God’s Spirit Is Moving, All Over The World

Typical Rural Icelandic Church under a blue summer sky

I posted a few items today about the growth of the church in China. I find it fascinating in light of this bit of Scripture:

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14

It appears that centuries of missionary work in China have begun to pay off. The Holy Spirit is doing amazing things in a place which can be one of the most unwelcome places in the world for Christianity.

He’s also doing huge things in the Middle East. War, famine and persecution have caused large movements of people from Islamic (satanic) hell-holes to Western (Christian) areas like Europe and the United States. Perhaps if we cannot go into these awful places, God will bring them to us. Can an immigrant from Syria come to Minnesota or Michigan and live in our neighborhoods and not be influenced by Christianity? I believe they still can. Will these folks set up little cultural enclaves similar to their homeland, as in Dearborn for instance? Perhaps, but they’re no longer in the Middle East, and for now anyway, they will still remain a minority.

I certainly do not want to sit in judgment of the Holy Spirit’s work in the United States, but I think it’s clear that Christianity in the USA has fallen on some hard times. God is still saving a people here and will continue to do so, but it ain’t what it used to be – either spiritually or culturally. Detroit is still better than Damascus and Toledo is still better than Baghdad. <grin>

I find it encouraging to step back and look at the big picture every now and then. We get so caught up in our little world that we miss what’s going on all around us. The Holy Spirit is not like Congress – He moves unimpeded and He gets stuff done! It’s amazing to watch.

Below is a beautiful segment of a prayer, where Jesus prays for all believers. We must wait patiently, but Jesus here betrays a certain anxiousness to wrap things up and accomplish His mission, which shall not fail. Short-term: ugly. Long-term: beautiful.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”   John 17:24-26 NIV

Arjay

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Extraordinary Americans

edward byers 1

I don’t believe there are any ordinary Americans, but some are certainly extraordinary. One of these men is Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward C. Byers, Jr.

Byers will be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on Monday, February 29 for his actions to free an American doctor held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan on December 8, 2012.

edward byers 3

It appears that Byers was a member of the elite SEAL Team Six, also known as the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or DEVGRU. This would be the same team that took out Osama bin Laden. Roughly 50% of active SEAL team members who try out for SEAL Team Six are not accepted into the team.

Howard E. Wasdin, a former member of SEAL Team Six said in a recent interview that 16 applied for SEAL Team Six selection course and two were accepted.[20] Those who do not pass the selection phase are returned to their previous assignments and are able to try again in the future.[21]

I believe that most Americans are heroes in their day-to-day duties of raising their families, serving their employers and communities, and paying taxes to provide for things like our national defense. (I’m thinking of Alabama’s song “Forty Hour Week” right now)

But without men like Byers and so many others in the U.S. military, none of us “ordinary” heroes would have the chance to be heroes to our children and others. Without them we might very well be speaking Japanese or German or reading the Q’uran at the point of a gun.

These ceremonies go largely unnoticed so I’m trying to make much of this particular case. My guess is that this ceremony will be covered by Fox News and possibly C-SPAN as well.

edward byers 2

Our nation has been dragged through the mud for the past 8 years or so, but we’re still America and I for one am very thankful for men and women like Edward C. Byers, Jr. Their conduct in horrific circumstances is truly inspiring.

Arjay

Below is some background on Byers and DEVGRU.

From Wikipedia:

The United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG), or DEVGRU, is a U.S. Navy component of Joint Special Operations Command. It is often referred to as SEAL Team Six, the name of its predecessor which was officially disbanded in 1987.[1][2] DEVGRU is administratively supported by Naval Special Warfare Command and operationally commanded by the Joint Special Operations Command. Most information concerning DEVGRU is classified and details of its activities are not usually commented on by either the White House or the Department of Defense.[3] Despite the official name changes, “SEAL Team Six” remains the unit’s widely recognized moniker. It is sometimes referred to in the U.S. media as a Special Mission Unit.[4]

All applicants came from the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs) and East and West Coast SEAL teams. Marcinko’s criteria for recruiting applicants was combat experience so he would know they could perform under fire; language skills were vital, as the unit would have a worldwide mandate to communicate with the local population if needed; union skills, to be able to blend in as civilians during an operation; and finally SEAL skills. Members of SEAL Team Six were selected in part because of the different specialist skills of each man.

