Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cincinnati 5 way Chili

Tonight we had our chili cook off and I took a double batch of this Ohio version of Chili. It didn't win any ribbons but all of it was eaten: Here it is:

Cincinnati 5 Way Chili

1 lb ground beef
2 med. Onions, chopped (half for topping)
2 cloves garlic, minced (or ½ tsp garlic salt)
1 cup thick BBQ sauce (I use Heinz regular)
½ cup water
1 Tbs. Chili powder
1 tsp. Black ground pepper
½ oz. Unsweetened chocolate, grated
¼ tsp. Ground cumin
¼ tsp. Turmeric
¼ tsp. Allspice
¼ tsp. Cinnamon
¼ tsp. Ground cloves
¼ tsp. Ground coriander
¼ tsp. Ground cardamom
½ tsp. Salt
Tomato juice, as needed
9 oz. Spaghetti, cooked and lightly buttered
16 oz. Can red kidney beans, heated and drained
1 lb. Cheddar cheese, shredded
Oyster crackers as garnish

Preparation Instructions: Saute ½ the onion and garlic till soft, brown the meat, stirring to keep it loose. Drain fat from the pan. Add BBQ sauce and water and bring pan to a boil. Add spices and flavorings.
Cover pan and lower heat. Simmer at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato juice as needed to create a sauce that ladles easily. Allow sauce to “rest” at least 30 minutes at room temp. (covered).
Reheat sauce. Makes 4 servings.
Individual servings by layer (from bottom of the bowl to top layer as follows):
Cooked spaghetti
Chopped onions
Cheese (allowing it to melt)
Serve with oyster crackers.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What I've learned about "global warming"

A while back I read a book by Michael Crichton entitled "State of Fear" which dealt with the subject of global warming alarm-ism. Though it was fiction, it was filled with foot-notes and references about actual scientific findings concerning such things as global temperatures, ocean surface elevations, glacial and polar ice etc. I found myself looking at the foot-notes as much as the text of the novel. It was all fascinating, and the main message was that the global warming scare was hype. I hadn't looked into such things before, but the weight of the data was enough to convince me that Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" was questionable at best.

More recently, I purchased a book by Christopher C. Horner entitled "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism." From that source I have learned the following tidbits about global warming worth knowing:

  • Climate is always changing: (global temperatures rising and falling) and that mankind's activities have very little to do with it. Solar activity plays a much larger role than anything we may do to produce greenhouse gases. Currently, the rise in temperature amounts to roughly 0.17 degrees Celsius per decade or about 1.7 degrees rise in the next hundred years at the current rate. (p. 71, Horner) Hardly a catastrophe in the making!

  • Global Temperature increases are beneficial: Such increases have happened in the past and were shown to be beneficial rather than harmful. Higher temperatures meant milder winters, longer growing seasons for crops, and longer life spans for humans who lived in that era. One example was the movement of Vikings to Greenland during such a warm spell (higher temperatures than we are having today) roughly a thousand years ago, and when it got colder again they were forced by harsh conditions (colder weather) to leave their adopted home behind. (p.66,77, Horner)

  • Hurricanes are not getting worse as alarmists report: the slight rise in Atlantic hurricanes is being offset by decreases in Pacific activity. Storms are cyclical and not more frequent or more severe than in the past. (p.64, 156, Horner) What has increased is our tendency to build our homes along the coast lines and in the path of storms.

  • Al Gore's stated "consensus" on the dangers of global warming is a hoax: In his movie, "An Inconvenient Truth" he claims, "There is as strong a consensus on this issue as science has ever had." Consider this rebuttal from Professor Dennis Bray of GKSS, Germany, "The most recent survey of climate scientists ... found that while there had been a move towards acceptance of anthropogenic (man made) global warming, only 9.4% of respondents 'strongly agree' that climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic sources. A similar portion 'strongly disagree.' Furthermore, only 22.8% of respondents 'strongly agree' that the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports accurately reflect a consensus within climate science." (p. 83, Horner)

  • Some glaciers are melting while other glaciers are forming: "A new study has found that warmer winters and cooler summers, bringing increased precipitation, could be causing some glaciers to increase in size. Newcastle University researchers found that the western Himalaya's Indus basin was experiencing more snow and rainfall, which has implications for the water supplies of about 50 million people in Pakistan. The study appears in the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate (BBC news online)" (p. 157, Horner). Ditto for Polar Ice Caps.

