In U.S., decline of Christianity continues at rapid pace — from pewforum.org
An update on America’s changing religious landscape

 

 

 

From DSC:
Looking around…how’s that going for us? How is the United States doing internally? How is our nation doing externally? In my own life, when I’ve gotten away from the LORD, things have not gone very well. When family members have grown apart from the LORD, things declined in their lives as they did in my own life. I look around and I see that kind of phenomenon happening corporately as well.

 

Psalm 33:12 New International Version (NIV)

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…

…and conversely…???

 

Addendums on 10/18/19:

 

Genesis 1:21 New International Version (NIV)

21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

 

 

Mark 2:1-12 (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

 

From DSC:
“…what they were thinking in their hearts” Wow….that wording hasn’t caught my attention the way it just did this morning. It doesn’t refer to thinking as I/we tend to view it — i.e., with our minds — but rather, thinking in our hearts. Hmmm….

 

 

Philippians 2:5-11 New International Version (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

 

Mark 1:1-4 New International Version (NIV)

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah,[a] the Son of God,[b]as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way”[c]
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’”[d]

And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

 

Israeli tech co. uses virtual & augmented reality tech to help Christians engage with the Bible — with thanks to Heidi McDow for the resource
Compedia Partners with U.S. Clients to Utilize Company’s Biblical Knowledge and Technological Expertise

TEL AVIV, Israel, Aug. 7, 2019 – Compedia, an Israel-based business-to-business tech company, is using virtual reality technology to service Christian clients with products that help users engage with the Bible in a meaningful way.

Compedia partnered with The Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., which attracted more than 1 million visitors during its first year of operation, to help bring the museum’s exhibits to life. With the help of Compedia’s innovation, visitors to the museum can immerse themselves in 34 different biblical sites through augmented reality tours, allowing them to soar across the Sea of Galilee, climb the stairs of the Temple Mount, explore the Holy Sepulchre and so much more. In addition to creating on-site attractions for The Museum of the Bible, Compedia also created a Bible curriculum for high-school students that includes interactive maps, 3-D guides, quizzes, trivia and more.

“Many people are dubious of augmented and virtual reality, but we see how they can be used for God’s glory,” said Illutowich. “When clients recognize how attentive users are to the Bible message when it’s presented through augmented and virtual reality, they see the power of it, too.”

In addition to their passion for furthering Bible education, Compedia is committed to developing products that help educators engage students of all types. The company is currently in partnership with a number of educational institutions and schools around the U.S. to utilize its interactive technology both in the classroom and in the online learning space. Other client collaborations include Siemens, Sony and Intel, to name a few.

About Compedia
Compedia uses cutting-edge technology to help students succeed by making education more fun, engaging, and meaningful. With over 30 years of experience in developing advanced learning solutions for millions of people in 50 countries and 35 languages, Compedia offers expertise in visual computing, augmented reality, virtual reality and advanced systems, as well as instructional design and UX.

 


 

 

 


 

 

Image from https://es.pngtree.com/freepng/color-cartoon-musical-note-stave_2521336.html

Image source

 

Psalm 150 — from biblegateway.com

1 Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

 

1 Chronicles 29:11 New International Version (NIV)

11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.

 

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay
 

Revelation 21:2-4 New International Version (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

 

From DSC:
My dad used to sign a song that had the highlighted scripture in it. It represents a wonderful, desirable, powerful vision…especially after listening to NPR for a while (which I do several times a week).

 

 

From DSC:
Pastors, what do you think of these ideas?

  • Summarize your key points and put them up on slides at the end of your sermons (and/or at discussion groups after service)
  • Summarize your key points and post them to the churches’ websites — including links to resources that you referenced in your sermons (books, devotions, other)
  • Have an app that folks in your congregation could complete during the sermon (like “fill in the blanks” / missing words or phrases). Or, if you’d prefer that your congregation not have their smartphones out, perhaps you could provide “quizzes” mid-week to assist in information recall (i.e., spaced repetition). That is, people would need to try to fill in the missing phrases and/or words mid-week. Answers would be immediately available if someone asked for them.

Along these lines…should there be more classes in seminary on learning theories and on pedagogy? Hmmm….an interesting thought.

 

Photograph of Multicolored “Cloud” Galaxy by Amateur Photographers Combines 1,060 Hours of Exposure — from thisiscolossal.com by Andrew Lasane

Excerpt:

A group of French amateur astrophotographers called Ciel Austral (“Southern Sky”) have shared a 240-megapixel image of the Large Magellan Cloud (LMC). Constructed using 4,000 images, the seamless collage required over 1,060 hours of exposures. Together, the images form a massive digital poster with colorful explosions and pockets of cosmic dust that resemble watercolors dripped and blown across an inky black surface.

The individual photos that make up the 14,400-pixel-wide image were captured between July 2017 and February 2019 using a 160mm refracting telescope at an observatory in Chile that is owned by the photographers. The colors in the image are not what you would see if you traveled 163,000 light years to get LMC. Ciel Austral used special filters that (based on which elements are present) highlight parts of the visual spectrum. The resulting swirling hues are best appreciated in close-ups like the ones below. To see the full size image in all of its glory, head over to the Ciel Austral website.

 

 

From DSC:
Again I say, “Glory to God in the highest!”

 

Exquisite underwater photos to make you love the ocean — from wired.com by Laura Mallonee

 

Job 12:7-10

7 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
    or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
    or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every creature
    and the breath of all mankind.”

 

Glory to GOD in the highest!

 

From DSC:
Thank you LORD for your grace, your love, your forgiveness…and for all kinds of music which moves our souls. Especially as we reflect on the gift that was offered for us this week…thank you LORD! While we were yet sinners…you died for us. You paid the price. Then you rose again!

The gifts of grace, music and eternal life! Thank you LORD.

 

 

From DSC:
For those of you in warmer climates, this is no big deal. But for us here in Michigan, these last few winters have seemed like forever…they’ve been very long indeed. So when flowers appear, it’s a big deal to us!

I saw my first view of flowers in 2019…and guess what?! I saw them right outside a funeral home…hmmm….new life…right next to “death.”

Flowers right outside a funeral home -- new life, right next to death

 

A funeral home

 

From DSC:
This reminded me of the beginning of
Ecclesiastes 3:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die…

 

Along these lines of thinking about time…the trick for me has been to not let time put so much heat in my kitchen as to make my life (and others as well) highly stressful — a trick that I’m still trying to learn. I sometimes think that I give too much weight to Psalm 90:12 (“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”) Unfortunately, I put too much focus on the first part of that verse. But it’s easy for me to do that these days. As our family watches our parents entering into the last of their twilight years, I’m once again reminded that our lives are but a vapor. I’m trying to use them wisely.

As Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter are rapidly approaching us…perhaps it’s a good time to think about life and death…hmmm.

 

 

Isaiah 53:3-6 (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

 

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