Thursday, December 9, 2010

Businesses & Christmas Blessings?

   A few weeks ago, I was having a discussion with a group of ministry leaders over lunch. During the discussion, one of them mentioned an unexpected call from the bank offering him a lower mortgage rate as a good faithful customer. That conversation spoke of two things to me: 1. The banks have more bad customers than good ones and 2. Banks want to keep good customers and reward them before they look elsewhere and doing it during ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ speaks well to people. CHRISTMAS!  

   Yesterday, I received my own business offer to skip a monthly payment on my van for either December or January as a customer who has not missed a payment. It made me think of the mortgage offer of my colleague, as well as the blessing it was meant to be at Christmas time to help relieve pressure for faithful customers who might be feeling the pinch during the holidays.

   We see more needs and charity acts of benevolence during Christmas than at any other time of the year. Why?  Because many remember the most charitable act of all when God gave His only begotten son to be a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. At Christmas we remember a special baby born over 2000 years ago. This baby is the Savior, who was divinely incarnated into the womb of a virgin girl. Wow!  If this same act of God were to have happened today in a single woman many would try explaining it away with artificial insemination. God’s timing is always best.

Even in bad economic times those in business seem to be catching the spirit of blessing others even if it is only the faithful ones they bless.  I never see these offers in the spring, summer or fall and I believe this is all reflected because God gave His Son Jesus.  Blessing others with relief, charity and unexpected benevolence in the name of Jesus is what Christmas is all about. May we remind others now with unmerited acts of charity as we recall our unmerited salvation offer from heaven. Many today are hurting and jobless and will not likely be the recipient of a business blessing like noted above, but perhaps you could catch the purpose of Christmas and bless others as Christ has blessed you.

 Who do you know that you could bless with perhaps paying a power bill or filling up the tank of gas along with yours at the pumps? and then just saying: Merry Christmas!

May we all catch the Spirit of Blessing others as Christ is our Blessing to whomsoever would receive!  I received His gift and now let us give Him away and a blessing that speaks of Him.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Manna Challenge of Obedience

 About a month ago, we started sharing with our congregation about the need for sacrificial giving for our missionaries.  We had been told there is a need for an extra 6 million dollars to keep all our missionaries in the harvest fields of the 152 world areas in which we present the gospel.  My wife and I have always given to missions above our regular tithes and God has always seemed to enable us to give what we never thought we could afford.  This past month I just did not see the source from which giving was to come.

We have been taking the Dave Ramsey course on Financial Peace University in our church.  It has been a great course with great lessons.  With that we have been striving to be totally debt free.  So, with learning to save, pay debts off and "Live like no one else so we can later live like no one else," giving sacrificially was feeling different.

We have two vans and a motorcycle.  The newest family van is not paid off and very far from it.  The other van was an old 1996 Windstar and ran well for the past 3 years after giving us 32,000 miles of its 230,000 miles.  About the time of the mission challenge, the old van was dying.  My daughter names it "the ghetto van' because it was wearing out but still was used for ministry of teens and kids.  You had to get out to let anyone out of the back because the side door would not open from the inside anymore.  The a/c died in the summer and the heat died in the winter.  Then, once in a while, it would work for a cool or warm treat and then die again.  We took teens on activities and picked up and dropped off kids with it regularly.  It was just part of the family and then part of the ministry.

Once, when a church attendee needed a way to Miami, it was loaned out in crisis and died 280 miles away.  But love and cash towed her home and a little fixin' got her going again.  Then, she was loaned out on and off to another family for about a month all total.  I just got used to letting it be used as life and ministry demanded.  Then the bad news came when Nick, the mechanic, said, "Peter, it will cost you around $1200 to fix her."  With that news, I knew it was time to say "good bye" with over 230,000 miles on her.

I sensed from the Lord when the end of the van was coming that I should sell it and give the money to missions.  At first, it was just a nice idea, but then it was a stronger and clearer voice.  Finally, I said to my wife, "I don't know what we will do, but I feel like we are supposed to sell it and give the money to missions as our offering for "Thanksgiving."  She was agreeable and trusting in me and the Lord that something would work out.  Years ago, when we had a need, we would just start looking at car lots and consider a loan.  But since the Dave Ramsey course, we had learned to think differently about loans and debt.

To make a longer story shorter, I sold the van for exactly what I had bought it for still running.  On Saturday before the Thanksgiving offering, I prayed and said, "Lord, if you will sell the van for xyz dollars before 4 p.m., I will give 100% to missions tomorrow."  Well, the car went to the street side and the calls came in.  With one hour left before 4 p.m., Victor showed up.  I explained everything I knew about the car's problems and he agreed to the price in cash.  I would mention the amount, but truly, the story is of obedience, sacrifice and faith…not the cash.  Anyway, the kids helped me clean it out through the process of that day.  We knew we prayed for the van to sell and would give it to missions.

Now, for the "Manna" side of things.  Wednesday was the day I voiced to sell the van for missions and on that day, we agreed to trust God.  Soon after that, I felt impressed to call a car sales manager I know, who attends our church, and who we bought our newer van through.  Knowing we did not plan to seek a loan again and had very few dollars to work with, I explained my dead van and need of basic transportation.  I asked if he had any ideas or solutions.

He told me that only that day, a lady had a car for trade and he could only offer her $100.  He told me he suggested to her that she would be better off donating it to a charity.  So, he said, "Peter, let me call her and see if she would donate it to your church."  Later the same day, he called back and said she agreed.  I was blown away.  So, I called a meeting of my leadership that night to tell them the story of the dead van, the phone call and the soon donated car and my need of a running car.  I then asked if they would give me the donation.  I know they thought I was a bit strange on this piece of business, but with smiles and an affirmative "Yes", they agreed.  They also did not know that I was planning to give to the Lord any money received from the sale of the van to missions.

On the day of my joyous family sacrificial offering, I heard the voice of the Lord say, "Peter, what if the car deal falls through.  Will you still want to give the money away to missions?"  I said, "Yes Lord.  I know I can trust you with this adventure."  The day after, we headed out on a week of family vacation and then we discussed the "what if" the car does not come through.  My wife said something like, "We don't need a second car this week because we are on vacation.  Relax and let's have a fun vacation."  I must admit she has great wisdom and perfect timing and brings great balance to me.  Thank God for mates with hearts of faith!  Within an hour, the dealership called me while driving down the highway.  They told me the car was ready to be picked up.  All I knew about it was that it was a 1992 running car with high mileage.

When I finally went to get the car (I did not know what make/model it was), I was pleased to hear it start and look half way drivable.  My associate pastor brought me over to pick it up and asked me what I was going to name it.  Within a few minutes, I heard the voice of the Lord speak to my spirit the name, "Manna."  Yes indeed, it is a Manna car.  Manna actually means "what is it" and until the day I went to see it and pick it up, all I knew was, it is a 1992 car.

