Category Archive: The Church

Sep 21

Creepy Clowns Are Terrorizing Children, Parents And Schools All Over America

By Michael Snyder, on September 16th, 2016

An epidemic of creepy clown sightings is sweeping America, and authorities don’t know who or what is behind it.  In some instances, clowns with horrific expressions painted on their faces have been spotted standing on the side of the road, lurking near the edge of the woods or just roaming about town staring at random people.  But in other instances there have been reports of clowns actually attempting to lure children with gifts, and there have even been some reports of children running away from creepy clowns that were chasing after them.  While doing research for this article, I came across recent creepy clown sightings from South Carolina, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, California, Alabama, Georgia and West Virginia.  This is truly a nationwide phenomenon, and many believe that it will get even worse as Halloween approaches.

This creepy clown trend appears to have begun with a very disturbing case at an apartment complex in South Carolina

Donna Arnold, one of the people residing at the complex who received the letter, said she called the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office to come out to Fleetwood Manor after her son and others reported seeing clowns behind the basketball court.

“I thought my child was seeing things,” Arnold said. “And then the next day I had about 30 kids come up to me and say, ‘Did you see the clown in the woods?”

Community activist Bruce Wilson said he is getting involved at the apartments to make sure children are safe, even if the sightings turn out to be harmless.

Authorities say that their investigation into this incident found that the clowns were approaching children with the intent “to persuade them into the woods further by displaying large amounts of money“.

At least one child that personally interacted with these clowns testified “that they had candy and they would give it to them if they came there“.

Whether people are dressed as clowns or not, attempting to abduct children in no joke.

Unsurprisingly, this case made national headlines, and at that point it appears that a whole host of copycats started to come out of the woodwork.  The following is how an article in the Week summarized what happened next…

A week later, a boy at an apartment ten miles away reported seeing a man in a clown mask in the woods near his home. Later that night, a boy at an apartment just three miles from Fleetwood Manor reported seeing another clown. That apartment also sits on the edge of a wooded area. There was another local sighting the next day. The following day, a woman told police she saw a clown standing outside a Greenville laundromat, simply staring at her.

By then, the clowns had begun to mobilize. The previous day, a 14-year-old boy in Columbus, Ohio, said that a man wearing a clown mask chased him with a knife while the boy was walking to his school bus stop. Less than a week later, on Sept. 5, two children in Winston-Salem, N.C., claimed a clown was offering candy, as long as they would follow him into the woods. Later that night, a woman in the area claimed that a clown tried to coax her into the woods, except this one was carrying a machete. He wore black gloves and a black tie. The next morning, in the nearby town of Greensboro, a man said he saw a clown in the woods behind his apartment. Yellow polka-dotted shirt, blue pants.

Since that time the creepy clown sightings have not stopped, and one of the most alarming incidents of all just took place in McDuffie County, Georgia

“It was this morning at 6:30 when we were leaving at the house,” said Cameron Frails, who saw the clown.

But as Frails and his neighbor, Hannah Rice, started walking, they noticed something.

“I was standing over there,” said Rice. “And I was like, ‘who’s that guy following Cameron?’”

“We saw a man with all black on, clown mask and a red wig,” said Frails.

They said they saw at least two men dressed in all black coming toward them between two trailers, so they started running.

But that isn’t the only report of these creepy clowns trying to chase down children.  Here is another one from Georgia

According to the police report, the woman said the children told her they were leaving the community center as it was getting dark Monday evening when five people dressed as clowns and wearing masks emerged from a white panel van and began chasing them.

The 48-year-old woman also told police she saw a white panel van slowly driving past her home prior to the supposed incident at the community center around the corner, on McKinley Drive.

A lot of the copycats out there may be doing this sort of thing as a prank, but law enforcement authorities are beginning to take this threat very seriously.

In fact, Time Magazine is reporting that two schools in Alabama “were put on lockdown” on Friday due to threats from a group known as “Flomo Clowns”…

Two southern Alabama schools were put on lockdown Friday because of threatening Facebook messages and emojis posted on the now-deleted page of a group called the ‘Flomo Klowns.’

The sinister Facebook messages said “It’s going down tonight,” followed by revolver emojis, and “I love kids.” A parent also contacted the Flomaton Police Department to say her child had been sent threatening messages by the group.

The entrances to Flomaton High School, which has around 400 students, and Flomaton Elementary School, which has about 300, were locked, as well as internal doors. Local officers and sheriff deputies secured the school grounds and searched the area, AL reports.

I think that this is another example of how sick and twisted our society has become.  There are a lot of unbalanced people out there that get a thrill from spreading terror, and the initial clown stories have inspired them to capitalize on this trend.

If you are able to take a photograph or some video of these creepy clowns, please feel free to contact me.  “Killer clown” costumes are always extremely popular during the Halloween season, and I have a feeling that this wave of terror is only going to intensify as we approach the end of October.

One photograph of a creepy clown that was taken on Simmons River Road near Duhring, West Virginia has gotten a lot of attention on social media.  It was originally posted by Karen Mann Hicks on Facebook, and you can view it right here

Hopefully this creepy clown craze will soon fade, but it is a quick way for deeply disturbed individuals to “get on the news”, and so it seems likely that there will be even more copycats.

But those that are tempted to dress up like creepy clowns and terrorize children should be aware that police all over the nation are taking this very seriously, and arrests will likely be made at the first sign of trouble.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8136

Aug 29

More Americans Than Ever Are Losing Their Religion

By Michael Snyder, on August 25th, 2016

Never before in U.S. history have so many Americans chosen to be unaffiliated with any particular religious group. As you will see below, the percentage of “nones” in this country has absolutely skyrocketed over the past decade. But not all faiths are losing members in the United States. In fact, Islam, Buddhism, Wicca and various New Age organizations have all experienced excellent growth in recent years. Sadly, almost all of the growth for the “nones” has come at the expense of Christianity. Americans are leaving the Christian faith in droves, and this is why many of our churches are less than half full on Sunday mornings. What we are doing right now is clearly not working, and hopefully we can get the church in America to wake up while there is still time to do so.

