Monkey takes selfie and makes legal history

Posted by    |    September 14th, 2017 at 6:01 am

In 2011, a wildlife photographer named David Slater was on assignment in Indonesia. A seven-year-old crested macaque named Naruto happened upon his camera and snapped a photo of himself.

According to CNN, the monkey’s self-portrait is now “the world’s most litigious selfie.”

The picture made Naruto an internet celebrity. But People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued Mr. Slater, claiming that the monkey owned the rights to his selfie. A settlement has now been reached: Mr. Slater will donate 25 percent of future revenue from Naruto’s selfie to charities that protect his habitat in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, a twelve-year-old boy who decided to transition into a female now wants to be a boy again. Two years after taking hormones that caused his body to grow breasts, he had a change of heart. “I began to realize I was actually comfortable in my body. Every day I just felt better,” he said. Now he has stopped taking his medication and will have an operation to remove excess breast tissue.

Monkey selfies and boys who become girls and then become boys are not stories you would have seen in the news a few years ago. Nor would you expect a cell phone to sell for nearly $1,000 or people to grieve as a spacecraft prepares to disintegrate in Saturn’s atmosphere.

But we live at the intersection of astounding technology and bewildered morality.

When our culture decided that truth is personal and subjective, it lost the ability to claim objectively that humans are more valuable than animals. Some call this claim “speciesism” and consider it immoral.

Now people are free to decide their gender and to revise their decision as they wish. They are free to marry whatever gender they wish (and may one day be able to marry as many people as they wish). Public support for abortion is as high as it’s ever been; more Americans have access to legal euthanasia than ever before.

The darker the room, the more vital the light.

Jesus said of himself, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). His word is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). His followers are “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).

It is vital that Christians share God’s light and word with our dark culture. Denison Forum exists for this purpose—to speak biblical truth to the crucial issues of our day. But we cannot exist without your help.

We are entirely a donor-based ministry. Your financial gifts enable us to give God’s word to our culture. That’s why I’m asking for your support with today’s North Texas Giving Day. We receive nearly 20 percent of our income through this annual day of giving.

A very generous donor has already provided a $100,000 matching grant. To make a donation through midnight tonight, please click here.

With your help, today’s Daily Article will reach more than 110,000 readers in 203 countries. “News discerned differently” is our calling. Thank you for helping us give God’s light to our dark world.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). It never will.

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Daily Briefing: September 14, 2017

Posted by    |    September 14th, 2017 at 5:18 am

T O P   N E W S

9. Pelosi and Schumer Say They Have Deal With Trump to Replace DACA (NY Times)

“Democratic leaders on Wednesday night declared that they had a deal with President Trump to quickly extend protections for young undocumented immigrants and to finalize a border security package that does not include the president’s proposed wall.
“After a White House dinner with the president, the Democrats, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, released a joint statement that appeared aimed at ensuring that the president would follow through after their discussions on the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
“We had a very productive meeting at the White House with the president,” the statement said. “The discussion focused on DACA. We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides.”

Nick Note: Come Together? The Beatles wrote it and Michael Jackson put some moves to it. In the White House statement, officials were more muted in their tone and called the working dinner “constructive.” Yesterday in front of the Capital, clergy members washed the feet of young immigrants whose temporary relief from deportation is in peril. Watch it here. Does this compromise include funding for a wall or does it simply enshrine DACA into law?  Breitbart is not pleased with this announcement, writing that President Trump “caved” and calling him “Amnesty Don.” In the biblical narrative, the Christian is situated in the tension of observing the laws and extending compassion (Romans 13:1-7, Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Matthew 25:25-36). 

8. ‘Racism is as American as baseball’ banner unfurled at Fenway Park during Red Sox-A’s game (USA Today)

“During the fourth inning of Wednesday’s game, four fans unfurled a banner over the left field wall in violation of the club’s policy prohibiting signs of any kind to be hung or affixed to the ballpark. The individuals involved were escorted out of Fenway Park.”
“This comes after fans yelled racist slurs and threw peanuts at the Orioles’ Adam Jones at Fenway Park in May. Boston fans gave Jones a standing ovation before his first at-bat after the troubling incident.
“Additionally, last month, Red Sox owner John Henry said he wants to get the street name Yawkey Way changed because of the racist past it represents.”