As God provided food for his people in the wilderness calling "it" Manna each day, so is He still providing Manna for his people today.  Our family obedience and sacrifice will help some missionary now.  What a great adventure it truly is to follow the Lord and obey the promptings of faith along the journey of life.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mig 7: What Food did Jesus eat for Thanksgiving?

Mig 7: What Food did Jesus eat for Thanksgiving?

What Food did Jesus eat for Thanksgiving?

In my devotions today I was reading from John 4:27-38. There was alot of lessons in this short passage, but verse 34 especially caught my attention with tomorrow being Thanksgiving Day and so much attention focused on food. Every Thanksgving since I can remember a big meal is prepared and spread with family and friends.

So I began to think about how the disciples were focused on physical food to strengthen the body, but Jesus was referring to spiritual food to nourish the soul.

So what does food do for us? It seems like a stupid question, but nonetheless bear with me. Food satisfies an internal hunger, food taste good, food fill us up, food makes us happy, food gives occasion to fellowship with others and finally food keeps us alive. Bottom line food is great stuff.

Jesus I believe was saying the exact same thing to the disciples. He said , "My food, is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work." As I thought about that it appeared to me that my food should be the same as I walk with my Father through my relationship with Jesus. If everywhere I went and every relationship and conversation opportunity I had was potential food from the Father to satisfy the hunger to please God, to enjoy the spiritually satisfying taste of doing the Spirit's biddings from day to day how satisfying each day would be. To do His will does fill me up and satisfy the longing of my soul. When I can do the will of the Father and enjoy physical food at the same time it's a double whammy blessing.

God help me to be ever ready in his harvest to consume what food he sets before my eyes. May God prevent me from getting side tracked when He calls, that I might be satisfied with the unexpected spiritual meal He places before me more often then I probably often recognize. Oh to dine with the Master and continue in His work that He daily sets before me.

A friend called me two before Thanksgiving with an amazing story of giving through his local church. The stories of spiritual food satisfying hungry souls is yet to pour forth from what I believe was a large step of faith on his and his leaders prompting of the Father.

Dear Church Family,

The Pastor and Church Board wish each of you a blessed Thanksgiving and a joyful Christmas season. When we think about being thankful, our first thoughts center upon God. We have much to be thankful for...families & health top the lists.

For many years I have pondered the possibility of giving back to our church family a gift to let each of them know just how much they mean to God and the Church. Today you are being given a gift of a hundred dollar bill. It is a gift! All we ask in return is that you begin to pray how God would lead you in dispersing His gift to you.

Some are thinking..."What is the catch?" There is no catch, there are no strings enclosed in your envelope. The only thing we ask in return is that you write out a testimony on paper and place it in a box in the back of the sanctuary. Do not sign your name, it is not important who did what, as much as we believe the impact will be something the whole church needs to share. These testimonies will be read by the pastor, and for those who would like to personally share their story, you will given the opportunity to share it publically.

So, take time and begin to pray and seek out how God wants to make you a blessing to someone between now and Christmas. The other thing we felt that was important is this: Perhaps it is you that needed this Gift from God today? Well, now how do you think God knew that?

From all of us to all of you..."It really is better to give than it is to receive"...Happy Holidays!

Which food satisfies you the most? A physical feast or a spiritual one? Let us all be mindful of the Masters table that He sets before us each day and may we find true eternal satisfaction in consuming the food that nourishes the soul.

Happy Thanksfgiving to all.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pastor Movie Review of “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”

I received an email about a week ago that was intriguing and very inviting (a free movie review). Since my 11 year old son read the entire series of the Chronicles of Narnia my wife felt he should be the one in the family rewarded to attend the preview with me as my one guest to invite along. That seemed like a great way to narrow down who goes with dad and the two of us had a great time.  I have never really been much of a fiction reader so it was great to have my well read son along to bounce stuff off of. My review is from the eyes of both my 11 year old son and myself so I hope it make sense to read a double review in one.
      In general my favorite type of movie is adventure and this flick is thoroughly that from start to finish. We were told that the producers were still open to changes and feedback from pastors was being considered. Time will tell on that one.  In general I enjoyed it and never felt any embarrassment with what was said or shown in the film. No foul language, no rude or course jokes, no sexual overtones or insinuations at all. Violence was within reason since there was never bloodshed even though there were plenty of battles along the way in the film.  

Two things about the film for I give caution about are the “Sea Serpent” at the end and the “Evil Midst” might be too scary for little ones under 8 years old. My youngest daughter who is 8 would have been hiding her eyes under my arm had she been with me. We saw the movie is 2D and if it had been 3D I think that would be even scarier for little ones.

   As my son and I discussed the filmed on the way home he told me that the movie was great, but it was not as good as the book. He said they changed more in this movie than the previous movies as it related to being in line with the book. My least favorite scene was that of entering the invisible house to read from the book on incantations. When it comes to the battle of good and evil at least good truly is triumphal, but the evil and spells associated with the cult seems a bit more than I would prefer. My son seem to indicate that it was in line with the book, but the terms and use of words was more associated with the battle of powers in the book, whereas in the movie is a battle of power against evil and the term “spells” seems to be on the good side as well as the bad side which is was confusing to me while watching the movie.

  In one scene the blue star came down from heaven and turned into a beautiful woman who I thought was really portraying satan as an “angel of light” to deceive them. But I was wrong and she was part of the good side of the movie on behalf of the Voyagers.

   The spiritual lessons are good, but they are not easily grabbed as being Christian and especially so if you have no history with either the book or movie series. Even some of the comments by Aslan at the end could get misconstrued by viewers to be an endorsement to salvation by other names other than Jesus even though a Christian would perceive he meant Jesus.
  As a movie I would say a thumbs up compared to the junk that is usually produced today. As for it being a “Christian Flick” with clear scriptural implications to a post Christian culture I would give it 5 out of 10. For a Christian family with knowledge of the Word of God I would give it 8 out of 10. As far as running along with this movie as a pastor to preach and promote it within the body of Christ I am hesitant and will not do such from the pulpit. I am not much of one to preach a movie and use scripture to support it and that appears to be the perspective from the people from website. I continue to preach the Gospel from the bible and when and if I can find a clip from the movie that supports God’s Word I would be glad to use clips from Narnia.  It appears to me that the producers want pastors to almost make the movie like a book of the bible to preach from using scriptures. Pre canned sermons are available to help promote the movie from pastors of mega churches. I certainly hope this is not the direction of the church of the future.

     I am grateful for the free preview and we will likely watch it again as a family at some point, but my son said they should stick to the book plot and not make so many changes.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

95 Theses to the Modern Evangelical Church

The following was not mine, but worth reprinting on my blog to help spread the word! These truly challenge me and stretch me in the day we live.