While I could say much more about this, I believe this is enough information to capture the reader's attention and encourage a little independent research about the fact and fiction concerning global warming. As is typical with liberal media, once again, we are being led around by the nose, so to speak, by the politically correct crowd who's aim is not actually to solve an environmental problem, but to gain power over the lives of individuals by rationing energy and taxing away our wealth in the name of environmental salvation. What we need salvation from is the environmental zealots and the plans they have to choke us with regulations. You had better learn what "cap and trade" is all about because it will soon be foisted on you as our Congress barrels full speed ahead with everything environmental. Just a thought.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Cross - Arthur Blessitt story

Well, this one caught me off guard. I guess I was asleep at the wheel to have missed hearing about this new movie coming out this Friday (March 27th, '09) called "The Cross" which is the Arthur Blessitt story. Through the years I have often seen pictures and videos of the man who carries the 12 foot wooden cross. What I didn't realize is that he carried that cross literally around the world more than once (38,102 miles to be exact, and in 315 nations, island groups, and territories.)

Blessitt started out in the '60's as a preacher to the hippies in a coffee house called "His Place" in Hollywood, CA. He began carrying a cross on short trips down the Sunset strip giving out food to hungry hippies and telling them about Jesus. Then in '69 he began a project to carry the cross across America. Next, in '70 he took his cross to Ireland and this led him to a plan that eventually took him all over the world sharing Jesus every where he went. I haven't seen this movie yet, but I plan to soon, and I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to see this inspiring film for yourself. You can find more information on it at Just a thought. Ed

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Symbols of Baptism: Part 3 (of 3 parts)

3. Salvation:

For this symbol, the Apostle Peter supplies both the symbol and the meaning in 1 Peter 3:18-22 (NIV) 18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19 through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand--with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
The Apostle Peter makes an interesting comparison between the ark built by Noah which saved 8 people from dying in the worldwide flood, and our baptism which he said “saves you also.” Lest we are inclined to make too much out of the action of baptism itself, he said “not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.”
There is much contention in theological circles these days about the importance of baptism and whether or not it is essential to salvation. The problem is that just like it was with circumcision in New Testament times, people are inclined to become legalistic on both sides of the baptismal argument. Some insist that baptism can not possibly save anyone because it is a “work” and the Bible declares that “works” cannot save us (Ephesians 2:8-9). Others point to this passage in First Peter or to where it says in Mark 16:16 (NIV) 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
I once preached a sermon on all the things the Bible says “saves” us and discovered that the Bible declares no less than 30 different things to have the ability to save us including Christ, grace, faith, preaching, hope, repentance, confession, baptism, obedience, enduring to the end, and even childbearing! (1 Timothy 2:15) The point is that fighting over baptism sidetracks people from the heart of the matter, which is what baptism can mean for the person who submits to baptism for the purpose of connecting with Christ.
In the First Peter passage we see a connection between the ark of Noah and the work of Jesus on the cross. It would be easy here to add the ark that saved Moses in the Nile river (Exodus 2:3-5) as yet another example of what we are talking about. The ark of Noah and the ark of Moses were both provisions of a loving God to intercede and provide a covering over the occupants of the ark and to save them through (or in spite of) the waters which would have otherwise drowned them all. The ark was a covering to provide salvation through water. In baptism, Jesus is provided to us as our covering who saves us. And this connection is made for us when we are baptized into Christ. We read in Galatians 3:26-27 (NIV) 26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
If we see baptism as a connection point with Christ himself we are looking at the heart of the matter concerning baptism. Being baptized for any other reason, such as for the purpose of joining a church congregation, is to miss the mark.
Though there is much more that could be said about baptism, this should be sufficient information for the purpose of identifying the meaning of baptism and the proper symbolism behind the act of baptism. If in our baptism we can see ourselves being buried with Christ and retelling his story (so to speak) in ours, and if we see ourselves participating in the sign of the new covenant which is a circumcision done without hands, and if we can see Christ as our covering and savior in our baptism, then we are looking at baptism as it was meant to be understood. Baptism is far from just a ceremonial washing. It is full of meaning in all the ways it connects us to Christ. I have tried to explain the meaning of baptism. So what does baptism now mean to you, and if you haven't been baptized yet, what are you going to do about it?