Candidates must pass three-days of physical and psychological testing that includes a Physical Screening Test (PST) where candidates must exceed the minimum requirements and perform at their highest level possible. Candidates are then interviewed by an oral review board to deem whether the candidate is suitable to undertake the selection phase.[18] Those who pass the stringent recruitment and selection process will be selected to attend a six- to eight-month Operators Training Course. Candidates will screen with the unit’s training wing known as “Green Team”. The training course attrition rate is high, usually around 50 percent; during one selection course, out of the original 20 candidates, 12 completed the course.[19] All candidates are watched closely by DEVGRU instructors and evaluated on whether they are suitable to join the individual squadrons. Howard E. Wasdin, a former member of SEAL Team Six said in a recent interview that 16 applied for SEAL Team Six selection course and two were accepted.[20] Those who do not pass the selection phase are returned to their previous assignments and are able to try again in the future.[21]

Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator

EDWARD C. BYERS, JR

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Byers

 

VIDEO

Navy SEAL, to receive Medal of Honor Monday, tells his story

http://www.stripes.com/news/navy/navy-seal-to-receive-medal-of-honor-monday-tells-his-story-1.396290

Posted in American Culture, Military, War On Terror | Leave a comment

Make America Great Again (Please)

make america great again

It’s 4:39AM. All kinds of thoughts in my head. Gonna write a little bit.

I have awesome in-laws. Marci’s folks are awesome. I pray to God I never have any sons-in law. Oh!!!

I’ll be here all week. (unfortunately)

Winter is near its end and it’s time for Serious Arjay to go into hibernation. It’s time once again for Funny Arjay! I like Funny Arjay better. Everybody does. But, I cannot seem to shake Serious Arjay.

britney spears

I’m wide awake right now because, yes, like Britney, I did it again. Oops. Came home from work. Helped Marci unload a nice leather sectional couch into our garage. Had two cans of Miller Lite. Ate three slices of pizza. Sat down with a blanket and turned on Fox News. Darn near puked. Not because of the persistent chest cold I have, but because of the circus on TV. I’m getting to where I cannot even watch or follow this nonsense anymore. We’ve come a long way baby and it ain’t a good way. I’m one of the frogs in the kettle of ever-warming water. Born in the mid 1960s, American decline is the normal background for me. It’s just normal. But…every now and then it strikes me how messed up this nation is.

It seriously scares me. The kettle is hot!

“Make America Great Again”. “Mountain, be removed and cast into the sea.” Both of those statements are easy to say. I just said them. But neither can be done without faith.

You’ve all heard of the Proverbs 31 woman. Donald Trump is the 2 Timothy 3 man. (that’s pronounced Two Timothy) LOL

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 2 Timothy 3:1-5

God has a great sense of humor, and to the nation that turns its back on him, he gives to that nation great men like Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Robert McNamara, William Jefferson Clinton, Harry Reid, Albert Gore, and Donald Trump.

The Donald is a caricature of everything wrong with our nation.

I’m thinking of Ronald Reagan right now and his infectious smile. Reagan was a good man. I read a biography on him titled, “God and Ronald Reagan” by Paul Kengor some years ago. I wouldn’t be theologically-inclined to be a member of the church Reagan attended, but it doesn’t matter. He was a good, decent man. He caused Americans to think the best of themselves. He was an inspiration because of his character.

Portrait

Our President need not be a Christian. America is not and never was a “Christian” nation. But for crying out loud we need men and women with more character than some 5-year-old schoolyard bully.

Our greatness has never been the result of our economic strength or our military might. It doesn’t lie in our ability to destroy nations at the push of a button. Our greatness – and what nation on earth has ever been so blessed as the United States – lies in a people who know that our strength comes only from the Lord. For well over two hundred years, unbelievers have been riding on the coattails of a church being blessed. It is said that a rising tide lifts all boats and when God blesses His people, everyone around gets to share in the goodness. You in the militant LGBT crowd and all you Planned Parenthood people can thank us later.

On the other hand, a sinking tide carries all boats downward. Building a border fence and bringing manufacturing jobs back to our shores isn’t the solution. A strong economy and a respected military are blessings of the Lord. One cannot simply say, “Make America Great Again” without directing that phrase towards heaven in the form of a plea: “Please Lord, make America great again…please.” God is not some cosmic butler whom we can snap our fingers towards and just expect stuff to happen. He is VERY worthy of serious respect, and He has not been getting it from America for decades now. Look around you. It should be very evident that we have lost His favor. It makes me tremble. I see America as a man with hands and feet bound waiting for a powerful blow to the gut.

My friends, do you wanna know what kinds of jobs are coming back to America from China without the Lord’s blessing upon the enterprise? Foxconn.

Have you heard of Foxconn? It’s a company in China that manufactures smart phone components. They have had to build nets under the second floor of their buildings to prevent people from jumping to their deaths because of the gulag-style working conditions. And that wall on the Rio Grande. Some day that wall is gonna be an impediment to Americans fleeing to better conditions in Mexico. That’s America’s future without the Lord. It’s not simply my opinion, but history has proven this to be a fact. Watch and see. It’s already upon us.

