Thursday, September 18, 2014

PART 2 - ENOCH'S WALK PLEASED GOD

There is “Walking with the Lord”….and then there is the PLEASING Walk with the Lord, which most westerners in the Body of Christ fall short on. Too many are using the Lord as a crutch, while pleasing themselves in hot pursuit of the American Dream. 

We are called to be humble disciples and followers of Jesus Christ. We are not called to be in an all-out,  full-fledged Pursuit of the now elusive formula of high school, license at age 16; college; big job;  big suburban home, iPad and iPhone and a BMW or Ford Explorer. We are called to something less frustrating and more fulfilling than this pipe dream! The  fruits of this are becoming more and more evident, as more and more families are seeing their kids’ and grandkids’ dreams disappear before our eyes.  Due to  liberals and their politicians/academics and even lax parenting, many expect their children to be worse off in their adult lives, than they were. 

The Church has been no help, in the west. Like all entitlement societies, the Lord’s so-called “under-shepherds” have found the formula to their own cushy lifestyles and it is not by preparing their flocks (or congregations) for trials, tribulations and “he who perseveres to the end, will be saved”. As a result, very few….a very small fraction of the actual 9% of Americans who are born-again Christians, find the secret of that “pleasing walk with the Lord”.

Hebrews 11:5 says “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death,  “and was not found, because God had taken him” (a direct quote from Genesis 6: ); for  before he was taken, he had this testimony, THAT HE PLEASED GOD (emphasis mine).

Oh that would be said that our testimony “pleased God”!  First we would have to know what a testimony really was and secondly, do we have one of those!  According to Webster’s Dictionary, a testimony is “proof or evidence that something exists or is true”. It is also an “open acknowledgment”  in terms of Faith – of what the Lord has done for and to us in our spiritual lives. The key words here are “proof”, “evidence”, “true and “open acknowledgement”.  Ten times out of ten, a person’s general testimony describes the conversion story of the person giving the Testimony and the road which that same person is now on, in his Faith Journey. I once asked a person to give his testimony at a certain meeting, and he basically got up and said he had none. 

Enoch did not have that problem. The Great Faith Chapter of Hebrews 11 said he HAD this testimony – “THAT HE PLEASED GOD”! How did a man four thousand years ago, with no church building; no ministry website or 501 C(3); books and DVDs “please God” when we today have everything and know our conduct is nowhere near this kind of Faith. Simple - Enoch was a simple man but he also had the benefit of direct knowledge of the sin of his literal ancestor - Adam!

Enoch saw the filth and degradation all around him as his corrupt world headed for the Great Flood...and obviously stayed away from it. He and his family, which included Methuselah, remained faithful in their pro-active Faith in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Like Job and Abraham, they believed God and He reckoned it to them as righteousness. These men, especially Enoch and Job, pleased God with their upright lifestyle. Hebrews 11:6 confirms that it was Enoch's strong Faith which led the Lord to rapture him out alive.

The verse said "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." There it is right there - if you wish to please God, if you wish to have a pleasing Journey through Life with our Creator - Faith is all it takes. 

To the unbeliever and those who follow pagan religions, this Truth is difficult to comprehend due to its simplicity.  This kind of pleasing Faith has a component which is not a general characteristic of the modern Christian: "diligently seeking the Lord". This implies active pursuit of the Truth and thus, the Favor of the Lord.

How do we do that? Is there a famous "seven point plan for that"? Is there a self help book by some famous author for that? Yes! A Famous Author told us - the Holy Spirit gave us the Scriptures to know God and therefore, love, trust and obey. With obedience, comes the "drawing near" or coming to God, as Hebrews 11:6 tells us. We come near through prayer, intercession, fasting and walking in His Marvelous Light. We come near through seeing His Hand in every single thing around us and then allowing Him to be Lord of your life, but submitting to His Will. 


My recommendation is to understand that He is the "rewarder" of all things, but to stay away from focusing too heavily on the rewards, and more on the relationship side of the ledger.  You and I cannot out-give God, but we can do our best to live out our lives for Him. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

PART 1 - ENOCH "WALKED WITH GOD"....


In a world, where life is lived at warped speed, it is profoundly difficult to fathom our Life's Journey as a "Walk" with the Lord, our God. "Walking" implies an activity which is done at a steady and/or measured pace. It is even more delightful if done with someone whom you love or admire, such as a spouse, your children or a close friend. Even more precious, though, is our "Walk with the Lord".

We get a hint of how wonderful walking is when we read in Genesis 3:8 that ... they (Adam and Eve) heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

Three things stand out here here: 

- The Lord (Jesus Christ the Creator) walks 
- His garden welcoming and comfortable with cool and full of trees
- The Presence of Him Who made us was in the Walk.

