Tuesday, December 29, 2009


The first Bible study I did as a new Christian was the book of Romans. It was a great place to start! There is perhaps no other book in the Bible which presents the full spectrum of Christian doctrine as this letter penned by the Apostle Paul. Those were formative days for me in my baby steps with God, and getting these fundamentals under my belt gave me a solid foundation for spiritual development.

Our youth pastor met with me and two other young men in a weekly home study. The guide for our Romans study was a little paperback called, “How to Be a Christian, Without Being Religious,” authored by Fritz Ridenhour. That is a concept that jolts us when we hear it, even today, so you can imagine how arresting those words were when written over thirty years ago. Being a young Christian, however, I didn’t have so much baggage, and I just thought, “Right on!” That’s the way, we hippies talked back then—even those that had become “Jesus Freaks” (you had to have been there). I was saved out of the generation that thought anything to do with the establishment needed to be overthrown, anyway. So, when someone was suggesting that the Bible supported such a radical idea—it didn’t take me long to get on board!

Here’s the big idea: religion is trying to reach up to God, find God and please God through our own futile efforts, while Christianity is God reaching down to us, finding us and making us pleasing to Him through faith in Christ. That’s the Gospel and that’s the preeminent message of Romans. Pretty important! Don’t you agree? Grasping that message makes the difference between heaven and hell. There is a real danger that even if we get the message of grace at the outset, and are truly saved, that we may revert back to religion, stunting our spiritual growth.

We are looking forward to our sermon series this year as week by week we travel the Roman Road through this fascinating letter. It all begins this Sunday morning with a message, “Good News for a Change.” In addition, I plan on sending a weekday e-mail to lead you into some deeper dimensions of Sunday’s message. Come, get on the Bible Bus! Romans was a great point for me to board and you will find a great adventure as God transforms your life through His Word.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Christians enjoy discussing “last things.” Theologians call the study of end time events, “eschatology.” It is important and should be examined. This is, after all, the blessed hope!

But, the best way to prepare for the last things is to get started on the first things—that is those matters that are of first importance. What if 2010 is the final year before Christ comes for His church? If you could know that for certain about the last things, what would you do first thing?

The first thing we should do is make sure our relationship with God is real. The clarion call of Scripture is, “Prepare to meet your God,” (Amos 4:12). If we miss heaven, we miss it all!

The next thing we should do is make sure all our relations know that God is real and He wants them to have a genuine relationship with Him through Christ. We want to take as many people to heaven with us as we can. Of course, only God can save them, but He uses us.

The final thing—and I mean the last thing of the first things—is having assurance of a real experience of God’s grace. I want to be growing in that grace and knowledge of Him. Peter said it this way:

2 May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.
4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge,
6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness,
7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.
10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.
11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12 Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.
13 And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live.
14 For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life,
15 so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.
(2 Peter 1:2-15 NLT)

Along with the Apostle, I make the first thing to remind you of these priorities because, like Peter, this could be my last thing I do! Jesus is coming—and I believe soon. Even if He doesn’t come back in my lifetime—I only have this lifetime and I desperately want it to count for Him!

So—now what are you going to do about it? It’s the beginning of a New Year and for some of us this will be our last year—perhaps, for all of us. That truth will transform us, if we take it to heart.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Manhattan Declaration

Have you read it? Have you signed it?
I have!

In a culture that is increasingly becoming oppressive of the right to live and speak according to the dictates of conscience, aggressive in the attack on the family and systematic obliteration of gender, and expansive in its malignant assault on the sanctity of human life, it is time to speak. I know that some would question joining the Roman Catholics and Orthodox in signing any document, but this is not a declaration of faith which asks one to dilute any cherished doctrine. Rather, it is a declaration of freedom--that as citizens of America, there are issues too large for us to ignore and that there should be a willingness to partner with those who, in these fundamental standards, have agreement.

I am reminded of the words of German Pastor, Martin Niemoller, as stated by him in an address to the United States Congress in 1968,
"When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church--and there was nobody left to be concerned."

We must stand tall, stay true and speak tenaciously while we have yet the opportunity to do so. Please, would you go to the link, prayerfully read and carefully and consider signing the declaration?


Saturday, November 07, 2009


No--not that Bush! Not a former President--but this bush:

"The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. So Moses said, 'I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.' When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, 'Moses, Moses!' And he said, 'Here I am.' " (Exodus 3:2-4 NKJV)

Here are a few thoughts about that bush:
  • It was chosen by a sovereign God. The bush didn't volunteer. The bush didn't make a decision. It was chosen. It wasn't chosen on the basis--so far as we can tell--of the superior quality of the wood, its size or shape, its beautiful foilage or abundance of fruit. God just picked it and used it--and it became His bush--by, what we may term, sheer grace.
  • It was the vehicle through which God appeared and spoke--by which He manifested His glory. It wasn't the glory of the bush, but the glory of God that grabbed Moses' attention. The visible manifestation of God's presence is the thing that was life-transforming to Moses. A bush can't change your life, but God in this bush changed Moses and the course of history! A bush can't talk, yet God spoke though this one. God led His servant and freed His people beginning with a message from a bush.
  • It burned without burning out. Doubtless in that arid climate, he had seen scrub bush aflame before. As has been witnessed in California, a lightning strike on bone-dry shrubs and poof, you've got a wildfire! Yet, here was something different--a bush on fire, yet not burning out. That was arresting and aroused the curiosity of Moses to investigate. This was supernatural!

Now, for the application--if you haven't seen it already.

God is looking for some men to be His bushes. We are of His choosing. It isn't that His messengers are better--better-looking, more eloquent, of superior intellect, possessing greater skills and potential--no, it is simply His choice through whom He will speak and manifest His glory. So God bypasses macho man Esau for the scoundrel Jacob; He selects the stuttering Moses instead of the people-pleasing Aaron; He supplants the imposing Saul with a shepherd boy, David; He founds His church with a motley crew of fishermen, tax-collectors and their ilk while rejecting the religious elite of Jerusalem. That way God gets all the glory--and He will share it with no other.