Symbols of Baptism: Part 2 (of 3 parts)

2. Circumcision:

Once again, the Apostle Paul presents another symbol attached to baptism in Colossians 2:10-14 (NIV) 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.
Notice that verse 12 connects baptism to circumcision in a very direct way. Understand that circumcision was the sign of the covenant between God and Abraham and all his descendants (Genesis 17:10). All boy babies were to be circumcised on the 8th day after birth by a ceremonial removal of foreskin to bring the boy into God’s covenant with Israel. This ceremony was so important that Moses almost lost his life when he angered God by failing to circumcise his own son (Exodus 4:24-26).
Though the act of circumcision was ceremonial in nature, it also had deep spiritual meaning in terms of cutting off the principle of the flesh which was always fighting against the will and way of God. Therefore Jewish teachers would often talk about such things as uncircumcised lips (Exodus 6:12), hearts (Leviticus 26:41), or ears (Jeremiah 6:10). To them, circumcision was not just a fleshly operation but a change in a person’s life when they finally dedicated themselves fully to God and separated themselves from anything against God’s will.
In Colossians 2, Paul tells us that our baptism is a circumcision of sorts done without hands when God makes us alive with Christ and forgives all our sins. Like circumcision, our baptism is the sign of our covenant with God, and it is also an example of the principle of cutting off the flesh which is continually fighting against God’s will and way. Baptism is our way of confessing that we have died to that old way that was against God, and that we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) in loving connection to God through Christ.

Symbols of Baptism: Part 1 (of 3 parts)

Through the years I have dealt with the subject of baptism in various sermons and lessons as well as talking about baptism in private counseling situations. Once again the subject of baptism rises in terms of trying to explain to new-comers what our church believes and teaches about this topic. My purpose here is not to give an exhaustive discourse on baptism, but to introduce the subject for the purpose of providing simple understanding of the meaning behind the practice. Furthermore, the practice I am referring to is that of baptism by immersion as a means of connecting with Jesus Christ and becoming a part of the body of Christ which is His church. Baptism by immersion by believers has the following symbols or meanings associated with it:
1. Burial: The Apostle Paul explains the link of baptism with the death of Christ when he writes, in Romans 6:3-8 (NIV) 3 Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
It is the burial aspect of baptism that explains why we immerse baptismal candidates. In fact, the very word, “baptizo” in the Greek language means to dip, plunge, submerge, sink, or bury. It is the word used to describe what happened to ships which were lost at sea. They were baptized into the ocean. In much the same way we are baptized into Christ as a means of retelling the story of what happened to Christ on and after his crucifixion. Christ died, was buried in a tomb, and came forth from that tomb at his resurrection.
Our baptism retells what happened to Jesus and declares that the same thing happens to us in our baptism. We go down in the water as Jesus was buried in the tomb, we are under water, as Christ was three days in the tomb, and we come up from the water as Jesus came back from the dead. Our baptism allows us to participate in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. The burial aspect of baptism also declares that we have died to our old lives of sin and disobedience and have come into a newness of life in our connection to Christ. We are new creatures because we are now in Christ. We are also declaring by baptism that we are dead to the world of sin we once knew, and separated from the slavery to sin that once dominated our lives. We have died to everything that once held us back from knowing and loving God, but we are alive to everything God desires to give us and share with us because of our connection to Christ. (part 2 and 3 will be in later blogs)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spreading Aids via Medical Clinics

I remember visiting a medical clinic in the Masai region of Kenya back in '94. The medical missionary, Suzie Snyder, mentioned to me that patients to the clinic insist on getting an injection no matter what is wrong with them. Therefore, the clinic keeps on hand Vitamin B12 to use for the often requisite injections which could be called "slightly better than placebo" medications. I remembered that little tidbit last week when I read a chapter entitled "Population Control while People Die" in the book, Population Control, by Steven W. Mosher.

