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When will the first robot come to faith? This morning, I was enjoying a wonderful morning with my wife at Mälaren. Sitting there I read the Summer issue of “de nieuwe Koers” a Christian magazine from Holland that is released eight times a year. The article that caught my attention was: Will in the year 2043, the first robot come to faith?” An interesting thought. Later today I found an article in...

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Faces in the shadows of life Distorted as if looking through broken glass Images of times long due The trafficking of drugs, alcohol, goods, resources and humans rises and accelerates as capitalistic greed moves from hidden centers of power unto the streets and arenas of our world Young African soccer geniuses roam the streets of the cities of Italy as their abilities fall short of demands,...

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Half Way through the Tour - Check out great music from... Friends! We are overwhelmed by the response of people on the Harvest Field Tour… (search on Facebook for more information). To speak about the spiritual situation in Sweden and to awaken awareness about it is one of the major objectives of the tour… Our desire is to build partnerships with individuals, churches and organizations to further the cause of church planting...

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Why I don’t (yet) believe in the restoration of Ted... I have been following the Haggard story from the very beginning of his ministry and I really appreciated his book “The life giving church” – I still like the book. Truth is truth no matter who speaks it out, independent of their circumstances. I posted articles on my former blog and wrote about Ted and the scandal that was unfolding as he was "caught" in contact...

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Now regular updates on church planting, stockholm,... Follow us (and me) on this blog and follow our trip throughout USA by subscribing to this blog! Download now or watch on posterous IMG_0086.MOV (4507 KB) Skickat från min iPhone

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When will the first robot come to faith?

Category : evangelism, Featured, global, lifestyle, Relationships

This morning, I was enjoying a wonderful morning with my wife at Mälaren. Sitting there I read the Summer issue of “de nieuwe Koers” a Christian magazine from Holland that is released eight times a year. The article that caught my attention was: Will in the year 2043, the first robot come to faith?” An interesting thought.

Later today I found an article in “The Telegraph” with a video link showing us what actually happened when two robots start a conversation and actually quickly descend into an argument about God. “Two graduate PhD students at Cornell University gave voices and 2D avatars to a pair of online “chatbots”, which they named Alan and Sruthi. A chatbot is a computer program designed to hold a spoken or written conversation with a human. The students Jason Yosinski and Igor Labutov said that they wanted to see what happened when two chatbots talked to each other. So they created Alan, a British man, and Sruthi, a south Asian woman”.
The robots in this experiment that took place in 2011 were not really intelligent but had their memories fed through categorizing and evaluating chats with thousands of people, using this information in their “real-life” filmed conversation. Interesting fact when one views the conversation is the lack of patience they seem to have with each other and each other’s answers. (Very human look-alike!) – Soon the discussion moved to belief in God.
Futurologists talk about the potential of intelligent robots and their ability to move into the realm of belief systems; Buddhist, Muslim, agnostic and Christian robots will, in the future confess their beliefs or so they say.
The whole development of robots is based upon Moore’s law, which is the observation that, over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years. This has been true until recently and the semiconductor industry used it in their long-term planning… However, recently this process has slowed down… after having been accurate for half a century as Moore wrote about this observation in 1965!
Much time is given to estimate, predict and philosophy about future robots and their ability to surpass human beings in their abilities… for example within the next ten years computers will be as clever as human beings according to scientists.
Who knows what the future will bring… The fact is that all technical inventions reach after a rapid start and development a maximum… the process of development is slowed down. This might be the case of robots and computers as well. There are actually (God-given) limits to what is possible within the human and natural realm: you can’t build something smaller than an atom, you can’t transport faster than light… or?

Brian Christian in his book: The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive, writes that the absolute uniqueness of human beings cannot be copied… parts can, but the unique combination cannot be recreated. “To be human is to be ‘a’ human, a specific person with a life history and idiosyncrasy and point of view; artificial intelligence suggest that the line between intelligent machines and people blurs most when a puree is made of that identity.”