It is amazing grace that God would choose to use such as we are. Paul said, "We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves." (2 Cor.4:7 NLT). Men are his method--He communicates His infallible word through fallible men; His infinite truth through finite beings; His powerful word through puny flesh--wonder of it all! There is the supernatural mark on the man of God that leaves people asking for explanation. Such a profound privilege His messengers enjoy! He leads His people and frees them from spiritual bondage through those who proclaim His word and exhibit His glory.

All this and we don't have to experience "burn out!" Should we try to bring life-change or build the church through our effort--burning the candle at both ends--we will be extinguished--the work of our ministry consumed as hay, wood and straw at the judgment seat. Horrifying thought that is! But, if we are aflame with God, there is a constant source of fuel.

So, do you feel you are just an old bush and wonder if God can use you at all? So far as an omnipotent, sovereign God is concerned--in the words of Major Ian Thomas, "Any old bush will do!"

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Ten Deadly Sins Of A Dying Church | ChurchCentral.com

Ten Deadly Sins Of A Dying Church ChurchCentral.com

Do we see any symptoms? Until there is the right diagnosis, there cannot be the right prescription. At least some of this sounds a bit familiar to me.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Each stage of life brings with it certain potentials and problems. This is particularly true in the area of our passions.

Passion is not a bad thing in and of itself. Jesus said that the zeal of His Father's house consumed Him. We should so seek to be consumed! Passion is the fuel to achieve, to excel, to make an impact. That is its power.

Now as to its pitfalls, each stage of adulthood brings a particular peril to the believer in this area:
  • Young adults face the peril of unfocused passion. It is passion run amok. There is no lack of zeal. The world is a great smorgasbord to indulge the senses. The challenge is to bring that passion into focus--to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness--and then find all other things fall into their proper orbit within a Christo-centric universe.
  • Median adults face the peril of divided passion. Christians at this stage have tasted of heavenly things and have learned what their proper focus should be, yet they often find themselves also pursuing material things. They end up like "Mr. Looking Both Ways" in Pilgrim's Progress. Their passions are thus divided and in the end diffused.
  • Senior adults face the peril of lost passion. Apathy sets in. They have neither excelled in the world, or if they have, they have found it wholly unsatisfying. Like Solomon in Ecclesiastes, they decree, "All is vanity--a chasing of the wind." They have not excelled in the things of God, and wonder at what they have missed of the purpose for which they truly were created. Since it seems too late to pursue those things, it becomes more comfortable to just not ponder them. Passion becomes a mere glowing ember that soon dies altogether.

If we do not properly harness our passion, maintain its focus on the things above and run relentlessly to the finish line, we will pass off the scene as though we virtually had never been. Our footsteps will be like those left on the beach, as the tides of time wash in and obliterate them. Should we embrace a passion for God and His glory, our footprints will be set in concrete, marking a path for future generations to follow. May God help us do so.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Ezra mentions three times in chapter seven that the good hand of God was upon him (v.6,9,28). Because of this, he provided tremendous spiritual leadership for the people of God. Leaders in the church today can learn from his example.

How can we have the hand of God’s blessing on our leadership?

IT IS A MATTER OF OUR HEART: CONSECRATION TO THE WILL OF GOD. We are told that Ezra “prepared his heart…” (v.10a). God can only use a clean vessel—one consecrated to His will. Ezra was such a servant. We must have a pure heart through which God’s grace can flow unobstructed if our leadership is to be effective.

IT IS A MATTER OF OUR MIND: CONCENTRATION ON THE WORD OF GOD. Scripture says of Ezra that his heart was set “to seek the Law of the LORD…” (v.10b). When our heart is set on God and our mind is saturated with God’s Word, then His hand is free to bless our leadership. Leading God’s church requires a roadmap and that roadmap is the Bible.

IT IS A MATTER OF OUR HANDS: COMMITMENT TO THE WORK OF GOD. This passage speaks of Ezra’s commitment “to do it…” (v.10c). For him, Scripture wasn’t theoretical, but practical. While we must know what God expects, nothing significant happens until we apply that truth.

IT IS A MATTER OF OUR MOUTH: COMMUNICATION OF THE WAYS OF GOD. Ezra 7:10 closes with his passion, “to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.” A leader must inspire others to follow. This means there is solid communication of where to go and how to get there.

The evidence of God’s hand of blessing on our leadership is fourfold:
1) EXALTATION (v.27). God will be glorified in His people.
2) EXTENSION (v.28a). His mercy and grace will be extended to His church.
3) ENCOURAGEMENT (v.28b). This is the fuel that keeps us running.
4) ENLISTMENT (v.28c). Leaders develop more leaders and multiply the ministry.

Let us seek the hand of God’s blessing on our leadership, and settle for nothing less!

Monday, October 19, 2009


Jesus said, "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). In the heart of trouble, we can have an untroubled heart! Scripture gives us insight in Psalm 91.

GOD IS OUR SECRET PLACE, "the secret place of the Most High" (v.1a). We have a hideout when evil pursues us. We can dwell--abide securely--in God's protection.

GOD IS OUR SHADED PLACE, "under the shadow of the Almighty" (v.1b). In that arid climate, the searing rays of the sun could bring death, yet the psalmist has a cool shadow to protect him. We can abide in God's presence. If His shadow falls upon us, then we may be certain His person is near us.

GOD IS OUR STRONG PLACE, "He is my refuge and my fortress" (v.2). In war, a key element for victory has always been to hold the high ground. Our lives are fortified by God Himself.

GOD IS OUR SAFE PLACE, "He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence" (v.3). Walking in a world with traps at every step to trip us up, God directs us safely. Living in an environment of virulent disease at every hand to assail us, God delivers us securely.

GOD IS OUR SHELTERED PLACE, "He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge" (v.4). God hovers over us as the Angel of the LORD. His wings extend above us and we are sheltered by Him. As a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings, so God gathers us under His wings.

The Apostle Paul testified to the reality of this experience,

"We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed..." (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Here are some thoughts to ponder based on 2 Kings 22-23 and an historic revival:

The way of revival involves A RETURN TO A WALK WITH GOD (22:1-2). Young Josiah learned to walk--with God--and as king of Judah would lead the people to follow his steps in returning to a walk with God. Revival isn't an event scheduled on the church calendar, but an experience with the eternal God.