Nick Note: Last night, South Park tackled white supremacy in their season premiere episode. Is racism still an issue because of our homogenous friend groups? According to one study: “In a 100-friend scenario, the average white person has 91 white friends; one each of black, Latino, Asian, mixed race, and other races; and three friends of unknown race. The average black person, on the other hand, has 83 black friends, eight white friends, two Latino friends, zero Asian friends, three mixed race friends, one other race friend and four friends of unknown race.” What does your friend group look like? Jesus befriended a Samaritan woman (John 4), ministered to Gentiles repeatedly, and commended the faith of a Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:28).

7. Shkreli Sent to Jail by Judge Over Clinton Hair Bounty (Bloomberg)

“A U.S. judge revoked the former pharmaceutical executive’s bail Wednesday, ordering him jailed immediately, over a bounty Shkreli issued in a Facebook post for a strand of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s hair. “The fact that he continues to remain unaware of the inappropriateness of his actions or words demonstrates that he may well be an ongoing danger or risk to the community,” U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto said.
“In a now-deleted Facebook posting, in which he offered his followers $5,000 for a strand of Clinton’s hair during her book tour, he caught the attention of prosecutors. They asked Matsumoto to revoke Shkreli’s bail and throw him in jail because he’s not only a convicted felon but his threats pose a danger to the community.”

Nick Note: “Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin. (Proverbs 13:3)”

6. Comments by Jemele Hill of ESPN a ‘Fireable Offense,’ White House Says (NY Times)

“ESPN, under intense pressure again in the hypercharged terrain of social media, elicited a rebuke from a White House official on Wednesday in response to a series of tweets posted by a “SportsCenter” host.
“Jemele Hill, who co-hosts the 6 p.m. “SportsCenter” program, called President Trump a white supremacist on Twitter on Monday, adding: “Trump is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime. His rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period.”
“Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said the comments were a “fireable offense.”

Nick Note: Should the White House have commented on the employment status of a private citizen? ESPN suspended Linda Cohn for political comments and fired Curt Schilling for his transgender remarks, but should they do something more concerning Jemele Hill? And if the web wasn’t tangled enough, before Mr. Trump was president, he was a citizen who called President Obama a racist. Here is the tweet. In situations like this, I am reminded of the truth of Proverbs 10:19.

C U L T U R A L   N E W S

5. Two Ex-Googlers Want To Make Bodegas And Mom-And-Pop Corner Stores Obsolete (Fast Company)

“Here’s the pitch for Silicon Valley’s newest start-up: It’s called Bodega, and it’s a case of nonperishable goods — the kind you’d usually get at a neighborhood corner store or bodega — that comes in an “unmanned pantry box.”
“Customers can unlock the box and purchase products via an app. It brings products “to where people already are so that they can access them immediately, when they need them. This beats out any two-hour delivery — or even half-hour delivery — alternative.”

Nick Note: Everybody wants Kung Fu Fighting but do they want Bodegas? Will the Bodega be able to take the place of online shopping/the neighborhood store or will it be a reiteration of the Juciero? Less than 10 percent of all retail transactions occur online. While speculation abounds as to the prospects of Bodega, this startup appeals to an audience that desires to be served from the comfort of their own vantage point. This is the same audience that may not go to the church building, but has a potentially unknown hunger for the things of God (Psalm 34:8, Ecclesiastes 3:11). Man does not eat on bread alone…even if that bread is spongey and filled with cream.

4. U.S. suicide attempts up most among younger adults, less educated (Reuters)

“Young adults with low levels of education and people with mental health disorders bore the greatest burden of a recent increase in suicide attempts in the U.S., a new study shows.
Suicide prevention efforts may need to focus most on those two groups, the research team suggests.
“The proportion of adults reporting a suicide attempt in the past three years rose from 0.62 percent in 2004-2005 to 0.79 percent in 2012-2013. In both surveys, most suicide attempts occurred among women and people younger than age 50.
“Over the study period, the risk of suicide attempts grew 0.48 percent among people ages 21 to 34, compared to 0.06 percent among people 65 and older.The risk also grew 0.49 percent for people with only a high school diploma, compared to 0.03 percent among people with a college degree.”