This may challenge theological thinking from seminaries and other man-made formulas, but I know now, that even when I was not walking with the Lord in my rebellious days, He was with me. I know that now, looking back at all the times He rescued me from the pit and those who would do me harm.  It is obvious that before they sinned, Adam and Eve walked and fellowship with the Lord. The above-mentioned verse confirms this.  But it was not just this truth, but the fact that Jesus also WALKED WITH them before the Fall! He was present and was with them as they did the work He called them to in the Garden.

The open and vile sin of both Adam and Eve of listening to a filthy serpent when you are accustomed to being the Presence of the Creator of this amazing Universe, is truly stunning. We all know the current state of the world is because of that sin, but for the purposes of "Walking with the Lord", what does this look like and what does it mean for us?

A much overlooked Biblical hero is a man named Enoch, a direct descendant of Adam and the great-grandfather of Noah. The Book of Genesis said this about Enoch: "Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him" (Genesis 5:22b–24).

Going back one verse to Genesis 5:21-22a, we see that something happened to Enoch at age 65...and this should be an encouragement to us, no matter how old we are...or even if we think we are TOO old and God cannot use us! This verse says in part "Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. 22 After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years." After Enoch became the father of the oldest man in the Bible - Methusaleh - it says that he walked with God for the next 300 years!

Methusaleh is important as his name literally means in Hebrew "his death shall bring judgment".  Methusaleh lived 969 years and at his death, the Great Flood was sent to cleanse the earth of all human degradation. Enoch means "dedicated" (Chanokh in the original Hebrew) and by his 300 year Walk with the Lord, his dedication led to his unique translation into Heaven. Enoch is only one of two men in the Bible who did not experience physical death. Elijah is the other one.

When God gives a name in Scripture, He is directly communicating something by that designation. He changed the name of Abram to Abraham. He changed the name from Saul to the Apostle Paul and called His chief disciple (Simon Barjonah) to Peter. When God caused Jared to name his son Enoch, the Lord knew that the latter would be dedicated to Him.

Since words mean thing, we need to look at the word "dedication" from whence Enoch's name was derived. Websters Dictionary described "Dedication" as the following:
a feeling of very strong support for or loyalty to someone or something 
an act or rite of dedicating to a divine being or to a sacred use
self-sacrificing devotion
the quality or state of being dedicated to a person, group, cause
the act of officially saying that something (or here, somebody like Enoch) was created for a particular purpose (such as worship) or to remember or honor a particular person.

Webster's has described the perfect Walk with God, without knowing it! A man (Enoch), whose name means dedicated, walked for 300 years as a loyal man of God who saw the evil of his day, and gave up worldly pleasures (in self-sacrifice) to remain true and loyal, having been set apart (or dedicated) for God, as one of His own. Being set apart like this is a perfect example of the sanctification, which the true woman or man of God is experiencing right now, due to our surrender to Jesus as Lord.

The man or woman of God was (and is) also created for the most particularly important function and that is to worship, honor and obey the Father. All of this is directly implicated in the name of Enoch!

Do we have this kind of dedication? If we do not, we are not walking in Spirit, Truth and Righteousness! Have we dedicated our life to walking with Him, in the fullness of His Presence?

Does our Walk glorify Him?
Are we walking behind or away from Him, by sins of omission as well as commission? 
Are we even walking ahead of Him, but not waiting on His prompting, guidance and direction which can only be gotten through prayer? By doing this, we are chasing windmills.
Are we?

These are questions which each individual has to answer on his or her own.  There is a benefit for the Christian to be walking in sync, and in God's timing and pace, rather than behind or ahead of Him. 

When we walk behind Him, we lose the blessings of His Presence and Power in our lives. We may even be at risk of backsliding and losing fellowship with Him.

When we walk ahead of Him, we short-circuit His wonderful plans and purpose for us and put ourselves in a world of hurt, due to our impatience. There is nothing more perfect than God's Timing. So why blow it by doing things your own way and not waiting on the Lord? 

We have all committed these errors and paid the price of stress, anxiety and failure. Isn't it time, therefore, to have the kind of walk - like Enoch - so that we too can say like the Psalmist "In Your Presence, there is fullness of Joy"!  This kind of fullness can only come, by walking daily and keeping pace with, the One Who saved us by His Grace.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

GOD BELONGS IN MY CITY - SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS THIS SATURDAY


OFFICIAL PRAYER POINTS FOR THE TWO MILE WALK (see below)
TIMELINE: GATHER AT 10 AM (REGISTRATION FOR FUTURE EVENTS)
PRAYER WALK LEAVES COMER COX PARK, 18th and Capitol Avenue for two miles to 2nd and Capitol - the Illinois State Capitol East Steps.

