Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Are you planning to kill yourself? Stop! listen to this song...

Are you planning to kill yourself? Stop! listen to this song...
hope and meaning for life if you are depressed, sad and hopeless and want to kill yourself.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote McCain-Obama for Dual President

This article was submitted to the KC Star and the Washington Post - unfortunately, only 3 days before the election. It was rejected due to the large number of election related articles submitted, so I would like to publish this idea here.
I would like to share an idea with you - a practical way to bring healing, for a divided country to work together. Not McCain OR Obama, but McCain AND Obama. It is not a game, but a system that can be refined and improved.
After elections, each president receives "power coins" in the proportion of their electoral votes.
They use this power money to invest in decisions of governance. The outcome or score of a decision is decided by vote in Congress.
Each receives a return on their investment depending on the score. If a decision worked out well, then the one that heavily invested in it is rewarded with more power money.
The more his or her decisions are correct, the more payback a president receives - more power to wield in future decisions.
Decisions are minor or major, short term or longer term and have one or more evaluation points when they are evaluated by a vote in Congress which decides how well a decision has worked out by its results on the ground. Yes, a Democrat-dominated congress will tend to favor a left leaning decision, but the actual results cannot be ignored and the composition of Congress is tied to how the people want the country to be governed.
How are decisions made?
Congress as usual, drafts laws. An ombudsman or referee is sworn to secrecy and categorizes each decision that comes to the presidential inbox, by its impact and timeline and assigns a cost.
The two presidents attend the same meetings and discuss options openly but their decisions are made in secret and with only the referee present. Each president decides what the choice or response to a decision would be and the one that invests the most has the right to make the choice. A stronger conviction towards a course of action will result in more power money invested. If both want control, then they bid the price up. Both can craft a decision together.
A minimum investment is required by each. So each president buys into the decision - even if he disagrees. Also both have a stake and although they will compete against each other, they will collaborate. They will work to make the best decision and that brings the most return in power money. Their decision is released jointly, typed up by the referee.
The amount that each has invested is known only to the referee who also updates their power balances after a vote. To avoid divisiveness their individual opinions are kept confidential.
When decisions are secret, a president is less constrained by ideology or party loyalty, and can pick the best course. When congress does not know how their guy decided, they are less bound by party loyalty and can vote in the best interests of the country. To keep people from deducing how a president decided, their power money balances are published only at fixed intervals, and not after each vote.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Dow is behaving like a dying animal

Looking at the stock ticker chart on Yahoo today, I am both fascinated and terrified. It is like watching the movie of a whale plunging to its depths in the sea, then coming up for air, fighting for its life.

Post script: 10-10-2008 was among the wildest rides for the Dow; a spread of 1000 points.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Don't kill yourself over the stock market

Two things I read today:

1) A news item

Karthik Rajaram, an unemployed Indian origin businessman in Los Angeles, killed his family and himself after seeing his finances wiped out by the stock market collapse.

Shocked by finding himself a pauper from a Millionaire overnight by the plunging US stock market, an unemployed Indian origin businessman took the extreme step of shooting and killing his wife, three children and mother-in-law, before taking his own life here.

Karthik Rajaram (45), who once made more than USD 1.2 million in a London-based venture fund, was found dead in his Porter Ranch home here along with his wife Subasri (39), mother-in-law (70) and three sons Krishna (19), Ganesha (12) and Arjuna (7).

2) Psalm 34
1 I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
2 I will boast only in the Lord;
let all who are helpless take heart.
3 Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
let us exalt his name together.

4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
he saved me from all my troubles.
7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

If you are desperate like Karthik, then do contact me at my email address listed in my profile. I don't have any money to bail you out, but I can show you that God has good plans for you through His son Jesus - plans to give you a hope and a future.

11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. [a] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.

Monday, October 6, 2008

alterations to the Bible?