Nick Note: After a period of a consistent decline in suicide rates in the United States from 1986 through 1999, suicide rates have increased almost steadily from 1999 through 2014. Suicide among adolescents and young adults is increasing and among the leading causes of death for those demographic groups. Could the uptick in suicide be related to the decrease in friends and trust and an increase in the use of technology? A generation ago, almost half of all Americans felt they could trust the people around them, but now less than a third think other people are trustworthy. Only 19 percent of millennials believe other people can be trusted. 1 out of 2 people don’t know their neighbors’ names. Distrust breeds isolation. In 2004, 25 percent of people said they had no close friend to discuss important matters. That number was 10 percent in 1985. (Proverbs 18:24, Hebrews 3:13, 10:24-25)

3. Study Finds Asian-American Characters ‘Tokens’ on TV (NBC News)

“The report found increasing opportunities for Asian-American actors but concluded they are still underrepresented and “their characters remain marginalized and tokenized on screen.”
“A third (34.5 percent) of all Asian or Asian-American characters were found to be on just 11 shows – with the 14 characters on “Marco Polo” alone making up 10 percent of the total — which sets up a “risk of greater decimation when networks decide to cancel even one show,” according to the report.
“The concentration of characters on a few shows also means that many viewers never see an Asian-American on screen, which the study says “effectively erases” them from a large part of the TV landscape.”

Nick Note: Are show producers and executives loving their neighbor or using their neighbor for their purposes (Proverbs 28:6, Mark 12:30-31)? It has been observed that we are to love people and use things but unfortunately we all too often do the opposite.

N E W S   Y O U   C A N   U S E

2. Dude tries to catch a rat with his cat and it does not go well

Nick Note: Watch it here. This is perhaps my new favorite video. Perfect love may cast out fear but it does not remove rats (1 John 4:18). 

1. Internet swoons over Florida police officer

Nick Note: Watch it here. Does this latest internet phenomenon seem totally 2017? Well, since at least Saul, we have noticed handsomeness (1 Samuel 9:2).

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What you and the pope have in common

Posted by    |    September 13th, 2017 at 10:02 am

Pope Francis recently concluded his six-day visit to the war-torn country of Colombia. The hope was that his presence would lend gravitas and perspective to the trying circumstances surrounding the government’s recent peace agreement with the rebel group FARC. The two factions had been at war for roughly half a century, and the violence left behind multiple generations’ worth of scars that must now heal if the country is to go forward united.

Rodrigo Londono, the former leader of FARC, recently published a letter in which he wrote that the pope’s “repeated expressions about God’s infinite mercy move me to plead your forgiveness for any tears and pain that we have caused the people of Colombia.” Pope Francis told the Colombians on both sides of the conflict, “Do not be afraid of asking for forgiveness and offering it. It is time to defuse hatred, to renounce vengeance.”

While it would be only natural for such words to fall on deaf ears given the decades of pain and violence countless Colombians have experienced, there is hope that the pope’s message can bring about a real and vital change. As Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos noted, “Colombia is one of the most Catholic countries in the world.” President Santos would go on to say that the pope “comes in the perfect moment” and that he “has tremendous leadership, and what he says is heard with tremendous attention here in Colombia.”

Many hope that the pope’s message to Colombia will be heard by those in neighboring Venezuela as well. Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, the archbishop of Caracas, told reporters that his people were eating garbage and dying of treatable diseases because of the deteriorating circumstances under President Maduro. Venezuelans have been pouring over the Colombian border in recent months looking for a better life, and Pope Francis met with several of their bishops. It remains unclear, however, to what extent his influence will bring about real change there.

You see, despite the pope’s best efforts, the situations in Colombia and Venezuela remind us that even the spiritual leader of some 1.2 billion people—40 percent of whom live in Latin America—can only influence those who will listen. Scripture is clear that there are those who will harden their hearts to God’s word and refuse to heed his truth, whether it comes from the pope or anyone else the Lord chooses to use (Matthew 13:11–15).

Often, one of the most difficult things for us to learn is that no matter how hard we pray or how many times we try to speak that truth into someone’s life, it is ultimately their choice to accept it. In a culture where people increasingly feel entitled to their truth rather than the truth, that reality is only going to become more common. As Christians, we can either see that and give up on those around us, abandoning them to the hardened nature of their hearts, or press on to help them come back to the Lord.

There will be times when both are necessary. Jesus instructed the disciples to shake the dust off their feet as they left behind those who rejected his message (Matthew 10:14). But he also urged them never to give up on the lost, pursuing them tirelessly until they came to salvation in Christ (Luke 15). The key is understanding which strategy will be most effective in a given situation.

