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Olympics “Dirty Bomb” Fears: UN atomic agency helping guard Rio Olympics from ISIS terror attack

July 31, 2016

Experts from the United Nations have sent state-of-the art detection equipment to Brazil over fears suicidal terror nuts will target the Olympics with a devastating “dirty bomb”.

The Sun

Israel’s Netanyahu celebrates warming ties with Sisi’s Egypt

July 28, 2016

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday praised warming relations with Egypt and its president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who ousted an Islamist government seen as hostile to ties between the neighbors.


Even thinking about marriage gets young people to straighten up

July 27, 2016

Researchers found that teenagers and young adults who expected to get married within the next five years reported committing fewer delinquent acts in the next year than those who weren’t thinking about wedding bells… “If you’re thinking of getting married soon, you may do things differently and you act more like an adult,” Arocho said.

Ohio State University


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Articles And Commentary

Lessons from the U.S. Military for Business

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by Dr. Steve Elwart

Soldiers in formation

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear, trembling and sincerity, as when you obey the Messiah. Do not do this only while you’re being watched in order to please them, but be like slaves of the Messiah, who are determined to obey God’s will. Serve willingly, as if you were serving the Lord and not merely people, because you know that everyone will receive a reward from the Lord for whatever good he has done, whether he is a slave or free.

Ephesians 6:5–8 (ISV)

(Note: Paul’s words in Ephesians do not apply only to slaves. They apply to all Christians in service to another. Christians have a fiduciary responsibility to those they work for. They are to treat the business where they are employed as their own. It is their responsibility to speak the truth to power. In that spirit, below is a paper I wrote to the senior management of the company where I am employed. The paper may pinch at times, but it is an assessment of the general business environment today.)


Thomas Ricks gave a lecture at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, which dealt with generalship, but had several lessons for business. The lecture was so good I bought the book he wrote on the subject The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today (Ricks 2012) and saw how what goes on in the business environment mirrors what the author saw happening in the U.S. Army. This is not coincidental. After World War II, the army tried to transform itself and operate more like a business and its generals true “organizational men,” culminating with General Westmoreland. He was the consummate general-businessman and someone historians have judged to be a disaster as commanding U.S. forces in Vietnam.

From the book/lecture and what I have learned from the industry, there are several parallels between the modern military and business.

I. Do not replace, micromanage

General George Marshall, Army Chief of Staff during World War II had a simple philosophy for generalship. Put a man in charge of a brigade, corps or army, give him free rein for a few months, and if the assignment is not working out, replace him with another man. Being replaced did not necessarily end a general’s career; several brigadier generals (1-star) who were replaced later became lieutenant generals (3-stars) and full generals (4-stars). The reassignment only meant the man and the assignment were not a good fit for that time or place.

During World War II, senior American commanders generally were given a few months in which to succeed, be killed or wounded, or be replaced. Sixteen Army division commanders were relieved for cause, out of 155 officers who commanded Army divisions in combat during the war. At least five corps commanders also were removed for cause. … Maj. Gen. Terry de la Mesa Allen , one of the most successful American generals of 1943, had been relieved after winning the last major battle.

After the war, the military tried to run the army more like a business. An unintended consequence of this was senior officers (and later junior ones) no longer got replaced if they were not working out.

Ricks recounts in his book:

Relief in the U.S. military had become so rare that, as Lt. Col. Paul Yingling noted during some of the darkest days of the Iraq War, a private who lost his rifle was punished more than a general who lost his part of a war.

Rather than see the replacement as a necessary change because of a bad fit, replacing an individual was seen as an indictment on the “organization.” Instead, they were “counseled” and “mentored” by their superiors. The Army tried to compensate for that lack in several ways, but primarily with added supervision — often referred to by those under supervision as “micromanagement.” During Vietnam, lieutenants often complained they could not talk to their platoons because majors and colonels were co-opting those platoon officers, giving orders to platoons and companies directly. Instead of trying to improve strategy, generals and colonels climbed into aircraft and became what one general called “squad leaders in the sky.”

