September 19, 2011- September 25, 2011 
 News In Review
 Vol 6, Issue 37
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The News In Review newsletter is a service provided by Understand The Times that is a compilation of the news articles previously posted on our site . Understand The Times does not endorse these events but rather is showing the church the current events.  The purpose of posting these articles is to warn the church of deception from a Biblical perspective.

 September 19 - UFO Sightings Spiked This Summer
 Article: Rising Interest In The Supernatural

According to an organization that tracks UFO reports, this summer has been an especially busy period for UFO sightings. The Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) noted that sightings increased over the past six weeks, with some states more than doubling their normal numbers.

"It's pretty exciting," said Clifford Clift, the international director of MUFON. "When you average 500 a month [nationwide] and go to 1,013 in one month, that's an interesting spike in sighting reports."

Clift told LIfe's Little Mysteries that he's not sure what to make of the data at this point. It could be the start of something big, or it could merely be a computer glitch that accidentally counted some reports twice. Another possibility is that we're simply in the midst of a "UFO flap," one of many periodic increases in sightings over the years.

There are several reasons UFOs might appear in flaps, or clusters. One is that objects in the sky are usually seen by many people, especially when they appear over urban areas. UFOs typically don't hover close to Earth or in someone's back yard; instead, they are often sighted high in the sky - just far enough away so that we can't see details or get sharp photos.

There are also psychological and social explanations. Sightings are often fueled by the mass media; people read about mysterious things or see TV shows about them, and interest or concern about them spreads from person to person. It's not that anyone is hoaxing or making up sightings: Research has shown that if you tell people what to look for (a phenomenon called "priming"), people will often see what they are looking for - whether those things exist or not.

As Clift noted, "It's likely that the media and [alien-themed] movies that are coming out, like 'Apollo 18' and 'Paul,' are piquing people's interest in UFOs." People hear about UFOs, and for a while they tend to look at the sky more often, wondering if they might have their own sighting. And precisely because people are spending more time looking at the sky, they will for the first time notice (normal) lights and objects that have always been there.

Whether the increase in sightings is rooted in reality, a computer glitch, or psychological and social influences remains to be seen. One thing is certain: This is not the first time that UFO reports have increased, and it won't be the last.

Read Full Article .... 

 September 14 - More Americans tailoring religion to fit their needs
 Article: Miscellaneous

If World War II-era warbler Kate Smith sang today, her anthem could be Gods Bless America. That's one of the key findings in newly released research that reveals America's drift from clearly defined religious denominations to faiths cut to fit personal preferences.

The folks who make up God as they go are side-by-side with self-proclaimed believers who claim the Christian label but shed their ties to traditional beliefs and practices.
Religion statistics expert George Barna says, with a wry hint of exaggeration, America is headed for "310 million people with 310 million religions."

"We are a designer society. We want everything customized to our personal needs - our clothing, our food, our education," he says. Now it's our religion.

The consequence, Barna says, is that, for every subgroup of religion, race, gender, age and region of the country, the important markers of religious connection are fracturing. When he measures people by their belief in seven essential doctrines, defined by the National Association of Evangelicals' Statement of Faith, only 7% of those surveyed qualified.

Barna laments, "People say, 'I believe in God. I believe the Bible is a good book. And then I believe whatever I want.'"

LifeWay Research reinforces those findings: A new survey of 900 U.S. Protestant pastors finds 62% predict the importance of being identified with a denomination will diminish over the next 10 years.

Bellah sees two sides to the one-person-one-religion trend. On the positive: It's harder to hold on to prejudices against groups - by religion or race or gender or sexuality - if everyone wants to be seen individually. "The bad news is you lose the capacity to make connections. Everyone is pretty much on their own," he says. And all this rampant individualism also fosters "hostility toward organized groups - government, industry, even organized religion."

Read Full Article.... 

