Sky Links, 8-11-18

Is the press is the enemy of the people?
Auditing coverage of the first 100 days of the Trump presidency, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy found that of the news reports with a clear tone, 80 percent of the stories about Trump were negative, 20 percent positive.
Journalists ranging from Christiane Amanpour to Jorge Ramos to Jim Rutenberg have argued that the rules of neutral reportage should no longer necessarily apply when it comes to Trump.
The WikiLeaks email trove of correspondence between Hillary Clinton and her campaign adviser, John Podesta, revealed that marquee journalists were colluding with Clinton aides to ensure the right spin was put on stories before publication. CNN analyst Donna Brazile leaked debate questions to Clinton in advance.
Too often, reporters smear the president in the crudest possible ways.
Politico’s Julia Ioffe suggested that Trump might have engaged in incest with his daughter.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper was forced to apologize after he crudely trashed a pro-Trump panelist, saying, “If he took a dump on his desk, you would defend it!”
This year’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner turned into a Trump hatefest, as host Michelle Wolf savagely trashed the president. Wolf even mocked the looks of White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
The late CNN host Anthony Bourdain once joked about poisoning Trump. Religious scholar Reza Aslan referred to Trump as “this piece of s–t.”
Sometimes journalists disparage and stereotype Trump supporters. Recently, Politico reporter Marc Caputo tweeted of the crowd he saw at a Trump rally: “If you put everyone’s mouths together in this video, you’d get a full set of teeth.” Then he doubled down by calling them “garbage people.”
The Ancient War Between the Press and the President -Victor Davis Hanson



Here is a recent shocking example of how CNN is fake and not journalism:




Are you interested in learning more about QAnon?
By this point you may have heard Q mentioned online, whether in conservative circles or somewhere in your social media feed. You likely didn’t pay too much attention to it, as many of us have known for a long time that nefarious, shady and corrupt elements exist within our government.

If you’ve looked into anything regarding The Clinton Foundation you probably made a reasonable guess that she had been likely selling her presidency since her time at the State Department, but perhaps you didn’t go much further down the rabbit hole to see exactly who she was selling favors to, nor what those favors were.

And though it was rather quiet when Q first began posting, as of late there has been a full-court press by the Mainstream Media [MSM] to establish him (them) as a conspiracy theory as the #TheGreatAwakening grows from a small underground group on obscure websites to a full-blown movement.

*Edit: as of 8/1/18 there were 50,000 subscribers to The Great Awakening board on Reddit. While the media did their best to portray this in as many inaccurate ways as possible (alt-right, small cult, violent, etc) this truly has grown into a movement. If you read the actual posts, you will find that not only are the people not who the MSM told you they were (they are in fact your neighbors, family members and co-workers), but they are absolutely not promoting any form of violence (which will get you immediately banned from the Reddit board). And the numbers are growing by the minute.
-Robert Patrick Lewis


Another article:
Seemingly within minutes Wednesday, The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, The Hill and several other of the usual suspects all ran stories attempting to explain — and by explain I mean “mock/dismiss/deride” — an internet phenomenon known as Q or QAnon.
Here’s a good tip: Any time the news establishment in sudden unison jumps up and screams at the top of their lungs, “Nothing to see here! Nonsense, nonsense! Nothing to see!” it’s a good time to pay attention.
Before we step down into the rabbit hole, keep in mind the people telling you Q is just a crazy, wacky internet conspiracy or elaborate hoax are the same people who insisted you were a Mad Hatter if you said that the Obama administration had conducted surveillance on the Trump campaign.
They’re also the ones spending endless hours and ink insisting Trump teamed with Putin to steal the 2016 election right from under the nose of President Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Nonetheless, Q is a rabbit hole. Are they really intelligence agents? Or maybe just some smart guys trying to change the debate? Or even liberal trolls? Some of what they say makes sense. Some of it … seems far-fetched.
So What is Q?
Q or QAnon claims to be a small group of under 10 people very close to Donald Trump. Most are military intelligence, they say. Q says Trump is slowly, methodically, effectively exposing and destroying the Deep State and the corrupt global order that’s long run the show.
These elites are involved in all sorts of nasty business, including murder, pedophilia and child sex trafficking, to say nothing of your run-of-the-mill corruption and connivery. And they are fighting Trump tooth and nail.
However, Q usually doesn’t just come out and just say all this. Often several times a day, Q will leave a post on 8-chan. (A hard-to-navigate website composed of user-created boards.) These Q posts tend to be in the form of questions and cryptic statements. Readers — aka “Anons” — call these “crumbs.” A community has arisen out of the effort to research and explain the posts.
A website called QAnon.pub is an easy way to see and search through the Q posts. 
So What is ‘Q’ … and Why is MSM Suddenly Targeting It? -Al Perrotta