There is an inverse relationship between trust and micromanagement. The more one trusts subordinates, even to the point of allowing them to make their own corrections after erring, the less necessary it is to hover over them. Lack of trust has corrosive effects within organizations, slowing them down and cramping their ability to move information quickly, adjust to new circumstances, or engage in prudent risk taking. “Not trusting a person is an invitation to organizational disaster,” Lt. Gen. Walter Ulmer Jr., the Army’s foremost expert on leadership at the time, warned in 1986.

This led to the cover-up of the My Lai Massacre. It took 18 months and several investigations to get the entire truth behind My Lai because the massacre was not an isolated incident. There were actually two massacres: My Lai where Lieutenant William L. Calley commanded Company C, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Infantry Brigade, 23rd Infantry Division (Americal Division) and Binh Tay, where Charlie Company’s second and third platoons were murdering old men, women and children.

These massacres were committed by rouge units. During much of the bloodbath, Lt. Col. Frank Barker, commander of the provisional battalion of which Charlie Company was part, was circling overhead in one helicopter, and the brigade commander to whom he reported, Col. Oran Henderson, was in another. This was not the action of one or two platoons or even one company gone berserk. According to Ron Ridenhour, a soldier who later would play a key role in disclosing the atrocity:

This was an operation, not an aberration. What happened at My Lai was a plan… We have officers, lieutenant colonels, a task force commander, a brigade commander, and the division commander in the air over those villages for significant periods of time, all morning long.

In this case, micromanagement did nothing to prevent the slaughter. At My Lai, a helicopter pilot, Hugh Thompson, saw what was happening and set his helicopter down between the soldiers and civilians and gave orders to his gunner to shoot any soldier that fired on another civilian.

Because the battalion and brigade commanders were on the scene, they covered up the crime. It took two years for the action to come to light.

In business, we also tend to micromanage rather than replace. This leads to having the wrong people in the wrong slots for too long. Replacing someone does not necessarily mean firing them, however if a person is left in the wrong place for too long, termination may be the only option to replacement.

Micromanagement also kills morale and kills initiative among the people in charge of a project or organizational unit. At one plant, it was a joke among the staff that the plant manager’s job was an entry level position. The plant manager would call New York and get his instructions for the day and then call again at the end of the day to report back how those orders were carried out.

This observation on micromanaging led to another conclusion:

II. The military does not replace their leaders, civilians do

Since replacing senior officers is seen to reflect badly on the military organization, they are left in place way too long. It comes to a point where the civilian leadership of the military (Secretary of the Army, Secretary of Defense or the President) will step in and relieve the officer. By this point, the relief is very noticeable and does kill a military career.

When the military does not relieve senior generals, civilian officials will. The vicissitudes of the relationship between generals and their civilian overseers are a secondary theme of the book, because the quality of civil-military discourse is often a sign of whether a war is being conducted effectively, one of the few available leading indicators. When presidents and generals speak clearly to one another, in an atmosphere of candor and trust, wars tend to be fought more effectively than when officials mislead one another or simply do not deal among themselves in a straightforward manner that surfaces and examines differences and assumptions.

In business, a department head may not have the power nor the inclination to replace a person. The wrong person is in the wrong assignment for way too long. When the “pain” becomes too great, a more senior manager steps in and orders the person removed, usually through termination. If the situation had been resolved early, it may have been done more quietly with minimal damage to a person’s contributions to the company.

III. Organizations think tactically, not strategically

It is said that generals are always ready to fight the last war. True or not, they always seem to be ready to fight the first battle, but never the war. Initial engagements may be brilliantly executed, but the war badly handled. In the First Gulf War, the “Hail Mary play,” bypassing the Iraqi army was beautifully executed, but the war ended indecisively with the United States leaving a power vacuum in the regions, which militant jihadis filled. President Obama summed up the problem succinctly when he said the United States had no strategy in dealing with ISIS.