This article by the BBC claims that "For those who believe the Bible is the inerrant, unaltered word of God, there will be some very uncomfortable questions to answer. It shows there have been thousands of alterations to today's bible."

Several comments by readers rebutted this biased article:
[Frank Hill] "My understanding is that this codex was compiled by a Christian sect who even then was considered unorthodox and whilst it is the oldest complete bible many earlier copies of the gospels predate this codex. It is these gospels from which modern bibles are translated. They are both more numerous and closer in age to the events describe in the New Testament."

[Bob] "The current Bible is God's word. Of course it was written by man, but it was breathed into life by God. The way that it has over time, evolved into is present form is not important. Only those scriptures, in the form that God intended, have presently become the Bible. What is important is that the message that God intended is there for us all, and it has the power to change lives."

When I share the gospel with Muslims on the internet, they inevitably ask about the "many versions" of the Bible to try and prove that it was corrupted and that there is only one version of the Koran.

What people miss out is the third person of the God Trinity - the Holy Spirit. The gospel was preached and spread by the Holy Spirit, using men and women.

In A.D. 325, Christian leaders gathered at the first council of Nicea. They prayed and under the direction of the Holy Spirit, gathered together the 66 books that comprise the Word of God.

There were many manuscripts, some forgeries, some deceptions, some material not from God. The Holy Spirit directed them to discard these false books. It is important to remember that the same Holy Spirit who did miracles in the book of Acts, compiled the Bible, and still directs us today.

Monday, September 8, 2008

My question for Barack Obama

Dear Barack,
As an immigrant in Kansas, I would love to see a 'person of color' become president - to shake up the prejudice among the white folks in the Midwest especially, your native Kansas.
However, the biggest obstacle which prevents me from voting for you is: For three years you voted against the Illinois Born Alive Infants Protection Act while you were a state senator. It required that babies born from botched abortions be allowed to live. This act of yours stops me cold. You see, when it is a baby crying, it is no longer an abstruse scientific, theological or religious question as to "when does life begin?" or "when does an embryo have human rights?".
It is no longer nuanced in meaning as in the Rick Warren sponsored debate with McCain. There are no loopholes. Can you not recognize that it is a fully formed human baby that must be protected, fed and cuddled? I require a plain and simple answer from you, because as I ask this, I also see rising up, the ghosts of Hitler and others who had little value for human life.
Anil Philip

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Why the silence on Southern Sudan?

Every day, you read the newspapers and read headlines blaring about "genocide in Darfur". United Nations sanctions have been imposed and peace keepers sent. Sudan has been condemned internationally and even in the Olympics, Winter Games gold medalist Cheek, has drawn attention to his activism as founder of 'Team Darfur', when his visa to Beijing was revoked.

The American athlete who will carry the flag for the games, Lomong, is from Sudan. He fled as a refugee from a genocide that has been ignored and suppressed. He is not from Darfur where about 150,000 have died, but from Southern Sudan.

Only from unbiased news organizations like the BBC, and human rights groups, did we learn that 1.2 million people, mostly from the Christian and Animist South have been killed over a 20 year period.
The Islamist North tried to take over the South. Mass killings, torture, rape was done in a systematic and large scale way.

In contrast to the outrage over Darfur, there was a media silence on Southern Sudan.
In Darfur, the victims are Muslim. In Southern Sudan, they were Christian and animist. I believe that the American media imposed a blanket of silence because they tend to be anti-Christian in their leaning. Contrast the heavy coverage, military intervention, and sanctions Bosnia received even though various reports say 25-50,000 may have died - compared with 1.2 million in Southern Sudan. Also, I believe they did not want Evangelical Christians in the USA to launch a movement and an outcry.

The unnoticed genocide.

Friday, July 4, 2008

One of my favorites - Toby Mac, "I was made to love you [God]"

Made To Love [God] Lyrics

by Toby Mac
Verse 1
The dream is fading, now I'm staring at the door
I know its over cause my feet have hit the cold floor
Check my reflection, I ain't feelin' what I see
It's no mystery
Whatever happened to a passion I could live for
What became of the flame that made me feel more
And when did I forget that...

