next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb
of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
Behold The Lamb Of God
Greetings. Hope you all have a great Christmas and wonderful New Year as the end of 2015 draws ever nearer. Although we live in extremely troubling times we are encouraged to lift up our heads for our redemption draws near!
No need to be downcast with the state of the world. The prince of the power of the air may be blowing up a storm, but soon, the Prince of peace will return to calm the raging waves of turmoil now engulfing more and more of the earth.
For those of you who are interested in the topic of geocentrism, which has been our recent focus over the past three weeks, here is a link to an excellent ninety minute documentary on the subject called “The Principle” which was just released December 8th, 2015.
This additional link is to a twenty minute documentary called "Thoughtcrime: The Conspiracy to Stop The Principle" which shows the controversy surrounding the documentary.
Orthodox Rabbinic Statement on Christianity
December 3, 2015
To Do the Will of Our Father in Heaven:
Toward a Partnership between Jews and Christians
After nearly two millennia of mutual hostility and alienation, we Orthodox Rabbis who lead communities, institutions and seminaries in Israel, the United States and Europe recognize the historic opportunity now before us. We seek to do the will of our Father in Heaven by accepting the hand offered to us by our Christian brothers and sisters. Jews and Christians must work together as partners to address the moral challenges of our era.
The Shoah ended 70 years ago. It was the warped climax to centuries of disrespect, oppression and rejection of Jews and the consequent enmity that developed between Jews and Christians. In retrospect it is clear that the failure to break through this contempt and engage in constructive dialogue for the good of humankind weakened resistance to evil forces of anti-Semitism that engulfed the world in murder and genocide.
We recognize that since the Second Vatican Council the official teachings of the Catholic Church about Judaism have changed fundamentally and irrevocably. The promulgation of Nostra Aetate fifty years ago started the process of reconciliation between our two communities. Nostra Aetate and the later official Church documents it inspired unequivocally reject any form of anti-Semitism, affirm the eternal Covenant between G-d and the Jewish people, reject deicide and stress the unique relationship between Christians and Jews, who were called “our elder brothers” by Pope John Paul II and “our fathers in faith” by Pope Benedict XVI. On this basis, Catholics and other Christian officials started an honest dialogue with Jews that has grown during the last five decades. We appreciate the Church’s affirmation of Israel’s unique place in sacred history and the ultimate world redemption. Today Jews have experienced sincere love and respect from many Christians that have been expressed in many dialogue initiatives, meetings and conferences around the world.
As did Maimonides and Yehudah Halevi, we acknowledge that Christianity is neither an accident nor an error, but the willed divine outcome and gift to the nations. In separating Judaism and Christianity, G-d willed a separation between partners with significant theological differences, not a separation between enemies. Rabbi Jacob Emden wrote that “Jesus brought a double goodness to the world. On the one hand he strengthened the Torah of Moses majestically… and not one of our Sages spoke out more emphatically concerning the immutability of the Torah. On the other hand he removed idols from the nations and obligated them in the seven commandments of Noah so that they would not behave like animals of the field, and instilled them firmly with moral traits…..Christians are congregations that work for the sake of heaven who are destined to endure, whose intent is for the sake of heaven and whose reward will not denied.” Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch taught us that Christians “have accepted the Jewish Bible of the Old Testament as a book of Divine revelation. They profess their belief in the G-d of Heaven and Earth as proclaimed in the Bible and they acknowledge the sovereignty of Divine Providence.” Now that the Catholic Church has acknowledged the eternal Covenant between G-d and Israel, we Jews can acknowledge the ongoing constructive validity of Christianity as our partner in world redemption, without any fear that this will be exploited for missionary purposes. As stated by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s Bilateral Commission with the Holy See under the leadership of Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, “We are no longer enemies, but unequivocal partners in articulating the essential moral values for the survival and welfare of humanity”. Neither of us can achieve G-d’s mission in this world alone.
Both Jews and Christians have a common covenantal mission to perfect the world under the sovereignty of the Almighty, so that all humanity will call on His name and abominations will be removed from the earth. We understand the hesitation of both sides to affirm this truth and we call on our communities to overcome these fears in order to establish a relationship of trust and respect. Rabbi Hirsch also taught that the Talmud puts Christians “with regard to the duties between man and man on exactly the same level as Jews. They have a claim to the benefit of all the duties not only of justice but also of active human brotherly love.” In the past relations between Christians and Jews were often seen through the adversarial relationship of Esau and Jacob, yet Rabbi Naftali Zvi Berliner (Netziv) already understood at the end of the 19th century that Jews and Christians are destined by G-d to be loving partners: “In the future when the children of Esau are moved by pure spirit to recognize the people of Israel and their virtues, then we will also be moved to recognize that Esau is our brother.”
We Jews and Christians have more in common than what divides us: the ethical monotheism of Abraham; the relationship with the One Creator of Heaven and Earth, Who loves and cares for all of us; Jewish Sacred Scriptures; a belief in a binding tradition; and the values of life, family, compassionate righteousness, justice, inalienable freedom, universal love and ultimate world peace. Rabbi Moses Rivkis (Be’er Hagoleh) confirms this and wrote that “the Sages made reference only to the idolator of their day who did not believe in the creation of the world, the Exodus, G-d’s miraculous deeds and the divinely given law. In contrast, the people among whom we are scattered believe in all these essentials of religion.”
