Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Pastoral Prayer

This was the pastoral prayer by Buzz Graham at Christ Presbyterian Church on Feb. 22.
I thought it was worth posting:

Heavenly Father, Eternal Son, Holy Spirit – Helper of the helpless, abide with us.
We call on you with nothing of our own to commend us.
We call on you for the sake of your covenant with us your people, decreed in eternity, bought with the precious blood of Jesus, applied to us by the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit.

Great Lover of our souls, we have none in heaven but you,
and though we have chased after other desires, only in you do our hearts find satisfaction.
Forgive our wayward longings, pardon our worldly leanings, heal our sin sickness.
Abide with us that we may despair of hope and pleasure in any other.

Lord, we are your people by your choosing under your covenant. We are eternally grateful to be yours.

We join our hearts today in Jesus’ name to pray for each other.
Some are sick – please heal them.
Some are grieving loss - please comfort them.
Loved ones have died, friends and family have gone astray, jobs are lost, money has evaporated.
Yet we remain secure in the hand of Jesus. And if he does not condemn us, no power can separate us from your love. Protect us, provide for us, and bless us with your own sweet presence.

Lord, we pray for those in the military and in law enforcement.
Please protect those who protect us.

And Sovereign Lord, govern those who govern us. We pray for those in authority at all levels and across all branches of government. Grant them good judgment beyond the limits of human knowledge and insight. Give them heavenly wisdom.

Abide with us.

Lord, bless the church as it gathers this Lord’s Day in church buildings and meeting halls and storefronts and homes around the world. Hear our praise spoken in all the languages of man. Hear our hymns of praise. Receive our prayers of petition and intercession. And quicken us afresh as we feed on the Word.

Abide with us we pray in the name of Jesus.


Monday, February 16, 2009

The Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS-Truth!


**The main difference between http:// and https:// is It's all about keeping you secure**

HTTP stands for HyperText Transport Protocol, which is just a fancy way of saying it's a protocol (a language, in a manner of speaking) for information to be passed back and forth between web servers and
The important thing is the letter S which makes the difference between HTTP and HTTPS.

The S stands for "Secure".

If you visit a website or webpage, and look at the address in the web browser, it will likely begin with the following: http://.

This means that the website is talking to your browser using the regular 'unsecure' language. In other words, it is possible for someone to "eavesdrop" on your computer's conversation with the website. If you fill out a form on the website, someone might see the information you send to that site.

This is why you never ever enter your credit card number in an http website!

But if the web address begins with https://, that basically means your compu ter is talking to the website in a secure code that no one can eavesdrop on.

You understand why this is so important, right?

If a website ever asks you to enter your credit card information,
you should automatically look to see if the web address begins with
https://. If it doesn't, no way should you enter sensitive
information like a credit card number

Summary of the eRumor:
A forwarded email that urges you to pay attention to whether a web address you are using to give confidential information starts with "HTTP" or "HTTPS." It says that "HTTPS" is the more secure of the two.

The Truth:

The eRumor is true.

Most web addresses begin with "HTTP," which is an acronym for "Hyper Text Transfer Protocol." It's the protocol used to allow you to communicate with web sites.

"HTTPS" stands for "Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure." It means that information exchanged between you and a web site is encrypted and cannot be hijacked by someone who might want to electronically eavesdrop when you type a credit card number, a password, a social security number, or any other person information.

The purpose of the email is to encourage you to check for the "HTTPS" before you give financial information. Most web sites are not HTTPS, but when you click a link to make a purchase, many of them will direct you to an HTTPS site.

According to, a provider of Internet infrastructure services, Secure Socket Layer Encryption is a technology that protects Web sites and makes it easy to develop trust by means of an "SSL Certificate that enables encryption of sensitive information during online transactions. Each SSL Certificate contains unique, authenticated information about the certificate owner and a Certificate Authority verifies the identity of the certificate owner when it is issued. "

Just because a website uses such SSL encryption does not safeguard internet users from phishing and other schemes. When visiting websites that accept financial information online it is always a wise practice to make sure the online company is legitimate, has a good reputation in customer service and uses SSL encryption in their transactions.

