News and Features »
August 01, 1999
by John Bradshaw
An Amazing Fact: On the Big Island of Hawaii rest the ancient ruins of Pu`uhonua: "A vast enclosure whose stone walls were 20 feet thick at the base and 15 or 20 feet high; an oblong square, 1,040 feet one way, and a fraction under 700 the other," wrote Mark Twain in his July 1866 "Letters from Hawaii." When a native Hawaiian broke a "kapu," a sacred Hawaiian law, the offender was automatically sentenced to death unless he or she could flee to the City of Refuge where the "Big Kahuna," or high priest, lived. Once inside the walls he or she was safe and protected from judgment. Later, the Big Kahuna would perform a rite of purification, declare forgiveness and innocence, and set the person free to begin a new life.
Early this century, a young Norwegian immigrant stood, heart pounding, on Ellis Island gazing in awe at the young Manhattan skyline taking shape across the harbor. New York City represented to him the chance for something that until now had been unattainable. A better life, greater opportunities, new possibilities, and a new start lay just beyond the shimmering stretch of blue water, a vision of loveliness to him and multiplied thousands before him. Surely this city would be a sanctuary, a haven, a city of refuge.
July 01, 1999
by Doug Batchelor
The fall of 1999 promises to reveal a kaleidoscope of human behavior. Millions of people are apprehensive regarding the Y2K, or "Millennial Bug," situation. Most people already know that because of a serious date programming problem, many computer experts are anticipating varying degrees of computer system freezes and malfunctions between Sept. 9, 1999, and Feb. 28, 2000.
Some sensational speakers predict that this will trigger a global chain reaction shutting down critical systems of power, water, and communications, leading to an accelerating vortex of panic. Some are selling bushels of books and tapes recommending the stockpiling of dried foods, water, gas, generators, and even guns and ammunition. Anticipating a bank run, others are suggesting that before Sept. 9, people should withdraw enough cash to last at least a couple of months (because the date 9/9/99 may trigger a shutdown code for some older computers.) To prepare for the possible demand, Federal Reserve System Chairman Alan Greenspan has ordered the Fed to print an additional 50 billion dollars in cash.
The approaching new millennium also brings a hypersensitivity to the origin and future of the human race. With the tremendous exponential changes of the last century, people cannot even imagine what the next decade will bring. Everyone seems more aware of the volatility of the age.
June 01, 1999
by Doug Batchelor & Steven Winn
They were watching. They watched him roll over as the early morning sun peeked over the horizon and brightened his bedroom. They watched as he climbed out of bed and prepared for the day. They watched him as he led the household in worship, ate his simple breakfast, and as he gave instructions to his chief steward. They watched as he donned his outer robe and strode out to the pasture where his 7,000 sheep were grazing. They heard him compliment his shepherds on their fine work, and they heard him tell them about the new field he just purchased. They saw him make the trip to the stalls where his 3,000 camels stayed. They watched as he paid the camel caretakers bonuses for their months of faithful service. They watched as he completed his daily activities, and as he sat at the evening meal. They watched as he knelt by the family altar to pray for his children.
Job-A Faithful Servant
Every time Job spoke a word of kindness, they beamed with heavenly smiles. Every earnest prayer he prayed for his children brought a tender twinkle to their celestial faces.
April 01, 1999
by Gary Gibbs
An Amazing Fact: There are more than 376 million Visas and MasterCards in circulation. This is up 80 percent from a few years ago when the average family had only two credit cards and $2,340 in outstanding balances. Today they have an average of four cards and owe nearly $4,880. Altogether, American consumers have racked up $480 billion dollars in debt with these little two- by three-inch pieces of plastic, and that figure grows at a 13 percent annual rate.
We are a nation drowning in red ink. Plans for the large government budget surplus seem to be the focus of recent political attention, but soaring consumer debt is seldom discussed. Within the past few years it has increased 39 percent and now exceeds $1 trillion. "When you carry this much debt it's scary," says consumer spending expert Madelyn Hochstein in a recent newspaper article, "Black-hole Borrowing, Consumer Debt Surging; Nation's Economy at Risk." The article goes on to warn that, "This could be a time bomb for the U.S. economy and its banks."