Earlier today I came across a brand new study from the Pew Research Center entitled “Why America’s ‘nones’ left religion behind“. One thing that particularly stood out to me was the fact that most “nones” were once affiliated with a particular religion but have now discarded that label…

Perhaps the most striking trend in American religion in recent years has been the growing percentage of adults who do not identify with a religious group. And the vast majority of these religious “nones” (78%) say they were raised as a member of a particular religion before shedding their religious identity in adulthood.

Overall, the percentage of “nones” in this nation has been absolutely soaring in recent years. Back in 2007, “nones” made up 16 percent of the population, but now that number has risen to 23 percent. The following is from a different Pew Research Center report that was published last year

Religious “nones” – a shorthand we use to refer to people who self-identify as atheists or agnostics, as well as those who say their religion is “nothing in particular” – now make up roughly 23% of the U.S. adult population. This is a stark increase from 2007, the last time a similar Pew Research study was conducted, when 16% of Americans were “nones.” (During this same time period, Christians have fallen from 78% to 71%.)

I want you to notice one particularly sobering fact in the excerpt posted above. The seven percent increase in the percentage of “nones” was matched exactly by a seven percent decrease in the percentage of Christians.

It is time to face a very hard truth – Christianity is in rapid decline in America.

So why is this happening?

Is there an explanation for why so many people are leaving the church?

Well, here is some of the feedback that the Pew Research Center received while conducting their new survey…

About half of current religious “nones” who were raised in a religion (49%) indicate that a lack of belief led them to move away from religion. This includes many respondents who mention “science” as the reason they do not believe in religious teachings, including one who said “I’m a scientist now, and I don’t believe in miracles.” Others reference “common sense,” “logic” or a “lack of evidence” – or simply say they do not believe in God.

This is such a tragedy, because during my decades of research into these things I have found that logic and reason should always point people toward the Christian faith and not away from it. There is an absolutely gigantic mountain of evidence for Christianity out there, but unfortunately most people don’t know about it or they are not interested in considering it.

The biggest cultural shift has been happening among our young people. Most of them have been raised in an environment where God has been removed from almost every corner of public life, and the results have been beyond catastrophic.

In America today, 35 percent of all Millennials are “nones”.

Millennials are more than twice as likely to be “nones” as Baby Boomers (17 percent), and they are more than three times as likely to be “nones” as the Silent Generation (11 percent).

In other words, the younger you are the more likely you are to be religiously unaffiliated.

And this shows up in the church attendance numbers as well. Millennials are much, much less likely to be in church on any particular Sunday morning than the oldest Americans are. The following information comes from another Pew Research Center report

Millennials – especially the youngest Millennials, who have entered adulthood since the first Landscape Study was conducted – are far less religious than their elders. For example, only 27% of Millennials say they attend religious services on a weekly basis, compared with 51% of adults in the Silent generation. Four-in-ten of the youngest Millennials say they pray every day, compared with six-in-ten Baby Boomers and two-thirds of members of the Silent generation. Only about half of Millennials say they believe in God with absolute certainty, compared with seven-in-ten Americans in the Silent and Baby Boom cohorts. And only about four-in-ten Millennials say religion is very important in their lives, compared with more than half in the older generational cohorts.

We are slowly losing an entire generation.

When you walk into most churches in America on Sunday morning, what are you going to find?

You are going to find that the congregation is dominated by “the greys”, and I am not talking about space aliens.

As the oldest Americans die off, the United States is becoming less and less Christian. We are on the exact same path that Europe has already gone down, but most churches are just going on with business as usual and don’t seem to even understand that we have a major crisis on our hands.

As I said at the top of this article, what we are doing right now is clearly not working, and if we continue on the path that we are currently on we will continue to lose young people by the millions.

America needs revival more than it has ever needed it before.

Let us pray that one arrives very soon.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8103

Aug 23

Vancouver Christians collide over televangelist Franklin Graham

Published on: August 18, 2016 | Last Updated: August 18, 2016 10:57 AM PDT

Metro Vancouver Christians are colliding over the coming crusade of televangelist Franklin Graham, who is known for criticizing homosexuals, Muslims and U.S. President Barack Obama.

Saying that Graham is often “incendiary and intolerant,” some evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics are opposing his participation in the three-day Festival of Hope event at Rogers Arena in early March, 2017, that many of the city’s mega-churches are supporting .

“Rev. Graham is a polarizing figure … His ungracious and bigoted remarks have the potential to generate serious negative impact on the Christian witness in Vancouver,” says a statement from five prominent evangelical and Catholic leaders (see full letter at bottom).

“We … denounce the frequent incendiary and intolerant statements made by Rev. Graham, which he unapologetically reiterates,” said the letter, signed by Marjeta Bobnar of the Catholic archdiocese, City in Focus president Tom Cooper, Tenth Church pastor Ken Shigematsu, Calvary Baptist pastor Tim Dickau and First Baptist pastor Tim Kuepfer.

Franklin Graham, son of 97-year-old retired televangelist Billy Graham, has said homosexuals are “the enemy” and will “spend eternity in hell” if they don’t repent.

While attacking Obama, Graham has called Islam a “very wicked religion” and argued that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed into the U.S.

