05 September 2015

War Room

WAR ROOM © 2015 Provident Films LLC, A Unit of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT. All Rights Reserved. Movie Artwork © 2015 Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.This past weekend the movie "War Room" was released and I greatly enjoyed watching it with my bride. It was our first "date night" since our kids moved to college.

This is an inspiring and encouraging movie that does credit to the Kendrick brothers' continuing legacy of family-friendly and faith-friendly films. I laughed, I cried, er, had some sinus trouble in the dusty theater.  Two thumbs up!

Just because a movie is "faith-friendly", however, doesn't always mean it is 100% Biblically accurate. Before recommending it to others, I share a few items of concern that I think are worth mentioning.

I am a member of various online communities including the "Faith Driven Business" community on LinkedIn.  A question was posed recently in the discussion forums:

Do you struggle with balancing wealth and humility?

And should we be? Steve Hoeft, the founder of Faith Driven Business, discusses his views on wealth and how to view money as a Christian entrepreneur. What he has to say may be surprising! Read and comment below! http://faithdrivenbusiness.com/7-reasons-why-god-wants-to-make-entrepreneurs-wealthy/

 

Here was my contribution to the conversation:

There are so many holidays that we don’t keep. You can add Valentine's Day to the list if you are keeping track. It’s not that we don’t love you, we love you all year round, we even draw hearts, but we don’t do Valentine's Day.

08 May 2013

Red Suburban Man

Tuesday morning.  7:20AM.

Traffic is really backed up on the off-ramp today.

Cars take turns: one car exits and one car enters and one car exits— until Red Suburban Man.

I exit... well, try to exit.

Red Suburban Man wants to skip common courtesy and
HEY! YOU ALMOST RAN INTO MY NEW CAR, YOU JERK!

My new car honks to let Red Suburban Man know his social skills need improvement.

A window rolls down and Red Suburban Man gives me two small gifts: the bird and a loud "F--- YOU!"

Like a scene from The Matrix, time... slows... to a sudden... crawl...

The other day my son texted me after one of his late-afternoon college classes:

Power went out at home.  How do I reconnect Netflix on the TV?

I responded:

Wrapping up at work now.  Will fix it when I get home.  20 minutes.

 

Traffic was light and I got home quickly.  My wife was running errands and wasn’t home yet but my son’s car was in its normal spot.  As I walked into the house, however, things seemed anything but normal.

The shades were still drawn and the house was dark.  School papers were scattered all over the kitchen.  A cup, rolling slightly on its side, was empty on the counter; its contents dripping onto the tile floor in a syncopated rhythm to the ticking of the kitchen clock.  The appliances in the kitchen mindlessly flashed their repetitive message: 12:42... 12:42... 12:42.

Tick... drip-blink.  Tick-blink... drip.  Blink-tick... drip.

20 August 2011

GILT or Guilt?

I occasionally browse Apple's AppStore to see what types of useful new apps are available.  The style of this particular app icon caught my eye but I was a bit unprepared for what all it entailed:
gilt icon
Gilt iPad app
 
Here is the description for this app:
"Shop for today's most coveted fashion and luxury brands at up to 60% off retail."
While I am not opposed to fashion in and of itself, the use of the term "coveted" was a bit abrasive and caused me to re-examine this topic.
09 April 2011

Digging With Darren

Every once in a while I stumble across a rare gem in the online Messianic world. This time it happened twice!

A while back I had found the site of a Messianic brother named Darren who has a passion for Biblical archaeology. The name of his site is Digging with Darren.

I don't recall the first time I found his site but I was blessed to find it again and wanted to make sure I shared it.  I pray you will enjoy it, too!

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In Memory of Carl Stephenson
My father, Carl Stephenson, passed away this past Sunday at the age of 61.
It has been a difficult time for the family but I have found a small measure of comfort in being able to honor my father in delivering the message during his memorial service.  I would like to share it with you as well.  (Many thanks go to Jim Kilson for his assistance in preparing this message.)
My father was a "good ole boy" from a small town in south Texas and most of his friends (and several of my family members) are just "down home" kinds of folks. They have little to no idea about "Yeshua" or the Messianic movement so I tailored my message for that group.  Here it is...
"It Is Well With My Soul" is a well known hymn written by Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss.
Spafford wrote the hymn after several traumatic events occurred in his life.
The first was the death of his only son in 1871, shortly followed by the great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sailing ship, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford's daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, "Saved alone." Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.

