Posts

Showing posts from 2015

Monday Musings

Several things on my mind today. One foremost thing is that whenever you are going to expose the enemy (Satan) expect some push back. Yesterday I preached from Ephesians 6 on spiritual warfare. Starting on Saturday night I was fatigued, achy and didn't rest well. That continued through the day Sunday and by the time we got home Sunday night I was convinced that I was coming down with something. Amazingly I slept well Sunday night and woke up this morning feeling fine. Some might think that I just had a 24 hour "bug", but I believe that the devil was exacting some revenge for my telling my people how to deal with him. The second thing on my mind today is that getting old is for the birds. My wife has decided that I should no longer put up the outside decorations for Christmas. She enlisted two young folks from our church to do the job. Admittedly they will probably do it better and faster than I would, but it somehow leaves me feeling a little bummed. Like many …

Intercessors need to step up.

One of the saddest verses of scripture I know is Ezekiel 22:30 "I searched for a man among them who would repair the wall and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land so that I might not destroy it, but I found none."  I fear that might be the case in America today.  Most prayer meetings I attend are focused on personal and health issues.  Very few prayers are offered for the unsaved, the leaders of our country, or the need for revival.  We love to quote 2 Chronicles 7:14, but I fear that we don't really apply it.  Some of the key phrases in that passage are "humble themselves"; "seek My face" and"turn from their evil ways.".  Easy to say but hard to do.
In the old days people would talk about "being on praying ground".  That means that sins are confessed and forgiven and a person is in a position to approach the Father in prayer.  We desperately need some folks who are on "praying ground" to stand in the gap for A…

Is it Time to Take a Stand?

'Are You a Christian?' My Thoughts on the Umpqua Community College Shooting (Exclusive)

<

In America we are on the cusp of religious persecution...especially aimed at those who admit to being Christians.  The time has come for those who claim to be Christ-followers to settle once for all the question of their commitment.  In recent years it has been difficult if not almost impossible to get "church people" to verbalize their "story" or "testimony" even in the warm confines of the local church.  Given opportunities and even being urged by pastors or Sunday School or Small Group leaders to share their "story" many people suddenly get lock-jaw.  Often there is an embarrassing silence that descends upon the gathering until the leader fills the emptiness by telling their story or moving on to another topic.
Many Christians have watched in horror the videos of believers in foreign lands being beheaded because of their faith.  Increasingly th…

The News Behind the News

Last night as I watched the news and saw the thousands of Syrian refugees, my heart hurt for them. Today I found a link that showed that there is some good that is coming from the horror these people are facing.  I was reminded that God is at work in the background providing the way of salvation even in the midst of turmoil and upset.  The "news" that we see on TV or the internet is only the surface.  There is a much bigger picture that is being painted by the God of the universe.  Now I'm asking myself every time I watch the news, "I wonder what the story is behind the story?"
We must never forget that God is not asleep at the wheel.  His eye is on the sparrow...and I know He watches me.

The Jesus Agenda; Becoming an Agent of Redemption: A Review

I was sent this book to read and review on my blog by the B
& B Media Group, Inc.

Dr. Albert L. Reyes, President/CEO of Buckner International,
a global ministry dedicated to transforming the lives of the most vulnerable
children, orphans, families and senior adults, has written a book that defines
the work of his ministry through a series of stories of people whose lives have
been impacted.  Starting with the
declaration so Jesus in Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He
has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the
prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to
proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  Dr. Reyes shows how this “job description” of
Jesus is practically applied in the lives of all believers.  Using some materials from a doctoral dissertation
by Dr. Thom Wolf, Dr. Reyes weaves the admonition of Micah 6:8, which Wolf
called the “Micah Mandate” for man to “do justice, love merc…