March 01, 1999
By Pastor Doug Batchelor and Kim Kjaer
An Amazing Fact: Science tells us that light is constituted of three primary rays, or groups of wavelengths. Clearly distinct from each other, none of them without the others could be light. Each ray has its own separate function. The first originates, the second illuminates, and the third consummates. The first ray, often called invisible light, is neither seen nor felt. The second is both seen and felt. The third is not seen but is felt as heat.
Like light, our “One God” is revealed in the three distinct persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one” (1 John 5:7 NKJV).
February 01, 1999
by Joe Crews
Nazareth of Galilee was situated in one of the loveliest physical settings in all of Palestine. Nestled amid the natural beauty of rolling hills and lush, fruitful vineyards, it would seem to be the perfect place for the Son of God to manifest His sinless life. There, at His mother's knee, Jesus could be exposed to the holy influences of the book of nature as well as the inspired writings of patriarchs and prophets.
But things are not always what they seem to be, and this was especially true of Nazareth. History adds a sad footnote about the hometown of Jesus, the carpenter son of Mary. It was distinguished by its depravity and evil reputation. All over the Near East it had become a byword for sin and iniquity.
No wonder Nathaniel responded as he did when Philip urged him to get acquainted with Jesus of Nazareth. "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46). You see, Nathaniel was well acquainted with the ill-repute of that particular little Galilean town, and he could not in his wildest imagination associate it with the expected Messiah.
January 01, 1999
by Doug Batchelor and Karen Lifshey
An Amazing Fact: In 1967 the city of Long Beach, Calif., bought the Queen Mary from Cunard Lines. Since then $63 million has been spent on its conversion into a tourist spot with a museum, shops, restaurants, and a hotel. Now many in the city of Long Beach look upon the giant ship, docked on the ocean front, as a floating white elephant, and voices are calling for the doughty old liner to be scrapped. With no possibility of sailing the seas, they claim the Queen Mary serves as false advertising; a ship filled with activity that never leaves port.
How to Choose a Church?
"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24, 25).
December 01, 1998
by Doug Batchelor
An Amazing Fact: Bumble bees were originally called "humble bees" because they are generally good natured and very rarely sting. The young children of the early English settlers struggled to say "humble bees," and often called them "bumble bees" instead. Because of the awkward, clumsy movements of the adult bees, the new name stuck.
Bumble bees are among the few insects that can control their body temperature. In cold weather, queens and workers can shiver their flight muscles to warm themselves. Their large size and heat-conserving hairy coats also help them stay warm, allowing them to work in colder climates and lower temperatures than most other insects..
November 01, 1998
by Lowell Hargreaves
An Amazing Fact: The world's smallest known vertebrate fish, the pygmy goby, is found on coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean, and is only about a quarter of an inch long when full grown. The Latin name of this fish, Nanus comes from a word meaning "dwarf." You can understand why the pygmy goby babies can only be seen with a magnifying glass when they first hatch from their teeny, tiny eggs!
I suppose few people would choose to be dwarfed. It seems that every little school-age child dreams of growing up to be big and strong. Likewise, each individual who accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour desires to grow to become a strong, tall Christian. Unfortunately, however, many people have a dwarfed experience with God. They're Christian pygmies, as it were. In fact, some churches contain so many spiritual pygmies that the occasional "normal" Christian, who is growing daily in his religious experience, is looked upon as something of an oddity!
October 01, 1998
by Doug Batchelor
An Amazing Fact: Between 1768 and 1775, the famous British explorer James Cook and his crew made two voyages around the world. Cook and his companions charted much of the South Pacific using nothing more than a sextant and a simple compass for navigation!
It's amazing to me how the ancient explorers knew their location based only on the sun, moon, and stars. The Bible contains a dramatic story of a ship lost at sea during a severe storm. For 14 gray days and black nights, the apostle Paul and some sea mates were beaten by the wind and drenched with the driving rain and angry waves. However, the main cause of the sailors' utter discouragement was that they had no heavenly bodies to guide them. They were oblivious to their location. "And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away." Acts 27:20. In the same way that it was imperative for the ancient sailors to have a view of the sun by day or stars by night in order to chart their location and measure their progress, modern men and women also need guiding lights.
Bible's Prescription for Stress - ENCORE
The Crisis Within and Without
Pastor Doug's Schedule
Auckland, NZ - Nov 06, 2015