A Living Sacrifice

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, a federal holiday during which Americans remember those who died while serving in the armed forces. Regardless of where you’re from, I believe it’s important to honor your nation’s soldiers who sacrificed their lives to defend freedoms often taken for granted.
The dictionary gives several definitions of the word sacrifice. One is “an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.” Having served in the U. S. Army myself, it grieves me to see people dishonor military personnel. Many servicemen and women have been killed, wounded, or paralyzed so that even ungrateful civilians can live in a free society. 
Sacrifice is also defined as “an act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to God or to a divine or supernatural figure.” Although Abraham was instructed to offer his son Isaac as an obedience test in Genesis 22, God forbids the sacrifice of humans such as those done…

The Mark of the Beast

A few weeks ago, I stopped at McDonald’s after spending part of the afternoon passing out gospel tracts. Because the cashier line was long, I used a self-serve kiosk to pay for my food. I was a bit surprised when noticing the order number on my receipt was 666. Just about everyone knows that number is associated with the Antichrist as mentioned in Revelation 13…
16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,  17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.
While many Bible prophecy followers believe the mark will be a microchip, it could also be a tattoo. Until a generation ago, tattoos in Western countries were mostly seen on military men. Nowadays, both men and women from all walks of life have them. It’s…

The Christian Thing to Do

Some people think being a Christian is defined by doing certain things. Two weeks ago, my hometown newspaper published an article about a former USDA employee who’s also the lay leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Phyllis Johnson claimed that addressing climate change is the “Christian thing to do.” I feel a need to respond to that exhortation.
Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” That would include feeding the hungry and looking out for our neighbors as Johnson pointed out. I also agree we should be good stewards of this planet’s resources. However, the fear-mongering over climate change can be disputed both logically and biblically. 
Over 40 years ago there were news reports of a coming ice age. Then there were worries about global warming. Some environmentalists talk about rising sea levels. If the latter is happening, then why aren’t masses of people moving away from coastal cities like New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and Honolulu? God-fe…

A Response to #TheJesusChallenge

Some Christians need to be reminded of things the Lord wants us doing such as sharing the gospel and helping the poor. One pastor in Washington, DC has gained national attention for issuing what he calls “the Jesus Challenge.” Jomo Johnson is exhorting believers to sacrifice one item per day, per week, or per month for a year. Johnson stated in a YouTube video, “Jesus told the rich young ruler, sell all you have, give it to the poor, then you’ll have riches in heaven…We want to be able to follow Jesus in this lifestyle of minimalism.” 
As a missionary, I’ve lived minimally for over two decades. In 1998, the Lord directed me to give away many of my belongings since I would be doing a lot of traveling. Four years later, the Lord told me to downsize even more so that everything I own would fit into three bags. Soon after I got blessed with a new luggage set...three suitcases on wheels. Since then, I’ve often had to bring all my belongings with me because of not having a permanent place to…

Calling All Superheroes

Today is National Superhero Day. The word superhero might conjure up images of Superman, Batman, and other DC Comics or Marvel characters. While growing up, one TV show I watched on Saturday mornings was “Super Friends”, featuring a team of superheroes fighting for justice.
However, my favorite superhero was Underdog. I constantly watched this cartoon canine who almost always spoke in rhyme (“There’s no need to fear/Underdog is here”). A few times as a boy, I played Underdog with other kids. I ran around the yard with a towel tied around my neck simulating a cape and wore a ring pretending it contained an Underdog Super Energy Pill. My sister often played the part of Sweet Polly Purebred, Underdog’s damsel in distress. One of the other boys portrayed the villain Simon Bar Sinister.
Movies about superheroes often do well at the box office. This would suggest many people desire to be one. Once while ministering at a parade with some friends, I witnessed to a lady dressed as Wonder Woman. …

It’s Not About the Bunny

Today is Easter (or “Resurrection Sunday” as some Christians prefer calling it). According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, Easter is “the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and held between March 21 and April 25, on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the northern spring equinox.”
Some Christians avoid using the term Easter because it’s believed to have originated from the name of a goddess associated with spring. However, Easter is mentioned in the King James Bible. Acts 12:4 (KJV) says, “And when he [Herod] had apprehended him [Peter], he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.” Other translations use “Passover” instead of Easter.
Just like with Christmas, Easter has pagan practices associated with it. Probably the most famous of which is children receiving candy from a character known as the Ea…

Would Jesus Ride in a Limo?

Once I heard a story about a pastor’s son who just got his driver’s permit and asked his father about using the family car. His father answered, “Son, I’ll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study your Bible more, and get your hair cut. Then we will talk about it.” 
Two months later the boy approached his father again about driving the family car. His father said, “Son, I’m proud of you. You have brought your grades up and studied your Bible diligently, but why haven’t you gotten a haircut?”
The young man replied, “Samson had long hair. Even Jesus had long hair.” 
His father said, “Yes, son…and they walked everywhere they went.”
Technically, the pastor’s claim isn’t 100% accurate. On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. People have used that as an excuse to criticize modern-day preachers who drive expensive cars and fly in private jets. If Jesus riding a donkey is supposed to be a sign of humility, then how come these critics don’t practice what they preach? Wh…