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.

It’s the Same Old Song

A few years ago I spent the weekend at a Christian retreat center in central Minnesota. In the sanctuary, Terry MacAlmon’s “Precious Lamb of God” was repeatedly heard on a CD player in between meetings. This is one of my favorite songs by Terry. However, I chose to stay away from the sanctuary as much as possible.
It’s happened before when I got tired of a song because the pastor, worship leader, or person in charge overplayed it. One minister I know habitually plays the same song over and over on his iPod at the end of his meetings. A favorite of his is Roy Fields’ “In the Presence of Angels.” I liked that song when first heard at the Lakeland Outpouring meetings in 2008. Now I cringe whenever hearing it. That’s unfortunate since it’s really an anointed song.
Another tune that’s become annoying to me is the David Ingles composition “Lord We Magnify You.” There’s a church I’ve attended for many years that (in my opinion) still sings that hymn too much. At one recent worship service, the…

Follow the Leader

Remember playing “follow the leader” when you were a kid? While working at a roller rink during my late teens, I occasionally played that game with the younger skaters. They followed me around the rink copying exactly what I was doing.
On social media sites, entertainers usually have the greatest number of followers. Let’s look at the top five on Instagram… Taylor Swift: 49.6 million followersKim Kardashian: 48.1 million followers Beyonce: 47.2 million followers Selena Gomez: 45.9 million followers Ariana Grande: 44.6 million followers Now look at the five most followed people on Twitter (according to… Katy Perry: 101,038,793 followerJustin Bieber: 92,035,447 followersBarack Obama: 91,940,321 followersTaylor Swift: 85,432,857 followersRihanna: 75,338,688 followersEverybody follows somebody. A person with a huge amount of followers doesn’t mean he or she is worth following. Adolf Hitler amassed millions of devotees before triggering World War II resulting in much death…

Love the Jews

Some believers are reluctant to share the gospel with Jews because of past atrocities done to them in Christ’s name. Nevertheless, they still need to hear the Good News to be saved. A Jewish convert named Paul wrote in Romans 1:16 (NLT), “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes–the Jew first and also the Gentile.” 
Once I lived with a family in Virginia that had a Christian mother and a Jewish father. The mother originally didn’t want me witnessing to her husband because other believers tried forcing the gospel upon him. Three days before I moved out, the Lord instructed me to witness to this man. After mentioning this to his wife (who gave her approval), I asked him questions about his eternal destiny. He wouldn’t pray with me but listened politely as I mentioned a few Old Testament prophecies pointing to Jesus as the Messiah.
At the Mall of America near Minneapolis, some of their kiosk workers are from Israel. W…

Conviction vs. Condemnation

Two nights ago I briefly listened to an online church service. I logged off after hearing a young preacher say, “You’re not going to come here [to his church] and feel condemned…or convicted.” I believe he meant well since he talked about mistakes the church made generations before him. Unfortunately, many ministers who emphasize grace disregard the Bible’s warnings on not obeying God’s commandments.
Certainly God doesn’t want us feeling condemned. One dictionary defines condemn as “officially declare (something, especially a building) to be unfit for use.” That same dictionary defines condemnation as “the action of condemning someone to a punishment; sentencing.” Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” As long as we stay in communion with the Lord, we shouldn’t fear condemnation. There is always hope for redemption.
On the other hand, Jesus told a woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:11)  G…

Remember Their Sacrifices

Every year on July 4th, my fellow Americans celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s declared independence from Great Britain. Yet many of them take our freedoms for granted. It’s often been said, “Freedom isn’t free.” Over the years, countless U. S. soldiers shed their blood so we can enjoy this prosperous nation God blessed us with.
What’s also tragic are the veterans neglected by the very people who should be assisting them. Fortunately, President Trump recently signed the Veterans Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. This will hopefully cut down on the number of bad VA employees making it difficult for veterans to receive benefits they deserve.
In the meantime, many homeless veterans are begging on street corners asking for help. I go out of my way to minister to them as well as other veterans I’ve seen wearing caps indicating they fought in certain wars. First I approach these veterans by thanking them for their service and mention that I spent time in the Army Nationa…