Archive | June, 2013

Smile to the world – The movie

25 Jun

The “Magnificent 7” production team is proud to present the very first DSLR movie made by 55 filmmakers from 31 different countries on the 5 continents. The basic idea was simply to shoot a woman smile and a smiling man in each country. After 4 months of hard work, the final movie is now available !
Fanny Holzleiter, a young Hungarian fighting against the disease with a smile, is the official ambassador of the project. Grace Hutton, of South Africa, is the muse of the film.

The Washington Influencers

23 Jun

Why Christian Students Walk Away From Faith | Aaron Buer

17 Jun

Why Christian Students Walk Away From Faith | Aaron Buer.

For the last 3 years, I have obsessively focused on this question.  As a pastor to students, this is the sort of thing that keeps me up at night.

One of our former students and current volunteers shared this article with me and I think it is worth the read.  The article is written by Larry Alex Taunton who is the executive director of the Fixed Point Foundation.  Honestly, I know nothing about him or his organization but the study intrigued me because it offered “members of Secular Student Alliances (SSA) or Freethought Societies (FS)s” an opportunity to share “your journey to unbelief“.  Here were some of Larry Alex Taunton’s observations:

1. “They had attended church”

2. “The mission and message of their churches was vague”

3.  “They felt their churches offered superficial answers to life’s difficult questions

4.  “They expressed their respect for those ministers who took the Bible seriously

5.  “Ages 14-17 were decisive

6.  “The decision to embrace unbelief was often an emotional one

7.  “The internet factored heavily into their conversion to atheism

Personally, I believe we are losing students to irrelevant faith and atheism because they don’t find Christianity compelling which is ridiculous because the mission of the Gospel is insanely compelling.  But, this is on us–not them.  Students want to be part of a mission bigger than themselves and if we aren’t connecting them to it they will go elsewhere for meaning.

Also, research shows that many students are walking away because they didn’t have a safe place to wrestle with doubts.  We MUST become churches where it is not only OK but also encouraged to openly wrestle with doubts.

The Great Grad School Debate: Should You Go or Should You Stay? – Online Colleges

13 Jun


Child labour day

12 Jun


“The International Labour Organization (ILO) says that many work in conditions that are sometimes verging on slavery.

The report, released to mark the World Day Against Child Labour, suggests that 6.5 million of these children are aged between five and 14 years old and over 71% are girls.

The report also says many are subjected to physical and sexual violence.

Some are sent into work to supplement the family’s income or to pay off debts. They are often denied access to education.

The ILO says domestic child labour remains largely hidden and is calling for new international regulations.

Because the work takes place within homes, it it is difficult to regulate.

“The child is working, but is not considered as a worker, and although the child lives in a family setting, she or he is not treated like a family member,” the report says.

“We need a robust legal framework to clearly identify, prevent and eliminate child labour in domestic work, and to provide decent working conditions to adolescents when they can legally work,” said Constance Thomas from the ILO.

The report also stresses that domestic work is an important source of employment, especially for millions of women.

“Domestic workers of all ages are increasingly performing a vital task in many economies” added Ms Thomas.”


Calling All Mozarts

11 Jun

CNN: “South Africans pray as Nelson Mandela remains hospitalized”

9 Jun


Johannesburg (CNN) — South Africans offered prayers at church services while the rest of the world awaited word Sunday on Nelson Mandela’s condition, a day after the ailing civil rights icon was rushed to the hospital yet again.

The office hasn’t offered a new update since informing the world Saturday that Mandela was in “serious but stable condition” at a Pretoria hospital with a recurring lung infection.

Visitors to the website of the South African president’s office got error messages Sunday.

Reached via e-mail Sunday, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj told CNN he did not have an update to offer.

Mandela, 94, has become increasingly frail, and has been in and out of hospitals in recent years.

Each time he has done so, he has sparked concerns worldwide.

‘We will release him’

On Sunday, the front page of South Africa’s Sunday Times read, “It’s time to let him go.”

The paper quoted Mandela’s longtime friend Andrew Mlangeni as saying that the time may have come for South Africans to say goodbye to the beloved icon.

“You have been coming to the hospital too many times. Quite clearly you are not well and there is a possibility you might not be well again,” Mlangeni told the paper.

“Once the family releases him, the people of South Africa will follow. We will say thank you, God, you have given us this man, and we will release him too,” Mlangeni said.

Lawmaker invites ire

While lawmakers in South Africa and abroad tweeted their well wishes, Nick Griffin, the head of the far-right British National Party invited the anger of Twitter users when he called Mandela “a murdering old terrorist.”

“Saint #nelsonmandela on last legs it seems. Make sure to avoid BBC when the murdering old terrorist croaks. It’ll be nauseating,” heposted on Twitter on Saturday.

Mandela was hospitalized early Saturday after the state of his health deteriorated in the last few days, Maharaj said earlier.

Mandela was breathing on his own, Maharaj said.

Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, is at the hospital with him, sources told CNN. She canceled her plans to attend the Hunger Summit meeting in London on Saturday.