Our partnership in no way minimizes the ongoing differences between the two communities and two religions. We believe that G-d employs many messengers to reveal His truth, while we affirm the fundamental ethical obligations that all people have before G-d that Judaism has always taught through the universal Noahide covenant.
In imitating G-d, Jews and Christians must offer models of service, unconditional love and holiness. We are all created in G-d’s Holy Image, and Jews and Christians will remain dedicated to the Covenant by playing an active role together in redeeming the world.
Initial signatories (in alphabetical order):
Rabbi Jehoshua Ahrens (Germany)
Rabbi Marc Angel (United States)
Rabbi Isak Asiel (Chief Rabbi of Serbia)
Rabbi David Bigman (Israel)
Rabbi David Bollag (Switzerland)
Rabbi David Brodman (Israel)
Rabbi Natan Lopez Cardozo (Israel)
Rav Yehudah Gilad (Israel)
Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein (Israel)
Rabbi Irving Greenberg (United States)
Rabbi Marc Raphael Guedj (Switzerland)
Rabbi Eugene Korn (Israel)
Rabbi Daniel Landes (Israel)
Rabbi Steven Langnas (Germany)
Rabbi Benjamin Lau (Israel)
Rabbi Simon Livson (Chief Rabbi of Finland)
Rabbi Asher Lopatin (United States)
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin (Israel)
Rabbi David Rosen (Israel)
Rabbi Naftali Rothenberg (Israel)
Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger (Israel)
Rabbi Shmuel Sirat (France)
Rabbi Daniel Sperber (Israel)
Rabbi Jeremiah Wohlberg (United States)
Rabbi Alan Yuter (Israel)
Rabbi Herzl Hefter (Israel)
Rabbi David Jaffe (USA)
Rabbi David Kalb (USA)
Rabbi Shaya Kilimnick (USA)
Rabbi Yehoshua Looks (Israel)
Rabbi Ariel Mayse (USA)
Rabbi David Rose (UK)
Rabbi Zvi Solomons (UK)
Rabbi Yair Silverman (Israel)
Rabbi Daniel Raphael Silverstein (USA)
Rabbi Lawrence Zierler (USA)
If you’re an orthodox rabbi wishing to add your name to the signatory list, please fill out your information in the fields below:
 Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings 11:4 (uncensored edition); Kuzari, section 4:22
 Seder Olam Rabbah 35-37; Sefer ha-Shimush 15-17.
 Principles of Education, “Talmudic Judaism and Society,” 225-227.
 Fourth meeting of the Bilateral Commission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with Jewry, Grottaferrata, Italy (19 October 2004).
 Commentary on Genesis 33:4.
 Gloss on Shulhan Arukh, Hoshen Mishpat, Section 425:5.
Torah Scroll Being Written to Present to Messiah Upon His Arrival
By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz December 15, 2015 , 11:30 am
“Now it will come about that In the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.’ For the Torah will go forth from Zion And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:2-3)
Sephardi style Torah scrolls during prayers at the Western Wall. (Photo: Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz/ Breaking Israel News)
Rabbi Yosef Berger, one of the rabbis in charge of King David’s Tomb in Jerusalem’s Old City, has been dreaming of a project for over a year – one Torah scroll to unify all of Israel.
Recent global events have forced Rabbi Berger to move ahead quickly with his dream as he wants to be able to personally present this Torah as a gift to the Messiah. Many prominent rabbis and Kabbalists have told Rabbi Berger that may be very soon indeed.
The inspiration for the project came from the Book of Hosea (3:4-5), in which it is written:
“For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar and without ephod (a sleeveless garment worn by Jewish priests) or household idols. Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness in the last days (before Messiah).”
Rabbi Berger explained to Breaking Israel News what this prophecy had a personal meaning for him.
“In the end of days, when Israel realizes that all hope is lost and they have no solution or salvation from their plight, the people of Israel will be wise enough to seek the three things which our ancestors despised: the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of David, and the building of the Temple,” he said.
“It is taught in the Yalkut Shimoni (a collection believed to have been arranged in the 13th century) Samuel 1: 106, ‘Rabbi Shimon Ben Monsia said, “No signs of redemption will be shown to Israel until they seek these three things – the kingdom of heaven , the dynasty of King David, and the building of the Temple.”’”
Rabbi Berger believes that by bringing all of Israel together in the writing of a single Torah scroll housed on Mount Zion, where King David is interred, and adjacent to the Temple mount, he will accomplish all three goals in one action.
Rabbi David Hai Abuhatzeira was honored with writing the first letter of the Torah. Rabbi Abuhatzeira is the grandson of the prominent Moroccan Sephardic mystic Rabbi Israel Abuhatzeira, known as the Baba Sali, renowned for his ability to work miracles through his prayers.
For Kabbalistic reasons which he refused to reveal, Rabbi Abuhatzeira chose to write the Hebrew letter ‘yud’, rather than the first letter, which is a ‘bet’. Rabbi Abuhatzeira urgently instructed the organizers of the project, “Write the Sefer Torah as fast as possible, you don’t have much time!…I hope you have a chance (to finish)!”
