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, (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,, September 7, 2004, (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:


Posted using ShareThis