The lady doth protest too much
Welcome to the show. The Washington Post is leading the unhinged Media Establishment attack on the QAnon story. In just a few days over a dozen anti-QAnon articles have been published by the Washington Post alone, each getting more manic and deranged as the desperation becomes all the more obvious. And more will follow.

It’s hard to think of another ‘conspiracy’ that has attracted so much attention from the media, especially one that is apparently just a LARP.

Note the deliberately provocative language used – “deranged” “scary” “cult” “virus” “terrifying” “nasty” “despicable” “twisted” “byzantine” – and that’s just from one media outlet’s headlines and slugs.
For those that don’t know, the QAnon ‘conspiracy theory’ mainly consists of a series of anonymous posts, which use the socratic method of asking the reader questions, encouraging them to find their own answers. The main purpose being to enlighten people of the corruption which has gone on for many years in various establishments. The Media Establishment is no exception. Which leaves many not surprised at all by this frantic coverage.

It really is quite laughable that these question-based posts can be labelled terrifying and dangerous when all they have led people to do is be more aware of how global politics and media propaganda works. Terrifying, yes, for the establishments in question.
Welcome To The MSM QAnon Show -Kerfuffled



Notes from the global leadership summit, by Joshua Reich

John Maxwell:
  • Creativity and flexibility are crucial in leadership today.
  • Creative people believe there is always an answer.
  • Flexibility says there’s usually more than one answer.
  • If you’re still excited about what you did 5 years ago, you aren’t growing.
T.D. Jakes:
  • Too many people have to see their way clear before they get started.
  • It doesn’t matter where you start, it matters where you finish.
  • Visions start in small places.
  • So much of what we learn is about winning but what stimulates growth is losing.
Craig Groeschel:
  • The two areas a leader needs to grow in is leadership (where are you taking me) and emotional intelligence (how are you treating me). 
  • The best leaders unleash higher performance through empowerment, not command and control. 
  • You can have control or growth, but you can’t have both. 
  • If you delegate tasks, you’re creating followers. If we delegate authority, we are creating leaders. 
  • If you don’t trust your team, you are either too controlling or you have the wrong people.




The F word and Pastors (failure)
I was fired in 2003. It was my greatest vocational humiliation. After serving a church for six years, I was invited into a brief elder meeting after teaching my regular Sunday adult course and told that reconciliation and relationship with the lead pastor would be impossible, that my termination was the only recourse. Sara found out as I walked through the front door of our home in tears. Our two babies were there. We’d recently put a deposit on a new home build. There was no goodbye, no thank you. I was not even allowed to keep my own Rembrandt painting – The Return of the Prodigal Son – the one Sara had gifted me after framing it. The prodigal wasn’t being asked to consider a return, I suppose.
It took years to reconcile this – to forgive, to bless that church, its pastor, and the leaders I’d grown to trust and love. But the sting of failure and rejection stayed with me for a long time. I had failed. At least, that’s how I narrated it. It was my worst fear as a pastor. Perhaps, even more bitter for this tender Enneagram 4 was that I felt utterly misunderstood. The short blurb in next Sunday’s program didn’t acknowledge the tears I’d cried for people in that place, the above-and-beyond care I offered, the new initiatives I started, the relationships we forged, the promises not delivered. Never before for me had rage and shame kissed in this way.
Too far to fall: The pastor’s worst fear – Failure
-Chuck Degroat






A Story of Love and Loss:
As Alfred Lord Tennyson once famously said: “Tis better to have loved and lost to have never loved at all.” This is something I have reflected on a lot over the past few months. At times the pain of losing her has been so much that I have wondered if life might have been easier had I not loved Gemma in the way that I did. The pain of our sudden separation might have somehow been less intense. A common comment I often receive on Instagram when I post about her is that I should be grateful that I got to love and be loved like that, because many never get to experience a love like this. In many ways, although not always written in the most sensitive manner, they’re right. I am blessed to have experienced love like this, I am blessed that out of our marriage came the wonderful gift of my boy who despite everything he is going through, has been a constant ray of hope and light. Tennyson is right, it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all, but my goodness when you do lose it, the pain is horrendous and the love you got to experience and enjoy is no comforter, it’s more like a tormentor.