I was made to love you
I was made to find you
I was made just for you
Made to adore you
I was made to love
And be loved by you
You were here before me
You were waiting on me
And you said you'd keep me
Never would you leave me
I was made to love
and be loved by you

Verse 2
The dream's alive with my eyes opened wide
Back in the ring you've got me swinging for the grand prize
I feel the hate is spittin vapors on my dreams
But I still believe
I'm reachin out, reachin up, reachin over
I feel a breeze cover me called Jehovah
And daddy I'm on my way
Cause I was made to love...


Anything I would give up for you
Everything, I'd give it all away
(Repeat 3x)

I was made to love you
I was made to adore you, made just for you
(Repeat 3x) from

Thursday, June 12, 2008

28 Good Value tips in Paris

Over four years old, this list of 28 Good Value tips in Paris was originally posted in Fodor's on our only (so far!) trip to France. As you can see here, it generated some heat. I am posting them here so that it is available to others. However, some things may be outdated.
When we went, it was in May 2003. The Iraq war had just begun and there was plenty of Franco-American friction and anger. Now, of course, it is all water under the [Pont Noeuf!] bridge. Those of us who supported the war, now oppose it - and many in France now support the American view.
Someone emailed me asking for tips about our visit to France.
Here are a few 'value' tips from our experience. We visited in May 2003.
In general, France is more expensive than America - forget Walmart, SAMS Club, Costco, and their prices. Bring an umbrella. We paid $12 for a cheap umbrella which would have been worth $3 here.
The euro is even more expensive today, so consciously try to forget the exchange rate
and avoid comparing too much with the great deals at home.
Anil Philip (with help from Rita!)
Kansas City, KS

0. We stayed at the Comfort Inn Abaca which was a good value as part of the Europe Express package tour, but more expensive ($80/night) if you try to extend your stay. It was extremely clean, rooms were small and their breakfast very good. The front desk staff are helpful.

1. Pickpockets: Avoid them (heh-heh!). I never met any perhaps because I do not look like a rich American tourist. Walmart sells a $7 money belt which was useful. However the best thing to do is simply put your wallet in your front trouser pocket and then when entering crowded places, put one hand inside the pocket, directly and firmly gripping the wallet. Avoid getting in the subway when there is a crush - you're on holiday and can take the next train, so sit around and watch the people.

2. Guidebooks: If you follow them too closely, then your trip becomes a canned Rick Steve's or Fodor's or Frommer's tour. However I found Rick Steve's detailed museum tours very useful (though my wife didnt like his book too much). Frommer's has a detailed map. Borrow all (and videos) from the public library to get a feel for them before you decide to buy any of them.

3. A picnic lunch on the lawns of the Rodin museum is nice. His work was In My Humble Opinion, over-rated and the sculpture of Balzac was disgustingly silly and vulgar. However his mistress' work of the threesome in a struggle for Rodin was poignant and touching.

4. Perhaps the best site (and the least well known) for me was the Holocaust memorial directly behind the Notre Dame cathedral. Remembering it still gives me the goosebumps. You go down a spiral staircase as though into a dungeon and inside, it is as though you are in prison, in Hades, in the pit. You can see the rays of light streaming in from above, but cannot go to it. A plaque on the floor reads, (paraphrase) "they went down into the earth, were swallowed up and were never seen again".

5. The War memorial Museum at Caen was good but for me the American section in the gardens outside, was unforgettable. There is a spring (actually a pool) that goes over a waterfall and the water flows over a plaque that reads "From the heart of our land flows the blood of our youth, given to you in the name of freedom.". President Chirac needs to see this.

6. Do not use your credit card - use an ATM. I found that Visa charges a processing fee and on top of it, they skim off (cheat) by charging a higher exchange rate than what the market rate is.