The way of revival also demands A RESTORATION OF THE WORSHIP OF GOD (22:3-6; 23:21-23). The house of God had fallen into disrepair and the worship of God had been discarded for paganism. Josiah knew that the foundation of revival in a personal walk with God needed the framework of revival in the corporate worship of God. Someone has well said that revival is a person or community saturated with the presence of God. Worship brings us into an encounter with the Holy--awe-inspiring and revival-inducing.

The way of revival leads to A RECOVERY OF THE WORD OF GOD (22:8-10). A strategic make or break moment occurred when the Scriptures were found during temple renovations. All revival movements demand a recovery of the preaching, teaching and submission to the Word of God.

The way of revival calls for A REPENTANCE TO THE WILL OF GOD (22:11-13). A broken heart and bowed knee was the response to the truth of Scripture. The will of God was expressed in the Word of God, and Josiah and his subjects brought their lives into alignment with God's standard. This is more than emotion--though emotions are included--but is about volition--a deliberate surrender of our will to God's will. There cannot be revival without repentance.

The way of revival means A REPRIEVE FROM THE WRATH OF GOD (22:16-20). God's wrath was coming. Judah deserved it. Nothing could stop it. But revival meant that it would not occur in Josiah's lifetime. It was as though God hit the pause button. The fact is that this world has been on a collision course with the wrath of God since the first sin in paradise. Scripture is clear about the course and consummation of the age--but, it doesn't have to happen in our day. Revival can bring reprieve. Recall how pagan Nineveh, given a deadline of forty days to judgment, repented and experienced a revival under Jonah's preaching. Later, Nineveh returned to its old ways and the promised wrath of God fell.

The way of revival means A REVIVAL OF THE WORK OF GOD (23:1-3). Josiah leads the people to make a covenant to serve God. This kind of commitment is a hallmark of real revival. It isn't just about gathering for preaching or prayer--crucial as that is--but performance--the practical application of the truth.

The way of revival results in A REMOVAL OF THE WICKEDNESS BEFORE GOD (23:4ff). Josiah led the Jews to purge pagan practices--to remove the evil from their midst. Only then, would the hand of God be free to bless them. God takes sin seriously and until we do, we will never have revival.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Consider the following article from Kairos Journal:

“Paying the Price for Being Prophetic”—Aake Green (1942 – )

Aake Green pastors a Christian congregation “on the small southeastern island of Oeland” in Sweden. In June of 2004, he was convicted of hate speech by a Swedish court and sentenced to 30 days in prison for preaching a sermon against homosexuality.1 The statute he violated was part of “Sweden’s tough hate crimes laws, which make it a crime to make inflammatory remarks against racial, religious or national groups.”2 On February 11, 2005, the Goeta Appeals Court overturned the previous ruling on the grounds that a pastor’s personal interpretation of the Bible is protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.

Pastor Green felt compelled, given the weightiness of the issue, to include a national audience by inviting the media. Green’s original sermon in context underscores his central theme: a nation cannot long prosper if it ignores God’s holy ordinances for sexual activity.

Sexual abnormalities are a deep cancerous tumor in the entire society. The Lord knows that sexually twisted people will rape the animals {Lev. 18:22-30}.3 Not even animals can avoid the fiery passion of man’s sexual lust. Even this [bestiality], some will pursue. For many years, I have heard stories like these from people when I sat and listened as a volunteer telephone counselor. This wasn’t just one incident where people told of the animal [sexual] relations they had had—which had given them satisfaction. So it is abundantly clear that God is not writing a book of fairy tales for people to think of these things. He writes it with the thought in mind that people will act this way when they abandon God. Because of these sins, the land will vomit out its inhabitants. The political response to this in our country is then what Paul talks about: “We know God’s righteous decree that those who live that way deserve death. Still it is in that very way they live, and worse yet, they think it is good when others do it.” [Paraphrase of Romans 1:32.] This is how we experience the political response in our country. They [government] give their consent and they think it is good that they are engaged in this. “It doesn’t matter.”

However—our country is facing a disaster of great proportions! Of that we can be sure. God said the land would vomit out its inhabitants. They were not allowed to remain if they continued living like the people who had previously inhabited the land. When the children of Israel were about to possess the promised land, should they begin to have such relations that were contrary to God’s Word, then God says the land will once again vomit out its inhabitants. I think it could happen in Sweden. I think it could happen in our country, because we have adopted such laws. Our country has not the least concern about what God has spoken. Our country is facing a disaster. Who is to say that we cannot have an earthquake where hundreds of thousands of people could die in an instant? Who is to say that we cannot have any monsoon rains that drown thousands of people in our country? Who is to say that other catastrophes cannot reach Scandinavia? We are so safe and secure. And we sit here so sheltered and cozy, and “it cannot happen to us,” but in southern Europe—there it happens, and in other parts of the world and China—there it happens. God can turn it around, so that the inhabitants of our land may experience precisely these [events]. We may be vomited out of the land because our nation has left God. This is devastating.

To think that approximately 300 of our popularly elected officials have led us down a road to catastrophe. As they have adopted these laws of [domestic] partnership and let people live as they wish. And today they cannot fathom the consequences of the decisions they have made. Only time will tell about this. We have gotten to learn words like “incest, pedophile, and child molestation.” Words that make us shudder, that belong to the abnormalities. I want to turn to First Corinthians chapter six and include something Paul brings up concerning the Corinthian congregation and their way of life. He says in verse 9 [-11]. . .

Now I read from the original text, it goes like this: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. Do not deceive yourselves. Neither sexually immoral people nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor people of sensual pleasure, nor defilers of boys, shall inherit God’s kingdom.” Defilers of boys—already when the Bible was written the Lord knew what was going to happen. We have experienced it here, and we are horrified by it. In First Timothy 1:10 Paul talks about perverts. “Perverse” is translated from the original text, which states: “one who lies with boys.”

All homosexuals are not pedophiles or perverts. They nevertheless open the door to forbidden areas and allow sin to take hold of the life of the mind. And the one who is a pedophile today does not start out as such. They simply begin by changing their gender relationships. That is how it began. To be “faithful” in a homosexual relationship is in no way a better relationship than where you frequently change partners. It is equally detestable in the eyes of God. From God’s perspective it is to be rejected, and from God’s perspective it is as much sin if you frequently change partners as it is to live in a [committed] homosexual relationship. It makes no difference before God’s Word. . . .