THE FOLLOWING ARE THE PRAYER LEADERS:
Dave Smith- Director, Illinois Family Institute
Roy Newman- Pastor, Fresh Visions Com. Church
Eric Hansen- Pastor,  iWorship Center
Roger Ross- Pastor, First United Methodist
Fr House- Catholic Diocese
Billie Landers- New Generations Ministries, Auburn


HERE ARE THE PRAYER POINTS FOR THE TWO MILE WALK TO THE 11:15 am PRAYER & WORSHIP SERVICE AT THE STATE CAPITOL STEPS (BASED ON PSALM 51 -New American Standard Bible):

Prayer Focus 1: PRAYERS OF REPENTANCE (Personal repentance – Psalm 51 Verse 2 “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin…verse 4 “Against You and You only I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight”…Verse 9 “Hide Your Face from my sins and blot out my iniquities.)
Corporate Repentance: for the sins of the Body of Christ against God and our fellow man. Since of division, despair, destructive speech and conduct and the racism.

Prayer Focus 2: PRAYERS OF REDEMPTION:  After this prayers of Repentance, sees forgiveness “Psalm 51 Verse:7 “ Purify me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be as white as snow…..Verse 10 “ Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me”. Corporate Redemption – Pray for our city/town/state leaders to come to repentance and follow the will of God that it may be well with us.

Prayer Focus 3: PRAYERS OF RESTORATION:  Restoration of relationships – personal and between those in the church. 
Restoration of relationships across the community and unity in the Body of Christ, around the Person and saving power of Jesus Christ", regardless of race or class. 
Restoration of the relationship upon which all of the above is based – our relationship with the One True God of Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ…..Verse 12 “Restore to me the Joy of Your Salvation and sustain in me a willing spirit…..verse 15 “O Lord, open my lips that my mouth may declare Your Praise!”

Additional Scripture verses to meditate upon:

1.  Humble ourselves before God.
2 Chronicles 7:14 "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 I will forgive their sin and heal their land."

2.  Love God and love each other.
Luke 10:27 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all you strength and with all your mind, and 'Love your neighbor as yourself'."

3.  Courageous in difficult times.
John 16:33 "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

4. Pray for our leaders.
1 Timothy 2:1,2 "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

THE OSTRICH SYNDROME PART 3 - CONTRA MUNDUM....OR PREACHING PABLUM?

STATUE OF ATHANASIUS, BISHOP OF ALEXANDRA
Contra Mundum is not a Nicaraguan freedom fighter of the 1980’s against the Marxist Sandinistas. Contra Mundum are the two Latin words which preserved Biblical Christianity during the 4th century against the creeping heresy which almost won the hearts and minds of the people of that day.  Contra Mundum means “against the world” and is associated with the great hero of the Faith – Athanasius, the powerful Bishop of Alexandria, Egypt (296-373).

Before he became Bishop of Alexandria, Athanasius was the second in command of this powerful church under Bishop Alexander. The Christian church had just come out of the great persecution of Roman Emperor Diocletian and Constantine was now in power. After Constantine came to faith in Christ, the persecution of the Body of Christ stopped, but the war was on for the soul of the Christian Faith. One of those who fought against Biblical Orthodoxy or Accuracy, was a minister named Arius.  Arius was like the Gnostics of old, or the modern day Jesus Seminar crowd; Jehovah Witnesses; Mormons or others today, who questioned the Deity of Jesus Christ – the God Who became Man. 

Not only was Arius like some of the ‘cultural Christians’ we have today, his teaching was more dangerous. What made it dangerous to the souls of many was his easy “tickle the ears” so-called “doctrine”. Arius popularized the teaching that “sure Jesus was Divine (or from Heaven) but Jesus was not one in substance with God the Father”! This is a direct contradiction of Scripture where Jesus Himself said “I come from the Father, if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father as well” (quote verse). Arius’ heresy went further to say that Jesus was simply “A Son of God”. That indefinite article “A” makes a tremendous and potentially fatal difference to the soul who believes in the Arian theory!

For, if Jesus was just “A Son of God”, it means He was created and not the Creator. This is the essence of Mormonism, which teaches the fatal error that Jesus and Lucifer were both created. Jehovah Witnesses say something similar. Liberal mainline protestant churches also deny not just the Deity of Christ but they deny the Virgin Birth and some, go even further, by denying the Resurrection. Arianism is alive and well today and not just in the liberal “churches” but in the Emergent Church as well.

Athanasius fought Arian tooth and nail, in defense of the Gospel. This was important as Emperor Constantine had just lifted the persecution of Christians, so Sola Scriptura was the next battle up. The Apostle John warned the Body of Christ that the spirit of anti-Christ, two hundred years before, was already in the world and Arius exhibited this to the max.  While this heretic was winning over multitudes to his side, Athanasius stood strong, along with his senior Bishop Alexander (of Alexandria!). It had gotten so bad, even the Emperor Constantine had to get involved.  Even Constantine saw this was going as the Roman Empire was heading into a danger zone, whereby, Biblical Christianity was at stake.

As he fought and argued against Arius, Athanasius was told by a close friend by a close friend that it seems that the entire world was against Athanasius. When a man of God stands firmly on the Word of God, and follows the Holy Spirit to proclaim the truth of Christ, he usually goes against the culture and congregations of the so-called church.  So, being the authentic man Athanasius was, when told the entire known Roman Empire world was against him, he replied “THEN IT IS ATHANASIUS AGAINST THE WORLD”!!  In the language of the day – Latin – he said “CONTRA MUNDUM” (against the world).

