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Showing posts from 2011

Go Tebow!

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One of the biggest surprises of the current National Football League season is the success of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.  Ever since the Heismann Trophy winner became the starter this year, the Broncos have lost only one game.  What makes Tim’s success even more amazing is his statistics haven’t been that impressive for an NFL quarterback.  Yet the Broncos have pulled off a string of last minute comebacks.  Unfortunately for me, one of those wins had to be against my favorite team (the Minnesota Vikings).
People have debated if God involves Himself in the outcome of sporting events.  One thing to keep in mind is when two teams are playing, there are usually Christians praying on both sides of the ball.  Still only one team can win.
Nonetheless, I believe the Lord will bless athletes who give Him the glory and aren’t ashamed to praise His name in public.  In January 2000, Kurt Warner put “first things first” and thanked Jesus on national television after leading the St. Louis …

Tell Them the Truth

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It's unfortunate many traditions associated with Christmas have pagan origins. But rather than making a big fuss about them, we could create traditions that glorify the Lord. One of my aunts insists on us singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus before we open up presents. That’s a clever way to remind people of the reason for the season.
A woman once asked me if it was okay for a Christian to have a Christmas tree. Personally I’ve never owned a Christmas tree but I'm not against Christians that do. Satan is a counterfeiter and simply perverts or steals things that the Lord has created. I don’t think it’s wrong to use a tree to honor our Savior’s birth even though Bible scholars have determined His birth did not happen on December 25th.
One holiday tradition I am strongly against is parents giving presents to their kids saying they are from Santa Claus. Many people think this is harmless fun. But when I was little and discovered that Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy were al…

All By Myself

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Over the years I‘ve had a few individuals tell me I shouldn’t be street evangelizing alone. They think it’s unscriptural because Jesus sent his disciples out two by two. Certainly there are advantages to going out in pairs or groups. Deuteronomy 32:30 says that if one can chase a thousand, two can “put ten thousand to flight.” There is power in agreement.
However, that doesn’t mean Christians are useless by themselves. There are examples in the Bible where individuals ministered to others without having fellow believers with them such as Philip leading the Ethiopian eunuch to salvation (Acts 8:26-40). While I prefer having a partner with me on the streets, more often than not I minister by myself because no one else is available or willing to join me.
One day while staying at a church in Hanover, Germany, the Lord told me to go out and evangelize that afternoon. But except for handing out a couple tracts, I resisted doing so because I wanted someone ministering with me. While venting be…

The Name of the Game

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I enjoy watching football and baseball games on TV…especially if the Vikings and Twins are playing well.But one thing I loathe is the increasing number of sporting events and stadiums named after businesses.
During the 1980’s, organizers of college bowl games started giving corporate sponsors “naming rights.”All these games used to have simple names like the Rose Bowl and the Cotton Bowl.Now we have games such as the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and The Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.What’s really confusing is many of these games change their name every few years.For example, this year’s Belk Bowl (to be played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina) was previously called the Meineke Car Care Bowl, the Continental Tire Bowl, and before that the Queen City Bowl.
Nowadays, most major league teams play in venues named after a corporate sponsor.In 1990 when the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves announced their new arena would be called Target Center, I was surprised.That sounded…

Save With Fear

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This past week while walking by a table at a coffee shop, I noticed a Time magazine from earlier this year with the cover story “What If There’s No Hell?”   My initial reaction was the title should instead read, “What If There IS a Hell?”  Christians have nothing to lose by following the Lord except their sin, sickness, and poverty.  The heathen risk spending eternity in the lake of fire.  I posted my thoughts about this magazine cover on my Facebook page.  One friend responded with her belief that using hell for a fear tactic is satanic.


Romans 2:4 does say it’s the goodness of God that leads one to repentance.  Personally I prefer to hear more about the love of God than “fire and brimstone” preaching.  On the other hand, Jesus gave many warnings in the gospels about hell. 
A fellow minister shared an interesting analogy with me.  If you saw your children playing on a busy street, wouldn’t you immediately holler at them to come back into the yard?  Of course you would.  A car might hit…

Occupy Till He Comes

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Much has been in the news lately about Occupy Wall Street.  According to Wikipedia, “Occupy Wall Street is an ongoing series of demonstrations in New York City based in Zuccotti Park in the Wall Street financial district…They are mainly protesting social and economic inequality, corporate greed, corruption and influence over government—particularly from the financial services sector—and lobbyists.”  What began two months ago as a protest in New York City has spread to cities throughout the United States and other countries.
How should Christians respond to this whole Occupy movement?  It’s interesting that Jesus Himself said in Luke 19:13 (KJV), “Occupy till I come.”  But that doesn’t mean the Lord wants us just sitting around until He returns.  The New King James Version of Luke 19:13 reads, “Do business till I come.”  Jesus went on to say in verse 23, “Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?”  This would counter claims…

Too Many People?

