Odds and Ends are letters covering important topics that do not necessarily require a whole article.
Reports emerged about a revival at Ashbury University. An Asbury Professor Thomas H McCall declared, “We’re witnessing a surprising work of God” (christianitytoday.com). What is happening resembles the famous Asbury Revival of 1970. There does not appear to be any pressure or hype. No special speaker. Rather, it seems to be characterized by a sense of the presence of God, worship, prayer, and repentance. There are a variety of videos on YouTube on this revival. The revival meetings at Ashbury University have since ended.
“HE GETS US” CAMPAIGN
The “He Gets Us” campaign has been seen on billboards, YouTube channels, and television screens with the message that Jesus understands the human condition. The aim is for people to see the Jesus of the Bible presented in today’s culture with the same relevance and impact He had 2000 years ago. Two ads were on T.V. for the Superbowl this year. The whole ‘He Gets Us’ campaign will span over three years and cost 1 billion dollars.
Some viewers, including some evangelical Christians, are skeptical. Author and activist Jennifer Greenburg supports the idea of reaching those outside the faith and wants people to understand that Jesus gets them. However, that is not the whole message of Christianity.
“Yes, Jesus can relate to you,” she said. “But what did Jesus come primarily to do? He came to die for our sins.” “Connecting emotionally with Jesus is great, she added. But that won’t save your soul.” “I can look at Buddha or Sarah McLachlan or Obama and I can find things in common with them,” she said. “But that does not mean they are going to save me.” (ministrywatch.com).
2025 WAR WITH CHINA
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, weighed in on the prediction from four-star Air Force Gen. Mike Minihan, who warned his commanders to prepare for war with China in roughly two years’ time.
Minihan predicted that fighting will come after China takes advantage of the U.S. being preoccupied with the 2024 election to take action against Taiwan, which will be focused on their elections next year as well.
“I hope he’s wrong,” McCaul told “Fox News Sunday” host Shannon Bream. “I think he’s right though, unfortunately.”
McCaul explained that China very much wants “reunification” of Taiwan with mainland China. He said that could come about through influencing the Taiwanese elections in early 2024.
“But if they don’t win in that one they are going to look at a military invasion, in my judgment. We have to be prepared for this.”
McCaul said, “As long as Biden is in office projecting weakness,” there are “very high” odds of this happening. He cited the Biden administration’s failure with the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which he said led to Russia invading Ukraine (foxnews.com).
ELON MUSK COMMENTS ON FLYERS’ PROVOROV PRIDE NIGHT BACKLASH: ‘PENDULUM HAS SWUNG A BIT TOO FAR.’
Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers did not take the ice for a pregame skate Tuesday due to the team wearing Pride-themed jerseys and using hockey sticks wrapped in rainbow Pride tape, citing his religious beliefs.
“I respect everybody and I respect everybody’s choices,” Provorov told reporters after the game. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That’s all I’m going to say.”
Provorov’s decision has led to an outcry by many in the media, with one NHL analyst advising him to go back to Russia and “get involved” in the conflict between the country and Ukraine.
The liberal sports media came down hard on Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov for skipping festivities celebrating LGBTQ pride. Early Friday morning, SpaceX founder and Twitter CEO Elon Musk responded to a quote tweet of a video posted by Outkick founder Clay Travis. The video shows the comments made by NHL analyst E.J. Hradek suggesting Provorov should leave the country.
“The pendulum has swung a bit too far,” Elon Musk wrote on Twitter.
Musk was responding to a quote tweet of the video which said the gay movement had gone from calling for equal rights to “go f***ing die in a trench war if you don’t wear a pride shirt!” (foxnews.com).
MAX LUCADO SAYS HE PRAYS AND SPEAKS IN TONGUES
Pastor and bestselling author says the church must return to “heavenly power.” Max Lucado says speaking in tongues is now part of his regular time with God. During an interview on the Stetzer Church Leaders Podcast, he tells how as a stressed-out young pastor, he experienced the true comforting strength of the Holy Spirit. But it was not until years later the Lord added speaking in tongues to his prayer life.
Churches need to return to “a supernatural understanding of heavenly power,” Lucado says. He describes a July morning four years ago, “As I was praying, I began praying in tongues. I had not done anything different except I came across the passage where the apostle Paul said, ‘Eagerly desire the spiritual gifts,’… I said, ‘Lord, is there any other gift you desire for me?”‘
Lucado says, “I prayed that every morning for two or three weeks, and early one morning, I began praying in a heavenly language,” adding, “It really is just a tender moment every morning.” (Charisma Magazine January 2023)
Global warming has taken a somewhat back seat as an issue that impacted last year’s mid-term election in America. In addition, some people are beginning to question the whole basis for climate change, including author S. Fred Singer in his new book entitled Hot Talk, Cold Science. At the same time, some government agencies want to ban gas stoves. Then too, for some people, climate change has almost become a religion. Obviously, the issue is far from resolved.
‘NONEDENOMINATIONAL’ IS NOW THE LARGEST SEGMENT OF AMERICAN PROTESTANTS
Not the “nones,” who have commanded attention for years, as the number of Americans who don’t identify with a specific religious tradition has grown from just 5 percent during the Cold War to around 30 percent today. This is the nons—nondenominational Christians, people who shake off organizational affiliations, disassociate from tradition, and free themselves from established church brands.
The number of nondenominational churches has surged by about 9,000 congregations over the course of a decade, according to new decennial data released by the U.S. Religion Census. Little noticed, they have been quietly remaking the religious landscape.
There are now five times more nondenominational churches than there are Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations. There are six times more nondenominational churches than there are Episcopal. And there are 3.4 million more people in nondenominational churches than there are in Southern Baptist ones.
If “nondenominational” were a denomination, it would be the largest Protestant one, claiming more than 13 percent of churchgoers in America. (christianitytoday.com).
MASS KILLINGS IN THE USA
John Stonestreet from Breakpoint has an interesting perspective on What We’re Missing About Mass Shootings. In his article, he quotes professor of criminology Jillian Peterson and sociologist James Densley, who have together studied every shooter since 1996 and found that the vast majority have four things in common:
1. Early childhood trauma and exposure to violence at a young age
2. Seeking validation in extreme communities, often online;
3. Openly admiring the work of prior shooters;
4. Nearly all are longtime loners with an identifiable “crisis point,” like getting fired or expelled from school.
Breakpoint goes on to point out that they were all men, and almost all of them grew up without fathers. (breakpoint.org).
Max Lucado Says He Prays and Speaks in Tongues. (2023, January). Charisma.
Very informative and a good read. Thank you.