Donald Trump is gonna do this and Donald Trump is gonna do that. He has obviously never heard of a thing, an antiquated concept known as Congress. Thank God for the founders’ brilliance in devising a system of government that moves slowly. Thank God for gridlock which prevents tyrants from taking over. Obama has done a lot of damage, but thankfully things move slowly. (And we seriously need to get rid of the concept of executive orders. That has to go.)

The Donald, like all of us, needs to realize that our next breath is a gift from the Lord. Don’t assume so much. Don’t assume The Donald will be around come November. Don’t assume the United States of America will be around come November. It’s the worst kind of presumption and arrogance to think like that.

In closing this little diatribe, I’m gonna direct the following towards myself so as not to come across as preachy.

“Arjay, turn off the damn television. Arjay, set aside all those books, theological or otherwise. Arjay, grab your Bible and read. Pray. Read some more. Pray some more. Seek God’s face. Beg for His mercy. It is not too late.”

Every Christian has one foot in the kingdoms of this world and one foot in the Kingdom of Heaven. Soon, and very soon, every Christian will have both feet firmly planted in the latter. I don’t know what Jesus and his disciples spoke about when they weren’t saying stuff recorded in God’s Word, but I really doubt they sat around debating who was gonna be Caesar in Rome – at least not to the degree that we do in America in 2016.

Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.5 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; 6 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. 7 He is the Lord our God: his judgments are in all the earth. Psalm 105:4-7

Posted in American Culture, Christianity, Politics, Religion in America | Leave a comment

Huge Data Center Coming to Grand Rapids

Switch Data Center

 

This afternoon an AT&T technician came by our offices in Kentwood to add some phone lines.  I escorted him into our main data closet and after he was done, we talked for about 15 minutes.

He was pretty knowledgeable about this huge data center that will soon be constructed at the old Steelcase pyramid building in Gaines Township.

This thing is gonna be pretty incredible.  Switch, the Las Vegas company which will manage this facility, is going to invest some $5 billion dollars in the complex.  It will be the largest data center campus in the eastern U.S.  I had heard about this in the news, mostly concerning the tax incentives that were needed to lure this company, and now Governor Snyder and the Michigan Legislature have done it. 

Back in 1985 my dad who was a UAW forklift operator at the General Motors Tech Center in Warren got me a summer job working as a shipping and receiving clerk at one of their docks.  I remember getting FedEx envelopes, almost daily, from governors around the country trying to make their case to GM to have the Saturn assembly plant built in their state.  It was eventually built in Spring Hill, Tennessee.  (Some time later, I got a temp job at Saturn’s temporary headquarters in Troy working in the mail room.  I would deliver mail to Saturn executives including Bill Hoglund, a former Pontiac president and Saturn’s
first president)

I’m not sure if Michigan realizes yet how big this deal is.  Back in May of last year, General Motors announced they were investing $1 billion in the Warren Tech Center, and that was a big deal for Warren and the surrounding area, but Switch will invest up to $5 billion on this data center and it’s gonna be a magnet for businesses, high tech and otherwise.

Below are a couple of interesting articles on this.

Steelcase_Pyramid

“The Las Vegas company, which operates a huge cloud campus in Las Vegas, plans to invest as much as $5 billion in a data center complex at the former Steelcase Pyramid complex. Switch plans to build up to 2 million square feet of data center space at the campus, which will serve as its East Coast cloud hub.”     from Data Center Frontier

 

THE DETROIT NEWS
Massive Data Center Wants to Locate in Grand Rapids
http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/2015/11/16/massive-data-center-wants-locate-grand-rapids/75898492/

“SUPERNAP Michigan will be the largest data center campus in the eastern U.S. and will serve the company’s current clients in geographic redundancy and new clients with national connectivity,” according to the announcement. Switch, it says, “was founded by Rob Roy in 2000 to be the platform for all of his sustainability-focused patents and differentiated technologies.”

“We are excited to be working with Governor Snyder, the Michigan Legislature, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and The Right Place Inc. to bring Switch and its 1,000-plus clients that make up the largest data center ecosystem in the world to Michigan,” Switch Executive Vice President of Strategy Adam Kramer said in a statement. “Before Switch can finalize its announcement, it will work with the Michigan Legislature to pass new data center legislation that creates an equal playing field between Michigan and its neighboring states.”

The company says its 1,000 clients include include eBay, Intel, Shutterfly, Machine Zone, Amgen, Dreamworks, HP, Intuit, Hitachi, JP Morgan Chase, Sony, Boeing, Cisco, EMC, Google, Amazon, Time Warner, Eli Lilly, Activision and Fox Broadcasting.