Some of the large, often ethnically mixed evangelical congregations in Metro Vancouver that are endorsing Graham’s crusade include Willingdon Church, Westside Church, Coastal Church, Broadway Church, Glad Tidings Church, Holy Trinity Church and Richmond Pentecostal Church.

Ken Shigematsu, senior pastor at Tenth Church in Vancouver, was one of five evangelical and Catholic leaders who signed the letter objecting to the upcoming event with ‘incendiary’ televangelist Franklin Graham.

Earning more than $1 million a year as an evangelist and head of the charity Samaritan’s Purse, Graham led a crusade in Toronto in 2014 that was attended by 40,000 people of diverse ethnic origins.

After the Toronto event, Samaritan’s Purse terminated a Canadian volunteer because she refused to sign a standard statement opposing abortion and homosexual marriage.

Rev. George Wong, head pastor at Evangelical Chinese Bible Church in Burnaby, one of many congregations training volunteers to work at Graham’s crusade, said “the last thing we want to do is promote hate.”

Graham “is not coming to Vancouver to preach against homosexuality, but to preach the gospel,” Wong said.

Saying he was unaware a Christian group is opposing Graham’s involvement in the Festival of Hope, Wong didn’t want to comment on Graham’s statements about gays and Muslims, other than to affirm “the gospel is for people from all walks of life.”

In North Vancouver, another endorser of the Festival of Hope, Valley Church Pastor Owen Scott, declined to comment on the controversy other than to say, “I know Franklin is not the same as his dad. His dad is a pretty gracious person.”

In an interview from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association headquarters in Calgary, David Ingram said his organization “never expects 100 per cent support for one of our festivals.”

Noting that a relatively small number of evangelicals and Catholics signed the dissenting letter, Ingram said, “I wouldn’t want a few people who are opposed to the festival to overshadow the wide support for it.”

Ingram said leaders of many churches and ethnic groups are backing Graham’s crusade. Maintaining that protest letters can be divisive, Ingram asked whether The Vancouver Sun and The Province planned to publish an article about the inter-Christian disagreement.

While the opposition statement was signed by Catholic ecumenical relations official Bobnar, Paul Schratz confirmed the archdiocese also formally declined an invitation to take part in the Festival of Hope.

“Initially we were supportive of next year’s event, since it was intended to draw a large number of people to hear the gospel and grow closer to Jesus,” said Schratz, spokesman for the archdiocese, which includes more than 400,000 Catholics.

‘We had second thoughts about participating when we noted that American evangelicals … were criticizing Mr. Franklin for … stances that didn’t promote religious tolerance,’ says Paul Schratz of the Catholic archdiocese.

“While we obviously acknowledge Mr. Graham’s zeal in preaching the Gospel we had second thoughts about participating when we noted that American evangelicals, whom we were trying to work with on this event, were criticizing Mr. Franklin for various comments and stances that didn’t promote religious tolerance.”

The formal letter of opposition to the Festival of Hope’s leadership committee was signed by Christian leaders in Metro Vancouver whom the Billy Graham Association had asked for endorsements, including Cooper, Shigematsu, Dickau and Kuepfer.

Cooper, president of City in Focus which specializes in ministering to business people, said those who signed the letter “were willing to provide suggestions for an alternative speaker. But the Festival of Hope leadership committee was content with having Reverend Graham give the major talks.

“We therefore, reluctantly, decided we could not endorse this event. We understand that we are just one of many evangelical and orthodox voices and there will sometimes be disagreement.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8097

Aug 19

The Pulpits Are Silent By Jan Markell

What incredible times we live in — like no previous generation. The world is heading pell-mell for a conclusion though nobody knows the timing on this. But we are privileged to look at signs that are like clouds forming on the horizon. In the 1970s there were only a few events that were prophecy-related happening. There were minor shakings but sometimes connecting the dots was even a stretch!

 

Fast forward to today and there are so many prophecy-related events happening daily and hourly that it presents a major dilemma for those of us watching the signs of the times to know just where to focus. As I post stories daily on my website, I agonize that I must leave off so many as space and time won’t allow readers to zero in on all that is happening!

 

It is a privilege and a challenge to be born for such a time as this. Very little that is predicted to happen in the “last days” is good news and who wants a steady dose of bad? But if one can “look up” one can bear the heartache of looking around as the signs of the times explode on our news outlets.

 

The Bible asks us to be “watchmen” (Ezekiel 33). We’re to be sounding an alarm. Trouble is ahead. Time is short. And I have never felt such a sense of urgency and the realization that time is, indeed, short.

 

I am watching signs “converge.” They are stunning and breathtaking. But most pastors will not talk about them!

 

LifeWay Research is a Nashville-based, evangelical research firm that specializes in surveys about faith in culture and matters that affect the church. They report that a  third of America’s Protestant pastors expect Christians to be Raptured — or taken up in the sky to meet Jesus — as the last of the last days begin. Over 36% believe in a pre-Tribulation Rapture. In spite of this glorious good news, their pulpits remain silent.

 

Over 50% of Protestant pastors, according to the survey, believe in a literal Antichrist — but their pulpits are silent.

 

Most pastors hold to the basic teachings of Christ’s Second Coming — but their pulpits are silent.

 

This same survey says almost 50% of Protestant pastors believe in a coming Millennium and hold to premillennialism.  At this time we finally do away with the curse and fallen human nature — but their pulpits are silent.

 

Pastor Tom Hughes leads The 412 Church in San Jacinto, California. He has written a thoughtful article titled, “Five Reasons Pastors Don’t Teach Bible Prophecy.” He writes, ” Prophecy fills the Bible. End time prophecy touches every person alive  today. Jesus taught on it. So did John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude. Yet only a small percentage of churches teach this crucial part of God’s message to our generation.