545 vs 300,000,000 by Charlie Reese

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.

By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red .

If the Army & Marines are in IRAQ , it's because they want them in IRAQ

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I went to workout tonight and happened to be right in front of a TV tuned to Olberman and the lady that follows him.

I need to disclose quickly that I am a Fox News guy and frequently watch O'Reily. I am fully aware of the slugfest that goes on between the two. The NY Times is also frequently a target of attack.

Do I agree 100% will Bill O? No, not at all.

But tonight, I was surprised to find the MSNBC mantra much worse than imagined.

I need to be honest- I don't think the news commentators are good for the unity of our country and I am beginning to believe the damage is irreparable. The viciousness and venom unleashed by the Bush haters went too far for too long. Their lust for prosecution and vengeance is way over the line. The lady after Olberman mocked the GOP in cold sarcasm and disrespect- I was somewhat shocked by the brashness of it.

There is nothing wrong in being a Bush critic and it is completely OK to be a democrat and Obama backer. And yes, there are problems and extremists on both sides. I firmly believe I am more Christian than conservative.

But the degree of the cynicism shown tonight on MSNBC was the worst I have ever seen- Bill O is not exaggerating.... the poison IS that bad.

I am getting closer to consider calling it quits with my TV..... the single eyed idol is blinding us daily to the weakened state of a once proud union under God.

It is only by His mercy that we will survive.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

My Apologies?

from my blog

A Christian Student Talks to His Friend........

"Hey! We have been around each other a lot lately and I have loved getting to know you. I’ve been waiting for the right moment to have this conversation with you. I hope you will allow me some time to share some things with you today.
I am taking a lot for granted. I am assuming that you want to discuss these things. We both should agree that they are important. I’m assuming with your intelligence you have from time to time asked yourself some questions about the foundation and direction of your life. Maybe you have gone as far to question about death and whether there is an afterlife. Deep down you may ask, how do I know that there is no God?
I hope I am not being too intrusive and you can stop me at any point, but I really desire to discuss with you our differences. I want to hear what you believe and deeply desire to share with you why I am confident of my belief in God.
To start with, I want us to talk about our past. We both have studied the psychological debate of nature and nurture. We both live in a world that seeks to make all truth relative and discount faith as completely separate from any reason. My desire to share this with you is social taboo because I am supposed to keep all of this quiet.

One of your first arguments against my faith will be that I was brought up to believe these things, while you were not.

My answer is that I don’t deny this at all, I was taught to follow God early in my life. But my childhood was not a cocoon. I have heard all the reasons why not to believe and I have observed a lot of people who live differently than me. In spite of issues within and without myself, I am more convinced of the truth of God’s existence than ever before and I am more in love with the Christian gospel than ever before.
You see, without God, nothing in this world makes any sense. Because of God, the whole of history and civilization makes complete and perfect sense. I am so convinced of this that I dare propose that if God is not in back of everything, you cannot find meaning in anything. I can’t argue for God without taking my belief in Him for granted.
Here’s the kicker- I contend that you can’t argue against Him unless you take him for granted also. You see, when I listen to you argue about God I realize that He has given you the very air to breathe the very words, that comes from the very thoughts that come form the very intelligence that He has given you.
After I listen to your arguments, they make no assault on my position of faith, because I believe you argue from the darkness while I stand in the light. You believe the opposite is true.
So, in love, I want to continue my story and then we can proceed.

I come from a family of faith. It doesn’t discount truth to be in it at a young age. Our family wasn’t a bunch of holy rollers, but it was a family impacted by the Christian worldview.

I see you are ready to jump out of your skin to counter me- go ahead.

Why the Christian God? Well I believe in Him and you do not. Let me argue from what I know than from what you can’t know.

Why do you not see Him? Well surely you don’t expect me to bring Him in the room so you can see Him? If I were able to do that, He wouldn’t be the God of Christianity.

What I want to offer to you are reasons to believe. People want proof, but all that exists is evidence. That is true for any worldview. I serve a reasonable God- He invented reason, and organization, and orderliness.

