November 27, 2020
November 26, 2020
Henri Nouwen, writer and Catholic priest
November 25, 2020
November 23, 2020
November 22, 2020
November 21, 2020
November 20, 2020
November 19, 2020
November 18, 2020
November 15, 2020
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: With versions found in almost all the Disney castle parks, this ride is one of our family's all-time favorites. Every trip to every resort, it remains a must-do. Each rendition has its charms, but if I had to choose one to ride during this time, it would be the attraction found in Disneyland Paris. Oui! Beginning and ending by journeying under the river is an experience unsurpassed! It truly is the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness!
Flight of Passage: It may be the newest of Animal Kingdom's epic E Ticket adventures, but it is also one of the best ever created by Disney Imagineering. Thrilling yet peaceful, the airborne piggyback ride on Pandora's banshee is everything you'd expect to experience... and more! I'm always left wanting an additional ride or two, aren't you?
Impressions de France: My singular choice of Epcot attractions for the list. (Sad, isn't it? It's my favorite park, but the attraction roster has increasingly become less and less unique and compelling since its heyday.) You may ask how a mere film can rank among my Top Ten. The travelogue is so much more than just the filmed locations! It's a slice of French life set to the most stunning music found in any theme park. I'm instantly transported to Europe- dated images and all.
Splash Mountain: One of two adventures selected from the Magic Kingdom theme park in Florida. (The other may surprise you.) Those highly sensitive to the tales told would do well to remember the source film's concerns are not the content. These retelling of African folk tales comes together in a fresh and engaging manner complete with perhaps the catchiest of all Disney songs. Tiana may come to Disneyland in a Princess and the Frog revisiting (and that's 100% fine), but Florida's epic flume ride will remain as one of my all time beloved rides. It's time to relax and quit being so politically correct that we lose any sense of fun.
Radiator Springs Racers: Speaking of fun, my next choice fits the description any way you look at it. Cars may not be Pixar's best film, but it's ride is the best attraction built around a Pixar movie. As with Epcot, this is the only attraction chosen from Disney California Adventure. That alone says quite a bit. Also like Epcot, the park's attraction line up has moved backwards since the new improved California Adventure premiered in 2012.
Indiana Jones Adventure: Walt's park continues to have the most well-rounded set of attractions and adventures of all. I was blessed to ride during the opening weekend of this groundbreaking piece of Imagineering genius. The line was so long, it took hours to finally board a jeep, (remember this was way back when ride capacity was very important to the suits), but once my journey was over, I turned around and got right back in line. Among Imagineer Tony Baxter's best work. Right up there with my beloved and sadly long gone Journey into Imagination.
Peoplemover / Tomorrowland Transit Authority: My other Magic Kingdom pick. Not every attraction has to be a headliner to have an impact. Cruising along the track in the evening breeze surveying the lay of Tomorrowland is an every trip must-do.
Phantom Manor: Back to Paris. While all Haunted Mansions (and Mystic Manor) are among Disney's best of the genre, there's something special about this reimagined attraction. The storyline is darker, the architecture and setting equally spectacular to those in the States, but the musical score elevates the attraction to a new level. All proving once again that beauty is in the eye - and ear - of the beholder.
Expedition: Everest: "Big Thunder on Steroids". This description is what I give newbies when they decide to travel to Walt Disney World for the first time. The last two spirals around the mountain before encountering "Disco Yeti" is worth the price of admission. Animal Kingdom certainly needs much more before it will be a full day for a majority of Disney visitors, but for me, this park is steadily moving toward the top of all four Florida parks.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Last but not least, Pirates of the Caribbean. The grandest Disney adventure of all time. Nothing else in any park says "I'm home" like rounding the bend into New Orleans Square and boarding a boat next to the Blue Bayou restaurant and its twinkling fireflies. (Yeah, they ruined the elegant original entrance as they were forced to deal with crowds once Fast Past came into play.) The very lengthy original version remains the pinnacle of Disney Imagineering- and of course, it was under the guidance of Walt Disney. An American Original.
(Photographs copyright Mark Taft.)
November 13, 2020
November 11, 2020
Bishop Harry Jackson
November 10, 2020
November 6, 2020
November 5, 2020
November 4, 2020
There are many fine things to appreciate about each of our political parties, but that either side accepts or even encourages the violent dismantling of those children unable to speak for themselves is without excuse.
Founder Margaret Sanger's racist roots in forming Planned Parenthood and its strategically placed locations in lower income (usually Black) neighborhoods is not in dispute. Check out the facts for yourself.
But, boy, is this a big money issue! If the average cost for an abortion is $500 (the range can be zero to one thousand dollars) and if you multiply that by the 61 Million abortions that have occurred since Roe vs. Wade, that is a lot of money somebody is living very well on.
