Thursday, September 8, 2016

Lagos Nigeria

Today I find myself living among 22 million people in one of the largest West African cities on the continent. This is day  4 of a two week trip here. I am here to learn , teach and instruct leaders. The original foundational reason for this trip was to take a masters level course at the largest seminary in Africa. Other reasons have been added to the trip since , but all to the glory of God. Most of the students here are called of God to prepare for ministry in the country of Nigeria, but many others also come from other nations as well. I meet the Founder of the Seminary who has been a missionary here for over 35 years. Gary and his wife have roots in the Nazarene church so there were many connections. They now live here the rest of their days while pastoring  a church as well as still involved some with WATS. Today I meet the academic dean who also teaches. She is an American here with a passion to help give African leaders the best education possible to prepare for ministry. The mission of the Seminary is very needed as  the vast majority of pastors in this country have never had any formal education regarding doctrine , church history or how to properly understand or study the Word of God. In this nation the prosperity gospel and hyper grace are embraced  by many who have never been rooted in God's Word. In the founders own words he said there is a need for there  to be dozens and dozens of these seminaries like West African theological Seminary here in this city alone. 

      It has been such a joy to learn here,.Today I was able to teach a one hour session in my ethics class as well as one hour about discipleship with others. As an example of my ethics class we have a case study before us we are to read and then write a paper on what should a man do with his 4 wives and many children after he receives  Christ as Savior?  Because Polygamy is legal and practiced still  through Africa ( mostly among Muslims and traditionalist ) how I does the church handle these kinds of ethical issues is very complex. If your interested in reading my paper on this feel free to inquire for a copy. 
This is my fellow students in my Christian ethics class 

This is me and Dr. Gary Maxey the founder of West Africa Theological Seminary 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Ministry in the midst of Tragedy

It has been 13 months since I posted a blog post. In the past 12 months my son Levi (who turned 20 years old today) has had 4 seizures that required we rush to the E.R. to keep him alive. We never know when he might just stop breathing and 4 times within 12 months is too much, But yet by the grace of Jesus he is home again and happy as a claim like nothing ever happened. We  might have some new answers and of course new anti seizure meds, but we still don't have solid assurance. I guess none of have that, but you know what I mean.

     It was a Friday night when Levi checked out and we check into the E.R. The next day they recommended we transfer him to Orlando for betters tests. We did this and spent 3 more days in that hospital. It was during that stay in the hospital that I tried to share my faith with a Muslim Doctor from Palestine. He was not to thrilled to chat faith, but the next Muslim women whom we  crossed paths with allowed me to share my  faith. We chatted about Jesus the prophet  before she has to move on to the next medical patient requiring her attention. I found sharing life and faith with those around me easy and exciting as I looked for the people of peace God might put before me each and every day. Wherever the Lord places us in the daily journey ministry can abound even in our tragic moments. .

   Many have prayed for us in our challenges and we thank God for so many people praying, A joy for me was when I got to pray for a couple who just had a baby on the edge of critical care. I was in the cafe eating dinner when I spotted a couple at the table next to me. I engaged them with a joyful fun comment only to see and hear their sorrow and challenge. Baby Mia was there new daughter who weighed in at 1 lb 2 oz. I offered to pray for the baby and this couple and they openly agree. As they left they stopped me and thanked me for caring and praying.

  The following Sunday I shared with our congregation the request of baby Mia for God to give her strength to pull through. The next day at the hospital I felt this urge several times to go find the parents to tell them we are praying for them still. The Holy Spirit prompted me to go and seek out  the parents of baby Mia. I only had a first name and weight. I found a nurse who tried to help me only to tell me 'we need a mother's last name".  Then he said follow me to one more place. I was doubting but following. Then we turned down a hallway and Mia mom Jessica came around the corner. I was over joyed to find this mom. It was a divine moment. She updated me and I have her my card this time and asked her to keep me posted on her baby's progress and that we would be praying.

