A Very Special Thanksgiving Invitation

A chance for all Christians to come together in prayer: 

NEW YORK, November 1, 2007–You and your family are invited to begin this Thanksgiving by signing a very special pledge–to pray for the end of extreme poverty: To offer The Counting Prayer each and everyday until the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are met.

The Counting Prayer: “The world now has the means to end extreme poverty, we pray we will have the will.”

The counter on the countingprayers.org website will document the tens of thousands, then millions, then billions of prayers to end extreme poverty. “With the repetition of prayers, hearts will open, souls will listen, and the world will change”, says Denn, “We can end extreme poverty in our time.”

In 1967 the Union of Concerned Scientists published a report stating that the world has the resources and wealth necessary to assure that no person need live in abject poverty. In today’s terms this would mean living on under $2 a day. “What if every person of faith prayed everyday for the will to end extreme poverty? What if every congregation prayed for the same will at every worship service? Would our prayers be answered? Would elected officials honor their fellow congregants’ will? Would innovators come up with creative ways to find new sustainable income sources where there now are none? Would we ourselves find ways of getting more involved with our global neighbors? Where there is a way, is there not a will?”, asks Jon Denn author of The Counting Prayer.

The MDGs were established in 2000 when 188 nations (including the United States) agreed that the eight humanitarian goals would be halfway accomplished by 2015, addressing issues such as hunger, education, gender equality, child mortality, women’s health, diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, and environmental sustainability. Since then only five countries are keeping their Millennium Promise: Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. Everyday 50,000 people die from preventable causes. “So, it is especially important to bear witness to our government’s broken millennium promises. If we persons of faith have the will to end extreme poverty, we can convince our leaders to be good to their word”, says Denn. “Ending extreme poverty is not a partisan issue–it is a moral imperative.”

Since the inaugural prayer was offered on 9/23/07 at the historic St. Paul’s Chapel at Ground Zero in New York City over 30,000 prayers have been tallied on the countingprayers.org counter–a vigilant and virtual witness to the rising will to end extreme poverty. Just after the first prayer, St. Paul’s Chapel and countingprayers.org invited every individual, and every congregation in every faith in every country to sign the pledge to offer The Counting Prayer everyday, and/or at every worship service until the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are met. “We now invite every family, beginning this Thanksgiving, to sign the pledge to offer The Counting Prayer everyday until the MDGs are met”, says Denn.

“There are a multitude of ways to get involved through your own faith tradition, advocacy groups, and nonprofit/NGOs that have established distribution channels and methods. First, sign The Counting Prayers Pledge, then invite your clergy to sign the pledge to offer The Counting Prayer at every worship service, join a legislative alert system through ONE.org and Bread.org, write letters to your elected officials, buy a bednet to help prevent malaria through MillenniumPromise.org, sponsor a child through The Plan, Save the Children, or World Vision, and don’t forget to ask your neighbors to do the same”, says Denn. “This is our time to lead, this is our generation’s greatest challenge: How can we not respond with prayer, advocacy, and action?”

For more information you can contact Jon Denn, Co-Director at the Trinity Conference Center in West Cornwall, CT at (860) 672-1000 or info@countingprayers.org.


Top Ten Bible Verses Used On-Line

I received this in an e-mail last week. Thought I’d share it with you: 

1. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only

Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have

eternal life.

2. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

3. John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No

one comes to the Father except through me”.     Continue reading

Whose Lover Are You? – James 4:1-10

Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask. You ask but you do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. Adulterers! Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose that the scripture speaks without meaning when it says, “The Spirit He has made to dwell in us, tends toward jealousy” ? But He bestows a greater grace; therefore it says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” So submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you of two minds. Begin to lament, to mourn, to weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you. 

James continues his teaching, this time, addressing loving the world and it’s opposition to God.

He gives us quite a list of worldly attitudes; wars, conflicts, passions, covetousness, killing, envying and fighting. These attitudes or heart issues reveal themselves in personal action. Does this seem to be a recurring theme with James? You bet it does!    

Our lack of faith in the Gospel of Christ will determine our actions, the same as our our actions demonstrate our faith in the Gospel. Look at the list of worldly attitudes James gives, they can all be summed up in one word: selfishness. Could this be the reason there is such a harsh reprimand given here? Adulterers! Drawing on the Old Testament imagery of the Israelites worshiping idols and forsaking the covenant of the God of their Fathers, James tells us we can’t live this way and be a true Christian. The things of the world cannot exist within the people of God. A change needs to take place!

Reminding us that, at our rebirth through Baptism (John. 3:5) we are infused with the Divine nature. Therefore being new creations, he states “The Spirit He has made to dwell in us, tends toward jealousy”, and He bestows a greater grace to accomplish this.