“The Messiah will also take part in the process,” Rabbi Abuhatzeira explained. “The nation of Israel will give him this Torah as a gift, as it is written “Whither kings shall bring presents unto Thee” (Psalms 68:29) and “Bring presents unto Him that is to be feared” (Psalms 76:11).”
According to Rabbi Berger, Rabbi Abuhatzeira added that the combined numerologies of the phrases “This year we will merit seeing him” (השנה נזכה לראות אותו) and “The arrival of the Messiah” (ביאת המשי), add up to 5776, the current year according to the Jewish calendar.
Hundreds of letters have already been written in the Torah scroll. Jewish tradition teaches that a Torah scroll contains 600,000 letters, equal to the number of Jews who received the Torah at Mount Sinai. However, the actual number of letters in a Torah is 304,805, leaving many more opportunities for people to be included in the Klal Yisrael project.
Rabbi Berger realizes that preparing a gift for the Messiah is not a normal type of charity, and his expectations are unique. “Even if someone gives me a million dollars to write many Torahs, it isn’t what I want. I want all of Israel individually to have a part in this Torah,” he explained to Breaking Israel News.
When the Torah is completed, Rabbi Berger plans on having a parade through Jerusalem to dedicate it. The parade will go through every corner of the city in order to include as many people as possible and will finish at the Tomb of King David, where the Torah scroll will be kept.
“We want it to be such a wonderful event that all of Israel will be praising God and asking for him to come and redeem us.”
Prominent Rabbis Sternbuch, Amar Hint that the Messiah is “Just Around the Corner”
By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz December 9, 2015 , 1:00 pm
“But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel 12:4)
Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch (L) and Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar (R) have both hinted that the world is in an auspicious time for the arrival of the messiah. (Photo: Breaking Israel News)
Two prominent rabbis in Israel – Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch and Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar – have hinted in public that the Messiah is “just around the corner” based upon certain world events taking place today.
Rabbi Sternbuch, vice president of the Rabbinical Court and head of the Eidah Charedit organization in Jerusalem, recently said that people should “put on their Shabbat clothes in preparation for the Messiah.”
As reported by the Hebrew language website Kikar Shabbat, Rabbi Sternbuch was giving over his regular weekly lesson when he began to relate the arrival of the Messiah to the recent conflict between Turkey and Russia. He concluded that in the context of this conflict, we should anticipate the Messiah.
“We have received a direct teaching, passed down from one to another, from the Gaon of Vilna, that when Russia goes and conquers Istanbul, the capital of Turkey, it is time to quickly put on your Shabbat clothes and expect the Messiah,” he said.
“Here we have Russia and Turkey in a conflict with each other. We hear sounds of war. All of the nations seem so surprised that Turkey began a fight with Russia,” Rabbi Sternbuch explained.
“But we see in this the realization of the teachings of the sages, that when the Messiah needs to come, God will incite nations against each other, until, against their will, there will be a war. Therefore, as the Shmittah goes out, we should have great inspiration to wake up and repent.”
Touching upon a teaching taught by the Jewish sages, Rabbi Sternbuch reflected on the persecution the Jews will face from the Arab nations as part of the messianic process.
“It is also written that before the Messiah comes, Israel will suffer greatly from the sons of Ishmael (Arabs) and they will succeed in antagonizing us. We are at a crossroads and we need to pray to God to redeem us. We have to wake up and repent or, if not, God forbid, the Ishmaelites will overcome us.”
“This is precisely the time to repent and pray,” he said. “Messiah is just around the corner and is waiting to arrive. It is impossible to understand how a country like Turkey can start a war and refuse to apologize. They are crazy! God is confusing them, therefore we need to strengthen ourselves in repentance so we will merit a true redemption very soon.”
In a related report on Kikar Shabbat, Rabbi Amar, the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Jerusalem and former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, was quoted as saying that the world is currently in the closest possible moment for the arrival of the Messiah.
Speaking at an assembly of followers of the Hassidic Chabad movement in Kfar Chabad, Rabbi Amar said, “We are at the closest possible period to the Messiah. We have never been this close to the revelation of the Messiah before. All the signs given by the prophets, the early and later sages, and what is written in the Zohar (the basis of Kabbala), are in place for us. All of the great men of the last generations, and at their head is my rabbi [Rabbi Ovadia Yosef], they said ‘Behold, he is standing just around the corner’. We just have to stay strong.”
Rabbi Amar quoted a teaching from the last Chabad leader, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, in which he warned that the time before the messiah will intensify conflict around the world. “There will come a time when we won’t be able to sleep because of all the troubles that will befall us,” Rabbi Amar related.
EXCLUSIVE: Pope REFUSES to wear bullet proof vest for Christmas speech amid ISIS threat
POPE Francis is ignoring pleas from Italian police by refusing to wear a bullet proof vest despite chilling threats issued by Islamic State (ISIS) about a planned invasion of Rome.
By TOM BATCHELOR
PUBLISHED: 12:00, Thu, Dec 17, 2015 | UPDATED: 12:50, Thu, Dec 17, 2015
Pope Francis is on a terror hit list GETTY
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, the Pope's spokesman said the pontiff was aware of threats made by ISIS against him but was "not afraid" of the sick Daesh fighters.
