Posts

Showing posts from 2020

Touch Not God’s Anointed

Image
When I’m sharing the gospel with people, an objection that occasionally comes up is bad behavior by certain ministers. Unfortunately, a few “men of the cloth” have done despicable deeds such as committing adultery or abusing children. But non-Christians cannot use those incidents as excuses to avoid their need for salvation. When they stand before the Lord Jesus Christ, He won’t examine other people’s lives but only their own. Years ago, I knew a woman who claimed our then-pastor was involved in an immoral relationship. Believing her story, I brought up the issue with an associate pastor at our church. The resulting friction made me realize I didn’t rightly handle the situation. 1 Timothy 5:19 says,  “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.”   In court trials, defendants are supposed to be presumed innocent unless proven guilty. Numerous people are called to the witness stand to give testimony before the jury reaches a verdict. Why then do s

More Than a Prophet

Image
Muslims believe Jesus was only a prophet . The New Oxford American Dictionary defines prophet as “a person regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God.” A prophet sent from God will tell the truth regardless of the hearer receiving it. So if a true prophet doesn’t lie, let’s examine some of Jesus’ words from the Bible (which was written 500 years before the Koran). First, Jesus said in John 14:6, “ I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Notice Jesus said He was THE truth…not a truth. He also said in John 8:31-32, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Followers of Islam argue that Allah (their word for God) had no son. Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of God in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son , that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” He later said in

Was Jesus Poor?

Image
While walking around downtown San Antonio last Sunday, I noticed this “homeless Jesus” statue in front of a church. I didn’t examine the accompanying plaque but assumed it was inspired by Matthew 8:20,  “…the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”  Later, I learned it quoted Matthew 25:40 (ESV),  “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”   The Lord certainly wants us to be compassionate to the less fortunate. That doesn’t mean He wants us living like them. One thing that repels sinners from Christianity is religious folk promoting the idea that Jesus was poor. A few celebrities have more sense than some church-going people. Pamela Anderson told one interviewer, “I don't know anybody…that would have people gambling for His underwear. That was some fine stuff He wore.” Jesus had to be prosperous because the Roman soldiers who crucified Him gambled for His expensive undergarments. Anderson went on to say, “The poor

Should Christians Vaccinate?

Image
This year’s coronavirus pandemic has stirred up debates within the body of Christ regarding churches meeting in person and the moral aspects of wearing masks . Another issue that has come up is vaccinations. Some Christians have talked of getting one for COVID-19 when that becomes available. Others like myself balk at the idea. The financial elite are using this “plandemic” to push a socialist agenda and reduce the world’s population. (For more information on this, I recommend reading “ The Phantom Virus ” by Rodney Howard-Browne and Paul L. Williams.) The medical practice of vaccinating has been around for just over two centuries. People in the Bible lived long lives without them. Nevertheless, there are vaccinations necessary in today’s society. I received a few as a boy before starting school. I also recall getting shots in 1985 while being inducted into the U. S. Army. Vaccinations are required to enter selected countries. If I were to go to India, for example, I would need to ma

The Government is Not God

Image
As a boy, I watched a lot of television. Some programs had an educational value such as the “Schoolhouse Rock” cartoons that used to air on Saturday mornings. Those clips taught subjects such as multiplication, grammar, and American history. One of the latter was about the Constitution and sang the intro of this important document… “We the People…in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Although I didn’t do well in my seventh-grade history class, I got a decent grade on one test when we had to write out the Preamble. Music can be a helpful tool for memorizing things. I’m thankful to be an American but have been appalled by recent actions taken by some political leaders. Under the guise of “saving lives” from the coronavirus, a few autho

A Matter of Trust

Image
There’s a well-known story involving Dutch holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom (pictured here) about the power of forgiveness. Shortly after being freed from a Nazi concentration camp, Corrie spoke about that experience at a church in Munich, Germany. A former camp guard that Corrie recognized approached her, extended his hand and asked for her forgiveness. Corrie struggled at first while she stood face-to-face with one of her former captors. Finally, Corrie shook the man’s hand and in her own words: “I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then.” A few years ago, I experienced a forgiveness test at a revival meeting in the Minneapolis area. Around the time the preacher talked about forgiving others, I noticed a familiar-looking man leaning up against the wall. It turned out to be my former best friend whom I hadn’t seen in over a decade. “Stephen” betrayed me by getting into an adulterous relationship with my then-wife who separated from me and subsequently filed for divo

