Saturday, September 27, 2014

PRACTICAL ATHEISM - BURGOO THEOLOGY?

"So that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father....Philippians 2:10-11

Astrophysicist Dr. Stephen Hawking has again stated what everyone knows about him - he is an unrepentant atheist.  He is again making news for the same tired old argument that "there is no God". Anyone who has seen God's Not Dead, (thereby seeing the best movie of 2014) knows how to deconstruct all those "learned" arguments. But there is no debating people like Hawking, or Richard Dawkins or...name your favorite atheist. Even Bill Maher, America's top celebrity atheist, while he still hates God (thereby proving a contradiction in terms: i.e. "how can you hate someone who does not exist?") is more logical in his rants than these so-called brilliant scientists. It is not worthwhile to explain here what Hawking said again, as it is the same old song, with a different beat. It can be read here.

This purpose of this is not to discuss the current abode of people like Charles Darwin, Einstein, Marx, Lenin and other famous atheists. We know those people now believe there is a God and His Son is Jesus, because they can see across the Great Divide which Jesus discussed in Like 16:19-31. The purpose is to send out an urgent appeal to those who are "practical atheists" and whose souls are in mortal danger like the men just named here.

A practical atheist is basically what we have in the western churches today, where people call themselves "Christians" or "Evangelicals" but whose lifestyles do not match up with what they say they believe. They live just like the unsaved (which most of them are anyway) and while they be huge church members, one cannot tell the difference between them and the average elitist, whose god is himself.

A practical atheist is one whose core belief system is drawn from the culture of the day - music, movies, books, motivational speakers and the multi-media brainwashing that comes from man-made theologies like "prosperity gospel' and "name and claim" Word Faith. They are adherents of any new fad which is not convicting as the Bible is. In fact, they will own the best Bible app on their iPad or a copy of the Message, and read neither of them. However they will chase after drivel like books by Deepak Chopra and Oprah while indulging in pornography like the Fifty Shades series of books. In fact one of the big controversies in the Christian world in 2012-3 was the revelation that a large portion of those buying those filthy sex-laden bondage fiction books were Christian women! Are all of these women lost and unsaved? No - they're just not mentored properly by our easy believism in the western church, so they see no problem ready what the woman in the other cubicle is ranting and raving about. This is dangerously close to practical atheism, though. Where is our discernment?!

CLICK HERE FOR CREDIT AND BURGOO RECIPE/HISTORY ETC
Still, it is even worse that just incorrect and mixed-up theology as to the nature of the Blessings of God. It is mixing secular humanism and/or thinking that "this religion or that" each has something that the practical atheist can mix with the "Word of God". This Heinz 57 thought process is more like the local "burgoo" than the Saving Faith of Biblical Christianity! 

In case you're wondering, it is now "Burgoo" season in the Midwest. Burgoos are usually held in small downs and are basically a community cook-out in a giant cast iron caldron. All and various types of meat (from venison and possum to chicken, beef and mutton) are mixed in with all available types of veggies. The "anything-goes-in" recipe is then simmered over an open fire in the small town square; while being constantly stirred with a canoe oar or something similar! While many attest to its wonderful "outdoors cooking" flavor, it is a giant turn-off to most women and men who like to know what they are eating. Also, most cannot vouch for the freshness of the meat and/or vegetables!

So it is with practical atheism. Jesus told the church at Laodecia (Revelation 3:14-22) that He wishes they were either hot (on fire for the Lord) or cold (atheist) but since they were lukewarm (practical atheist), He was about to literally spew them out of not just His Mouth but His Presence and the Kingdom of Heaven. Just as some would rather not put some of that hot burgoo over white rice in their mouth and stomachs, so is the kind of faith which says "anything goes", as long as I say I believe in God, displeasing to Him.

We have gone through Barna surveys of the state of the church and true Biblical Christianity, ad infinitum in this blog. What we really need to start doing now is calling this confirmed and increasingly troubling decline in Biblical worldviews, by its true name - Practical Atheism.  This way, we can start by addressing those almost 60% of young so-called "evangelicals" who believe there is more than one day to Heaven than the Jesus Christ as Lord, Whom they say they believe in. We either start doing something to disciple and mentor those folks NOW, whom the church is depending on for the next generations, or leave them to wait and go through what the following cartoon illiustrate.....because in the end, the bottom line is - a Practical Atheist is no different than Stephen Hawking. Both do not belief the Word and the Character of God. They believe only in themselves and their "burgoo theology".
VISIT CREATIONISM.ORG FOR MORE POWERFUL MESSAGES LIKE THIS!  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

WHERE IS THE ROAD TO PEACE WITHIN?

