Pastors – I Am Intentional

I am very intentional when it comes to soul winning.

If you were to look in the “notes” section of my Blackberry you would see a number of lists. I have a list of “contacts”, a “hit” list and a “hot” list. As well, there is a “new” list. I work all four lists almost every day.

Let’s admit it pastors – we could be stuck in our offices all day, every day. There is always more paperwork to do, more things to read, more e-mails to answer. But, admit it – you really didn’t sign up to be the paid secretary or administrator of your church. So, what should you be doing? You should be out talking to and listening to people. Afterall, this is what ministry is really all about. People! Just get up from the desk – leave the computer screen and go out and meet people. Not Christians! Go out and meet the average person in your area who is going to Hell when they die unless someone introduces them to Jesus.

Here is what I do – intentionally. When I meet someone and find out a name and phone number they go into my “contact” list. I don’t have to know them well. Usually I meet them at a community event, the gym, a school function, or even in a store – strike up a conversation and find out a name and a phone number. I try to contact them again within a month – and again, and again. As long as it stays friendly and activity oriented they stay on my “contact” list.
If I can move the conversations into spiritual things (not as hard as you think) then the name is electronically transferred to my “hit” list. This means we are in to some good conversations on a sick family member, the purpose of life, what happens after you die, what Heaven is like, or other questions and conversations dealing with spiritual or eternal issues – or, at least, topics I might be able to turn slightly to get into something spiritual or biblical. I then contact them and coffee with them more frequently – every other week.

If these conversations hit home and our relationship allows us to chat more and more about spiritual issues and I can sense that they are hungry for what the Lord Jesus and only the Lord Jesus can offer them – then they are getting hot so I move them electronically to my “hot” list. Now I try to be in touch (phone call, encouragement note, coffee time, dropping in to their place of work) weekly.

When they recognize their need for a Saviour because of the sin in their lives, repent with godly sorrow and turn to the Lord they are then transferred to my “new” list. This means I am now responsible to see that they are planted in a local church, discipled in the basics of the Christian faith and then equipped and released to minister. I keep them on my “new” list until they are integrated into a local church and have become part of a small group where they can be accountable to others for their progress as a believer.

Some times I am blessed that they are then told of a five-fold calling upon their life and I often have the privilege of mentoring them into their calling and teaching them how to ministering supernaturally with their gifts.

All of this is very intentional. I leave my study just after lunch most days to meet with people from one or more of these lists. I spend from 1:00 to 5:30 with people and then head home for supper and an event in the evening where I fellowship and teach believers. Please note – I spend the morning in the study with my Lord and my Bible and assorted other books. Here I pray, fellowship with the Lord, study, and write teachings. I really have very little time in any given week in my office. I simply didn’t sign on to do paperwork.

It may be time to make some intentional changes to your work day. It may be time for less Christian fellowship and more outreach coffees and chats. It just may be time to become determined to win the lost at all costs and begin to make the changes needed to free yourself to be about your Father’s business. Jesus came to “seek and save the lost” and we should be out doing the same on a daily basis.

Up, Up, and Away – Bible Blog #5

In our daily (except Sundays) Bible Study Blog, currently covering the Book of Acts, we are talking today about THE ASCENSION. Although this is usually not celebrated by Born Again Churches and is celebrated by the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Anglo-Catholic (Anglican) Churches – it is a valid part of the ministry and life of Jesus.

The Scriptures:

And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

Commentary:

Jesus has now finished giving His last minute instructions to His apostles. We are assuming these words spoken were the most important for these men and the early Church. Afteralll, Jesus knew He was about to ascend into Heaven where He would remain until the Second Coming (as the angels confirm in today’s scripture). His commands and instruction are the ones we have already looked at in the last couple of days.

This is not His first “ascension” since His resurrection. Just after Mary had her encounter with Jesus in the Garden on Easter Sunday morning He went to the Father. Jesus, in fact, tells her not to touch Him because He has yet to go to the Father (John 20:17).