7. When you are out, you can get great sandwiches at charcuteries (deli) places that are good value.

8. Ed Epicier is a great grocery store with very cheap foods and wines. It is next to the supermarket (forgot the name but do not go there) at the Convention terminus (near our hotel).

9. If you are visiting other places, stay at Etap (a clean Motel 6)

10. Ask specifically for the Carte Orange in french, they will try to sell you the tourist pass, but resist it.

11. try to attend one of the Sunday concerts at the cathedral at Notre dame - it's free and wonderful.

12. Read the "Hunchback of Notre Dame" before you visit France, and then go up the towers.

13. My wife and I are from India but my wife speaks reasonably fluent french, so people were bewildered when I wore my USA T-shirt about. At the cathedral, I gave one frenchman our camera to take our picture and he seemed very upset and irritated - only because my wife asked him, did he agree. Much later on, I realized I had been wearing my USA stars and stripes T-shirt!

14. Take film from here. One roll over there costs over $5 - here, walmart sells a pack of 4 rolls for that price!

15. the Seine river cruise is worth it. at night it is romantic.

16. Avoid Rue Cler - there was absolutely nothing worth seeing - it has become yet another touristy spot after thousands of favourable reviews. However, the crepe stand is nice with delicious Grand Marnier crepes for $3 - but you can get that most places.

17. Get used to seeing dog poop, pee on the streets and the smell of human urine in the subway station.

18. One of my most memorable memories was listening to the poor street musicians at the subway play so superbly. the French are not generous (to put it mildly) so even if we gave them just one euro ($1.25), they were happy.

19. My wife liked the Louvre a lot perhaps because she could understand french. I did not. Because they are rather chauvinistic, all titles, everything almost, is in french which was annoying - since it is designated as a UN monument - so I had to get her to translate everything. If you are ever in Kansas City, visit the Nelson Atkins museum - it has more and better art by the great masters, Monet, Rodin, Van Gogh and it's free.

20. Be patriotic, support your troops in Iraq - dont apologise but dont argue either - simply explain the righteousness of our cause.

21. Strike up conversations in the subway - we did meet nice people this way!

22. Emmanuel Baptist Church is a nice church in Paris We were unable to visit.

23. Near the hotel, there is a laundry. It is about $7 a load.

24. Other places we liked. the creme brulee at Le Colimacon was out of this world! It is near the Hotel de Ville at the Pont Noeuf bridge. Chartier is cheap but the food is bland and tasteless to cater to the tourist. Not worth it.
Thanks to editor Pauline Frommer for pointing us to Le Colimacon - formerly habited by President Pompidou.

25. Go to Notre Dame for the view. Also Sacre Coeur. Samaritaine roof-top was closed and they charge a fee to go up there. However if you buy anything from their store, they will let you to the roof with your receipt.

26. Get the Insider's good value guide to France free from the french embassy website. Get it now - it takes about a week to arrive.

27. At Saint Chapelle, try to recognise and pick out the Bible stories from the stained glass windows. It is fun. I was even able to recite the story of Esther to the entire tourist group there - to applause - and the official Cathedral guide (who did not know the story) took it very well!

28. Take one of the week-long package trips from gotoday or Europe Express or whatever. While booking it, ask them to extend the return date. This way you can travel on your own to other places in France and then come back to Paris on the last day to catch the plane back home. However, dont let the package tour people make travel/hotel arrangements for your extended stay. They will typically charge much higher rates piecemeal.

(to: Patrick, Margie, HowardR, )
Nelson-Atkins Museum (Kansas City)
Here is an article by Business Week columnist, Thane Peterson "...the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which has a marvelous permanent collection that includes everything from works by Claude Monet and Georgia O'Keefe to native American art to one of the nation's finest collections of Chinese artifacts."
Even the gardens at the KC museum are beautiful, interspersed with sculptures by Henry Moore and Rodin's Thinker gazing down (the shrewd businessman! he made 27 of them).