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This past week, the United Nations reported that the world’s population had exceeded seven billion people.The U. S. Census Bureau states on their web site that this mark won’t be reached until early next year.Either way, numerous individuals are worried about this planet becoming too crowded.Dr. Eric Tayag of the Philippines’ Department of Health said, “We should really focus on the question of whether there will be food, clean water, shelter, education and a decent life for every child.If the answer is ‘no,’ it would be better for people to look at easing this population explosion.”
Conversely, Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute points out that people are “not just consumers, but producers.”He also stated, “Every stomach comes with two hands attached and every mouth is backed by a creative intelligence equipped to leave the world a better place.”
Steven knows firsthand the devastating results of population control.In 1979, he was invited to Mainland China by the Chinese…

Coexisting with the "Tolerant"

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One objection to Christianity I sometimes hear from non-believers is that religious differences have supposedly caused more wars than anything else. As a result, we are now seeing similarly designed bumper stickers urging people to “coexist” and have “tolerance” of one other.
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines coexist as “exist in mutual tolerance despite different ideologies or interests.” Ironically, many people who advocate tolerance are in reality intolerant of Christianity because of Scripture that won’t condone their lifestyle choices. Ronald Reagan once said, “The frustrating thing is that those who are attacking religion claim they are doing it in the name of tolerance. Question: Isn’t the real truth that they are intolerant of religion?”
Jesus did pray for unity in John chapter 17 but only amongst believers. The Lord doesn’t like strife and division within His body. Psalm 101:5 (NLT) says, “I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors. I will not endure co…

A Matter of the Heart

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A question I’m occasionally asked regarding my evangelism techniques is whether someone who prays with me to get saved really means it.  This issue was brought up again a few days ago after attending a prayer meeting at the YMCA.  There I saw a woman smoking outside and felt led to witness to her.  I approached Chelonda by handing her a tract and eventually asked where she would spend eternity when her life ended.  Chelonda wasn’t sure and so I quoted Romans 10:9 to her.  Then I asked Chelonda if she believed Jesus Christ is the Son of God and if He died on the cross and rose again from the dead.  Chelonda answered “yes” to these questions.  I invited her to pray with me to receive salvation and she did. 

Minutes later, a pastor who went to the prayer meeting with me commented that sinners must feel convicted of their need for salvation.  He had seen me lead other people to the Lord and questioned if there was genuine repentance.  I replied by pointing out that whenever people I witnes…

For the Asking

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Some Christians don’t like seeing me asking non-believers to pray with me to get saved.  They seem to think if a sinner is ready for that, he or she will initiate their own salvation.  But not every sinner who feels convicted of the need to get right with God will immediately know what to say.  One example in Scripture is the Philippian jailer who asked Paul and Silas, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30)  On the night of my conversion, I didn’t become born again until I responded to my brother-in-law’s offer to pray with me.

There have been occasions when strangers approached me asking for prayer but that doesn’t happen very often.  Jesus said in John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” God is the One who saves people but He still needs a willing vessel to be His mouthpiece.
I’ve seen some Christians take a lot of time telling sinners how to be saved without inviting them to receive salvation.  This would be like a salesman talking about a…

Believe and Receive

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Let’s suppose you were a parent with five children.One of your sons came up and asked if you would take the family to the mall.You reply, “Sure.We’ll go there this afternoon.”
A minute later, your other son who overheard his brother asks if you would take the family to the mall.You reply, “Yes.I already told your brother I’d do that.”
Seconds later, one of your daughters who was within earshot of her brothers approached you and asked about going to the mall.What would your answer be?By this time you might be a little annoyed.But if you were a good parent, you would still say “yes.”
Within the next couple minutes, your two other daughters ask the very same thing.You reply in frustration, “Didn’t you kids believe me when I said ‘yes’ the first time?”
This scenario may sound ridiculous but this is how many people approach God in prayer.There was one prayer group I briefly attended where this sort of thing happened all the time.After discussing our prayer requests, we each took turns uttering…

