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Showing posts from 2010

Who’s the Real Bully?

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Three days before Christmas, President Obama signed into law a bill repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” This action now paves the way for outspoken homosexuals to serve in America’s military. Shortly after the bill was signed, I logged onto the White House’s YouTube channel expecting to see a video about that. Instead the featured clip was called “It Gets Better” in which “several LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] White House staffers share their messages of hope and support for LGBT youth who are struggling with being bullied.”
As a Christian and as someone who was severely picked on as a child, I certainly don’t approve of bullying anyone. Jesus told us to turn the other cheek and to “love your enemies.” (Matthew 5:44) Every human being is created in the image and likeness of God. Every person deserves to be treated with love and respect even if we don’t agree with his or her behavior.
But while homosexual activists campaign for “equal rights”, many of them threaten …

Begotten, Not Forgotten

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Numerous times when I witness to Muslims, they object to Jesus being called “the Son of God” because Allah (the Arabic word for God) supposedly had no sons. When I quoted John 3:16 to one Muslim in particular, this man got hung up on the word "begotten" thinking it only refers to the result of a sexual union.
The words “begot” and “begotten” are used numerous times in the Bible, usually in geneaology listings. But those words have other uses besides records of human offspring. Look at The Message Bible’s rendering of John 1:9-13…
“The Life-Light was the real thing: every person entering Life he brings into Light. He was in the world, the world was there through him, and yet the world didn't even notice. He came to his own people, but they didn't want him. But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. 
These are the God-begotten, not blood-begotten, not…

God With Us

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One of the alternative names for the Son of God is Immanuel (also spelled Emmanuel), which literally means “God With Us.” That name is mentioned three times in the Bible: twice in Isaiah and once in Matthew. Occasionally while street evangelizing, I have ministered salvation to men named Emmanuel. Most of them already knew what their name meant. God is truly with them now.
Many times I hear Christians pray for God to “be with us.” While this may sound holy and religious, it is unscriptural especially in a church service or prayer meeting. Jesus said in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Certainly we should ask God for guidance and to order our steps. But the Lord Himself will never depart from our lives unless we renounce our faith in Him.
There are numerous verses stating God will always be with us and never leave us...
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LO…

The Reason for the Season

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Three years ago on the day after Christmas, I went to a grocery store with a friend of mine. The store was still running holiday advertisements on their loudspeaker. Not once did I hear the announcer mention the word “Christmas.”
When I was a kid, I often heard people say "Merry Christmas" to each other. Since then the world has gradually removed "Christ" from Christmas. In our politically correct society, Christmas trees are now often called “holiday trees.” School districts refer to Christmas vacation as “Winter Break.” They also prohibit religious songs from their music programs such as “Silent Night” in favor of ditties like “Frosty the Snowman.”
2,000 years ago, the apostles were commanded by authorities “...not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.” (Acts 4:18) Today there are businesses requiring their employees to say "Happy Holidays" to customers instead of "Merry Christmas." Some city governments forbid Nativity s…

One Bad Apple

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Previously I wrote in this blog about how I prefer not doing business with companies that support abortion and the homosexual agenda. It’s unfortunate that one them is Apple Computers. I just found out that two years ago, the California-based company donated $100,000 to oppose Proposition 8 that defended traditional marriage.
Apple claims to be an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of religion. Yet they seem to have a double standard by discriminating against the Manhattan Declaration, a Christian organization that promotes family values. Today I learned that the Manhattan Declaration iPhone/iPad application was removed from the iTunes Store some time over the Thanksgiving holiday. This was the result of a small but very vocal protest by those favoring gay marriage and abortion. The Manhattan Declaration app was originally accepted by Apple and rated as a 4+, meaning it contained no objectionable material. Yet the iTunes Store continues to al…

Marriage Is Not Obsolete

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It’s no secret that the sanctity of marriage has decreased in our society. U.S. Census data released two months ago showed that marriages hit an all-time low of 52 percent for adults 18 and over. Among the reasons for this are a higher number of divorces and the increasing number of unmarried couples cohabitating. Last week, a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that 39 percent of its respondents now believe marriage is “obsolete." Yet Hebrews 13:4 says, "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge."
Once while riding a train in Florida, I sat next to a divorced man who vowed never to marry again because of the pain he experienced from his ex-wife. I can relate as I’ve gone through two short marriages with women who weren’t faithful to me. Still I haven’t given up hope of finding a godly woman to spend the rest of my life with.
One thing that I find annoying is when people suggest I can…

What Color Is Jesus?

