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Showing posts from 2017

Why I Hail Jesus and Not Mary

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Mention the phrase “Hail Mary” and football fans think of a desperation pass usually thrown by a team trailing in the final seconds of a close game. The phrase became part of the football lexicon following a 1975 NFL playoff game in which (to my disappointment) the Minnesota Vikings lost to the Dallas Cowboys. Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach revealed he “closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary” before throwing the winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Drew Pearson.
The traditional Hail Mary prayer recited by Catholics like Staubach goes like this…
Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

When witnessing to Catholics, I’m sometimes asked about praying to the Virgin Mary. There are reasons why that is unscriptural… Mary did not remain a virgin after Jesus’ birth. Matthew 1:25 says Joseph “...did not know her till she had b…

O Christmas Tree…Oh No?

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With the holiday season approaching, many businesses and individuals have already put up decorations. Among them are Christmas trees. A popular carol “O Christmas Tree” originated from Germany as “O Tannenbaum”, which translates as “O Fir Tree.” The original lyrics had nothing to do with Christmas. Nevertheless, I remember singing the German version a time or two while in grade school.
Like other holiday traditions, some Christians oppose the usage of Christmas trees. One of my Facebook friends made a judgmental comment that people putting up Christmas trees “are worshiping the devil and have a mental disease.” Before giving my life to Christ, I didn’t have a Christmas tree in my apartment because of the time and expense involved. Instead, I drove up to Mom and Dad’s house for the holidays and enjoyed looking at their decorations. Nowadays, I still don’t own a Christmas tree mainly due to my missionary lifestyle.
Once I heard evangelist Jesse Duplantis talk about the time he bought and …

What About Your Friends?

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There’s an old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” The people we associate with can deeply influence our lives. 
As a kid, I had decided to stay away from alcoholic beverages. But during my late teens, many friends of mine and co-workers were into drinking beer. Wanting to have fun with them, I started going to parties and nightclubs. Gradually I fell into a lifestyle of sin. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived; evil company corrupts good habits.” By the time I committed my life to the Lord, many of my drinking buddies didn’t want to hang with me anymore.
I’ve also noticed God will allow certain relationships with other Christians to end. This is so He can connect you with like-minded believers who will encourage you in your calling. Once I had a blind friend who didn’t believe it was God’s will to heal everyone. I shared Scripture proving otherwise since I wanted my friend to receive his sight. This man wouldn’t accept the truth and one day announced he didn’t want t…

A Ready Writer

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I always had a knack for writing. During second grade, I was inspired by the TV show “Sesame Street” to create my own stories based on a letter of the alphabet. Apart from class assignments, I dabbled in other writing projects throughout my childhood but didn’t get serious about it until college. I wrote a few Letters to the Editor that got published nationally in Billboard magazine. That inspired me to write a music column called “The Listening Post” for Moorhead State University’s newspaper.
Seven years after committing my life to the Lord, I started writing a monthly newsletter that was eventually named “Signs & Wonders.” During a season when I briefly stopped publishing the newsletter, the Lord spoke to me about resuming it again. Later that same day, I found out someone who got saved as a result of one of my articles died a few months later. That person might have gone to hell if I hadn’t written that newsletter!Other ideas for articles led me to start a weekly blog and later …

The Ministry of Church Security

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Last Sunday afternoon while riding with a pastor to his church, we got to talking about ministers hiring security personnel for protection. My friend told me of a Messianic pastor he knows who has bodyguards because of death threats. Little did we know a mass shooting had just taken place at a church in Texas. A lone gunman killed twenty-six people plus wounded twenty others at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. Two men then chased after the killer who was eventually killed himself.
Ever since 9/11, many places in America have implemented increased security including churches. Occasionally, I’ve been asked to have my backpack examined, which I use to carry my laptop for taking notes during services. This used to annoy me. Then last year at a church leadership conference, I attended a workshop taught by the man in charge of security there. The information he shared gave me a greater appreciation for what they do. One thing he pointed out was his team look at their jobs as a min…

Serving God and Country

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This coming Saturday, the United States of America will observe Veteran’s Day in honor of those who served in our armed forces. In recent years, I’ve gone out of my way to thank veterans who helped preserve liberties we often take for granted…especially the freedom to preach the gospel.
As a teenager, I cringed when a friend suggested the idea of reinstating the draft. I dreaded the thought of going to boot camp and having some drill sergeant yelling at me. But at 21, I became dissatisfied with my life and enlisted in the Army National Guard. The military taught me much needed discipline and respect for authority. Today there are national anthem protestors who I believe should spend time in the armed forces. Perhaps they would develop a greater appreciation for this country.
A young minister I knew once 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 men…