He said Pope Francis is also refusing to have alterations made to his Popemobile to protect himself during this year's Christmas Day message.
The Pope has been advised by police to beef up security in the wake of fresh threats but has refused to change his famously relaxed style of leadership in response to the jihadi group.
It comes as the fanatical Islamist organisation has released a string of propaganda videos threatening to launch Paris-style attacks on the Italian capital.
Pope Francis is considered a specific target as head of the Catholic church.
His recent recent condemnation of the atrocities in the French capital are also likely to mark him as someone at high-risk of attack.
But the defiant pontiff will not be cowed by death threats from the barbaric terror group.
Pope Francis is not afraid
"He is not afraid," his spokesman said, adding that Pope Francis "knows everything [about the threat from ISIS] but he doesn't want to lose the contact with the people".
Amid the heightened security alert, the Vatican insists it is doing everything it can to keep the Pope safe.
He added: "The Pope doesn't want to wear the bulletproof vest.
"It is understandable in his position he doesn't want to wear a bulletproof vest - that is ridiculous to go on the altar in one.
"It is understandable obviously that the police and the gendarmerie would like the Pope to be more protected, but that is something that can't be changed.
"He is not afraid - you have seen that he has gone to Africa, he went to the Central African Republic which everybody asked him to avoid.
"He went there, he didn't have any danger, he was able to invite the imam to come with him in the Popemobile.
"He knows everything [about the alleged threat] obviously but he is not very concerned."
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Rome has long been touted as a potential target for the jihadi death cult.
The latest ISIS propaganda video shows computer-generated tanks advancing on a crumbling Colosseum, while a deserted Vatican City is bathed in an orange light and accompanied by chilling music.
The narrator then promises a final battle between "believers" and "crusaders" with ISIS taking over Rome, destroying crucifixes and taking Christian women as slaves.
It follows just days after hackers claiming to be from ISIS posted footage of hostages being beheaded on a church website.
The hackers said ISIS would not stop fighting until they "pray in Rome", in another hint they could be plotting to take out the Pope.
William McCants, a US expert on jihadism, said: "The Muslim armies are supposed to take over Rome, and eventually they are supposed to take over the whole world.
"The group believes that Muslims will conquer the Italian capital in the course of conquering the entire world. There will be an ultimate victory for Islam and then the end of the world comes."
ISIS threat to POPE: Fears for Holy Father as terror nuts plot 'FINAL MASSACRE' in Rome
EVIL Islamic State are plotting to kill POPE FRANCIS, the Vatican fears, after multiple propaganda videos threatening Rome were released by Daesh militants.
By JOEY MILLAR
PUBLISHED: 03:17, Sun, Dec 13, 2015 | UPDATED: 10:14, Sun, Dec 13, 2015
Pope Francis will carry out his papal duties as normal despite the threats
The Vatican has admitted it is a target for crazed jihadis due to its religious links. Any attack would send shivers across the globe.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin said recently the Vatican was considering whether to ramp up security.
He said: "The Vatican could be a target because of its religious significance.
"We are capable of increasing the level of security in the Vatican and the surrounding area.
"But we will not let ourselves be paralysed by fear."
Rome has been the subject of a number of threatening terror films released by the extremists in recent weeks.
It is thought the focus on Rome, and specifically the Vatican City, may be in response to the Pope's recent condemnation of the deadly terror attacks in Paris, as well as its status of the capital of the Catholic world.
St Peter's Basilica in the video, bathed in an eerie orange light
Following the bloody night in Paris last month last month, in which 130 people died, Pope Francis said: "Such barbarity leaves us dismayed, and we ask ourselves how the human heart can plan and carry out such horrible events.
"There are no justifications for these things."
The latest, and most ominous video, shows CGI ISIS tanks advancing on a crumbling Colosseum, promises a final battle between "believers" and "crusaders."
It also shows an eerie St Peter's Basilica, the papal enclave within the Vatican City, bathed in an orange light and accompanied by chilling music.
The video's narrator then apparently claims that ISIS will take over Rome, destroying crucifixes and taking Christian women as slaves.
Last week, yet another video was released by ISIS, again specifically mentioning the Italian capital.
In it, a jihadi vowed: "By Allah, if we brought down France in its homeland, in Paris, then we swear, by the command of Allah, we will attack America in its heartland, in Washington, Allah permitting, and we will invade Rome, Allah permitting."
Earlier this year, the Pope's head of security Domenico Giani said the Holy See would not change his habits or lifestyle in light of the threats.
He said: "The Holy Father does not intend to abandon the style of his pontificate, which is based on proximity, that is, on a direct encounter with the greatest number of people possible.
"Even as pontiff, he has remained a priest who does not want to lose contact with his flock.
“Those of us entrusted with his security must adapt to his style and not the other way around.
"We must do everything possible so that he can continue to carry out his ministry as he wants and believes is best.”