Praying for America

I think that it is fairly obvious that our country is sick.  I propose that praying for a sick country is much the same as praying for a sick person.  First it is necessary to determine the type of illness in order to know how to pray effectively.  Basically there are three types of illness;Sickness that leads to death (no need to pray because this is going to happen regardless)Sickness that is the result of sin (James 5:16) [Requires the open repentance of our national leaders and of the Christian people of America]Sickness for the glory of God. (God heals to bring Himself glory and show His mighty power)Once we have determined the type illness that is plaguing our country we will know how to pray for her. Personally I believe that the type illness is that which is the result of sin.  That being said, we should personally repent on behalf of our country and also we should pray that the Holy Spirit convict all Christian politicians to confess and repent the sins of America.  Among the…

Zero Victim; a Review

I was sent this book by the B & B Media Group, Inc. for my honest review.
I'm not really a fan of self-help books, but this is an exception.  Author, Pastor, musician, entrepreneur James T. Ward, Jr. has done a masterful job of dealing with a pandemic problem.  Victimology is huge in America today.  Our society feeds it and feeds on it.  Ward has identified the primary causes and offered real solutions that anyone can understand and incorporate.  I love the "pull-outs" on every page that will help the reader or counselor pinpoint particular sections of the book that will apply to their situation or discussion.  In the introduction to the book Ward said, "In order to liberate others in life, we must begin by liberating ourselves."  From there he proceeds to guide the reader into practical ways to deal with "victim mentality" in their own lives.  He even addresses the role that "politically correct" speech plays in creating a victim mindset…

Mister Are You Jesus?

I love the story which may or may not be true of a busy businessman who was rushing to catch his train at Grand Central Station when he bumped into a news vendor and sent papers and coins flying.  The vendor, a boy about 12 years old was crippled.  Immediately he was on all fours scrambling among the feet and legs rushing by and trying to find either the papers or the coins.  The businessman stopped, put down his briefcase and got down on hands and knees and began to gather loose coins and papers.  After several minutes, he deposited the coins in the little box the boy had, opened his wallet and took out a $20 bill and placed it in the box as well.  As he collected his briefcase and hurried on toward his train he heard the boys' voice call out, "Mister!  Are you Jesus?"
The world needs to SEE Jesus in us.  Words are so cheap today that you can say as much as you like with very little effect.  The "proof of the pudding" for Christ followers is in the living.  Ran…

When Experience Doesn't Match Scripture

Recently I said from the pulpit that a large number of professing Christians do not believe scripture.  The example I cited was James 5:14-16.  I told our people that I kept a bottle of olive oil in my car, and in the almost four years I had been pastor of the church I had never been asked by a sick person, and we have a lot of them, to anoint them with oil and pray for them.  Shortly thereafter I had occasion to pray for two people, one with a heart irregularity and another with Crohns' Disease and Chronic Asthma.  That has been weeks ago, and so far as I know both are still dealing with the symptoms of the diseases.  I have read and re-read the scripture passage.  I have examined my life and my motives and I have asked God why we did not experience what it seems that James said would happen.  The only deviation I can find from our experience and James' words was that in neither case did the sick person initiate the anointing and prayer.  Each was asked if they wanted this to…

Every Day with Jesus...

Sunday night I preached a message from the Gospel of Mark, chapter 11 that I titled, "When Jesus Comes to Town Nothing is Ever the Same".  I'm a proponent of daily change because of Jesus.  He never did what anyone expected.  He always went beyond what people thought He would do.  I would venture to say that every one of the 1,279.5 days (give or take) that Jesus spent with His disciples was very different from anything the disciples expected.
Although I enjoy having a schedule (I study every Tuesday; visit hospitals & nursing homes on Wednesday, etc.) I find that the best times I have with Jesus are those spontaneous moments when He interrupts my schedule to teach me something I didn't even know I needed.  One of the unique characteristics of the Trinity is that each of them is limitlessly creative.  I think that when Holy Spirit indwells a believer, and they allow Him freedom, that believer will also be infinitely creative.