A dear brother in the Lord shared this with me the other day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAWgWZ9lEuI

This amusing and yet disturbing video depicts the all-too-common pattern of a Sunday morning service at a non-denominational church. It was created by the media group of North Point Community Church as a lampoon of the cookie cutter nature of contemporary Christian services in America (including their own!).

In the ongoing debate and discussion regarding whether or not Messianic believers should wear a kippah, this particular bit of information was enlightening for me so I thought I would share...

As to the obligation of wearing a kippah, halakhic experts agree that it is a minhag (custom). The prevailing view among Rabbinical authorities is that this custom has taken on a kind of force of law (Shulkhan Arukh, Orach Chayim 2:6), because it is an act of Kiddush Hashem. From a strictly Talmudic point of view, however, the only moment when a Jewish man is required to cover his head is during prayer (Mishneh Torah, Ahavah, Hilkhot Tefilah 5:5). http://www.articlesbase.com/international-business-articles/kippah-572140.html

It is interesting on a number of levels but here are two that jumped out at me:

My friend Cindy Sepulveda recently shared this with us and it is a power reminder of the evil some would perpetuate even today.

http://www1.yadvashem.org/exhibitions/album_Auschwitz/mutimedia/index.HTML

While I have never particularly been fond of sports (always being the skinny, poorly coordinated kid in school) I found this interesting perspective described regarding sports in arenas:

The venerated 11th century Torah commentator Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki – better known as Rashi – warned Jews away from sports arenas almost 1,000 years ago. According to the rabbi considered to be the father of all Torah commentators, the Torah admonition against "perform[ing] the practice of the land of Egypt in which you dwelled" (Leviticus 18:3) includes attendance at sports stadiums.

Other opponents refer to the construction of the world's most famous sports arena – the Colosseum in Rome – as the impetus behind their rejection of professional sports.

In 2001, Cinzia Conti, the Director of Surface Restoration at the Colosseum in Rome confirmed that inscriptions deciphered at the site say the Colosseum was built using the spoils of war. The war was with the Hebrews, and the plunder used to pay for the building was taken from the Holy Temple, which was sacked 2 years prior to the beginning of work on the Roman arena.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/135129

My wonderful bride, Amy, and I recently traveled to Oregon and Washington. What a beautiful land G-d has made!

As we traveled around Oregon we visited a number of waterfalls. The experiences there were very moving for both of us. When we returned home Amy mentioned some passages that came to mind when we were at the falls.

Here are some photos and the passages she related:

17 May 2009

Personal Update

Shalom aleichem! :)

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  I just wanted to provide a bit of an update on recent events.

The main focus with Psalm11918.org lately has been on replacing the infrastructure that supports the site.  We found that we were spending quite a bit of time building every web page manually which meant less time available to study Scripture and write the articles that we desire to share.  That has also proven to be time consuming but we believe the investment will pay dividends in the future.

During some recent reading I came across this passage in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians:

However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.

This brought to mind the idea that we should walk in G-d's commandments in the natural world (i.e. a literal, physical observance) so that we can reap rewards in the spiritual.  One of the examples of  a literal observance is the daily wrapping of tefillin (phylacteries) by men in observance of the commandments found in Deuteronomy 6:8, Deuteronomy 11:18, Exodus 13:9, Exodus 13:16.
14 May 2009

Tefillin knots

Recently I replaced my son's bar mitzvah tefillin with a better quality set.  The head tefillin was tied for a small head size and needed to be expanded to fit my son (he's quite a large young man now!).  As I was gently trying to adjust the dalet knot this morning without losing the knot completely... SPROING!  It all came apart.  Imagine my concern about having to tie the knot back together.  This is not a simple knot.

I found this wonderful video on You Tube showing how to tie the dalet knot on the head tefillin and though I would share: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLBm6k8QHqU . I pray it will be as much a blessing to you as it was to me! :)

"I sought him, but I found him not." — Song 3:1

Tell me where you lost the company of Christ, and I will tell you the most likely place to find Him. Have you lost Christ in the closet by restraining prayer? Then it is there you must seek and find Him. Did you lose Christ by sin? You will find Christ in no other way but by the giving up of the sin, and seeking by the Holy Spirit to mortify the member in which the lust doth dwell. Did you lose Christ by neglecting the Scriptures? You must find Christ in the Scriptures.