Do we have men and women today who will stand for the Truth, CONTRA MUNDUM? We do….and most of them are paying a heavy price in the underground church of China and in the Islamic countries of the Middle East.  In the western world, the so-called “civilized west”, the remnant is a lot smaller than you would think.  Survey after survey has shown that less than 10% of people who call themselves Christians are Biblical Christians (i.e. saved!).  It gets worse every time George Barna or the Pew Research Foundation comes out with a survey. We already saw that over 90% of American pastors (Barna, August 1, 2014) care more about marketing; attendance and tithes than teaching Truth.  So if they are more “CON MUNDUM” (with the world), what in the world are they preaching and teaching?

Well, given the lack of true Disciples of Christ in the modern North American evangelical church, it is obvious Pablum Preaching is king. Even so-called “bible-teaching” preachers who say they’re preaching from the Bible are doing surface preaching aimed primarily at self-help and “feel-good-the-rest-of-the-weekism”.  I have seen it myself. The lack of going deeper into the wonderful riches of the Word of God seems to be an anathema to most of these well-trained seminary grads, who know better and have no excuse. But the fear is so strong of either losing their 501 C3 Tax status or losing attendees to the church down the street, they hold back. After an extended period of holding back, Pablum preaching eventually becomes second-nature.

Contra Mundum means preaching Jesus Christ the Creator, from Genesis to Revelation.
Pablum Preaching is …er…well, “we believe in God, but also in evolution”..
Contra Mundum means preaching six actual days (Yom=1 day) of Creation
Pablum Preaching says well, “He didn’t really mean one 24-hour day. One day could have been days, or months or even years….”
Contra Mundum means preaching repentance before forgiveness of our sin.
Pablum Preaching says nothing about sin “because we don’t want to talk about anything negative”
Contra Mundum means preaching the Holiness and Awe of God.
Pablum Preaching says “it’s not really about God, it’s about YOU and how you feel, then makes God happy”!
Contra Mundum means preaching the Virgin Birth, sinless life, Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Pablum Preaching says “Jesus is a good moral teacher and only said “judge not less ye be judged”.
Contra Mundum means standing for God’s definition of family, marriage, an orderly society and righteous living.
Pablum Preaching says we have to be tolerant of any configuration of relationships and forget what some old Book says…because “Jesus never said anything about xyz….”
Contra Mundum means preaching the Full Counsel of God that a person must be born again to be allowed into Heaven.
Pablum Preaching says “a ‘Good God’  will never send anyone into hell….so quit judging me.
Contra Mundum means being a Disciple of Christ is taking up your Cross and living a life committed to the Life and Teachings of Christ
Pablum Preaching says “God wants you to have the best of everything now – best house, best car, best of health…and all your bills paid. So just think positive, name it and speak that prosperity into being”.
Contra Mundum preaches about the Coming Day of the Lord, the approaching Judgment and the Sign of the Times.
Pablum Preaching says “ignore those whacko fundamentalists. None of that is true. You deserve the best and love is all you need….imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try!”
Contra Mundum means what the Bible says – that JESUS IS THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.
Pablum Preaching and 57% of young ‘evangelicals’ say there are other ways to heaven besides Jesus, and who are we to question another person’s faith….as long as they are sincere.

There is coming a day when the current dividing line will come to a head, in one place – in front of the Throne of Christ.  Scripture warns that those who teach will be judged at a much higher standard than everyone else. Woe to those who not only neglect the Full Counsel and preach pablum, but ignore the Persecuted saints because their persecutors belong to a favored religion of the western elites. At the same time, the rewards at the Bema Seat of Christ for men who stood against the world – Contra Mundum – like Athanasius; Patrick of Ireland; John Hus; Luther; Wycliffe and Tyndale; Wesley; Whitefield; Tozer; Zacharias; MacArthur...and men like David Wilkerson, Paul Washer, Johnny Hunt, Ronnie Floyd, Franklin Graham and Pastor Saeed will be great!

Glory to God! The Lord reigns!

Monday, September 1, 2014

THE OSTRICH SYNDROME, PART 2 - THE PROOF (TWO YEAR SURVEY OF SHAME)

WHY AMERICAN PASTORS STAY SILENT IN FACE OF ......(New Barna Survey)

We laid out the theory, backed by allegorical evidence of the Ostrich Syndrome in the previous discussion of this self-inflicted malady afflicting the western church. (Click here to read THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS). Well now we have definitive proof, and it is a lot worse than first thought.


Christian researcher George Barna spent two years to discover where self-proclaimed Biblically-sound American pastors and other church leaders were theologically, in practice. Specifically, the survey team wanted to know about the silence of the church on the great issues of our time. The results were shocking, absolutely absurd and horrifying for both these pastors personally on Judgment day and for the Body of Christ, general.