In the words spoken at our wedding service by my Dad (who married us) he said this before we exchanged our vows: “They shall be united with one another in heart, body and mind, as Christ is united with his bride, the Church. The gift of marriage brings husband and wife together in the delight and tenderness of sexual union and joyful commitment to the end of their lives.”
Tis better to have loved and lost to have never loved at all. -Simon Thomas







Michelle Cehn's adoption story:

My Adoption Story -Michelle Cehn





Tips for missionary videos and conferencing:
  • Remember the time zone changes. Check out the local time zone for missionaries before setting up a video conference call. Otherwise, you might be asking someone to meet at two o’clock in the morning.
  • Be careful about security. Some countries are less than friendly to missionaries and so Christian workers there have to be careful. Make sure the video conferencing software has good security protocols. Some suggestions: Skype for Business and Zoom, both of which use encrypted data. Steer clear of FaceTime and Facebook Messenger when there are security concerns.
  • Be flexible. In some parts of the world, power and internet access aren’t always reliable. Be prepared for a bad connection—or that a planned meeting might not work out.
  • Call ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute to connect with the missionary during a service or meeting. Set up the connection ahead of time so there’s no last-minute scrambling.
Tips for filming missions videos:
  • Record in landscape mode (wide not tall).
  • Walk through the mission space/location and capture the activities going on there.
  • Remember to explain what people are seeing.
  • Try to stick close to people and activities—stay within 20 feet.
  • Get candid moments with people, not set up shots.
  • Identify one key story that is emblematic of the mission project. This could be a person who was blessed by the mission trip, someone local to the mission location whose life was changed, or some way God made something possible.
  • Change the camera’s recording settings to 4K and 24 FPS.
  • If you’re asking the missionary to film a short video, send specific instructions of the kinds of images or information you’re looking for.
Streaming Missions: How Video Helps Missionaries and Churches Stay Connected -Bob Smietana




Roger Olson's approved denominations list (2012):
First, I will inevitably omit some denominations because I don’t know enough about them. (Although I have been an unpaid consultant for the Handbook of Denominations in the United States and mentioned by the editor in the introduction. Denominations has long been a kind of hobby of mine.) Second, I may recommend a denomination that includes individual churches I would NOT recommend. Third, I may omit a denomination that includes very good individual churches that, if I knew about them, I would recommend. Fourth, in some cases I may be recommending a denomination based on their own information and it might not be completely reliable. I will do my best to work around those risks and avoid them, but I can’t guarantee anything.

What are my criteria for inclusion? First, the denomination has to be trinitarian. Second, it has to be broadly evangelical (and Protestant), not sectarian or rigidly fundamentalist, or primarily liberal (pluralistic, inclusive). Third, it has to be at least open to Arminians. That is, I will not recommend it if it is, as a denomination, confessionally Calvinist, such that an Arminian cannot teach or serve or hold office. 
Anabaptist and Quaker: Fellowship of Evangelical Churches, Mennonite Church, U.S.A., Missionary Church, Evangelical Friends International. (These I would recommend if the person inquiring was pacifist or seeking a “peace church” congregation to affiliate with. I would only recommend a Friends or Quaker church if the person could find some other way to participate in baptism and the Lord’s Supper.)
Brethren and Pietist: Brethren Church (Ashland), Brethren in Christ Church, Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Evangelical Congregational Church, Evangelical Covenant Church, Evangelical Free Church of America.
Baptist: American Baptist Churches, U.S.A. (many are evangelical, and the denomination as a whole calls itself evangelical), Baptist General Convention of Texas, Conservative Baptist Association of America (CBAmerica), Baptist General Conference/Converge Worldwide, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (some are evangelical, some are more liberal), General Association of General Baptists, National Association of Free Will Baptists, National Baptist Convention (some are evangelical, some are more liberal), National Baptist Convention, U.S.A. (same as the NBC), North American Baptist Conference, Original Free Will Baptist Convention, United American Free Will Baptist Church.
Methodist: African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Congregational Methodist Church, Evangelical Church of North America, Evangelical Methodist Church, The Salvation Army. (Note: I would only recommend The Salvation Army with the caveat that the person needs to find some way to participate in baptism and the Lord’s Supper.)
Holiness (these are mostly offshoots of the Methodist tradition): The Christian and Missionary Alliance, Church of Christ, Holiness, Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), Church of God (Holiness), Church of the Nazarene, Churches of Christ in Christian Union, Churches of God, General Conference (Winebrenner), The Free Methodist Church of North America, The Wesleyan Church.

