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President Trump accepts Senate request to “update” FBI file on Kavanaugh

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“All current credible allegations” are to be investigate by the FBI for one week according to a new order from President Trump. The order followed a call by the Senate to delay Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to have the FBI investigation.

The judge has been accused by three women of sexual misconduct as a youth. These allegations all sprung up days before he was to be recommended by the Senate Judiciary Committee for confirmation by the Senate.

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Interview with Christopher Shaw

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Interview with Christopher Shaw

I was given the opportunity to interview Christopher Shaw. He is the director of the upcoming movie, Church PeopleChurch People is “romantic comedy satire” about a celebrity youth pastor caught up in the marketing machine of his mega church. In the interview, Christopher discusses the redemptive story arc involving what is a sad reality within churches today.

But the journey leading up to this movie was no cakewalk. Christopher’s start came from making Youtube videos. He then built a network of Christian comedians on Facebook, most notably the relationship between he and Thor Ramsay, the writer and star of Church People. They finally began their working relationship at the 168 Film Festival back in 2010. During this festival, they produced the short Skip Listening in a short period of time, the entire process taking no more than 18 days. Skip Listening won accolades at the festival and so the two have continued working together ever since.

As a Director, Christopher appreciates a high quality film. This was his critique of faith based movies, however he emphasized his optimism for how much the category has improved over the years. Passion of the Christ, he says was a breakthrough in closing this disparity. Since then, a number of faith-based films have proven to be remarkable returns on investment. As I pointed out in the interview, Christian comedy, remains rather untapped in its potential, which is a reason I sought to interview someone behind Church People.

Because this interview was for Startup Christ Presents, one of the goals of the interview is to tap their entrepreneurial wisdom. Christopher was not lacking for advice to give. The theme of the advice can be summarized by saying unless God is saying otherwise, start making content. Technology has increased the ease of entrance with film and distribution of content.

These are some of the highlights from the interview. You can watch, or rather listen, on youtube, and if you feel so inclined, subscribe to Christianity Visualized, a new channel I am working on. More to come on that later.

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The goal of the new left: Normalizing antisemitism

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The goal of the new left Normalizing antisemitism

The Bible tells us in the last days, Israel will stand alone against the nations of the world. For years I assumed a localization of this prophecy. I thought surely the United States and other allies of Israel would never turn our collective backs on the Jewish state. Now, I’m starting to realize it’s not only possible but likely under a certain set of circumstances that Israel will, indeed, be left alone at some point in the near future with the world universally against her.

The United States in particular is the one nation that has stood by Israel through all of the turmoil. Granted, we had a brief falling out with Israel during President Obama’s terms in the White House, but these were minor spats and there was still enough support in Congress and across the nation to prevent him from fulfilling a full turning away from Israel as an ally. But things are changing. I’m not going to make predictions about the political fortunes of either the United States or Israel. As this is being recorded, Israel is on the verge of an important election while the United States is ramping up for the 2020 elections. There’s no way to know those outcomes and for the sake of understanding the topic at hand, those outcomes are not important. What’s important is acquiring an understanding of the underlying push from the political and religious left to do something I never thought possible until recently: normalizing antisemitism.

Before I go into how this is happening and what needs to be done to prevent it, it’s important that we understand how antisemitism is manifesting in today’s America, Europe, and other regions that have been historically opposed to the concept in the modern era. There is still plenty of hatred directed at the Jewish people. It often goes unreported as attacks on the streets of New York or the sidewalks of Los Angeles draw little interest from mainstream media. If anything, they not only don’t want to report it but willfully cover it up when they’re forced to report it. This isn’t new. Despite accounting for a very small portion of the American population, Jews experience the lion’s share of hate crimes, accounting for 58% of religious hate crimes in the United States in 2018.

But this is not the type of antisemitism the left is trying to normalize. Their focus is on the land of Israel itself. They view the Jewish state as illegally occupying the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights. They believe the nation unfairly treats Muslims in the country. They want the nation to be disbanded, replaced by a nation of Palestine that will finally anoint Islam as the universal regional religion of the Middle East.