History of ailments

South Africa’s first black president gets round-the-clock care, and his house is retrofitted with medical equipment that mirrors that of an intensive care unit.

His history of lung problems dates to when he was a political prisoner on Robben Island during apartheid, and he has battled respiratory infections over the years.

Last year, he spent Christmas holidays undergoing treatment for a lung infection and gallstones, one of his longest hospital stays since his release from prison in 1990.

Considered the founding father of South Africa’s democracy, Mandela became an international figure while enduring 27 years in prison for fighting against apartheid, the country’s system of racial segregation.

“He has taught us … that we enhance our own humanity when we serve and make a difference to other people’s lives,” Maharaj said. “It’s easy to serve oneself, own interests, but serving the interests of others, making their lives better changes the quality of all humanity.”

In 1993, Mandela and then-South African President F.W. de Klerk jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Hero of democracy

The iconic leader was elected the nation’s first black president a year later, serving only one term, as he had promised.

He has not appeared in public since South Africa hosted the World Cup in 2010.

But despite rare public appearances in recent years, he retains his popularity and is considered a hero of democracy in the nation. Last year, South Africa launched a new batch of banknotes with a picture of a smiling Mandela on the front, a testament to his iconic status.

Mandela’s impact extends far beyond South African borders. After he left office, he mediated conflicts from Africa to the Middle East.

CNN’s Robyn Curnow reported from Johannesburg and Faith Karimi reported and wrote from Atlanta.



Still true today

5 Jun

Still true today

“When we look at modern man, we have to face the fact that modern man suffers from a kind of poverty of the spirit, which stands in glaring contrast to his scientific and technological abundance.
We’ve learned to fly the air like birds, we’ve learned to swim the seas like fish…and yet we haven’t learned to walk the Earth as brothers and sisters.” Martin Luther King


Are you beautiful?

4 Jun

Tips for studying

4 Jun
Image“Whether you are about to take final exams, midterms, or the ACT, knowing those tests are looming in the future can be pretty stressful. Don’t let the stress get to you. Here are nine surefire ways to make sure you are ready physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually to take those exams.

1. Pray

Before any study session spend a few moments praying. Sometimes teens think that God is only in the most spiritual parts of their lives, but God is in every aspect of your life. He wants you to succeed. Praying can bring you closer to God and make you feel a little stronger and relaxed going into test time.

2. Lose the Excuses

It can be easy to put off studying until the last minute. The things going on around you can be tempting ways to procrastinate. Some teens also find excuses to fail, because they just give up learning. Exams are overwhelming. They do test your limits, but you can learn. You need to keep your pace reasonable and learn what you can. If you feel truly overwhelmed, discuss it with your teachers, parents, friends, or leaders. Sometimes they can help.

3. Plan Ahead

You know that certain tests are coming up, so plan your study time wisely. At final exam time you will have a lot of tests within the span of a week, so you should have a plan of attack. Which areas will need more of your time? Which test comes first? Second? Which subjects need review? Your teachers should be giving you some guidance as to what will be on the exam, but you can also use your notes to guide you. Try and write down a study schedule so you know what you need to study and when you need to study it.

4. Find a Study Group

Whether you study with people in your church youth group or people at school, having a study group can be very supportive and helpful. Your study group can take turns quizzing each other. You can provide insight into certain topics for one another. Sometimes you can just laugh and pray together to blow off some steam when the pressure gets to be too much. Just be sure your study group is actually focused on studying.

5. Eat Well

Teens are known for eating badly. They are drawn to junk foods like chips and cookies. However, you may find that those foods are not very helpful to your study habits. High sugar foods may give you energy at first, but then it plummets pretty quickly. Try to eat healthy “brain foods” high in protein like nuts, fruit, and fish. If you really need a boost of energy, try a diet soda or sugar free energy drinks.

6. Get Your Rest

Sleep is one of the most important tools you have in studying for exams. You may feel stressed and like you don’t know everything you need to know, but a good night sleep can help relieve that stress. A lack of sleep can end up clouding your judgement or increase your number of mistakes. Get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night, including the night before your exam.

7. Practice For Your Exam

How do you practice? Write your own exam. As you are studying, take some note cards and write down questions that you think may make it on the exam. Then compile your note cards and begin answering your questions. If you get stuck, just look up the answer. By taking the “practice test” you will be much more prepared for the real thing.

8. Take a Breather

Breaks are a good thing. Even the test preparers of major tests like the ACT and SAT know the importance of taking a breather, as they schedule them into the test time. Studying can take its toll on you, and after a while the words and information can just seem like a jumbled mess. Step away from what you are studying and just clear your head with something different. It will help make you fresh to continue.

9. Have Some Fun

Yes, exam time is stressful, and you may feel like you have to devote all your time to studying. However, if you develop a good plan you should have some time to spend with friends and family. Make some time to do some things with your youth group that week to just blow off steam. Taking an hour or two to get away from the stress is a good thing. It will make your head a bit clearer when you back to studying and you will feel reenergized.”