Fortunately, we work under the guidance of a God who knows the hearts and minds of people better than they know themselves (Psalm 139). If we let him, the Holy Spirit will give us the necessary wisdom and discernment to know when continuing to press will only drive people further from the Lord or when it will help us finally move past whatever walls they have constructed to keep God out.

After all, surely the One who created and gifted us with the free will to decide for ourselves if we will serve him understands how best to work with that free will to lead the lost to salvation. The question we have to answer is if we will rely on his understanding or our own as we join him in that process.

Which will you choose today?

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Senators criticize Catholic nominee for her faith

Posted by    |    September 13th, 2017 at 5:53 am

Amy Coney Barrett is a law professor at Notre Dame. She also clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Now she has been nominated by President Trump to serve on the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Here’s the problem: she’s a Catholic.

Barrett is the mother of seven, including a special needs child and two children adopted from Haiti. She is also a very public Christian. She told the 2006 Notre Dame Law School graduating class, “If you can keep in mind that your fundamental purpose in life is not to be a lawyer, but to know, love, and serve God, you truly will be a different kind of lawyer.”

She has also written that Catholic judges should not impose their faith on others. In rare cases, they should recuse themselves when their religious conscience prevents them from applying relevant law.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein wasn’t satisfied, protesting during Barrett’s confirmation hearing that “dogma lives loudly within you.” Sen. Al Franken compared her speech before a religious freedom organization to giving a speech to Pol Pot, the genocidal Cambodian dictator. Sen. Dick Durbin asked her, “Do you consider yourself an ‘orthodox Catholic’?”

This despite Article VI of the Constitution, which specifically states that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” But in the minds of these senators, it’s apparently acceptable to be a Christian in America only if you don’t tell anyone.

Richard John Neuhaus noted that in our culture, “the only good Catholic is a bad Catholic,” which, as Eric Metaxas explains, is “someone who doesn’t live as if his faith were actually true.” Imagine what would happen to America if such a privatized version of Christianity were to prevail.

Consider this USA Today headline: “Faith groups provide the bulk of disaster recovery, in coordination with FEMA.” Consider the fact that people who frequently attend religious services give far more to charity than those who do not. Consider the billions of dollars in charity care provided by religious hospitals or the millions of hours in community service volunteered by church members.

Yale history professor Kenneth Scott Latourette said of Christianity, “More than any other power in history it has impelled men to fight suffering, whether that suffering has come from disease, war or natural disasters. It has built thousands of hospitals, inspired the emergence of nursing and medical professions, and furthered movements for public health and the relief and prevention of famine.”

I am grateful for “salt and light” Christians like Amy Coney Barrett (Matthew 5:13–16). And I am praying for Christians across our post-Christian culture to join her in courageous and gracious witness for our Lord. Will you join me?

NOTE: North Texas Giving Day is tomorrow. This year’s event comes while many, including my wife and I, are already giving to help those recovering from recent disasters. And yet this is a critical day for Denison Forum—we receive nearly 20 percent of our annual support from those who participate in this day of giving.

For the first time, North Texas Giving Day is allowing donors to schedule their gifts prior to the giving date of September 14. By clicking here, you can schedule your gift today, knowing that it will transact on Thursday. Extremely generous donors have already pledged a matching gift of $100,000. Every gift (including scheduled donations) will be matched dollar for dollar.

Thank you for your vital and generous support. It is an honor to share this ministry with you.

ALSO: I want to invite you to my dialogue with Dr. Peter Dysert next Tuesday evening. We will be discussing “the promise and perils of genetic medicine” at Dallas Baptist University. To learn more, click here.

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Responding to Irma: Good news in the news

Posted by    |    September 12th, 2017 at 5:58 am

As Hurricane Irma bore down on my brother and his family over the weekend, I was watching television coverage of the storm nonstop. I heard a commentator reporting from Florida make the perceptive statement, “The worst in Mother Nature often brings out the best in human nature.”

He was right.

The damage from this historic disaster is continuing. As of this morning, at least forty-two people have died because of the storm. Jacksonville, Florida, has experienced record floods. A flash flood emergency has been declared in Charleston, South Carolina. About 6.5 million people in Florida are without power.

But there is remarkable good news in the news.

The New York Times is reporting on sacrificial ways Christians are serving each other and their communities after Hurricane Harvey. One example is Rabbi Michael Vowell, a Messianic Jew (a Jew who accepts Jesus as his Messiah). According to the Times, he came to faith in Christ as a young man “as part of his escape from drug abuse and dealing.”