To accomplish this goal, the new left has entrenched itself with organizations like the BDS movement, Nation of Islam, and CAIR in order to spread a unified message that Islam is good and Judaism is bad. They use colorful language to describe the alleged atrocities committed by Israel against the Palestinian people. When asked why the Palestinian people are dead set on taking over a nation the size of New Jersey instead of utilizing the exponentially greater amount of land controlled by Muslim-majority countries, they change the topic. Why? Because it’s better to deflect questions like these instead of competing against common sense.

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Don’t get me wrong. The government of Israel is not perfect. They do make very poor decisions sometimes. But the difference between their poor decisions and the good decisions they make is that the poor decisions are broadcast to the world as examples of their fallacies while the good decisions they make are spun to make them appear like bad decisions. For example, in the last major conflict with Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip, Israel would do something no other government would ever do in the middle of a military conflict. They used a technique called “roof knocking” in which they would alert those within a building that it was about to be leveled, allowing the enemies within to vacate the building before the big bomb hit it. Enemies of Israel would never do such a thing, but how did the leftist and pro-Palestinian press react to this tactic? They called it inhumane to terrify people before bringing death and destruction to them moments later.

This is how the antisemitic new left operates. If Israel does poorly, it’s magnified in the press. If they do well, it’s spun to make it appear they’re doing poorly. There is nothing Israel can ever do that the new left won’t claim to be pure evil.

You may have noticed my conspicuous use of the phrase “new left.” Those of us who have been paying attention to the political landscape for the last few years realize the Democratic Party as well as progressive activist groups have taken a sharp turn lately. Policies that once seemed too radical for even the Democrats to embrace have become normalized. Concepts like the Green New Deal, Medicare-for-All, and outright socialism are no longer fringe ideas relegated to the Green Party. Today’s Democratic Party is starting to allow these ideas to creep into their mainstream thanks to the efforts of the new left. People like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Kamala Harris, Ilhan Omar, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and Beto O’Rourke are taking the Democratic establishment and making it as much their enemies as the Republican Party itself. They’re making accusations, pulling moderate Democrats either closer to them or pushing them away if they don’t embrace the untenable ideas they’re pushing.

One of those ideas happens to be antisemitism, the type I detailed before. Again, they’re not calling for attacks against American Jews, though one can argue their rhetoric still puts American Jews in danger. But their focus is on delegitimizing Israel and driving American sentiment away from supporting our best ally in the Middle East.

Ephesians 6:12 says:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

I have to believe this move to normalize antisemitism is a clear example of principalities and powers exerting their manipulative force to turn the world against the nation of Israel. They want Jerusalem to be isolated and vulnerable. The only way that can happen is if the United States turns it’s back on Israel.

Some will argue that since it’s prophesied, Bible-believing Christians should accept or even cheer on this development. To them I would say two things. First, it is not our place to predict prophetic fulfillment. Instead, we should keep our eyes open for its fulfillment and act accordingly when we see it. Second, prophesied evil events are evil nonetheless. Even if it is God’s will for these events to take place, that doesn’t mean we are called to support these events. We do not have power over God’s timetable. Therefore, it is not our place to try to speed it up. Instead, we must support a Biblical worldview and live based on the teachings of the Word.

If the events of the end times are clearly starting to happen, rejoice despite the turmoil that follows. If the events of the end times are still far off on our calendars, rejoice and continue spreading the Gospel. Prophecy is intended to guide us, not to make us insert our own interpretations in an effort to make it fit current events. When the end times events of Revelation and Daniel become evident, believers will not be wondering if the time has come. We’ll know.

Until the end comes, we must do everything we can to defend our only true ally in the Middle East. Antisemites will rise, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep fighting their message of hatred.