Why are you so agitated? Calm down, I am being a friend. We can stop at any point a get a cup of coffee and talk football.

You ask me why you are agitated? Well, you know what this conversation means. If you change your belief about God, you will have to see yourself in a whole different way- and that may bother you.

Hang with me a little longer- I want to continue my story.

When I was little, our family believed. We said prayers at meals and went to worship services on a regular basis. If I told my mom I was afraid of monsters she would give the answer that you would expect – “ There are no monsters and I shouldn’t be afraid anyway” “Why mom?” “ Your body and soul belongs to your Savior who died for you on the cross and rose again that no one should be afraid.”
That’s the way we talked from time to time at our house. It was the atmosphere of our home. We still watched TV and talked about everyday stuff and even fought! But there were Bibles and Christian music and occasional family devotions.
As I went to Sunday school and Bible camps, I began to grow accustomed to the grand old stories of Abraham and Moses and Paul. All of these things began to condition me. I cannot help but believing. The love of Christ rained on me in soft showers of gentle moments that seemed very insignificant at the time.
Let’s stop there and parallel what you have told me about your life. Your family did not believe in God. Your parents worked hard to keep your upbringing free from the trappings of religion. They spoke to you of hard work and freethinking. They worked hard to cultivate an open mind. Where I was conditioned to believe in God you were left free. But were you free? I dare say that you were conditioned to not believe. You think that religion was poured down my throat and I counter that anti-religion was poured down yours. And that becomes the first truly awkward moment of our conversation. Can you agree with me at this point?
My story goes on. My parents sent me to a Christian school and my conditioning continued. I was daily instructed by a formula – it said that I had been conceived in sin, like all men. But I was now a child of the covenant of grace- redeemed by Christ- and part of my parent’s responsibility was to bring me up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Part of that training was to constantly teach and remind me of what God’s Word taught about the world.
This environment prepared me for the day of my conversion- where I personally committed my trust in Christ’s death as the only means of salvation. According to God’s word, at that moment I was justified and adopted into God’s family. I now began a road of being set apart for God’s work and His glory. I wish I had been completely faithful to this and understood it with the depth I know now. I have done a lot of harm in the name of Christ. I still have sin in me.

You tell me that your schooling was much different. You went to a “neutral” school. Your school outlawed religious expression and remained secular. God was never mentioned in your study of nature or history. Even allusions to the Bible in literature were kind of skipped over as teachers became very fearful of what might happen if they were accused of “bias”.

I hope you are smart enough now to realize that the classroom was not neutral. To secularize the classroom becomes a worldview itself. An unbiased, neutral classroom is just a thin disguise of a negative attitude toward God. Can you agree that the person not for God is actually against him?

I see that you don’t agree with me. Let me put it this way. God is plainly seen everywhere. This is His world, He made it. He made the majestic mountains and encoded our DNA. We are living by His decree and are we are living on His property. You don’t see them, but His ownership signs are everywhere. His stamp is on every song, picture, and poem - He is the expression of life and love and beauty.
If you stay “neutral” to Him- is it not the supreme insult? Atheists will say, ‘God has not given me enough evidence, so how can He blame me?” But our counter is that the evidence is as plain as the engineering of their pinky. If they cannot see, it is because they are blinded by sin. See, the Bible says that we are dead in trespasses and sin. That deadness is also blindness. I am telling you that unless God opens your eyes, you will see me only as a “goody- goody” and will resent my proposition of truth as arrogance and intolerance.
My Christian schooling continued. Can you see the difference in my conditioning? All my teachers pledged to teach their subjects from the Christian worldview. It wasn’t just Bible class. Even Algebra was presented under the authority of God’s Word! We were taught that to leave God out of the picture would prevent us from understanding the framework of truth.
We studied non-Christian teachings and philosophy. I have a keen understanding of Darwinism and existentialism. We read Plato, Kant, Emerson, Freud, and Marx. I was taught the best logical reasons to not believe in God. I heard all these things, but was also given sound refutations of these arguments and philosophies.
My Bible classes became exhilarating. I was exposed to systematic theology and read from great minds like C.S. Lewis. Martin Luther, and Blaise Pascal. I had great teachers explain Biblical history and geography. I learned how to defend the reliability of the Bible and argue my faith through apologetics. I was taught about evangelism and missions. I also heard countless testimonies about the life changing effect of the gospel. I became equipped in sound doctrine and Church history.
I am finished with my background. You know the God to which I am testifying for. This God was behind my parents, my teachers, my youth leaders, and many of my friends. It was He who conditioned all that conditioned me. He is the God of Christianity. He is the All-Conditioner.