How does he deal with faith questions related to Hurricane Harvey? “My theology is that if I can see God moving through people, neighbors helping neighbors, I can shelve the bigger question of why is this happening,” he said. “That there are still people caring for each other is evidence enough that God is in this world.”

Natural disasters teach us what matters most. My brother texted me Sunday night from Florida: “As we helped neighbors board up to leave, we noticed how they all valued life over possessions. We packed everything that really mattered to us in two cars when we evacuated, not knowing if we’d have a home to go back to. Beth [his wife] said, ‘We may lose our house, but not our home.’”

Such faith in fearful times is a powerful testimony.

According to the Washington Post, anxiety has replaced depression as the most common mental health concern for American college students. Citing the escalating conflict with North Korea along with recent wildfires, earthquakes, and hurricanes, the article notes: “Fear is in the water these days, spread with a new and viral efficiency on social media into everyone’s home and everyone’s pockets at all hours, every day.”

But God’s people can say with David, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3). We can join the righteous man who “is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord” (Psalm 112:7). And our faith will glorify our Father and draw our frightened culture to him.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “If Jesus returns tomorrow, then tomorrow I’ll rest from my labor. But today I have work to do.” So do you.

NOTE: North Texas Giving Day is this Thursday. This year’s event comes while many, including my wife and I, are already giving to help those recovering from recent disasters. And yet this is a critical day for Denison Forum—we receive nearly 20 percent of our annual support from those who participate in this day of giving.

For the first time, North Texas Giving Day is allowing donors to schedule their gifts prior to the giving date of September 14. By clicking here, you can schedule your gift today, knowing that it will transact on Thursday. Extremely generous donors have already pledged a matching gift of $100,000. Every gift (including scheduled donations) will be matched dollar for dollar.

Thank you for praying for my family and so many others affected by recent disasters. Thank you for your wonderful generosity in supporting those in need. And thank you for helping Denison Forum continue to share God’s word on the critical issues of our day. It is an honor to serve our Lord with you.

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Daily Briefing: September 12, 2017

Posted by    |    September 12th, 2017 at 5:22 am

T O P   N E W S

9 . Irma death toll in US rises to 11; Florida faces ‘devastation’ (ABC News)

“Irma, which was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone Tuesday morning, was bringing “generally moderate rain” to a wide swath of the southeast and Tennessee and Ohio Valleys, according to the National Weather Service.
“Irma tore a path of destruction across the Caribbean and up Florida before breaking up on Tuesday. As of early Tuesday, Irma was about 65 miles southwest of Atlanta, moving north-northwest at 15 mph with sustained winds of 35 mph. The storm is expected to continue to weaken as its center continues to move northwest.”

Nick Note: Thus far, Irma has caused at least 10 deaths in the U.S. and 37 in the Caribbean. In Florida’s coastal counties (most likely to have suffered damages from Irma), there are roughly 1.45 million uninsured houses. Here is Irma in pictures. Here is Richard Branson’s video of damage his area sustained in the Virgin Islands. South Carolina avoided Irma’s eye, but the massive storm caused severe flooding and left about 250,000 customers without power Monday. Meanwhile, back in Houston, two neighborhoods have been contaminated with bacteria and toxins due to floodwaters. Harvey already happened, Irma is happening, and Hurricane Jose (now a category 2, 105mph winds) builds in the Atlantic Ocean. David Brooks, writing in the NY Times this morning, notes this: “These floods are invitations to recreate the world. That only happens successfully when strong individuals are willing to yoke themselves to collective institutions.” Brooks is right. Before Nehemiah sought to recreate the world, he first prayed (Nehemiah 1:3). E.M. Bounds found prayers to be endless, always enduring past the lives of those who uttered them. Would you pray with great faith today for the people dealing with the devastation? Would you pray with great faith for clarity concerning your next step in recreating the world (James 5:13-16)?

8. U.N. Security Council approves new sanctions against North Korea, but no oil import ban (USA Today)

“The resolution is a watered-down version of what the U.S. initially proposed, removing the demand to ban all oil imports to the North and to freeze international assets of the government and leader Kim Jong Un, according to the Associated Press. The resolution also eliminates a U.S. proposal to authorize the use of force to board nine named ships, which it said violated previous United Nations sanctions resolutions, to carry out inspections, the AP reported.
“North Korea warned early Monday that the United States would feel the “greatest pain” if it pushed ahead with a new round of sanctions.”