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Sometimes while you are out evangelizing, individuals will try to stump you with challenging questions. One that I’ve heard primarily from African-Americans is “What color is Jesus?” I remember witnessing to one bitter black man who labeled Christianity “a white-man’s religion” that would never work for him. In response, I testified about two African-Americans I had ministered to a few days before who got saved and then immediately healed of bodily injuries! This man was still resistant to the gospel.

One preacher who is part Native American jokingly claims Jesus is an Indian because the Bible says He is “chief cornerstone.” But seriously, Scripture doesn’t give a clear answer as to the color of the Savior’s skin. People tend to picture the Lord based on their own culture. For centuries, Westerners have depicted the Son of God as a Caucasian. However in recent years there’s been increasing amounts of artwork of a black Jesus (the one pictured here is from the old TV sitcom…

Holy Smoke

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Yesterday afternoon I went evangelizing on the streets of Haverhill, Massachusetts (just north of Boston) and saw 19 people pray to receive salvation. One of them was a young man who once had another preacher tell him that smoking sends people to hell and even showed him Scripture that supposedly supported that belief. I responded by making a comment I’ve told many other smokers; “Smoking won’t send you to hell but it will make you smell like you’ve been there…and if you don’t know Jesus, smoking can help send you to hell much quicker.”
Some Christians believe if a person really gets saved, he or she would stop smoking immediately. I have seen instances (including one yesterday) when people tossed their lit cigarettes before praying to get born again. Then again, there was another man who asked me to pray for him and then lit up a cigarette while receiving salvation. This man thanked me for the prayer afterwards even though he continued smoking. Romans 10:13 says, “Whoever…

Peer Pressured

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One challenge you’ll sometimes face when ministering the gospel to two or more people at once is peer pressure. Peer pressure can work on the positive or negative end. I saw a couple examples of the latter yesterday afternoon while street evangelizing in Brooklyn.
Early in my outing, I approached three young men with the gospel. One of them expressed immediate resistance. A pastor with me at the time started ministering to this man while I continued talking to the other two (this is one reason why it’s best to evangelize with another person whenever possible). When I asked the two if they wanted to pray, one man looked at the other as if that guy's decision would determine his own. When both of them turned down the opportunity to receive salvation, I asked the more submissive man, “If your friend jumped into a volcano, would you do likewise?” He was still reluctant to get born again.
A short time later my pastor friend took the subway home. Meanwhile I continued witnessing a…

Awake O Sleeper

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As I flew into New York’s LaGuardia Airport last night, I remembered that one of the other nicknames for the Big Apple is “the city that never sleeps.” But by the time I arrived at the house I’m staying at, I was ready for some shut-eye. I also recalled famous people such as Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and John F. Kennedy who functioned on as little as 2-4 hours of sleep. Most everyone else needs more especially infants.
However, there is one person that never sleeps at all. Although God created humans to sleep, Psalm 121:4 says, “Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” There’s no need to lose sleep worrying over life’s problems. Psalm 3:5 says, “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.”
In Scripture, the word sleep is also used to signify death. 1 Thessalonians 4:14 talks about deceased believers “…who sleep in Jesus.” The Bible also gives warnings to people who are asleep spiritually. Ephesians 5:14 in the New Living Translatio…

"You Never Know"

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A phrase that some people use that I'm starting to find annoying is “you never know.” Occasionally I hear believers say something like, “You never know what God will do.” It must grieve the Holy Spirit to hear His people say clichés like that. The truth is we can know what God is doing if we are sensitive to His leading. Jesus said in John 16:13 that the Spirit of God “will guide you into all truth” and “will tell you things to come.”
Another often-used phrase similar to this is “God moves in mysterious ways.” Some believers quote this like it came out of the Bible. This saying actually originated from an 18th century hymn written by William Cowper. The promises of God are not mysterious but His methods of bringing them to pass can be. As Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’”
It’s true that som…

Pancakes and Prayer

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I figured this would happen sooner or later. The Kansas City-based ministry IHOP (International House of Prayer) has been sued by the other IHOP…the International House of Pancakes for trademark dilution and infringement. The California-based restaurant chain claims it made several attempts to persuade the ministry to change their name to avoid confusing the public. The lawsuit was prompted by the ministry’s expansion plans plus some of their branches are now serving food (it’s actually a coffee shop called Higher Grounds that sells coffee and bagels…no pancakes).
In one way, I'm a little more supportive of the restaurant. After all, they trademarked the initials IHOP 26 years before Mike Bickle founded International House of Prayer. Mike could settle this matter out of court by renaming the ministry to something like Worldwide House of Prayer. Other ministries have changed their names for various reasons. For example, Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship was originally cal…