As far as I can tell after His decent into Hell to preach the Gospel to all those who had died between Adam and the Cross – 1 Peter states that He preached and then ‘took captives captive’ removing these new believers into heaven as He left Hell having defeated death and Hades. (1 Peter 3:19). You see, there is only one way for everyone who has ever been born to get into Heaven – Jesus! So, He had to speak this Gospel message to those in Abraham’s Bosom (Paradise, Purgatory) so that they could chose life and Heaven or death and Hell.

Then He began His physical appearances on earth by being there for Mary early Easter Sunday morning.

I also believe that He ascended a second time just after this to present His blood to the Father as the necessary payment to begin the New Covenant. He tells Mary not to touch Him until He goes to the Father – some say this is in reference to His ascension 40 days later. If that were the case, why then does He reverse that ‘policy’ and tell Thomas to reach out and touch Him? In the short time between those two situations I believe Jesus went to Heaven to present His sacrifice to the Father to have it approved and accepted.

Now He has finished instructing His disciples and is going to ascend into heaven where He will remain at the Father’s right hand until the Father tells Him it is time to return and set up the Kingdom the apostles had just finished asking Him about. They all witnessed His departure knowing it was to their benefit. Jesus had told them (in John 16:7) that He had to leave them and that when He did He would send them another Conforter called the Holy Spirit. In fact, He said that it was ‘expedient’ that He go!

As He is leaving – I am sure their hearts are breaking in spite of knowing this was for their own good and within God’s plan – they are looking up as He disappears into the clouds. Two angels appear and say: “Men of Galilee”. The eleven apostles who remain are all from Galilee. Judas, who betrayed Jesus, was the only one of the original twelve apostles who was not a Galileean. The angels encourage them that just as Jesus has left – He will return one day.

Now, this Ascension was “bodily”. Jesus’ glorified physical body ascended into Heaven. And it will be His physical body that returns – not some disembodied spirit as some teach (heresy). He will return “just as He left”. That means on the clouds, to the Mount of Olives, to set up the Kingdom that He is to rule and that they had just spoken together about.

APPLICATION:

Today, in the Church, we are seeing a flurry of teachings based on the appearance of angels and things the angels are saying or doing. We need to be really careful with what we believe and what we are basing our Christian walk on.

The Mormons’ founder, Joseph Smith, talked with angels and received the revelation upon which that cult is founded. Roland Buck fell into heresy in recent years because – even as a born again, spirit-filled pastor – he based his beliefs and teachings on what two angels said and did when they visited him numerous times. Todd Bently (Lakeland, Flordia) is another among many who teaches from revelations that angels (and visits to the ‘third Heaven’) bring him.

I believe that angels still minister today and, as the book of Hebrews states, they are ministering spirits to those who are to receive salvation. But, I also believe that when the Holy Spirit came upon the early Church in the Book of Acts, Chapter two (we start there Tuesday – Blog #8) that He is now the One who brings revelation and leads us into all truth. He has not retired (in the search engine of the blogs type “Holy Spirit Retired” to read an older Blog on this topic) and has not been replaced by angelic messengers. We have the Bible and the Holy Spirit Who will, according to Jesus, “lead us into all truth”. So, careful about those who reference angels and revelations that angels and ‘third Heaven’ experiences bring to them. The Bible states
that even the Devil can disguise himself as an angel of light. The Church and individual Christians need great discernment.

Do I Hear My Theme Song?

Like Willie Nelson – on the road again!

A THOUGHT: I am often approached by young men and women some of whom have a call on their lives and some don’t. But they are all bent out of shape about being in ministry. I am sure part of what they see or imagine is standing up front and preaching God’s Word or flowing in some of the supernatural gifts. Natural enough. What they don’t see is the many hours in a car on the roads in all kinds of weather; airports and airplanes – with hours upon hours in the air and even more hours waiting and sometimes delayed in airports; hotel rooms and restaurant meals (try that on a seriously restricted diet such as mine); late nights with 18 hour days; and, at times, love offerings that don’t always cover costs and don’t help to pay the bills for the ministry waiting for you back at the office. As well, the hours of prayer, spiritual preparation, study and writing that goes into each ministry opportunity – alone in your study and never seen (and often not appreciated) by people.

