Category Archives: death

Charles Manson is dead, or is he

The summer of 1969, a scruffy ex-convict with a magnetic hold on young women sent some of his disciples into the night to carry out a series of gruesome killings in Los Angeles. In so doing, Charles Manson became the leering face of evil on front pages across America and rewrote the history of an era.

Manson, the hippie cult leader who died of natural causes Sunday at age 83 after nearly half a century behind bars, orchestrated the slayings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six other people, butchered at two homes on successive August nights by intruders who scrawled “Pigs” and “Healter Skelter” (sic) in the victims’ blood.

The slaughter horrified the world. To many, the collateral damage included the era of peace, love and flower power.

The Manson Family killings, along with the bloodshed later that year during a Rolling Stones concert at California’s Altamont Speedway, seemed to expose the violent and drug-riddled underside of the counterculture and sent a shiver of fear through America.

“Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969,” author Joan Didion wrote in her 1979 book “The White Album.”

Manson was every parent’s worst nightmare. The short, shaggy-haired man with hypnotic eyes was a charismatic figure with a talent for turning middle-class youngsters into mass murderers.

At a former movie ranch outside Los Angeles, he and his devotees — many of them young runaways who likened him to Jesus Christ.

( Billy’s thoughts –  Lets all hope Charles Manson find the true Jesus before he died, and repented of his sins. Read the rest of the above story.)

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Iran: shock, trauma and crisis

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The LA Times is reporting at least three dead in grade school shooting in Northern CA.

At least three people are dead following a shooting at an elementary school in Northern California this morning, authorities said.

Among the dead are the gunman, who authorities said was killed by police at the school in Rancho Tehama, near Red Bluff.


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BP This Week: “We Don’t Have Answers; We Do Have Christ”

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John Stonestreet and Ed Stetzer mourn yet another mass shooting, this time of brothers and sisters in Christ in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Even if Christians don’t know what to say, they can offer support and hope—just like other churches in the area are doing.

John and Ed also talk about the misguided effort to kill the adoption tax credit, and the continuing fallout and revelations stemming from Harvey Weinstein scandal. How should we respond?

Images courtesy of tillsonburg at iStock by Getty Images and Google Maps. Illustration designed by Heidi Allums.

Resources

How Christians can respond to this latest church shooting

    • Ed Stetzer

 

    • CNN

 

  • November 6, 2017
  • Listen to the program here.

An Act of Deception, and the Anti Christian Union has a party over the death of a baby ( sad )

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BreakPoint: Prayer Shaming and the Church Shooting Choosing Policy over God

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Prayer, it seems, is no longer a politically acceptable response to tragedy. Instead, we’re being told to put our trust in something else.

As I record this, just days after the horrific massacre at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a massacre which claimed 26 lives and wounded 20 others, authorities continue to piece together the motives of the young male who perpetrated this act of terror. Apparently, it was a revenge shooting at the church his mother-in-law attended, though she was not there on that Sunday morning.

The victims ranged in age from a baby in utero to 77 years, and included more than one family that lost multiple members and the pastor’s 14 year-old daughter. Most of the victims were, according to reports, children.

As happens at every mass shooting, there are those committed to superimposing their own narratives on the tragic events. In fact, some, as happens at every mass shooting, have found a way to even implicate Christians.

This time that way is what Emma Green of the Atlantic Monthly dubbed, after the San Bernadino shooting, “prayer shaming.” This refers to comments in both social and conventional media that criticize those who say that their thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

The epitome of “prayer shaming” was a front page story in the New York Daily News after the San Bernadino shooting, which read “God Isn’t Fixing This,” and called talk of prayer “meaningless platitudes.” As Rod Dreher rightly commented then, these kinds of statements “reveal a total lack of understanding of what religious people believe, and why.”

They also reveal the extent to which, as my “BreakPoint This Week” co-host Ed Stetzer often has put it, Christians have lost “home-field advantage” that we may have had in the culture.

