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Be Alert!

Moriel Ministries Be Alert! has added this Blog as a resource for further information, links and research to help keep you above the global deception blinding the world and most of the church in these last days. Jesus our Messiah is indeed coming soon and this should only be cause for joy unless you have not surrendered to Him. Today is the day for salvation! For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, - Psalms 95:7

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Without a Pastor of His Own, Obama Turns to Five

NEW YORK TIMES [NYTimes Group/Sulzberger] - By Laurie Goodstein - March 14, 2009 President Obama has been without a pastor or a home church ever since he cut his ties to the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. in the heat of the presidential campaign. But he has quietly cultivated a handful of evangelical pastors for private prayer sessions on the telephone and for discussions on the role of religion in politics. All are men, two of them white and three black - including the Rev. Otis Moss Jr., a graying lion of the civil rights movement. Two, the entrepreneurial dynamos Bishop T. D. Jakes and the Rev. Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, also served as occasional spiritual advisers to President George W. Bush. Another, the Rev. Jim Wallis, leans left on some issues, like military intervention and poverty programs, but opposes abortion. None of these pastors are affiliated with the religious right, though several are quite conservative theologically. One of them, the Rev. Joel C. Hunter, the pastor of a conservative megachurch in Florida, was branded a turncoat by some leaders of the Christian right when he began to speak out on the need to stop global warming. But as a group they can hardly be characterized as part of the religious left either. Most, like Mr. Wallis, do not take traditionally liberal positions on abortion or homosexuality. What most say they share with the president is the conviction that faith is the foundation in the fight against economic inequality and social injustice. “These are all centrist, social justice guys,” said the Rev. Eugene F. Rivers, a politically active pastor of Azusa Community Church in Boston, who knows all of them but is not part of the president’s prayer caucus. “Obama genuinely comes out of the social justice wing of the church. That’s real. The community organizing stuff is real.” The pastors say Mr. Obama appears to rely on his faith for intellectual and spiritual succor. “While he may not put ‘Honk if You Love Jesus’ bumper stickers on the back of his car, he is the kind of guy who practices what he preaches,” said Mr. Caldwell, the senior pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston. “He has a desire to keep in touch with folk outside the Beltway, and to stay in touch with God. He seems to see those as necessary conditions for maintaining his internal compass.” Bishop Jakes said he had been tapped for several prayer phone calls - the most recent being when Mr. Obama’s grandmother died in November, two days before the election. “You take turns praying,” said Bishop Jakes, who like the other ministers did not want to divulge details of the calls. “It’s really more about contacting God than each other.” Mr. Hunter said of the phone calls: “The times I have prayed with him, he’s always initiated it.” The Obama administration has reached out to hundreds of religious leaders across the country to mobilize support and to seek advice on policy. These five pastors, however, have been brought into a more intimate inner circle. Their names were gleaned from interviews with people who know the president and religious leaders who work in Washington. Their role could change if Mr. Obama joins a church in Washington, but that could take some time because of the logistical challenges in finding a church that can accommodate the kind of crowd the Obamas would attract. The White House refused to comment for this article. The pastor in the circle who has known Mr. Obama the longest is Mr. Wallis, president and chief executive of Sojourners, a liberal magazine and movement based in Washington. In contrast to the other four, his contact with the president has been focused more on policy than prayer. Mr. Wallis has recently joined conservatives in pressing the president’s office of faith-based initiatives to continue to allow government financing for religious social service groups that hire only employees of their own faith. Mr. Wallis said he got to know Mr. Obama in the late 1990s when they participated in a traveling seminar that took bus trips to community programs across the country. Mr. Wallis said they “hit it off” because they were both Christians serious about their faith, fathers of young children the same age and believers in “transcending left and right” to find solutions to social problems. “He and I were what we called back then ‘progressive Christians,’ as opposed to the dominant religious-right era we were in then,” Mr. Wallis said. “We didn’t think Jesus’ top priorities would be capital gains tax cuts and supporting the next war.” ... Read Full Report http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/us/politics/15pastor.html FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

