Archive for October, 2015

• Come in early and prepare the pastor’s office for him by turning on his lights, setting the temperature, preparing FYI sticky notes and placing them his desk.
• Make sure his office is stocked with items he uses daily. (paper paper, Kleenexes, pens, paper clips, staples, bottled water, coffee, creamer, sugar, etc.)
• Keep counseling books together. If the pastor asks you to find a certain book before a counseling session, you will be able to find it quickly.
• Never ask the pastor to do something that you can do. (making or receiving phone calls, receiving and sorting mail, preventing  interruptions and attending to trivial requests, hosting unexpected guests, etc.)
• Be careful never to isolate your pastor on very important matters. Ask God to give you discernment about ways of protecting him without becoming bossy with others and isolating him from his ministry.
• Don’t waste your pastor’s time with too much conversation and giving him too many unnecessary details.
• Never come across with a know-it-all or prideful attitude.
• Never give him negative information before his messages.
• At the end of the day, clean your desk, clean office floors, empty trash in his office and yours.
• Be flexible concerning your pastor’s desires. Although you might have your day planned, he might want you to do something completely different.

The rule of thumb when planning a banquet is, if you are honoring someone, you usually plan a sit-down dinner. If it is more of a casual get together, plan a buffet.  If possible, always opt to do a buffet. Sit-down dinners are more work and more expensive.

Tips for Planning Buffet Meals

• Get friends’ recommendations for good caters. Independent caterers are usually cheaper than large companies. Don’t be embarrassed to negotiate for price break or ask if they’ll throw in more appetizers for the same amount.
• Keep a laminated copy of proper placement of food for buffet settings on hand.
• Before food arrives, label area where want your food placed. You can do this by putting a slip of paper where you want each dish placed. This also helps others know where to place the food.
• Decide if you want to set up a for one or two-line buffet. For a one-line buffet, guests move around all four sides. For a two-line buffet, set table with twin arrangements of plates, food, silver, and napkins on each side.
• Use warming trays or crock pots to keep food hot.
• Don’t serve everything on buffet table. Use a different area for appetizers and another area for coffee and desserts.
• Make sure to leave space between dishes so that people can put their plates down to get food.
• Use small frames to label items such as decaf coffee, various flavored coffees, and sugar free desserts.
• Do not be afraid to use prepared foods when necessary; just display in a beautiful way.
• If serving a bland food, serve a tart or spicy food to complement it.
• Serve a cold dish with a hot dish. (Use crushed ice to keep certain foods cold)
• Serve a soft food with a crisp one. Bread sticks are an example of a crisp food.
• Use color in planning meals. If color is drab, consider garnishing with parsley, cherry, tomatoes, or beets.
• Plan a variety of foods by considering flavors, textures, and temperatures.
• If you use prepared foods, display them in a beautiful way.
• Plan an entree, a vegetable, a fruit or vegetable dish, and a dessert and beverage.

Entree -This is usually a meat dish. It could also be meatless pasta dish.
Vegetable -Fresh or frozen vegetables are the best for color, texture, and flavor.
Fruit or vegetable salad –This will also supply the color and flavor.
Dessert– They can be elaborate or simple.

Tips to Help Feed Large Groups

• The best meals to cook for large crowds are spaghetti and meatballs, soups and salads, and casseroles.
• Have everyone bring a dish and create big buffet.
• More selections equal smaller portions.
• Stick to easy recipes with simple ingredients.
• Use 6 oz. protein per person meat selection.
• Use 1 # 10 can of vegetables per 5 person.
• Use 1 potato per person.
• Use 1 head of lettuce per 5 people.
• Use a 9×12 main dish to serve 10-12 people.
• Add plenty of bread when feeding large groups.
• If you are not using chafing dishes, choose foods that taste good at room temperature.
• For an inexpensive meal, prepare 2 kinds of soups and 2 large salads. Add chips and cut-up veggies.
• Do not serve tough meats if using plastic utensils.

Tips to Help Prepare Drinks for Large Groups

• Use 1 lb. coffee for 50 8 oz. servings (2-cups cream).
• Use 1-cup tea leaves for 50 8 oz. servings.

Pokemon: What is it? by Matt Slick

Pokemon, which is short for “pocket monster,” has become a phenomenal success in America among children. There are cartoons and even a movie based upon the Pokemon characters. Almost every child in America is familiar with this fad and owns some form of Pokemon paraphernalia.