 

“Some pastors don’t teach it for theological reasons. They don’t believe it, don’t think it applies to us, consider it symbolic, or whatever. Others believe we’re probably living near the end of the age, but still refuse to touch the topic. They see it as an elective part of God’s curriculum. Take it or leave it.”

 

Hughes continues, “That’s not how Jesus saw it. He reprimanded the Pharisees and Sadducees for not discerning the times. ‘When it is evening you say, it will be fair weather, for the sky is red; and in the morning, it will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening. Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.’ ” (Matthew 16:2-3 NKJV)

 

Hughes concludes, “More than a quarter of the Bible is prophecy — much of it yet to be fulfilled. How can we give congregations a well-rounded understanding of scripture if we leave out such a vital part of it?”

 

He then goes on to list these five reasons pastors may not be sharing these issues in the pulpit:

 

1) They don’t understand prophecy.

 

2) They fear offending members of the church.

 

3) They sense this will scare people.

 

4) People might not tithe if they think we’re close to the end.

 

5) There is fear in looking like the “loony-tune fringe. The Harold Campings have done great damage.

 

The prophecies of the first coming of Christ were fulfilled. They stand as evidence that the Bible can be trusted. Prophecies of His second coming work the same way, except we get to witness these events in our time, often with our own eyes.

 

The nations of the world seem moved, as though by a hidden hand, into exactly the right positions on a global chess board. What an amazing thing to see it happening before our eyes! It builds faith and draws our attention God-ward. And it is a fantastic evangelism tool.

 

I think the church is headed into the home stretch of her history! I base that not on emotions or wishful thinking. I base that on what I see happening daily.  Man can live for a week or two without food. We can live only days without water. But our spirits are crushed within hours without hope.

 

We have the good news of the ultimate hope — the “blessed hope.” (Titus 2:13) His glorious appearing. Pastors, please don’t remain silent!  Share the only good news out there

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8092

Aug 04

Franklin Graham rips pope over Islamic terror

‘It’s a religion that calls on soldiers to shout ‘Allahu Akbar’ as they behead, rape’

Published: 21 hours ago

Bob Unruh About | Email | Archive

Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.

Franklin Graham, who heads up the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the Samaritan’s Purse relief charity, has rebuked Pope Francis for saying that while the world is at war, the conflict has nothing to do with religion.

“It most certainly is a war of religion,” Graham said in a posting on Facebook.

CNN reported Francis said the world “is at war because it has lost peace.”

“There is a war of interest, there is a war for money, a war for natural resources, a war to dominate people. Some might think it is a war of religion. It is not,” he said.

“All religions want peace. Others want war,” the pope claimed.

His statements came shortly after Islamic jihadists killed a Catholic priest in France.

Graham said: “I agree that the world is at war – but I disagree that it’s not a war of religion. It is most certainly a war of religion.”

He said religion “is behind the violence and jihad we’re seeing in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and here in this country.”

“It’s a religion that calls for the extermination of ‘infidels’ outside their faith, specifically Jews and Christians. It’s a religion that calls on its soldiers to shout ‘allahu akbar’ [“Allah is supreme” in Arabic] as they behead, rape, and murder in the name of Islam. Radical Islamists are following the teachings of the Quran,” he wrote.

“We should call it what it is.”

Some Catholics don’t agree with their leader.

Religion News Service reported U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, a former Vatican official who is based in Rome, said last month that Islam “wants to govern the world” and Americans must decide if they are going to reassert “the Christian origin of our own nation” to avoid submission to Muslim rule.

WND reported Graham recently called out President Obama for refusing to recognize and acknowledge the threat from Islamic radicalism and terrorism.

In a Facebook post at that time, Graham pointed out that Obama, in his statements about the Orlando, Florida, massacre by a radical Islamic terrorist at a bar for homosexuals, refused to call it an act of radical Islamic terrorism.

Obama, throughout his presidency, has refused to say the words Islamic terrorism or radical Islamic terrorism. Often, he’s contended Islam actually is peaceful and those who carry out violence and terror against innocent victims in the name of Islam are perverting the faith.

Graham, however, said it’s apparent Obama is wrong.

“I appreciate President Barack Obama speaking to the nation yesterday in the wake of the Orlando massacre. He was right in saying that this tragic shooting was an act of terror and hate,” Graham wrote.

“But why didn’t he say it was an act of radical Islamic terrorism?”

“Mr. President, with all due respect, don’t forget Fort Hood; don’t forget the Boston Marathon; don’t forget San Bernardino; and don’t forget 9/11. What do they all have in common? They were all Islamic terrorists carrying out their treachery in the name of their religion.”

Graham continued: “Mr. President, your administration has cut our military to the bone, and some experts say we’re the weakest we have been in modern times. It’s time we were rebuilding our military force worldwide to take on this enemy. It’s time we tighten America’s borders until we can clearly vet those we’re letting into the country.

“Mr. President, how many more American lives have to be lost before you understand the threat radical Islam is to every freedom-loving person?”

Obama called the attack by Omar Mateen, who in dialogue with police during the attack openly pledged allegiance to ISIS, “terror and an act of hate.”

Obama claimed he wanted to “spare no effort to determine” Mateen’s “inspiration.”

Then, Obama turned political, talking about gun control and whether the U.S. wants to be a country where it is “easy” for someone “to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub.”

Last year, Graham even called for a halt to immigration to prevent terrorists from being allowed into the country.