No one in their right mind would be doing this. You’re absolutely correct – I am not in my right mind! I admit it, I am insanely in love with Jesus and do all this because He asks me to! A labour of love.

This Saturday, the 21 of June, I drive to Saskatoon to work with a wonderful group of people at Saskatoon Center for Hope. Pastored by David and Sheila Mickalishen and part of Life Builders Network this Church is working at reaching out to the folks of their city with hope and healing as found only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Will be meeting with the directors and then with a group called D.E.S.T. (Discipleship, Evangelism – Strategy and Training). Here we will be looking at outreach strategies and plans for the summer and fall to “seek and save the lost”.

Then later that day a fellowship meeting with Bob MacDonald of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Saskatoon (also a member of Life Builders Network) and an apostle I have the honour of working with. He does a lot of apostolic work in the area in and around Saskatoon-Prince Albert and north. Just a coffee to sit with my peer and enjoy some Jesus-centered fellowship.

Sunday – the 22nd – sees me in The city of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan ministering at The River Church pastored by Cecil Glover (who is also a revivalist and evangelist). A morning service to preach and minister prophetically. Their worship leader, Keith Molberg, teaches at Briercrest Bible School and is himself a young man I have the privilege of helping to raise up into an apostolic ministry (similar to my own as he grows and matures in the calling). Great worship leader and great, anointed worship. I am looking forward to my time with them.

From there – same day – I drive to Oxbow, Saskatchewan (300 Km one way) to preach at the evening service of Shekinah Christian Fellowship. A great congregation being led by four elders and bearing witness to the power of the Gospel and the life-changing message of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom. Also an assembly which has great worship under the leadership of Dr. David Hyman.

Total of 1300 Km driven in two days. Normal for this neck of the woods.

Monday the 23rd – the road trip continues as I fly to Calgary, Alberta, Canada to minister along side of Dennis Cramer (prophet from South Williamsport, PA. in the U.S.A.). We will be working with Pastor William Dennie of Kingdom Ambassador Ministries – a young Church that he is planting in the city . We are going to be speaking into the life of the Church, laying apostolic and prophetic foundations (Ephesians 2:20) and helping to prophetically speak health and, where necessary, healing to this young Church as we minister to the people, the Church itself, the leadership, and the pastor and his wife.

As an apostle I will be bringing three short teachings to explain what God is doing in His Kingdom through apostles and prophets and how their ministry is so very important for the Church today world-wide. Denny will be prophecying over people at two public evening services as well as working behind the scenes with me.

Generally I will be looking to sense what is happening and what needs to be poured into the foundation of this new work and what adjustments need to be made. Dennis Cramer will be looking at what might be coming up that needs to be spoken prophetically so as to release God’s plan in the spirit-realm for this Church and its leaders.

I will be flying back from Calgary to Regina on Thursday.

Friday I will be back in Moose Jaw meeting with Dennis and Brenda Boyce who lead The Invitation Ministries and The Anchor Boys and Girls Clubs Movement. This is a prophetic meeting to look at what the Lord is saying to both the Network and to this local Church and their new movement.

Then home for a day before we come full-circle to another Sunday when I am out preaching at another Church.

This is very typical of my schedules these days. It is requiring a fair amount of adjustment on my part and the bringing together of better and fasted technology and releasing my personal assistant to do more and more of the office work and behind-the-scenes details. Everyone here or in any way connected to Ralph Howe Ministries is finding the need to adjust and learn both new skills and, in some ways, a totally new life-style.

Power for What? – Bible Blog #4

Today’s Scripture:

Acts 1:6-8 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

The Commentary:

The apostles are asking the Lord a question regarding the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel. They wanted to know if the Father was planning to remove the Romans who occupied their land and thus allow the Jews to once again control their own homeland. In fact, maybe it would be as in the days of King David when Israel controlled more land than ever before or ever again – right down to the Egyptian border and north into what today is Syria and Lebanon.