Maybe that loving and believing at the core of human beings are so closely interwoven with each other that it cannot be imitated… Therefore, I believe, we won’t encounter any robots with the ability to explain nor renounce the mysteries of God through Christ Jesus!

That’s the Way I see it! Remember I am just a layman not a scientist :)

John van Dinther

Faces in the shadows of life

Category : Featured, global, human rights, Jesus Christ, justice, lifestyle, mission, Relationships, sverige, Sweden

face

Distorted as if looking through broken glass
Images of times long due
The trafficking of drugs, alcohol, goods, resources and humans rises and accelerates as capitalistic greed moves from hidden centers of power unto the streets and arenas of our world

Young African soccer geniuses roam the streets of the cities of Italy as their abilities fall short of demands, shattering their dreams, their lives and the promises made to them.
Disillusioned, hurt and abandoned they will do anything to survive yet another day

child

Mutilated young Romani children created and shaped into objects of pity as the beg on the streets of our affluent cities
The Asian and African young poor imported like cheaply produced goods to fill the gaps of undesired labor by nationals who can afford to take no job at all

Young Eastern European women enticed with empty promises like their sisters from other continents build a human highway to the west where their bodies and services are sold to the most wanting, only to be thrown out like human waste after inhuman consumption

It repeats itself all over again I think as I walk the streets of Lagos Portugal where centuries ago the open slave market brought capital to the then affluent society, will we ever learn?

By John van Dinther

Half Way through the Tour – Check out great music from the team and a wonderful worship service at Whittier Community Church

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Category : Church, church planting, evangelism, Featured, global, Jesus Christ, leadership, mission, Relationships, sverige, Sweden

Friends! We are overwhelmed by the response of people on the Harvest Field Tour… (search on Facebook for more information). To speak about the spiritual situation in Sweden and to awaken awareness about it is one of the major objectives of the tour… Our desire is to build partnerships with individuals, churches and organizations to further the cause of church planting and missions in Sweden.

As I reflect on the first two weeks of the tour I am touched by the encounters with many individuals from the young men and women which we met at our first day at Bethel Seminary to older folks out there (70-90+ years) with their connections to the old homeland Sweden, how precious they are; many of them are praying for the nation of their forefathers. I remember a young man with Down Syndrome who I met at one of the churches where we ministered and who asked me how he could get involved in Sweden as he felt that he (only having been a Christian for two years) was tired of not getting involved in missions! :) What a man!

From the left Jenny Wahlström, John van Dinther, Bill Ankerberg (a great man and friend of Interact-EFK, New Life and Sweden), Mattias Ristholm and Stewart Webster. Not on the picture is Emil Lundaahl, but if you follow the link you will find a great worship service here… (Click on watch service)

I think of others who facilitated our tour and who have been such a blessing as relationships were build and some understood the depth of the need in Sweden. Whether having big meetings with large crowds or small meetings with a handful of people I feel that at every occasion the Lord has been releasing new and open doors.  It is important to realize though that it is not enough for people to be touched in just one meeting. Let’s be honest about it with the challenges of communication and the amount of input and information that we get every day about the needs in our world easily removes the focus on the matter and needs which we present. It is not enough to be touched emotionally… emotions go up and down and are deceptive. We need to pray that God’s Spirit will remind people of that what He spoke so that it will bear lasting fruit!

Please pray with us for that; that the hundreds, thousands of people whom we have met and were able to share with that they will hear the voice of God to make a difference through engagement in prayer, through partnerships, by going either short or long term and by releasing resources for the cause!

I am sure that you will like the worship service in Whittier Community Church with great music and footage of the team… go and enjoy the folk music from Mattias and friends and also Jenny’s great new song!

May the Lord bless you and keep you!