 


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Culture and Religion

5 popular modern day perspectives that go against Biblical teaching

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5 popular modern day perspectives that go against Biblical teaching

The last century has seen a shift in the mentality of people around the world. As a people we tend to believe that our modern perspectives are superior to those of the past and in many cases this is true. Culture, particularly in western society, has developed in a way that allows worldly opportunities like never before in history. The last thirty years in particular have seen us achieve many advances in morality and common worldview… or has it?

Some of the most common teachings from both a secular and Christian worldview have become popularized today but are actually downgrades from a truly Biblical perspective. We’re not going to tackle newsworthy debates in this video such as acceptance of LGBT lifestyles, the rise of Islam, or Christian persecution. Instead, let’s look at some of the popular deceptions that have filled the accepted thinking of western society but that are actually against the teachings of the Bible.

You can do it if you believe in yourself

The rise of self-help doctrines and positive mantra teachings has become a very popular deception that most in western society consider to be a positive thing. At book stores or on Amazon, we see so many publications that teach people how to help themselves achieve greatness. We see popular ad campaigns glorifying the talents and hard work of people. A quick scan on LinkedIn shows that success is something we achieve.

In all of these, it’s very rare to find a mention of God’s hand in all of this.

True humility is an uncommon trait today. All that we accomplish is through the Grace of God. Everything. That doesn’t mean that all worldly success is inspired or that only true believers are rewarded. Reading Daniel 4 shows that a wicked man who honored himself over our Heavenly Father was able to become the most powerful man on the planet. Nebuchadnezzar did not know or acknowledge that his blessings were part of God’s plan for the world and was even punished for his arrogance.

God works through all of His creation, through every man, woman, and child. Just because someone does not believe this fact doesn’t mean they won’t be successful by society’s standards. However, it’s imperative for believers who want true success in the form of eternal rewards to put away the self-help books. They might teach you how you can achieve success in this world, but those teachings are meaningless at best and possibly even detrimental come Judgment Day.

Handouts hurt people

From a political perspective, I’m considered by most to be extremely conservative. It’s for this reason that people are often surprised that I believe in giving directly to the poor and the homeless. The concept that those of means should be giving to those without is a topic that has many perspectives. There are plenty of people on both sides of the political fence that call it enabling, that say we’re not helping when we give someone money knowing there’s a good chance they’ll use it to buy alcohol or drugs.

It’s not about money. It’s not about motives. Giving is something that we should all do within our means whenever we are asked. The caveat is this, and it’s a perspective that will certainly annoy non-believers. When we give, we should make certain that a message is given as well. It could be as simple as telling someone that Jesus loves them. It could be as tangible as giving a Bible with the money as well. We are incapable of knowing what our giving will do and it’s possible that the adversary will compel them to use what we give to hurt themselves or others, but true faith comes with blessings in our giving.

Let’s be reminded of the need for physical giving as we offer blessings to those in need:

James 2:15-17

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

I’ve heard people calling handouts a form of socialism that keeps people down. They say that they should be given opportunity to work for their living rather than be given gifts that enable their “freeloading.” I’ve even heard people talk about tithing as their giving, putting trust in churches to somehow vet out the people in need who deserve it. That’s another topic altogether, but know this: giving within your means to those who need it and accompanying the act with a message of faith is by no means socialism, enabling, or a reward for freeloading. Give to all the people you can and trust your Father that His Will be done to those who you bless.

Prayer is for helping

The power of prayer has been documented and shown to have an effect on our lives, our bodies, and even forces outside of our control. It has become common for people to pray for others who are in need, to pray for blessings, and to pray for guidance. These prayers work. In fact, they can sometimes lead to miraculous results.

There are others who pray the Lord’s Prayer as instructed by Yeshua in Matthew and Luke. They take heed and understand that our Father knows our needs better than we do.