    Today she sent me a picture and an update. Please pray for this family and precious child. Jessica told me in the hospital that she will get to take her home in 2017 when she is healthy enough.  My hope and prayer is that this mom and child get to go home maybe by Thanksgiving. Would you join me in praying for this baby?

Mia ☺️ she's stable and in maybe 2 weeks they will decide whether to feed her or open her up if she's still not well, so I'm praying she doesn't need surgery . But her blood work is good no infection yet , and the Dr. is surprised that her blood work continues to get better despite her condition . God is good !

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Legalized Homosexuality is Good

           Now before you trash me as an evangelical gone off the deep end please let me explain. First of all I don't believe the practice of homosexuality is pleasing in God’s sight. As well, there is nothing good or redeeming that can be accomplished in the physical world by legalizing homosexuality. The legalization of a clearly defined sin of the bible is however not as bad as I first thought. I've been reading a ton of bloggers, commentators and ministry leaders who hold the same values I do. They feel the crushing blow on American history with this recent Scotus ruling as I do.

              The ruling was a rather telling and defining wakeup call on reality for our culture. For decades leaders, writers and futurist have been warning the church it needed to wake up as it was asleep in the light. In large measure the church in America has ignored the call to go into the world and make disciples of the Nations. There is no question in other nations where God's Word is not honored or recognized the church does tend to flourish much better then we want to admit. China is a great example of growth under suppression.

What did this recent ruling say to me? It says several things. It says the past American Christian Nation is truly over. It's a unfortunate thing, but history is truly history and it is not still present with us. The ruling that was decided by 9 Judges with a 5 to 4 vote also reflects the present mindset of America. That mindset is 60% are biblically illiterate or liberal or both along with their truth is relative value system. Now we can clearly see that our moral value system as a nation has shifted in just under a decade exponentially. As a whole our nation or its elected and appointed leaders do not see the danger of sin when it is legalized. Are we the First Nation to do this? Certainly not and we will likely now influence many other nations who follow our lead down this dangerous slope of sin faster than ever before.

So why is legalizing marriage good you might ask? It's good because it aligns the law with the largest percentage of the population’s true values. It's good because it’s a kick in the pants to the church that has not once since Roe Verses wade. For a sleeping church that needed to wake up and get back to the true place of prayer and evangelism it is good. It's good because it will escalate sin and its damages on unbelievers quicker so that it hastens the need for truly good news to fill the void with meaningful hope in Jesus Christ the church has to offer. It's good because it could result in the church being persecuted to the point of spreading and growing as it historically has always done under cultural pressure. It's good because when people decide to become a Christian it won't just be a decision anymore but a conversion by the Holy Spirit to a lifestyle that will cost one something. It's good because it separate a religious church from the truly biblical church.

Am I glad homosexuality has been legalized? Absolutely not! Matter of fact it grieves me to think that I was one of those Christians and leaders of a time when I should have done more, prayed more and influenced the culture more. This bad decision I believe is being used of God to wake me and other settled believers up. This legalization of “homosexual marriage” is hoax from hell and has become a rebuke on me and is still teaching me how to live and walk better with the truth of the gospel. I know I can't condone it condemn it is to late, but I can preach a grace of truth toward those who need and desire deliverance from it along with other sins of destruction. When I see the broken lives fall into hopelessness I desire now more then ever to be there to love and help restore by grace a broken person to Jesus Christ. Legalized homosexual marriage is good news for the hope of the Gospel to redeem those struggling for a true solution of meaningful love.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Why homosexual marriage cannot be recognized by God.

 My intent with this writing is to illustrate, bring to light, and make known to all who have ears to hear,  that the original intent of marriage was, and  is, only and ever to be between two opposite genders for the purpose of creating one new flesh, a child, to guarantee the continuation of mankind and his destiny.

