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Showing posts from 2016

Hollywood and Islam

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Mark Wahlberg recently suggested that “Hollywood bubble actors” stop talking about politics because “they’re pretty out of touch with the common person.” One actress who appears to be taking positive action on the latter is Sally Field. In an interview on Chelsea Handler’s Netflix show, the “real Momma Gump” announced she joined Twitter “in order to better understand how the American people could elect a man like Donald Trump.” Ms. Field, I’d be happy to enlighten you on some things. First, this nation was founded as a Constitutional Republic…not a democracy as you and many Americans wrongly assume. I wish more celebrities who desire to use their fame for good have Judeo-Christian values like that of our Founding Fathers. Moral reasons were given in a previous blog article as to why I vote Republican. Here I want to point out a key reason why Hillary Clinton would have been a bad president. The former Secretary of State talked of admitting 65,000 Syrian refugees (most if no

More Than a Survivor

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Yours truly with Sunday One of the most popular programs on TV is CBS’s “Survivor.” This reality show features a group of contestants marooned in an isolated location where they must provide for themselves and compete in challenges to avoid elimination. Derived from a Swedish series called “Expedition Robinson”, the U. S. version of “Survivor” debuted in 2000 and quickly became a ratings success. Until recently I never watched an entire episode but now have a passing interest in it.  Sunday Burgquest and her husband Jeff oversee the Family Support Ministry at Living Word Christian Center , the church I attend when in the Minneapolis area. Sunday is currently one of eight surviving contestants for Season 33 of “Survivor.” This past Wednesday a group of us gathered in the fellowship hall to watch the latest episode. The sound was turned down during commercial breaks so Sunday and Jeff could share behind-the-scenes stuff. They were cautious not to reveal information that could d

Standing on the Wrong Rock

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Despite living in Minnesota most of my life, I consider myself a North Dakota native having been born in Fargo. A recent oil boom has caused a marked increase of the Roughrider State’s population. It’s also resulted in a protest that has captured the world’s attention. The issue at hand is the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline that would run from the Bakken oil fields in western North Dakota to southern Illinois, crossing beneath the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, as well as part of Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.  Many people including a few celebrities are “standing with Standing Rock” by blocking construction of the pipeline. One reason is to protect the water from a possible oil spill (the phrase “water is life” is often used by protesters). What should be pointed out is another pipeline and other utilities have been previously built underneath the Missouri River. The chairman of the Standing Rock Tribal Council happens to own a gas station. Another

Your Family Can Be Saved

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As a minister of the gospel I often receive prayer requests. Many of them are for lost loved ones. This article is to encourage those of you standing for a family member’s salvation. It was my sister and her husband who led me to Christ. A personal crisis made me recognize my need for Him. On March 19, 1991 I drove to Fargo, North Dakota (the city where I was born) to talk with Greg and Tanya. After three hours of clearing up many misunderstandings I had about Christianity, my brother-in-law invited me to pray with him. I asked Jesus to come into my heart and felt the power of God flow throughout my body. Later I learned Greg and Tanya prayed for years I would recognize my need for Jesus and wanted to play a part of my salvation. By July 1994 I had become a committed soul-winner and went back to the Fargo area specifically to witness to family members. Quite a few of them already knew the Lord. One morning I stopped to see my Aunt Gaye. She didn’t have a phone and so my arri

Reflections on the 2016 Election

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It’s finally over. After weeks of mudslinging during a very divisive election, Donald Trump will be the 45th U. S. President on January 20th. At 70 years old, Trump is the oldest person ever elected to a first term (surpassing 69-year-old Ronald Reagan in 1980). Many reporters have called Trump’s victory “an upset” despite huge crowds that showed up at his campaign rallies. On Election Day I went evangelizing at a mall having already voted for Donald Trump using an absentee ballot. Then I watched the election returns on TV. Because the results were a bit close and a few networks stalled in declaring Trump the projected winner of selected states, I stayed up past 2:30 a.m. praying until he made his acceptance speech. It was also gratifying to hear the Republicans still have control of Congress. This will hopefully result in Trump repealing (as he calls it) “the disaster known as Obamacare .” It’s sad how this election caused some Christians to be ensnared by a political spir

Does God Pick Politicians?

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Five years ago during a prayer meeting at a church in West Fargo, North Dakota, I was praying for the 2012 presidential election and specifically asked for God’s choice to be elected. Michele Bachmann’s name came up in my mind but I didn’t immediately speak that out. Seconds later, the prayer group leader started praying for the congresswoman from Minnesota. A few days after that I posted a comment about this on Michele Bachmann’s Facebook page. Unfortunately, that triggered mostly negative responses. One person argued that God doesn’t choose politicians…people do. It’s true in a democracy, the candidate with the most votes gets elected. Nevertheless, God does anoint selected individuals for positions of authority such as King David in 1 Samuel 16:12.   One might question if I really heard from God regarding Michele Bachmann becoming president since she dropped out of the race months later. Regardless, if more God-fearing people sought the Lord before going to the polls

Kundalini Chaos

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Some Christians are quick to demonize Holy Spirit manifestations unfamiliar to them such as people shaking. A few of these watchdogs accuse certain ministers of allowing a Kundalini spirit at their meetings. Kundalini is a yoga term whose origin is the Sanskrit word for snake. One dictionary defines Kundalini as “latent female energy believed to lie coiled at the base of the spine” and “a system of meditation directed toward the release of kundalini energy.” In response to a YouTube video posted to “expose” one well-known evangelist/pastor, I pointed out these Kundalini hunters don’t know how to test the spirits. 1 John 4:2 says, “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.” The minister in question has altar calls for salvation that include leading newborn believers to say, “I confess Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.” One critic responded, “So did Jim Jones. What does that prove?” I replied by askin