Greg Gordon
Greg Gordon
I have revised many of these and also all of them are of a size that will fit on twitter and facebook easily to re-post. Pray about sharing these with others and sharing each theses individually. I believe many need to hear these truths and they are shared in the humility of my weakness and lack in my own Christian Life. May God in His mercy come and revive North American Christianity for His glory alone. “May the Lamb of God receive the reward of His sufferings in our lives today!”  - Greg Gordon (founder of

1. The “church” at large has forgotten that the chief end of man is to glorify God. (Rom 16:27; 1Cor 6:20; Mt 6:9; 1Cor 10:31)

2. Christians ignore most of the methods, practices and principles found in the book of Acts. (Acts 2:42,44; Acts 2:46; Acts 2:38)

3. Many treat “church” like any other social club or sports event that they might attend. (Acts 2:46; Heb 10:25; Acts 1:14)

4. We’ve made Christianity about the individual rather than the community of believers. (Rom 12:5; 1Cor 12:12; 2Tim 4:16)

5. In most “churches” the priesthood of all believers isn’t acknowledged and the role of pastor is abused. (1Pt 2:9; 1Cor 12:12; Eph 4:11-13)

6. The “church” as a whole has lost the concept of their being grafted into the promises given to Israel. (Rom 11:15, 17-18, 20, 25)

7. There needs to be a recovery of teaching the whole counsel of God, especially in expository form. (Acts 20:27; 1Tim 4:6, 2Tim 2:15)

8. We take it too lightly that we have the blessing and honor of having God’s Scriptures in our possession. (Ps 119:16; Acts 13:44; Neh 8:9)

9. There has never been more access to the Word of God, yet so little reading of it. (1Tim 4:13; Neh 8:1-3; Ps 119:59)

10. Some read the Scriptures to attain knowledge, but do not practice what they read. (Jam 1:22; Mt 7:21; 3Jn 4)

11. Worship has become an idol in many “churches”. The music often resembles that of the world. (Amos 5:23; Phil 4:8; 1Jn 5:21)

12. The world is shaping the views of the “church” more than the “church” shaping the world. (Rom 12:2; Mt 5:13; 1Cor 1:22-23)

13. The “church” spends more money on dog food than on missions. (2Cor 9:6; Lk 21:2; Acts 4:34-35)

14. We take lightly the cost of discipleship laid out by Jesus Christ and do not deny our lives. (Lk 14:33; Lk 14:26-27; Mt 8:19-20)

15. There is a lack of true discipleship and making others to be obedient disciples. (Mt 28:20; 2Tim 2:2; 2Tim 2:14)

16. Many subscribe to the error that parts of life are to be spiritual while others are to be secular. (1Pt 4:2; Col 3:3; 1Jn 2:6)

17. Modern Christians often find Jesus’ command to sacrifice and serve abhorrent. (Phil 2:21; Jam 3:16; Rom 12:1-2)

18. Self disciplines in the Christian life such as fasting and praying are considered legalistic. (2Tim 2:21; 2Tim 1:8; Mt 6:17)

19. Little thought and contemplation is put towards the lostness of men, the seriousness of the Gospel. (Phil 3:8; Gal 2:20; Heb 10:34)

20. We are living with an epidemic of cheap grace with flippant confession and shallow consecration. (Lk 14:28-30; Lk 14:26; Jam 4:8)

21. Since the inception of the Church, the Gospel had the requirements of repentance and discipleship. (Acts 2:38; Lk 14:26; Jn 8:31)

22. Now forgiveness is offered without repentance, discipleship without obedience, salvation without sanctity. (Heb 10:29; 4:11; Lk 13:24)

23. Introspection, counting the cost, godly sorrow over sin, are all foreign to many in the “church”. (Acts 2:37; Ps 119:9; Heb 6:1-2)

24. The modern church loves itself more than its neighbor. (1Cor 3:3; Gal 5:13; Phil 2:3)

25. The church must repent of its idolization of personality, and of business principles. (2Cor 2:17; 1Cor 3:5; 1Cor 12:23)

26. Many elders and pastors of the “church” sadly are fleecing the flock to supply their own wants. (Jn 10:12-13; 1Pt 5:2-3; Rev 2:15)

27. The qualities most in demand in today’s pastorate are frequently foreign to the Scriptures. (1Tim 3:2-3; 1Tim 3:5; 1Tim 1:5-7)

28. The professionalization of the pastorate is a sin and needs to be repented of. (2Cor 11:13; Gal 3:1; Gal 2:6)

29. There must be repentance for the ambitious desire and idolization of the celebrity pastorate. (3Jn 9; Jer 17:5; 1Cor 12:22)

30. Pastors must trust the Spirit, not statistics. (2Sam 24:1; 1Cor 1:25; Rom 8:14)

31. Modern day prophets are being stoned by criticism and neglect. (2Tim 4:3-4; Gal 1:10; Jer 1:7-8)

32. God’s prophets are ill-treated and shunned by most “christians” considered too harsh or extreme. (Jer 6:10; Isa 6:9-10; Gal 4:16)

33. The prophets prophesy falsely, priests rule by their own power; and my people love to have it so. (Mt 24:4, 11-12; 1Cor 1:19, Jude 8 )

34. There are many false gospels being preached from pulpits in our day. (2Cor 11:4; Gal 1:8-9; Jude 16)

35. There is an epidemic of a “mock” salvation message. It is correct in doctrine, but false in reality. (2Cor 3:6; 1Jn 5:11-12; Rom 8:9)

36. A salvation that does not make men holy is trusted in by a deceived multitude. (Jude 4; Rom 8:1; Rom 6:17-18)

37. There is a needed perseverance in the truths of the Gospel without unbelief. (Eph 1:1; Heb 6:11-12; Heb 10:26-27)

38. A great need is to see “christians” become saints in actual experience. (1Jn 2:29; Col 3:5-8; Tit 3:8)

39. Many professors of religion are forbidding people to be a part of the holy body of Christ. (Mt 23:13; Ps 119:1-2; 2Pt 1:3-4)

40. Preaching has become all about the happiness of man and not the glory of God. (Jn 6:26; Rom 4:20; 1Pt 4:11)

41. Preachers give smooth words to entice men, yet very few give any words of correction or rebuke. (Jer 6:14; Pro 1:23; 1Tim 5:20)

42. Run from gospels that focus on our success and prosperity in the name of Jesus Christ. (Jn 2:16; Acts 20:33; Jer 6:13)

43. Run from gospels that focus on self-improvement. (1Tim 6:5; Heb 12:14; Jam 4:14)

44. Run from churches where men, and not Christ, are glorified. (Col 1:18; Jude 25; Jn 16:14)

45. Run from churches where there is no Bible, no cross, no mention of the blood of Christ. (1Pt 1:18-19; Eph 3:13; Rev 1:5)

46. Run from churches where the worship leaves you cold, where there’s no sense of God’s presence. (1Cor 5:4; Ps 80:14-15; Jer 12:11)