More trouble for fiery 'Antichrist' preacher

The South Florida preacher who gained fame after declaring himself to be Jesus Christ has fared poorly in divorce court. MIAMI HERALD [McClatchy] - By Casey Woods - January 10, 2009 The Christmas season was not kind to the self-proclaimed Antichrist. Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, who gained international notoriety by declaring himself first to be Jesus Christ, then the Antichrist, roundly lost his divorce court bid to protect his church from financial claims by his most recent ex-wife. Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Roberto Pineiro essentially ruled that de Jesus' Growing in Grace church was his personal business, rather than a religious nonprofit organization, and awarded Josefina de Jesus Torres the more than $2.2 million she sought in the divorce -- the amount her lawyer deemed was half the assets of her ex-husband and his church. ... ON HARD TIMES The ruling marks a downturn in the fortunes of the colorful preacher, one that affects not just him but others in his life. His daughter, JoAnn de Jesus, is fighting contempt charges related to the case. His father and first wife face possible eviction from properties held in his and the church's names that the judgment awarded to Torres if he doesn't pay up this month. De Jesus disappeared in August, when the judge declared him in contempt of court and ordered him to surrender to authorities for not paying Torres $15,000 a month in alimony. The divorce trial went ahead without him that month. ... De Jesus exploded into popularity -- and controversy -- in the past few years after he declared himself to be Christ. He later claimed that his teachings replaced those of Jesus and so he should be called the Antichrist. He and his followers then began tattooing themselves with ''666,'' a practice that generated protests and headlines. Growing in Grace has since expanded to more than 300 churches in 30 countries, with de Jesus' sermons broadcast by satellite to thousands of households worldwide. During the trial, de Jesus' representatives argued that neither he nor the church were as rich as Torres' team claimed, especially since the value of many of the properties have fallen in the past two years. They also said that donations have dropped since the start of divorce proceedings, with the revelation of de Jesus' tangled finances, including disclosures that he paid his first wife's alimony with church funds. Many of his followers believe that de Jesus' divorce court difficulties are further proof that he is Jesus' Second Coming, quoting biblical prophecies of persecution such as Luke 17:25, which says ``first, He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.'' ''These life events are further proof that Jose Luis de Jesus is the reincarnation of the same spirit that dwelled in Jesus of Nazareth,'' said church member and spokesperson Axel Poessy. ``We are privileged to be witnessing the days of the Son of Man, the last manifestation of God on Earth, who is here to reign over all nations.'' ... Read Full Report http://www.miamiherald.com/news/southflorida/v-fullstory/story/847487.html FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Survey Describes the Spiritual Gifts That Christians Say They Have

THE BARNA RESEARCH GROUP - THE BARNA UPDATE - February 9, 2009 Ventura, California - The Bible teaches that all followers of Christ are given supernatural abilities by God to serve Him better, known as spiritual gifts. Two-thirds of Americans (68%) who say they are Christian noted they have heard of spiritual gifts, according to a national survey by The Barna Group. That represents a small decline from past surveys, which found 72% awareness in 2000, and 71% in 1995. Awareness of spiritual gifts was most common among self-described Christians who live in the South (75%) and West (71%), and least common among those living in the Midwest (63%) and Northeast (58%). Such awareness also varied within the various segments of the self-described Christian population. For instance, 99% of evangelicals have heard of spiritual gifts, far more than the 74% among non-evangelical born again Christians and 58% among notional Christians. Similarly, there was a large gap between Protestants (75%) and Catholics (54%) in awareness. Even within the Protestant community there was a noteworthy gap between those who attend a mainline church (68% awareness) and those who attend a Protestant congregation not associated with a mainline denomination (78%). Which Gifts People Claim The survey asked people who said they were Christian and who claimed to have heard of spiritual gifts to identify which gifts they believe God has granted to them. The most commonly claimed gifts were teaching (9%), service (8%) and faith (7%). Those were followed by encouragement (4%), healing (4%), knowledge (4%), and tongues (3%). The gift of leadership was mentioned by just 2%. There were significant differences in the answers provided by evangelicals, non-evangelical born agains and notional Christians. Evangelicals were more likely than people from the other faith segments to say that they had gifts of teaching (28%), service (12%), encouragement (10%), and administration (7%). The non-evangelical born again segment was the group most likely to claim the gifts of faith (10%) and hospitality (3%). Notional Christians were most notable for having the largest percentage who said they had no gift at all (37%, compared to 16% of evangelicals and 24% of non-evangelical born agains). Examining the data for all born again Christians (i.e., evangelical and non-evangelical combined) over the past 13 years shows several change patterns: The percentage that claims to have the gift of encouragement has grown steadily from 2% in 1995 to 6% today. Since 1995, the proportion of born again adults claiming the gift of evangelism dropped from 4% to 1%. Those who do not know what their gift is rose from 8% in 2000 to 13% today. False Gifts The survey also found that many people who say they have heard of spiritual gifts were not necessarily describing the same gifts outlined in the Bible. Among the gifts claimed that are not among those deemed to be spiritual gifts in the passages of scripture that teach about gifts (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4:7-13, 1 Peter 4:10-11) were a sense of humor, singing, health, life, happiness, patience, a job, a house, compromise, premonition, creativity, and clairvoyance. In total, one-fifth of all the gifts cited by respondents (21%) were attributes that do not fit the biblical lists of gifts given by God. Thoughts on the Meaning of the Results The survey data point out several interesting conditions. Between those who do not know their gift (15%), those who say they don’t have one (28%) and those who claimed gifts that are not biblical (20%), nearly two-thirds of the self-identified Christian population who claim to have heard about spiritual gifts have not been able to accurately apply whatever they have heard or what the Bible teaches on the subject to their lives. A specific set of gifts, commonly described as the charismatic gifts, are widely possessed by Christians. Overall, 13% of Christian adults claimed to have one of more of those gifts (e.g., healing, interpretation, knowledge, miracles, prophecy, tongues). The people most likely to say they have a charismatic gift are woman (twice as likely as men); people without any college education; born again Christians; and people 45 or older. Intriguingly, although 13% say they have one or more charismatic gifts, the survey revealed that nearly twice as many (23%) described themselves as charismatics. One of the reasons the evangelical community may seem to be so verbal about its faith and faith-driven convictions relates to the fact that more than one-quarter of them (28%) claim the gift of teaching. Possessing that gift might also raise people’s expectations regarding the quality of sermons and other teaching received at their church, triggering the often-cited high turnover within evangelical congregations. By the same token, the fact that evangelicals were far more likely to claim the gifts of administration and service also reflects the widely-cited tendency of the group to be well-organized and to be generous in donating its time and energy to causes it deems worthy. A much higher percentage of born again Christians claims to be a leader than cites having been given the spiritual gift of leadership. This suggests that perhaps many Christian leaders are torn between relying upon their natural talent and training rather than depending upon God’s gifting to empower their leadership. This issue may be even broader than the struggle of leaders. Spiritual gifts are provided as “special abilities” that enable believers to serve each other (as indicated in 1 Peter 4:10 and Romans 12:7). The struggle of the aggregate Christian Church in America may be related to the fact that a large share of individual believers who engage in ministry do so on the basis of personal preference and natural talent rather than supernatural capacities, resulting in ineffective ministry. The stagnation of evangelism relates to many factors, but one of those is probably the fact that just 1% of Christian adults (self-described or born again) claims the gift of evangelism. While the Bible never suggests that one must possess this gift in order to share the gospel, the depressed proportion of believers who identify with that gift reflects the stalled growth of the Christian body in America. Read Full Report http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdateNarrow&BarnaUpdateID=326 FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Debate Over Devil's Existence