Believe it or not- He also conditioned everything that conditioned you.

I love that laugh of yours. I hear it as one of incredulity.

What do I mean by this you say? He is real and outside of us. He is objective truth. He is the God who controls all things. In Him all things exist and are held together. The counsel of His will controls all reason. We do not condition him - he conditions us. My belief in Him does not make Him anymore real and your disbelief in Him does not make Him less real.
Think about this. I have heard of all of the best arguments against His existence. All of these theories of life and philosophy have been propounded for centuries of discourse and dialect.
I can tell by your gestures, that you cannot understand how anyone acquainted with the facts and arguments can believe in a God who created the world. Well, I am one of many who hold to the faith in full view of what science and philosophy is telling us.

If you give me time, I will be happy to show you where science ends and where faith begins. But again, let me warn you- that all men are biased and all live by faith. The scientist pulls a little sleight of hand and wants you to believe that he lives by fact.

The bottom line is this. When someone rejects God- that person offends Him. God’s displeasure rests on the rejecters. Do you worry about this at all? You and God are not on speaking terms. You feel like you have very good reasons that He does not exist. Now, if He does exist, you are in trouble. Your anti-God glasses are not an excuse for refusing to acknowledge or thank Him. Even the good things in your life heap up wrath because you never thanked Him for any of it- you took all the credit. You have tasted all His goodness without offering even a dime of reverence.

I am about to offend you without apology. I am telling you that God has made His existence and presence plain to you. I can give you all the sound arguments- but you will counter them all. I say creation- you say evolution. I say providence- you say accident. I say prophecy- you say human agenda. I say miracle- you say human ignorance. You ignore him because you want to.

So what am I to do?
I want to win you to Christ. But in every technique of trying to win you I cannot offend my Savior.
I apologize that the Christian church has let you down in this way. The American church in particular is a poor and impotent expression of the true gospel of Christ. We have marketed a messiah to consumers instead of boldly sharing the truth.
But again, in spite of my shortcomings, in spite of the churches failings throughout history, - the sacred canopy of salvation in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, understood by scripture alone, to God alone be the glory still stands in victory and momentum.
What am I to do? …….. I just did it.
I am to share my story and my faith. It should be plain to you by now the sort of Savior I believe in. It is God, the All-Conditioner. It is God who created all things, including you. It is He who by His providence conditioned me, making me believe in Him, and by His grace makes me want you to believe in Him. It is by His love that I can say that I love you. It is by His word that I want to serve you. It is by His truth that I will not compromise for you.
So our debate is really over. From now on, you need to take it up with Him. Down in your heart, you know I am speaking the truth. I am praying right now that God will open the eyes of your heart. But that is up to His pleasure. I do not have to save you. I cannot save you.
I have peace- do you have peace?
I am not afraid of death? Are you?
I have joy, true Biblical joy? Don’t you want to find that?
I have a purpose? Can you define yours?
I base my belief in a God inspired authority called the Bible? What is your source of truth?

Trust Christ now, please! Each moment you reject Him, the more hardened you get to Him. Your callousness will one day seal an unimaginable doom. God is a gentleman. He will give you your desire- a life without Him.

Just know that at some point the decision will be permanent. The gates of hell are locked from the inside.

I will be your friend. I hope you appreciate that I shared all of this with you because I believe I owe it to you. If I held it back, it would say one of two things. Either I really did not love you or I really did not believe this to be true."

Inspired by “Why I Believe in God” by Cornelius Van Til PH.D.