Col. Richard Sinnreich , the second director of the army’s School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) observed in 1983:

[There was] a big huge intellectual hole in the Army’s understanding of how you go to war. Here we were going right back to where we had been before, tactical, but not operational. We’d win the first battle, but what about the war?”

It was a legitimate concern, as later American wars would show.

In business, we sometimes run projects and initiatives, “the cheapest way possible, no matter how much it costs.” An individual project may be executed well, but incur unnecessary costs when future projects are executed. One can tend to focus too much on the “tyranny of the urgent,” but not at long-term goals. This is especially true when a project presents an opportunity to improve an infrastructure. Too many times businesses take the philosophy of “let the future pay for the future,” and incur needless costs redoing some work in later projects that could have been done for less money if improvements were planned for originally.

In the information technology sphere this can lead to spending more money than necessary for projects by buying parts and software one project at a time rather than looking at an overall information technology strategy. This has led to pulling fiber twice, buying 2 or 3 electrical cabinets when one larger, cheaper one (on a cost per point basis) would do. Projects may be installed “on the cheap” and then more money spent than later that could have been avoided.

When dealing with systems improvements that touch multiple projects or organizational units, no one project can pay for an infrastructure upgrade, so infrastructure or system-wide projects are done piecemeal at a higher cost.

IV. One needs to fit into a mold

General George Patton was one of the most brilliant field generals in the United States Army in World War II, possibly in U.S. History. He was also flamboyant, vain, course and exasperating. Many times, he should have been relieved of duty and sent home, but both Marshall and Eisenhower understood they would need him and his way of thinking later in the war in Europe. Their decision to keep him despite his faults paid off handsomely during the breakout in France and his “Race toward the Rhine.” As one captured German colonel said of Patton, “He is the most modern general and the best commander of armored and infantry combined.” Patton had a genius in conducting combat operations that made him valuable to the war effort despite his shortcomings.

The Marshall template for generalship was not a rigid mold. It made room for exceptions, especially at higher levels of command. Marshall would put up with George Patton and some other outliers because their combat effectiveness made them irreplaceable… The blustery Patton behaved in ways that would have gotten other officers relieved, but he was kept on because he was seen, accurately, as a man of unusual flaws and exceptional strengths. Marshall concluded that Patton was both a buffoon and a natural and skillful fighter. Ike cast himself as Patton’s defender, writing to Marshall early in the war that “General Patton has … approached all his work in a very businesslike, sane but enthusiastic attitude.” It is hardly usual to go out of one’s way to reassure a superior that a subordinate is “sane.”

Eisenhower’s final word on Patton would come more than two decades later, in his last memoir, At Ease. There he repeatedly praised Patton as “a master of fast and overwhelming pursuit” and “the finest leader in military pursuit that the United States Army has known.” It is a revealing superlative, at once lofty and limited. That is, he calls Patton the best, but at something that is described narrowly. He doesn’t call Patton the best general or the best combat leader nor even the best at waging offensive warfare; he makes it clear that in his view Patton excelled at the single task of hounding a retreating enemy. Narrow as that mission is, it was precisely the job the American military faced in Europe in late 1944 and early 1945, and that is likely the primary reason Patton was never sent home in disgrace.

As the army became “more like a business,” senior commanders with Patton’s dynamism and color had no place in the ranks. They were weeded out by the time they made major. Having commanders fit into a mold, a kind of “groupthink” was promoted and with it. (Groupthink is a term describing a group where loyalty requires each member to avoid raising controversial issues.) A confirmation bias was introduced into the decision making process where only those opinions that fit the current narrative.

General and former Secretary of State Colin Powell noted:

I detected a common thread running through the careers of officers who ran aground even though they were clearly able. They fought what they found foolish or irrelevant, and consequently did not survive to do what they considered vital.