Teachers Wanted

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As a young Christian, I listened to numerous sermon tapes. Among the ministers I gleaned from the most were Mac Hammond, Jerry Savelle, Jesse Duplantis, Kenneth Copeland, Mike Murdock, and Joyce Meyer. God used them at different seasons in my life to build a solid foundation on His word. In recent years, I’ve probably listened to Perry Stone more than any other preacher. Perry estimates he's studied the Bible for more than 100,000 hours in his lifetime. His “Manna-Fest” programs often filmed in Israel help illustrate his points.
Besides their pastor, most believers have a favorite preacher they like listening to. However, one must avoid seeking out ministers who proclaim only what they want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3 warns, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers”
Wrong doctrines have been built based on one Bible verse alone. Look at 1 John 2:27…
But t…

Lessons Learned from Lynyrd Skynyrd

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This past Friday marked the 40th anniversary of a tragedy. On October 20th, 1977, an airplane carrying the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd plus their crew ran out of fuel and crashed in a swampy area near McComb, Mississippi. Most of the passengers were seriously injured. Six people died including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, and his sister Cassie Gaines who was a backup vocalist. Three days before, the band released their album “Street Survivors.” The cover eerily depicted the musicians engulfed in flames.
There’s some things we can learn from this incident. First, our words affect our destiny. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Ronnie Van Zant prophesied his own death. Former bandmate Artimus Pyle recalled a moment when Lynyrd Skynyrd toured Japan and Ronnie told him that he would never live to see thirty. Van Zant's father, Lacy, heard his son say many times, “Daddy, I'll never be 30 years old…that's my limit.”

A Biblical Viewpoint on Bearing Arms

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Whenever a mass shooting takes place, there is increased talk in the media about gun control. That is happening again following the recent tragedy in Las Vegas, Nevada. From two 32nd story hotel windows, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock used automatic weapons to fire upon a crowd gathered for a country music concert. 59 people died and over 500 others were wounded. This surpassed last year’s Orlando nightclub massacre as the deadliest shooting by a lone gunman in U.S. history.
Back in 2012, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend before committing suicide hours later at the team’s practice facility. The next night during a nationally televised football game, NBC Sportscaster Bob Costas stated, “If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins [Belcher’s girlfriend] would both be alive today.” Some Americans think taking guns out of public hands will reduce the amount of murders in this country. One of my Facebook friends posted this inter…

The Circle of the Earth

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Those of us who grew up in the United States learned about the Italian-born explorer Christopher Columbus. Back in 1492, the original purpose of Columbus’ voyage across the Atlantic Ocean was to find a shorter route from Spain to Asia but ended up discovering the Americas. Columbus also wanted to prove the earth is round.
Over 500 years later, it surprises me how some people still believe in a flat earth despite photos from space proving otherwise. Many travelers have embarked on round-the-world trips. The recent solar eclipse should be additional evidence of a round earth. Still, flat earthers have resorted to spreading lies such as Donald Trump supposedly being one of them.
There are even Christians promoting a flat earth gospel. This past summer, I talked with one at a friend’s machine shop. I pointed out Isaiah 40:22 says, “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers” This man replied the earth is really a flat circle like a pancake. By…

Standing Up for the Word

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50 years ago when Bud Grant became coach of the Minnesota Vikings, he instructed his players to stand still at attention during the national anthem. This discipline helped them become one of the least penalized teams in the NFL. Nowadays, a select number of players are dishonoring the national anthem by taking a knee or staying in the locker room. President Trump’s recent S.O.B. comment was a bit harsh but I agree with reprimanding players who won’t participate just like they are fined for other acts of unsportsmanlike conduct
In some churches, the congregation is asked to stand whenever the preacher reads the opening text of his sermon. The first time I noticed this practice was while watching Pastor John Hagee on television ministering from his church in San Antonio, Texas. A short time later, I started making trips to Pensacola, Florida to attend revival meetings at Brownsville Assembly of God. Then-pastor John Kilpatrick also had everyone stand up as he read from the Bible during S…

A Conversation with the Church of Almighty God

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A recent surge of friend requests I received on Facebook included members representing the Church of Almighty God, an organization I hadn’t heard of before. Their graphics accompanying their posts reminded me of those used by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Therefore, I suspected this group is a cult. To find out more about this “church”, I watched a BBC documentary about them that looked rather disturbing. Then I logged onto their website. Immediately, a chat window opened up. I decided to respond to the other person online. Here’s how the conversation went (my comments are in bold)…
Hello, and welcome to the Gospel of the Descent of Kingdom. Think back on the “Your kingdom come” prayer that we have often made in the past. Now, God's kingdom has already descended, and God has returned in the flesh to express the truth and carry out the work of judgment in order for us to be able to come face to face with God and listen to His voice with our own ears! Do you want to understand the details of …