These men were serious. They believed that God wanted them to have an earthly form of the Kingdom of Messiah; that God would reestablish it. (see Luke 19:11 and Luke 24:21). And Jesus did not tell them that this would not happen. He simply said that the timing of this ‘reestablishment’ was not something they needed to know. The Father has fixed the date and only He knows when that day will be. This aspect of the Kingdom was under the Father’s authority.

This was not a dumb question. First, Jesus did not tell them it would not happen; just it was none of their business when it would happen. Secondly, they probably asked the question because when Jesus was talking about the pouring out of the Spirit their minds would immediately go back to two scriptures that they knew well – Joel 2 and Ezekiel 36. These connect the outpouring of the Spirit of God Jesus was talking about to a Messianiac Kingdom. Thirdly, they would have remembered, as Jesus talked about the Kingdom (verse 3), that He had spoken numerous times about a Kingdom established upon the earth.

If this question had been inappropriate (as I was taught it was) or simply wrong (as I thought it was) – then on such a crucial issue one would have expected Jesus to correct them. In fact, this earthly Kingdom reign will begin at the second coming. It is a fact revealed and taught – just the timing in unrevealed.

Jesus then turns to His followers and tells them that to fulfill what He has called them and the Church to do they are going to need power. When Jesus, after His resurrection, appeared to His disciples in the Upper Room He breathed on them and they received the Holy Spirit in them – they were born again. Now, He tells them to stay in Jerusalem untill the Holy Spirit comes upon them (Acts 1:8).

Every person born physically into the world has the Holy Spirit with them (John 14:16-17). His task is to bring them to the foot of the Cross and salvation. When they accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour the Holy Spirit comes to live inside them. (John 20:22). Here Jesus tells them to wait until the Holy Spirit comes upon them. This is a second encounter with the Holy Spirit subsequent to salvation seen constantly throughout the Book of Acts. We call this the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

They will need this power from God because they are called to be witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. To be a witness means preaching and teaching with signs and wonders following the ministry of the Word. So, power will be needed. Jesus needed this anointing as seen in Luke 4:18-20. So do we.

The word “witness” in the Greek meant: “People who tell the truth” (about Jesus Christ). It also meant “one who dies for his faith” and it was very common to pay this price when telling others of the offer of salvation and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. So, power to honour God in death as well as to testify that Jesus really was raised from the dead and is alive!

They were to be witnesses starting at home and heading out in ever widening circles. This the early Church did. And, this Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth flow is also the natural breakdown of the Book of Acts.

APPLICATION:

Many today in the Charismatic Church who are baptized in the Holy Spirit have forgotten the purpose for the baptism. It is not so we can prophesy over other believers and bring healing to each other during the ministry time on Sunday. It is not so we can pray for one another and be slain in the Spirit. The purpose for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and the resulting nine gifts of the Spirit is to get us out on the highways and byways witnessing to those who cannot and do not hear God for themselves (Isaiah 59:1-2).

Those inside the Church should not need us to “witness to them” as they can hear God for themselves and have a relationship with The Healer and so can have their needs met directly within their relationship with God.

We need the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the resulting power so that we can be witnesses – light in the darkness. Read the Book of Acts and see the gifts in motion convincing and convicting the unsaved of their need for a Saviour and that He is alive as proved by the miracles, signs and wonders ordinary believers did apparently on a daily basis.

Who have you witnessed to recently? Did you do it in the natural (flesh) or the supernatural (Spirit)?

A Word to Encourage

Taken a minute or two lately to just stop your world and spend some time focusing on God and loving Him? The Greatest Commandment that Jesus left us (Matthew 22:37) is that we are to love our Heavenly Father with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. But, we live a fairly rapid pace and miss doing that on a regular basis.

However, this is the real key to two other things we are commanded to do. And, in the Kingdom we belong to, royal commands are very important. When the King speaks we need to heed His words and submit immediately. Kingdoms work that way, you know.

After we have focused on God and loved Him with our whole being – we experience a fresh infilling of His love. Afterall, we only love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19) and continues to love us – pouring out this love upon us and in us every time we spend time with Him.