47. Run from churches where you’re comfortable in your sin. (1Cor 14:25; Heb 10:30-31; Heb 4:13)

48. Run from churches that use the pulpit of God for a personal agenda. (Jude 10-11,19; 3Jn 9)

49. Run from those who preach division between races and cultures. (Jam 2:4, Gal 3:28, Rev 5:9)

50. Run from ungodly, spasmodic movements and endless empty prophesying. (Jer 5:13; 1Cor 14:33, 1Jn 2:16)

51. Run from preachers who tell mostly stories and jokes. (Eph 5:4; Tit 1:8; 2:12)

52. Run from those that are only after money, who use one gimmick after another to get your money. (2Pt 2:3; 2Cor 12:14; 1Cor 9:18)

53. The phrase “accept Jesus as your personal Saviour” is not found in the Scriptures. (Rom 10:9-10; Col 1:13; Acts 26:20)

54. Evidence of true conversion does not seem important to modern day Christians. (1Jn 2:6; 1Jn 4:17; Mt 7:20)

55. Thousands of sinners think of God as having only one attribute: Love! But they continue in sin. (Rom 1:18; Acts 5:11; Ps 2:12)

56. “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!” has hindered true evangelism. (Rom 3:19; Acts 26:18; Phil 3:18-21)

57. A Gospel of love and grace only, without the law of God being preached. This is a doctrine of Satan. (2Tim 4:3-4; Rom 2:4-5; 3:19)

58. There has clearly arisen a careless mixture of 20th century reasoning with God’s revelation. (Col 2:8; Rom 1:25; Gal 1:6)

59. Decisionism and the “sinner’s prayer” has been a major cause of false conversions in the “church”. (2Pt 2:1-2; Eph 2:4-5; 2Cor 5:17-18)

60. Many will be surprised to hear Jesus say, “I never knew you, depart from me.” (Mt 7:22-23; 1Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21)

61. Men have taken the place of the Holy Spirit in confirming men in their supposed salvation. (1Jn 2:3-5; 2Ths 1:8; Gal 6:12-15)

62. The doctrine of hell and eternal suffering is something little grasped by most professing “christians”. (Mt 13:42; Jam 5:1; Ps 9:17)

63. The judgment seat of Christ is perhaps one of the most neglected topics in the modern pulpit. (2Cor 5:10; Rom 14:10; 1Cor 3:13)

64. The second coming of Christ needs to be re-instated as the church’s general thrust and burden. (1Jn 3:2-3; Col 3:4-6; 1Ths 4:14-17)

65. The church has lost the fear of God and has over emphasized the love of God. (Heb 12:28-29; Lk 12:5; Heb 10:31)

66. The church has left evangelism to a few trained professionals. (Acts 8:1,4; Acts 4:29; Rom 10:14)

67. Repentance is considered a one-time act in modern evangelism rather than a way of life. (Rev 3:19; Heb 12:17; 2Pt 3:9)

68. The Lordship of Jesus Christ is something that is not taught in many pulpits. (Acts 2:36; 1Cor 12:3; Rom 6:18)

69. Many in “churches” are not open to correction, church discipline or rebuke. (1Cor 5:5; 1Cor 11:31-32; Heb 12:7-9)

70. Some preach salvation as a theory instead of persuading men to come to Christ. (Jn 5:40; Col 1:28; 2Cor 4:5)

71. There has been a loss of the fullness and majesty of the gospel. (1Tim 1:11; Jude 25; Rom 15:29)

72. There is little mention of sin or the depravity of man from “church” pulpits. (Jn 3:20; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:5)

73. Covetousness, consumerism, and coddling of the world’s goods does not appear wrong. (Jer 22:17; 1Jn 2:15-16; 1Tim 3:3)

74. Little is made of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in churches or in evangelism. (1Cor 15:14-15; Acts 4:10, 33)

75. The “church” has relied more on technology than God. (Zech 4:6; 1Cor 1:21; 2:4)

76. The prayer meeting is considered one of the least important meetings in the “church”. (1Tim 2:1; Acts 4:31; Phil 4:6)

77. Pastors have never prayed less than they do in the “church” today. (Jer 10:21; Phil 2:21; Eph 6:18-19)

78. Very few are waiting on God for His direction and purpose for His Church. (Eph 1:11; Ps 37:7; Isa 40:31)
79. The “church” has many organizers, but few agonizers. (Phil 3:18-19; Rom 9:1-3; Jer 9:1)

80. We need to have the gifts of the Spirit restored again to the “church”. (2Tim 4:2; 1Cor 14:39; 1Cor 12:31)

81. A serious, sober, self-controlled Christianity is very seldom found or preached. (2Pt 3:11; 1Pt 4:7; Jude 3)

82. The “church” at large has forgotten how to pray. (1Jn 3:22; Acts 6:4; 1Ths 5:17)

83. Many “churches” are more dependent on tradition than the leading of the Holy Spirit. (Mk 7:13; Acts 16:6; Acts 13:2)

84. Multitudes of professors preach and teach: that you cannot be freed from sin. (Rom 16:18; Rom 6:1-2; 2Pt 2:1)

85. The Apostles and Christ always preached the possibility to walk free from sin. (Tit 2:11-12; 1Pt 1:14-16; Rom 6:19)

86. Sinners are not saved to sin, but rather, saved to holiness and good works. (Rom 6:13; Eph 2:10; 2Pt 3:14)

87. Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. (2Tim 2:19; 1Pt 4:17-18; 2Tim 3:12)

88. A baptism of holiness, a demonstration of godly living is the crying need of our day. (1Tim 6:3; 2Ths 3:6; 2Ths 2:13)

89. Many are confused about obedience, and good works that are readily mentioned in the Scriptures. (Tit 3:8; Jn 10:32; Rev 3:15)

90. Little emphasis is put on the plan of God to make us like Jesus Christ in “churches”. (1Pt 1:14-16; 1Jn 2:6; 1Pt 4:1)

91. Christ did not die on the cross to obtain a worldly “church” but for a “glorious Church.” (Eph 5:27; Tit 2:14; Col 4:12)

92. Christ does not come into an unregenerate and impure heart as many contemporary theologians say. (2Cor 5:17; Mt 5:8; Eze 18:31)

93. A holy Church is God’s blessing to the world; an unholy “church” is God’s judgment upon the world. (Mt 5:14,16; Eph 4:1; 1Ths 2:12)

94. If Christianity is to make any headway in the present time, it must be proved to be more than a theory. (2Ths 3:6-7; 1Ths 4:1,11-12)

95. Unbelief has gagged and bound us as risen Lazarus! We need release in this final hour! (Heb 3:12-14; 1Cor 3:21-23; Heb 11:6)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

What is a Christian?