The governments of men can create all kinds of rules and laws but that does not make those laws right or reflective of eternal truth. During the time of the Roman Empire the Caesars worshipped false gods and some of them required the people to worship them as a god as well. Slavery at times and in certain nations has been legal as well. Some slaves have had great masters while others have had abusive masters. We find slavery throughout the biblical narrative and even though it was never God's plan yet we see God still working through and around many of these issues to bring back mankind to His plan and his grace.  When two people of the same gender commit their lives together, adopt children together, share assets together and build a life together, they can technically share some of the attributes of a marriage but it can never actually be a marriage because there is never a biblical shedding of blood.

              In Genesis 2:24-25 God declared the reason and purpose of marriage: It was the coming together of two opposite genders of mankind to become one flesh. The results of this one new flesh would produce the fruit of the womb (children). Within God's framework of marriage there are several aspects that the uniting of two of the same gender can never experience. Let's take a look at them:                                                                                                                                   

God is a God of Covenant and over and over again Covenant is declared from the beginning of Genesis with the shedding of BLOOD. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, God covered their sin, guilt and shame after He declared their penalty, refrained from killing them and rescued them with a covering of Bloody animal skins (Genesis 3:21) .  Its obvious those skins became available by way of the sacrifice of an innocent animal and by way of the blood shed to give up its skin. 
We also see when God made covenant (promise / permanent allegiance) with Abram that there was the shedding of BLOOD with the cutting of flesh. ( Genesis 15:17-18)  This revealed God’s desire that the two become one in Covenant as God walked between the animal halves IN THE BLOOD as a sign of God instigating and creating a promise of eternal partnership and Covenant between Himself and Abram.
At that juncture in time God made a covenant to multiply Abraham’s seed (procreation).  When we come to the New Testament we discover Jesus Christ the son of God who shed his BLOOD in Covenant and made a promise that He would bring many sons (male and female) into spiritual life for eternity.
                 When a man and a women who have never joined their flesh with another (virginity) come together with the act of intercourse there is for the first time a shedding of BLOOD by the female.   This shedding creates a BLOOD Covenant and seals the coming together of two opposite genders to create one flesh. The results become the fruit of the womb in offspring for the glory of God. This blood covenant between male and female becomes the proof or evidence of a New Covenant of intimacy and promise of one flesh /a new family to live life together as one. When those who accept the sacrifice of Christ and "believe Him" and repent of our sins, we (leave our former single life) and cleave to our spiritual mate who provides and protects us as we walk in life with God in Covenant faith. When we do such, we produce disciples (fruit of Covenant) and we can look back to the BLOOD shed as a reminder of a promise made by God.
                Now anything short of this description between a male and female virgin coming together in blood covenant is not a truly biblical marriage as God intended! One might ask questions about divorce, death and remarriage etc.  God has answers for all things, but the ideal and intent of marriage is a physical BLOOD Covenant between male and female for life to become one flesh to produce fruit and offspring for God's glory.  Leviticus chapter 18 makes quite clear all the violations between mankind in any and every direction against the will of God and their respective consequences.

Now back to BIBLICAL homosexual marriage possibilities. Based on God's created order, intent and design it's impossible for two adults of the same gender to be married in covenant with each other and recongized by God. Neither of them can cut the blood covenant to produce fruit of the womb without a male and female involved to produce a child. 
                The reason why so many are opposed to the recent Supreme Court's decision is not against homosexuals and lesbians having the right to share their lives with whomever they want to, but rather, the opposition is in the trampling under foot a God  created institution called “Marriage,” the uniting of one man and one women who enter into a Holy Union called a “Marriage Covenant”.
              If two men or two women or 3 men and 3 women or however many want to live together is not my business. But if multiple men or women want to experience and do whatever together against God’s will it is their sinful business, their decision, but please do not try to corrupt and redefine the purpose and meaning of “MARRIAGE”  as God established it.  According to God’s Word, it’s not within the realm of man to change God and His ways. His priorities are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.