Then, with this fresh ‘dose’ of love we are able to accomplish two terrifically exciting things.
First, we can then love ourselves (Matthew 22:38). Now this is a miracle in itself for most of us. Afteralll, we live with ourselves every day and we know the real us that no one ever sees. But, God’s love is so immense that it even allows us to fall deeply in love with ourselves and to then recognize the value that God places on our lives. He valued us enough to send His Son to die for us.

Then, remembering the order – love God, love self – we can then love others, even the so-called unlovables. In fact, once we have taken the time to love God and discovered His love for us – and thus begin to love ourselves – we cannot help but watch that love overflow and splash out touching others who are around us.

So, feeling like it is really difficult to love that teenager right now? Want to hit that alcoholic son or father? Want to disown a family member? Wish the neighbours would put their house up for sale and move away – far away…

Then it is time to slow your life down, turn the television off, divorce yourself from talk radio for a day or two, put down the novel and simply start at the beginning once again loving God with your whole heart.

The rest will then fall into place and take care of itself.

The Christian’s Great Cop-out – Bible Blog #3

The Scriptures:

The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:1-5 NASV)

Comments and Insights:

In the Gospel of Luke (same author as the Book of Acts) we see what “Jesus began” and here in Acts we see what “Jesus continues” to do. Luke tells us that Jesus did His ministry by Word and deed. Paul also comments that he ‘fully preached the Gospel by word and by deed, by miracles, signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit’ (Romans 15:18-19). This, I am sure, should spreak volumes to the Church today in North America where we have many words but few miracles, signs and wonders and just as little power.

Luke then moves forward and tells us the basic agenda of happenings that took place from the resurrection of Jesus onwards. Luke tells us that for 40 days Jesus appeared to followers numerous times and in a variety of situations. Again, Paul confirms this when writing about the resurrection of the dead in 1 Corinthians 15:5-8.

“and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.”

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the KEY MESSAGE of the early Church. Interestingly, other than Easter Sunday we seldom here sermons on the resurrection from the dead in our churches today.

Luke states that Jesus gave many “convincing proofs” … These include:
– The resurrection appearance to over 500 disciples – 1 Corinthians 15:5-8
– Jesus entered a locked room to talk with his apostles – John 20:19
– He showed his apostles his crucifixion wounds – Luke 24:39
– He ate and drank with them on numerous occasions – Luke 24:41-43

While all this was going on over a period of 40 days (Resurrection to Ascension is 40 days / Ascension to Pentecost and the Holy Spirit coming down to empower the Church is 10 days) … Luke tells us the following happened:
1> Jesus gave orders to the Apostles by the Holy Spirit
Already Jesus is partnering with the Holy Spirit who was about to come and take over guiding and directing the early Church. Just as the Holy Spirit was the source and the power of Jesus’ earthly ministry (Luke 4:18-19) so He would be the source and power of the apostles and disciples’ ministry in and through the Church. (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; and Acts 2:1-5)
2> Spoke of things concerning the Kingdom
Just as this had been the major theme of Jesus’ ministry – it seems He was expecting that it would also be one of two major themes of the early Church – the other being the resurrection.
3> Gave a final command to ‘stay in Jerusalem’ and ‘wait for the Father’s promise’.
4> After this – there was a major discussion on the Kingdom (verses 6-8) which we will look at another day
5> Jesus was then taken up to Heaven (the Ascension) which signified the end of His direct, physical ministry on Earth.

Application:

“Jesus gave orders to the Apostles by the Holy Spirit” – let’s look at three “orders” that we do know and make sure that we are obeying these commands today.

1> The Greatest Commandment as found in Matthew 22:37-38

And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment.

2> The Great Commandment as found in Matthew 22:39

“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

If we do these two commandments then we will have fulfilled all of the Ten Commandments (the whole Law) and also fulfilled everything that the prophets spoke to God’s people to accomplish.