Christian Nightclubs

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A few weeks ago following a service at a Christian campground, I picked up a newsletter written by that night’s speaker, a minister who I know and respect. The newsletter included an article entitled “False Prophets & Damnable Doctrines.” Most of what he wrote I agreed with except for him criticizing Christian nightclubs. This minister didn’t think God could use such a venue for His glory.
In 1997, I briefly volunteered at the New Union (now called Club 3 Degrees), a Christian nightclub in Minneapolis affiliated with a Full Gospel church I attended in the Twin Cities area. This club was started by a couple who desire to reach out to young people who normally wouldn’t attend a church service. I can relate to their vision since I used to work as a disco DJ. Until I got born again, I erroneously believed God was against modern music. Yet the Bible says in many places, “Sing to the Lord a new song.”
Getting back to the New Union/Club 3 Degrees, this club hosts concerts …

Holy Fire?

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This Saturday will be the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In response, a church in Gainesville, Florida is planning to burn copies of the Koran. Senior Pastor Terry Jones of Dove World Outreach Center has declared, "It is indeed a radical message but a very clear, radical message to Muslims, to Sharia law, that that is not welcome in America." This upcoming event has drawn protests from both Christians and Muslims. The city of Gainesville has refused to grant a burn permit to Dove World Outreach Center. Nevertheless, the church is going forward with its “International Burn A Koran Day.”

One might point out there is Scriptural precedent for burning books that oppose God’s word. Acts chapter 19 describes a group of sorcerers in Ephesus who publicly renounced their faith in the occult…
18 And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. 19 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned the…

This Land Is My Land

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Despite my spending much time in Florida, I never experienced a hurricane there. The only time I have was in September 2003 while staying with friends just outside Washington, DC. That month, Hurricane Isabel hit the area with high winds, torrential rains, and flooding. I questioned how a storm that like could come to the nation’s capital until I saw on TV then-President George W. Bush hosting King Abdullah of Jordan at Camp David with the purpose of discussing the so-called “road map to peace."
Over the last two decades, other disasters have occurred at the same time the U.S. government enacted foreign policy against Israel (for the latest information on this issue, check out www.watch.org). This week Hurricane Earl approached the east coast of the United States while President Obama met with Middle Eastern leaders in an attempt to negotiate a peace settlement. The President said from the White House, “I have the utmost confidence in him [Mahmoud Abbas - President of the P…

A Question of Faith

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Even before Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, people have questioned his spiritual beliefs. Controversy concerning this issue increased two weeks ago after the president spoke in support of a proposed mosque being built near Ground Zero in New York City. The president declared, “I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country.”
A recent poll revealed that nearly one in five Americans believe Barack Obama is a Muslim, though the President has repeatedly claimed to be a Christian. In response, more than 70 pastors and Christian leaders signed a letter saying the personal faith of public leaders should not be up for public debate. (The only name I recognized on the list was Bishop T.D. Jakes.) One paragraph from this letter reads…
“President Obama has been unwavering in confessing Christ as Lord and has spoken often about the importance of his Christian faith. Many of the signees on this letter have…

Planting Seed

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This past Sunday I presented the following question to a congregation in Illinois, “How many of you got saved after hearing the gospel for the very first time?” No one raised their hands. I counted upward but very few hands went up until I got to “five times.”
Romans 10:17 says,“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Some people need to hear the gospel several times before they recognize their need for salvation. One person who will attest to this is Nick Kinn, the evangelism pastor at Living Word Christian Center in suburban Minneapolis. Nick had five different people witness to him before he got born again the day after his 25th birthday. For over 30 years now, Nick has shared the gospel on the streets of numerous cities and countries.
I have a similar testimony. Although I originally asked Jesus into my heart at a Young Life meeting in 1981, I quickly drifted away from Christianity. During the next ten years, God used several people to reach …

Focus on the Family…and Ministry

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Every morning I usually log onto the CBN News web site to read about current events from a Christian perspective. One of today’s headlines was “Evangelist Benny Hinn Opens Heart to Viewers.” The Israeli-born televangelist talked about his wife recently divorcing him. Benny admitted he was so “busy in the ministry” that he neglected his family and urged viewers not to do likewise.

Billy Graham has also regretted not spending enough time with his family. In his autobiography “Just As I Am”, the evangelist wrote that "...over the years, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the Team became my second family without my realizing it. Ruth [Billy’s deceased wife] says those of us who were off traveling missed the best part of our lives—enjoying the children as they grew. She is probably right. I was too busy preaching all over the world.” Billy also confessed, “Every day I was absent from my family is gone forever. Although much of that travel was necessary, some of …

2012: The End?