Here is what Barna said about these preachers, when he appeared on American Family Radio recently to discuss his findings on their "TODAY's ISSUES" program. This research was done on behalf of the American Culture and Faith Institute. George Barna said "What we're finding is that when we ask them about all the key issues of the day, [90 percent of them are] telling us, Yes, the Bible speaks to every one of these issues. Then we ask them: Well, are you teaching your people what the Bible says about those issues?--and the numbers drop...to less than 10 percent of pastors who say they will speak to it. When researchers ask those pastors what else they are willing to do to get their people active in the political process, Barna said ‘it's almost nothing.’ (Emphasis mine)

Did you catch that?! Less than 10% are even willing to preach what the Bible says about anything- morality, sin, marriage, raising children...what about that is offensive to these preachers?! Why are they even in the pulpit, frankly, is the question? They swear to represent the God of the Bible and who wrote the Scriptures, through men, but they are worse than King Asa, because these modern versions of Asa, know better, have tasted of the riches of Jesus Christ. Then Barna said the pastors are willing to do ALMOST NOTHING to get their people involved in "the political process". Now the "political process" is not about campaigning for candidates, but being aware of what politicians and their activists are doing, and how it relates to Biblical Christian living. That is all it is. It is about living what you say you believe. It is also about voting according to Biblical principles. Most Christian people do not realize God will hold them accountable for whom they vote! The mess in America today is due to Christians who voted for it, or did not participate. Here is another consequence of the survey findings.

Just look at that photo above for the evidence of why God's under-shepherd, America's pastors - from Osteen to Warren to Andy Stanley to...name them remain silent in the face of societal and global evil. To be sure, there are local pastors who are standing for the Truth and not just in their prayer meetings. In almost Dietrich Bonhoeffer-like boldness, the local Lutheran preacher but up a bold sign to pray for "Iraqi Christians", on a major route which sees thousands of cars drive by it, each day! Several of my preacher friends shout it from the pulpit top when they can and nationally, men like Franklin Graham, David Wilkerson's ministry and others are standing up for the Body of Christ, on the global level.

The latest Barna survey is horrifying on so many levels. George Barna did this survey over a period of two years, so it is not fly-by-night political poll. He put a lot of work and thought into this....and it is worse than we thought. Here are the TOP FIVE REASONS WHY AMERICAN PASTORS WOULD NOT SPEAK OUT AGAINST ANYTHING UNGODLY, ANYWHERE:
- ATTENDANCE
- GIVING
- NUMBER OF PROGRAMS
- NUMBER OF STAFF
- SQUARE FOOTAGE

While this sort of result was suspected for a while, it is stunning to see it confirmed with Barna's Survey numbers! Now the average attendance of the American church is not what we see or think we know - hundreds or even thousands. The average church in the US runs between 60-90 every Sunday! I am sure a lot of these smaller congregations still fall into the same trap as their medium and large church sisters who gave us this terrible confirmation.

A lot of the larger megachurches have become country clubs and would not speak out against sin, the culture or take a biblical stand on "gay marriage". They will speak out about partial- birth abortion or a pro-life issue on a Sunday, maybe once a year. But they will NOT go any further, being fearful of losing numbers to their "services". Even after Bill Hybels admitted that his and Rick Warren's "seeker-sensitive" movement was a miserable failure that failed to produce Disciples, America's megachurches are doubling-down on water-down "cultural Christianity".

You have a guy in Houston who refuses to preach on sin, because it is not cool or positive enough. You have the prosperity clowns with their private jets, multi-million dollar homes, multi-media empires etc. You have another preacher in Dallas appearing on stage with boats and expensive beds, along with his expensive foreign car, telling people "they are Ferrari"....and more and more of this garbage. On some TV network, there is spectacle called "PREACHERS OF LA", about five uber-rich prosperity gospel speakers and their typical southern California lifestyle, which is an absolute incredible piece of heresy.

So there is no wonder those people care more about attendance (and therefore the money attendees to their churches give). If they lose some of their "congregation", there go the money folks, and especially the rich ones....and how else are these guys and their trophy wives going to afford the $100 slim cut jeans, Starbucks daily and four or five bodyguards, on the way to the next pop psychology conference?

These top five items are what we get when we have people losing sight of what the mission of any church is. There is nothing in these serious and deadly revelations which glorify the One Person, which these pastors are supposed to be representing - Jesus Christ. These spoiled fat-cats cannot hold a candle to men like John Knox, of whom Mary, Queen of Scots once said "I fear the prayers of John Knox than all the armies of Europe combined". They cannot hold a candle to men like Bob Warren, or Jim Elliott, or the Moravians or Peter Muhlenberg of the American Revolution. They cannot hold a candle to men like Pastor Saeed who has led 30 people to the Lord in prison in the past year, while the muslims in Iran are merciless in their torture.