We must never think that some people, because of their sinful lives, would end up outside of grace. Paul says about himself that he was the foremost of all sinners, but he encountered an abundance of grace and mercy. He also states in First Corinthians 6:9-11, when he lists sexual immorality with other sins, that you can be saved from all the listed sins, including sexual immorality. What these people need, who live under the slavery of sexual immorality, is an abundant grace. It exists. It is valid also for them. Therefore we will encourage those who live in this manner to look at the grace of Jesus Christ. We cannot condemn these people—Jesus never did that either. He showed everyone He met deep respect for the person they were, for instance the adulterous woman, in John 8, or the woman at the well in Sychar, according to John 4. Jesus never belittled anyone. He offered them grace. We must never belittle anyone who lives in sin. The sin we cannot bear—but the human being [we must hold up]. . . .4

1 See Kairos Journal article, "Hate Speech: 'A Crawling Tyranny Looms.'"
2 Associated Press, “Swedish Pastor Is Acquitted on Appeal,” Beliefnet Website, February 11, 2005, http://www.religionnewsblog.com/10262/Swedish-pastor-is-acquitted-on-appeal (accessed March 4, 2005).
3 This Scripture citation was added by the Kairos Journal. The square brackets in the text were added by the translators.
4 Aake Green, “Is Homosexuality Genetic or an Evil Force that Plays Mind Games with People?” (sermon, Oeland, Sweden, 2003), trans. Anders Falk and Debra Sandstrom, CBN.com, September 7, 2004, http://www.cbn.com/CBNNews/News/040907aa.asp (accessed March 4, 2005).

Thursday, October 08, 2009

How Do We Handle Halloween?

Go to this link for thoughtful, balanced, well-researched and most of all biblical thoughts concerning Halloween.

Where Have All the Christians Gone?

This is sobering information that should stir us all to prayer and action. Click on the link:


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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Here is an important email from Patrick Morley and Man in the Mirror. It was too crucial to keep to myself. Read it and join me in praying desperately for our nation. May repentance begin with me!

A Call to National Repentance
Volume 339
September 14, 2009

Pastors, Leaders, and Men....

We've been taking an altogether wrong approach to the severe recession in which we find ourselves. For many of us the strategy has been, "I just need to hang on until things gets better. I just need to weather the storm."

But we are not only in a financial recession. We've been sinking into a moral, relational, and spiritual depression for decades.

For example, 50,000,000 babies have been aborted since abortion was legalized in 1973. The life expectancy of a child born between 1973 and today averages about 75 years. But the life expectancy of a child conceived between 1973 and today is 49 years. The most dangerous place to be since 1973 is in a mother's womb!

We've also been in a family depression for decades. Tonight, 33% of America's 72,000,000 children will go to bed in a home without a biological father. And we've been in a marriagedepression for decades. 40% of first marriages ended in divorce affecting about 1,000,000 children each year. We are also in a spiritual depression. Declining interest in Jesus Christ, especially among younger disillusioned people, has sapped the spiritual vitality out of the church.

So why the sudden concern about a financial recession when a moral, relational, and spiritual depression has engulfed our nation for decades?

In retrospect it now seems obvious. When we were doing well financially, we were willing to wink at the moral, relational, and spiritual depression all around us. Praise God that he was not willing to let that stand. This recession is at least God's warning and possibly God's judgment, but in either case his grace to lead us to repentance:
When I shut the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
Recently I gave a message on this text to The Man in the Mirror Bible Study entitled "A Call to National Repentance." You can view two excerpts on You Tube:



Men, this problem is too big to be solved anywhere except on our knees. There is no human solution -- no human ingenuity -- that can fix this. Someone has said, "No matter how far you have traveled down a wrong road, the only solution is to turn back."

Will you join me in turning back to God? Will you join me in repenting? Will you join me in calling your friends and family to repent? Will you join me in calling for national repentance? Will you join me in calling our nation back to God?

National repentance is our only sure hope.

Yours for changed lives,

Patrick Morley, PhD

Monday, July 27, 2009


It is such a powerful, prophetic word.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Episcopal Apostasy

"The Orthodox Are Finished"

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I don't always agree with everything Pat Buchanan says, but most of his views are on target. He tends to be too isolationist in foreign policy for example, and too anti-immigration (even of the legal aspect). But, here is something to consider:

This is a WorldNetDaily printer-friendly version of the article which follows. To view this item online, visit http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?pageId=104226

Friday, July 17, 2009

Socialist America sinking
Pat Buchanan: Even the CFR is seeing seriousness of nation's decline
Posted: July 16, 20098:41 pm Eastern
By Patrick J. Buchanan

After half a century of fighting encroachments upon freedom in America, journalist Garet Garrett published "The People's Pottage." A year later, in 1954, he died. "The People's Pottage" opens thus:
"There are those who still think they are holding the pass against a revolution that may be coming up the road. But they are gazing in the wrong direction. The revolution is behind them. It went by in the Night of Depression, singing songs to freedom."

Garrett wrote of a revolution within the form. While outwardly America appeared the same, a revolution within had taken place that was now irreversible. One need only glance at where we were before the New Deal, where we are and where we are headed to see how far we are off the course the Founding Fathers set for our republic.

Taxes drove the American Revolution, for we were a taxaphobic, liberty-loving people. That government is best that governs least is an Americanism. When "Silent Cal" Coolidge went home in 1929, the U.S. government was spending 3 percent of gross domestic product.

And today? Obama's first budget will consume 28 percent of the entire GDP; state and local governments another 15 percent. While there is some overlap, in 2009, government will consume 40 percent of GDP, approaching the peak of World War II.

The deficit for 2009 is $1.8 trillion, 13 percent of the whole economy. Obama is pushing a cap-and-trade bill to cut carbon emissions that will impose huge costs on energy production, spike consumer prices and drive production offshore to China, which is opting out of Kyoto II. The Chinese are not fools.

Obama plans to repeal the Bush tax cuts and take the income tax rate to near 40 percent. Combined state and local income tax rates can run to 10 percent. For the self-employed, payroll taxes add up to 15.2 percent on the first $106,800 for all wages of all workers. Medicare takes 2.9 percent of all wages above that. Then there are the state sales taxes that can run to 8 percent, property taxes, gas taxes, excise taxes and "sin taxes" on booze, cigarettes and, soon, hot dogs and soft drinks.