Christian and Restorationist Churches (Stone-Campbellite Tradition): Independent Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, Christian Congregation, Inc.

Adventist: Advent Christian Church General Conference, Grace Communion International (formerly the Worldwide Church of God).
Pentecostal: Assemblies of God, International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies, Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), Church of God in Christ, Congregational Holiness Church, Elim Fellowship, Fire Baptized Holiness Church of God, Independent Assemblies of God, Fellowship of Christian Assemblies, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, International Pentecostal Holiness Church, Open Bible Churches, Pentecostal Church of God, Pentecostal Free Will Baptist Church, United Holy Church of God, Vineyard Churches International. (Note: I would only recommend one of these denominations if the person were seeking a Pentecostal-Charismatic type of church or were open to it.)
Now, a word about some other denominations and networks of churches:
Lutheran: There may be some Lutheran churches that are open to Arminianism that are not liberal/inclusive. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of American includes some large, growing, very evangelical congregations such as Lutheran Church of Hope (West Des Moines, Iowa). Some are charismatic. Most of these are probably open to Arminians even though Arminianism is not historically part of the Lutheran theological tradition. Some conservative, evangelical Lutheran denominations that are not sectarian or fundamentalist that may be open to Arminians include The American Association of Lutheran Churches, The Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, Church of the Lutheran Brethren of America.
The United Methodist Church is a large, “mainline” denomination that includes many evangelical congregations such as The Woodlands United Methodist Church in suburban Houston, Texas. However, many UMC churches are liberal/inclusive. All Methodist churches and offshoots are open to Arminianism now that the Calvinist Methodist Church has merged into a Reformed denomination.
Congregational and Reformed Churches: Most are Calvinist in orientation and would not allow Arminians to teach or hold church offices. However, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, although not Arminian, is more open to Arminian sensibilities than other Presbyterian denominations. (The Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. is a large, “mainline” denomination that is largely liberal/inclusivist but includes many evangelical congregations. Some of them may be open to Arminians, but, generally speaking, they adhere to the Westminister Confession of Faith which is contrary to Arminian belief.) The Conservative Congregational Christian Conference (CCCC) is evangelical and not as rigidly Calvinist as most Reformed churches.
Calvary Chapels are conservative, evangelical and, for the most part Arminian.
There are several relatively new Anglican and Episcopal denominations that are evangelical and amenable to Arminian theology. I am not familiar enough with any of them to name them here.
I have met and interacted with and worshiped with Seventh Day Adventists who are evangelical and Arminian. However, the SDA denomination is not usually considered “evangelical” in the historic American “movement” sense of the word. Nevertheless, I see it moving in that direction.
What about the Southern Baptist Convention? It is the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. Among its churches one can find almost anything, but the overall drift of the denomination has been to the conservative side in recent decades. Most of its churches, however, are “mainstream” evangelical in terms of ethos. Some are fundamentalist; few are liberal. (Nearly all, if not all, of the liberal or progressive ones left the SBC to join one of the several offshoots such as the Alliance of Baptists.) Many are open to Arminians (so long as they do not oppose the “security of the believer”) although Arminianism is not a term widely embraced among Southern Baptists. The common Southern Baptist ethos is compatible with Arminianism, but there is a surge of Calvinism among its churches and in some of its seminaries. It is very difficult to generalize about “Southern Baptists,” so I don’t include the denomination in my list of “approved denominations.” My advice to inquirers about Southern Baptist churches is to check each one out individually and watch out for fundamentalism (e.g., elevation of secondary doctrines to dogmas) and Calvinism.
My List of “Approved Denominations” -Roger E. Olson





Pastors love their jobs, preaching and teaching; but not so much mentoring or discipling
Pastoral ministry certainly has its peaks and valleys, but overall, most pastors are very satisfied with their vocation and feel energized and supported in their work. They particularly love preaching and teaching—a task most feel they are good at—but are regularly frustrated with the lack of commitment among their parishioners.
The Ups and Downs of Ministry -Barna Report




Where are the men?