“I think we should put a halt on immigration because our borders are broken, until we have a proper system to vet people,” he said to CNN’s Carol Costello. “I think all immigration, but especially those coming from the Middle East right now.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8067

Jul 14

End Time Persecution Is Here: Russia Just Banned Evangelism And China Has Torn Down 1000s Of Crosses

By Michael Snyder, on July 12th, 2016
We always knew that this was coming. For years, the horrifying persecution of Christians in the Middle East has made headlines all over the globe, but now we are seeing very disturbing examples of government-sanctioned persecution literally all over the planet. As you will read about below, Russia just banned virtually all types of evangelism outside of a church or religious site. And China has been tearing down thousands of crosses and has been demolishing dozens of churches in a renewed crackdown on the growth of Christianity in that nation. Overall, there are 53 countries that now have laws that restrict the Christian faith according to one recent report. When are we going to wake up and realize what is happening?
When I heard about the new law that was just passed in Russia, I was absolutely stunned. I was in Moscow just a few years after the Berlin Wall fell, and the people were very eager to hear about the Christian faith which had been brutally repressed under the Soviet regime for decades.
Sadly, Russia has now decided to revert back to the old Soviet ways. This new law, which Vladimir Putin wanted, represents almost a complete and total ban on sharing the gospel…
The law, which will come into force on July 20, will prohibit evangelism anywhere outside a church or religious site – including private homes and online – and those in breach of it will be fined. Only named members of religious organisations will be able to share their faith, and even informal witnessing between individuals is forbidden.
According to the New York Times, this ban also includes “preaching and praying” that is done outside the boundaries of “officially recognized” religious institutions.
In recent years, I have defended Russia in many of my articles. But there is no defending this.
This new law is the single worst thing that Russia has done since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and they should be utterly ashamed of themselves.
Meanwhile, government officials in China have launched a renewed crackdown on Christians as the underground church continues to grow like wildfire.
According to some reports, the government has torn down more than 2,000 crosses in Zhejiang Province alone in recent months…
More than two thousand crosses have now been forcefully removed from churches as part of a government campaign to regulate “excessive religious sites”.
The nation’s leadership launched the crusade to eradicate Christianity in the coastal province of Zhejiang almost two years ago.
Several members of the public have since been arrested for attempting to halt the government’s crude attempt to suppress the Christian faith.
But sometimes government officials don’t stop there and decide to tear down an entire church. In fact, since the beginning of this year at least 49 churches have been destroyed in Zhejiang Province. Just recently, one group of believers defied the government and returned to their destroyed church to hold a worship service…
Christian worshipers gather to worship among the ruins of their demolished church, defying the Communist Chinese government anti-Christian drive. These congregants in China’ Wenzhou, Zhejiang province conducted a prayer service despite their church building demolished by the government officials.
Zhuyang Church, which was a government-sanctioned church, was routed as a part of an unprecedented church demolition drive. On May 20, the church was demolished by about 100 government officers took down the church building authorized despite the fact that it had the government authorization to operate.
The church member said that the only reason the official could provide for church’ demolition was that the church was “transforming the villages in the city.”
But even the churches that have been left standing in Zhejiang Province are also feeling the pain of the crackdown. According to China Aid, there is a new law that is forcing many churches “to turn over all of their tithes and donations to state authorities“…
The communist government of China’s Zhejiang Province is enforcing a new law that demands numerous churches to turn over all of their tithes and donations to state authorities.
According to a nonprofit Christian organization dedicated to serving the persecuted Church in China, the officials of Pingyang County in Wenzhou are compelling members to give all of their churches’ income to state authorities.
“The government officials will interfere with church affairs, managing our donations and some large-scale projects,” a source told China Aid.
For so long, most Americans have considered the Chinese government to be our friend. But that is not true at all. The communist Chinese are a corrupt, wicked regime that has always been deeply anti-Christian. Anyone that believes otherwise has simply been deluded.
Meanwhile, the persecution of Christians continues to intensify in many parts of Africa. Just recently, a mother of seven children was “hacked to death” by Islamic radicals in Nigeria for openly preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ…
A Christian mother of seven was hacked to death by suspected Muslim radicals in Nigeria and her mutilated body was discovered in a pool of blood along with a Bible and megaphone she used to preach every morning.
According to local reports, 41-year-old Eunice Olawale, a pastor at the Redeemed Christian Church of Nigeria and an evangelist, was murdered in the early morning hours on Saturday while she was out evangelizing near Nigeria’s capital of Abuja.
Olawale’s husband, Olawale Elisha, told local media that his wife had left their home around 5 a.m. Saturday morning to preach in the neighborhood but she never returned home.
Ever since the first century, Christians have been martyred for publicly preaching the gospel, and we were warned that this kind of terrible persecution was coming in the last days.
Of course Christians in the Middle East don’t exactly need to hear about “the coming persecution” because they have been living it for many years. Christians are being tortured, beheaded and crucified by radical terror groups such as ISIS, and in other areas of the Middle East the persecution is being imposed on a national level by the government. For instance, just check out what is happening right now in Pakistan…
“The government of Pakistan has announced plans to force Islam on young people by making Quranic study compulsory for all school and college students, which is contrary to the country’s constitution and the Islamic precept that there should be no compulsion in religion. This is the latest escalation of the country’s bias against Christians, other minority faiths and non-believers,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
“Pakistani Christians, including children, are at risk of kidnapping, forced marriage and forced religious conversion to Islam. Some are also victims of blasphemy charges, which carry the death penalty. There are regular violent assaults on Christian families, homes, shops and churches.
The persecution of the end times is here.
All over the planet, the Christian faith is under assault. In the western world we may not have to face much violent persecution just yet, but our faith is relentlessly mocked, ridiculed and demonized on television, in the movies and on the Internet. Laws that are anti-Christian in tone and substance are regularly being passed, and many of our top politicians are not even pretending to be fair to us any longer.
Just like in much of the rest of the world, we are starting to discover that there is a great price to be paid for following Jesus Christ.
In Matthew 16, Jesus told us that if anyone would choose to follow Him, that individual should “deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Are you ready to take up your cross?
The persecution of Christians is only going to get worse in the years ahead, and in order to make it through what is coming we need to be ready to give up everything for Him.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8047