The late seminary professor Howard Hendricks once told of a neighbor of his whose pride
and joy was his speedboat. This man was really proud of this boat and spent all of his spare moments washing and waxing it. One day, he boasted to Hendricks that "I now have 38 coats of wax" on the boat. That must have been one exquisite looking boat.

Every time he boasted about the mint condition of his vessel, Howard Hendricks was kind to him, encouraging him. He never said an unkind word to this rich lost man, as he said to himself "this man has to stay busy and always doing something so as to hide the completely useless emptiness of his life". If you ever watch some of these hyper or active men or women who pursue self-gratification and pleasure with a passion, you will find that same type of emptiness. I see them on most Sunday mornings (except in the middle of winter) when I drive by the lake on the way to church, and see these guys fishing....sometimes in the rain.


Do ALL of them have empty lives? Do any of them have peace? Sure they have great families, the best homes, cars, jobs and even boats like this guy Hendricks lived next to. But do they have the peace that passeth all understanding? Are their souls at rest in the Lord? Do they even know what that means? Sadly, the majority does not and this problem cuts across all classes, races and stations in life. 


Scripture gives us the roadmap to the way of Inner Peace, the Peace within. Ephesians 2 tells us that "14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father." There is NO peace unless we have God in our lives and that can only happen if Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.


In this older Plumbline program. I look at one of the fruits of the Spirit - PEACE, and give part of my personal testimony as to how I found that peace....and it was only through coming to the end of myself. It was only hitting the ground so hard that all I could do was look up and choose Him....then give my life to Him and see His forgiveness for all my sins - Repentance. You too can have that fruit of the Spirit - Peace...we all can, so we don't have to make busy plans or occupy our minds with mindless books, hobbies, sports, activities etc just to run from ourselves, and the convicting conscience we have been ignoring. Please watch:

Sunday, September 21, 2014

FIVE STAR READING - HUCK FINN MEETS DUCK DYNASTY?

FROM THE HEART OF SWEET HOME ALABAMA - QUEEN AND HER TROUBLE
As America drifts further away from the God-created institutions which defined her greatness, every once in a while a gem comes out of the coal mine of post-modernism which just warms the heart, puts a smile on your face and inspire you to go have a group hug with your wife and kids! Such a gem is “QUEEN AND HER TROUBLE” – the first ever book written and published by a preacher from Shiloh, Alabama who is now pastoring a church about 530 miles northwest of his hometown, in Atteberry, Illinois.

Based on some of his true life experiences as a young boy growing up in rural Alabama in the 1970’s, Danny Heath Yielding’s  179 page book is fact-based story telling at its finest, simplest and full of authenticity.  Coming from the heart of a Pastor who uses the same technique as Jesus to communicate Truth,  this page-turner grabs you right off the get-go and never lets up. “Queen” is the kind of book which one can read and find yourself in the story, rooting for the underdog.


Danny Yielding’s main character in “Queen and her Trouble” is also named Danny, who is
AUTHOR DANNY H. YIELDING
an 11 year old growing up in the hard poverty-stricken towns of rural Alabama of 1955. Danny’s strong family is led by a good man of God, who owns the only General Store in their small town which is more like a credit agency which gives grace to all its customer, most of whom could never pay. The store is owned by a mean godless banker, who obviously wants to be paid his mortgage.  In the meantime the adventurous young Danny discovers the joy of raccoon hunting (or “coon hunting”) and develops a friendship with a stodgy old man named Banner, who is the sworn enemy of Danny’s grandfather. Of course, they became enemies over a girl, who chose Danny’s grandpa over Banner! 

Over a period of time, Danny becomes obsessed with coon hunting and wants to have his own coon-hunting dogs, so Banner paid him to do odd jobs. One thing led to another as Danny’s selfless act to save the family store led to a reconciliation between the two lifelong enemies and Danny getting two fine young hunting puppies. The ensuing adventures of Danny’s molding and training these pups into hunting dogs were vividly described. Someone like me, a suburban cowboy, looks at raccoons differently than say, a country boy in West Monroe, Louisiana or Arab, Alabama. However I can relate to the earthy and downhome experience described by Author Yielding in his book,  since my own mother-in-law grew up in similar circumstances in the same era, in which this book was written – 1950’s Alabama. She grew up on a farm run by her dad, another tough God-fearing man and the atmospherics described in “Queen and her Trouble” are perfectly aligned with the kind of town where Danny and his parents lived.