In business, many “colorful” employees are sidelined or weeded out. While they may not fit in a supervisory capacity, they may be invaluable in a technical or planning role. Israel was caught napping at the start of the Yom Kippur war, when “conventional wisdom” dictated Egypt would not attack Israel. After coming close to losing the war and Israel exercising the “Samson option” implementing the use of nuclear weapons, not only assuring their enemy’s destruction, but also their own, Israeli intelligence implemented the “Devil’s Advocate” approach to looking at their strategic thinking. The theory goes when everyone is in agreement on a likely scenario; one person is selected to advocate a contrarian view. This forces the group to look at alternatives and has proven in Israel to be effective in their strategic thinking.

In business, many times alternative views are discounted or ignored and eventually come to pass. It would serve an organization to have contrarians or people of a different stripe in the organization. People tend to hire in their own image and, in such cases, their workplaces are full of people who look and behave like their managers.

Coca-Cola tries to reverse this tendency. As one executive summarized their hiring policy, “Hire someone different from yourself.”

Diversity is more than a demographic, a matter of color, gender or age.

V. “Stay in your lane”

Retired Army Lt. Gen. David Barno, looking back on his Army career, observed that “the higher you rise, the more pressure there is to conform and to be a loyal team player. The phrase I kept hearing was, ‘stay in your lane.’” This meant one should keep quiet and not comment on anything other than one’s own duties: “When we want your opinion, we’ll beat it out of you.”

C. Douglas Dillon was John Kennedy’s Secretary of the treasury during the Bay of Pigs debacle. After the failed invasion, Dillon said he could have told Kennedy that invasion would not work. The plan relied on a general uprising among the Cubans against Castro once the U.S.-backed rebels landed on the island. Dillon knew what he was talking about. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II with service in the Philippines. He was very familiar with the Philippine insurgence in the archipelago once U.S. forces landed on Luzon in 1945. In retrospect, he saw that Cuba was very different from the Philippines and the populace would not revolt. His insights, however, were not part of the decision making process when Kennedy approved the CIA-backed plan.

He was “only” the Secretary of the Treasury.

Telling “seasoned” personnel to stay in their own lane deprives an organization of some valuable insights. Organizations, like the Army and intelligence agencies, tend to live in silos. They only see what is in front of them, and do not have a breath of experience to see things in context. More experienced people may have a varied experience and give insights younger people may not have. Experienced are many times told to “stay in your lane” and their years of varied experience are wasted.

There are many lessons learned from changes in the U.S. military for business. Many of them are lessons on what not to do.

Further Reading

The U.S. Vice Presidential Picks and Israel

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by Dr. Steve Elwart

Democrats Hillary Clinton & Tim Kaine (L) and Republicans Michael Pence & Donald Trump (R)

Democrats Hillary Clinton & Tim Kaine (L) and Republicans Michael Pence & Donald Trump (R)

Characteristics of a Godly Leader

  1. Wisdom – “A king sits on a throne of justice, sifting out all sorts of evil with his glance.” (Proverbs 20:8)
  2. Integrity – “Kings detest wrong-doing, for through righteousness the throne is established.” (Proverbs 16:12)
  3. Love – “Gracious love and truth preserve a king; through love his throne is made secure.” (Proverbs 20:28)
  4. Seeks Good Advisers – “A nation falls through a lack of guidance, but victory comes through the counsel of many.” (Proverbs 11:14)
  5. Self-Control – “A roaring lion and a charging bear— that’s what a wicked tyrant is over poor people.” (Proverbs 28:15)
  6. Awareness of his Influence – “As the righteous grow powerful, people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, people groan.” (Proverbs 29:2)
  7. Compassion – “When a king faithfully administers justice to the poor, his throne will be established forever.” (Proverbs 29:14)
  8. No Need for Public Approval – “Fearing any human being is a trap, but confiding in the LORD keeps anyone safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)
  9. Moderation – “It is not for kings, Lemuel— Not for kings to drink wine or for rulers to desire liquor. Otherwise, they may drink and forget what has been ordained, perverting justice for all the oppressed.” (Proverbs 31:4–5)
  10. Submission to God – “A king’s heart is a water stream that the LORD controls; he directs it wherever he pleases.” (Proverbs 21:1)

(All Bible quotations come from the International Standard Version of the Bible – ISV)

Both the U.S. Republican and Democratic presidential nominating conventions are over. Besides formally nominating the presidential candidate and voting on a party platform (which everyone ignores,) the vice-presidential candidates are selected. In most cases, this is a pro forma vote which confirms the presidential candidate’s pick for a running mate.