Jul 14

Those That Wanted To Get Prepared Have Already Gotten Prepared By Now

By Michael Snyder, on July 11th,
Is the time for warning people to prepare for what is ahead coming to an end? For years, bold men and women all over America have been sounding the alarm and warning people to get prepared physically, financially, mentally, emotionally and spiritually for the great storm that is rapidly approaching. Personally, I have written more than 2,500 articles on my primary two websites combined, and so nobody can accuse me of not blowing the trumpet. It has gotten to the point that sometimes I am even tired of listening to myself warn the people. But now we are shifting into a new phase.
The other day I was reflecting on some of the things that I have been hearing lately. Sales of emergency food and supplies are way down across the entire industry. Many organizations and websites that have been instrumental in sounding the alarm for a long time are really struggling right now. On my websites, traffic has hit a bit of a plateau after experiencing a tremendous surge late last year. Overall, “prepping” was very hot just a few years ago, and at one time it was estimated that there were approximately three million “preppers” in the United States. But these days there seems to be a tremendous amount of apathy out there.
As I reflected on all of this, I came to one inescapable conclusion.
Those that wanted to get prepared have already gotten prepared by now, and those that did not want to get prepared are not likely to do so any time soon.
I personally know a lot of people that are very, very prepared and have been for a long time. Yes, there is still a small minority of people out there that only recently woke up and started prepping, but overall most of the preparation that people wanted to do has already been completed. And for those that have not done anything to prepare, you could argue with them until the moon turns to cheese and they still won’t take any action.
At this point the die has been cast. Most of those that felt that they should prepare have already prepared. Most of those that felt that they should repent have already repented. Most of those that felt that they should warn America have already sounded the alarm.
So now all that is left is to wait for the shaking to begin.
In looking back at what has transpired over the last several years, I think that it would be appropriate to say something about the failure of the church in America.
You see, if the churches of America were doing their job, all of the “watchmen” out there would not even be needed. Our voices would simply be lost in a chorus of thousands upon thousands of pastors, teachers, ministers and evangelists boldly warning people about what is coming to this nation.
But instead, there is just deafening silence coming from most of the mainstream churches.
The sad thing is that many, many church leaders understand very clearly what is coming, but they have purposely chosen not to warn the people. Some time ago, George Barna conducted a study that looked into why our churches are not addressing the key issues of the day, and what he discovered was absolutely astounding…
“‘What we’re finding is that when we ask them about all the key issues of the day, [90 percent of them are] telling us, ‘Yes, the Bible speaks to every one of these issues,” he explained. “Then we ask them: ‘Well, are you teaching your people what the Bible says about those issues?’ and the numbers drop…to less than 10 percent of pastors who say they will speak to it.”
Most churches in America don’t want to talk about the hard things, because they desperately want to make people feel comfortable. They want to entertain people and make them happy so that they will come back week after week and drop their money into the offering plate.
When it comes to defining success as a church, Barna found that there were five primary factors that were important to the majority of pastors, and none of them had anything to do with repentance and salvation through Jesus Christ…
“There are five factors that the vast majority of pastors turn to,” he outlined. “Attendance, giving, number of programs, number of staff, and square footage.”
Sadly, most Christians in America actually prefer these lukewarm churches, and the Apostle Paul warned that these times were coming nearly 2000 years ago. The following is what 2 Timothy 4:3-4 says in the Modern English Version…
3 For the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but they will gather to themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, having itching ears, 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn to myths.
You may not want to hear this, but the majority of churches in America have already gone apostate, and that is the truth.
We are slowly but surely losing an entire generation of Americans, and yet our dead and dying churches just continue to slumber. I shared the following numbers in a previous article, but they bear repeating. The following comes directly out of a Pew Research Center report…
Millennials – especially the youngest Millennials, who have entered adulthood since the first Landscape Study was conducted – are far less religious than their elders. For example, only 27% of Millennials say they attend religious services on a weekly basis, compared with 51% of adults in the Silent generation. Four-in-ten of the youngest Millennials say they pray every day, compared with six-in-ten Baby Boomers and two-thirds of members of the Silent generation. Only about half of Millennials say they believe in God with absolute certainty, compared with seven-in-ten Americans in the Silent and Baby Boom cohorts. And only about four-in-ten Millennials say religion is very important in their lives, compared with more than half in the older generational cohorts.
Those numbers are absolutely horrifying. Yes, there are still a few really good churches scattered across the country. But overall, the church in America is in really sorry shape, and the numbers don’t lie. Christianity is in rapid decline in the United States, and somebody better wake up and start doing something about it.
Over the years, I can’t tell you how many dead churches that I have sat in. That is why it is so refreshing when I actually find one where the gospel is preached and where people truly love one another. I have had the privilege of sharing my message in such a church in recent months, and I wish that there were a lot more of them out there.
Unfortunately, most ministers in America are really busy doing things other than what they should be doing. For instance, have you ever heard of “clergy response teams”? If you can believe it, the government has actually recruited ministers to help the population accept martial law when it is declared someday. The following comes from KSLA News…
Could martial law ever become a reality in America? Some fear any nuclear, biological or chemical attack on U.S. soil might trigger just that. KSLA News 12 has discovered that the clergy would help the government with potentially their biggest problem: Us.
Can you believe that?
Here is more from the report…
Such clergy response teams would walk a tight-rope during martial law between the demands of the government on the one side, versus the wishes of the public on the other. “In a lot of cases, these clergy would already be known in the neighborhoods in which they’re helping to diffuse that situation,” assured Sandy Davis. He serves as the director of the Caddo-Bossier Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
For the clergy team, one of the biggest tools that they will have in helping calm the public down or to obey the law is the bible itself, specifically Romans 13. Dr. Tuberville elaborated, “because the government’s established by the Lord, you know. And, that’s what we believe in the Christian faith. That’s what’s stated in the scripture.”
I don’t know about you, but I found that article to be extremely chilling.
But this is the state of things in America today. We have a dead church that is stuffed to the gills with dead ministers, and the people are not being told the truth about the great shaking that is coming to America.
And when the great shaking comes, there will be multitudes of these dead churches and ministries that will go under and never rise again.
Meanwhile, God will be raising up a Remnant, and that Remnant is going to shake the world