You see, in my humble opinion we live in a society today where being a “man” is not always popular. Truth is, in many circles, we’re not even sure what a “man” is anymore. Men have been emasculated by the society for years. In fact, saying, “I feel like a man,” is considered in some circles to be threatening. Now, I’m not saying this because I am a man and I’ve got some inferiority complex. I don’t. I also don’t have a chip on my shoulder. But, I do believe we need to teach our boys how to be men. But, what does that mean? Does a man rule with an iron fist? Is he a chauvinist brute? No! Yet, it’s true… Men have done some really stupid stuff over the years and we’ve brought on ourselves a heap of justified criticism and critique. Men can be pigs…no question about it.
But, that’s not the kind of man I’m talking about. I’m talking about men who are servant-leaders. Men who are willing to bend the knee and take the towel and the basin. Men who are willing to die for their wives (as Christ died for the church) and that means a lot more than just taking a bullet in the head for her. That means we’re willing to do the laundry, load the dishwasher, bathe the kids, pick up the groceries. You get it. We lead by being humble, just like Jesus. I defer to Pam. I listen to her. I trust her judgment more than mine. (Can I get a witness men!)
Listen, men, plain and honest need all the help we can get! God gave Adam a “helper” in Eve. Read carefully: WOMEN DON’T NEED HELP. They can do it all on their own, if need be (and many do). Men need help! So, why would I ever (in my right mind) go against my helper. If Pam and I ever disagree, I don’t go against her wishes and say, “I’m the man and I’m supposed to lead…so I trump you!” Are you kidding! No way! We are one flesh in the Lord and if she doesn’t feel right about something (a decision or whatever), then I dare to stand still and wait. We wait to be in agreement. Why? Because there is one Holy Spirit. He’s not going to tell her one thing and me another. He will have us in agreement. There is no part of God that operates in confusion and certainly that is true of the Holy Spirit.
I shared the Top 10 Marriage Killers (from my perspective as a man in my 13-year pastor/counseling):
Top 10 Marriage Killers:
  1. tearing her down with words
  2. not listening to her, really listening to her
  3. comparing and contrasting your wrongs against hers
  4. responding with defensiveness or with sarcasm
  5. never saying, “I’m sorry”
  6. demanding she changes, but refusing to do so yourself
  7. thinking more of what you deserve, and she can give you, instead of what you can give her
  8. preserving your own well-being at her expense
  9. refusing to show humility with her or the kids
  10. reading this list and thinking she should be reading it…
Real Men Needed -D. Kevin Brown




Lance Wallnau- A word for this season






What is the highest calling for women?
Two single friends recently attended a teaching about an independent study of biblical femininity. Most of what they heard was fine, but the presenter was apparently so enthused about God's design for the female body that she elevated the roles of wife and mother beyond what was appropriate.
My single friends, one of whom is old enough that she will probably never marry and will definitely never have children, were shocked and angered. The over-enthusiasm for marriage and family meant that as single women, they both felt the shame of being "lesser-than."
I knew what they were experiencing. For many years, much of the teaching in the church has (unintentionally, I am sure) put an unbiblical spin on being a wife and mother as a woman's highest calling. I get that; being a wife and mother is a source of huge joy for me. And I get that some of the passion comes from trying to restore dignity to family relationships in the wake of cultural contempt, such as the well-known feminist aphorism, "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle."
We need to be careful, though, to keep things balanced in view of the significant shift concerning women's value and calling that we can see when we take the entire Bible into account.
All the Single Ladies -Sue Bohlin





Campers worship at pier church in Myrtle Beach






China Steps Up Crackdown on Christianity

Under President Xi Jinping, China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, believers are seeing their freedoms shrink dramatically even as the country undergoes a religious revival. Experts and activists say that as he consolidates his power, Xi is waging the most severe systematic suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedom was written into the Chinese constitution in 1982.






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Photo credit: Spacebridge by longobord CC 2.0

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