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prisonchaplain last won the day on December 12 2019

prisonchaplain had the most liked content!


About prisonchaplain

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    Senior Moderator
  • Birthday 02/28/1964

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    Federal Way, WA
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    Bible, Doctrine, Travel, Current Events, Social Issues
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    Assemblies of God

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  1. prisonchaplain

    Times of the Gentiles

    I just read an article on Messianic Judaism (Jews who believe Jesus is Messiah) from the Jews for Jesus website. The author immigrated to Israel and is raising his family there. He says that they can largely practice their faith, but there is some discrimination and negative feelings. The word "missionary" is considered a curse in the Hebrew language (China is similar, though for very different reasons). It is probably difficult for a country founded as the Jewish nation, despite its heavily secular citizenry, to allow for open religious pluralism. After all, Israel is surrounded by Muslim nations that are hostile towards them. Would it ever allow open Muslim proselytizing? Despite the difficulties, Jesus gave the Great Commission to go and make disciples, saying, "First to Jerusalem."
  2. prisonchaplain

    Times of the Gentiles

    Since the recall of missionaries seemed to drive the OP, I thought I would give an update on my church's missions status. I know that "gentile" is a word used in LDS circles to describe non-LDS. So, here's how one such group is doing during COVID19. Ironically, it is our world missions director who got the virus. He's fighting for his life, but seems to have taken a turn for the better. So, our website had regular updates on his condition. Many of our missionaries are restricted in travel, and for some that means not being able to be on the field. However, with a missions force just under 2,000 full-time, it appears most remain on site, doing evangelism (much like LDS missionaries do), leading churches, teaching at Bible colleges, etc. I suspect most religious organizations are in a season where personal devotion, individual spiritual disciplines (prayer, fasting, etc.) have become more important as whole-group meetings remain suspended. Perhaps, once this virus is in the rearview mirror, we will come to realize just how important the unseen spiritual work we do is.
  3. prisonchaplain

    What are other congregations doing about Church

    Soon after POTUS recommended public gatherings of 10 or less our church made the call to discontinue main services. We still have prayer meetings, since they are small in number. Our service was live-streamed today, and it was a strange, but blessed experience for my family to watch along with over 100 others, as the worship team sang and pastor preached. Pastor, our youth pastor, our children's pastor, and yours truly all posted Bible studies on the Facebook page as well. One thing I noticed is that without a congregation to respond, my usual 40 minutes was nearly halved. Here's my sample:
  4. On Feb 23 there were 19 cases in the U.S. There were well over 1,300 CDC staff involved in the response by then--this according to the CDC. I know that POTUS is blamed relentlessly by our media for the alleged slow response. Further, there was some initial skepticism, as it seemed at first that media wanted to use a seeming flu-like disease to stir panic and criticism of the administration. This mistrust may have delayed the response somewhat. How much we may never know. However, this caution cannot be compared to the Chinese-Communist willful suppression of news about the virus. It was the Middle Kingdom government's selfish, defensive and intentional actions that grew this worldwide disaster.
  5. Was it, though? Reports I've read suggest that China initially suppressed reporting of the virus by censoring social media and by disciplining whistle-blowers. AFTER the virus went global, China blamed the U.S. military (which led to POTUS calling it the China virus). So, draconian YES. Quick, maybe not so much.
  6. prisonchaplain

    Liberty vs. Safety

    @MormonGator, I am sure this is the answer you don't want: Only 40% of Americans have enough emergency funds for a $1000 incident. So, we are not what we are expected to be. As for big corporations, I get the frustration. We keep saying that "Too big to fail" is ridiculous, and yet we keep bailing out those big companies to protect their employees. FWIW, my example was for very small to just small businesses--especially those being run by recent and highly motivated investment immigrants.
  7. prisonchaplain

    Liberty vs. Safety

    I used to 100% of this mindset. Maybe I'm getting soft in my late-middle years :::cough!::: but I could see a few well-placed government-subsidized loans speeding up the economic recovery, when the worst of this is over. I live in a community with many investment-immigrants. They came here seeking a better life, usually having to invest $500,000 or more in a small business. Generally, they run the restaurant/dry cleaning shop/nail salon etc. for 3-5 years, then sell the business at a profit to a new comer. Then they invest in a bigger business, and thus the cycle goes. The problem is, when these small businesses are closed for 3 months, they often become worth nothing. Their value is as a set-up business with loyal customers. Often, their buildings are leased, and they have no hard assets. So...should government loan these businesses some monies to keep them afloat, they would like gain most of the money back and would bring much benefit to local economies. So... I can support "conservative, limited government intervention" in this economic environment.
  8. prisonchaplain