Prophets and Non-Prophets

Image
At the time of this writing, most mainstream media outlets have declared Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 U. S. Presidential election . However, all the votes haven’t been accounted for yet. There have been reports of illegal voting on behalf of the dead and underaged. I’ve also heard of individuals voting more than once despite that being a federal crime. Nevertheless, there are Christians already labeling ministers “false prophets” who predicted a Trump victory.  Jesus did warn in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” However, the term “false prophet” is used too loosely amongst the body of Christ. Critics often apply that to ministers they don’t like. One example is Joel Osteen , a pastor who (to the best of my knowledge) has never called himself a prophet. So how can one identify a false prophet? It’s more than calling someone out for making a wrong prediction. Even a broken clock is correct twice a

It’s Not Over (Reflections on the 2020 Election)

Image
A few weeks ago, my hometown newspaper conducted a poll asking, “Do you think any political ads have swayed your opinion on who to vote for?” 97% of the respondents answered “no.” I think politicians waste a lot of money on ads attacking their opponents. My focus is not on a personality but on the candidate’s party affiliation and that party’s platform . This year, coronavirus fears prompted states to encourage mail-in voting. That should have been available only to those who requested a ballot. I’m registered to vote in Virginia but spent most of 2020 doing the Lord’s work in the Minneapolis area. Although I put in a request for an absentee ballot the day they became available, a month passed without it showing up in the mail. I called election officials. They instructed me to go online and request another ballot, which arrived two weeks before Election Day. I quickly filled that out and mailed it back to Virginia. Meanwhile, I minimized my exposure to mainstream media outlets (eve

Happy Birthday, Living Word!

Image
Forty years ago, a church was founded that would impact my life. A pilot named Mac Hammond and his wife Lynne had led a Bible study in the Minneapolis area. In November 1980, it officially became a church called Living Word Faith Fellowship that initially met in a hotel conference room. It later moved into a building in Brooklyn Park, merged with another church, and was renamed Living Word Christian Center . This congregation that started with just twelve people has grown into a body of more than 10,000 members. I was introduced to Living Word in February 1991 through my then-girlfriend. She attended services there and invited me to go with her one Sunday morning. It reminded me of a service I might see on TV (later finding out the church just begun broadcasting on a local station). Pastor Mac encouraged first-time visitors to come back again “to take a more accurate measure of us as a church.” The next two times I went to Living Word, I still resisted the altar call for salvation.

Seek and Speak the Truth

Image
During this election season, many are quick to believe every negative report about the candidates they don’t want to win. A few of my Facebook friends have shared a post claiming vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris said, “American churches are propaganda centers for intolerant homophobic, xenophobic vitriol.” Many fact-checking sites are calling this a false statement. I couldn't find an article confirming she said this. One Christian musician that was a Facebook friend posted the questionable quote on her wall. A friend of hers even claimed to have heard Harris say that. I wrote a comment asking when and where that happened. The musician accused me of being “rude” and blocked me. Wanting to remain on friendly terms with her, I sent an email via her website explaining my intent to verify the truthfulness of this statement. She responded by saying the Lord showed her this in her dreams and “…the Deep State already took it down.” I still have my doubts but won’t challenge someon

An Open Letter to Christian Democrats

Image
To whom it may concern: Back in 2016, after posting an article explaining why I’m Republican and voting for Donald Trump, a relative who is a staunch Democrat sent emails challenging my reasons. I responded by emphasizing my opposition to the Clintons returning to the White House. Since then, other left-leaning believers have questioned my political beliefs. Therefore, I ask that you prayerfully read this. We are in the midst of a critical election that will affect our nation's future. First, I don’t want to demean those whose beliefs differ from mine. Nevertheless, I question how professing believers can endorse candidates whose policies go against God’s word. It’s important to align with a party platform that’s in line with the Judeo-Christian values our Founding Fathers intended for our country. Some vote for Democrats because that party promotes programs helping the poor. On the surface, that sounds good. However, civil governments didn’t have welfare during the time of