3> The Great Commission as found in Matthew 28:18-20

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

These are the 3 GC’s … to focus on and love God with your total being and being engulfed in His love and His presence at all times and not just when in a Sunday worship service. Secondly, to then allow His love to move so deeply in you that you reach the place where you respect and love yourself so that you are then able to love others as you love yourself. When this love becomes so great in you that it begins to overflow on all the people around you then you will be fulfilling the Great Commission of going into your world (and eventually all the world) and telling others of Jesus’ offer of salvation and eternal life.

Here’s the issue.

In the Church there is often a fourth GC – The Great Cop-out. For some reason we believe that, as Christians, we can ignore any or all of the three basic commandments of Jesus to the Church and thus to us and still be in good standing with Him.

How are you doing in this area? Is your love growing cold or is it growing in intensity day after day as you reach out and give it away to others?

Gosh, Golly – Did I Miss Something?

Well, the evolutionists would want you to believe we humans are working our way up the food chain and getting better all the time. You know, we started as goo crawling out of the ocean and got to you by way of the zoo – with monkeys being our nearest relatives that did not quite make it yet to the ‘human’ level.

However, I for one don’t believe this nonsense for a moment. Never have and never will. I work with people on a daily basis and I have come to believe what Jeremiah the prophet said: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) We are not getting better – we are just the same as always – deceived and wicked!

Man is not evolving becoming more and more intelligent and sophisticated. Man is as he has always been – deceitful, desperately wicked, very self-centered and filled with pride. That is what leads to sin and why we need a Saviour. How anyone can say we are ‘progressing’ and ‘becoming better’ is beyond me.

No, I’m not about to rant about gay marriages and the homosexual agenda. Don’t need to. Already did yesterday. The Associated Press (see link below) ran a news item that backs my point of view completely. The story goes as follows – the long and the short of it …

Turlock, California police on Monday shot and fatally wounded a 27 year old father. He had stopped his truck on an unlit road Saturday night, took his two-year-old son from the car seat and then stomped, kicked and beat the child to death. Several other motorists tried to stop the beating and failed (at least they tried). The child was so beaten that a fire department chief thought the child was road kill; only then realizing it was actually a human being.

The 27 year old declared to those who tried to stop him as he beat the boy to death that the boy was filled with demons and that the boy was “trash”. You want to ask the question – “Who really had the demons?” but don’t go there as the responsibility for his actions rest fully on the 27 year old adult. I am so tired of this ‘victim mentality’ – the ‘I grew up in a dysfunctional family’ excuse. Face it, we all grew up in dysfunctional families. So, get over it and move on. Take responsibility for your life and your actions. Stop using the old Flip Wilson line: “the devil (or some demon) made me do it”

Finally a police officer arrived by helicopter and after warning the man – telling him to stop beating the child – shot the man in the forehead as he gave the police officier the finger. He fell over dead.

The young 2 year old was already dead!

And yet evolutionists tell us that we are more civilized than ever before in the history of mankind. Gosh, golly – did I miss something? As far as I can see nothing has changed and the Bible – not evolution – is proving to be more true as each day passes.

I admit – I would side with Jeremiah the prophet and against all the latest theories of man’s evolution towards perfection or Nirvana or whatever other destination people believe we are heading towards. We are not becoming more moral or ethical as the centuries go by. Nothing has changed – people are not better than we were when Jeremiah wrote those words in 627 B.C.E. (or B.C. if you are old-fashion like me).

That is why we need to recognize our state of ‘fallenness’ and that, left on our own, mankind will quickly go down a moral and ethical sewer – and, some would say, have made a good start at it already. Our self-centered hearts will deceive us and will take us directly to Hell, we will not pass “Go” and certainly won’t collect $200.00.

That is why God gave to Israel and the Church His moral code known as The Ten Commandments. These have been programmed into every person’s conscience and so deep down inside we know when we are doing right or doing wrong. This man knew in his heart that a 27 year old adult beating a 2 year old child – no matter what the cause – is totally wrong and always wrong!