Comes now national health insurance from Nancy Pelosi's House. A surtax that runs to 5.4 percent of all earnings of the top 1 percent of Americans, who already pay 40 percent of all federal income taxes, has been sent to the Senate. Included also is an 8 percent tax on the entire payroll of small businesses that fail to provide health insurance for employees.

Other ideas on the table include taxing the health benefits that businesses provide their employees.

The D.C.-based Tax Foundation says New Yorkers could face a combined income tax rate of near 60 percent.

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson called George III a tyrant for having "erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance."

What did George III do with his Stamp Act, Townshend Acts or tea tax to compare with what is being done to this generation of Americans by their own government?

While the hardest-working and most productive are bled, a third of all wage-earners pay no U.S. income tax, and Obama plans to free almost half of all wage-earners of all income taxes. Yet, tens of millions get Medicaid, rent supplements, free education, food stamps, welfare and an annual check from Uncle Sam called an Earned Income Tax Credit, though they never paid a nickel in income taxes.

Oh, yes. Obama also promises everybody a college education.

Coming to America to feast on this cornucopia of freebies is the world. One million to 2 million immigrants, legal and illegal, arrive every year. They come with fewer skills and less education than Americans, and consume more tax dollars than they contribute by three to one.

Wise Latina women have more babies north of the border than they do in Mexico and twice as many here as American women.

As almost all immigrants are now Third World people of color, they qualify for ethnic preferences in hiring and promotions and admissions to college over the children of Americans.

All of this would have astounded and appalled the Founding Fathers, who after all, created America – as they declared loud and clear in the Constitution – "for ourselves and our posterity."

China saves, invests and grows at 8 percent. America, awash in debt, has a shrinking economy, a huge trade deficit, a gutted industrial base, an unemployment rate surging toward 10 percent and a money supply that's swollen to double its size in a year. The 20th century may have been the American Century. The 21st shows another pattern.

"The United States is declining as a nation and a world power with mostly sighs and shrugs to mark this seismic event," writes Les Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, in CFR's Foreign Affairs magazine. "Astonishingly, some people do not appear to realize that the situation is all that serious."

Even the establishment is starting to get the message.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Let's Get Rid of Christianity!

Here is an article posted on Kairos Journal. In the times we live, with Christianity increasingly under assault, it is worthy of our consideration. Read on:

A Culture without Christianity? Imagine.

In 1971, John Lennon wrote a hymn for the secularist faith. The song, “Imagine,” fantasized about the state of world affairs if everyone were stripped of all beliefs and prejudices—with the notable exception, of course, of the former Beatle’s favorites. “Imagine there’s no heaven,” sang Lennon,

It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today . . .
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace . . .

Now while there is certainly nothing wrong with peace, love, and understanding, the evidence suggests that Lennon’s dream world would in fact turn out to be a nightmare. That’s the conclusion of recent historical and sociological studies from two of America’s leading scholars: Rodney Stark from the University of Washington1 and Samuel P. Huntington from Harvard. Without any collusion, they have both found that the animating features that have made the West great—modern science, medicine, democracy and its attending freedoms—were the products of irreducibly Christian thinking derived from central biblical traditions.

In his 2004 book, Who Are We?, Huntington, arguably the most respected political scientist of our time, contends that the United States in particular faces a national identity crisis. What was the original identity? Beginning with G. K Chesterton’s analysis of America as “a nation with the soul of a church,” Huntington lists the following traits as explanatory of America’s success and global appeal:

the English language; Christianity; religious commitment; English concepts of the rule of law; the responsibility of rulers, and the rights of individuals; and dissenting Protestant values of individualism, the work ethic, and the belief that humans have the ability and the duty to try to create a heaven on earth, a “city on a hill.” Historically, millions of immigrants were attracted to America because of this culture and the economic opportunities it helped to make possible.2

In sum, the Harvard professor avers, it is the Anglo-Protestant culture that arose from scriptural foundations that made the United States great. Attempts to undermine this tradition, whether one ethnically arose from this context or not, he argues, are a misguided and dangerous social experiment which could unhinge the entire project.

In a similar manner, sociologist Rodney Stark tackles the secularist’s mantra that serious Christianity inhibits progress. This, Stark argues, is pure myth. To the contrary, for example, he demonstrates with lucid historical detail that “science could only arise in a culture dominated by belief in a conscious, rational, all-powerful Creator.”3 Further, against the charge that orthodox Christianity is inherently repressive, he makes the case that while believers have sometimes behaved horribly toward others (i.e., witch hunts and inquisitions), only people who believed “that slavery was an abomination in the eyes of God” were poised to defy the evil. “It was that conclusion,” writes Stark, “and only that conclusion, that enabled the West to abolish slavery.”4 The fear of God, in other words, means freedom for men.

Imagine a world without the Bible, without Christians, and without God? That is truly a frightening thought. It would mean more slavery, far fewer freedoms, and unchecked disease. Without the moral restraints inspired by God’s people, the world would no doubt be an unthinkably worse place in which to live. Even a self-professed relativist can appreciate that. All those who love liberty, or so it would seem, have a vested interest in the continued influence and vitality of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Stark began teaching at Baylor University in 2004.
Samuel P. Huntington, Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004), xvi.
Rodney Stark, For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch Hunts, and the End of Slavery (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003), 197.
Ibid., 3.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


A friend of mine from India sent this to me the other day. I have seen it- before and perhaps you have, but it is a timely reminder:

A basketball in my hands is worth about $19.
A basketball in Michael Jordan's hands is worth about $33 million.
It depends whose hands it's in.

A baseball in my hands is worth about $6.
A baseball in Roger Clemens' hands is worth $475 million.
It depends on whose hands it's in.

A tennis racket is useless in my hands.
A tennis racket in Andre Agassi's hands is worth millions.
It depends whose hands it's in.

A rod in my hands will keep away an angry dog.
A rod in Moses' hands will part the mighty sea.
It depends whose hands it's in.

A slingshot in my hands is a kid's toy.
A slingshot in David's hand is a mighty weapon.
It depends whose hands it's in.

Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in Jesus' hands will feed thousands.
It depends whose hands it's in.

Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse.
Nails in Jesus Christ's hands will
Produce salvation for the entire world.
It depends whose hands it's in.

As you see now, it depends whose hands it's in.
So put your concerns, your worries, your fears, your hopes, your dreams, your families and your relationships in God's hands because...
It depends whose hands it's in.

Looking at the circumstances that America finds itself in, on this month of celebrating our nation’s birth, and considering the challenges facing our church and evangelical Christianity as a whole, could lead us to throw up our hands and give up! In one sense, that would be a good thing!

If we give up on trying to be God and fix things beyond our control and lift our hands in praise and faith to an Almighty God we beseech in prayer, then that is a great thing! That isn’t to say that God might not see fit to use us as extensions of His hands, but that is the key after all. Too often we try to use God as our servant to accomplish our will, when He wants to use us as His servants to accomplish His will. But that can only be done as we relinquish control—letting go and letting God. This isn’t passivity, but it is Divine activity. Jesus gave the formula in John15:5-8:

5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

It would be good to recall the simple truth many of us learned as children: “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands!” That’s you and me, brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Al Mohler had this excellent post on his blog:

The issue of homosexuality presents all morally serious persons with an unavoidable question: What is the moral status of homosexual acts and relationships? One way or the other, some judgment on this matter will be made.

Are homosexual acts inherently wrong, dishonorable, and sinful? Or, is homosexuality morally neutral, with specific sexual acts and relationships determined to be either right or wrong by context and intention? Are homosexual acts morally good and honorable? These assertions of moral judgment represent something of the range of possibilities and cover most of the main alternatives.

Most Americans come to moral judgments by a complex and often confused process that combines moral intuition with emotivism and some (often quite minimal) knowledge of the history of moral judgment. Add to this the fact that most Americans are highly influenced by popular culture and mass opinion. In the end, as many observers have argued, most Americans are probably moral pragmatists at heart.

On an issue as controversial as homosexuality, moral confusion abounds. Americans respond to questions related to homosexuality with a range of often inconsistent and contradictory moral judgments. Ask a question about same-sex marriage one way and you get one answer. Change the question slightly, and you might get a very different response from the very same person.

President Barack Obama recently signed a
proclamation designating the month of June as "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, 2009." The President declared:

Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.
President Obama is not the first American president to make such a declaration. In 2000, President Bill Clinton signed a similar
executive order declaring June of that year as "Gay and Lesbian Pride Month." At that time, President Clinton stated:

This June, recognizing the joys and sorrows that the gay and lesbian movement has witnessed and the work that remains to be done, we observe Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and celebrate the progress we have made in creating a society more inclusive and accepting of gays and lesbians. I hope that in this new millennium we will continue to break down the walls of fear and prejudice and work to build a bridge to understanding and tolerance, until gays and lesbians are afforded the same rights and responsibilities as all Americans.

President Obama's proclamation goes far beyond the statement signed by President Clinton. After meeting massive opposition to his proposal to allow openly-homosexual citizens to serve in the Armed Forces, President Clinton crafted the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. In his declaration, President Obama pledges to end that policy. President Clinton signed the
Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. President Obama has called for a repeal of that legislation.

In issuing his order, President Obama applauded the successes of the gay rights movement to date, but affirmed his judgment that "there is more work to be done." He called for enhanced federal hate crimes laws, adoption rights for homosexuals, and for "civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples," among other goals.

Nevertheless, the most morally significant dimension of President Obama's proclamation is the use of the word "pride." With the stroke of a pen, a vast moral judgment was communicated.

Given the background noise of cultural conversation, most Americans probably gave little thought to that word. Yet, by means of this proclamation President Obama called for all Americans to find pride in the fact that some of our fellow citizens are homosexual, bisexual, or transgendered.

This poses a big problem for citizens who believe that homosexuality is inherently sinful. Can we find pride in what we know to be sin? That question contains its own answer. There is no way that biblical Christians can join in the chorus of gay pride. The Bible is straightforward in its consistent identification of homosexual acts as inherently sinful. Homosexual acts are not singled out as the only form of sexual sin. The Bible condemns any number of heterosexual sins, ranging from fornication and adultery to a catalogue of forbidden acts and relationships.

Beyond sexual sins, the Bible condemns sins as various and deadly as anger, envy, covetousness, disobedience, gluttony, greed, and dishonesty. The Bible declares all of us to be sinners and makes clear that no one of us can even understand the full sinfulness of our own sin. Sin is deceptive and addictive. Sin leads to death, judgment, and eternal destruction.

The Bible allows no room for finding pride in sin. Indeed, such pride amounts to further evidence that sin is deceptive and subversive. Perhaps one of the most horrifying aspects of sin is just this -- we will find a way to be proud of our sin and the sins of others.

In signing this proclamation, President Obama put the issue right before us all. During the 1980s the gay rights movement began using the "pride" language in an effort to defy negative moral judgments about homosexuality. Calls for gay liberation became calls for gay pride. The new theme brought political, strategic, and psychological advantages. The assertion of homosexual pride is the ultimate rejection of normative heterosexuality.

Those citizens who believe that morality is mere social construction can go along with this. Those who believe that homosexuality is morally positive will champion the call for gay pride. Most Americans will probably give passing attention to the President's call. But Christians committed to the authority of the Bible as the Word of God cannot find pride in sin. To do so is not only to confuse sin, but to undermine the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Morally serious persons must take the President's proclamation as a morally serious act. As such, it demands a response. Evangelical Christians dare not respond with a claim of moral superiority as if we are not ourselves sinners. But we must be clear that we cannot find pride in sin, whether these are our own sins or those of others. The Gospel of Christ simply does not allow us to see sin -- any sin -- as a matter of pride.

© 2009, All rights reserved, www.AlbertMohler.com

Monday, June 08, 2009


Yes, you heard me correctly—but, doesn’t it sound strange? We hear so much about what’s wrong with the church—and believe me, there are plenty of flaws to point out—that to even ask the question, “What’s right with the church?” is arresting to our ears. Are we fearful that we can find no answer?