A Eulogy for Leonard

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Back in 1995, I became friends with another serious soul winner who was part of the evangelism ministry at Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Leonard Micklin led hundreds to the Lord apart from the church’s scheduled outings. Often when I arrived prior to an outreach or service, Leonard was sitting in the sanctuary confessing the word. I admired his faith in God meeting his needs without having a job or car. Leonard didn’t seek to promote himself but the gospel. He often wore a baseball cap with the name of Jesus on it and sang praise songs after leading someone to salvation. During one outing in downtown Minneapolis, I was the leader but perceived the Lord wanted Leonard to lead our team for a while. Leonard was reluctant but agreed to do so. Later I learned the heads of the evangelism ministry were already nudging Leonard to become a team leader. Not long after I started working for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Leonard often said, “Say

Think Before You Pink

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When in the Upper Midwest, I frequently patronize Caribou Coffee, a chain of coffee shops I refer to as my “office.” I like working on my laptop in the relaxing atmosphere plus most Caribou locations give free refills of their Coffee of the Day. Because I prefer light or medium roast coffee, I usually show up at Caribou in the morning since they sometimes serve only dark roast later in the day. For now, I’ve temporarily cut back on my visits to Caribou Coffee. This time of the year they heavily promote Amy’s Blend, a coffee flavor that is (in my opinion) very overrated. Amy’s Blend is named after Caribou’s original roastmaster Amy Erickson who died of breast cancer in 1995. In addition to coffee, Caribou sells mugs, tumblers, and related merchandise as a tribute to Amy. Their website states: “Every October for the past 19 years, Caribou Coffee has donated 10% of retail coffeehouse proceeds from Amy’s products to support women and men impacted by cancer in Caribou communities.”

Productive Public Preaching

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When people hear the term street evangelist , some think of men and women standing in public places shouting out Bible verses. That’s one way of reaching multitudes who might not hear the gospel otherwise. Romans 10:14 says, “And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” All the prophets of old as well as Jesus and the Apostle Paul preached in the marketplace.  Unfortunately, many open-air preachers I’ve seen lack compassion and do not speak the truth in love. They preach more about God’s judgment than His mercy. Some call women “whores” because (in their opinion) they don’t wear enough clothing. Jesus didn’t talk like that to the woman caught in adultery. Rude preaching repels sinners instead of drawing them closer to God. 2 Timothy 2:24-25 says, “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them

Putting a Price on Ministry

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One reason I maintain a post office box in Ashland, Virginia is because of frequently visiting a Christian campground there. Calvary Pentecostal Tabernacle hosts meetings and conferences throughout the year without charging for food or lodging except during their biannual Women’s Conventions. For over 60 years, CPT’s needs have been met largely through offerings. That is truly a testimony of God’s faithfulness. At other places, I’ve attended conferences where admission fees were charged. A few of those have been at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (now known as Catch the Fire ). The evening meetings were still free to the general public. TACF told the ones who paid the conference fee not to feel obligated to give during evening offerings unless the Lord led them to. TACF also gave people the option to work a few hours at the church if they didn’t have enough money to attend the day sessions. Then there are ministries charging to attend their evening meetings as well and

An Open Letter to Daniel Heinrich

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Dear Daniel, I’m a missionary who has lived most of my life in Minnesota. While there’s no guarantee you will ever see this letter, I still felt inspired to write to you. My intent is not to bring additional shame and condemnation you’ve already experienced. You probably felt some relief after confessing to the abduction and murder of Jacob Wetterling. It would be hard for anyone to have that on their conscience for 27 years. The date of Jacob’s disappearance (October 22nd) always stood out to me because that happens to be my sister’s birthday. I can’t imagine the horror of having a loved one disappear and not knowing their whereabouts for nearly three decades. The news reports I read about your plea agreement indicate you will spend at least 20 years behind bars. Regardless if you ever see freedom again, I want to share some good news with you.  While there are angry people who want to see you suffer for eternity, God sees things differently. Romans 3:23 says, “for all

When the Towers Fell

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Today on the anniversary of 9/11, many people can recall where they were and what they were doing during that tragic day. On that Tuesday morning, the Lord led me to do street ministry in Springfield, Virginia (at the time I was living in the nearby city of Manassas). The first two people I prayed with were teenaged boys on their way to school. Later while browsing around a Barnes & Noble bookstore, I overheard someone talk about a plane crash. I figured if it was something serious, I would later hear about it on the news. Not long afterward, I walked into an electronics store and noticed people crowded around a big-screen TV. It was then I heard about the planes crashing into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (which is only ten miles from Springfield)! Increased boldness came upon me and I altered my evangelism approach for the rest of the day. First, I asked people if they heard what just happened in New York City and Washington, DC. Then I asked if they would be in

Thou Shalt Laugh

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As a young Christian I used to get offended when holy laughter manifested at the full gospel church I attended. Coming from a traditional denominational background, I had a hard time accepting that being of God. Fortunately my religious mindsets were dispelled once I lightened up more and studied the Bible for myself. Nehemiah 8:10 says, “ Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Recently I exchanged emails with a man who claimed “there is no such thing as holy laughter.” I have to disagree. Not only have I seen it manifest in meetings but also on the streets. Occasionally while evangelizing people have giggled uncontrollably as they prayed with me to receive salvation (including three skateboarders this past Friday in Omaha). Often they apologize thinking there’s something wrong with that. I point out God is making Himself real to them. Psalm 16:11 says, ”In Your presence is fullness of joy.” Laughter and joy go hand in hand. Job 8:21 says, “He will yet fil