By allowing God’s Spirit to work within us we submit ourselves to God. If we think to highly of ourselves, God will resist us; “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” When we submit to God (give Him the authority over our lives) several things happen. He bestows a greater grace because of our humility. With this greater grace we are also able to resist the devil, assured that when we do, he (the devil) will flee from us! How amazing is that grace!

Submitting to Him and receiving His grace also allow us to lament, to mourn, to weep over our sin keeping us in close fellowship with God. Choosing to let our laughter and  joy be turned into mourning and dejection has in mind the sacrifice of Jesus Himself. He temporaliary gave up His glory in heaven to suffer here on earth (Phil. 2:6-11) this also happens to be our calling through Christ (Phil. 1:29). If we humble ourselves in living out the Gospel, God will exalt us. Nothing pleases our Father more than giving honor to His faithful servants.

The recurring theme; it’s not just what you say, but what you say and do! Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you of two minds. Hands and hearts. One represents the outside, one the inside. They must work together, being a unity of body and spirit. A purified heart will present clean works, for what comes out of our hearts is made manifest in our deeds.

So this week, let us humble ourselves before God. Let us put away our selfish motives and the love of the world, and Draw near to God. Allowing once again our faith to be demonstrated by our works.


The Kingdom of Heaven is like…

While it is true that our Triune God is all loving and merciful, He is also righteous and just. And He also expects His children to be merciful, as in this description of the kingdom:

“That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt.  At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’ Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.” Matt. 18: 23-35 

Think about it.

A Post for my friend kermittheagnostic

I wanted to define these words here so we can reference them more easily

agnostic– someone who believes that there can be no proof of the existence of God but does not deny the possibility that God exists.

knowledge– familiarity, awareness, or understanding gained through *experience, or study; *this includes both empirical material and that derived by inference or interpretation.

faith– a confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.

belief– the mental act, condition, or habit of placing trust or confidence in a person or thing. Mental acceptance of or conviction in the truth or actuality of something.

Let me start off by asking you to give me sources that other religions  “love God and love man”. For example are there, Muslim missionaries groups (that aren’t militia groups)? Pro-life Buddhist groups fighting for the lives of unborn babies? Hindus against drunk drivers or Moonies divorce support groups? Theses are just some of the ways that Christ reaches out in a lost and dying world, using His people to serve other people. Yes, I know that non-Christians also have similar “programs” but there “end” is not nessesarrily the same.

By your title (kermittheagnostic) you reveal your belief that there is no proof of the existence of God, but not the possibility that He does exist. But you only site knowledge as tangible evidence, not experiential evidence. That is not “full” knowledge. Full knowledge is both of these things. This is where faith ties into knowledge. I experience God, so my knowledge of Him is empirical and then strengthened in me through His spirit, by His word. Faith is the realization of things hoped [waited] for and the evidence of things not seen. I can’t show you faith, unless I show you my life.

If I have only “book” (study) knowledge and not faith, what is that? I would be my own God, not relying on the One who knows all. My belief in God is my mental acceptance of who He says He is in MY experience.

Judging from what you’ve written in your responses, this is what you need: to experience God. You can not do this by study alone, (bible, history, etc..). You have to pray, seeking the truth. Attend church and worship your Creator. This takes an act of humility, something that those who seek “proof” of God have a hard time doing. It means admitting they don’t have/can’t have all the answers, but has to trust in “Someone” who does.

Thank you kermit, for helping me seek God more diligently in this matter. Some of these things I’ve taken for granted, and haven’t explained very well, for I haven’t understood them very well. But you provoked me to seek God in this matter, and I’d never tried to explain my faith without the Bible. I needed to do that. And as I grow in this grace and knowledge, hopefully I’ll become more proficient at it.

God bless.

Teaching In Wisdom: James 3:13-18

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. Wisdom of this kind does not come down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.   James 3:13-18 

James continues his instruction to those who teach. Last week he taught us that a true teacher needs to control their tongue. This week he teaches us that we also need wisdom.

Those who are wise and understanding live their lives in humility with an active faith. Each of these words , by the way, describe the way we use knowledge not whether or not we have knowledge or whether or not we’re intelligent. This is the wisdom from above. On the contrary, those who have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in their [your] hearts, do not boast [be proud] and be false [lie against] to the truth know not how to use their knowledge in a Godly way, for their wisdom is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.   Continue reading

Luke 11:32

“At the judgement the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”  

Imagine if you will, a man standing in the street shouting, “Repent! Repent! Or in 40 days God’s judgement will come upon you.” Depending on where you live, this may happen on a daily basis. Our Lord Himself, asked the Pharisees and the scribes to repent, and they refused. In refusing to humble themselves to Christ, at the judgement they will be judged by Gentiles who repented at the word of God.

Do you hear it? He says “Repent.”

One greater than Jonah has spoken.