 September 14 - Saudi Arabia warns off US on Palestinian veto
 Article: Israel And The Last Days

A former head of Saudi Arabian intelligence and ex-ambassador to Washington, Turki al-Faisal, has warned that an American veto of Palestinian membership of the United Nations would end the ''special relationship'' between the two countries, and make the US ''toxic'' in the Arab world.

The warning comes as Washington is scrambling to avoid a scenario where it alone casts a veto in the UN Security Council against the Palestinian bid for recognition of statehood, which is expected to be formally requested next week.

Mr Faisal says in an article in The New York Times that the US will jeopardize its close ties with Saudi Arabia and further undermine its position in a changing Arab world if it again sides with Israel.

''The United States must support the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations this month or risk losing the little credibility it has in the Arab world. If it does not, American influence will decline further, Israeli security will be undermined and Iran will be empowered, increasing the chances of another war in the region,''
Mr Faisal says.

''Moreover, Saudi Arabia would no longer be able to co-operate with America in the same way it historically has. With most of the Arab world in upheaval, the 'special relationship' between Saudi Arabia and the United States would increasingly be seen as toxic by the vast majority of Arabs and Muslims, who demand justice for the Palestinian people.'' He adds: ''Saudi leaders would be forced by domestic and regional pressures to adopt a far more independent and assertive foreign policy.''

''American support for Palestinian statehood is therefore crucial, and a veto will have profound negative consequences. In addition to causing substantial damage to American-Saudi relations and provoking uproar among Muslims worldwide, the United States would further undermine its relations with the Muslim world, empower Iran and threaten regional stability,'' Mr Faisal writes.


Read Full Article.... 

 September 17 - Pope: All religions need to Coexist
 Article: One World Religion

Comment from Understand the Times:
Once again the pope calls for all religions to be tolerant of each other and find a way to co-exist for the cause of peace. If tolerance means acceptance, then why did Jesus have to die on the cross for our sins? The pope's gospel is very confusing in light of what Jesus said. He said that all those who worship other gods are lost and on their way to hell.
When true Christians profess the true gospel they are labeled as intolerant and persecuted. This is what the Roman Catholic Inquisition was all about. Could there be another inquisition for those who refuse to accept the pope's rule? Time will tell.
The pope has stated that if people of all faiths do not "give themselves to each other" that we will create hell on earth. He insists we need to "let our neighbor in." The pope gave his thoughts at an interreligious dialogue meeting on Tuesday in Munich, Germany. He stated:

"The theme of the peace meeting, 'Bound to live together,' reminds us that we as human beings are bound to each other. This living together is in fact a precondition that derives from our being human. And it is our duty to give it a positive content."

He added that living together can "transform itself into living against one another." It "can become a hell if we do not learn to accept one another, if everyone only wants to be himself or herself."

He continued: "it can also be a gift when we open up to one another, when we give ourselves to one another."

The pope explained that living together was no longer a local issue, but is now a global issue for all of humanity and called it a "task" and a "gift."

He said that God wanted all of humanity to be a family and for everyone to be "brothers and sisters."

Pope Benedict XVI concluded by stating:

"When religion fails in this meeting with God, when it pulls him down to us instead of raising us up to him, when we, so to say, make him our possession, then it can contribute to the destruction of peace," he cautioned. "But if it finds the way to the divine, to the creator and redeemer of all people, then it is a force for peace."

Read Full Article.... 

 September 16 - What is a 'missional' church?
 Article: Emerging Church

Comment from Understand the Times:
The term "missional" is commonly used as part of the emerging church vocabulary. The following article explains what the term means. In other words, the belief is that traditional Bible believing Christianity must be completely re-invented to become an all embracing belief system that teaches there are many ways to God.
Jesus said there is one way that leads to heaven, and that He was the only way. If you choose to accept the "missional" definition of Christianity then you will be on the wide way that leads to hell separated from Jesus Christ for eternity.
We hear others talk about what they are "doing" at their church. And we tell people what we are "doing" at our church. But what Christians in all denominations are asking themselves and others is, are "doing" and "being" a Christian the same thing?