(to: HowardR)
The "poignant sculpture" I was referring to was "Maturity" by Camille Claudel, Rodin's mistress.

(to: Patrick, Margie, HowardR)
Balzac IMHO, was disgustingly silly and vulgar because it depicts the honorable gentleman with a large you-know-what through his pants when he is aroused. A schoolboy's joke perhaps, but hardly in good taste, let alone good art.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Why do bad things happen? - 2

BBC news report:
"Twelve-year-old Elizabeth - not her real name - was walking in fields with her brother, following an aunt who had gone ahead to work on the family's plot of land near the town of Man in north-western Ivory Coast, when they were approached by "les casques bleues", as UN peacekeepers are known.

'Elizabeth', who was raped by 10 UN peacekeepers in Ivory Coast. Picture courtesy of Save the Children
"Elizabeth" was raped by 10 UN peacekeepers in Ivory Coast

Her brother took a biscuit from one of the men; she refused.

As Elizabeth tried to run away, one of the soldiers seized hold of her. There were 10 of them.

I spoke to Elizabeth near her home. She said: "They grabbed me and threw me to the ground and they forced themselves on me... I tried to escape but there were 10 of them and I could do nothing... I was terrified.

"Then they just left me there bleeding..."

Elizabeth was raped by 10 peacekeepers and abandoned.

Her village elders say they tried to take the case to UN officials at the camp nearby. But Domade Jean-Baptiste, one of the village chiefs, said they were made to wait for ages and then sent away.

Elizabeth's brutal rape is one of an unknown number of sexual assaults carried out by peace keepers and aid workers, the very people who are brought in to post-conflict areas around the world to protect the vulnerable...."

I was outraged when I read this. Why did this happen?

This little girl's life is effectively over. She is destined to be filled with a life of anger, hate, promiscuity, shame, failure and ruin.

Following the logic of my earlier post, it was Satan who is Evil himself, collaborating with man using his free will to choose evil.

"the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8)

The devil has come to "steal, and to kill, and to destroy". (John 10:10)

Since God has legions of angels, even one of whom could have prevented this, why did He allow this to happen?

I don't know.

Mike Ensley of Exodus writes that "our suffering matters to God... He does not coldly survey the landscape of our brokenness but 'collects our tears.' "

You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they
not in Your book? (Psalm 56:8)

If you are reading this, pray with me that this girl and hundreds of children like her will be healed in Jesus' name; healed in their bodies, minds, spirit and soul for the tragedy they have experienced.
Pray also that justice will be done and the evil perpetrators will be punished.
Pray that the devil will be defeated especially in that corner of the world.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Why do bad things happen?

1. God.
Yes, God punishes. But He decides life and death - when the game is over. None of the forces below can decide life and death.

2. Satan
. Satan has a certain amount of power even though Jesus defeated him at the cross. Satan was allowed to wreak havoc on Job except take his life.

3. Man

Man has free will, whether to serve God or Satan.

4. Nature
God created a marvelous machine called Nature that obeys the physical laws of the Universe. Whenever people say that God caused this hurricane or that earthquake, I think they are mistaken.
This machine was set in motion and God rarely steps in to interfere - and when he does, it is called a miracle. (if an inventor created an engine and constantly interfered with its running, it would show he didnt really know what he was doing).

In Luke 13, we see that the age old question was asked which Jesus answered:

What about certain Galilean Jews who were killed by the Roman ruler Pilate in the temple - were they especially guilty?
Here, Man's choice to do evil - and to serve Satan - was the driving force.

1Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

Why did a tower in Siloam fall and kill 18 people - were they more guilty?
Here, Nature was the tool that caused this calamity.

4Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."

In both these two cases, God decided who would live and who would die.

How does He decide?