Until last week, saying that you were praying for someone was seen an act of kindness, even if the other person didn’t believe in the efficacy of prayer. For example, the late atheist Christopher Hitchens thanked the people who were praying for him after he was diagnosed with the cancer that would ultimately take his life, and Richard Dawkins, author of “The God Delusion,” criticized British theaters for refusing to run a Church of England ad about the Lord’s Prayer. He said, “If anybody is ‘offended’ by something so trivial as a prayer, they deserve to be offended.”

While I would never call prayer “trivial,” I can’t help but notice how two of the leading public atheists of recent memory were more gracious about prayer than many American activists who want us to “do something.”

Of course, what they assume in the process is that 1) we know what that “something to do” is, and 2), that this “something” will actually solve the problem.

And it’s precisely here that the technocratic worldview of many activists and critics is revealed for what it is. Their faith, while not in prayer, is in something else. Namely, that all human problems and challenges, such as climate change, gun violence, and even terrorism, are problems that can be solved if only we apply the right techniques, which these days are almost always political steps: i.e., passing the right laws or public policies.

In this worldview, the world and all of its complexities can be reduced to mathematical models, and can thus be controlled by our best ideas and efforts. All of our problems, the logic continues, can be, if not eliminated, at least ameliorated.

But it’s a worldview that consistently fails. In the run-up to the financial crisis of 2008, Wall Street honestly believed it had mathematically solved the problem of risk. But it hadn’t. And there’s no reason to believe that the “something” the critics of prayer are advocating will reduce, much less stop, the kind of carnage we continue to see across our nation.

As the psalmist put it, nations continue to rage and people continue to plot in vain, but it’s the Lord alone, that can “make us dwell in safety.” So Christian, keep praying.

 

 

Prayer Shaming and the Church Shooting: Choosing Policy over God

Join with the Body of Christ as we continue to pray for individuals and families, for our nation and our world. We place our trust in God, and put into practice what the psalmist wrote when he entreated the Lord, “Let my prayer come before You; Incline Your ear to my cry!” Psalm 88:2

Resources

Prayer Shaming: The View From Jesusland

  • Rod Dreher | The American Conservative | December 3, 2015
The Power of Prayer: And the Prayer of Power

  • R. A. Torrey | Zondervan Publishing Company
The Ministry of Intercessory Prayer

  • Andrew Murray | Bethany House Publishers

100th anniversary of the Bolshevik communist revolution in Russia

 

October 2017 marked a very important anniversary, the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik communist revolution in Russia that led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The 20th century represents, as one major historian has named, “the century of megadeath”; and at the center of that “megadeath” is the great lie…

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BreakPoint: International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church Wake up, Speak out, Pray

 

 

 
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More Christians are persecuted today than ever before. Which is why we need to join in the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

On a sunny day last May, several families climbed onto a couple of buses, happily looking forward to visiting a monastery together.

They never made it. Instead, half of them, including ten children, were slaughtered. You see, these families were Egyptian Christians.

Islamic terrorists dressed in military fatigues stopped the buses and ordered the riders off. As one eyewitness later said, “As each pilgrim came off the bus, they were asked to renounce their Christian faith and profess belief in Islam. But all of them—even the children—refused.”  The terrorists murdered 29 Christians before fleeing.

This Sunday is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. It’s a time to focus our attention on our brothers and sisters who are being arrested, tortured, murdered, and driven out of their homeland, simply because they worship Jesus.

The attack in Egypt was just one of many around the world last spring. In Germany, a Muslim stabbed a woman to death—one who had converted from Islam to Christianity.

In Pakistan, a Christian pastor was sentenced to life in prison and tortured for blasphemy. He reportedly has been tortured many times.

In North Korea, entire families are thrown into labor camps, where they often die from torture, beatings, and starvation.

In Turkey last year, American missionary Andrew Brunson was locked up on the absurd grounds that he was a terrorist.

Islamists have also swept through Niger, setting fire to Christian churches, orphanages, schools and homes. I could go on.