    Liberty vs. Safety

    I could understand your point if you were referring to anarchists. Perhaps even Libertarian politicians. However, conservatives who call for government aid following a hurricane are not hypocrites. Hurricanes come under the "limited government" umbrella. Likewise with COVID19 (or Wuhan Virus, if you prefer). I suspect Ben Franklin would have been okay with federal government requiring infected individuals to stay home, by force of law, as well. But, see...I'm not an anarchist...and I am not I get to support a few exceptions to the mostly government-stay-out-of-the-way approach I generally advocate.
  9. prisonchaplain

    The COVID thread

    I just read a report out of Springfield, MO. It said that the ___ influenza had closed churches and missions. The encouragement was to take the time away from meeting for prayer and scripture-reading. The belief was that in a time when the world was fearful the latter rain would pour out Holy Ghost blessing on his faithful. The kick to this report: The influenza was Spanish-originated and the date was Oct. 1918. God is still on the throne and He's doing just fine.
  10. prisonchaplain

    What are other congregations doing about Church

    Washington State leadership asked that there be no gatherings greater than 250, so my church met today (we're 120-150 on a typical Sunday). However, the pastor encouraged anyone sick to stay home and anyone uncertain to stay home. We did have plenty of seats so he reminded us to try to keep six-feet distance. We modified prayers for the sick by stretching our hands towards those asking for prayer, rather than actually laying hands on them. Further, pastor said that if the government requests us to discontinue public meetings we will do so online. He'll preach from his home if it comes to that. We are fairly certain that a good number of our people were watching online.
  11. prisonchaplain

    Movies you like that no one else does

    Perhaps appropriate for the time we live in, I enjoyed the TV mini-series The Stand (Stephen King). A virus wipes out 99% of the world, and the remaining 1% gravitate towards good or evil. It came out at a time when post-modernism was ascendant, and it was refreshing to see Hollywood promote a godly vs. ungodly story dynamic. Similarly, I really enjoyed Onward, Pixar's newest offering. Some have panned it for being predictable and for addressing over-familiar topics, but I found the story engaging, heart-tugging, and I loved the twist at the end. BTW, shout-out to OP's Water World. Hey, any movie that makes cigarette-smokers the main antagonists has got to make us happy, no?
  12. prisonchaplain

    Is it hard?

    @Moonbeast32 and @Vort, let me help you. You get to count listening to past conferences. My wife loves to listen to Pastor Jim Cymbala (Brooklyn Tabernacle) on podcast. She often admonishes me to do so. Sometimes I do. It may be enjoyable, but not relaxing...not brain candy. So, good on you for attending to the spoken word.
  13. prisonchaplain

    Is it hard?

    First, for @Vort: "Corporate worship" is a common phrase that can best be understood as congregate worship. There is no nuance of it being business or money oriented. It's just the worship we do "as a body." (now there is some Evangelicalese). Also, I agree that promoting the gospel as a good material buy would be very bad. The director I mentioned had in mind the type of missions work the church engages in combined with all believers being ready to "share their faith," or, as LDS like to say, "bear testimony." Too many Christians believe more in pluralism and the cultural impulse that religion is deeply personal and not meant to be shared without invitation than they do in Jesus' admonition to make disciples. Joel Osteen's ministry and message do focus on how Christian beliefs make our lives better today, now, and here. His most well-known book is: Your Best Life Now. LIke @anatess2, I'm loathe to criticize other ministers. So, I'll simply say that our long view seems much more powerful and promising.
  14. prisonchaplain

    Is it hard?

    @Vort I gotta push back on your anti-corporate stance a bit. We often discuss corporate worship. It's more than business, but serious business surely takes place when we come together in worship. When I was doing missionary work in Korea the director of the indigenous campus mission I cooperated with loved to use the phrase, "Selling the gospel." He was Korean and seemed to enjoy employing unusual-yet-accurate turns on English words and phrases. At first I was somewhat off-put (this was the late-80s, and the tele-evangelists scandals were still smarting) by the phrase. However, I came to realize that we are indeed 'selling.' Salvation might be free, but maintenance and upkeep are enough to be life-changing. Likewise, we may have negative connotations of mixing church and company, but when we gather to sing and pray and learn together we have signed up for Kingdom business. Okay, yeah, this was a blatant use of an obscure point of definition so that I could pontificate...but hey, that's what you get when you let a preacher on the boards.
  15. prisonchaplain

    Is it hard?

    @Moonbeast32 You are not missing the point. That you do so much, and yet consider it as passing time, happenstance, or just what you do, makes your spiritual discipline that much more remarkable. I suspect that you have captured the point so well you are not even conscious of it. It's not supposed to be hard. That's the gist of this string. Once the learning of a Christian practice transitions to knowing and doing, it should be life-enhancing. It ought not make us exhausted and depleted. It's still not always easy, but it is empowering. You seem to have captured that so well it's not something you have to dwell on. Kudos.