John

The evening before the tour…. Srour and Jenny – check the video

Category : Uncategorized

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IMG_0101.MOV (3837 KB)

Why I don’t (yet) believe in the restoration of Ted Haggard…

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Category : Church, Featured, global, lifestyle, Political Correctness, Relationships

I have been following the Haggard story from the very beginning of his ministry and I really appreciated his book “The life giving church” – I still like the book. Truth is truth no matter who speaks it out, independent of their circumstances. I posted articles on my former blog and wrote about Ted and the scandal that was unfolding as he was “caught” in contact with a male prostitute and having drugs in his possession. I didn’t write to condemn him… I wrote to warn all of us Christians and those of us who in some way are called to be leaders in the Church. We are all ONE DECISION away from falling into sin and brokenness through sin. All of us are vulnerable and are dealing with trails, hardships and temptations – not one excluded. However, God’s standards are eternal, no matter the smallness, vulnerability and weakness of humankind.

The “Look sharp, live smart” GQ lifestyle magazine had two weeks ago an extensive article on “The last temptation of Ted” where he stated: “I used to think the church was the light of the world,” Ted says. “But I’ve completely lost my faith in it.” Ted’s complaints about New Life are old news to anyone who’s been following his saga, but tonight, when I ask him if he really means to say completely, he stops and looks at the sky already starting to lighten. “You’ve got to understand, Kevin, people are, at their cores, hateful,” he says, rising to stamp out the fire’s embers and go to bed. “I don’t want to believe that, but the facts have prevailed over my idealism.”

Picture from GQ Magazine

Reading these lines I am convinced that Ted still has a long way to go before he is able to put his disappointments and hurts behind him. Restoration means: being restored and renewed to a former (positive) state. Galatians 6:1 “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted”.

The Greek word used for “restore” means to repair, to fit, frame, or mend. This implies not only that the receiver of restoration is in some sort of disrepair or error, but also that there is a pattern by which we must be “framed or fitted”. All of us are aware of their imperfections and everyone agrees that “no one is perfect”. From the very beginning, God has given mankind a pattern and men and women have always fallen short of this pattern. Ted Haggerd quotes on a regular basis Romans 3:23 tells us “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” – I fully agree with him on that. BUT restoration means that we are in a constant state of repairing our broken lives. It also requires us to be submissive to absolutes and truth that are outside us and that are higher than ourselves. It takes humility, on our part, to recognize that there are things in our lives that need to be fixed.

This restoration is focused on God’s word and not on the opinions of men. The teachings of men have changed many times throughout history and will continue to change, but if we follow the Bible in its inspired form, we can are being restored to the pattern that God Himself created and has preserved in spite of countless attacks regarding its authenticity. Someone gave this great example: Restoration is based around the idea of following or being “fitted” to a pattern. When following a pattern to make clothes, it is important to note that when the pattern and the thing that is being fitted are not the same, the one that conforms is never the pattern. The pattern never changes because it is the thing that has been provided by the authority (in our case God) and has been tried and proven to be true. Restoration is the act of making alterations in our lives so that we can be in congruence with the perfect pattern of the Word of God.

Ted Haggard, unfortunately, as exposed by his remarks and viewpoints portrays a person who still has not been able to forgive and seems to be hurt and bitter about what “Church” in which he has lost faith, has done to him. Let’s face it: he has done it to himself first of all. I would NOT like be part of a church where a leader still seems to carry bitterness because “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” (Hebrews 12:15)

That’s the Way I see it!

John

Now regular updates on church planting, stockholm, sweden and the harvest field tour

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Category : Featured, Uncategorized

Follow us (and me) on this blog and follow our trip throughout USA by subscribing to this blog!

Download now or watch on posterous

IMG_0086.MOV (4507 KB)

Skickat från min iPhone

Hidden brokeness and pain through divorce

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Category : Featured, global, human rights, justice, lifestyle, Relationships, sverige, Sweden, Uncategorized

Svenska Dagbladet published an article  in the ”Idag” series today about divorce and the effect is has on children. A recently published PhD report suggests that there is no difference in well-being between adults whose parents got divorced while they were a child and adults whose parents did not get divorced. The divorce in itself would not be causing damage to children. The reason that some adults were experiencing difficulties was that there was not enough clarity and communication around the divorce, or not enough time to mourn about the separation before a new partner came into the home.