Now that may seem like a strange title for an article coming from a pastor of an evangelical church, but it’s nonetheless a good question that needs to be revisited from time to time. Since worship attendance is in decline in America I assume this means as well a decline in real followers and disciples of Jesus too. When people get into conversations about religion and faith I have often heard folks say things like “ judge not” or "it's not my place to judge": This is such a typical disclaimer for people who just probably don't know what a Christian is anymore. 

I have heard people say thingss like " I never worship with others" and "I would rather do my own thing alone to connect with God". People who never read the bible, hardly pray or seldom do what the original followers of Christ did still call themselves "Christians". So what is a Christian?  Is it what one intellectually believes even if their lifestyle never reflects it? Is it "doing" certain things on a routine basis as the bible instructs even if one's heart and life does not desire or authentically identify with it? Is it being a member of a certain church?

Over the years I have meet so many people who have said they were Christians from all kinds of angles that I got to ask again in the day we live “ What is a Christian?” Does getting baptized make you one? Is it taking classes? Is it receiving communion? Is it being a member of a church? It is going to church services in some frequency? It is possible for many to presume they are Christians when in reality they are technically not?

This is a really strange day indeed. Can you define what a Christian is? Is your definition a biblical one? Can anyone know for certain if they are a Christian or not? Well, I bet you are thinking I will end this article with answers for you, right? Absolutely not, but I will leave hints! Being a disciple ( Christian) means really knowing the answer to these questions based on what God's Word says about them. How do I know what a true Christian is? I discovered the Truth and it set me free. May God reveal to you the truth about how to know what a true biblical Christian is. Check out John 3:3 and read on! Seek Him while he maybe found.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween and History Reveal a Mess of Truth, Traditions and Lies

History reveals our past and much of our current meaning on the holidays is derived from tampered history. Unfortunately, so much of history is rewritten history that it can often get fussy trying to discern truth from lies. The bible is the greatest source of Truth for all of mankind and in my opinion is the most reliable source of history and truth on the planet. In the course of biblical history we have many customs, holidays and feasts that God gave his people to remember their history with him so they could remember and past down the great truth of a great covenant keeping God, who loves, leads and provides for his people.

The feast of tabernacles given to God's people most closely relates to only some of the original history of Halloween. That part being, remembering those who trusted God who came up out of slavery in Egypt and celebrating the final harvest of the year and all that God did who granted that great harvest. Tabernacles is about God and not man! The name Halloween is best associated from "All Hallows Even" which was from the Roman Catholic Church tradition for the night before All Saints Day. The tricks or treats was partly associated with Catholicism’s false teaching on remembering the dead in purgatory and the pagan religion Samhain. Samhein in the days of Halloween as it related to the belief that the dead came back to haunt or bother the living probably inspired kids and families to dress up. Since true biblical Christians know that it is not possible for dead people to come back whenever or each year it then it really can be a day that we use to mean better and more noble and hopeful things.
Halloween is a Mess!

At this time in history in North America Halloween means a ton of things to many people and it seems to be a mixture of twisted Christianity and paganism. To dress up and have fun once a year without being thought of as one to be supporting an evil holiday (that is super commercialized to make money) might be a difficult thing unless one really knows the truth of the Word and some of these false and non-biblical traditions. Really it's a day for the born again Spirit filled believer to talk about spiritual things and share Christ in a marvelous way if they know their stuff so to speak.

This is why I personally do not have issue with dressing up for harvest time once a year or other times and having fun. I will not celebrate what Halloween originally meant by "hallowing" dead people who have been elevated to sainthood by the Catholic church. God makes Saints when they leave a life style of sinner for following the Savior. The only "Hollowing" I can find in the bible is when Jesus said in teaching to us on how to pray to the Father. Hollowed ( Holy is your name ) "This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name", ..... Matthew 6:9

I prefer Christians would take opportunity to draw attention to their costumes at this time of year to do something fun or current without reflecting on the devil or evil that is indeed so real so we might share Christ and the truth of His Word. All Saints Day was officially sanctioned by the Bishops of the Church in 993 to canonize the first Saint to be remembered and also prayed for among many things. The day after was November 2 as All Souls Day and that is another day to remember the dead and to pray for them. Even though the intent of these special days developed by the Catholic church have been twisted from the true biblical history we must remember that there are many biblical aspects of these present holidays that we can learn the truth from like what a real Saint is. Many traditions among the pagan's who call the holiday Halloween are those associated with Samhain who have more traditions that seem to be borrowed from scripture and twisted. That is another study for another time though. The Devil is a master at twisting truth to a lie and Halloween's original roots seem to be that as well. A twisting of truth is nothing less or more than wicked. For wickedness is the twisting of truth. "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead". Deuteronomy 18:10-11

So what is a Christian to do with Halloween? Know the past, know the Bible and know Jesus as your Savior and untwist the lies from the truth and reveal Jesus on all occasions. Take advantage of this season to witness to the Truth in Jesus Christ with love and a seasoning of salt to those who are clueless and just going with the flow of marketplace consumerism.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Clawed by a Friend!

  Have you ever been the victim of your friends fear, stupidity or carelessness? Perhaps you have heard people say that those closest to you can often hurt you the most. How true that is. My mom is now 91 years old and lives alone in Maine. Since she was 80 she has had a goal in mind to celebrate her 100th birthday. Every year I often wonder what excitement will be next with my mom? This past year has been a tough year for her as she had to give up her driver’s license after a mishap. At first I thought she would not handle it well, but she really adjusted better than I expected because she has such a great attitude.
No harm intended!

I recently had to call her with sad news about the death of a family member. She did not answer the phone at 10 p.m. and I wondered if she heard it or not. As other wondering thoughts passed through my mind about why she did not answer I decided to call my brother to make sure about her whereabouts. She ended up calling me back later after 11 p.m. and told me a rather funny story. The reason why it was funny was because she laughed and had such a great attitude about how her friend clawed her and sent her to the hospital.

You see my mom has a cat named Bunny and she was home enjoying the evening with her furr ball on her lap. An unexpected sound startled the cat and she clawed her in the legs without realizing it as she fled the room. Immediately my mom called 911 and the ambulance came and took her to the hospital. She received 9 stitches in her leg. When she was finished they asked her if she had a family member nearby to pick her up to take her home. She told them she had no family near. So they said,” no problem we will send you home with a police officer”.

As she was telling me about the adventures of her unexpected and long night she was so positive as well. With giggles and laughs she told me about the noise, a jumping cat, blood, stitches, ambulance and her first ever ride in a police car. Attitude certainly makes the difference in my mom’s life and I believe it is one key to her longevity as well. Instead of whining about her tragic evening that could not be undone I heard laughs, first time experiences and the joy of her first ever police car ride home

Just because someone who loves you might have clawed you, does not mean you cannot forgive, understand and release and get your lap cat back. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Philippians 2:5 The way of Jesus is to learn to love those who claw us even when they did not intend too or for that matter even if they did. After all maybe it was an accident and the intent was not what the outcome became. Jesus said,"But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Regardless of the intent, Children of God are called to forgive and love. With a Jesus kind of attitude we can learn to have joy when we are clawed.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fish Gut Grace!