You Are Worth It

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One day I visited a grocery store that had some very unique items. They included truffles priced at $999.99 per pound and bottles of wine for over $2,000 each! It amazed me how people could spend large amounts of money for stuff like that.
A few days later I got into a discussion with a couple friends about God not being limited by finances. I pointed out when I’ve traveled on the mission field by bus or train; the Lord often provided money at the last minute when I had to buy the most expensive ticket. For a long time, it puzzled me why the money usually didn’t manifest earlier so I could buy a cheaper ticket.
Then I realized how much God will spend to help us get to wherever He wants us to be. That includes eternal life in heaven. In the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price, Jesus said, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45-46)
So the next t…

Coming Out From vs. Going Into the World

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Sometimes Christians are presented with opportunities to be a witness for the Lord in unconventional places.One of them might be a secular television program.Back in 1969, Billy Graham appeared on “Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In”, a show that often featured humor with sexual innuendos.Billy issued a statement in response to inquiries from concerned Christians by pointing out, “Jesus moved among the publicans and sinners.”
Last year Welsh minister Dave Vaughan was the runner-up on the U. K. reality show, “Big Brother.”Dave later shared with me how that opened many doors for him to reach non-believers with the gospel.
Then this past week, it was announced Pastor Ted Haggard would appear with actor Gary Busey on the reality show “Celebrity Wife Swap.”When I first heard about this, I was a bit stunned.The dictionary defines wife swapping as “the practice within a group of married couples of exchanging sexual partners on a casual basis.”Some Christians could easily presuppose Ted will …

A Vow to Cherish

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Christian television can be beneficial to one’s spiritual growth in addition to attending regular church services. Nevertheless, one shouldn’t blindly accept everything said by any preacher. We must be like the Bereans who “…searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

Recently one well-known minister was asked on TV for his counsel regarding a man whose wife suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Because the wife didn’t recognize her husband anymore, this man started seeing another woman. The minister replied by saying, “I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her.”
The minister’s co-host reminded him that marriage vows include taking care of each other “for better or for worse” (the marriage vow also specifically mentions “in sickness and in health”). His immediate response to that was, “If you respect t…

Raised From the Dead

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Recently I got together with an old friend for coffee. Her expressing interest in going to Germany inspired me to show her photos on my laptop from the times I went there. A few of the photos were from a Reinhard Bonnke meeting at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. During which, a Nigerian pastor testified of being raised from the dead after receiving glimpses of both heaven and hell. My friend’s attitude suddenly changed as she called that “satanic” and said, “I’ll bet you a million dollars this is not true!” When I mentioned Jesus’ commandment in Matthew 10:8 to “raise the dead”, she said that was for the Jews only.
I found out my friend believes “Paul’s gospel” and claimed the apostle didn’t raise anyone from the dead. In response, I reminded her of the incident of Eutychus falling out of a window. My friend insisted it was Peter who God used to bring that dead man back to life. Not wanting to debate doctrine with my friend, I changed the subject. But when I got home, I re…

How Do You See Yourself?

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While attending a conference at a church in Florida, various slides were put up on the overhead screens including the one pictured here. Immediately I thought of Proverbs 28:1, which says “...the righteous are bold as a lion.” Another verse in Proverbs (chapter 23 verse 7) says that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
How do you see yourself? Do you picture yourself as “more than a conqueror” (Romans 8:37) or like a grasshopper as the Israelites did outside the Promised Land? Too many Christians think of themselves as the latter. That’s why they are not receiving all the blessings God has for them.
Putting yourself down is not being humble. It’s actually degrading the wonderful creation God made you to be. I heard one minister define humility as “knowing who you are in Christ…and knowing who you are without Christ.”
Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”So the next time you look in the mirror, see yourself as the…

What’s Your Crutch?

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While he was governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura made this statement; “Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people's business.” In the New Oxford American Dictionary, one of the definitions of crutch is “a thing used for support or reassurance.” An example cited by the dictionary is “they use the Internet as a crutch for their loneliness.”
Everybody has a crutch. For some it is cigarettes. How many of you know people who cannot go a short period of time without smoking? During winter, I’ve seen workers willing to brave freezing temperatures outside just so they can smoke on their breaks.
For other people, their crutch is alcohol. Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx once told Hit Parader magazine, “The thing that inspires me the most is my bottle of Jack Daniels. It's my best friend in the world. Ol' Jack will never let you down. He's always there when…

A “Ministry” of Criticism

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This past Tuesday, a young man from the Netherlands sent me an email requesting permission to post a video I made with John Crowder on his own YouTube page (for personal reasons I had removed the video from public view). When I examined this Dutchman’s account, I noticed it only contained videos critical of other ministers. This man believes his purpose in life is to warn people of “false prophets.”

