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Lady Gaga: Should parents watch her with their kids?

Her musical genius and showmanship attracts young fans around the world as she pushes past boundaries tested by Madonna. Dark influences from New York’s underground music scene and the performance art world, along with the trumpeting of gay rights and her own raw sexuality lead some to conclude she represents a threat to the moral fabric of society.

Yet one prominent youth ministry leader thinks parents should watch Lady Gaga with their teens.

“She mixes the sacred and the sexual, like Madonna,” observes Walt Mueller, the founder of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding (CPYU). “Some in the church will say her music is from the pit of hell,” he notes. “Others will say it’s just music. I find more and more people in the latter group.”

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Jesus my Living Bread

My restless spirit longs for you,

when worldliness keeps me sighing.

Shine your light into the darkness,

I turn unfilled from earthly treasures.

Your truth forever stands unchanging

Jesus, Savior, to you I call

Those who seek you know your goodness

To those who find you, all in all.

I take you in my Living Bread,

real food that fills me deep within.

I drink from you, The Fountainhead,

fill my thirsty soul again.

Your smile is now my joy and gladness

your gift of faith will hold me fast.

© Mark Ellis 2012

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Observations by missionary doctors 100 years ago offer clues to fighting cancer and other diseases

Nobel prize winning physician and theologian Albert Schweitzer worked at the missionary hospital he founded for more than 40 years

Albert Schweitzer treating patient

before he saw his first case of appendicitis among the African natives. Cancer was completely unknown when he first reached the interior lowlands of West Africa in 1913.

“On my arrival in Gabon, I was astonished to encounter no cases of cancer,” Schweitzer noted. “I can not, of course, say positively that there was no cancer at all, but, like other frontier doctors, I can only say that if any cases existed they must have been quite rare.”
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Many surprised by genetic and cultural links between Palestinians and Jews

Chromosome for the Cohen, “priestly” line, shows up in Palestinians

 In some of the dry and dusty Palestinian and Bedouin villages they still circumcise their boys after the seventh day. Hidden away in some Palestinian homes are Jewish mezuzahs and tefillin. Some older residents can recall lighting candles on the Sabbath.

Israeli and Palestinian boys

“Many of the Palestinians know it, but it’s not politically correct to acknowledge this publicly among Muslims,” says Steve Hagerman, founder of Turkish World Outreach. “There are two houses of Israel in the Holy Land: one aligned with the West and primarily secular or Jewish and the other aligned with the East and primarily Islam.”

When the northern kingdom of Israel was deported by the Assyrians in 745-702 B.C., most were sent to the east, Hagerman notes. After the Roman conquest, many Jews were carried away as slaves or fled to the west. “Many of the people in southern and central Italy are of Jewish origin, because so many slaves were carried away by the Romans to big estates in southern Italy.”


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Is Norwegian mass murderer a fundamentalist Christian?

If Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik is a fundamentalist Christian, he forgot something fundamental to the teachings of Jesus: “Love your enemies.”

Norway shooter


A variety of prominent news organizations have described Breivik as an extremist Christian or a fundamentalist Christian.

At the earliest televised news conference, a Norwegian police official, Roger Andresen, helped to create this impression when he said, “What we know is that he is right wing and a Christian fundamentalist.” Additionally, Breivik’s Facebook page lists his religious affiliation as “Christian.”

It appears that Breivik’s horrific acts were motivated by a violent hatred of Muslim immigration into Norwayand other countries inEurope. His rage against Muslim immigrants finally consumed him, with many innocent victims in his wake.

If Breivik read the Bible, then he also forgot about God’s love for the poor and needy, widows and orphans, and yes, immigrants. In the Book of Exodus, God gives the following command: “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt.”

Similarly, in the Book of Psalms, David writes, “The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.”

When God describes his love for the “alien,” he is not talking about extraterrestrials. This is a clear reference to immigrants at the lowest rung of Hebrew culture – whether documented or undocumented.