Step Out and Prophesy

Image
Earlier this year at a home meeting, I kept having thoughts that God has a mate for a young woman there. I didn’t step out until hearing someone say she’s been dealing with loneliness. So I approached her and asked, “Have you been believing God for a mate?” This woman seemed reluctant to reply. Then another woman sitting nearby said the Lord also told her that and should have said something. God confirms His word in the mouths of two or three witnesses (2 Corinthians 13:1). Not wanting to intimidate the lonely woman, I gently told her, “God has a mate for you if that’s a desire of your heart.”  Sometimes when evangelizing, I perceive certain individuals are called to full-time ministry. Rather than declaring to them “thus saith the Lord”, I ask if anyone has told them they are called to preach. Usually, these individuals reply, “Yes.” Then I point out this is a confirmation. In rare instances, some say no one has told them that. In response, I encourage them to pray about it. God may

How Do You Read the Bible?

Image
Some people have a problem with Christians reading the Bible electronically. One time while doing street ministry, I witnessed to a man who wanted to see for himself a Scripture quoted to him. I had a Gideon’s New Testament on me but opted to take out my smartphone to find the verse he wanted to see. This man immediately dismissed me as a “false evangelist” for not showing him God’s word on paper.  I’ve seen preachers claim “real Christians use real Bibles.” While I do have a Spirit-Filled Life Bible plus numerous New Testaments and Gospels of John (to give to those who don’t have a copy of God’s Word), I mostly read Scripture on my smartphone, iPad, or laptop. That allows me to quickly locate verses in different translations with larger fonts that are easier to see. The small printing in some Bibles almost requires a magnifying glass. At night, I often fall asleep to an audio Bible. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” During Jesus’ t

Let God Be God

Image
How do you respond if a fellow believer proclaims something that’s in error? There are times we need to rebuke others . But no matter how you speak the truth in love, some people won’t receive correction. In those situations, it’s best to back off. God can send someone else who will possibly get through to them. You have to let God be God. A Christian writer I met a few years ago recently posted a quote on his Facebook page supporting his belief in universal reconciliation . First, I responded by reminding him of Revelation 20:15, “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Later, I posted a quote about the reality of eternal punishment for the unsaved and then added the comment: “Love warns.” This writer repeatedly defended himself by posting links to blog articles he wrote. I glanced at only one of them. I’m cautious not to absorb teachings that misinterpret the Bible. I could have posted more corrective comments but opted not to. I cannot be s

My Connection to a Campground

Image
Twenty years ago today, I received the sad news. Five days before, an internationally known minister had died of cancer. This same minister had performed a wedding for me months earlier. That marriage didn’t last. Nevertheless, it connected me with a ministry that continued to impact my life. Back in early 2000, my then-fiancée and I drove from Minnesota to Calvary Pentecostal Tabernacle in Ashland, Virginia (just north of Richmond). This Christian campground hosts revival meetings throughout the year where guests can stay free of charge. The director at that time was Ruth Heflin, the daughter of founders Wallace and Edith Heflin. A few weeks before while attending Brownsville Revival meetings in Pensacola, Florida, Ruth Heflin’s name kept coming up in conversations I had with people. At the time I didn’t know who this woman was. Meanwhile, Sister Ruth held meetings in Minnesota that my soon-to-be fiancée attended. So after hearing her talk about Ruth Heflin, I knew there was a re

Close Doesn’t Count

Image
Last weekend I went to a gathering at a friend’s house. There we sat around a bonfire eating food and also played some games. One of them was bean bag toss. The object is to toss bean bags across the yard and into a hole. The game’s similarities to horseshoes reminded me of an old saying: “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” A close loss is still a loss.  When it comes to receiving eternal life, close doesn’t count. Jesus told one man who answered a question wisely, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” (Mark 12:34) Shortly after I became a Christian in 1991, my sister commented on how our parents were so close to being saved. They were raised in traditional churches but drifted into New Age beliefs. One can know a lot of spiritual truths without knowing “…the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) Fortunately, I had the privilege of leading my mother to the Lord before  she passed away. Over the years I've ministered to numerous people who came close