Ofsted may swoop on Sunday schools, church youth groups, and even choirs, to check they support ‘British values’ in bid to curb extremism
Checks in education programmes sparked after Trojan Horse incident
Criteria says schools must be shown to teach ‘democracy’ and ‘tolerance’
Christian Institute compared plans to 'the kind of thing they do in China'
Proposals have the support of Prime Minister David Cameron
By ELEANOR HARDING and ALISHA ROUSE FOR THE DAILY MAIL
PUBLISHED: 20:47 EST, 11 December 2015 | UPDATED: 20:47 EST, 11 December 2015
Ofsted inspectors may monitor Sunday schools as part of new proposals to stop extremism – in a move Christian groups called ‘profoundly insulting’.
The proposal could see inspectors swoop in on church youth groups, and even choirs, to check they support ‘British values’, the Christian Institute fears.
The group compared the inspection plans to ‘the kind of thing they do in China’. The proposal, which has been supported by David Cameron, could mean all ‘out-of-school education settings’ having to register and face inspection.
Ofsted inspectors may monitor Sunday schools as part of new proposals to stop extremism - a move taken following the Trojan Horse incidents in Birmingham. Picture: A Sunday school (stock image)
Simon Calvert, deputy director of public affairs for the Christian Institute, said: ‘It’s profoundly insulting to suggest that churches might be radicalising children, because that’s not what Christians are.
‘Christians are law-abiding, they support democracy and they’re taught to love their neighbour. In fact they’re much more likely to be victims of extremism.’
He added: ‘It’s a very serious business, and regulating the activities and teachings of churches – that’s the kind of thing they do in China. I did not think it was the kind of thing the United Kingdom government would ever try to do.’
Checks on ‘British values’ in education programmes were sparked after the Trojan Horse incident alleged Birmingham schools were teaching radical religious agendas. The new criteria means schools must be shown to teach ‘democracy’ and ‘tolerance’.
The plans would apply to any education-related programme given to under-19 year olds for more than six hours a week.
A Department for Education spokesman said: ‘We are consulting on new rules that would require out-of-school groups to register with us, to protect children from harm. There would be no inspections unless specific concerns were raised.’ The news comes as inspectors warned that young children are at risk of being ‘abused and radicalised’ in secret madrassas.
Ofsted said it has uncovered unregistered Muslim faith schools which keep pupils in squalid conditions and teach a ‘narrow’ Islamic curriculum. The schools regulator said they pose ‘a serious and growing threat’ to the safety of hundreds of children, who may be vulnerable to extremism.
Inspectors revealed they have shut three unregistered schools in Birmingham in the past month, with one using ‘anti-Semitic, homophobic and misogynistic material’. Conditions in one were described as ‘unhygienic and filthy’. A total of 94 pupils were being taught by adults who had not been suitably checked for work with children.
Ofsted has found 15 such ‘hidden’ schools in the past year, running full timetables and involving about 800 pupils. Yesterday, Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said he was forming a taskforce to investigate such schools and prosecute those involved.
He told BBC Radio 4’s PM: ‘These schools are not registered. Children are at risk in these places and I think unless something is done to stem the increase of this we will see youngsters really, really, really at risk in our country of being abused and radicalised.’
He went on to say he believed that prosecutions for running illegal schools were ‘long overdue’.And in a letter to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, he warned that the number of children affected by the secret schools ‘is far higher than is currently known by authorities’.
The Rise of the ‘Done With Church’ Population
By Thom Schultz
Sometimes referred to as the “de-churched,” this group of people is leaving the church in droves.
John is every pastor’s dream member. He’s a life-long believer, well-studied in the Bible, gives generously and leads others passionately.
But last year he dropped out of church. He didn’t switch to the other church down the road. He dropped out completely. His departure wasn’t the result of an ugly encounter with a staff person or another member. It wasn’t triggered by any single event.
John had come to a long-considered, thoughtful decision. He said, “I’m just done. I’m done with church.”
John is one in a growing multitude of ex-members. They’re sometimes called the de-churched. They have not abandoned their faith. They have not joined the also-growing legion of those with no religious affiliation—often called the Nones. Rather, John has joined the Dones.
At Group’s recent Future of the Church conference, sociologist Josh Packard shared some of his groundbreaking research on the Dones. He explained these de-churched were among the most dedicated and active people in their congregations. To an increasing degree, the church is losing its best.
For the church, this phenomenon sets up a growing danger. The very people on whom a church relies for lay leadership, service and financial support are going away. And the problem is compounded by the fact that younger people in the next generation, the Millennials, are not lining up to refill the emptying pews.
Why are the Dones done? Packard describes several factors in his upcoming book Church Refugees (Group). Among the reasons: After sitting through countless sermons and Bible studies, they feel they’ve heard it all. One of Packard’s interviewees said, “I’m tired of being lectured to. I’m just done with having some guy tell me what to do.”
The Dones are fatigued with the Sunday routine of plop, pray and pay. They want to play. They want to participate. But they feel spurned at every turn.
Sometimes referred to as the “de-churched,” this group of people is leaving the church in droves.
Will the Dones return? Not likely, according to the research. They’re done. Packard says it would be more fruitful if churches would focus on not losing these people in the first place. Preventing an exodus is far easier than attempting to convince refugees to return.
