARK.

The group is a volunteer organization of secular individuals whose goals are to “promote public acceptance of nonbelievers” and “defend science education and the separation of church and state.”

Orsi said on the group’s Facebook page that the school is “sponsoring field trips to evangelical churches.”

“While everyone loves Charlie Brown, the religious content of the program is a problem, as is the trip to a church to see it,” she said.

Parents had mixed feelings about the controversy.

Shamar Stokes told KARK that he has a problem with the religious aspect but, in the end, “wouldn’t have a problem with my child going to see Charlie Brown.”

One unidentified parent did have a problem, though.

“I think church and school should be kept completely separate at all times,” the parent told the station.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas,” which was first released in 1965, is the story about Charlie Brown looking past the commercialism that surrounds Christmas and finds the true meaning of the day through his friend Linus.

The fire of God on Portland Oregon

I certainly hope you are sitting down.  The great and famous city of Portland Oregon has a new challenge.  God has fallen here in an unprecedented manner.  For the first time in over 45 years of preaching I can accurately say that there were so many healings tonight that we were not able to count them.

I am not exaggerating.  The intensity of this meeting, the outright force of God’s presence was irresistible, overwhelming, earth shaking, and undeniable.   Truly something was born tonight that is not going to go away anytime soon.  God has set His mark on the Rose City and none of us can truly tell the magnitude of this single meeting.

Destiny Christian Fellowship, led by Senior Pastor Joel & Robbin Hjertstedt is an apostolic, young and vibrant church that is comprised of an amazing group of people from many different denominations, ethnic backgrounds, and spheres of influence.   Their mission is to passionately touch Heaven, and significantly change earth by releasing and sending people throughout their region to be an influence in all the major areas of our culture, from education, to government, media, arts and entertainment, family, business, and religion.It is no wonder that Jesus fell the way He did tonight.

Tonight I preached a message entitled Fire is the answer.  I began by telling them about the Stockdale paradox.  Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale was one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the United States Navy.  Stockdale was the highest-ranking naval officer held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He was awarded 26 personal combat decorations, including the Medal of Honor and four Silver Stars.

When Collins asked Stockdale, “Who didn’t make it out?” Stockdale said, “Oh, that’s easy. The optimists.”

“The optimists … the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. They’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.”

Stockdale said, “This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

Then I showed how Moses epitomized the Stockdale Paradox.  The brutal fact was that an 80 year sheepherder cannot go to Egypt and liberate 2.5 million slaves.

Exodus 3: 1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”

It was the fire that changed Moses.  So today as  we face the erosion of our freedom of worship, and so many other rights it looks impossible.   But God is able to restore the American church through that very same fire!

At the end of the preaching the blanket of healing fell immediately. Entire sections were being healed.  Again and again the glory would fall and heal another and another.  God simply took a broom and swept away disease.  The healings were coming so fast that we simply do not know how many healings took place.

We also made an appeal for lost souls.  They listened intently, and responded instantly

I am writing this as fast as I can to get the news to you that Portland is now the next outpouring of fire!  This one is big, real big and there is no way that it will not overflow and begin to transform this ultra-liberal city!  Stay tuned much more news of the way.