Don’t worry—there is a lot that is right and good about the church. Even, more specifically, there is much to be thrilled about at Pole Creek. Let me list a few things:

God’s glory is the focus of our worship. Do we always hit the target? Not a bull’s eye every time, but it is always our goal. That is a good thing.

Someone could be saved at any service at Pole Creek. We unashamedly proclaim that Jesus saves—and that He is the only way to heaven. The cross is still central in our sanctuary and if a lost person attends, they will not be able to accuse us on the Day of Judgment of failing to share the Gospel.

The Holy Spirit still works. Would we pray for a mightier move of God’s Spirit? Sure—but He is moving. There will be those who are stirred, convicted, challenged and empowered by the ministries of the Body of Christ at Pole Creek.

The Bible is believed, taught and preached as the inspired Word of God. We have not deviated from sound doctrine. That can’t be said of every church in our area. You wouldn’t have to travel far to find apostasy just down the road—but the Scripture is foundational in what we do.

The Blessed Hope is still anticipated. We warn of hell, but we sing of heaven. Though there are members who likely give scant thought to the eternal state, so wrapped up in this present world are they. Yet, the core of this congregation is looking up and longing for the return of Christ.

Family is celebrated. Single adults are valued. We care for those with broken hearts and broken homes. When a marriage breaks, we grieve and seek to help people pick up the pieces. If someone is struggling with sexual sin, homosexual or otherwise, they will find Pole Creek speaking the truth in love. What you won’t find here is acceptance of abominable practices and unholy unions.

Children and teens are targeted for ministry. Pole Creek recognizes that the heritage of faith can’t die out with an older generation. Our commitment is to transmit the truth to those who will mature into young champions for Christ. Do we need more involvement and commitment to help in these ministries? Absolutely—but don’t miss the reality that a lot of good is being done.

Good music that is Bible-based, emotionally stirring and presented with excellence is featured. We may not hit a home run every time, but the musical score is more often than not a winner!

Sacrificial service is a hallmark. It would be wonderful if every member would be a minister. That’s ideal. However, if you began to add up the number of hours invested, the giftedness and energy utilized, and were to attempt to pay these workers it would be a staggering amount requiring millions of dollars. Do a few serve Christ for applause? Do some want a position without really performing? Grudgingly, we would say, “Yes”—but not a lot! Most serve only for the glory of God and the good of the church—motivated by love for Christ and His church alone!

Missions is still supported. Pole Creek is literally having an impact around the world. Through our prayers, our giving, and our going souls are being brought into the kingdom in places with names we can’t even pronounce. We could and should do more, but that doesn’t negate the fact that we do a lot—an incredible amount at home and abroad. We have young people answering the call to full-time Christian service. We have adult professionals that are giving of themselves to travel abroad and take the redeeming story of Jesus. There are senior adults that will work long hours for the Lord, though they are retired from secular jobs. Hallelujah!

Prayer is still offered. You will not get an argument from me, that we need a lot more participation in our prayer meetings. Yet, I would underscore that we do have a loyal band of intercessors—some praying in the morning at 6, others praying in the evening at 7, and all hours in between—some in group gatherings and more in private quiet places. God still answers the prayers of Pole Creek people.

Generosity is evident. Is there a need? People move to meet it. Over and again we have seen this church give and give to support the Lord’s work and to aid the Lord’s people. The economy has turned down, yet giving is actually up! That can’t be said everywhere. It costs more to do the work of the kingdom than ever while we struggle with family budgets where it costs more to make ends meet. A few may have cut back in their giving, but others have stepped up. In this we rejoice!

Fellowship is enjoyed. We like to get together. Some hang back. A few drop out. A handful may be harboring grudges. Let me tell you—I miss my church family when I can’t be with them and can’t wait till we get together again! Almost all of us feel the same way and that is something that brings joy to our Lord.

We have a committed and gifted staff. Don’t put us on a pedestal. We aren’t that good—but we ain’t too shabby either. I know these folks in the church office. I work with them. I see their lives and hear their prayers. Their heart for God and Pole Creek is indisputable. We are flawed flesh and blood—just like everyone reading this. Yet, God uses us by His grace.
Get the picture! There is a lot right with the church! I have only scratched the surface.

Now, you will hear a few critics from time to time. Frankly, ours isn’t the only good church around and if it were me and I weren’t happy, I’d find one where I would be. Trouble is, we usually take ourselves wherever we go and if we are unhappy people, it won’t be long until we’re unhappy somewhere else.

When two people marry, they suddenly realize that all is not as rosy as they thought. In courtship we choose to focus on the good stuff and in marriage to underscore the bad stuff. Both are there. Continue to look for the bad in your spouse and you’ll find it and before long divorce may seem the only way out—so you can remarry and make somebody else miserable! Wouldn’t it be better to extol the virtues of your mate—to love them warts and all? Maybe they will return the same courtesy to you!

That’s the way we ought to view Pole Creek. Not a perfect place—but we do have a lot of things going for us. Those who enjoy it have chosen to focus on the strengths. There is a lot that is right with the church!

Thursday, May 07, 2009


Here is an article from Kairos Journal that needs to be considered:

American Astarte

“No trees. No telephones. No Jesus.” Thus begins a National Geographic article (September, 2002) on the paganism of supposed Eastern Orthodox Christians in Georgia’s Caucasus Mountains, east of the Black Sea. The title of the piece—“Crucible of the Gods.”

Though they traffic in the names of Christian saints and touch base with the liturgy and Christian symbols, their deepest devotion is to a spirit they call Khati. Beer is a sacred beverage, and animal sacrifice is common. At the same “service,” the citizens both read from the Bible and dip their hands in goat’s blood. And the ceremonial stone house, with its bell and brightly colored cloths, stands on a rise reminiscent of the “high places” used for idol worship in Bible times.