Pastors and other ministry leaders would benefit from asking and listening to these long-time members before they flee. This will require a change of habit. When it comes to listening, church leaders are too often in the habit of fawning over celebrity pastors for answers. It would be far more fruitful to take that time and spend it with real people nearby—existing members. Ask them some good questions, such as:
1. Why are you a part of this church?
2. What keeps you here?
3. Have you ever contemplated stepping away from church? Why or why not?
4. How would you describe your relationship with God right now?
5. How has your relationship with God changed over the past few years?
6. What effect, if any, has our church had on your relationship with God?
7. What would need to change here to help you grow more toward Jesus’ call to love God and love others?
It’s time to listen. Even as I’m writing this today, another high-capacity lay leader emailed me with his decision to leave his church. He’s done. Like many others I know, he’s also a nationally known Christian leader. But he’s done.
Your church, even if it’s one of the rare growing ones, is sitting on a ticking time bomb. The exodus of the Dones, the rise of the Nones and the disappearance of the Millennials do not look good for a church afraid to listen.
It’s not too late to start.
"Let Them Fly There Now": Putin Threatens To Shoot Down Turkish Jets In Syria, Calls Erdogan An Ass Kisser
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/17/2015 21:01 -0500
It’s been nearly a month since Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 in what not only represented the most serious escalation to date in Syria’s five year conflict but also marked the first time a NATO member has engaged a Russian or Soviet aircraft in at least six decades.
The “incident” - which came several weeks after Ankara downed what certainly appeared to be a Russian drone - infuriated The Kremlin, setting off a war of words that culminated in a lengthy presentation by the Russian MoD which purported to prove that illicit Islamic State oil flows through Turkey. Both Putin and a number of other Russian officials have implicated Erdogan and his family in the trafficking of illegal crude and there’s speculation that Ankara’s brazen move to fire on the Russian warplane stemmed from Erdogan’s desire to “punish” Russia for disrupting what Deputy Minister of Defence Anatoly Antonov sarcastically called “a brilliant family business.”
As for the Russian foreign ministry, Sergei Lavrov canceled a planned trip to Turkey and Maria Zakharova went so far as to reference Turkey’s infamous political blogger Fuat Avni (a pseudonym) on the way to suggesting that Ankara had been planning to shoot down a Russian fighter jet for at least a month.
In an effort to ensure that the downing of a Russian warplane in Syria was a “one and done” event, Moscow deployed the Moskva off the coast of Latakia and sent in the S-400 air defense systems (which were rumored to have already been in place).
Those moves rattled the US and its partners who fear that a nervous Putin might “inadvertently” shoot down an American, French, or British warplane. Indeed Putin ratcheted up the rhetoric last week. While not detailing 'who' he was focused on, the President told a session of the Defense Ministry's collegium that "I order to act extremely tough. Any targets that threaten Russian forces or our infrastructure on the ground should be immediately destroyed."
Well, in case that wasn’t clear enough, Putin took it a step further on Thursday.
During his annual news conference in Moscow, the Russian President literally dared Erdogan to send Turkish F-16s into Syrian airspace.
As Bloomberg reports, “President Vladimir Putin signaled that Russia is ready to shoot down any Turkish military aircraft that strays into Syrian airspace."
“Turkey constantly violated Syrian airspace in the past. Let them fly there now,” he said, pointing out that Russia’s most advanced air-defense system, the S-400, is covering all of Syria.
(In case the S-400s and the Moskva should prove insufficient, Putin always has the "hands on" option)
"This is the 11th press conference Putin will have with Russian and international journalists during the three terms he has served as head of state," Sputnik notes. "These large press meetings, held once a year, usually last several hours. Almost 1,400 journalists have received accreditation for this year’s event."
As for whether The Kremlin thinks the US was in any way involved in the downing of the Russian warplane, Putin said he wasn't aware of any American involvement, but did suggest (literally) that Erdogan may have been trying to kiss Washington's ass or, in Bloomberg's more politically correct terminology, "Turkey may have been trying to curry favor with the largest member of NATO".
Putin:“If someone in Turkey decided to kiss Americans on a certain body part, I don’t know whether it was right or not."
NEARLY 200 NATIONS ADOPT 1ST GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE PACT
The “Paris agreement” aims to keep global temperatures from rising another degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) between now and 2100
DECEMBER 13, 2015
Nearly 200 nations adopted the first global pact to fight climate change on Saturday, calling on the world to collectively cut and then eliminate greenhouse gas pollution but imposing no sanctions on countries that don’t.
The “Paris agreement” aims to keep global temperatures from rising another degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) between now and 2100, a key demand of poor countries ravaged by rising sea levels and other effects of climate change.
Loud applause erupted in the conference hall after French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius gaveled the agreement. Some delegates wept and others embraced.
The agreement, South African Environment Minister Edna Molewa said, “can map a turning point to a better and safer world.”
UN climate deal blow to fossil fuels: green groups
December 12, 2015
Le Bourget (France) (AFP) - A global accord for taming global warming, sealed at UN talks in Paris on Saturday, represents a potential body-blow to the fossil-fuel business, Greenpeace and other prominent environment groups said.
"The wheel of climate action turns slowly, but in Paris it has turned. This deal puts the fossil-fuel industry on the wrong side of history," Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said.
