community

The Sower

“….Behold, the sower went forth to sow . And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty,” (Matthew 13:3-8).

This is a fascinating, multidimensional parable. Most of the time we interpret it by focusing only on the soil. Each one of us who has studied the parable has shuddered at the likelihood of being identified with wayside soil, rocky soil or thorny ground. Because we desire to be the good soil, we find ourselves almost always compelled to conduct a deep self-introspection, and an evaluation of our own spiritual standing. We make an effort to identify strongholds in our lives that defy spiritual regeneration; areas that need to be surrendered to God so that we can walk in victory and worthy of our calling, which is a commendable undertaking indeed. We do not want to be the type of soil that is not productive nor do we want to belong to churches that are inefficient or those that misuse or waste the resources dedicated to the Lord. This mindset has engrossed the church so much that it has become a guide in planning evangelistic efforts. When planning evangelistic meetings, budgets are carefully planned to avoid “wayside, stony, and thorny ground” wastage. The focus is usually on potentially “good soil” as the target population group for our efforts so that we can end up with a 30-fold, 60-fold or 100-fold harvest. The more, the better—it is a game of statistics!!! We send individuals ahead to till the ground to ensure that it is receptive to the seed because we must be smarter than that “reckless” sower of antiquity. Sometimes special marketing strategies are designed and implemented to maximize the harvest from the church’s financial investment. No wonder we end up with homogeneous churches-cocoons that shut-out “publicans.”

But what if we attempted to look at this parable from another dimension? What if we focused on the nature of the sower Himself? This seemingly wasteful sower seems to have no concept of the cost of His seed in the light of global economic down-turns. He insists on being appallingly extravagant! As a matter of fact, extravagance is His nature. He tends to always give exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask or think. Look at how lavishly He has arrayed the universe with billions of galaxies and astonishingly glorious nebulae. One only has to look into the telescope to behold astounding formations of constellations hanging against the vast darkness of space. Then there is that gem of our universe, the blue planet swarming with an unparalleled ecosystem. This is also home to creatures bearing His image, to whom He gave His Son. Talk about epic giving!
This is the Sower who goes out to sow His seed in myriad of soil types. Not skipping over the dry, unpromising soil, He casts His seed on the wayside and bicycle lanes, and asphalt pavement with a constant flow of incessant traffic. Pedestrians jostle for space, dodging each other in the hectic traffic, oblivious of the seed they are crushing underfoot. The traffic is so dense that the “senseless” efforts of the Sower become an irritating distraction and, consequently, a target of disparagement and crass jokes. But the Sower keeps on sowing His seed unmindful of the profanities directed at Him. Some seed falls on hungry winos sprawled in the gutters of the back alleys of the city center. Curiously, they pick up the seed, examine it, toss it in the mouth and down it with the dregs of their stale beer. Some of the seed falls on the soil littered with rotting trash on the edges of the gutters. It quickly germinates and blossoms into stunningly beautiful flowers. Enthusiastically, the Sower continues to sow His seed. Some of it falls in church parking lots and the deacons quickly sweep it away in an attempt to keep the grounds immaculate for parishioners. On and on the sower goes…to those steeped into superstition and witchcraft. Some of them pick the seed up. Supposing it to be a magical remedy for their ailments, they eat it up. The Sower proceeds to institutions of higher learning, scattering His seed in lecture halls amid scorn and hysterical ridicule. Tirelessly, he marches casting His seed in fields in the community valley where the seed sprouts and brings forth a rich harvest. He keeps on sowing joyfully and lavishly until the end of the planting season.

Human Beings: Moral Agents or Victims of Genetic Heritage?