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8045

Jul 05

1st revival — then an awakening

Exclusive: Greg Laurie urges ‘getting back to the Christian life as it was meant to be lived’
Published: 6 days ago
Greg Laurie
Sometimes when I watch television with my wife, she will select something that to me is, to put it delicately, boring. We have different tastes in general, but I’m willing to watch whatever it is she is watching. Sometimes I doze off, and she’ll say, “Greg, you fell asleep.”
There is nothing wrong with taking a little nap, especially if something is boring. But I will wake up denying it, of course. We usually don’t want to admit it when we’ve fallen asleep. That is the way we are. We don’t think we were asleep.
Revival can be described as waking up from a state of sleep. A revival is when God’s people come back to life again, while an awakening is when a nation comes alive spiritually and sees its need for God and turns to God. The church needs a revival. And America needs an awakening.
Thomas Jefferson said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
The Bible tells the story of another place that needed an awakening. It was none other than the ancient city of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, which was the superpower of that day. The Ninevites were really cruel people and were known for their savagery. When the Ninevites would conquer a nation, they often would torture their prisoners before they executed them. Rather than hide their depravity, they celebrated it and proclaimed it. They even built monuments to their own cruelty.
It reminds me of the Nazis in World War II and of ISIS today.
The Assyrians were the enemies of Israel, so when God told Jonah, an Israelite, to go preach to them, Jonah thought it through. He knew God’s nature and how willing God is to pardon. And his fear was that if he went and preached to them, God would forgive them. Jonah deduced that if he didn’t go to Nineveh, God would judge them, and it would be one less enemy Israel would have to deal with.
The population of Nineveh was around 1 million, about the size of San Francisco. It was a very big city for ancient times. The Ninevites lived large, driving the best chariots and enjoying the finest food and the most exotic entertainment. They had a business and commercial system like none in the world. Assyria had been the reigning superpower for about 200 years, but unbeknownst to them, their days were numbered. It would not be all that long until Babylon would come and overtake them. But God was giving Nineveh one last chance.
I wonder if God is trying to speak to America right now. I wonder if he is saying to our nation, “You need to wake up, and you need to turn back to Me.” If God could use someone like Jonah to bring about a spiritual awakening, then he certainly could use someone like you or me.
One person put it this way: “If God could bring a mighty revival in Nineveh, with no better representative than Jonah and no more gospel than he preached in their streets, he can surely do the same for America.”
Jonah was stubborn. He didn’t want to preach to the Ninevites. So he spent three days and three nights inside the belly of a great fish, and finally he came to his senses. He had a personal revival.
When Jonah finally went to Nineveh, it resulted in the largest spiritual awakening recorded in the Bible. People fixate on the story of Jonah and the “whale,” but they miss the bigger story of the biggest revival in ancient history.
First God sent revival to Jonah. Then Jonah brought revival to Nineveh. C.S. Lewis said, “A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right. … You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping.” In other words, if you think you are a great person with no problems, then you really are more asleep than you realize.
Nothing can happen through us until it first happens to us. It has to start with us. Sure, we can go out and tell people about Jesus Christ. But let’s make sure we are models of what it is to follow Christ.
Christians today need the faith of the Christians of the first century, the faith that turned the world upside down. Consider this: Everywhere the apostle Paul went, there either was a riot or a revival. There was always action. It never got boring. It doesn’t mean being obnoxious or creating a scene, but it does mean getting some reaction to your faith.
I feel the time has come for the church to start making a disturbance again. Revival is when God gets so sick and tired of being misrepresented that he shows up himself. That is what we need to pray for now.
I think those of us who are Christians all have, in effect, a Nineveh we are called to, some place where we leave our comfort zone, some place where we admit our need, some place where we reach out to someone we would not normally reach out to.
Revival is getting back to the Christian life as it was meant to be lived. Revival is being in the bloom of first love for a lifetime, walking closely with God. Revival is nothing more or less than a new obedience to God. Then, as Nietzsche put it, it is “long obedience in the same direction.”
Only God can send an awakening to America. But revival can happen right where you are, right now.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8026

Jun 13

Respected Scientist Says He Found Proof God Exists

Veronica Neffinger | Editor, ChristianHeadlines.com | Tuesday, June 07, 2016
One of the world’s most respected scientists has said that there is scientific proof that points to the existence of God.
According to the Geophilosophical Association of Anthropological and Cultural Studies, scientist Michio Kaku, who is known as one of the developers of the revolutionary String Theory, stated, “I have concluded that we are in a world made by rules created by an intelligence.”
In a video Kaku explains, using physics and mathematics and referencing String Theory, how science points to the existence of God.
The very purpose of physics, says Kaku is “to find an equation … which will allow us to unify all the forces of nature and allow us to read the mind of God.”
Kaku has proposed a theory to that end, using what he calls “primitive semi-radius tachyons.”
“To me it is clear that we exists in a plan which is governed by rules that were created, shaped by a universal intelligence and not by chance,” he stated.
Once these new scientific discoveries become widely known, the concept of chance will be changed forever.
“Believe me,” says Kaku, “everything that we call chance today won’t make sense anymore.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=7998