"Today the human race has joined in a common cause, but it's what happens after this conference that really matters," he added.
Greenpeace, major green groups and climate change researchers gave a mixed report card on the many details in the accord, endorsed by ministers from 195 nations at the talks.
But they emphasised that by striving to limit warming to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution temperatures, the agreement would have an impact.
"That single number, and the new goal of net zero emissions by the second half of this century, will cause consternation in the boardrooms of coal companies and the palaces of oil-exporting states," Naidoo predicted.
Researchers and activists declared that the agreement would make history.
"The Paris Agreement marks a new form of international cooperation –- one where developed and developing countries are united by a common and fair framework," said Jennifer Morgan, global director of the climate programme at the World Resources Institute (WRI), a Washington-based think tank.
"The agreement is both ambitious and powered by the voices of the most vulnerable."
May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, an organisation pressing financial institutions to divest from fossil fuels, also said the 1.5C reference was key.
"This marks the end of the era of fossil fuels. There is no way to meet the targets laid out in this agreement without keeping coal, oil and gas in the ground," Boeve said.
Tim Gore, policy director at British charity Oxfam, said a provision aiming to cap global warming at 1.5C would require an unprecedented global effort.
The emissions reduction plans submitted by some 185 nations ahead of the talks have put Earth on a path to least about 3.0C degrees of warming.
"The 1.5C degree target is an important moral victory, but -- as we have heard -- it may yet ring hollow unless we see significant increases in action in the years ahead," Gore said.
Morgan echoed his warning, noting nations around the global must accelerate the pace of change.
"World leaders need to build on the momentum created by the Paris moment and move even faster and further toward a decarbonised economy."
More critical, Friends of the Earth said prosperous nations had pushed through an empty accord.
"Rich countries have moved the goal posts so far that we are left with a sham of a deal in Paris," said Sara Shaw, an activist with Friends of the Earth International.
"Through piecemeal pledges and bullying tactics, rich countries have pushed through a very bad deal."
India decries global warming push as 'carbon imperialism' from Western nations
Sunday, December 13, 2015 by: J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Many nations formerly of the under-developed Global South, are not about to be bullied by rich Global North countries that have long since existed on the cutting edge of industry and technology – and you can count India as one of the largest.
In recent days, world leaders and concerned interests gathered in Paris to discuss so-called "global warming" issues in the latest push to adopt enforceable limits on carbon emissions that are generated primarily through the burning of fossil fuels. India – like China, Indonesia, Malaysia and other countries – is currently in the midst of economic expansions much like the United States and Europe experienced a hundred years ago – using much of the same affordable carbon-producing technology that these emerging economies are now relying on.
And while the U.S. and Europe have adopted unreasonable and expensive carbon reduction standards – which have been based primarily on phony science and manipulated climate data – countries like India are not about to surrender their economies just when they are beginning to explode, despite very real health concerns caused by heavy industrialization.
During the Paris confab, Secretary of State John Kerry even went so far as to single out India as a "challenge" – meaning it would be difficult, at best, to get New Delhi to agree to restrictive new carbon emissions reductions and, from the sound of it, he's right.
As the UK Telegraph reported, India indeed has a problem with smog, especially in its large cities, but the country's people and leadership appear to have accepted it as part of the price of modernity and economic growth:
It's rush hour in the world's most polluted city, and just visible through the dense blanket of smog is an electronic billboard informing motorists that the air quality has dropped from "very poor" to "severe".
If this were Beijing an emergency would be declared, with schools closed for the day and production at factories halted. But here in Delhi, judging by faces barely visible behind anti-pollution masks, nobody seems to have noticed. ...
Faced with a rapidly growing population, a buoyant but fragile economy blighted by constant power shortages and millions still living in abject poverty, India argues that it cannot simply decide between renewable and non-renewable power - it needs both.
When Kerry singled out India as a "challenge," his insult was met with an appropriate mix of anger, frustration and incredulity.
"Kerry's comment is unwarranted and unfair. The attitude of some of the developed countries is the challenge for the Paris conclusion," said Prakash Javadekar, India's environment minister, The Telegraph reported. He added that his country is "not in the habit of taking any pressure from anybody."
"This smacks of a 'carbon imperialism'," Arvind Subramanian, the Indian government's chief economic advisor, also noted. "And such imperialism on the part of advanced nations could spell disaster for India and other developing countries."
We aren't so good at clean energy policy, either
They and others contend that India still burns less coal than the U.S. – the world's No. 1 user – and China, a rising second – and that both have profited from burning carbon-producing fuels for decades (the U.S. for more than a century-and-a-half).
But that doesn't mean India is wedded to coal. In fact, as The Telegraph reports further:
India has announced efforts to boost renewables too. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch a "solar alliance" of 122 solar-rich countries at Paris, seeking to attract $100bn per year global investment in the technology. He has also spoken of the need for new, cleaner methods of coal generation.
As for the U.S., our political leadership continually shoots our industries in the foot, even when it comes to so-called "clean" energy technology. In the 1990s, President Bill Clinton designed a huge area in Utah as a federal monument – a land mass that just happened to contain a trillion dollars' worth of rare, "clean" coal. As for the one source of energy that produces a lot of electric power with no emissions – nuclear power – it is nearly impossible to get a new plant approved, and the regulatory process makes them cost-prohibitive to build.