But, what is Pokemon? Pokemon was created by Nintendo in Japan in 1996. It is a role-playing game involving cards, Nintendo Game Boy, and TV cartoons. The cards have pictures of different Pokemon on them–more than 150 so far. The Pokemon are supposed to be “monsters” that have special powers and share the world with humans. The idea of the game is to have the children learn how to collect as many Pokemon as possible, train them, and use them against other people’s Pokemon by invoking the various abilities of each Pokemon creature. Pokemon can evolve and pass through various levels–100 being the highest. Colored energy cards are sometimes used to aid the Pokemon.

There are four basic types of cards.
1. Basic Pokemon cards which depict creatures that fight for you against other people’s Pokemon.
2. Evolution cards depict Pokemon that are able to evolve into more powerful creatures.
3. Energy cards are united with other cards to give the Pokemon more energy needed in carrying out the trainer’s orders.
4. Trainer cards are cards used one time and then discarded.

There are different types or categories of Pokemon: Bug, Fighting, Fire, Flying, Dragon, Electric, Ghost, Grass, Ground, Ice, Normal, Poison, Psychic, Rock, and Water. Within each type are several different Pokemon, each possessing various abilities. I’ve constructed a chart below of some of the categories of Pokemon.

Type of Pokemon Individuals found within category Various abilities found in Group Fire Pokemon Charmander, Charmeleon, Charizard, Flareon, Growlithe, Magmar, Moltres, Ponyta, Rapidash, Vulpix, Ninetails Scorching, heating, running, stomping, racing,
Electric Electabuzz, Jolteon, Magnemite, Magneton, Pikachu, Raichu, Voltorb, Electrode, Zapdos Lightning bolts, anti-gravity, explosions, Ghost Gastly, Haunter, Gengar Ultra dimensional, poison, mimicry, taunting Poison Ekans, Arbok, Grimer, Muk, Koffing, Weezing, Nidoran(Female),Nidorina, Nidoqueen, Nidoran(Male), Nidorino, Nidoking Silence, stealth, use of poison, use of claws and biting, breaking opponents’ bones.  Psychic Abra, Kadabra, Alakazam, Drowsee, Hypno, Jynx, Mew, Mewtwo, Mr. Mime Reading minds, teleportation, inducing headaches, high intelligence, consumes people’s dreams, hypnosis, confusion, evolves.

Within the game, evolution is taught repeatedly. There are special stones (Fire, Leaf, Moon, Thunder, and Water) that can be used to force some Pokemon to evolve into more powerful creatures. Of course, after normal development in skill learning, various Pokemon often evolve on their own.

Is Pokemon Dangerous?
Is Pokemon dangerous? Potentially, yes, it is. It conditions the child who plays the game into accepting occult and evolutionary principles. Haunter can hypnotize, eat a person’s dreams, and drain their energy. Abra reads minds. Kadabra emits negative energy that harms others. Gastly induces sleep. Gengar laughs at peoples’ fright. Nidoran uses poison. The Psychic type of Pokemon are among the strongest in the game. Charmander, Haunter, Ivysaur, Kadabra, and many more evolve. The children are taught to use these creatures to do their will by invoking colored energy cards, fights, and commands. Much of it is reminiscent of occult and eastern mysticism.

The Bible says to “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it,” (Prov. 22:6).1 2 Chron. 33:6 says, “And he made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery, and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger.”

I do not see how allowing children to play with games that encourage fighting, reading of minds, use of poison, mimicry, taunting, teleportation, hypnosis, and evolution can be a good thing. This is not training a child to righteousness; it is accepting the occult and secular evolution. Is this what we, as Christians, want our children to meditate on? Of course not.

If children are conditioned to accept these things in youth, then they will be more likely to accept these ideas in adulthood. This leads people away from God’s Word and truth and not toward it. This is dangerous to a person’s eternal destiny.

More Information
• On the Pokemon rules website it states, “Carry your Pokmon with you, and you’re ready for anything! You’ve got the power in your hands, so use it!”
• One observer of children playing the game said that the children would afterwards mimic the game by summoning the Pokemon to attack others. This is occultic.
• Pokemon are summoned to do battle and to protect. This is equivalent to sorcery.
• Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water are frequent elemental themes found in Pagan religions, witchcraft, and Wicca and are used heavily in Pokemon.

The spiritual side of the world is real. There are spiritual elements and demonic forces at work, whose purpose is to lead astray and destroy:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places,” (Eph. 6:12).

The enemy is powerful and cunning. The only light we have is the Bible, and we need to follow it and not give ourselves or our children into the hands of those who would introduce occultic principles in a role-playing game. Again, the Bible says . . .
“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,” (1 Tim. 4:1).

There is nothing wrong with children having fun and using their imaginations; but when that fun involves the occult, it is dangerous. As Christians, we should be very concerned about what our children are involved in since they can be so easily influenced. They don’t need the influence of the occult or evolutionary theory to help them towards Christ. They need the truth.