Jesus was never known to be a fisherman, but rather a carpenter. Not much is known about those pre-ministry years, but we know he was raised in Nazareth and not along the seashore of Galilee. However, after Jesus publically launched his ministry he called a few disciples to follow him who were fisherman. So I presume he got familiar pretty fast with the cleaning process of fish in preparation for the fish market.
Well I am not a fisherman either, but I’ve fished over the years since I was a boy and have cleaned a few fish myself. When you get them home and clean them you got to do something with the guts right? To be honest, I can’t remember much about what I used to do with fish guts but I know I must have done something with them.

Over a year ago after we moved into our present home my wife observed a neighbor throwing a half filled 5 gallon pail of fish guts, heads and tails under a tree close to our home. The tree was not directly in the front yard, but not far away either. The conversation between us went something like this. She said, “That is really gross, you need to go clean those guts up before the kids get sick from them over something”. I said “I don’t want to clean up someone else’s fish guts. I’ll just go tell him to clean up their own fish guts.” She said, “You can’t do that, they are our neighbors and what will they think if you say that?” I said, “I don’t know, but they should have thought of that before they dumped them next to our tree”. Back and forth we went over what was the right way to handle the unexpected fish guts and what should be done  and what would Jesus do?

So it finally boiled down to me actually walking over to the fish guts and just starring at fish tails, heads and guts. It was starting to smell as well, since we live in the hot FL sun. My youngest two kids were looking at them as well saying how gross and stinky they were and wondering what dad was going to do. So I went and got my own five gallon pail and shoveled them into my bucket. Then I thought, I know what I will do, I will just dump them right on their front steps and show them. Since nobody was home the temptation grew. After another debate back and forth this time with the Lord, I finally did the right thing with the pail of fish guts. I ended up dumping them in my own garbage can and we smelled them all week long until the dump truck came.

Since then we have gotten to know those neighbors and have come to love the entire family in a Jesus kind of way. Had it not been for Jesus in our lives, fish guts might have truly divided us in the neighborhood over those stinky fish remains and how they should have been handled. If it were not for Jesus I think I would have likely dumped those heads, tails and guts in the wrong place instead of my own dumpster.

I am not perfect by any means and I know I have pulled my share of gut dumping onto someone else’s turf along the way. But I am reminded today that I can thank my God for the grace of Christ who took upon himself my stinky sinful fish guts and paid the price for me over 2000 years ago. Before I even knew how much my ‘fish guts’ would smell and would offend God  he placed them positionally Under the blood of Jesus. Once I disovered Jesus and put them in His pail they never were to again smell.

Today I have a different type of ‘fish guts’ that recently got dumped into my life’s front yard by different folks. These folks are actually my brothers and sisters in Christ. As I pray and seek His grace I hope I can discover again the wonder of His Grace to know how to handle another completely different round of fish guts. I find myself again looking for more ‘Fish Gut Grace’. If he did once he can do it again.  I live longing for more ‘Fish Gut Grace’.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Are you Sinner or Saint?

      Many years ago when I was a youth pastor in Lakeland, FL I remember a local church having a special day called "Bring a Sinner Day". Someone I knew told me about it and how they were supposed to invite people who agreed they were a sinner. As it turned out they had a great response and many people came who admitted they were indeed active sinners. People agreed to attend that day out of curiosity or honesty to be a sinner that day.  I later heard that many who attended that day as sinners left as saints.

             The other day I got into a conversation while out in public with a gentleman. At some point in the conversation he said "we are all sinners anyway, right?" I guess my answer shocked him because I said." No". You should have seen the look on his face! Had he meet me in 1980 I would have agreed with him. Since becoming a disciple of Jesus I do not confess I am an active sinner, because I am not. When God gets a hold of a person's heart and repentance occurs there is a spiritual transformation called being Born-Again. It is at that moment of true heart expressed repentance that sins are forgiven and sinner becomes saint. Throughout the New Testament we read how each of the epistles was addressed to the saints in certain cities.    

        Somehow humanity has exalted the term "saint' far beyond the reach of what the bible intended to convey.

         I don't know about you, but I thank God that Jesus transformed this former active sinner into a present day active saint. My sinning days are over!  To walk daily in the light as He is in the light is a joy and honor as a child of God. Once someone comes to know Jesus Christ as Savior there should not be a desire to continue in sin. Being a Saint is not about works of righteousness or how many good deeds one can do, but about a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ while living in the here and now.  

So if you are tired of being a sinner then we welcome you any Sunday to come as sinner and leave as Saint.  He still has the power to transform, forgive and set the prisoners of sin free and turn Sinner into Saint!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

The kingdom of the rejected and a cookout with a Cause

 Be Careful what you name your Sermon!

This morning I mentioned that folks should come back for "The Cookout". I went on to note than the Cookout was going to be a message, but I was not real clear as I wanted to stir interest. Needless to say I created interest alright. One women and several teens who are new to our church took me literally. The teens took it to heart and actually showed up late with 10 people expecting a cookout. More on that later in this blog.

    My message title was actually "The kingdom of the rejected and a cookout with a cause". The main text was Luke 7: 36-50

   The point of the message was even Jesus attended many dinners with many sinners and outcast in order to reach lost people. I noted that we have such wonderful homes, yet we often only invite those who could invite us back and that we should consider inviting the poor, the distressed and the many who have far less than we do.
      I mentioned how people respond to food and fellowship and often enjoy cookouts and we should use cookouts to reach folks this summer.

    When the message was over there was still 4 teens left who waited until I was done to tell me what happened. Yes I was a bit embarrassed to say the least and my teenager daughter thought it was funny. The boys who stuck around let me take them out to McDonald's and then we planned a real cookout for a few weekends from now with a pool party as well.

   The lesson learned is I guess mentioning a cookout really does work, but you should be prepared to cook up what you advertise literally or it might backfire. After our time together after church I sensed God working through all my blunders in spite of me.

   I am amazing at how God can work through a Cookout with a Cause message as well as a messed up understanding of a sermon title.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Emerging Coffee Pot Church

After months of studying and reading about the emergent church movement I have learned a lot. One question was proposed in an article by Rev. David Felter in Sept 2009 Holiness Today was “ARE THE EMERGING CHURCH FOLKS STEALING THE CHURCH?” My answer to that question from the article is both a resounding YES as well as a resounding NO. I believe the whole emergent church thing is not simple, that is for sure. All those "emergent" leaders should read the book,” Simple Church” and make "emergent" more simple.