If anyone is wondering why there is no national religious (re: Christian) leader calling for Repentance, Return to Righteousness and Prayer for the Persecuted (except Franklin Graham and a couple others), just look at the five reasons all US pastors told Barna, in general. Judgment Day for them will be really interesting. What should concern the rest of us lowly folks is this - we should be very sure of our own actions. Let us not be caught up in that snare, but let us be resolved to do what we can, in our own small way. These people will answer for their massive sins of omission. In our own walk, we must be careful to pray, stay humble and to love others.

Our Agape Love should be so strong, that we care more about their eternal destiny than what they can do for us. Our Godly concern for the lost and hurting and hopeless should inspire us to reach out in unconditional caring and compassion. This is what the Word of God - our Bible - calls us to do and what our own Lord and Savior strongly desires. His Desire is our calling to action. Let's not just speak out in our own circles, but look up - pray up and stand up....stand up, for Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

BOB WARREN, GOD'S FORWARD - A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS

Everybody has come across that one person in your life who has made a HUGE difference and even changed the direction of where they were heading. One such person, was prime among the very small group of Godly men who mentored me in Ways of the Lord. The Bible – the pure and powerful Word of God – is an integral part of me, now more than ever. It was not always so until I understood – from that same Bible – what victory Christ actually won for me at the Cross….and not just me, but all mankind for all time.

I would not have understood that victory or where the written proof was, were it not for a man named Bob Warren. Bob is my most unforgettable person in life. When he passed from this world on Monday morning, August 25, 2014 – he left behind a legacy which touched thousands of men, women and young people which most American preachers would give their big salaries for (maybe). The last time I saw Bob a couple or so summers ago, he was asking permission to pour his teachings into my oldest son, who showed an interest during camp and stayed up late for Bob’s late night mega bible studies. That was the kind of man he was. He reached into the inner city and the poorer counties and gave youngsters (boys and girls) a chance a summer camp experience they could never otherwise have .

He deeply affected both my sons’ lives because his BASIC (Brothers And Sisters In Christ)
The last leadership training for Summer Camp at
 Bob Warren's THE HILL, this past July 2014
Training was all about the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible and walking it the Christian life. The sadness I saw in them trumped the deep loss I felt at the passing from the scene, of this hero of the Faith. So who was Bob Warren and why did he mean so much to those who knew him?  The lanky 6 ft. 4 inch athlete from Hardin, KY grew up on his folks hog farm and rose to such prominence in the late 1960’s in the South East Conference (SEC) in basketball, at Vanderbilt University, that he was drafted by both the NBA and the NFL! (Hardin, Kentucky, is just to the east of Paducah and the home of Murray State University). The SEC was well loved at that time, since the New York Jets had scored big with a quarterback named Joe Willie Namath of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Bob turned down the NFL in New York (Giants) and chose the National Basketball Association, where he ended his career with the San Antonio Spurs, current reigning NBA Champs. To those who knew Bob, his stellar basketball career was not his biggest accomplishment in life.  He always talked more about the Lord than the guy he used to be who "put a round piece of leather through a round piece of iron"!! When the Lord Jesus Christ delivered him from the dominion of darkness and saved him, Bob entire life went straight into a whirlwind. At once, it was both his biggest victory and the most critical time of his life. As he told the intimate groups he spoke to, being born-again into the Kingdom of God cost him his marriage. His unsaved and non-believing wife immediately left him and Bob never dated for 25 years after that. The great athlete spent the next quarter century alone, but he was not alone. (He remarried later in life. His wife is Kimberly and his only son is Benjamin).

Bob Warren (1946-2014)
Bob Warren moved back to his dad’s farm after retiring from the NBA and immersed himself in the Word of God. He studied the Bible so much, he wore out a new Bible every two years. Bob knew the Bible so well, the Lord revealed more and more to him which he selflessly shared and passed on to anyone who asked.  I became acquainted with Bob Warren through a good brother in Christ – Bryan McKenzie, who was also our church youth pastor over a decade ago. He was injured while playing for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and completely at a loss about what to do next. Being from Kentucky himself, Bryan sought out Bob who was now well known as the premier Bible teacher of the Bluegrass State!  Bob told him to read the Bible four times and then come back and speak with him. Bryan read it once and went back to Bob.  Thus began an association which then spread to Illinois and hundreds of coaches, high school kids and athletes over the past 15 or so years. McKenzie went on to found the Central Illinois Chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) which is now the largest FCA in the state of Illinois.

One year, a long time ago, he handed me a set of cassette tapes of teaching from Romans chapters 1-8, by Bob Warren. Then he told me not to give it back to him until “I got it”. I did not know what that meant…i.e. “got it”. So I listen to the friendly southern preacher Warren explaining every verse of every phrase of eight chapters of Romans. I listened once – did not get it, even though I understood it.  The second time through – I can still remember the moment it hit me! I GOT IT! I got why this Book of Romans was not only the Book that launched the Reformation, but explained my Redemption!  I was free at last, just like Martin Luther! I was saved 13 years before, but I did not understand the Victory until I got through Romans 6 – 8 (twice) and felt myself completely living in the victory! If you think this was good news of the revelation of the Victorious Christian, this same study led a good friend of mine to being born-again just before I had gone through the study.