What makes this book so fascinating, appealing and downright funny is the author himself.  Daniel Yielding is a colorful forty-something preacher from Alabama whose own boyhood experiences are interwoven with those of 11 year old Danny in the story and his dog Queen. The dog who ends up winning the State wide Coon Hunt, down in Birmingham is named Trouble. Pastor Danny’s dog in real life was named Trouble and was quite the handful as Trouble was in the book, from what he told me.  


Without giving away the storyline, let’s just say that a surprise turn of events for both the family (in an almost tragic way) and the blessings of God, for those who live right and persevere through trials, tribulations and even near tragedies, are the hallmark and underpinnings of this wonderful book.  For a person who reads and sometimes reviews good books for a wide spectrum of authors, I would classify the feel of “QUEEN AND HER TROUBLE” as one with a Huck Finn/Tom Sawyer meets Duck Dynasty sort of tale,  except it is based, in part, on the real life of one man set  in one of our favorite parts of the country, where Faith, Family and Fellowship still reign supreme!



WATCH DANNY SHARE A MESSAGE RECENTLY:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

LET THE 2014 CHRISTMAS SHOPPING BEGIN - RECOMMENDED BOOKS

SUSAN ROHRER'S "CHRISTMAS BUNDLE"

Christmas is only about three months away, even if the 75 degree of a warm mid-September day warming the heart out there. It is never too early to start thinking and planning for this, the most wonderful time of the year! The best way I can think to kick off our 2014 Christmas Season Recommended Shopping List, is a bundle of sweet, heart-warming e-books for the love of your life, a friend or a teen looking to while the time away during the upcoming Christmas celebrations.

This bundle includes Redeeming Romance novels (Kindle
Author/Director Susan Rohrer
and paperback), written by Movie/TV director/author Susan Rohrer, whose books have been previously reviewed in this blog. (According to Susan, a born-again believer who lives in Los Angeles, a "Redeeming Romance" is  an anthology series, a variety of clean, stand alone, inspirational romantic novels adapted from Susan Rohrer's original movie scriptsAvailable in Kindle and Paperback Editions, this series is recommended for you if you love: Clean Amish Fiction, Faith based Holiday Romance, Pure Love Stories, and/or Christian Christmas Gift Ideas. By the way, Susan Rohrer is best known for her work as Director of the movie "About Sarah" and the award-winning director of the 1980's TV series "Another Life" as well as several other CBS TV programs and specials).

This Christmas Bundle includes "Merry's Christmas: a love story & Bright Christmas: an Amish love story". Merry's Christmas is a page turner which will warm the heart (and hearth) as the season approaches, as does the authenticity of the Bright Christmas - about the lovable Amish.  Both books are grounded in Faith - the true Faith of Jesus Christ - and take off from there. Given the corrupt culture we swim in now, these clean uplifting love stories will have even those with the toughest exteriors, root for the good folk.

Merry's Christmas is about a working class waitress who is desperate to make ends meet. She, Merry Hopper, takes a temp job as a Christmas Coordinator for a handsome widower, promising to bring Christmas back for his three kids. As the "haves" collide with the "have nots" of this world, Merry finds herself head over heels for the family she's never had, most of all her new banker boss, never realizing that he's well on the way toward a Yuletide engagement to his employer's beautiful daughter. The story develops from there. Merry's Christmas: a love story is a light-hearted family romantic comedy with grown up sensibilities the whole family can enjoy.

Bright Christmas asks the question "Where do you go if your heart is torn between Amish and English loves?" The main character in this book is Charity Bright, a young Amish girl whose journey through life brings her to the crossroads of making the stark choice which every Amish young person must make at the end of their controversial Rumspringa "rites of passage". Charity Bright's adventure happens during the Advent or Christmas season and carries the possibility of  a "bright Christmas" for her! The bundle for these two books are available by clicking on the link provided below. Happy Reading!


More on our recommended reading Christmas list to come
NEXT: DUCK DYNASTY MEETS HUCK FINN?

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.