You are over-reacting
Addendum–two months later:
This article has generated some interesting responses. I’ve been called delusional, bigoted, paranoid, and one who contributes to the decline of society because of my intolerant comments about an innocent and fun child’s game. One mother, who claimed to be a Christian, emailed me with heavy complaints and accusations and sought to justify her actions in encouraging her children to watch Pokemon. Well, that is her prerogative.

Have I changed my opinion? Not at all. Am I delusional, bigoted, paranoid, and a contributor to social decay? I certainly hope not. And from what I see in God’s Word and from what I have seen in Pokemon, I still stand on what I have said.

I expect people to not like it when their comfort zone is rattled and when I don’t tote the secular line and salute to “harmless children’s games” even when they teach occultism. By the way, I told the Christian mother that the Lord will hold her accountable for how her children are raised. I asked her if she wants to continue to encourage her children to play with cards that teach casting spells, evolution, and controlling forces to do your bidding. She emailed me back and called me some names.

Others have simply assumed a non-Christian perspective and made judgments about me and this article from their non-Christian point of view. That isn’t a problem. They are entitled to their opinions as am I.

Is Pokemon good? I don’t think so. Does it contribute to impressionable children accepting occult ideas? Yes, it does.

Another comment
I would like to thank you for your stand against Pokemon and other such materials. I understand how you feel when confronted by supposed “Christians” who oppose what you’re trying to do here. I think that it’s a sad time we live in when even the church members want to go around doing what seems right in their own eyes, and they tell you it’s o.k. because “we’re under grace so we don’t need to follow the rules anymore.” Let me say this, the majority of the problems we’re facing today in Christianity are here because of the lack of strong leadership. Most pulpits today are delivering feel good sermons that have little spiritual effect while our remaining power dwindles away due to the gross sins being committed right under our noses. I personally have been in churches that were supposedly “filled with the annointing” and watched the children in the seats in front of me playing Pokemon & dungeons and dragons while the parents “worshipped God.” Pretty sad.

But, let me encourage you to continue fighting the good fight and not budge even one inch in your convictions. Many times people in the church talk about unity, which is important, but not at the cost of compromise. We will all stand before the Lord and give an account for every word and action so let the truth shine out of you without reservation!

The church needs some warriors today who will stand up for what the Word of God tells us is right, regardless of any man’s opinions. Be that warrior!

Remember, the fear of man is a snare to your soul!

God Bless, David

Different Article:

Pokemon (short for POcKEt MONster and pronounced Poh-keh-mon) is now the rage among both Christian and non-Christian children in much of the world. What do these “pocket monsters” teach our children and what are the philosophies underlying this “innocent” game? Is this something that Christian children should be involved with?

Pokemon is a role-playing game similar to Dungeons and Dragons, MAGIC, and others, but with more subtle occult overtones. It is a copyright of Nintendo and was first created in Japan in 1995, where it was highly influenced by Japanese mysticism. Much of its character seems to come from Shinto (the traditional religion of Japan), Buddhism, Hinduism, other Eastern religions, and New Age philosophies. The game reflects Japan’s warrior past in its violence, with the object being to conquer other Pokemons through physical force or sorcery.

Besides the Eastern religious overtones, New Age concepts abound in the Pokemon cards.2 Each Pokemon is a certain “type,” which describes their “energy.” There are currently 7 types of Pokemon, including “Grass,” “Fire,” “Water,” “Lightning,” “Psychic,” “Fighting,” and “Colorless.”3 Many of the 150 Pokemons use violence to conquer other Pokemons. This violence includes gnawing, slashing, smash kick, fire blast, seismic toss, electricity, poison, psychic blasts, paralyzing, etc.4 This is not the “innocent” game that it is made out to be. Other Pokemons “evolve” through the use of “stones” (thunder, water, moon, fire, and leaf) which are items used to summon powers (the origin of these “powers” is not stated, but they are not from God).4 Training cards also include those that use “potion” and “super potion” to magically heal your damaged Pokemon fighters.

Many Pokemons evolve “naturalistically” to become other Pokemons… In examining the cards, it is apparent that macroevolution is being taught, since “species” that have evolved from other species are similar in appearance. In some instances, the term “evolution” is used incorrectly, since individual Pokemons are able to “evolve” into more powerful creatures. In essence, the game is teaching a kind of reincarnation.