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This morning my friend Lisa joined me in sharing the gospel with folks at the Fargo Street Fair. During this outreach, we saw ten people pray to receive salvation. I also encountered a man who tried preaching to me. When I asked him where he would spend eternity when his life ended, he replied “2012” and then rambled on about why he believes the world will end on December 21st of that year. Another man I talked to minutes earlier also made reference to 2012.

Late last year I saw the motion picture “2012”, which I thought of as a mixture of “Armageddon”, “Titanic”, and “Independence Day.” Although the movie was well produced, it was biblically inaccurate. First of all, “2012” showed the whole earth flooded by a great tsunami. God promised in Genesis 9:11, “Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
Secondly, the Bible says the world will suffer through a…

New Disciples in North Dakota

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This week I returned to Fargo, North Dakota where I was born (but raised in the bordering city of Moorhead, Minnesota). For several days prior to arriving here, I had recurring thoughts of sharing the gospel at North Dakota State University, a college some of my family members attended. My late grandfather also taught entomology there.
Two days ago as I was preparing to leave a Caribou Coffee shop in West Fargo, I noticed a young man working on his laptop and felt impressed to minister to him. Tito wasn’t sure of his eternal destiny but prayed to receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Tito is originally from Manhattan and I noticed him wearing an MSUM (Minnesota State University Moorhead) shirt. But strangely enough, Tito is a student at NDSU. I took that as a confirmation that God wanted me to minister there that day.
After riding my bike to NDSU and briefly resting in the Student Union, I went out evangelizing and set a goal for 10 salvations. Nine more names wer…

Get Off The Fence

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A lot of people have a tendency to put things off until the last minute. Unfortunately that includes receiving salvation. Examples of procrastinators in the Bible include Pharaoh delaying deliverance from the plague of frogs in Exodus chapter 8. When the Apostle Paul presented the gospel to Felix in Acts 24, the governor’s reply in verse 25 was to meet again “at a convenient time.”

When you are out evangelizing, you’ll encounter people that claim they will get right with God at a later time. Some have this idea they must clean themselves up first before they can commit their lives to the Lord. Yesterday in Lincoln, Illinois, the Lord led me to approach a woman sitting by herself on a park bench. This woman used to go to church but had backslidden and admitted to having an affair with a married man. I reminded her of various Scriptures including Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” After ministe…

An Open Letter to Barack Obama

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Dear Mr. President,
I’m a Christian missionary who has previously lived and worked in Washington, DC. I write this letter out of concern for our great nation that you currently lead.
Yesterday you held a “Gay Pride” reception at the White House. I first found out about this after discovering a lesbian teenager was invited to attend. Constance McMillen, a Mississippi high school student, had her senior prom canceled because she couldn’t take her “girlfriend” to the prom.
In an interview two years ago at Saddleback Church in California, Pastor Rick Warren asked you to define marriage. You replied, “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian...it’s also a sacred union. You know, God’s in the mix.”
As a Christian, Mr. President, why are you publicly endorsing lifestyles that clearly go against God’s word? As a brother in Christ, I strongly advise you to read Romans 1:18-32 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. By encouraging people to liv…

Hospitality and the Harvest

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Being a missionary can be an exciting adventure but it will challenge one to go beyond their comfort zone. In her book “Tramp for the Lord,” Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom wrote about traveling from place to place having to sleep in a different bed every night. This elderly Dutch woman was grateful for the many people who gave her places to stay so she could share God’s love throughout the world. I believe Corrie reaped a harvest of hospitality as a result of her family hiding Jews from the Nazis during World War II.

Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines hospitality as “the act or practice of receiving and entertaining strangers or guests without reward, or with kind and generous liberality.” There are numerous examples in Scripture of God’s people extending hospitality. In Genesis 19, Lot eagerly invited into his home two traveling strangers who turned out to be angels. Lot not only housed and fed his guests but also protected them from the Sodomites. In return, the ang…

Dana Key (1953-2010)

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Last night I was surprised to learn of the death of Dana Key, one half of DeGarmo & Key. This group was among the pioneers of Christian rock music. (It’s also interesting to note Key was a direct descendant of Francis Scott Key, the author of "The Star Spangled Banner.”)

DeGarmo & Key were the first Christian group to have a music video appear on MTV. Strangely enough, the original video for their song "Six, Six, Six" was pulled from rotation on MTV due to violent content. MTV was supposedly unaware that DeGarmo & Key were a Christian band when their video for "Six, Six, Six" included a short scene of a man representing the Antichrist being set on fire. DeGarmo & Key were allowed to submit a re-edited version, which was placed back into rotation.
While I didn’t listen to DeGarmo & Key’s music a whole lot, Dana wrote a book that impacted my life as a young Christian. “Don’t Stop the Music” was a response to the anti-"Christian Roc…