The next time you feel that you are in…

One Word God Never Said (or Says)

There is a lot of concern today even among avid Christ Followers about the unrest throughout the world. Even in our praying we seem to feel that we have to update God on what is happening on the earth as if He didn't know.  The one word God has never, nor will ever utter is "OOPS!"  He does not make mistakes and He is not asleep on the job.  His avowed purpose is to build a family of "Jesus-like" people without violating their free will.  (Ro. 8:29 "For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.")
His response to our frantic prayers will never be, "I didn't realize that.  Let Me see if I can correct it." Nothing happens without His directive or permissive will.  He uses even the seemingly bad events to mold and shape His followers into the image of Jesus. Therefore we can rest assured that God is in command even when the bad guys seem to be winning.

Carpet Bombing Prayer

The time has come for Christians to realize that they have weapons available to them that can change the world.  One of those weapons is Intercessory Prayer.  I posted on our church's FB account today a definition of Intercessory Prayer that I heard years ago from Bible teacher Ronn Dunn.  He said, "Intercessory Prayer is like an ICBM (inter continental ballistic missile) that can be launched from a pad no larger than your knees, travels at the speed of thought to anyplace on earth, be absolutely on target and there is no defense against it."
With the events in Nepal (earthquake) Baltimore (riots) and the Supreme Court (decision on same-sex marriage) Christians should be "carpet bombing" these areas with prayer.  Find out all you can about each situation and the needs there; ask Holy Spirit to guide you as you pray...it is one of His specific assignments; pray, pray, pray until God answers (Matt. 7:7-8)
Rather than listening to the "talking heads" on TV…

God Has the Best Surprises!

Yesterday started out as a normal Sunday. We had a glitch in the volume of the track that the choir was singing with; I was somewhat less than dazzling in my sermon, the crowd was down because so many "snow birds" have gone back up north...and then God showed up! When the time of response came, a young man with whom I had met this week stepped out to come forward to profess his faith in Christ, but before he got to the front a family of 3 stepped out just ahead of him coming to join the church. What a blessing! God surprised us by increasing our family by 4. For a little church like ours, that is monumental. I can remember going almost an entire year without as many as four joining our fellowship. God is like that. If we remain faithful in sowing the seeds of the gospel, there will come a time of harvest. What this does for me is give me a sense of anticipation each week. I can hardly wait for what God is going to do next. We capped this wonderful service with a &q…

Amazed...and Gratified

It happens almost every Sunday. Someone comes by in the foyer after service and comments, "Pastor, I've never heard a message on that before." I'm always amazed because I preach expository messages from a particular book. Currently we just finished 2nd Corinthians in the morning services and are a little over half way through Mark in the evening services. It makes me wonder if they really haven't heard such a message, or if the message they heard didn't stick in their memory. I often tell people that I purposely read a lot of scripture during service because God has promised to bless HIS WORD, not mine. In addition to being amazed that many people have not heard messages on particular scriptures, I'm gratified that God led me to preach/teach on that passage. It isn't always comfortable or even exciting, but I find that God always blesses when I don't skip difficult passages. I'm just simple enough to believe that God intended every word…

Re Thinking the 3 "R's"

Most of us grew up on the 3 R's, Reading, 'riting, and 'rithmatic. I'd like to propose a re-thinking of the 3 R's that will enable everyone who embraces them to live life to the fullest here and now and spend eternity with Jesus. This all came together for me as I wrote a funeral message recently. I wanted to communicate with the people present that with the uncertainty of life they needed a plan, a path to follow that would insure the quality of life now and the destination of their immortal soul later. Here is the plan I proposed to them. RECOGNIZE: It is absolutely vital that every person recognize that they are separated from God from the moment they exert their own will against the will of God. The Bible calls this sin. We are born with the "bent" to sin, and if left alone, will progress to the willful life of sin. Normally we define sin as some heinous crime against mankind, or the use of drugs and alcohol, or sexual promiscuity, or murder. …

WORD POWER!!!