Yes many within the emergent church movement are stealing the doctrinal clarity away from the those in the pews through false teachings. This cries Danger! Also, the answer is NO! In various ways, many are emerging to break free from ineffective methodologies so that they might more effectively win souls with new “out of the box methods” with the same clear message of holiness. Take the coffee (pot) shop method for example. Using a coffee shop atmosphere to attract people to the table to connect and share. For decades it was the Coffee Pot in the class room and now its the Coffee shop in the foyer. In the church world this is becoming more and more common as a means to share Christ inside the church buildings yet outside the class room. For a Church to use a coffee bar or “Starbucks” method in the church is an emerging methodology. Nashville Community Church at the entrance to the TNU campus is a great example of this. When I was there recently, since my last visit in 1993, a lot had changed. Back in 1993 it was a church building only. Now its facilities have emerged to become a very sensitive facility to better connect to the culture at hand. You now walk into this large area with tables, chairs and a coffee shop, verses just the old coffee pot in the classroom or fellowship hall. It feels somewhat like a mall that people are familiar with, yet with intimacy built into it. Then from that central area are the directions to head toward for recreation, education and worship verses shops to spend money in like a mall. This church facility has emerged in structural methods for the same missional purpose of reaching and disciplining lost people as we are commanded.

My 9 minute chat about Emerging Methods!

Read this article from Sept 2009 as well. By Rev. David Felter

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Frustrated Thirst for Knowledge

Today I saw my family off to Atlanta as I stayed back for ministry, sunshine and reading. I will admit right now sunshine sounds the funniest of all three. I've been in the office and working most of the morning and now it is 2:10 and as I reflect on my desire to learn, read and discover I find myself a bit overwhelmed. Maybe I am not alone, but I love to read ,but I am just not a fast reader. I get easily distracted and unless I am super energized, books often lull me to sleep.

I’ve tried listening to books, but that takes a different format to listen than reading and sometimes its great (like driving in the car for hours) for passing the time. I love a new book, but rarely do I finish them because I get bored with them unless they are exceptional all the way through. That might be the attitudes of many who listen to preachers preach sermons too. I’ve seen many sleep over the years from my sermons and many outstanding preachers as well.I even dose off in church unless my wife is next to me.

Anyway, today I did a roll call on my current books in motion and I am so overwhelmed on how many are started that I do not know where to begin to finish. I want to finish each, but….

So for the love of books here is my roll call on books at least one chapter started. How many do you have on the burner?

Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey

The Orgins of Species 150th anniversary by Charles Darwin and forward by Ray Comfort.

Fearless- Maz Lucado

The 5000 Year Leap

Preaching the story that shapes us- by Dan Boone

Why We’re Not Emergent by Kevin Deyoung and Ted Kluck

Simple Church by Thom Rainer ( almost Done)

How Jesus treated Others by Morris Venden

Going Rogue By Sarah Palin

Raising a Modern Knight by Robert Lewis

It Takes a Family by Rick Santorum

A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren

The Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley

Person Faith and Public policy by Tony Perkins & Harry Jackson

And of course I am always reading the Bible and I got about 4 more books on hold waiting on me at the Library.

A thirst for knowledge and a lack of time! Am I the only one out there who can’t read fast enough?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Federal Healthcare has already failed Millions

Having just meet Dan Boone for the first time at TNU I confess he is a great man and hard not to like. We shared our opinions on things that concern the future direction of our Colleges and our Denomination. But that is a discussion for another time as to our thoughts or at least mine. This morning I was reading the TNU publication when I spotted Dr. Dan Boones Blog. His post was about his thoughts on the HC bill Obama pushed through congress in such a wonderful nonpartisan promised way. :) Sorry Dan, but I just had to share that. See
The blog was interesting and thought provoking , and the stories of those who responded with hope from National healthcare were also very compelling. However, I come from the other side of the fence when it comes to government intervention. After thousands and thousands of dollars and untold sleepless nights with my wife we still deal with a 13 year old son who I put 100% of the blame on the HC of the government system from 10 years ago.

My son is Autistic and was diagnosed around age 3. He has had the best in doctor care and we have never been too thrilled with what happens when the government takes control. Our son is the result of the government working with private corporations to make money at the expense of real people like Levi. My son Levi had his MMR shots in Ma in 1995. Had the government done their job and acknowledged that what they were making available for ALL Children was going to damage a high percentage of them for life it would be a different story. We had one doctor suggest that the rest of our children not get vaccinations because our particular family DNA and makeup cannot handle the mandated shots the government puts out. So the rest of our 4 children are healthy and autism free that God.

As much as I have sympathy for those without heathcare I see national heathcare as an increased problem not a decreased one.

We still hold out hope for Levi and are now working through yet another unconventional form of hope since the federal government refuses to take responsibility for the damages they inflicted on my son and millions of others in this country. I am all about solutions for HC, but not through a federal government who will just turn the people into numbers under another system in the hands of more federal red tape.

Let's be honest, what division of the federal government that touches any of our lives now is anyone jumping up and down about how wonderful it is ? Social security, postal service, medicaid, medicare and the IRS to name just a few. These are certainly criticised more then they are praised. I am all about helping people since I am a pastor, but I sense in my spirit that if this bill goes through and becomes mainstream like the rest of the government programs there will be more than 30 million people crying out in 20 years from now," why did they approve that?"

Sure I want to see 30 plus million have healthcare that are without now, but that need is not the Federal government Job. A book I've read recently called "Simple Church" advocates that what people need is simplicity. Our lives are so full of decisions that it's sometimes hard to order off a menu because of pages of choices. Take Denny's verses Five Guys Burgers and Fries. The menu of Five guys is so simple you can order before you get there. Denny's and others like it has pages of choices. The federal governments JOB is to protect the people and her freedoms that are our alienable rights from God. After that they need to keep it simple. We need a simpler federal government and keep the government protecting our freedoms and lives not providing for them.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The book "180" by the House Studio just went "The Wrong Way!

The book “180” by the House Studios (a new publishing arm of the Church of the Nazarene) is a recent publication being promoted to Nazarene pastors.

I read the book as I was asked by a NPH representative to review it, since I objected to how it was being marketed.

The book was more shocking than I expected. After careful review of the book I would say a more accurate title might be, “The cultural effects of 30 years on a Holiness Church: Stories of people who changed their values from conservative to liberal”.

The book is made up of 34 easy to read short testimonies of how men and women of various backgrounds and Christian heritages changed their minds and perspectives and became more tolerant.

The stories seldom quote scripture and none of the stories seemed to reflect Holy Spirit’s conviction of heart, but rather the change of mind from life impacting moments.

The book was something I would never expect to read from a “Christian Holiness Publishing House”. The reader will find testimonies of people changing their own minds on various topics, but nothing reflecting a move of God in the writers’ hearts leading to a life of holiness.

Many write about the bible, doctrine and ethics in a questioning mode verses an affirmative fashion. Just as the serpent in the garden in Genesis 3:1 proposed a Question "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'? So in like manner many write questioning their own original fundamental values and convictions and end up with a more tolerant open-minded world view and set of values.