Man, because of Adam, lives in a fallen state and needs rescuing from the moral darkness that he lives in. There are no exceptions for “all have sinned” and thus all need to repent and ask Jesus to forgive them and to become their Saviour from sin – thus giving to them a new heart. He takes out the heart of stone that can beat a two year old child to death and replaces it with a heart of His own design – tender and soft towards the things of God that can love a child regardless and forever.

The prophet Ezekiel states: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26). This happens when we are born again. Then, we see things as they really were and really are and not as the fools known as evolutionists want us to think they are.

Check out the story – the link is below – and then pray that the Church of Jesus Christ will get off their sanctified backsides and begin to share the Good News of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection with every person that gives them opportunity to do so. He is the only solution to the darkness that the world lives in. And, according to another prophet, Isaiah, the darkness is turning into gross darkness. Maybe it already has!

It is time Church!

The link is: http://www.newser.com/article/D91ASS581.html

God’s Wonderful Plan for Your Life? – Bible Blog #2

Luke – the author of both the Gospel named after him and the Book of Acts is really only mentioned 3 times in the whole New Testament (Colossians 4:14, 2 Timothy 4:11 and Philemon 1:24). It appears from what we know of him that he was Paul’s close friend, his travelling companion as well as his personal physican.

Over and above his relationship with Paul we also know that he was a careful researcher (see his comments in Luke 1:1-4), an accurate historian, had an intimate knowledge of both Roman law and customs as well as the geography of the areas that he and Paul travelled. He was also an eye witness to most of what he writes about as seen in the Book of Acts by the number of times he states “we” and “us”.

The Gospel of Luke was written to be an ordered account of the things Jesus accomplished. The Book of Acts was written to show us what Jesus continues to accomplish through His early Church. This great book shows us the spread of the Gospel and the growth of the Church as well as the growing opposition to the message.

It is interesting how little is known about the “person” it was written to – Theophilus. His name means “Lover of God”. However, we are not sure if he was a believer or not. Luke could have written the Book of Acts as part of his instructing Theophilus in the faith. Or, Theophilus could be a pagan that Luke is seeking to convert to the Christian faith. Some scholars are not even sure that Theophilus is actually a real person. However, evidence does lean towards this ‘person’ being an actual live being that Luke was in communication with. In Luke 1:3 he writes “most excellent Theophilus” which means this man was probably a Roman official of some importance.

In our day and age of being “Seeker Sensitive” I find it interesting what Luke included in his writing – inspired by the Holy Spirit to do so – to a probable pagan inquirer. Anything but what a seeker sensitive church would include in a service on Sunday today. I mean, this is radical stuff of power, tongues, miracles, sign and wonders, persecution, suffering, prision, paying the price, winning the lost at any cost, giving it all up for the sake of the Gospel, and death. Not exactly “God has a wonderful plan for your life filled with financial wealth and prosperity, healing and health”.

So, we are about to embark on 30 years of early Church history – exciting reading even though the word ‘history’ does not always bring the term ‘excitement’ to mind. We are going to see a time of transitioning: Jesus to the apostles, Old Covenant to New Covenant, Israel as God’s witness to the Church as a ‘holy nation’ bearing witness to Jesus in the world, and a church moving from a ‘Jews only’ group to one containing Jews and Gentiles.

Here in the Book of Acts we will see the New Testament or New Covenant’s practical outworking in the life of the Church. To read the theology and doctrine behind this new move you need only to turn to the Book of Hebrews were you will find the New Testament theology of the transition from the old to the new.

So, an exciting adventure is about to begin – and this adventure continues to this day. In fact, the Book of Acts is the only New Testament book that does not have a definite ending as we continue to live in the days of the Book of Acts and God is writing Chapter 29 in and through us in the world today.

California has done it!

Well, California is now officically marrying homosexual couples. The law, passed a number of weeks ago, went public yesterday and the “weddings” began.

