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February 2010

January 2010 entries

Some Common Elements of the Paranormal

The response to "PARANORMAL" has been overwhelming. Many stories have been relayed to me about believer's experiences. The fascinating thing to me is that few of these people know one another, but their stories are remarkably similar. People often don't each other in a church our size, but it is more amazing since some of these accounts are from those who only read this blog and do not attend DBBC.  The stories that concern "good spirits" are always inclusive of these common elements:

Light

   In all the stories a light is present. Sometimes it fills a room. At other times it is projected around a person or being. In one story, an entire street was lit while there was no street lamp in the area. Sometimes a dying loved one sees a light shortly before they die.

White

Above just light being present, the spirits are dressed in white. It may be a man in a white suit or a nurse wearing all white from head to toe. At one time this would not have been unusual, but a trip to the local hospital today would reveal that most all nurses are wearing scrubs with color and prints. In only one instance were the waiting angels dressed in anything other than white. In this account they were wearing work cloths and standing just outside the room.

Wind

A gentle breeze or a rush of air almost always precedes either a visit from the paranormal or a voice speaking words of encouragement or comfort. One nurse was even named Wendy who ministered to an elderly man who was ill. This "nurse" visited the man and brought great peace while no "Wendy" was employed by that hospital. It is interesting that the greek word for spirit is "pneumas" which means breath or wind.

ON the other hand, the fewer stories I have gotten concerning the dark side of the paranormal also contain similarities.

Darkness

Whereas good experiences almost always include light, confrontations with the evil one are dark. Either the person is dressed in dark clothing or the room becomes dark upon their entrance. This is somewhat surprising to me since the Bible actually tells us that Satan likes to masquerade as an angel of light.

Cold or icy wind

Just as a breeze is often associated with angels, people are telling me that they feel a cold or icy air around dark angels. This is not surprising since both good and evil spirits are characterized as "ruah" (Old Testament) or "pneumas" (New Testament.) Both of these words mean wind or breath. Even people who are not spirits, but who serve Satan, seem to take on this characteristic. In a couple of instance people who have encountered those who are in the occult tell of an immediate coldness in the air when they meet these people.

Many of you have expressed appreciation for allowing you to tell your stories without fear of being branded a nut of fanatic. The whole purpose of the series is for the church to return to her reliance on the Spirit of God and the belief that a Man rose from the grave. Many more of you have said that you have stories to share with me, but you have not. I am still looking forward to hearing these from you. They are a great encouragement to me and to others. And remember if I share any of your stories from the platform I will not use your name unless you give me permission to do so. I hope to hear from you soon.


What is the SBC Doing in Haiti?

One week ago tragedy hit the island nation of Haiti. This is cerainly not news to you, but you may not be aware of what Southern Baptists are doing to help. Here is an email my wife received from someone who has a close relative that works as a missionary for the International Mission Board of the SBC. I thought it best to just pass the information on without comment. As of this morning's news workers have recovered around 70,000 bodies. The total is expected to reach 200,000. If you have been wondering where and how to help this may help to give you info about being a good steward.   

***Update from Adam Hammond-IMB Missionary***
Cluster Stragedy Leader of Middle America & Caribbean Basin
Jan. 16, 2010: There are at least 45,000 confirmed dead.

There are 2 IMB missionaries in Haiti today who are doing initial assessments & will be reporting back to a team that will arrive there on Monday, Jan. 18. This team consists of the Baptist Global Response(BGR) which is an IMB entity, 2 state convention leaders,2 state leaders from the FL Convention, Adam Hammond & IMB missionary to Haiti who speaks Creole. They will likely fly into the Dominican Republic & drive 13+hrs to get to Port-au-Prince. They will be staying in a Baptist orphanage there.

The primary church that they worked with in Haiti has been destroyed- most of the congregation & pastor are dead. About 1/2 of the Haitian Baptist pastors have died. Part of the work that has to be done is to make contact with these congregations and other pastors to orchestrate work so they can get focused & have something to do.

Tuesday through Thursday, 3 IMB psychiatrists will be going in to do Post Traumatic Stress counseling/training & Grief Coounseling training for the missionaries from the DR Baptist Convention & the Haitian Baptist Convention.

Beginning Thursday, they will take in a large team of IMB missionaries- many Dominican & Haitian Baptist Convention Partners to do counseling while attempting to meet spiritual needs, distribute food, water & medical care. They understand they may also have to help in disposing of bodies into mass graves.

Hospitals on the DR side of the Haitian border are grossly understaffed. IMB will be seeking USA workers to staff hospitals on volunteer basis.

For the longer term, 2-4 missionary families will be moved into Haiti from their present field & home, for 2-4 yrs. They will be there to meet spiritual needs, church planting in the after-math & set up medical clinics in Port-au-Prince. Two more families will be assigned the new responsibility for the next 2-4 yrs of coordinating volunteers from the States for help in Haiti.

