Limitation of Statues

In our politically correct society, protests have arisen against certain statues. Among them are of Civil War general Robert E. Lee. Some argue leaving such statues intact refuses to reckon the legacy of slavery in this country. On the other hand, monuments are erected to remind us of regrettable events like the Holocaust. There’s an old saying, “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”
Statues have a part of American history. Immigrants are excited to see the Statue of Liberty while passing by Ellis Island in New York City. The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC honors the president who helped end slavery in the United States. Mount Rushmore in South Dakota features the face of Lincoln plus three other past presidents. Romans 13:7 says we are to give honor to whom honor is due.
However, Exodus 20:4 in the New Living Translation says, “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.” Statues become idols…

Acts of God?

A fellow evangelist I know used to be employed by the U. S. Postal Service. I heard him talk about a time when a massive winter storm prevented coworkers from showing up on the job. Some of them were atheists but still marked “an act of God” on a form as their reason for missing work so they could get paid. One dictionary defines act of God as “an instance of uncontrollable natural forces in operation (often used in insurance claims).” 
Many people who won’t live for God still blame Him for disasters such as tornadoes and floods. Obviously, the Lord has some control over the weather. Jesus said in Matthew 5:45, “for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” However, I don’t believe killer storms are “acts of God.” Keep in mind we live in a fallen world largely ruled by Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4) who comes to “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.”Jesus came to give us life and “have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Self-appointed …

Armchair Pastors

A new NFL regular season begins in a few days. Armchair quarterbacks are already discussing how their favorite teams and players should do things differently this year. These self-appointed experts seem to think they know more about football than the coaches. 
Sadly, this sort of thing happens in the Body of Christ. “Armchair pastors” criticize ministers for doing or not doing certain things. This past week, the Internet has been (pardon the pun) flooded with unChristlike remarks regarding a well-known pastor in Houston, Texas. Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church receives enough flak from heresy hunters who disapprove of his ministry. Now Joel has been lambasted for his response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.
Lakewood Church was criticized for not having services last weekend. Their web site stated that was done due to “…concern for the safety of our members.” Many streets in Houston were impassible by flood waters. In the Upper Midwest where I’ve lived most of my life, churc…

Signs in the Sky

This past Monday, portions of the United States got to view a rare total solar eclipse. Later that day, my hometown newspaper ran an article on their web site that caught my attention. The Fargo Forum spotlighted two long-bearded brothers claiming the eclipse represented “a seven-year judgment on America.” My first thought was to dismiss Dean and Dennis Johnson as religious wackos. Then I decided to watch the accompanying video to hear what they had to say.
I agree with Dean and Dennis Johnson’s exhortation of our country’s need for repentance. However, they also stated that unless America repents, “another one [eclipse] is coming in seven years.” Astronomers have already determined the next solar eclipse will occur on April 8, 2024. I don’t see how national repentance will stop that from happening.
Now I do believe God uses signs in the sky to get our attention such as the wise men being led by a star to Bethlehem in Matthew 2. The rainbow in Genesis 9 was a sign that God will not floo…

Let Our Sisters Speak

As a young Christian, I devoured numerous teaching tapes and books that God used to help me grow in my knowledge of Him and prepare for ministry. One Bible teacher who I’ve gleaned a lot from is Joyce Meyer. Her “Battlefield of the Mind” is one of the most powerful books I ever read. Joyce’s testimony of overcoming abuse and rejection has inspired millions of hurting people. I appreciate her candor and sense of humor (especially her “What About Me?” robot imitation).
It grieves me when I hear fellow Christians criticizing Joyce Meyer. She is often labeled a “prosperity preacher.” Her web site clarifies: “A ‘prosperity gospel’ that solely equates blessing with financial gain is out of balance and could damage a person’s walk with God.”
Another reason Joyce receives flak from religious folk is simply being a woman behind the pulpit. Yet the Bible has numerous examples of women ministering to God’s people. These five prophetesses are mentioned by name: Miriam (Exodus 15:20)Deborah (Judges 4…

A Permit to Preach

Every minister who takes the gospel to the public occasionally comes into conflict with authority figures. Even in the United States where the Constitution guarantees “freedom of religion”, various laws and ordinances have been passed in an effort to hinder God’s word from going forth.
Two weeks ago in Crystal, Minnesota, I was with a group of soul winners sharing the gospel at a carnival. Although it was in a public park, a carnival supervisor came up to us saying we weren’t allowed to evangelize there because we didn’t have a permit. We continued moving and witnessing in the park until a policemen told us “no preaching”. We then moved outside the park perimeters and talked to individuals walking towards or leaving the carnival.
Then this past week at the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, I passed out tracts along Main Street and struck up conversations with other ministers there doing the Lord’s work. One Baptist group was promoting a motorcycle giveaway. When I showed…

Online Boundaries

For about a month now, I’ve experienced an unexpected surge of friend requests on Facebook. Until recently I might get one or two per day. Now they’re pouring in at a unprecedented rate. One morning I woke up and had sixty new friend requests waiting for me! 
A fellow evangelist I often work with has also seen this happen but only accepts friend requests from people he already knows. As for myself, I will accept most of them as long as my potential friend appears to be a committed Christian. They must also have a legitimate profile photo.
At the time of this writing, I now have over 3,600 Facebook friends from different parts of the world. Most of whom I’ve never met personally. Yet many of them want to chat immediately after I accept their friend request. That prompted me to draft a letter that I now display on my Facebook page. This letter clearly outlines things I will and won’t do online. I’ve had to email this letter to new friends who apparently didn’t notice it the first time.