6Then he [Jesus] told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'

8" 'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.' "

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Walk away from your sarcophagus

Break out of the calcified shell of Yourself.
Walk away from your sarcophagus.
Yes, walk away;
Away from your refuge,
And crouch naked, transparent and exposed.
Under the shadow of His wings.
There you will find rest.
There you will flow in His strength.

Psalm 91
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Bible study: Holy Spirit (the book of Acts)

This is a Bible study on the Holy Spirit which covers the book of Acts. I shall keep updating it as I progress, which is very slow. Am following Kay Arthur's inductive series.

the juwo is here:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why do we praise and worship God/Jesus?

  • Is God/Jesus selfish or insecure that He desires our praises so much?
  • Why is praising God/Jesus a critical part of our spiritual life?
  • Should we praise God/Jesus to flatter and manipulate Him into giving us health and wealth?
  • Should we continue to praise him so he will not stop or turn off the blessings tap?

Answer: It is the rightful order of the universe.

In Physics we see that the universal constants are finely tuned.
if the force of gravity were sightly off, there would be no solar system with the planets revolving around the sun.

Due to their auxin hormones, plants grow upwards towards the sun. The light from the sun enables photosynthesis which results in food and sustenance for animal life on earth.

Think of what would happen if the rightful order were not maintained. Life on earth would be snuffed out.

Surprisingly, praising God is not just for the rightful order of the spiritual universe but also for the physical universe.

Why is it the rightful thing to do? God has created us. He sent His son Jesus to die for us. If we repent and our sins are forgiven, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit who will guide us and empower us. We have a hope. Jehovah is a good God.

If you create something or perform some good work, then it is only right that you and not someone else, get the credit for it.

Well, you may ask - what about the evil that happens in this world?
Answer: God gave man free will to do good or evil. Also, the devil roams on this earth seeking whom he will devour; to kill, steal and destroy.

The Bible says,

Psalm 148

1 Praise the LORD. [a]
Praise the LORD from the heavens,
praise him in the heights above.

2 Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.

3 Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars.

4 Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.

5 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for he commanded and they were created.

6 He set them in place for ever and ever;
he gave a decree that will never pass away.

7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,

8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,

9 you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,

10 wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,

11 kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,

12 young men and maidens,
old men and children.

13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.

14 He has raised up for his people a horn, [b]
the praise of all his saints,
of Israel, the people close to his heart.
Praise the LORD

In the same vein,

Psalm 19
1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world...
Unlike the creatures above, Man has free will. As Bob Dylan sang in Gotta Serve Somebody,
"[everybody has] gotta serve somebody... It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you gotta serve somebody."

If we don't worship God, then we shall worship the devil. If we don't praise God, then we will turn inwards and praise ourselves or each other. In other words, we will have other gods.
The rightful order of the Universe will be lost.
Both the spiritual and physical worlds will go awry. This is exactly what happened when Satan fell and sin was introduced into heaven when he praised and worshiped himself.

see also Psalm 145

Friday, March 7, 2008

Jesus and the demon possessed man

They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!" For Jesus had said to him, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!"

Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?"

"My name is Legion," he replied, "for we are many." And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, "Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them." He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed." (Mark 5)

I believe from a dream, that the Gedarene demoniac was crying out to the demons in him, "please don't cut me". Instead he saw them take control of his hands and slashed and gashed him so he bled.

One day, some years later, it was Jesus who was gashed by the iron and bone fragments in the cat-o-nine tail whips that lashed across his bare back. I believe that Satan himself possessed the Roman soldiers who were tearing Jesus' body, in order to give them superhuman strength, so they could inflict maximum agony. His back was bloody, but by his stripes we are healed.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

So I claim the blood of Jesus and command evil spirits to flee in the name of Jesus that are possessing this person who calls himself Bruce Karlson. This person has been making wild accusations and hate-filled comments on my blog posts. 'He' is demon possessed. In the name of Jesus, I command evil spirits to leave 'him' and for 'him' to identify himself.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

If Einstein does not impress God, what does?