God's hearts grieves. He is the God of life, not death, and we've fooled ourselves into thinking aborting babies is reasonable and even the lesser of two evils. We are no better than the ancient peoples of old who used to throw their babies into the fire to worship their ancient gods. I've seen many suffer by making this choice- and I've seen God's heart of forgiveness for those who truly repent of this sin of murder.
News agencies want to know why many White Evangelicals are tied to the Republican Party? Watch how many leave it when an honest to goodness Pro-Life Democrat runs for office. Than you'll see the real numbers change. Once the Democratic Party cuts its love affair with a pro-death culture, things will change. But not before. Not for me.
Don't give me the lame excuse that until more people step up to adopt that abortion is the best answer. The answer is to do what is right first and then participate in making a difference- and letting God take action and also sort out the details.
For me, I care about immigration reforms, caring for the poor, good healthcare for the population, racial equity, and more. I have Black, Brown, Asian, straight and gay friends. But I cannot justify putting support behind dismembering babies. Even though it's not a good situation by any means - and God hates injustice- in every case of these others issues, the people affected are alive to fight for change. Victims of abortion are dead. They don't have a voice or a chance to stand up for themselves. We must do it.
November 3, 2020
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by His people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Biden,” or “I follow Trump,” or “I follow an independent candidate,” or “I follow no one.” Is Christ divided? Was Trump crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Biden?
I thank God that I proselytized none of you into my political views, so that no one may say that you were transformed by my party of preference. For Christ did not send me to put my hope in politics but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” (1 Corinthians 1:10-17- Rewritten by this author.)
Family of Christ, let’s be wise. It’s true we’re forced into choosing between two candidates whose morals and character and choices are compromised and whose agendas can never fully represent what God values. Yes, be informed voters who carry the eternal values of our Heavenly Kingdom and not those of the world, but imagine if we placed this same energy into sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ! What a glorious eternal kingdom we can be part of building! Beyond the results of the election, we will still be brothers and sisters in Christ with a shared goal of proclaiming Jesus Christ and Him alone as Lord, King, and Savior. Be blessed today!
November 2, 2020
I was among those absolutely sure the best was yet to come. From the opening notes of We've Only Just Begun in 1970 to the latest smash, Top of the World, I anxiously awaited and purchased each new release and followed them up the Billboard charts and the weekly Top 40 on 93KHJ radio broadcast out of Los Angeles. Yes, I was that nerdy. I still am, actually, but I've given up on the Billboard charts.
November 1, 2020
Today is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. All over the world, believers in Jesus Christ pat the price for their faith in Him- some with the lives. In fact, more believers have died for their faith in the last 20 years than decades before. (You can read all about it here.)
What to know how personal God is and how much He cares for you? Read on.
My journey with Jesus has started from a childhood.
In 1992, my parents moved from one Muslim nation to another, when I was only 3 months old. After years, someone in market shared gospel with my father and he started following Jesus, followed by taking me and my brother to the service of a house church. I began to understand that God so loves the whole world that He sent Jesus- God in the flesh- to earth to redeem man and pay the price for their sins. And I gave Him my life.
In 2004, tragically we lost our father and that’s when my world turned upside down. I was so devastated and angry at God, started questioning Him and stopped reading the Bible or going to house church. When I was in 9th grade, depression hit me and I decided to take my life. I had a great plan, skipped class, prepared myself and as I was going into garage to fulfil my plan, someone knocked the door.
In our culture, if someone knocks at your door, even unknown person you would show him hospitality and invite inside. There were an international couple knocking, whom I never met in my village, they came inside and started conversation with me. The man asked me, all of a sudden: “Ahmad, why you are rejecting God?” And that moment something inside me changed and I knew it was God who sent these people to me to prevent me from taking my life away. Because how in the world, at that particular moment, people would knock at my door and ask me why I left Jesus? It was Him.
Since then I surrendered my life to Him. In 2009, I moved to the city, which is a megapolis started studying at university.
After 2 years of being here miraculously I was invited to the student conference where people encouraged to share the Good News with everyone around us, especially with student because they believed that it’s the future of our country. I was inspired to do so, but something held me back in sharing the good news with my group mates.
In summer of 2011, I heard really bad news, that one of my closest friend from the university got into a car accident and died. Only one through came to my mind, that he is not going to heaven, because he hasn’t heard the gospel, which should’ve shared with him. It was the second time when something in my mind switched. Now I sincerely believe that we have to share the good news with everyone.
I'm now happily married to a Christian woman. I cannot wait to see what God holds for us as I continue to love and serve Jesus!
What about YOU? What will you do with the incredible gift offered you through Jesus Christ? That bad news is we've all fallen short of God's perfection and are doomed for eternal death and separation from Him. The good news is God has given us a way through Jesus Christ. The choice is yours.