“PM” grew up in the ritualistic Greek Orthodox tradition and did not Christ as Lord and Savior  - until Bob’s teaching on Romans 1-8 opened his eyes. When he gave that testimony at a men’s breakfast several years ago, there was not a dry eye in the place. These are just a couple of the countless other such testimonies. More and more, Bob’s amazing revolutionary teaching from the Word reformed many, such as the guy who had his light come on while driving and pulled over to the side of the highway after listening to Bob, and knelt by the side of the road to give his life to Christ! My next step was asking myself “what more was I missing”? If I had just gotten the same revelation as Luther, Warren and McKenzie, there had to be more in that Bible – like 64 and ½ books worth more! Sure enough, I discovered Bob had a teaching on how to study the Old Testament!

Like most Christians, we tend to avoid the “Old Testament” as, well, “old”, not knowing that almost ALL the End Times prophesy were delivered from Heaven by the Old Testament prophets! By the time I had spent several weeks almost daily, stopping and playing those old cassettes, I was so familiar with the period of the Kings, their doings and How the Lord moved through human history…I sought out a local Messianic congregation to find out more about Hebrew roots of the Scripture. I am still friends with many in the national messianic Jewish movement, who look to Yeshua as Savior. My hunger and thirst for the Word of God and love for the Savior and Kingdom work, and primarily to connect the dots to such an extent that I can explain it to someone else, is partly the legacy of this great man – Bob Warren….and not just me, but God alone knows how many others!

On learning of the passing of such a great influence and friend in my life, the shock turned to joy once I overcame the grief, knowing that Jesus was giving him the rest and reward he truly deserved. The man who taught kids at his annual weeklong summer camp, the value of not just the Word but application (all kids had to go help a local farmer with his chores or repair projects) was now finally home, in the Abode of the Master.  His last book series, which he never got to finish was called “God’s Heart” and it was on selected topics of the Faith – from predestination to living in Hope. But while he will never finish writing them, he did not really have to – the lives of those whom he influenced and loved to Jesus,  are already living examples of God’s Heart to a perishing world. Thank you, Bob Warren, formerly of Hardin, Kentucky! Walk on, brother – as you always said – walk on in the streets of Gold, where you are now, for all eternity….until we meet again! Amen.

BobWarren’s website: “LIFE ON THE HILL”
Click here to purchase the Life-Changing teaching on Romans 1-8 from Amazon.com

The only known video message from Bob is an amazing testimony to a man whose walk was closer than most! You have to watch this:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

HIS FAITHFULNESS IS TO ALL GENERATIONS


Remember your word to your servant,
    in which you have made me hope.
50 
This is my comfort in my affliction,
    that your promise gives me life.
51 
The insolent utterly deride me,
    but I do not turn away from your law.
52 
When I think of your rules from of old,
    I take comfort, O Lord.
53 
Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,
    who forsake your law.
54 
Your statutes have been my songs
    in the house of my sojourning.
55 
remember your name in the night, O Lord,
    and keep your law.
56 
This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept your precepts

Psalm 119:49-56 (ESV)


These are horrible times for the Faithful - the true Children of God, and those who are called by His Name. We see the product of the tolerance of demonic cults, where Christians (and Kurds etc) are being literally wiped out by islamic hordes in northern Iraq, the Biblical region of Nineveh and in the ancient mountains of Syria. The latter used to house the last remnants of those who spoke the biblical language of Aramaic.

While persecution has always been with the followers of Christ: from the original eleven disciples and Apostle Paul, to the early church fathers and those who bucked the Roman system until the Reformation of the Middle Ages, down to present, the vile nature of the current genocide is staggering. The west and western pastors/church leaders - from the American prosperity and purpose-driven proponents to the majority of liberal mainline apostates - are so silent (to their shame on day) that even the secularists are asking them about their silence. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said "'Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.".  But it is not enough to point out these things, Our part is to encourage the saints, pray for the persecuted and make sure that we are also in the Word and found in Him.

Psalm 119 in its entirety is such a wondrous ode to the Word of God and His Commands. But in these time of pain, persecution and peril, Verses 49-56 speak to us loudly, about the Promises and True Purposes Driven by God. He is the God of all Truth, Compassion, Comfort and Care and His mercies never fail. Great is His Faithfulness to us, to all generations. 