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Casey Anthony verdict reflects high Biblical standard for death penalty

Amid the anger and outrage over a verdict that seems unjust, it bears noting that the Bible sets a very high bar for convicting any person for the crime of murder and sentencing them to death.

Caylee Anthony


Several jurors who sat on the Anthony case maintain the government failed to prove its case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Arguably, this standard reflects the Bible’s value of seeking justice for the victim, while avoiding a rush to judgment against the accused. 

In the Book of Numbers, Moses sets forth the principle that “Anyone who kills a person is to be put to death as a murderer only on the testimony of witnesses. But no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.” (Numbers 35:30) 

Moses repeats the standard in the Book of Deuteronomy: “On the testimony of two or three witnesses a man shall be put to death, but no one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.” (Deut.17:6) 

Sadly, there were no witnesses willing or able to testify regarding the tragic death of Caylee Anthony. Are actual witnesses still needed today? It should be noted that advances with DNA evidence may override the need for actual witnesses. But there was no DNA evidence in this case linking Casey to her daughter’s death. 

The presence of chloroform, Caylee’s hair, and a suspicious odor emanating from the trunk of Casey’s car seem like compelling circumstantial evidence. Her lies, her suspicious behavior, and a mountain of other evidence all argued persuasively to her guilt and left many thunderstruck by the verdict. 

One juror suggests that a horrible accident happened to Caylee that was covered up by the family. Was this an accident or was this a carefully premeditated murder? 

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Remembering the last-surviving D-Day chaplain

 Col. George Russell Barber, 1914-2004 

He was the only man on his landing craft to come ashore at Omaha Beach with no “visible” weapons to protect himself.  But that didn’t stop this chaplain from being the first man out of his boat.

Col. Russell Barber

“I had the sword of the Spirit,” said Lt. Col. George Russell Barber, USAF (Ret.), who started his career with the horse cavalry along the Mexican border before World War II.  “We were all afraid,” said Col. Barber, as the men came ashore June 6, 1944, amidst a hail of bullets and fiery explosions.  “If a man says he’s not afraid, he’s lying—but we had our faith.” 

My last visit with Colonel Barber was six months before his passing. He wanted to attend the dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. on May 29, 2004, but failing health kept him away.  Although the strength in his legs was failing, his mind was sharp and his grip still strong. 

He served his country in four wars, and one of his most powerful memories was the D-Day invasion on Omaha Beach.  “On the Sunday before D-Day I held services on 11 different ships inWeymouthHarborfor thousands and thousands of soldiers,” he said.   “I gave away a lot of pocket Gideon’s Bibles–there are no atheists in foxholes.” 

On the fateful morning of the invasion, he went over the side of his ship on a rope ladder into a flat-bottomed landing craft that held 30 soldiers.  

“When we hit the shore they let down the ramp I stood in front and led my men off,” Chaplain Barber recalled.  “They were shooting at us all around.” 

To the right, Barber witnessed a horrible sight.  “Just before we landed I saw a landing ship hit a mine,” he said.  “It blew up and killed all 30 men.  They were floating in the water and on the beach.” 

Without hesitation, Barber rushed to the sides of the wounded.  “I talked to as many as I could and prayed with them. I said, ‘Trust in God.’”  As men died in his arms he recited John 14: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions…” 

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A tribute to Richard Lane, my father’s business partner

He cast a considerable presence. In fact, it’s hard to think of Dick without thinking of a lion – our silvery-haired lion who stalked the savannah of southern California real estate. 

As a measure of his grace, he was always respectful to me, as the son of my father – before it was earned, from the day I arrived at Ellis & Lane, until the day we sold the wonderful graying goose that had provided so many golden eggs. 

His steel-trap mind did not suffer fools gladly. You wouldn’t want to be negotiating against him if you weren’t at the top of your game. The occasional growl from the lion’s den could make lesser men – and secretaries, quake, but the size of the lion’s heart brought relief and blessing to all he loved. 