If lawmakers become diehard macroevolutionists, then they would surely believe that there is really not much essential difference between the nature of human beings and that of animals, and that human behavior is actually determined by genetics. How does this perspective affect justice? In 1994, Richard Mobley was tried for the crime of the murder of Domino’s 24 year-old Pizza store manager. The jury sentenced Mobley to death. But Mr. Mobley’s lawyers appealed the sentence to the state supreme court, arguing that Mr. Mobley’s genes predisposed him to violent criminal behavior: “His actions may not have been a product of total free will,” argued Daniel Summer, one of Mobley’s lawyers.1 Crimes in the Mobley family have “been going on for years – aunts, uncles, cousins, murder, rape, robbery, suicide, you name it.” The argument here is that Mobley had no control over his actions because of his genetic heritage!! As a result, he could not be held responsible for his actions since he was a victim of his genes. This kind of reasoning originates from belief in macroevolution. Against this backdrop, what chance does the intrinsic value of human life stand? Remember that macroevolution was first introduced in academia, the field that trains future lawmakers and other key societal leaders and professionals. Consequently, most of them interpret law from a macroevolution perspective in tandem with the positive law model, which rejects the laws of the Creator in preference of laws imposed by human governments.
As macroevolution gained ground, the Creator and what He stands for began to be jettisoned out of the public arena because the two are incompatible. Since then a series of events have been focused on rejecting God’s law. For example, the Supreme Court ruled that devotional prayer had no place in public school classes in 1962.2 Then the following year, the same court ruled against having devotional reading in classes. In 1973, the court scraped off the unborn child’s right to life. Seven years after this, the Ten Commandments were taken out of schools.3 Another seven years later, the court ruled that creation could not be taught side by side with evolution as it was being taught in schools. Macroevolution and evolution in general fast obtained a place on the pedestal as the referent point for societal values and laws.
At the heels of these changes, some scholars postulating evolution began to think they had sovereignty over the fate of human life, and became so bold as to attempt to redefine what constitutes personhood. Peter Singer, an Australian moral philosopher and Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University wrote in 1979 that “Human babies are not born self-aware or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons,” as such, “the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog or a chimpanzee.”4 Early in 1972, Michael Tooley made the startling statement that a human being “possesses a serious right to life only if it possesses the concept of a self as a continuing subject of experiences and other mental states, and believes that it is itself such a continuity.”5 Of course, infants do not possess these attributes yet. Another staggering proclamation was made by Jeffery Reiman when he declared that infants do not “possess in their own right a property that makes it wrong to kill them.”6 These are individuals touted as intellectuals who occupy positions of leadership of some sort in our societies. But they would think nothing of snuffing the lives of the most vulnerable among us!!

Against all these attacks on human life, the Word of God resolutely states that, “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you,” (Jeremiah 1:5).

Sources

1 Edward Felsenthal writing for the Wall Street Journal (November 15, 1994). Man’s Genes Made Him Kill, His Lawyers Claim. Accessed from http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mobley/RM95.TXT

2 Americans United for Separation of Church and State (2005). Prayer and the Public Schools: Religion, Education and Your Rights. Accessed from https://www.au.org/files/Prayer%20and%20the%20Public%20Schools%2006-11_2.pdf

3 The Supreme Court vs. Faith and the Bible. Article accessed from http://www.blowthetrumpet.org/CourtverseBible.htm

4 Scott Klusendorf (2015). Peter Singer’s Bold Defense of Infanticide. Accessed from http://www.equip.org/article/peter-singers-bold-defense-of-infanticide/#christian-books-1
5 Ibid.
6 Ibid

Read more about how God loves you: http://www.wmturls.com/pp

Your Body’s Microbe Community-An Ecosystem of Its Own Kind

At the heels of the Human Genome Project came the National Institutes of Health Common Fund Human Microbiome Project aimed at encouraging and generating research resources for characterization of the human microbiota and the part they play in and on the bodies of both healthy and diseased individuals.
In a discipline called metagenomics, scientists are sequencing and analyzing the DNA of complex and uncultured microbial samples from different microbial communities. The human microbiome is a collection of microbes that inhabit the human body. Each human body is teeming with variant microbes belonging to a variety of species. They are so numerous that they outnumber the cells of the entire body by 10 to 1. This means that there are 10 microbes to one human cell. These microbes have about 100 times more genes than our genome!!! Your stomach and mine have each 100 billion bacteria for every one gram of their matter.1 The human body hosts all these microbes and many more, forming something of a microbial ecosystem. An assortment of microbes resides in the oral cavity, alimentary canal, nose, skin etc…
Scientists working with the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) are analyzing microbial genetic information in order to understand the role microbes play in etiology of disease. Each person’s microbiome is unique to them; as unique as their finger prints. Each individual can host different microbial communities on and in different sites of their body.
Scientists claim that each microbial community can be used to predict the body’s susceptibility to diseases, and other characteristics. For instance, by studying the microbiome of an individual, scientists can tell whether the person was breastfed as a child, and even their level of education. By sequencing and studying microbiomes from individuals with different diseases, they are able to establish associations between human microbiomes and disease. This is critical for identifying new diagnostic and treatment regimens.2 However, not all microbes are disease causing. Some microbes do a lot for us such as digesting food, and synthesizing vitamins.
Microbes from different sites of the body can also be predictive of other communities. This means that by examining microbes from a given site of the body, say, the mouth, we can tell what kind of community is in the person’s alimentary canal, too. This helps in the study of risk of diseases in people, and can lead to discovery of efficacious personalized therapies.
As for taking antibiotics, one has to be very careful as this can be similar to applying herbicides to the ecosystem. Sometimes, this can destabilize the system to our detriment. It can also become breeding ground for super-bugs.