Here in Canada where I live one national network (CTV) on their main late evening newscast carried an item on the rush to have “marriages” legalized in that state. It is interesting that they chose to focus on an elderly female couple – one 83 the other 85 – who had been living together as sexual partners for over 50 years. I could not help but think that this makes those of us who oppose gay “marriages” look mean and vengeful. Afterall, what could be seriously wrong with gay “marriages” when here we have two grannies being united in ‘holy matrimony’ after being faithful to one another for their whole adult life. Good choice CTV. Do we have an agenda here?

What we don’t hear about are all the lives ruined by this lifestyle. We don’t hear of the 200+ partners that an average homosexual has in a lifetime. We don’t hear of the violence and the pervertedness of this sexual lifestyle choice. We don’t hear anything about how illogical this lifestyle really is – afterall it is based on something called ‘love’ which might really be ‘lust’ and in spite of people ‘falling in love’ with someone of the same sex – it is still fundamentally wrong. We don’t hear of the confusion that children go through when they are raised by two moms or two dads. We seldom hear any more of the widespread issue of AIDS still very much a part of the homosexual lifestyle.

The Gay Agenda has worked very well. Over the last 40 years or so the leaders of this well-funded movement have convinced society in general, and a large portion of the Christian Church, that this lifestyle is not an ‘abomination’ but rather a loving alternative to hetrosexual marriages and and a hetrosexual lifestyle. Even history tells us that societies that have gone this way before us have ended in moral ruin and often total collapse – ask the Roman Empire, for example. This lifestyle totally undermines the basic building block of any civilization – the family.
Gee, now I’m sounding like Jim Dobson. Good for you Dr. Dobson! Thank you for being vocal and standing up for what is right even when difficult to do.

But, oh no! We are much more enlightened than they were and we know better. We can make it work in our day and age. Afterall. we have overcome all that superstitution and have a loving and caring God who would never condemn loving couples to Hell especially when He created them with this same-sex attraction in the first place. Wow!

Here’s an insight – they have created a god in their own image and of their own making and thus have broken another of the Ten Commandments which are our moral standands even today. God told us that we were not to create a god – either a graven image made with hands (idol) or one created from our own vain imaginations (mind). That we were to come to personally know the one true God as set forth in the scriptures (Bible) and simply obey Him. He is the Truth and speaks Truth and He says this is all wrong – no matter how loving it may appear (or actually be) on the surface.

So, to the two seniors married in northern California yesterday after waiting over 50 years to do so, I have only one piece of friendly advice – repent and get right with the One True God.

Happy Father’s Day?

I was driving home last night (almost a 3 hour drive – 175 miles one way) and was listening to talk radio from the U.S.A. The Bill Cunningham Show – conservative talk radio. We don’t get it here on Canadian stations but late at night the program comes in on a number of American radio stations. I think I started listening to it from a Chicago station and then part way home I switched to KOA from Denver as their signal was better and, in fact, good all the way home.

He was commenting that Father’s Day reminded him every year of a mistake he made in his relationship with his alcoholiv father who deserted the family when he was very young. When his father called him from his death bed many years later Bill – then a university law student – refused to go and talk with him. His answer to his father was: “You were not there in life for me, I won’t be there in death for you.” You could tell that Bill was still upset by this decision – which he now admits was a very immature and definitely seriously wrong decision – which he made 15+ years ago. It still bothers him.

As someone whose father died back in the early 1970’s and who died while I was half way across the continent I understood the desire on Father’s Day to tell your father that he is loved and that you appreciate him. Wish I could tell my dad that – even now 35 years later. Telling your loved ones how important and how loved and appreciated they are is really important. And, maybe we should do it without first waiting for some annual holiday to remind us – and do it more than once a year.

His program hit home for a second reason driving home late last night – Father’s Day – as I finished an 18 hour work day preaching and ministering … my three girls took the time to say happy Father’s Day and give me a hug (we are famous for our hugs) but I did not hear from any of my three sons. Not even a phone call or a card dropped off while I was on the road.

Made me think of the fact that I had not wished my heavenly Father “Happy Father’s Day” for, afterall, He is THE Father we have to be most thankful for – as He sent His only begotten Son to die for us so that we can now be children of the living God.

Happy belated Father’s Day Abba!