14 September 2008

Talmud or not to Talmud?

That is the question.  But what is the answer?

Yes, that was a riff on Shakespeare's famous "to be or not to be... " line from Hamlet. Let me be fair and clarify the question:

The question I am trying to answer is whether or not the Talmud should serve as a guide regarding Torah observance.  One group in my congregation says "yes!"... another group in my congregation says "no!".  I wanted to jot down my thoughts about both sides of the issue.  I don't know if I will come to an answer any time soon (likely not!) but it's cathartic nonetheless.

This past Shabbat a question was asked "Can we know what the faith walk of the believers in the first century was like?"

One group emphatically stated "Yes!"

Another group with equal vigor said "No!"

The thought of the "no" group was that we can know about the first century (through Scripture, historical accounts, and archaeology)  but we cannot intimately know the first century like we know our own time.  For better or (more likely!) for worse we are immersed in the culture and society in the time in which we live.  While I strongly agree with those in our congregation who desire to conform their lives to Scripture rather than our culture I found myself in the "no" camp in this discussion.  The abundant minutia of daily living within American culture of the 21st century shapes and colors our thoughts to varying degrees.

11 July 2008

Quick update

Hi, folks!  It's been a busy week including a major technical outage at the Stephenson household (thanks, Microsoft! grrr...) and many preparations for Nathan's bar mitzvah ceremony.  I've published a couple of new articles:

I put together this brief list of ten reasons I keep Torah:

10. My prayer would not be heard and would be a sin (Proverbs 28:9, Jeremiah 7:8-16).  

9. When Messiah returns those who follow him will be obeying Torah and keeping the festivals (Ezekiel 45:16, Zechariah 14:16, Jeremiah 33:14-18).  

8. There are over 1,089 commands from the Torah in the "New Testament".  

7. If you obey one part of the Torah (such as "love your neighbor as yourself" or "Love the Lord your G-d with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind") you are required to keep the entire Torah (Galatians 5:3).

Two dear siblings in Messiah, Kevin and Heather Smithson, have created their own blog to keep us updated about their lives and their ministry.  It will be exciting to see their reports on how things are going in the days and weeks ahead.  God is working in wonderful ways in them and through them.

Their blog is at http://reapandsow.christianblogsites.com/blog/

A dear brother shared this with me and I thought it definitely worth sharing! :)

 

The Computer Engineer's Haggadah -------------------------- >> Release ISRAEL ISRAEL running in slave mode, cannot release

>>Set ISRAEL;mode=master Pharaoh already running in master mode, cannot change ISRAEL

>>Set Pharaoh;mode=slave Command ignored

>>Load Moshe Done

>>Deactivate Pharaoh Pharaoh account hard locked;cannot be deactivated

>>For i=1 to 10 do plagues Are you sure? Y Done

I haven't posted in a while due to a new addition to the family.  A little over a week ago someone dropped off a baby on our doorstep and we decided to  adopt.  Here's a picture of the little one:

pict1779-300x225

A neighbor found the cat on the side of a major thoroughfare behind our subdivision and brought it to us since we are "cat people"... as she put it.

Hi.  I'm Nathan.  I am 13 but I have only gone through a bar mitzvah in a spiritual sense not the physical ceremony. The reason why is because I didn't know Hebrew very well when I turned 13.  My father asked if I wanted to do my bar mitzvah ceremony when I was 13 or 14 and I chose to do it when I was 14 so I could learn Hebrew for one more year. The reason why I am writing this is because my father wants me to become more of an adult and share my thoughts with other people. This requires that I organize my thoughts more like an adult which helps me mature and grow out of childish ways.  [I definitely look forward to more. -Ed/Dad]

21 March 2008

Thud!

Yes... thud. That was me. Sorry. It's 12:34 and I am BUSHED! I've been updating the site trying to get the Ultimate Tag Warrior installed for the blog only to find out it is not compatible with this version of WordPress.

DOH!

I just yawned and I think I inhaled a cat. Yes... I know... not kosher. Fortunately I think I just coughed up a hairball. Sorry... that was rather too graphic. I will endeavor not to blog while I am so tired.

Torah Portion

כּי תצא (Ki Tetze)

 

 

or view this week's triennial cycle reading.

Today is

Yom Sheni, 9 Elul, 5778

Monday, August 20, 2018

 

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