Something new is being discussed and embraced by Christians around the world. Many Christian writers are saying that the rise of the missional church is the single biggest development in Christianity since the Reformation. Just as the medieval church was different from the church we see in the Book of Acts, the church after the Reformation looks totally different from its medieval predecessor. And the emerging missional church will just as dramatically distinguish itself from what we now call "church."

Missional church is a way of living, not an affiliation with a group or an activity. To think and to live missionally is to see all of life as a way to be engaged with the mission of God in the world. This missional understanding of Christianity is literally "undoing" Christianity as a collection of man-made traditions and recreating it as the family of believers God planned and that we see in the New Testament.

The shifts go way beyond denominational affiliations, worship styles, program approaches or cultural stances. The missional development goes to the very heart of what the church is, not just what it does. It redefines the church's role in the world in a way that breaks sharply with what many churches think.

The result of this shift will be that, within a few years, it will be impossible to think of church in the way we used to, as something we "went to" or "participated in" or "joined" or "attended."

The idea of missional church is being embraced by thousands of churches across the country. But to be missional requires a new "scorecard" for being successful as a congregation. The typical church scorecard (how many, how often, how much) doesn't mesh with a missional view of how the church monitors success. The current scorecard rewards church "activity" and can be filled without any interaction with the community beyond the church doors. It promotes the internally focused, program and church-based side of the ledger.

Read Full Article.... 

 September 19 - 40 Ways to Increase Baptisms by RICK WARREN
 Article: Miscellaneous

Comment from Understand the Times:
No comment required.
Here's a list of some simple things we do to increase baptisms at Saddleback that almost any church can do:

1. Mention the value, purpose and benefits of baptism regularly in sermons.

2. Videotape some of your baptisms. Prepare a music video of baptisms to show in your worship service so people who've never seen a baptism can witness one.

3. Have clothes ready for people who decide spontaneously to be baptized after a service.

4. Make it a party atmosphere. It's a celebration, not a funeral. Applaud baptisms!

5. Invite small group members to witness the baptism and identify them before each baptism.

6. Prepare a beautiful leatherette-bound baptism folder to hold their certificate.

7. Have a required membership class that explains the meaning of baptism in detail.

8. Always baptize on special days when relatives may be in town - Christmas, Mother's Day, New Year's Eve, etc.

9. Always baptize on special days of the church. (We baptized over 400 on the day we opened our Worship Center.)

10. Allow entire families (after confirming that all are believers) to enter the pool together.

11. Hug each person after they have been baptized!

12. Interview all candidates at the water's edge to hear their story of how Jesus changed them.

13. Build a Baptism Team of volunteers who assist with all baptisms. Have matching shirts to identify the Baptism Team and the pastors leading the service.

14. Have a professional photographer there to capture the moment, and include a picture of their baptism along with their certificate of baptism.

15. Print a "Why Be Baptized?" brochure. Use Scripture and lots of testimonies.

16. Put the brochure information, baptism pictures, and even videos of baptisms on your website so people can forward it to others.

17. Have pre-printed invitations for the baptism candidates to use in inviting lost friends and relatives to a service and to witness their baptism.

18. Make the baptism pool and surrounding area beautiful, inviting and non-threatening. (Many baptisms are perched up so high inside the church that it feels distant and disconnected. Our baptism pool is outside in our patio area so people can gather up close around it for a more intimate feeling.)

19. After the baptism service, encourage people to go out afterward for coffee or dessert to celebrate and find out what the experience meant to the person baptized and to the family and friends who watched it.

20. Publicize the baptisms with posters around your church. Get "one line" testimonies from people who have been baptized. Take an 8×10 photo of that person, and mount his/her photo and quote on a 2'x3' foam board sign. Put this on a tripod in a visible area after the service where people can sign up to be baptized.

21. Have small groups encourage people in the group to sign up for the next baptism.

22. Identify and celebrate other special moments at the water's edge (birthdays, anniversaries, spiritual birthdays, etc.).