In the meantime, nations like India aren't into the cult of "global warming," and are not about to be cowed into giving up the one cheap resource they need to feed and power a nation of 1 billion plus.
Former Official: Fukushima is “unstoppable”… Journalists withholding shocking information… Huge amounts of radiation are pouring out, “very serious” for Pacific Ocean — Plant Chief: “This is something that has never been experienced”… We must invent new science for unprecedented catastrophe
Treason: Turkey Charges Lawmaker for Revealing Daesh's Source of Sarin Gas
14:39 16.12.2015(updated 15:17 16.12.2015)
Eren Erdem, from Turkey's opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), was accused of treason after he revealed that Turkey knew about Islamic State-bound shipments of deadly sarin gas passing through its territory.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Ankara’s top prosecutor has opened a criminal investigation against a Turkish lawmaker after he revealed that Turkey knew about Islamic State-bound shipments of deadly sarin gas passing through its territory, Turkish media reported Wednesday.
Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper said that the prosecution was investigating the scope of the data that Eren Erdem, of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), revealed to RT international news network in an interview on Monday. He is reportedly facing charges of treason.
Erdem claimed that components of the lethal nerve agent sarin were shipped to Islamic State (ISIL, or Daesh in Arabic) labs through Turkey in 2014, and Ankara did nothing to stop them. A Turkish criminal case into illegal shipments was unexpectedly closed, according to the lawmaker who spoke of a possible cover-up.
Sarin is a lethal gas, classified by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction. The Syrian government has been blamed for sarin attacks on civilian population in the past, leading to a UN-brokered deal that saw all precursor chemicals for the production of sarin removed from Syria.
Caught On Tape: Ukraine Premier Assaulted In Parliament
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/11/2015 15:36 -0500
Fighting broke out in parliament among members of Ukraine's ruling coalition on Friday after a member of President Petro Poroshenko's bloc physically picked up Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk and pulled him from the podium.
Yatseniuk was defending his embattled government's record when lawmaker Oleh Barna walked over to him with a bunch of red roses and then grabbed him around the waist and groin, lifting him off his feet and dragging him from the rostrum.
Members of Yatseniuk's People Front party waded in, pushing Barna and throwing punches, sparking a brawl in the assembly.
You just can't make this up...
The PM later said there were “a lot of morons,” so he would not comment on the incident.
Energy Efficient Bulbs Cause Anxiety, Migraines, and Even Cancer. Reasons to Go Back To Incandescent Bulbs
APRIL 1, 2015 BY ANYA V
Many of us in the effort to save energy and money, replaced our old standard light bulbs with environmentally-friendly with the new generation energy saving light bulbs. However, the new generation of energy efficient light bulbs are so toxic that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency created an emergency protocol you need to follow in the event of a bulb breakage, due to the poison gas that is released. If broken indoors, these light bulbs release 20 times the maximum acceptable mercury concentration into the air, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Fraunhofer Wilhelm Klauditz Institute for German’s Federal Environment Agency.
Energy Efficient Light Bulbs Can Cause:
Inability to concentrate
Energy Efficient Bulbs Cause Anxiety, Migraines, and Even Cancer. Reasons to Go Back To Incandescent Bulbs
1. Energy saving bulbs contain mercury. Murcury ia a potent neurotoxin that is especially dangerous to children and pregnant women. It is especially toxic to the brain, the nervous system, the liver and the kidneys. It can also damage the cardiovascular, immune and reproductive systems. It can lead lead to tremors, anxiety, insomnia, memory loss, headaches, cancer and Alzheimer’s .
2. Energy saving bulbs can cause cancer.
A new study performed by by Peter Braun at Berlin Germany’s Alab Laboratory found these light bulbs contain poisonous carcinogens that could cause cancer:
Phenol, a mildly acidic toxic white crystalline solid, obtained from coal tar and used in chemical manufacture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenol).
Naphthalene, a volatile white crystalline compound, produced by the distillation of coal tar, used in mothballs and as a raw material for chemical manufacture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naphthalene).
Styrene, an unsaturated liquid hydrocarbon, obtained as a petroleum byproduct(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Styrene).
3. Energy saving light bulbs emit a lot of UV rays.
Energy saving lamps emit UV-B and traces of UV-C radiation. It is generally recognised that UV-radiation is harmful for the skin (can lead to skin cancer) and the eyes. The radiation from these bulbs directly attacks the immune system, and furthermore damages the skin tissues enough to prevent the proper formation of vitamin D-3.
GE Lighting 48415 60-Watt 825-Lumen General Purpose A19 Incandescent Light Bulb, Soft White, 48-Pack
In conclusion, these bulbs are so toxic that we are not supposed to put them in the regular garbage. They are household hazardous waste. If you break one in a house, you are supposed to open all of your windows and doors, and evacuate the house for at least 15 minutes to minimize your exposure to the poisonous gas. Unfortunately, soon consumers won’t have the option to buy incandescent lights because they won’t be available. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) mandates the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs, and favors energy-efficient compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs.
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Until next week...keep on believing.
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”