Besides looking at their Godly characteristics, one needs to look at their position on the State of Israel. Their stance on the Israel also needs to be looked at as a Godly characteristic, for we are promised that a nation will be blessed by God if the nation (and their leadership) blesses Israel.

It is worthwhile then to examine how the two candidates stand on Israel.

Democratic VP Candidate Tim Kaine

Hillary Clinton, the United States’ Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee has named Tim Kaine as her running mate for vice president.

The pick of the Virginia senator is sending a message of unity to party members and highlights stark divisions in the Republican Party on the tails of the GOP nominating convention in Cleveland.

However, the selection of Kaine is something of a gamble.

The moderate Democrat has backed abortion restrictions; supported fast-track authority for a divisive Pacific Rim trade deal; and just this week joined a push to deregulate some of the nation’s largest banks — all positions that are anathema to the liberals being wooed by the Clinton team heading into November.

On the plus side for Democrats, the former Virginia governor serves on both the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, where he’s focused intently on anti-terror measures and led the push for Congress to approve a new authorization for military force specific to the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

There are other reasons Kaine is an attractive pick for Clinton and the Democrats.

A devout Catholic from the Midwest, Kaine was born in Minnesota, Jesuit-educated in Missouri and took time away from Harvard Law School to do missionary work in Honduras.

He’s fluent in Spanish, shifting between the two languages on the stump. He represents Virginia, a swing state. And he’s built a reputation as a pragmatic legislator who’s able to compromise across the aisle, a trait not overlooked by Clinton as she weighed her options.

Kaine, Virginia’s former governor is being touted by his supporters as a moderate Democrat with considerable domestic and foreign policy credentials from his experience serving on the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees as well as formerly heading the Democratic National Committee.

Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of the Interfaith Alliance, has known Kaine personally for many years and has said that Clinton’s running mate was a “terrific governor” who as a senator has continuously tried to “reach across the [partisan] aisle for potential solutions.”

Kaine’s critics in pro-Israel circles, meanwhile, point to his outspoken support for the Iran nuclear deal, his decision to skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 2015 speech to Congress about the Iranian nuclear threat as sources for concern.

Kaine has also received financial support from groups such as J Street, the George Soros-funded left-wing organization widely regarded as anti-Israel for its opposition to every attempt by Israel to defend itself against terror. The organization has called Kaine “a champion of pragmatic, proactive American foreign policy.” While describing itself as a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby, J Street has garnered ongoing controversy in the Jewish community for its frequent criticism of Israeli government policies. J Street also states that it opposes the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, but the lobby’s college campus arm — J Street U — has come under fire for partnering on campus events with pro-BDS groups.

Tevi Troy — a presidential historian and former White House aide for the George W. Bush administration, and author of the forthcoming book Shall We Wake the President? Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office, said there are “some worrisome aspects about [Kaine] from an Israel perspective,” specifically citing his boycott of Netanyahu’s speech and “enthusiastic support” from J Street.

On the other side of the political spectrum, the Republican Jewish Coalition brands him as being “out of touch”.

Besides sharing J Street’s policy priorities on the Palestinian issue, Kaine was an ardent advocate of the Iran nuclear deal, an agreement on which the group spent roughly $5 million helping to push through Congress.

Once Clinton made the text message announcement to her supporters, J Street released a statement commending Kaine’s work on behalf of their core issues. “In the course of his lengthy career in public service, Senator Kaine has proven himself to be a great friend of Israel and a champion of pragmatic, proactive American foreign policy,” it said.