Nick Note: Yesterday, North Korean nuclear scientists marched down crowed and excited streets as they left the country’s capital. Watch it here. According to George Friedman, North Korea has a three-pronged approach – ferocious, weak, and crazy. They ferociously pursue the capacity to have devastating power. They position themselves as weak to deter action against them because they want others to think it is only a matter of time before they collapse anyway (their GDP is $28 billion; the US stands at $18.57 trillion). And concerning their craziness, they appear unpredictable, prone to bombastic threats and seem to welcome war. In The Art of War, Sun Tzu admonished the reader to know their enemy. To a certain degree, the Bible agrees (2 Corinthians 2:11).

7. 12-Year-Old Boy Who Transitioned To Female Changes His Mind Two Years Later (Independent)

“At just 12-years-old, Patrick Mitchell, begged with his mother to begin taking oestrogen hormones after doctors diagnosed him with gender dysphoria – a condition where a person experiences distress because there is a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity.
“In the beginning of 2017, teachers at school began to refer to him as a girl which triggered Mitchell to question if he had made the right decision. “I began to realise I was actually comfortable in my body. Every day I just felt better,” he told Now To Love.
“Now, in a bid to revert back to his original body, he has stopped taking his medication and is about to have an operation to remove excess breast tissue in what will be the final stage of his transition.”

Nick Note: Absolutely heartbreaking. Can you imagine the pain this boy has gone through and now will go through in order to transition back? (For more on transgenderism, see Dr. Denison’s excellent white paper or my article in the Fort Worth Star-TelegramMatthew 19:4).

6. Former USC, Seahawks Coach Rocky Seto Talks Leaving Coaching to Become Pastor (LA Times)

“Rocky Seto spent 11 seasons as an assistant for the USC Trojans and seven seasons as an assistant for the Seattle Seahawks. But he decided to give up that career path after the 2016 season with the Seahawks for a different path altogether: becoming a pastor.
“Seto had long been interested in becoming a minister, but he decided to make the change once his contract with Seattle was up for renewal after the 2016 season. Seto left the Seahawks to become a pastor at the Evergreen Baptist Church of San Gabriel Valley in La Puente, California. Some of the lessons he learned coaching have translated to his new career path.”

Nick Note: Pastor Seto’s decision reminds me of this Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote: “The response of the disciples is an act of obedience, not a confession of faith in Jesus.” (See the life of Amos for more).

C U L T U R A L   N E W S

5. Study Finds Women Spend An Extra Hour On Email: How To Take Control (Forbes)

“The study finds that female office workers spend 24% more time checking email on average during the weekday than their male colleagues. The study, conducted by Advanis, surveyed 1,007 U.S. white-collar employees who own a smartphone from July 10-17, 2017.
Women are spending an average of six hours each weekday checking email while their male colleagues only spend five hours each weekday checking email, the study finds. And, even though women are checking email more often than men, the study finds that women feel like they aren’t checking email often enough, says Kristin Naragon, director of product marketing, Adobe Campaign.
“Women are superb multitaskers and very task oriented, says Nancy Halpern, principal at KNH Associates. Those two qualities may explain why women are more dedicated to their email than men.”

Nick Note: Alice Keys is a SuperwomanWhitney Houston is Every Woman, and I am a guy that has a few interesting statistics concerning women. The average U.S. worker spends 6.3 hours a day checking email. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2016, women work nearly an hour longer every single day than men do when unpaid labor such as caregiving is included. On average, a woman’s email response has a median length of 30 words and a median response time of 24 minutes; men’s email messages have a median length of 28 words and a median response time of 28 minutes. Our responses may vary with response time and length, but consider God’s response: “He sends his orders to the world–how swiftly his word flies! (Psalm 147:15)”

4. 100 Women: ‘I dye my hair brown to be taken more seriously at work’ (BBC)

“In interviewing candidates for roles at her startup, Glassbreakers, which provides companies with software aimed at attracting and empowering a diverse workforce, she’s encountered other blonde women who have also dyed their hair brown.
“According to a 2016 survey of Silicon Valley, 60% of women working in tech experience unwanted sexual advances…Sexual harassment accounted for nearly 30% of the 91,503 cases of workplace discrimination complaints filed that year…But there may be many more cases – a 2013 poll suggested 75% of those who experienced sexual harassment at work did not report the incident.”