Here are some examples of Pokemon types and what they do:

Name Attack Method
Jynx “Merely by meditating, the Pokemon launches a powerful psychic energy attack”
Abra “Using its ability to read minds, it will identify impending danger and teleport to safety.”
Kadabra “It emits special alpha waves from its body that induce headaches even to those nearby.”
Weepinbell “It spits out poison powder to immobilize the enemy, and then finishes the enemy with a spray of acid.”
Ponyta “Its hooves are 10 times harder than diamonds. It can trample anything flat in moments.
Machoke “Karate chop does 50 damage points”

“I will travel across the land
Searching far and wide
Each Pokemon to understand
The power that’s inside.
Gotta catch them all!”

The words above are from the Pokemon song that is sung at the end of the television program. Children are being encouraged to tap into the power of the Pokemon cards. Further instruction is given at the official Pokemon card site:

Carry your Pokemon with you, and you’re ready for anything! You’ve got the power in your hands, so use it!”5

Many children are taking this instruction to heart and literally carry their Pokemon cards with them everywhere. We are even seeing these cards appearing at our church and Christian school. Children are being encouraged to tap into supernatural power instead of the power given by God.6 They are told that the more cards they collect, the more power they will have. Many children are completely addicted to the cards and spend all of their free time playing with them. If nothing else, Pokemon has become an idol in their lives – being more important to them than God.

The use of Pokemon cards can potentially open doors to demonic oppression through the following activities:7

1. Possession (known or unknown) of occultic records, tapes, books, pictures, charms, tools, games, etc.
2. Seeking or giving consent to occultic power or occultic revelation
3. Fascination with occultic power, occultic revelation, or psychic phenomena, in general
4. Escapism through thrill-seeking, science fiction, soap operas, or some other addicting hobby/activity
5. Fascination with violence, especially violence devoid of justice
6. Meditation on anything other than God’s revealed truth
7. Chanting or other cultic/occultic forms of worship

The Bible’s teaching is clear about being involved in occultic activities. We are told not to become involved in sorcery or divination or consult with mediums or spiritists.8 The high penalty (death) for engaging in sorcery indicates the seriousness of this sin in the eyes of God.9

While Pokemon continues to gain popularity, its creators will continue to introduce new ways to become a Pokemon “Master.” At some point, in order to maintain interest in the game, it will become necessary to add new features/characters and alternate means to “get the power.” My prediction is that this game will add more New Age features, along with more violent and bizarre characters. Those who are involved in Pokemon will continue to be indoctrinated more deeply in the New Age philosophies. In fact, Pokemon resources are listed under New Age resources.10

Another threat to children who play with Pokemon and other role playing games is the tendency to become involved in more serious forms of role playing games, such as Doom,11 Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: the Gathering, and role playing games with even more occultic overtones. In fact, Pokemon sites often have links to these sites (wizards.com, etc.). The “Role Player’s Realm,” which links to Pokemon and other role playing games has the uninhibited URL “http://www.screaming.demon.nl/.” The association with the occult is fairly obvious.

Conclusions
Pokemon teaches the following concepts/philosophies that are counter to Christianity:
1. Violence as a means of obtaining power.
2. Evolution
3. New Age concepts (reincarnation, psychic power)
4. The use of occult objects (magic stones) to gain power over your opponent
Continued participation in Pokemon may lead to:
1. Involvement in the game that leads to psychological addiction such that the game becomes an idol in the life of the child
2. Involvement in malevolent role playing games (and people associated with them)
3. Open doors to demonic oppression

Recommendations
If your child has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, I recommend that he be given the facts about Pokemon and what the Bible says about participating in sorcery. A child who is encouraged to pray about his involvement in Pokemon and follows the Holy Spirit will voluntarily give up participation with Pokemon-associated activities. Several children we have talked to have made this decision without being forced to do so by their parents. If your child has not accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, I would make the decision unilaterally and explain why he would not be allowed to participate in Pokemon-related activities. If your child is highly involved with or addicted to Pokemon, I would provide extra support for them and encourage and provide opportunities for them to engage in other, less threatening hobbies/activities.

References
Note: As a Christian, I will not knowingly provide a link to pages that promote non-Christian values/ideas. However, the URL’s are listed below so that you can confirm the accuracy of the information included on this page.

1. Much of the research information used to develop this page comes from wizards.com (http://www.wizards.com/Pokemon), the official Pokemon card site.
2. http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Labyrinth/6402/poke-level.htm
3. http://www.wizards.com/Pokemon/Rules/Welcome.asp
4. When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? (Isaiah 8:19)
5. From Reasons To Believe’s web site, “Dealing with Demons” (http://www.reasons.org/resources/papers/demons.html)
6. Leviticus 20:6-7 And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people. Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.
7. He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced sorcery and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. (2 Kings 21:6)
8. Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
9. Leviticus 20:27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

http://www.newageinfo.com/res/meditat_data.htm
See “No Evidence of a Spiritual Realm?” (http://www.GodAndScience.org/apologetics.html)