Jun 13

Mario Murillo: Permission to Treat Hillsong Church as a ‘Hostile Witness’

International evangelist Mario Murillo weighs in on the recent controversy swirling Hillsong Church in this guest post here on TRUNEWS.
I posted the article from TruNews entitled Why the Hillsong ‘Dancing Naked Cowboy’ Story Matters. Now I want to speak for myself.
Someone says to a lawyer, “I have evidence that can convict the murderer.” The attorney arranges it so that this witness can testify in court. However, something happens when the witness actually takes the stand. Suddenly they can’t remember, or they contradict earlier testimony.
Now instead of helping the case, they are damaging it. To combat this damage the attorney can ask the judge for help. The attorney asks the judge for permission to treat the witness as hostile. This grants the lawyer power to ask leading questions.
Leading questions either suggest the answer (“You saw my client sign the contract, correct?”) or challenge (impeach) the witness’ testimony. As a rule, leading questions are generally only allowed during cross-examination, but a hostile witness is an exception to this rule.
I am treating the idea of doing a naked cowboy bit as a hostile witness. I am saying it does more harm than good. How can I justify such a statement?! It is a very good question. I am doing it for the very same reason that any attorney would to save his client:
A church is a witness sent by God. If in the process of calling themselves a church, they begin to damage the cause that they vowed to represent—if in their evolution they begin to be a witness for the other side—then they are indeed a hostile witness.
Rational ministers then have a right to ask leading questions. Why is a church so long on art and so short on truth? What is the end game of a naked cowboy bit in a women’s conference? I mean beyond getting attention? Why are you having to do a press conference every few months to clear the air on some bizarre action by your staff? So what if you get a big crowd…when do they become disciples and how do these antics turn a wicked culture to God?
To the thousands of pastors slugging it out—who have sacrificed to be a wall of fire against immorality this is a major slap in the face. That is why I call them a hostile witness. Furthermore, this emboldens the idea that shock-jock tactics are justified if you want a crowd.
I treat them as a hostile witness because this particular brand of compromise enforces a hideous lie. It is the lie that the Gospel is inherently unacceptable to the culture and therefore must be diluted, rebranded and packaged in a form that the world already likes. This lie has allowed us to win meaningless skirmishes while losing a generation.
And don’t try to tell me about your tolerance. Just as liberals will drop the race card anytime someone says something valid against them so do these mega pastors drop the legalism card every time a decent question is raised, i.e. “you’re just being religious.”
If this blog only pointed out fault and offered no constructive alternative it would be as bad as the issue it raises.
There is plenty of fault on the other side of the church—the church that is content to spout trite condemnation to a sinning society. God wants creative juices to flow in the church. He wants a fresh approach that is compelling and anchored in Bible truth. So what is the answer?
In the constant strain to find the right message preachers are mostly divided into two camps.
1. Those who believe you should tell the people what they want to hear.
2. Those who believe that you should tell the people what they need to hear.
Those in the “we tell people what they need to hear” often boast, “We are not into entertainment in our church.” The dictionary defines entertainment as “holding an audience’s attention.” Some pastors who claim not to “be into entertainment” do not know how right they are.
I believe that both of these positions lack something critical. In fact, I believe that Jesus practiced something that transcended both of these positions: He told people what they needed to hear and made them want to hear it.
No one embodied this more than Dr. Billy Graham. His messages were teeming with subjects that society did not want to hear and yet millions hung on his simple words and obeyed his clear appeal.
Preaching is easy if you do not need to do it right. Even entertaining preaching is a snap if you are willing to offer up your integrity on the altar of trends. But the preaching that pierces the lies of your time and makes disciples out of fallen men asks a far greater price than most modern ministers may be willing to pay.
Here are some simple points about reaching the lost in these dark times.
1. You will never reach a city that you cannot weep over. Tears over the plight of a community are essential to doing a great work in that community. Even if you somehow get a crowd through hard work and technique it will not be a deep or lasting impact without God given compassion.
2. You can tell the truth without love but you cannot love without telling the truth.The real reason you never get around to calling sin, sin is that you do not love the audience enough. I know men so caught up in church growth that people are nothing but numbers to them. They would rather hold on to them than help them. Paul said in Acts 20: 20 “how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house.” The best preaching in the world has come from hearts that burned with love for their audience.
3. There are no short cuts to becoming an effective communicator. God requires us to understand the laws of public speaking.
We would not give a second thought to a preacher wanting to know the laws of grammar. Good grammar makes writing something you can read and retain. Why wouldn’t we do the same thing for speaking an audience that we care about?
We can learn from Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and John Kennedy and yes Ronald Reagan. But having learned it we must—like Paul–subdue it to the fire of the Holy Ghost.
I am convinced that our overdependence on music is directly related to the minister’s lack of confidence in their preaching.
4. You must have a right relationship with the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit.
It is not our place to overrule God’s method to verify the Gospel. He has chosen miracles, signs and wonders to do this. For us to impede the gifts of the Spirit is to rob God of His chosen confirmation of truth.
Finding out how you will operate in miracle power is not as important as finding out that you must operate in miracle power. Once you are convicted of its utter necessity, the means for you to express it will inevitably appear.
The supernatural power of God will deliver us from tricks and sad imitations of Broadway. We will never outdo Andrew Lloyd Webber but we can shine on a level the world cannot approach with the presence and glory of Jesus Himself.
The Pulpit commentary—not known for being Pentecostal says this—“And what we need, as the sustaining spirit of all work, is the conviction that Christ has given his Church power to heal and to cure diseases.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=7996

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