Innocent until proven guilty

November 10th, 2017 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)


First, I have no sympathy for anyone who would sexually abuse another person. Period. None.

But second—and a big second—I do have sympathy for that person until they are proven guilty—beyond a shadow of doubt—by a court of law.

When I was a young youth pastor, I got a call from a girl who had visited our youth group.

“You raped me when you drove me home last night, and now I’m pregnant.”

I replied, “I’m not sure how that happened since my mom was sitting right between us on the ride to your house.”

“Oh.” [Click]

In today’s culture, I would be on the news and branded a pedophile despite taking—and continuing to take—extreme measures to never be alone with someone of the opposite sex.

Please remember as you hear of the latest sexual accusations—and there will probably be a dozen more just today—those alleged offenders are to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law—not the court of public opinion!

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Happy 99th, Billy Graham!

November 7th, 2017 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)


The apostle Paul, in his letter to the church of Colossae, wrote “pray that I may proclaim [the good news of Christ] clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace.”

The Reverend—and revered—Billy Graham, who turns 99 years old today, has certainly fulfilled what “the Bible says.” [Continue reading]

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Sunday, November 5, 2017, 4:30 pm Early this morning, I published this post on the International Day of Prayer of the Persecuted Church:

      While I was speaking for three weeks in India, I was puzzled as I talked to a joyous young man who had converted from Hinduism to Christianity. When he would talk, he would look straight at me but, as I talked. he would turn his head away from me. It was very curious until he told me that when he told his high priest father he had given his life to Christ, the father beat him so severely he had lost hearing in his right ear.

      In America, Christians claim to be “persecuted” if someone calls them a “judgmental bigot” on Facebook, they’re not allowed to publicly pray in school or are forced to rent an apartment to an unmarried couple. This is as far from persecution as a cold is from cancer. Every day, adults and children are tortured, imprisoned, and killed for simply loving Jesus.

So I was stunned when I saw this headline on CNN’s website:

27 dead, 30 injured in Sutherland Springs church shooting, sources say

It is still unclear the gunman’s motive, but it is tragically ironic that the Sunday that churches are praying for our brothers and sisters being killed for their faith around the world, a mass murderer attacks a small church in Texas.

And so, my prayers for those around the world being targeted for their faith. Here are the ten countries where Christians are most persecuted:

      1. North Korea
      2. Somalia
      3. Afghanistan
      4. Pakistan
      5. Sudan
      6. Syria
      7. Iraq
      8. Iran
      9. Yemen
      10. Eritrea

Here are organizations working with the persecuted church. (All are members in good standing with ECFA.)

Please remember today—and every day—our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted around the world. And pray for the family and friends of those in Sutherland Springs, Texas, who died in the First Baptist church.

Related posts
Dealing with death and grief
Talking to your children about shootings/terrorism
How can we overcome evil with good?

Note
According to the Center for Homicide Research’s National Church Shooting Database, most violence at houses of worship is not specifically aimed at people of faith. According to the study, most shootings are racially, ethnically, or domestically motivated. Carl Chin, a church security consultant, found that “only 6 percent of the violent incidences at houses of worship stem from religious bias.” (Monday: It appears the motivation was not his outspoken atheism, but the result of a domestic dispute with his ex-mother-in-law. Mental illness seems to be a factor.)

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October 31 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther, a Catholic priest, presenting his “Ninety-Five Theses.” It delineated his differences with the church, particularly on salvation by faith only and authority of Scripture alone, as well cataloging the corrupt practices of the Roman Catholic Church at the time. This “Reformation” created the Protestant movement. (Reformation leaders also included John Calvin, John Huss, John Knox, William Tyndale and John Wycliffe.)

As a Protestant, I’m feeling a bit conflicted in the “celebration,” as I have much more in common with my Catholic friends in our love for Christ and his Church than I have differences .

Basic beliefs

Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Christians share a common statement of faith—written well before the Catholic/Orthodox split in 1054 and the Reformation splinter in 1517. [Continue reading]

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jackolantern2016
Search Google for “Should Christians celebrate Halloween?” and you’ll get about one thousand sites covering everything from “it’s completely harmless” to “it’s completely hellish.” Here’s site number 1,001 that’s somewhere in the middle: [Continue reading]

But wait, there’s more! Hope and Humor’s annual take on twisted topics:
Are demons, exorcisms real?
Are there really ghosts?
Harry Potter: the good, the bad, the muggly
Ouija: It’s not just a game
Psychic secrets revealed
Talking to the dead
Top ten reasons Halloween is a strange holiday
The Why Files: My book on the supernatural
Vampires, werewolves real!
Which witch is which?

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Chocolate diamond
Have you seen all those commercials trumpeting Le Vian’s “unique chocolate diamonds”?

The only problem is that brown diamonds are the most common and least valued for jewelry. (The most valuable are white and blue.) So, for centuries, brown diamonds were used only for industrial purposes. Then the Le Vian family decided on a creative marketing strategy. Instead of calling them ubiquitous and virtually useless brown chunks of compressed coal, they hyped them as “Chocolate Diamonds.” Everyone loves chocolate! And Le Vian family has been making a whole mine of money selling them!

Here’s how to turn your “shaft” into a mine. [Continue reading]

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While this month is designated Pastor Appreciation Month, every month should be filled with appreciation for the selfless and sacrificial service minister provide every day of the year. (Having a day off from being a pastor is like having a day off from a pregnancy!)

So, from someone who has spent forty years in ministry, here are Top ten ways to appreciate your pastor this month—and every month: [Continue reading]

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Has your brook dried up?

October 9th, 2017 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Dried Up Brook
Have you ever been praising God for his miraculous provisions, when suddenly you lose your job, huge medical expenses wipe out your savings, or some other disaster wipes out your livelihood?

I’m encouraged by the story of the prophet Elijah and the brook of Kerith (or Cherith if you prefer). God had brought a drought upon the land in response to the people’s disobedience, but God had miraculously provided for the prophet:

      “Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.”

      So Elijah did as the Lord told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook. But after a while the brook dried up, for there was no rainfall anywhere in the land (1 Kings 17:4-7).

This weekend our brook dried up! So, two thoughts: [Continue reading]

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How to move a mountain

October 5th, 2017 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

shovel-280
I love the story of the man who prayed for God to miraculously remove the huge pile of dirt from behind his new home. He claimed Matthew 17:20’s promise: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

All night, he fervently prayed, but when he awoke, there—still—was the huge pile of dirt. But in front of it, something new: a shovel and a wheelbarrow! [Continue reading Listen to podcast]

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I’m praying for family and friends of the more than 50 killed and over 500 injured in last night’s Las Vegas shooting:

Father, wrap your love and comfort around every single person affected by this latest mass shooting: victims, family, friends, the Vegas community and our country. May your people reach out and show your love in tangible ways. (And shut the mouths of those who will attempt to exploit this tragedy to claim you are judging “Sin City.” You are not willing that any should perish.) May this godless act cause people to turn to you and to realize just how uncertain life is. Amen.

Here are some previous posts that may be helpful:
Dealing with death and grief
The good news about bad news
An Rx for gun control
Taking the terror out of terrorism
Talking to your children about the shooting

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