This morning I read a Facebook post by a friend who is supposedly a wordsmith (poet)  The post amounted to a diatribe against Christians, conservatives and Republicans.  The most repeated word in the post was "hate" as he repeatedly accused his targets with hating everything liberal, Oboma-esque, or socialistic.  Then, at the end of his invective laced rant, he amazingly said, "I do not hate you, I forgive you."  I guess this was supposed to make his verbal attack acceptable.  He also mentioned that he could not imagine Jesus agreeing with those he considered "haters".  By the same token, I can't imagine Jesus agreeing with someone who uses words to attack others.  As a matter of fact, Jesus said in Matthew 12:35-37 "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasures brings forth evil things.  But I say to you that for every idle word that men may speak, they will give account of i…

Let Jesus Out of the Suitcase

Years ago I saw a ventriloquism act where the ventriloquist took his "dummy" out of a suitcase. During the act, the "dummy" got a little insulting, and the ventriloquist put it back in the suitcase. As he tried to close the top, the "dummy" kept talking, becoming more and more muffled, until the case was closed and the words were too muffled and muted to understand. That makes me think about the situation with Christians in our world today. If indeed Christ is in us we should let Him be Himself through us. Don't keep Jesus in the suitcase where all those around can only hear muffled sounds and not words of life. I remember talking with a young man on the beach in San Diego, CA. When we told him we were Christians and were out telling people how they could have a relationship with Jesus, he quickly told us that he was Jewish, hoping that we would move on. About that time his friend came back from the snack stand. The young Jewish man introduc…

Fill My Cup, Lord

I have a personal longing for revival. I want it in my life, my church and my nation. Some parts of the world are already experiencing revival. It has been my prayer for many years that God would allow me to go through a "Great Awakening" that is generated by God invading even the atmosphere as happened in the northeast many years ago. I'm aware that most revivals come in response to prayer. That being true I have prayed personally, led my church to pray, prayer walked in my community, attended Pastors' Prayer Gatherings and anything else I can think of. I've tried to apply 2 Chronicles 7:14 to my life and my church. I've confessed, repented, returned, begged and pleaded. I've come to the conclusion that revival (renewal) is a God thing that happens WHEN He want, WHERE He wants and impacts those WHOM He wants. That won't keep me from praying, seeking His face and crying out to Him for revival. I've just started this week to read Psalm 15 …

Book Review

I was sent this book, The Accident by Chris Pavone by Blogging for Books in return for my honest review.  This is not a book that I can recommend due to gratuitous vulgarity and sexual content.  In addition, I found the plot to be somewhat convoluted.

Translating Jesus

One of the difficulties the church struggles with is translating Jesus into real life so that the world might see and understand Him. We must learn to translate Him by our lives and not just our words. We are in a day when words are being hijacked and meanings are changing rapidly. It seems that every month or so some individual or group takes a perfectly good word, puts their unique "spin" on it and takes over the popular usage of it. (case in point, the word "gay") Those who, for whatever reason, have rejected the evangelical church have no concept of who Jesus is. They may know of a historical Jesus, but more and more of them don't have a clue regarding the Biblical Jesus. They may use His Name, and that of His Father, God in their social discourse, but their meaning and understanding of those Names is far from the Biblical reality. Before we come down too harshly on them, let's examine how actively practicing evangelical Christians have contribute…

Sounds a Bit Like Daniel's Delimma

City Officials Might Say 'I've Got to Put My Bible Under My Desk and Keep My Mouth Shut About What I Believe,' Says Ousted Atlanta Fire Chief:

When I read about what is going on in Atlanta regarding the firing of a fire chief because of something he wrote in a self-published book, I'm reminded of the dilemma that Daniel faced when ordered to bow down to a pagan idol.  It seems that the mayor of Atlanta has ruled that anyone who adheres to the teaching of scriptures and lets it be known, is subject to firing.  We probably are not far away from being asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement regarding our faith before being considered for a job.  The same "creeping persecution" that enveloped Nazi Germany is beginning to emerge in America.  Martin Niemoeller is credited with the quote regarding the way the Nazis enveloped group after group without his speaking out.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist. Then th…