This is the type of book that will create damage among younger growing Christians as it really gives validity to humanistic thinking, heretical understanding of the fundamentals of the faith.

Tolerance, evolution, hell and celibacy are embraced in this book as they would not have been a generation ago. Tolerance is lifted high as a virtue. Evolution is embraced as an acceptable value which one can have and maintain as a Christian. Hell is liberalized and narrowed as to who might actually go there. Celibacy and the Catholic Church are lifted to a place of favor as one writer shares growing up protestant and becoming celibate on the way to the priesthood. The validity of Scripture and moral absolutes are questioned and even denied. Doubt is recognized as a gift and open-mindedness and inclusiveness as a healthy viewpoint to hold.

Not every story is controversial or doctrinally heretical, but the ones that are ruin the book for its full impact. One quote from a writer left my wife and I wondering how this book got published from a holiness Church was, “why boobs had their magical draw”. Even if this was the language and comment of a life before it was changed, that kind of coarse comment is not necessary and would not be the kind of speech becoming of a person of holiness.

Where are the stories of people who were changed 180degrees from darkness to light? Where are the inspirational stories of lives God touched in a radical way? I believe the Nazarene Church should be encouraging readers to pursue holiness of heart rather than confusion of the mind. God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. Most of these stories and opinions are very confused – the inevitable result of denying the authority of Scripture.

This was a most unfruitful book and left me dismayed at the direction of the publishing house that this book was even published.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How do you DEVO?

How do you DEVO?

Spiritual Devotions are a common term among most of evangelical Christianity. The options available today to help people spiritually grow and stay closer to God are more diverse than ever. The most common way to grow and develop has always been to read the bible since the advent of the printing press. Then of course we should pray and meditate upon the written word on a daily basis. With the progress of technology many options have progressed with how to spend time in devotion to God for our spiritual growth and development. Considering that only about 26 % of the world’s population can read there has to be other methods than just reading.

In my earlier years I tended to just read the word, meditate and pray. In recent years I have adopted to listening to bible by cds and then mp3 files verses just reading it. Actually I think I enjoy listening to the word read to me on headphones intern mixed with music on my mp3 player.

The American Bible Society (ABS) has recently released some very high statistics about how most professing Christians do not spend very much time at all in spiritual devotions with the word of God. There studies have revealed that if Christians will spend time in the word 4 times a week on 4 different days it makes a significant positive impact on their lives. Because of a younger technology oriented generation ABS has now made available a 1 minute a day phone call that can be place to any phone number to keep a 1 minute audio reading of the scriptures before people. As well they have a text message system of the word of God and they email devotions to help people keep in the word of God.

Part of doing ones devotions with God also has a lot to do with personality types in my opinion. Some people tend to enjoy reading in a quite room in their home while others a walk outside in nature. I presently am enjoying going through the word of God in a year using the options of reading through the Word.

A great part of devotions that many exclude today is the aspect of fasting with prayer as part of seeking God on a periodic basis. The self denial of food (or other meaningful pleasures) to seek God is a part of devotion that is far less practiced today than perhaps even 20 years ago. A new fast I plan to start soon is a lengthy period away from all social network sites such as Facebook and twitter so I can be less distracted throughout the day and spend more time with God and in his word. It may seem like an odd thing to fast from technology, but you would be surprised how many social internet junkies are really in the culture. Social networking is basically sharing and commenting on other people’s lives, texts and comments on a daily basis through the computer or cell phone. Have you ever noticed how many people walk around in public just pressing and looking at their cell phones verses talking on them? When you see someone doing that, then this is a good sign they are social networking at that moment with someone somewhere in world.

A one size fits all devotional style is not realistic with today’s technology options. It seems that Americans truly are without excuse to spend time in the Word of God. I remember in the 80’s when Christians actually carried their bibles to church with them. Then churches started putting bibles in the pew racks and then with advance of screens and projectors they beam scripture on the walls. Now many people carry their bible with them electronically on their cell phones. Even though ways and means of technology have changed one thing for certain should not change and that is letting God’s Scriptures continue to get inside of us by some means or method so we stay in devotion to the one who redeems us.

I believe ABS has truly assisted the Church with their survey results and the tools they offer to Christians in helping them maintain a healthy relationship with God.
All Christians need to spend a focused time with God and His Holy Word at least 4 times a week in order to maintain spiritual growth and development for the renewing of their minds.

One of my all time favorite devotional books has been and remains “My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. There are many Devotional Books that are basically commentary snippets of God’s word for each day of the year. In these last days we must do more than devotions, but rather be devoted as we seek the face of God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind.

So if you see me in town with my face to my cell phone I might be actually reading the scriptures and not just social networking. Let us keep our eyes and ears focused on the Word of God that He might continue to transform us.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I agree with President Obama, but ......

For months I have been concerned about the values of the Christian community let alone those we are trying to reach. I have spoken to those beyond the walls of my own denomination and church. It really seems the church in north America has slide back in its values. Issues from the Emergent church to creationism verses evolution and the rapture verses the great tribulation. The Church is in decline while the lost have no interest in traditional church.

In my own ministry I have seen lives changed and some growth, but never the way I had hoped and thought would be when I entered the ministry. I could blame others, but I’ll take my fair share of the blame upon myself. In large measure, trying to be politically correct combined with a lack of prayer time has probably hurt more churches then most would be willing to admit.

Within the last year I discovered that one of my old professors from College is still teaching science, but now he has adopted the theory of evolution as part of his Christian faith. I don’t know how he believed the lie from the devil on that one, but he continues to this day to teach that man evolved and that it fits right inside the creation story perfectly. Truly his writing in my opinion are a bunch of bunk and junk. Even one of the students on campus currently told me that everyone knows him as the professor who teaches evolution.

Then there is the emergent church mystery of the day. What is it and who are they? Well after a year of reading about it and discussing it, I finally came to my own conclusions. I can look back now and see that I was headed into that slippery slope myself through the blind acceptance of the Christian pop culture theology . Even within my own denomination I see many whom I am friends with that have accepted evolution and emergent thinking as the way of the progressive Christian thought. But as for me I am sticking to the bible regardless of what anyone says including President Obama.

So what did Obama say? He said we were no longer a Christian nation, but a nation of many thoughts and religions. Well, as much as I did not like those statements, I must admit, that he is right. I wish he were not right and I would rather he made a more politically correct statement so as to not offend so many Christians, but nevertheless he said what he said for reasons of acceptance I am sure among the secular world. Yet his statement was so true! Snce indeed so much of our culture has gone by the wayside of Christianity we are not a total Christian nation as we once were.

Recently I watched the Ken Ham broadcast from the Creation Museum and his presentation on the state of the Union 2 as he spoke about the Presidents comment. He really nailed it as to the true situation we are in. He did not give solutions per se, but at least he has given me a solid perspective that feels accurate for us as bible believers to respond too.

What do you think?