ONE NEWS NOW [American Family News Network] - Blog by Tasha Easterling - March 28, 2009 Last week four people with very differing views gathered to debate the existence of Satan in Seattle, Washington. That debate aired last night on Nightline, the third installment of a series called "Face-Off" in which opposing sides debate hot topics such as pornography and the existence of God. This debate featured Pastor Mark Driscoll of the Mars Hill Church, and Annie Lobert, founder of the Christian ministry "Hookers for Jesus" debating against Bishop Carlton Pearson and Deepak Chopra. A crowd of more than a thousand people gathered at the church to listen to the debate, which didn't take long to get heated because all four participants presented uncompromising positions on their beliefs about whether Satan exists. Read Full Report and See video http://www.onenewsnow.com/Blog/Default.aspx?id=467904 FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Deceived by a counterfeit "Jesus"

The twisted "truths" of The Shack & A Course in Miracles KJOS MINISTRIES - By Berit Kjos - February 14, 2008 Two books (one new, one old) have suddenly grabbed public attention and captured the hearts of multitudes. One is long and instructional -- a dictation from a channeled spirit guide. The other is a fictional testimony full of tear-jerking dialogue. A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is obviously occult, while the more subtle message of The Shack by William P. Young has been widely accepted in postmodern churches. The two books share a common message. I saw a stark preview of it back in 1992. Skimming through a magazine called Well-Being Journal, I noticed this New Age "insight" from the author's "inner guide:"
"Many people believe in evil, sin, and dark forces. It is your purpose to teach the opposite which is the Truth: there is no devil, no hell, no sin, no guilt except in the creative mind of humankind."
I heard similar deceptions at Gorbachev's 1997 State of the World Forum. At the time, keynote speaker Marianne Williamson was touting the Kabbalah, not A Course in Miracles (ACIM). While those New Age "insights" would fit both, they are best expressed through ACIM, which Williamson is now popularizing through Oprah Winfrey's weekly radio program. The Shack calls for a similar denial of reality. Yet countless pastors and church leaders are delighting in its message. By ignoring (or redefining) sin and guilt, they embrace an inclusive but counterfeit "Christianity" that draws crowds but distorts the Bible. Discounting Satan as well, they weaken God's warnings about deception. No wonder His armor for today's spiritual war became an early victim of this spreading assault on Truth. ... * Emphasis Original Read Full Report http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/08/shack.htm
Also: THE SHACK & Its New Age Leaven God IN Everything? By Warren Smith http://herescope.blogspot.com/2008/06/shack-its-new-age-leaven.html FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.