During an ensuing exchange of emails, this man suggested I look up two passages of Scripture. One of which was 2 Timothy 4:1-5. I noticed verse 2 says, “Preach the word!” Verse 5 exhorts us to “do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” Constantly criticizing other preachers is not a ministry nor does it advance the kingdom of God. It only brings division amongst the body of Christ.

Certainly I agree rebuke is necessary when a fellow believer is living in blatant sin or preaching false doctrine (in my July newsletter I wrote against those proclaiming "universal reconcil…

Death and Life at 27

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Just before I logged off the Internet yesterday morning, I decided to check the headlines one last time. The news was already full of reports about the mass shooting and bombing in Oslo, Norway the day before. Still I had a hunch another tragedy had just occurred.

On the home pages of Yahoo and CNN, I read “Breaking News” that British singer Amy Winehouse died in her London home. What stood out to me in those headlines was that Amy was only 27 years old. Immediately I thought of other rock stars who died at that very same age: Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain. Like Amy, all of them had a history of drug abuse.

I first became familiar with Amy Winehouse while watching the 2008 Grammy Awards on TV. The singer was nominated for six awards and won five of them, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for her hit “Rehab.” Amy made more headlines with her erratic behavior and run-ins with the law. Although I wasn’t a big fan of the singer, I occasion…

Serving God and Country

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This past Monday, the United States of America celebrated its 235th birthday. Despite the increasing problems we have in this nation, I am grateful for being an American. God has richly blessed us with an abundance of natural resources. In this country, we still have freedom to preach the gospel. We really have a lot to be thankful for.
Recently a young minister wrote on her Facebook page, “I will not bow to a country nor will I pledge to a flag. This country is not my home. My home is in heaven as is yours if you know Jesus.” Except for her mentioning heaven and the name of Jesus, this sounds like something I might hear from a Jehovah’s Witness. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society command their followers not to salute their country’s flag and to avoid military service.
Once in a while when I ask fellow believers where they’re from, they answer “heaven.” I find this response a bit annoying when I simply want to know what city or country a person lives in. Philippians 3:…

Take Time To Listen

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This past Monday I was riding my bicycle by a convenience store and saw two employees hanging around outside. It looked like the two women were taking a break (though one of them later claimed they were working). Usually when approaching people with the gospel, I prefer doing my "survey technique." But in this case I simply offered the women tracts. Neither of them would take one. So I asked if they knew what the tracts were about. One of them figured it had to do with “church.” It was then the other woman stated, “I have my own beliefs!”
I responded by asking if she knew Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. This woman claimed she did and so I asked her to say, “Jesus is my Lord.” This is my way of testing if someone really is saved for 1 Corinthians 12:3 says, “…no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”
Her response was “I don’t have to say that to anyone!” I tried to politely tell her that Jesus would not confess her before the Father i…

Speak To Your Storms

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One sign that we are living in the last days is an increase of inclement weather. This year the United States has experienced a record amount of tornadoes. The deadliest of which occurred last Sunday in Joplin, Missouri that killed scores of people.

Earlier that afternoon, another tornado hit north Minneapolis where I’ve been staying with friends. I wasn't even aware a tornado had touched down in the area until hours later after coming home from a bike ride to downtown Minneapolis. An air raid siren had been wailing but I didn't think much of it because it wasn't very loud. I figured it was due to bad weather out in the suburbs...not 20 blocks away!
Meanwhile, one of the guys I was staying with had slept in late and was awakened by the siren. In response, he simply rebuked the tornado. It lifted within five seconds! Five minutes later the sun came out and there was beautiful weather the rest of the day. After he posted this testimony on his Facebook pag…

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

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What if you’re facing a situation that in the natural seems impossible? Because the Bible says, “Faith without works is dead” (James chapter 2), you might ask yourself, “When do you take action and when do you cast all your care upon the Lord?” (1 Peter 5:7) Here are some guidelines to help you determine when to step out and when to ‘let go and let God’…
1) Ask God for direction. James 1:5 in the New Living Translation says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” Sometimes God allows people to get into difficult situations as a reminder that we are to look to Him as our source.
2) Obey whatever the Lord leads you to do. He might instruct you to do something that seems ridiculous but will ultimately lead to victory. In Joshua chapter 6, the children of Israel silently marched around the walls of Jericho for six days and then shouted on the seventh. The walls then fell flat and God gave them the city.
3) “Let the …