Sunday school children read about Moloch, Ashtoreth, and Baal in the Old Testament. For application, their teachers likely suggest that our “idols” are luxury cars, vacation homes, and championship trophies. But ancient paganism and idolatry are making a strong comeback in the midst of Western Civilization. It is not at all unusual to find self-proclaimed heathen material at local newsstands and in chain bookstores. Those wanting to order a devotional image of the goddess Astarte can turn to the ads in the back of pagan periodicals. (A nine-inch, $42 dollar model is available by mail from Sacred Source in Crozet, Virginia.) This is the same Astarte who appears as Ashtoreth in
2 Kings 23:13. Good King Josiah demolished her, but she’s back.
Type “pagan” into Internet search engines, and you’ll be overwhelmed by their products. There is even one for child raising, paganparenting.net. Through the catalogue store, Mom and Dad can order a pentagram-adorned t-shirt, ball cap, or coffee mug proclaiming, “Proud to Be a Pagan Parent.” Under “Kids’ Stuff,” they find new words for a familiar bedtime prayer—“Earth and Water, Fire and Air, Stay with me while Mom's not there.”

Meanwhile, in the Nevada desert, 120 miles north of Reno, 25,000 revelers recently attended the 17th annual Burning Man festival. Started in San Francisco, this arts-and-orgy campout culminates in the incineration of a 70-foot-high wooden man, while cheering celebrants dance below. The sponsors disavow occult connections, but many celebrants disregard the disclaimer.

The words “pagan” and “heathen” were coined with reference to those primitives who lived so far out in the wilderness (on the heath) that they’d missed out on the spread of Christianity in the cities. Now American towns have pagan chapters of their own. It is ironic that the mailing address for a leading Shamanic Wiccan church is Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin. That town is the namesake of the site where Moses dealt with worship of the golden calf (
Ps. 106:19-20). Now Christians must once again deal with idolatry at Horeb—and in Chicago, London, and Rio.

Certainly, pastors should focus on the “gods” of materialism, ambition, and sensuality when preaching on idolatry. But they should not consider the Old Testament condemnation of graven images and pagan ritual as curious, ancient insects trapped in amber. These errors are alive and well, buzzing about in the atmosphere.
Missiologists tell us that conversion comes easier to a pagan or idol worshipper than to a
Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or atheist. Perhaps that is even true for those who have slid from Christian church attendance into heathenism. Whatever the case, the message of response is simple—Christianity 101: There is one God. His Only Begotten Son is Savior and Lord. Salvation comes by grace through faith. Repent, trust, and follow Jesus.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


John Maxwell says that leaders are “dealers in hope.” In these distressing times, I am confronted with this pivotal responsibility. All about us, it seems like things are coming unglued. The government is spending us into oblivion. Terrorism is still a clear and present danger. American Christianity is in decline while those of other faiths and the strident anti-faith storm troopers are in the ascendancy. Along with the moral freefall and economic downturn, it seems reasonable to feel like Custer at Little Big Horn.

“What then shall we say to these things?” We join the Apostle Paul in asking that vexing question. Yet, we dare not neglect the confident assertion that follows, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

Facing a seemingly impossible task and intractable foes, this little Jew marched out and took the message of hope and change (REAL hope and change—not empty political promises) to the nations and the world has never been the same! Beaten, burdened, broke and besmirched, this faithful servant of Christ met each obstacle as an opportunity and with the dawn of every day drank in the sunshine of hope, and went about dispensing it to all the thirsty souls he encountered in his travels.

We are not like the goofy Alfred E. Newman of MAD magazine fame—a fictional figure of epic naïveté whose favorite expression is, “What, me worry?” Neither are we Glumm the Lilliputian cartoon character in The Adventures of Gulliver who met each difficulty by saying, “We’re doomed! We’ll never make it!” Our feet are firmly planted in reality, while our faith is grounded in revelation—God’s sure and steadfast promises! Jesus presented this balance when He stated, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but, be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Child of God, you have every reason to be filled with hope! Not wishful thinking—not hope so, maybe so kind of stuff—but, hope that is “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19a). When all that is of this world is shaky, we need not be shaken, recognizing God is just sifting out the dirt until all that remains is pure gold of eternal quality. My prayer for each of you is, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NIV). What else would you expect me to say? It’s my job! I am a dealer in hope.

Friday, February 13, 2009


There is a tension between the need to speak out to the sins of society and the the need to respect government authority. Scripture is clear that the Christian is to submit to the authority of government since it is instituted by God. Beyond that, even those in power are appointed by God. They may act like the devil, or may be ambivalent to their God-ordained responsibility, but irrespective of that we are to respect the position, even if we have difficulty respecting the person and especially their policies! The exception to this being that if human authority calls upon us to violate God's law, we must obey God rather than man, as did Peter and John when threatened by the government for preaching the Gospel.

So, how does one respectfully speak to immoral and unjust policies without coming across as sarcastic or disrespectful? That's the tough part. Surely, we cannot be silent when it comes to crying out against legalized murder--what we call abortion--or the destruction of free enterprise through a Marxist philosophy--what is termed economic stimulus--or the proliferation of pornography--what is promoted as free speech.

The balance is what Paul called, "speaking the truth in love." Surely, it is what Moses did when confronting Pharaoh. It was doubtless the tone taken by Nathan as he exposed King David's sin. It is what Elijah did when addressing Ahab. It was the manner of John the Baptist preaching to Herod. It is how Paul dealt with the authorities of his day. Supremely, it is how Jesus spoke to Pilate. Those are our models.

We cannot be so passive as to cower down and refuse to stand for righteousness and against evil. Otherwise, we are complicit with the assault on God and people, much as many Germans who looked the other way when Hitler was pursuing his "Final Solution." How can that be real love--love for God and love for people--that would allow sheep to be herded to the slaughter? That is what we are witnessing in America today--the trail that leads to the butcher shop! But neither can we condone violence in our methods or racism in our messages that show disregard for both truth and love. Some of the "challenges" addressed to the current administration seem to have these as undercurrents, and that is a polluted stream.

Revival or ruin? Which path will we take? Let us pray for our elected officials as Scripture enjoins us. When they are offtrack, let us speak the truth in love. May we not be silent when we ought to speak and speak righteously and respectfully--we don't have to sacrifice one for the other. It is a tension and it is tough. But it can be done. It must be done, for Christ has called us to be in the world, yet not of the world. For the present we are here, and who knows but what we have come to this kingdom for such a time as this?

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I am now "a twitter" or is that a "tweeter?" Irrespective, I am attempting to leverage a new technology to accomplish my mission in life, "to reache people where they are and lead them to become like Jesus." How all this will work remains to be seen. If anyone has suggestions, I am open to them.