 

DATA CENTER KNOWLEDGE
Switch CEO:  Michigan Data Center Build Is A Go
http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2015/12/16/switch-ceo-michigan-data-center-build-is-a-go/

Those plans call for 2 million square feet of building space, including the Steelcase Pyramid and several additional buildings Switch plans to erect around it. The full build-out could take up to 10 years and include six buildings, the company’s spokesman Adam Kramer told us earlier.

Switch is likely to bring major technology companies as its tenants to the state. The company’s client list in Las Vegas includes eBay, Google, Amazon, Intel, HP, Intuit, and Boeing, among others, and data center providers’ decisions to expand are often driven by existing major customers. eBay, for example, will also be the anchor tenant in the new data center Switch is building in Reno, Nevada – a project the online auction company said this week it would invest $230 million in.

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Is There Still Hope for America?

We The People

When Americans lose the ability to determine how their property will be utilized, all is lost. When a court determines that you must violate your conscience and surrender your First Amendment rights, you are not a free man or woman but rather a servant to a tyrannical system. The American founders knew this very well and were willing to become traitors to the crown of Great Britain, domestic terrorists if you will, to remedy the situation.

The last thing I want to see is violent revolution or anarchy, but at some point, when political means have failed, people who have had their fill of abuse will come to consider methods of last resort.

The issues here go much deeper than simple homosexuality. Things like bakers being fined and property owners told how to use their property indicate that we are no longer a free people, but rather a people living off the last vapors of a great system which many men and women have died to preserve and uphold for the past 240 years.

Bread and circuses – Obama Phones and Taylor Swift, welfare checks and reality TV – these things are the opiate of the masses. Have you ever seen a heroin addict deprived of his bread and circuses? It gets pretty ugly. Every four years men and women rush to be elected to the office of Methadone Provider-in-Chief.

I’ve been a follower of politics since I was about twelve years old. It’s always interested me. I used to sit and watch hours of C-SPAN when I was a teenager. Now, it pains me to follow the stuff at all. Back in the day I would be all over watching a presidential debate, but things have gotten so debased it’s sickening. Look at Donald Trump. He’s a perfect representative of America today – egotistical, belligerent, self-centered, angry. Dissatisfaction with things is understandable after seven years of Obama, but how we say things and how we express ourselves is at least as important as what we say.

USA-POLITICS

And Trump certainly isn’t alone in his selfishness. Look at some of our members of Congress – lifers who have been there for 30 or 40 years, many of them never having held real jobs to speak of. Look at John Kerry or John McCain or Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid – or Barack Obama. Before we rag on these men and women we have to remind ourselves as a nation that we have representative government. This says more about the electorate than it does about those elected. Are we collectively nuts? Mitch McConnell, John Boehner? I think we are nuts.

We’ve gotta get our collective crap together, and that right quick, or this whole enterprise is gonna go swirling down the proverbial drain.

You know you’re getting old when you start blaming “young people” for the problems we have, but it really is unbelievable that we let some of these folks vote in elections that have a huge impact on the course of our nation. You’ve all seen the Jay Walking bits where Jay asks people on the street to name the three branches of government or “Who is the Vice President?” and they are completely at a loss. Yet these people are allowed the privilege of voting.

jaywalking

Some would say it’s easy to point out the problems, but solutions need to be offered. Quite frankly I’m at a complete loss to even begin to figure out a way out of this morass. I know that at the root of all our troubles is a loss of morality and a discarding of things religious, but you cannot force people to be moral or to recognize that there is a God that we must all certainly deal with.

“…because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

John Adams

TO THE OFFICERS OF THE FIRST BRIGADE OF THE THIRD DIVISION OF THE MILITIA OF MASSACHUSETTS. 11 October, 1798.

 

Every generation of Americans must seriously reflect upon how we are going to govern ourselves. It’s a huge responsibility and not to be taken lightly. If we fail, we will have tyrants in an out-of-control government micromanaging every area of our lives that we once managed for ourselves. Congress told us years ago how many gallons of water our toilets can use. The same is being proposed for dish washing machines now. Is it already too late?

If you don’t think North Korea or Syria can happen here, you are sorely mistaken. The United States is not God’s most-favorite nation. We are not the “chosen ones”. We are a blessed nation, but we are also very much subject to the same consequences that horrible leadership and horrible decisions have brought to such places as Pyongyang and Damascus.

Scripture doesn’t give us a ton of material on how governments should be ordered, but we do have Jesus asking whose image is on a coin;  render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. Christians on this planet live under a myriad of governmental systems and the gates of hell and foolish men and women in Congress shall not prevail against what God will ultimately do. Herein lies our hope.

Government is important, but there are more important things. If we’re gonna right this ship, we have to change our focus.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Here is some very sound advice. Actually, it’s not advice at all but rather a command. This is where we start:

 

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

May God once again bless the United States of America

Arjay

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