Dick’s amazing genius with all things financial was expressed long-form, by hand, with a sharpened pencil in beautiful script, before the computer changed all our lives. His spreadsheets could only be compared to the work of one of the great composers. There was an elegance to the way he expressed numbers on a page that was extra-ordinary. 

The strengths that Dick and Dad brought together truly made for a wonderful partnership that enriched all of us and blessed my life immensely. His genius, his work ethic, and his integrity produced an abundance in the lives of many through the various partnerships that Dad and Dick formed together.  

We shared a favorite film: Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, A Space Odyssey. Something about the film captured his vision and imagination about the future, and inspired both of our senses of wonder. 

In another place or time, he could have been a general or field marshall, or building castles along the Rhine, or a sage financial advisor to prime ministers or kings. 

He and Cherry drove up for my 50th birthday party, five years ago. His presence at that event was very special to me. 

There is a famous line in C.S. Lewis’s book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, where one of the characters asks if Aslan, the lion, is safe. 

“Who said anything about safe,” came the reply. “But he’s good. He’s the king, I tell you.

I offer my heartfelt farewell to our good king, Richard, the Lionhearted, a great man who left his mark on so many.

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Schwarzenegger’s secret and other tales of men with power behaving badly

Recent events have demonstrated again that power, wealth, and celebrity in the wrong hands may produce risky sexual behavior that

betrayal of trust

shocks the sensibilities. Could it be that pornography is the unseen accelerant fueling the fires of this wanton, aggressive sexuality? 

In 2009, Tiger Woods’ high-flying career fell to earth with a thud after multiple women emerged from the shadows with steamy voice recordings, text messages and other stories of sordid, high-risk sexual hijinks.   

More recently we learned that holy warrior Osama bin Laden – rumored to be an ascetic hiding in a cave, actually lived in a million dollar compound with three wives and an extensive collection of pornography. 

Next to fall was arguably one of the most powerful men in the world – the head of the IMF, with realistic aspirations to become the next president ofFrance. Setting aside the irony of a socialist staying in a $3,000 a night suite, this brilliant financier came out of his bathroom in the buff at mid-day and allegedly attempted to rape a hotel maid as if he was a pillaging soldier in Khadafi’s army. 

Now the failed governor ofCalifornia– a celebrity welcomed into the halls of power by world leaders — while plotting his return to box-office stardom, let slip a dirty little secret. He impregnated one ofAmerica’s most adored women and his maid at the same time within the same household. 

His secret was easy to keep – no one connected to his personal life could possibly imagine he would stoop so low or risk a betrayal so deep. The fractured trust factor similarly torpedoed the careers of two other aspiring politicians: John Edwards and John Ensign. Shenanigans of a similar vein may soon end the political career of the prime minister ofItaly. 

What could possibly be fueling such out-of-control, high-risk behavior? 

“We are reaping the fruit of the vast over-sexualizing of the culture through pornography, which has desensitized us all,” says Dr. Jerry Kirk, founder of Pure Hope. “Internet porn not only promotes sexual trysts, but also sexual violence,” he notes.

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Extensive pornography collection found in Osama’s lair

A hidden stash of pornography was found in the compound of Osama bin Laden by theU.S.commandos who killed him, current and formerU.S.officials reported to Reuters news agency.

bin Laden compound


The extensive collection of pornography videos recovered in bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan was modern and electronically recorded according to the officials, who discussed the discovery with Reuters on condition of anonymity. 

The officials did not identify the location in the compound where the pornography was discovered or who had been viewing it. Officials would not say if bin Laden himself had acquired or viewed the materials. 

If bin Laden was the primary consumer, it adds to a troubling portrait. “A lot of men without a father figure turn to pornography,” says Steve Arterburn, author of “Every Man’sBattle,” a landmark book about men’s battle with pornography, written from a Christian perspective. The book has sold four million copies since its release. 

“Osama bin Laden was one of 50 kids; he was number 17, and his father died when he was 10-years-old,” Arterburn notes. “When there is the loss of a father-figure it is not unusual for men to turn to pornography so they can feel like a man.”

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