I understand that it is important for people to know how to get through difficult times and how to behave towards and talk to their children. But what made me very sad is the fact that this research was presented in a way that was basically communicating: “It is no problem to get divorced; this will not affect your children in the long run. Just make sure you do it ´the right way´.”

So how did we get to this point where divorce is presented as an event void of any consequences? I don´t want to be naive to the reality that 55% of all marriages in Sweden do end up in a divorce (the highest rate in the world). And I personally know people that struggle with hurting and unhealthy marriages. But how could we ever take the consequences so lightly? Why are we desperately trying to believe that it is not all that bad?

Can we assume that this research is presenting an objective truth? How can scientific methods of research really tell us how people are doing? Somehow, I believe that brokenness and pain are hidden in places where no clever psychological method can find them. I believe that events like a divorce have a profound effect on children. Can we really make a ´three-step-plan´ for successful divorces with no harm done to the children?

Can we not go one step back in the whole discussion? May I suggest a rather opposite way of thinking? One that I heard in a sermon by one of the pastors in New Life Church about a year ago… “What your children need to see, is that you give your life for your spouse and that your family is worth everything. Fight the good fight! That way, you open up the way for Jesus´ love to work in and through you.”

Let us discuss how we can support one another to fight the good fight. Let us not tell ourselves that there are no effects to divorce. Let us believe that forgiveness can create a way. Let us keep hope that miracles do happen.

That´s the way I see it.

Hanna Zuring Peterson

Using loopholes in American Football – Tim Tebow’s creative approach…

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Category : evangelism, Featured, global, Jesus Christ, lifestyle, Relationships

Tim Tebow, a Christian who plays quarterback in American football has forced a new rule in the NCAA football season because Tebow, during his college football career, carried (Biblical) messages on his eye black.  “The Tebow Rule” dubbed by media banns messages on eye paint.

In the 2009 BCS Championship Game, he wore John 3:16 on his eye paint, and as a result, 92 million people searched “John 3:16″ on Google during or shortly after the game. Additionally, later, when Tebow switched to another verse, there were millions of searches of “Tim Tebow” and “Proverbs 3:5-6″ together. Tebow stated of the searches “It just goes to show you the influence and the platform that you have as a student-athlete and as a quarterback at Florida”.

On July 29, 2010, Tebow signed a five-year contract with the Broncos which places him under the “Tebow Rule”. However, you can’t keep a good man down… Tebow has already found creative ways to pass on his messages to the (new) audience… Last weeks he re-invented himself and his way of communication by printing messages on his wristband – creating new commotion in the world of Football. I like that! As it says in the word of God: Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity,… (Eph 5:15)

Luke 2:10-11 “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.’”

That’s a great message during the Christmas season!

You wonder how things work out for professionally?

  • On October 17, 2010, Tebow scored his first NFL touchdown, which was a five-yard running play against the New York Jets.
  • Tebow started his first NFL game on December 19, 2010, which was a 39-23 road loss to the Oakland Raiders.[97] Tebow completed eight of 16 passes for 138 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown pass. He also rushed for 78 yards, 40 of which came on a touchdown run in the first quarter of the game. It was the longest touchdown run for a quarterback in Broncos history and the longest touchdown in NFL history for a quarterback in his first start.
  • Tebow’s first career victory came in his second start on December 26, 2010. The Broncos defeated the Houston Texans, 24-23, in Denver. Tebow helped rally the Broncos from a 17-0 deficit at halftime, as he finished the game with 308 passing yards and one touchdown pass. He also added a fourth quarter rushing touchdown, which capped the comeback.

It seems the guy is flying forward on Eagle’s wings!

I love the innovation and creativity of God’s people!

John

Keep your pants on! The case for clergy boxer shorts…

Category : Church, Featured, global, Jesus Christ, leadership, lifestyle, Relationships, sverige, Sweden

Give people a fair chance with Fair Trade clergy boxer shorts – be transparent and show who you really are!