In the verses above, the Word says "when I think of Your rules of old, I take comfort, O Lord" and "Your statutes (Your Living Word) have been my songs...." Psalm 30:5 says "though weeping may last for a night, Joy cometh in the Morning". For many of our brothers and sisters, this does seem like the longest night and their earthly tomorrow may never come. But the Good News, which their persecutors cannot say is that the Saved of the Lord  - the True Christians - wake up on the other side of Glory, in the Presence of the Savior. As the old saying goes "this is as good as it is going to get for those in the world, this is as bad as it will get for the people of God"


Let not your heart be troubled, our Lord and Savior has gone ahead to prepare a place for us. For now, let's pray and support wherever and whenever we can. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

SINK OR SWIM?....PUT ON THE LORD JESUS....

A good brother in Christ of mine, brother Bob, did an illustration at a recently concluded meeting, which both he and I attended, where he took a peeled orange and dropped into a full pitcher of water. It immediately sang to the bottom. Then he took an unpeeled orange (with its skin on) and dropped it in the same water. It floated on the top.  Now that is a good example of the Apostle Peter - before and after - he tried to walk on the water.

However, it is also a great illustration of what would happen to the man or woman of God who goes out daily into the world, without the protective covering of Christ in their lives. To the unsaved, this will make absolutely no sense. The devil has convinced the entire world that he does not exist and is just the figment of some thousands year old book - the Bible - made up by Christian "extremists" to keep people from "having fun". So the corrupt culture, media, politics and academia tell us to go "for the gusto" and "if it feels good, do it"! 

To be honest, the majority of those professing Christianity in the west are all down with that worldly sentiment. Any mention of sin and evil in this world is called "intolerance and  being judgmental". They think that way because the devil does not bother them. Why should he? They sure ain't bothering him!  

I just heard the most popular pastor in the world, who tells everyone that their "Best Life" is NOW, when we in the remnant know our Best Life is Yet to Come, slam those who question his prosperity gospel theology and shallow preaching as judgmentalism.  While it is absolutely true that we all live, preach and teach the unconditional Love which God has for us, that "Love" by itself does not save. That kind of Love is a precursor to Salvation - but this is a subject for the next post to flesh out.

The person who is following Jesus Christ intentionally, and who is sold-out disciple and adherent to the Holy Scriptures, has a major bulls-eye on his or her back. This man or woman of God is hated by the hierarchy of hell, who hates the fact that we wake up each day to serve and obey God in Heaven through Jesus Christ. This is the remnant and actually, according to recent Pew and Barna Surveys, the US number is less than 15% of the population. In Great Britain and Canada, it is between 2-5%! There is absolutely NO reason we should walk around, even in this perverse Romans 1 Culture, with our collective heads down when we have the Truth and they do not!

Too many of us are that orange at the bottom of the pitcher. The question we all need to ask is are we the peeled orange at the bottom of this water-filled jar or are we going to float? You and I should resolve to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 13:14a) and not be like those other people, the majority who call themselves Christians but do not know the meaning of the word.

We put on the Lord Jesus, in order that we may float on the turbulent waters of Life and through the storms ahead. 
We put on the Lord Jesus to keep from sinking.
We put on the Lord Jesus to keep from stinking thinking whereby we start believing the lies of the enemy, but now He enables us to reject the lies of the enemy.
We put on the Lord Jesus when we put on the shoes of the Gospel and tell someone else what Christ has done for us...as much as we can.
We put on the Lord Jesus when the Belt of Truth so girds us that our level of discernment about the tricks and false doctrines of the world will reveal that we are more than conquerors, through Him Who has overcome the world.

We put on the Lord Jesus when the Breastplate of Righteousness of Christ guards our hearts, minds and souls so that we grow in sanctification and receive the full measure of His Holiness which He is just so willing for us to walk in. 
We put on the Lord Jesus when the Helmet of Salvation leaves on room for confusion and doubt, because this Helmet - or head covering - is permanently on our head. We cannot lose our salvation because the King said so - nothing will snatch us out of His Hands. Therefore operate in this Truth and win!

We put on the Lord Jesus when the Shield of Faith, one of the major defensive weapons God has equipped us with, is so hardened by battle and experience that all the slings, arrows, 50 cal guns and Howitzers from Hell will fall off like the annoying pests they are.
We put on the Lord Jesus when we hold up the only pro-active and weapon of mass instruction God has given us - the Word of God! We may think that the Word of God is only a literal book called the Bible....well, that's only the physical manifestation of the Living Breathing Mind and Thoughts and Plans of God. Ignore at your own risk and accept to your eternal benefit.

Knowing all of the above, when we "put on the Lord Jesus Christ", is there ANY reason at all we followers of the Way, the Truth and the Life, should be downcast, oh my soul? Is there any reason we should be a sinking orange when we can sail through the choppy seas of Life to God's Golden Shores? Ask thyself, seek the Lord and He will direct to and through the paths of all Truth, Comfort and Hope! Amen.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

THE FINAL PRAYERS OF JESUS: PART 2 HIS FOLLOWERS - YOU AND I

THE HIGH PRIESTLY PRAYER

20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may [a]believe that You sent Me.

Their Future Glory

22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected [b]in unity, so that the world may [c]know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
25 “O righteous Father, [d]although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”