Nick Note: R-E-S-P-E-C-T? Not according to some, Aretha Franklin. For example, one study found that males receive more questions about their project’s potential for growth while females field more questions about potential risks and losses–and that this had a very measurable impact on the funding they received. Approximately 2 percent of venture capital funding goes to women entrepreneurs (women own 38 percent of U.S. businesses). The VC culture has come under great scrutiny lately with numerous allegations of sexual harassment. In the Scriptures, we read about the effective leadership of Deborah, the bravery of Esther, the persistence of Ruth, and the courage of Mary — to name but a few. Looking back, it is quite clear: we are better today because of women’s contributions from yesterday and their visions for tomorrow (James 2:9).

3. There’s Something About Breath Mints and Sharing (WSJ)

“A mint is “a social currency,” said Jeff Wurtzel, a marketing brand director for Mars Wrigley Confectionery.
“U.S. retail sales for mints have grown by 26%, between 2012 and 2017, to $1.5 billion, according to data from Euromonitor International. A growing appetite for spicy food and continuous snacking are helping create more opportunities for breath fresheners. Companies are rolling out packaging and products, spurring growth in the category, industry representatives say.
“Mints can play a communal role in offices and restaurants. At the Minneapolis location of Industrious Office, a co-working space, the community manager, Marie Adrian, keeps a bowl of individually wrapped mint Life Savers on her desk. The mints have become a post-lunch routine for many people, creating a natural “touchpoint” with the space’s members, Ms. Adrian said.”

Nick Note: Faith Hill can feel you breathe and let’s hope that breath is minty fresh. Nearly 60 million Americans suffer from some form of halitosis. Americans spend $10 billion every year on mouthwashes, gum, pills, toothpastes, etc. The great demand for breath fresheners provides Christians the opportunity to both serve and give (Matthew 20:28, Acts 20:35). 

N E W S   Y O U   C A N   U S E

2. Kristen Bell Trapped In Hurricane Irma, So She Gives Evacuees “Magical” Surprise.

Nick Note: Watch it here. “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:16)”

1. Tim Tebow visited a Hurricane Irma shelter and was moved by a World War II veteran playing his harmonica

Nick Note: Watch it here. “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. (Proverbs 11:25)”

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Hurricane Irma attacked my family

Posted by    |    September 11th, 2017 at 5:59 am

Hurricane Irma is personal for me in a way no other storm has been. The reason: it targeted my family.

My brother and his wife live in the Tampa area. My wife’s older sister and her husband live in Orlando. Last night, they were directly impacted by the largest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic. All four survived, but we do not yet know the damage to their homes.

Irma has already devastated Cuba, becoming the first Category 5 hurricane to hit the island since 1924. Havana has experienced unprecedented flooding; homes and towns across the north of Cuba are destroyed.

Then the hurricane turned its wrath on Florida. As of this morning, 6.5 million people have been evacuated. Four million Floridians are without power, more than 40 percent of all customers in the state. Five have died, in addition to twenty-seven deaths in the Caribbean.

I prayed for the Lord to push this storm away from land and out into the sea. Instead, it attacked Cuban Christians, brothers and sisters I dearly love and have visited many times over the years. Then it turned and targeted my family.

I pray each day for God’s protection for my family and nation. I’m sure you do the same. When our prayers seem unanswered, how can we continue trusting the One to whom we pray?

Actually, it’s when our prayers seem unanswered that we most need to trust him.

Job testified, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him” (Job 13:15). When the Babylonian king threatened to throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the fiery furnace, they responded: “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:17–18, my italics).

The prophet Habakkuk prayed: “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17–18).

We have two options. We can have a contractual relationship with God whereby we fulfill our responsibilities so that he fulfills his. If he doesn’t answer prayer the way we wish, we feel justified in rejecting him.

Or we can have a covenant relationship with our Father whereby we make an unconditional commitment to the One who loves us unconditionally. The more we understand his ways, the less we need to trust him. The less we understand him, the more we need to trust him.

The psalmist prayed, “Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen” (Psalm 77:19). On this hard morning, our family is choosing to covenant with a Father who loves us and redeems all he allows.

Why do you need such a covenant with your Lord today?

NOTE: For more on today’s subject, please see a website article I posted this morning, Trusting God in hard times: a 9/11 reflection.

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