23. Train your Baptism Team volunteers to greet everyone and make them comfortable.

24. Provide a sound system that will allow spectators to hear the testimonies.

25. Always have the baptismal pool warm and chlorinated before services.

26. Have a corporate prayer of celebration at the end of each service to thank God for those baptized.

27. Sing a great chorus or hymn about the power of God to change someone's life.

28. During warmer weather, offer baptisms at a beach, lake or slow-flow river.

29. Develop a "Baptism Party in a Box" kit that includes ideas for a family party following baptism.

30. Provide outdoor heaters if you baptize outdoors in the winter.

31. Set up good lighting if you baptize outside after evening services.

32. Have hand towels with the church's logo available as a gift (memory keeper).

33. Ask each small group in your church to use one week where each member shares his/her baptism experience.

34. Use banners and signs the week prior to baptisms to draw interest, especially for beach or lake baptisms.

35. Build a baptism service into an extended spiritual growth campaign. Build on momentum.

36. Constantly emphasize baptism as the next step after committing your life to Christ. Have sign-ups everywhere.

37. Give a follow-up booklet, a button and a free gift for those who obey Christ's command to be baptized.

38. Have a special Christian's baptism class as a requirement for baptizing children. Insist that at least one parent attend with their child.

39. When baptizing grade school children, have the baptizing pastor hold their hands lifted high after they come out of the water, like you would with a winner in a game.

40. Address Frequently Asked Questions in a brochure people can walk away with, and deal personally with every fear or hang-up about baptism.

Do these 40 things, and I'm confident the number of people wanting to publicly demonstrate their faith through baptism will rise dramatically.

Read Full Article.... 

 September 19 - Pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren addresses students at Liberty University
 Article: One World Religion

Comment from Understand the Times:
Keep your eyes on Liberty University and their connection with Rick Warren and Purpose Driven Christianity. Purpose Driven Christianity along with Tony Blair and his Faith Foundation promote a one world religion for peace which is one of the goals of the Roman Church which is promoted by the Jesuits. Is this another sign that we are seeing events coming together that have long been foretold in the Bible?

A best-selling author and founder of one of America's largest churches visited one local hometown Monday. Rick Warren was in Lynchburg, speaking to students at Liberty University.

During convocation Monday morning, Warren encouraged students to let God use their lives for a greater purpose.

Warren wrote "The Purpose Driven Life," a New York Times best-seller that's sold more than 30-million copies. He's the senior pastor at Saddleback Church in California, which boasts the nation's eighth-largest congregation.

Warren was supposed to speak at Lynchburg's Thomas Road Baptist Church yesterday. He had to postpone his visit due to a scheduling conflict.

Read Full Article.... 

 September 19 - Conference Emphasizes Yearning for the Holy Temple
 Article: Israel Amd The Last Days

The Holy Temple Conferences by the Movement for Temple Renewal, with the participation of leading temple-oriented organizations, took place in the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem on Sunday. The conference included lectures on different matters connected to the Temple Mount and to the rebuilding of the Temple.

Following the lectures, a general meeting was held inside the Great Synagogue, where participants heard more lectures and music related to the Temple. They then ate what is called the Seudat Hamikdash - the Temple Repast.

"This is all in order to raise awareness of the Holy Temple, the Temple Mount, and its significance to the Jewish people," explained Ben Yosef.

He said that it is no coincidence that the conference took place this week, as the Palestinian Authority prepares to present its unilateral statehood bid to the UN. "It's obvious that the vacuum caused by there being no Temple and a lack of Jewish presence on the Temple Mount led the Arabs to call the creation of a new state," said Ben Yosef.

"Jewish presence on the Temple Mount is a natural part of the view," he said. "We're here trying to gather our energy and work together towards this goal."

From whatever point on the globe they are, Jews pray facing the Temple Mount and have done so since the first Holy Temple was built during King Solomon's reign. Their prayers included the hope to rebuild the Temple and ascend the Temple Mount to worship there. Seeing mosques standing on the site from the 7th century on due to the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem was a difficult pill for the Jewish people to swallow, in addition to mourning the Second Temple's destruction by the Roman legion in the 1st century.