J Street praised his record on the Middle East, saying he “consistently advocated the need for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the only way to ensure that Israel can survive and flourish as a Jewish and democratic state and that Palestinians can live with independence and dignity.”

They also noted him as a “leader in the successful effort to defang the Iranian nuclear program through tough sanctions and effective diplomacy that produced the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] agreement.”

But for the hawkish Republican Jewish Coalition, such background did not garner their approval or commendation. They swiftly lambasted Kaine as enabling Tehran in acquiring a nuclear arsenal and, indeed, his affiliation with J Street itself — an organization they regard as lobbying positions that do not serve Israel’s interests.

Another worrisome item about Senator Kaine is he joined some members in Congress in boycotting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech in March 2015 — where the Israeli Prime Minister pleaded with members of congress not to approve an agreement that the Iranians were sure to violate. (Since the agreement was signed and the U.S. $5billion in frozen assets released, Iran has indeed violated the agreement with ballistic missile tests, even taunting the United States for their naiveté.)

Like Hillary Clinton — who was the Secretary of State when negotiations with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began, and who supported the Iran deal — Kaine was ultimately unwilling to heed the concerns of Israelis across the spectrum from left to right.

Kaine even joined the Democrats’ filibuster to prevent the Senate from voting on the Iran deal at all. He co-authored the so-called “Corker bill,” then refused to allow the Congress to exercise the barest oversight.

In a statement explaining his vote, he described himself as “a strong supporter of the nuclear agreement with Iran,” and called the Iran deal “a dramatic improvement over the status quo.”

Kaine’s “pro-Israel” claims seem to be pure rhetoric. When it came to tangible support of Israel, he seemed to be fighting for that country’s enemies.

Republican VP Candidate Mike Pence

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s selection of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate has Israelis intrigued.

Pence is known as a social conservative and Evangelical Christian. He opposes abortion rights as well as gay marriage. He signed a measure in March prohibiting abortions based on “sex, race, color, national origin, ancestry or disability, including Down syndrome.” In 2015, he signed a bill that would have allowed businesses to follow their religious beliefs in providing services to the public.

While Trump has said he gives Israel his unwavering support, other statements he has made has given the pro-Israel lobby pause. Bringing Pence on board should calm some Israel supporter’s nerves.

An unabashedly conservative Christian, Pence previously spent 12 years in Congress, where he led several pro-Israel efforts, including placing stricter conditions on funding for the Palestinian Authority.

Pence, a member of the United States Congress for 12 years from 2001 to 2013, rose rapidly in the Republican Party caucus leadership, chairing the Republican Conference in his second to last term in office, 2011–2013.

He led a number of bids to place conditions on funding for the Palestinian Authority, and in 2007 he joined then-Rep. Ron Klein, D-Fla., in convening the Congressional Anti-Semitism Task Force.

In 2009, Pence addressed the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), stating “emphatically” that his “Christian faith compels me to cherish the state of Israel.”

Pence continued his support for Israel since becoming governor of his state.

Indiana recently became one of the first American states to outlaw the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that targets Israel and despite his state’s relatively small Jewish community, Pence has promoted economic ties between Israel and Indiana.

Yosef Hirsh wrote on the Israeli news portal Mida:

Trump’s selection of Pence “signifies the rising power of Evangelicals among the Republican elite, which is a good thing for Israel.”

It is encouraging to see a man such as Pence showing such strong support for Israel on the ticket.

Further Reading


The views and opinions expressed in these articles, enews and linked websites are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views held by Koinonia House. Koinonia House is providing this information as a resource to individuals who are interested in current news and events that may have an impact on Christian Life and Biblical trends. Koinonia House is not responsible for any information contained in these articles that may be inaccurate, or does not present an unbiased or complete perspective. Koinonia House disavows any obligation to correct or update the information contained in these articles.

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