Sources

Heather Kathryn Ross (2014). Is the Forest of Bacteria Inside You Your Most Precious Resource? Accessed from http://www.healthline.com/health/microbiome-discover-your-trillions-of-bacteria

Vincent B. Young, Robert A. Britton, & Thomas M. Schmidt (2008). The Human Microbiome and
Infectious Diseases: Beyond Koch. Accessed from Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases
Volume, Article ID 296873, doi:10.1155/2008/296873

Healing for Natural and Spiritual Cancer Cells

COVER COPYThe human body contains trillions of different types of cells performing an assortment of functions. For example, muscle cells manufacture energy for movement; bone cells make up the skeleton of vertebrates; red blood cells course through the blood taking food and oxygen to other cells, and fat cells store up energy and fat. Fat cells also control levels of free fatty acids in the bloodstream.  Cells come in different sizes and shapes. The longest cell in the human body is called a motor cell which extends from the lower spinal cord all the way to the big toe. It can be up to 4.5 feet in length. Cells produce other cells in a continuous process of cell division. Every time a cell divides DNA re-forms itself. All these cells function in a conscious and coordinated manner to sustain the function of the body. Altogether the human body has 200 different types of cells.

Sadly, a situation can arise in which a cell might rebel and refuse to perform its programmed functions. For example, if a fat cell rebels, it begins to hoard its fat reserves and neglects the needs of the body for energy. It starts to grow exponentially and as it divides it produces daughter cells after its likeness-rebellious and self-serving. Soon a tumor begins to develop, threatening the well-being of the entire organism. Nutritionists claim that most cancers can be prevented by proper nutrition and pure filtered water. They propose a liberal consumption of plant foods such as herbs, fruits, and vegetables which act as inhibitors of the proliferation of cancer while at the same time strengthening, cleansing and repairing the body.

The community of believers, can learn quite a bit from the behavior of our body cells. Ours is a mosaic community composed of a variety of members hailing from diverse backgrounds, professions, ethnic groups and races, forming one body: the Body of Christ. However, if some members of the Body of Christ adopt the unfortunate stance of the fat cells described above and rebel against the Body; if they start utilizing their abilities for their benefit only, a spiritual tumor can easily develop and spread to other parts of the Body, crippling and stunting growth. Some of these spiritual tumors can grow so large that they can develop into cults with devastating consequences. To combat this, the community of believers has been endowed with different specializations and unique abilities which we call spiritual gifts. These are sources of the needed edification for the Body of the Lord. They also provide it with the necessary spiritual nutrition which, in turn, inhibits and prevents the formation of spiritual cancer cells. Check this out: http://youtu.be/9TOcHIb8N5k

Community Lessons from Blood Circulation

The human body contains trillions of different types of cells performing an assortment of functions. For example, muscle cells manufacture energy for movement; bone cells make up the skeleton of vertebrates; red blood cells course through the blood taking food and oxygen to other cells, and fat cells store up energy and fat. Fat cells also control levels of free fatty acids in the bloodstream. Cells come in different sizes and shapes. The longest cell in the human body is called a motor cell which extends from the lower spinal cord all the way to the big toe. It can be up to 4.5 feet in length. Cells produce other cells in a continuous process of cell division. Every time a cell divides DNA re-forms itself. All these cells function in a conscious and coordinated manner to sustain the function of the body. Altogether the human body has 200 different types of cells.
Sadly, a situation can arise in which a cell might rebel and refuse to perform its programmed functions. For example, if a fat cell rebels, it begins to hoard its fat reserves and neglects the needs of the body for energy. It starts to grow exponentially and as it divides it produces daughter cells after its likeness-rebellious and self-serving. Soon a tumor begins to develop, threatening the well-being of the entire organism.
We, as a community of believers, can learn quite a bit from the behavior of our body cells. Ours is a mosaic community composed of a variety of members hailing from diverse backgrounds, professions, ethnic groups and races, forming one body: the Body of Christ. We have different specializations and unique abilities which we call spiritual gifts for the edification of the Body of the Lord. Some among us are teachers; others are pastors, prophets, healers, helpers, apostles…etc. However, if some members of the Body of Christ adopt the unfortunate stance of the fat cell described above and rebel against the Body; if they start utilizing their abilities for their benefit only, a spiritual tumor can easily develop and spread to other parts of the Body, crippling and stunting growth. Some of these spiritual tumors can grow so large that they can develop into cults with devastating consequences. Individual members of the Body of Christ can only find fulfillment in serving the rest of the Body wherever their gifts are required and not in self-service. Jesus’ ministry was the epitome of selfless service. This is the standard he set for his Body as well: “…but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,” (Matt. 20:26).