A frustration of the IMB: Baptists all over are saying that IMB does not have a presence in Haiti b/c they moved the missionaries out of the country into the bordering Domincan Republic - which was simply a strategic move. The IMB are 1st Responders and 1st on the scene in Haiti & have an on-going disaster relief aid there. They are there now - on the ground & need your help.

*** There are 2 specific ways you can be assured that 100% of your money goes directly to the Haitian people & to the IMB missionaries that are there helping. NONE of these dollars will go to the Haitian government(which so much of some other raised funds do) nor does any of it go to any staffing involved in raising funds. Absolutely 100% goes to their help.

>>> 2 WAYS TO GIVE:
1). Go to the website: www.goBGR.org & click on the tab, 'giving'. This goes to the IMB responders to Haiti through the Southern Baptist Convention who are there now.
2). You can send a check to the IMB with a note attached that it is for: Adam Hammond for Haitian Disaster Relief Team. Mail to:

Office of Finance
International Mission Board
3806 Monument Ave.
PO Box 6767
Richmond VA 23230-0767

This money will go directly for the team's travels, food & supplies, & whatever they need for their long term goals for the Haitian Disaster Relief.

Adam now has an email set up for anyone who would be willing to help in any way possible. This could be individuals, teams, churches, etc. Tell them what you can do to help. This info will be set up in a database & you will be contacted as to how & when they could use you. It is: haitiresponse@IMB.org .

>>>>>>URGENT PRAYER REQUESTS FROM ADAM:
1). Safety for all the missionaries on the ground in Haiti. There is a high level of stress, distress, hopelessness and corruptness there.
2). Pray for the counseling team in their training & the group crossing the border for at least 1 wk. Most or none have ever been in such a situation.
3). Pray that they can locate a safe building to set up a base of operation needed to connect with as many people as possible.
4). Pray that there will be a sense of cooperation with all other disaster relief coordinates as much as possible. It can be very chaotic.
5). Pray for their border crossing - there are many stipulations in crossing the Haitian border - car permits, visas, etc.
6). Pray for the Christian Haitians that live in the Domincan Republic who will cross the border to help, that they will be able to cross back over into the DR. They are taking a huge risk in leaving the DR & being able to get back in. They are much needed on this team to help with the Creole language.
7). Pray that transportation will be provided once they cross the border & to send pilots that own their own planes to volunteer a wk at a time for the next 6-8 wks to fly from the DR to Haiti & back.
8). Pray that God will protect their minds from all that they will see & endure.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this & for your prayers and/or donations. It is enormously appreciated.
 


Have You Had Paranormal Experiences?

The intro to Paranormal last Sunday created a buzz. Some were excited...some were confused...others were wondering "Where is this nut taking us this time?" Many were reminded that our faith is full of supernatural happenings. Since Sunday's message several have shared stories of how they have either battled the enemy or have had the the Lord rescue them in a supernatural way. These stories fascinate me and I would like to share some of them with my listeners on Sunday and on the web. Would you be willing to send me stories like these of your own personal experiences? I'll give you one example that I will be sharing Sunday.

The late Dr. Pat Maloney was one of favorite professors. He and I struck a friendship that lasted until he went to be with the Lord a few years ago. He told me of a time while away conducting a revival that the enemy tried to scare him from preaching. He was in his hotel room the night before the revival was to begin. While in his bed an evil entity sat upon his chest and began to choke him. Obviously unaware of Brother Pat's close relationship with the Lord the demon had picked on the wrong person. Pat mustered enough breath to call out the name of Jesus and rebuke the spirit. The spirit let his grip go around his neck and left the room. The next day at the revival, a once dead church broke out in a great move of the Spirit of God and many lives were changed for eternity. I love that story!

Send me your stories. You can email them to me at kduggan@dbbc.org or simply comment on the entry at this site. I can't wait to hear from you and I will see you Sunday.   


Paranormal Series Begins

Once again, I repeat, America is increasingly spiritual. I know I have said that before, but it bears repeating. We are not increasingly Christian, but there is no doubt we are very spiritual. We are fascinated with things that go bump in the night. Why? Why a proliferation of movies and TV series on the occult and spiritual things? The answer is often voiced by those who are involved in paranormal research. Many of those who engage in looking for ghosts testify that they are looking for answers to experiences they have had. These experiences reveal a deep seeded question that man has had since he first experienced death. As one young ghost investigator yelled before walking up a dark and foreboding staircase in a supposedly haunted house, "Reveal yourself to us so we can know that there is life after death." 

Unfortunately, much of the data being harvested is tainted by bias and prejudice. If you want to hear or see something you probably will. If you are not a believer in the "afterlife" even convincing evidence will be explained away as natural phenomenon. So how do you arrive at real answers? Some of you may already assume that I am not a believer in the supernatural. That would be an incorrect assumption. I would go so far as to say that you cannot be a believer, a true born-again follower of Christ, without believing in the paranormal. I read a book daily that is full of ghostly apparitions, demons, and dis-embodied voices. This Sunday I am going to explore the "other side" through the pages of Scripture in a new series called "Paranormal." This is not the "Twilight Zone." The places we will explore are as real as it gets. I look forward to seeing you Sunday.