One of the latest products of “the Fair Taylor” – a Swedish company that designs and promotes Fair Trade clothing products is the clergy boxer shorts. This is a product my I have been waiting for since I was called into ministry in 1981… The matter my friends is that all the different sex scandals among ministers, pastors and priests make us wondering… I guess Fair Taylor has found a niche in the market to help transparency and accountability for clergy. The revealing boxer short (to be made compulsory wear among clergy) will make any woman consider at least for a moment who she is with.  Since it is hard to tell on the outside or through people’s behavior what they are all about… maybe solutions like these will help men in ministry to keep their pants on and their lives clean.

Enough joking about it! It is a sad reality that many of us in ministry cannot deal with the temptations we are facing.  To be honest many have never been called to ministry in the first place; for too many it is one occupation among others: while true ministers are called by God.

But even among the ones called by God have to face the fact that the stress and responsibility of ministry rests heavily on the shoulders of few and that the inhuman pressure and “loneliness in ministry” can break the strongest person. But that’s not an excuse! We need to learn to be voluntarily accountable and transparent with each other in all areas of life and to find protection in the advice and closeness of others as we live our lives in openness and interdependency. That’s how I want to live my life; I cannot make it without brothers and sisters who keep me accountable!

John

Assemble your own baby – rent a womb and the practice of agnostic ethics.

Category : Featured, global, human rights, justice, lifestyle, Political Correctness, Relationships

Believe it or not but, according to the Wall Street Journal, you can assemble your own baby, rent a womb (or a few) for a low fee, and will receive in due time the long-expected text message on your cell phone stating that you have become a parent! How convenient that is, as we stress through our lives and try to get what we want without having to adjust our lifestyles.

Scenario (true): “In a hospital room on the Greek island of Crete with views of a sapphire sea lapping at ancient fortress walls, a Bulgarian woman plans to deliver a baby whose biological mother is an anonymous European egg donor, whose father is Italian, and whose birth is being orchestrated from Los Angeles. She won’t be keeping the child. The parents-to-be—an infertile Italian woman and her husband (who provided the sperm)—will take custody of the baby this summer, on the day of birth. The birth mother is Katia Antonova, a surrogate. She emigrated to Greece from Bulgaria and is a waitress with a husband and three children of her own. She will use the money from her surrogacy to send at least one of her own children to university.”

Rudy Rupack, chief executive of PlanetHospital.com LLC, a California company that searches the globe to find the components for its business line, does orchestration of the assembled baby operation from Los Angeles. The business, in this case, is creating babies.

Overseas operations have their advantages since surrogates in poorer countries have little or no legal rights to the baby they have carried for nine months. It comes really down to renting out a room (womb)…

PlanetHospital’s most affordable package, the “India bundle,” buys an egg donor, four embryo transfers into four separate surrogate mothers, room and board for the surrogate, and a car and driver for the parents-to-be when they travel to India to pick up the baby.

“Our ethics are agnostic,” Mr. Rupak says. “How do you prevent a pedophile from having a baby? If they’re a pedophile then I will leave that to the U.S. government to decide, not me.”

Mr. Rupak says he has rejected clients. In one case, he suspected a woman wanted to use her own eggs and her son’s sperm. “Whatever the case was, these people weren’t honest. It worried us, so we said ‘no.’”

OK! I guess Mr. Rupak is not just practicing agnostic ethics… there is something right and wrong, there is something fishy he admits. In his subjectivity, he creates through his perceptions standards of ethics which makes me want to cry out: how ignorant can one be!? The question is how many children will have to become victims of this lewd practice before the gaps in the laws are closed again securing the rights of children? I realize that the children have no voice that can be heard, like others in our world who are exposed, underprivileged, silenced and disempowered, nothing is going to happen unless you and I cry out and become the voice of the voiceless, and the conscious of the indifferent and hardened at heart.

We can make a difference! That’s the Way I see it!

John