(March 2006)

There is no fix or solution in sight (to my career and juwo startup problems), but here is a thought I have had for a while:

Over the past few months, I have been realizing that God does not care much for what we do - whether we are janitor or CEO. He is not impressed by our achievements.

He is more interested in whether we seek Him and whether we are His witnesses.

For example, even though Einstein's Theory of Relativity is over 100 years old, no one has been able to supercede it. Yet God is not too impressed with it because He knows the 'final answer' - not the theory of Relativity, but the final Reality of Relativity.

Growing up in India, my grandparents told me of the term "rice Christians", coined by the missionaries as a derogatory reference to those (India/China?) natives who would convert to Christianity for the material benefits. Yet, in America, I don't think we are immune from it either if we seek God because of the promises of success and prosperity.

One passage that strikes me from time to time is Habbakuk Chapter 3:

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A plea to my church elders for financial transparency

This letter to my church elders was positively received and as a word. I believe there needs to be financial openness in many churches in America. Hence I am posting this here - you may want to copy part or all of it to write to your leaders. I have removed my church's name.

The Elders of our Church

John 3:19-21 “ loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

Luke 12:2-3 “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3What you have said in the dark will be heard in the day light and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.”

This is a plea for more transparency in our finances. Please institute a mechanism and procedure for more open access to financial information by every giving member of the congregation. This should be neither to please any person nor to acquiesce to anyone's request for information, but as a matter of policy toward every giving member.

I strongly emphasize that I do want our pastors to enjoy a decent standard of living and not worry about paying their bills. I love, and am indebted to our senior pastor.

Background: We are disturbed when we read of financial scandals among Christian organizations. For example, the six charismatic ministries investigated by Senator Grassley, and also at Jerry Johnston’s First Family church (Kansas City).

Audited statements are not enough. A few of the above mentioned hide behind audited statements even though there are plenty of indicators of corruption or excessive wastefulness. Perhaps auditors too, are not shown details; perhaps they cannot comment on excessiveness. The key point is that they refuse to open their books. Emphatic protestations of innocence mean nothing - if there is nothing to hide, why are they hiding?

I observe that at our Church, our records too, are not open. Details are obscured when they are rolled into broad headings; for example, only the total combined amount given to all the visiting speakers for the year is shown. Only auditor statements are released. We are not members of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability –incidentally, a recommendation of Sen. Grassley.

Why should there be transparency?

1. To safeguard the ministry from traps by the enemy. Every one faces temptations and given the opportunity, is corruptible. When things are done in darkness i.e. our financial records are kept in darkness, accessible only to a few, then I believe, according to the Word of God in John 3:19-21, that sinful deeds will begin to happen especially because they will be accorded the secrecy of concealment, will grow and grow. One day, there will be scandals including financial and sexual, that will hobble our church and stain the reputation of our leaders and the life-transforming message that we preach will be obscured. We shall become a stumbling block. Many will be spiritually wounded and "a root of bitterness will grow up to defile many" (Hebrews 12).

2. The kingdom of God will continue to advance through our church. When scandals happen around us, our confidence in our leaders will remain unshaken. Our confidence will not be based upon, "our elders and pastors are good people" nor even, "our pastor sounded convincing when he said that everything is done with integrity" but, "I looked at the account statements myself and am satisfied". In Luke 12:2-3, what is done openly and transparently will not need to be exposed.

3. So that our giving is not inhibited. To keep our hearts clean, and to avoid bitterness. When we give out of love, it is sacrificial. However the thought immediately enters - are they careful stewards, how do I know they are good stewards? I am certain that many in our church out give us - but for us, our church giving statement is our third highest expense after our mortgage and household expenses. I personally do not want to give out of blind trust to any organization that is not open. From the parable of the ten talents, God expects us to be shrewd investors in the kingdom of heaven.

Again, I have no interest in digging through our church records. This is a plea to institute a process just as the apostles did in Acts chapter 6 to safeguard the spiritual health of the church.


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