Read Full Article.... 

 September 17 - United Methodist Future in Jeopardy, Say 400 Clergy
 Article: Perilous Times

Hundreds of United Methodist clergy are expressing deep concerns over a pledge made by a large group of fellow ministers to marry same-sex couples. They argue that if the pledge is carried through, the future of the denomination is in jeopardy.

"We do not know how many, if any, marriages or 'holy unions' of same-sex couples will be performed by UM clergy in the near future," reads a letter, currently signed by more than 400 pastors, to the Council of Bishops. "But we do know the destructive effects that will result in our local churches and throughout the denomination if such services are performed by UM pastors."

The concerned clergy
are referring to a pledge that some 900 ministers have endorsed in support of same-sex civil unions. By signing the pledge, they agreed to defy the denomination's ban on blessing same-sex unions.

The United Methodist Church holds the position that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching and that homosexual unions "shall not be conducted by our ministers" or in UMC churches.

While the denomination has debated the issue of homosexuality for decades, the growing number of clergy willing to disobey church laws and marry gay and lesbian couples has many in the church concerned.

The United Methodist Church's General Conference meets every four years. In its most recent meeting in 2008, delegates voted to maintain the church's policy prohibiting the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of partnered homosexuals. But with hundreds now signing on to a pledge to defy the decisions of the denomination's highest governing body, many clergy say this could prove destructive to the unity of the church.

"Honestly, we fear that many of our people will decide that if The United Methodist Church will not live by the covenant that holds us together, it will be time for them to find another church,"
they state in the letter to bishops.

Read Full Article.... 

 September 18 - Christians in Mexico Forced From Village / Traditionalist Catholics in Puebla state threaten to kill Protestants
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

Comment from Understand the Times:
The following article could be a preview of the what will soon be happening world wide as we move towards a one world religion, the Roman Catholic way. Those who refuse to go along with Rome will very likely face another inquisition.
UTT would like to challenge the pope to confront the traditional Catholics mentioned here in Mexico and to stop treating Protestants the way they are treating them.

About 70 Protestant Christians lived in the village of San Rafael Tlanalapan, Puebla state, until Monday (Sept. 12), when they faced a frightening ultimatum - leave immediately or be "crucified or lynched."

Traditionalist Catholics in the village, near the municipality of San Martín Texmelucan about 60 miles from Mexico City, reportedly threatened to burn down or otherwise destroy their homes. The Protestants left.

The traditionalist Catholics, who practice a blend of indigenous and Catholic rituals, reportedly asserted that 20 years ago an assistant village president had vowed that no temple of any non-Catholic faith would ever be permitted in San Rafael Tlanalapan. Protestants in Puebla, Hidalgo, Chiapas and other states sometimes refuse to help pay for and participate in traditionalist Catholic festivals, which often include drunken revelry and what they regard as idolatrous adoration of saints.

In 2006, the Protestants in San Rafael Tlanalapan asked for government help after Catholics led village authorities to cut off their water supply.

Tensions reached a crisis level two weeks ago, when local priest Ascension Benitez Gonzalez reportedly said in a Sept. 4 sermon that his parishioners should pressure the Protestants to leave for good. Although their number has grown to 70, the evangelical Protestants have been allowed no place of worship.

On Sept. 7, the village's assistant president, Antonio Garcia Ovalle, reportedly met with the Protestants. The evangelicals promised to leave, though the 200 traditionalist Catholics present sought to beat them and expel them right then. According to Puebla online news portal Quince minutes.com, the priest rang the church bells continually during the meeting.

The evangelicals' departure date was set for Monday (Sept. 12). In a newscast two days later on TV Azteca of Puebla, area traditionalist Catholic Irma Diaz Perez rejoiced, saying, "They will never return, because we have drawn up a document wherein they have no permission to come back now or ever."

Read Full Article.... 

We hope the Weekly News In Review has been a blessing to you.

Roger Oakland

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