Both of these are fine and important aspects of our life, but there’s another portion of prayer that is often neglected. In fact, it’s the most important part of prayer that should be ongoing throughout our daily lives. This is the prayer of worship, gratitude, praise, and honoring our Father. As modern day believers we have grown accustomed to asking for blessings but we do not put enough emphasis on blessing the God of Heaven. Yes, we should bless God even more than we ask God for blessings.

In Daniel 2, we see Daniel and his companions ask for mercies so that they would not be killed. God granted Daniel a night vision that would help him and his friends.

Daniel 2:19-23

19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:
21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.
23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.

We cannot forget that the world and all who are in it are and were created for God’s pleasure. He gives when we ask, but prayer is more than asking for things. It’s about giving praise and being humble before our Creator.

Family first

Of all of the things that have crept into our modern mindset that can be dangerous to our souls, one of the most dangerous and hardest to shake is the idea that our family comes first. We love our families and we feel like we would do anything for them, but there’s a problem with this mentality that will be considered unpopular by many of you. Serving God supersedes all things including family.

Today, this isn’t a huge problem for most. Most of us are not in a position to have to choose between faith and family. However, some of us are and in the coming days it’s very likely that we will be forced to choose between our earthly loves and devotion to our Father. There are those today who are forced to choose. In the Middle East and other regions of the world, believers are told that they and their families will be harmed or even killed if they do not renounce their faith. If you are ever put in that situation where you must choose between letting a loved one suffer knowing that you can save them by renouncing your faith, you must make the hard choice. No matter what happens, openly and honestly following Christ as your Lord and Savior is non-negotiable even if it will bring pain or death to you or your loved ones.

It’s a terrible thought. I’ve gone over it in my mind imagining how difficult it would be to let my family suffer over my faith, but there is no suffering that can be brought onto you or them in this world that can compare to the loss of your souls in eternity.

Those are extreme examples, but it also applies to day-to-day life. Some of you may have a job that provides wonderfully for your family but that hurts your spiritual life, that pulls you further away from God. Maintaining your lifestyle is something many people choose over truly following Christ. Your lifestyle will seem like such an insignificant and petty endeavor when you’re standing before judgment.

Bad things are punishments, good things are rewards

One of the reasons that I’m so against the doctrines of the prosperity gospel is that it places so much emphasis on happiness today. It’s not just about money and health, things that false teachers use by spreading mangled Bible verses talking about favor and blessing. The reality is this: good things can come from bad places and bad things can come from good places.

The Apostles did not live rich lives of comfort and ease. The Prophets were not living lavish lifestyles. Most of the Apostles and Prophets died horrible deaths after living difficult lives. Their blessings await them in Heaven.

I’m not suggesting that your faith will get your crucified or beheaded necessarily, nor am I suggesting that blessings in this world do not come to the faithful. However, it’s important to know that we have no way of comprehending how good things and bad things will play out in our lives. We can only take life at is it given to us living day by day and listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to show us the way. If something happens to you that seems bad now, don’t automatically assume that it’s a punishment. Stay faithful through the good and the bad and know that we can be put into terrible situations that are part of God’s plan.

Look at Joseph. He was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused, committed to jail, and forgotten by those he helped. He suffered for over a decade in ways that most of us cannot imagine. All of this suffering brought him to an incredible series of blessings that paved the way for the land of Israel to come into being and to bring us a Messiah to save us all. It is not written whether or not Joseph lost faith or felt abandoned by God during his tribulation, but we can speculate that he maintained his faith through the hard times. He didn’t know God’s plan, but he knew that God had a plan and he allowed it to play out day by day.

Keep in mind that I’m not suggesting that God does not punish transgressions or reward righteousness. I’m saying that we are incapable of understanding God’s plan and therefore we cannot know when blessings come in a form that can seem like punishments to our human perspectives. Read the Book of Job and you’ll see that we have no right to let our faith be shaken when bad things happen.

Finally

Every day it seems like a new false doctrine or accepted worldview is popping up that goes against the Bible. Remain stalwart in your faithful convictions, brethren. Don’t let the world distract you from the plan that God has for you.

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