He asserts that one of the worst areas for the spread of Aids in Africa is the area of Sub Saharan Africa where 35 of the 45 worst affected countries are located. This area is home to 70% of the people infected with the virus and 80% of the children. For example, in Kenya in 2002 one in 7 people were infected with the Aids virus. (4 million out of the 28 million population of Kenya) Over 1.5 million orphans of Aids victims in Kenya have no parental presence or protection.

Guess what is causing the Aids epidemic in Africa according to Mosher's book? The UN funded Population Control/Aids clinics are the cause of the problem. How could that be? Is it a diabolical plot on the part of the Population Control zealots? No, it is a simple matter of poorly funded clinics in rural areas that don't bother with the sterilizing procedures typically carried out here in the US. There aren't enough sterile syringes available so needles are commonly reused over and over again without proper sterilization. Add to that the propensity for patients to desire injections of some sort to assure that their visit to the clinic did them some good, and you have a prescription for assuring that many who visit the clinic will wind up testing positive for Aids sooner or later. One odd statistical anomaly is that in these areas women are twice as likely to end up testing positive as men. They are also twice as likely to visit the UN funded clinics as men.

Quoting Mosher, "The elephant in the drawing room is unsafe injection, 'A growing body of evidence points to unsafe injections and other medical exposures to contaminated blood as pathways that have not yet been adequately addressed' (Gisselquist and Potterat). The risk of infection with the HIV virus from a contaminated medical injection - which has been estimated at one in 30 - is 33 times higher than the risk from heterosexual sex."

The bottom line is that the Billions of Dollars spent by the UN to fight AIDS and fund anti birth programs in Africa has produced more harm than good. Sadly, the proponents of these programs are completely blind to the harm they are doing. In their minds, the problem is not dirty needles but promiscuous heterosexual men. And since they don't see their part in the AIDS epidemic, they are unlikely to change anything they are doing. Just a thought. Ed

For more information use this link to find Population Research Institute at

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Population Control Madness

Last week, I read a book called Population Control, by Steven W. Mosher. I thought that it might be good to take a look at it since I was dealing with the topic of population control in my sermon on Exodus Chapter 1 and 2. Unfortunately, it taught me more than I was prepared to learn about modern population control. Consider these inconvenient truths:

· Back in 1968, a Stanford University entomologist named Paul Ehrlich wrote an influential book called Population Bomb. He predicted that a population explosion would bring disaster in the 70’s. He proposed harsh measures of population control to reduce the number of humans on the planet to around 1.5 billion (1/4th of the current level of 6.5 billion). Even though his predictions were grossly inaccurate, his methodologies live on in organizations such as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), the U.S. Agency for International Development, (USAID), and the World Bank. These three groups work together to fund, and implement various population control programs in many countries as a part of their economic aid programs to needy countries. The point is that those countries that want economic aid must accept population control programs as a condition of their other aid.

· Modern day Population control zealots are hard at work attempting to alter birthrates in no less than 30 countries in Asia, Africa, and South America. They use quotas to enforce contraception on women, vasectomies on men, permanent sterilizations, and they employ coerced abortions. This is happening in countries like China, Bangladesh, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Morocco, Mexico, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Vietnam, and North Korea. And to our great shame, much of it is financed by American money.

· On January 22, 1973, the US Supreme Court legalized abortion in all 50 states. On the 36th anniversary of that decision, in January of 2009, our new President lifted a ban on federal funding for international groups that promote or perform abortions, thus guaranteeing that our own government will sanction and finance abortions across the globe. And we're not just talking about abortions that are chosen by women who want them. This also includes forced abortions in certain countries and coerced abortions in others. Along with abortions the population control fanatics are also involved in permanent sterilizations for both women and men, often without informed consent and birth control by insertion of IUD's without even explaining to the patient what is being done. These procedures are often performed in remote communities among poor peasants and tribal people who are not aware of what is being done in their midst. What are called "routine medical exams" of women end up in IUD insertions without consent.

I must admit that what I read was quite disturbing. It was much more than what I was prepared to learn about current population control programs, and it angers me to learn that the US government in the form of USAID is at the forefront of both funding, mandating, and managing this madness. It angers me to learn this is going on, and to realize that we here in the US have heard nothing at all about it. No one is even talking about it. Well, I'll say something about it. Perhaps if you want to learn more, you can get Population Control by Steven Mosher and educate yourself.