Peer Pressured

A challenge you’ll sometimes face when ministering to two or more people at once is peer pressure. It can work on the positive or negative end. One example of the latter happened two days ago on my way to a meeting in Minnesota. While at a convenience store I saw five teenage girls walking on the other side of the street. I rushed over to witness to them. Four of them seemed receptive to the gospel. As I was about to lead them in the prayer of salvation, the other girl influenced everyone else to walk away from me.
I remember more examples of negative peer pressure while evangelizing one afternoon in Brooklyn, New York. 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 oth…

Redefining the Prosperity Gospel

Recently a video went viral of evangelist Benny Hinn talking about how he’s changing his receiving offerings. He stated, “When they invite me to telethons I think they will not like me anymore...if I hear one more time, break the back of debt with $1,000, I’m gonna rebuke them. I think that’s buying the gospel. That’s buying the blessing. That’s grieving the Holy Spirit.” 
It’s encouraging to see Benny Hinn making these adjustments. I’ve attended a few of his meetings and strongly perceived God’s presence there. However, I asked to have my name removed from Benny’s mailing list because of receiving too many fundraising letters. I resist giving to ministers who apply pressure or use questionable gimmicks to receive money from me. We are not to handle the word of God deceitfully (2 Corinthians 4:2) and for personal gain (2 Peter 3:16).
Some have suggested Benny is reacting to a book written by his nephew. Costi Hinn’s “God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel” talks about how his family su…

Pearls Before Swine

While I’m evangelizing, the Lord will often direct me to avoid certain individuals. Some Christians think this contradicts Jesus’ command to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) Salvation is available to those who want it. Sadly, not everyone values the things of God.
One day while doing street ministry in Richmond, Virginia, I walked up to what appeared to be a Black Muslim. I perceived the Lord didn't want me talking to this man but witnessed to him anyway. He wasted my time rambling about what he thought the Bible says. I walked away since he wouldn’t let me respond to his misguided claims. 
Then last month, I found out comedian Kip Addota had died. I posted a link to an article about that on Dr. Demento’s Facebook page since Kip’s recordings are often played on Dr. D’s radio show. My post included the comment, “I hope Kip knew the Lord.” That immediately triggered some mocking messages. I felt led to delete my post. Then I remembered what…

Back to School

By this Tuesday, most learning institutions will be back in session. While in elementary school, I was considered one of the smartest students in my class. Later in my teens, my grades went down because I hated doing homework (although much time was spent reading encyclopedia articles). Still, I managed to graduate from high school. Then I took several college courses but never got a degree. Often the classes I liked best provided hands-on training as opposed to listening to lectures all hour long.
Before answering the call to full-time ministry, a few people suggested I go to Bible school. The Lord told me it wasn’t necessary. Many of the early apostles didn't attend the Rhemas and ORUs of their day. Acts 4:13 says, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” As an alternative, I put myself through “cassette seminary.” I listened to many sermon tapes w…

Another Sleeper Hit? A Review of “Overcomer”

Alex and Stephen Kendricks are former pastors from Georgia who have gone on to become successful filmmakers. The two brothers have put together six powerful faith-based movies over the past sixteen years. Their 2015 release “War Room” reached number one at the box office. Hopefully, their latest production “Overcomer” does likewise. I saw it two days ago.
Alex plays John Harrison, a high school basketball coach who loses players due to a local manufacturing plant shutting down and families moving away. Meanwhile, the principal (played by Priscilla Shirer who starred in “War Room”) asks John to oversee the school’s cross-country program. The coach is reluctant but agrees to do so. Only one student shows up for the tryout: a fifteen-year-old girl with asthma. Despite Hannah’s handicap, she gradually improves her running skills. 
During a hospital visit with his pastor, John inadvertently meets another patient who had lost his sight and legs due to diabetes. As they get to know each other,…

The Great Apostasy

In recent weeks there have been reports of two well-known Christians drifting away from the faith. The first was a former pastor who wrote the bestseller “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.” Joshua Harris later apologized to those who were negatively impacted by the book. He has since separated from his wife and participated in a gay pride event. The other is Hillsong worship leader Marty Sampson. This past week he wrote an Instagram post saying, “I’m genuinely losing my faith...and it doesn’t bother me.” Marty later deleted that post and clarified he wasn’t renouncing Christianity but admitted “it’s on incredibly shaky ground.”
1 Timothy 4:1-3 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3 warn of great apostasy in the last days. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines apostasy as “an abandonment of what one has professed; a total desertion, or departure from one's faith or religion.” Heresy hunters falsely label preachers they don’t agree with as “apostates.” An apostate is “one who has forsaken the church, sect or pr…

Memories of a Former Gamer

As a teenager, I played a lot of video games both at home and in public places. At 14 I bought an Atari Video Pinball console. A year later I saved up my money to purchase an Atari 2600. While in high school I spent close to half my paychecks into coin-operated games. This was back in the days of “Space Invaders” when aliens simply disappeared when you shot them. The games weren’t as graphic as they are now.
In the mid-1980s I decided to cut back on video games. Aside from wanting to focus on a music career, many of the newer games required you to spend more money just to get good at them. Nevertheless, there were times when I put chunks of change into “Dr. Mario”, “Klax”, and “Tetris.” I also enjoyed playing games like “John Madden Football” and “Sonic the Hedgehog” when with someone who had a Nintendo or similar system at home. 
I was never a fan of violent games. In 1993 while briefly working for a video game dealer, I was shocked to see blood splattering from the characters on the r…