According to Open Doors USA, the worst offenders are North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sudan. Sometimes Christians are persecuted by a hostile government, as in China. But in the majority of countries, Islamist extremists are at fault. Tragically, western governments and the United Nations are not doing enough to prevent genocidal efforts, according to the Catholic News Agency.

They should—and they must. More Christians are being persecuted today than ever before in history. Some one hundred million believers are at risk. And yet, the world press largely ignores this massive humanitarian horror.

Why, you may ask, are Christians being persecuted in such great numbers today? In part, it’s because they’re considered part of the “imperial” West. And in many countries, Christians are the ones who are speaking out against the exploitation of the poor.  Third, Christianity is spreading rapidly in predominantly Muslim countries. And totalitarian leaders hate Christians because our ultimate allegiance is always going to be to God and not to a government.

Finally, writes Laura McAlister on the blog site Ignitum Today, “the hidden reality behind all persecution” is revealed in the book of Revelation: It teaches that Satan “makes war” on “those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus.”

Folks, we need to wake up, speak out, and urge our leaders in government to do what it can to fight atrocities committed against innocent men, women, and children around the world.

Above all, we need to pray for them fervently. Lifting them up before God’s throne is what persecuted Christians say they need most.

There are two websites I urge you to visit. First, go to opendoorsusa.org, you’ll find resources to help you and your church observe this international day of prayer for the persecuted church.  Then there’s the Voice of the Persecuted.

Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and I’ll link you to them both.

Finally, to those who are suffering for their faith, I leave you with the words of Joshua: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid . . .for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church: Wake up, Speak out, Pray

It’s not a cliche: We need to intercede for our brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering because they proclaim the name of Christ. So pray, and get engaged with organizations that offer support for persecuted believers across the globe.

A Mom Looks at Halloween from a Christian Perspective

Sue Bohlin takes at hard look at Halloween celebrations, applying a biblical worldview. As Christians, we cannot shield our children from this popular cultural event, but Sue provides some ideas on bringing a Christian perspective to this time of year.

A number of articles are available advising Christians to have nothing to do with Halloween. And I do agree that Christians have no business celebrating a holiday that glorifies something that delights the enemy of our souls. And potentially opens us up to demonic harrassment, to boot!

But if we’ve got kids, especially kids in public school or who hang around other kids in the neighborhood, it’s entirely possible that parents can feel pressured to do something about Halloween. After all, it’s pretty hard to hide under a rock for the whole month of October. A number of houses on our street are more decorated for Halloween than for Christmas!

It seems that the costume manufacturers have really cranked up production of all sorts of costumes to a degree we’ve never seen before. Gone are the days of burning a cork to blacken a face, put on some thrift-shop oversized clothes and dressing up as a hobo. (There’s probably some politically-correct term for “hobo” these days anyway. . .)

Is there anything intrinsically wrong with dressing up in a costume and getting a bunch of candy from consenting adults? I don’t think so; hey, the Bible tells us that God instructed the children of Israel to ask their neighbors for silver and gold their last night in Egypt in a VERY early version of “Trick or Treat” (Exodus 11:2). But we can cooperate with the forces of darkness, however unwittingly, by participating unwisely in Halloween festivities.

 

It is essential to exercise discernment in how we handle Halloween. If you can get away with ignoring it, wonderful! That would be the best solution. But you may find yourself in a place where you want to provide some way for your kids to have fun in a Halloween-immersed culture without compromising on our Christian values and beliefs. For instance, your child’s school may invite all the students to dress up in a costume on October 31. I know a number of Christian schools that do this. May I make these suggestions:

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The Legacy of Chuck Colson

 On what would have been Chuck Colson’s 86th birthday, our hosts look back on an incredible conversion, a historic life of ministry in prisons and the culture. They explore the ways in which Chuck’s work is still impacting the Church and guiding the mission of the Colson Center.

John and Ed also discuss the #MeToo campaign, which saw countless women from all walks of life publicly identify themselves as victims of sexual harassment or assault in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. They call it an eye-opening moment and an opportunity for men everywhere, especially in the Church, to call themselves to protect, value, and respect women.

 ( Listen to the radio program here. )