Hell, Heaven, and Halloween

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In a marketing sense, Halloween today has become big business

 The second most popular event for marketing activity, behind Christmas, is now Halloween

 In the United States alone people spend 6.9 billion dollars on Halloween

 Canadians also spend a tremendous amount in retail stores to celebrate Halloween

 Besides the kids, at least one in three adults will buy costumes for themselves

 For adults, Halloween has become the third most popular reason for a party – behind the Superbowl and New Year’s Eve

Let’s look briefly at this practice of celebrating the holiday known as Halloween

 Also known as All Soul’s Eve
 Also known as National Magic Day
 Also known as the key day of satanic worship each year

Halloween is not a simple, fun evening for children to go trick or treating and get some free candy.

It is a dangerous feast day for those who do not follow the Lord nor worship our Father God

It is not something we can ever be neutral aboutas some who profess to be Christians believe


 In 835 CE Pope Gregory IV designated November 1st as All Saints Day or All Hallow’s Day

 The term “hallow” was an ancient word for “saint”

 Packed with non-biblical things
 Prayers for the dead
 Prayers for dead saints (Pergatory)
 All dedicated to Mary

 The night before All Hallow’s Day then became known as “All Hallow’s Evening” which soon was shortened to “Halloween”

 However, long before the organized religious church got involved – this special evening and next day had already been spoken for by the pagans

 The earliest records indicate that these two specific times were special times celebrated by the ancient Druids

 Druids were the learned or priestly class of the Celtic religion

 The Celtics were the first white people who came from Asia to settle in Europe – especially France and the British Isles

 Aryan race with Druids as their priests and they were the ones who set this time aside as special to their religion

 The Druids believe (notice the tense):

 In a large number of different gods each of which requires a different aspect of devotion and worship

 Cernunnos – a horned god who is always in the yoga position

 Lug or Lugus – the god of the sun similar to sun worship cults in Egypt and India

 Mother earth is worshipped – worship of nature

 Certain trees and plants – such as oak and mistletoe – are given great spiritual significance

They also believe …

 In reincarnation

 In transmigration of the soul – which teaches that people may be reborn as animals

But their chief god and most powerful god is known as “Samhain” who major feast day (special day) is October 31

 The time of the winter festival

 The time when human sacrifices are offered

 Powerful even in the days of the Roman Empire – in fact, Julius Caesar mentions in his Commentaries that the Celtic people believed they were descended from the god “Dis” – “Dis” being the Roman name for the god of the dead

 So “Samhain” is the Lord of Death and is the chief druidic deity

 His special day to be remembered – October 31/November 1

Let me quote Lewis Spence – an expert of Druid worship

“The Celts and their Druid priests began their New Year on November 1, which marked the beginning of Winter. They apparently believed that on October 31, the night before their New Year and the last day of the old year, the Lord of Death gathered the souls of the dead who had been condemned to enter the bodies of animals. He then decided what animal form they would take for the next year. (The souls of the good dead were reincarnated as humans.) The Druids also believed that the punishment of the evil dead could be lightened by sacrifices, prayers and gifts to the Lord of Death.

Druid worshipers attempted to placate and appease the Lord of Death because of his power over the souls of the dead, whether these souls were good or evil. For those who had died during the proceding 12 months, Samhain allowed their spirits to return to earth to their former places of habitation for a few hours to associate once again with their families.
Thus, the Celts believed that on their New Year’s Eve (our Halloween) ghosts, evil spirits, and, some say, witches roamed about.

On this night, evil or frustrated ghosts were also supposed to play tricks on humans and to cause supernatural manifestations. As part of the celebration, people donned grotesque masks and danced around great bonfires often pretending they were being pursued by evil spirits. And while these bonfires were lit to scare away evil spirits, food was put out to make the ghosts or souls of the good dead that Samhain had released feel welcome and at home.

Because Samhain marked the beginning of a new year, divination and fortune-telling became an important part of this holiday celebration. For example, the Druids believed that the particular shape of various fruits and vegetables could divine the future. Victims of human sacrifice were used for the same purpose.”

He concludes:

“For the most part, then, our modern Halloween appears to initially be traced to the practices of the ancient Druids at their Winter festival on October 31.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica:

“In ancient Britain and Ireland, the Celtic Festival of Samhain was observed on October 31, at the end of the summer…The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day and the autumnal festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, goblins, black cats, fairies and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about. It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. In addition, Halloween was thought to be the most favorable time for divination concerning marriage, luck, health, and death. In was the only day on which the help of the devil was invoked for such purposes.”

A little history:

 The observance of Halloween as we now know it is not world-wide nor is it wide-spread

 It is very much centered in the areas that no longer believe in the supernatural world of demons and the devil – Rational – thinking places such as North America, some of South America, and Europe. Other nations and areas that believe in the realm of the demonic and the spirit world’s influence and power – see it for what it really is

 It did not become popular in North America until after the national spiritist (pagan) revival that began in 1848 which has led to today when Wicca and the current women’s movement of white witchcraft number 3 million followers in the U.S. alone with 200,000 hard core witches. Of course, we have taken some pagan things and put a thin veneer over them to apparently make them more acceptable.

 The Jack-o’-lantern – The carved pumpkin may have originated with the witches’ use of a skull and a candle in it to light the way to coven meetings

 Trick or treat where people went about collecting fruit and nuts and other treats so as to set them out on a table so that the ghosts when they arrived would treat the living well. If you did not supply enough ‘goodies’ then the spirit or ghost would then “trick” you.

 Halloween costumes – Masks and costumes were worn to either scare away the ghosts of the dead or to keep the ghosts and disembodied spirits from recognizing you and maybe then harming you

From The Holiday handbook: “…People thought that ghosts and spirits roamed after dark on Halloween. They lit candles or lanterns to keep the spirits away, and if they had to go outside, they wore costumes and masks to frighten the spirits or to keep them from being recognized by these unearthly beings.”

 Bobbing for apples – The Druids believed that this was a very good way to tell the future especially in the area of romance – divination. The Bible condemns divination of any kind!

Every aspect of today’s Halloween celebrations can be directly related back to an ancient practice of the pagan religions … way back to before the birth of Christ and since.

Halloween then:

1> It is the most sacred day of witchcraft and the occult

2> It was and still is believed to be the only day of the year in which the devil’s help could especially be invoked for a variety of things

3> It was and is a special day for Satanists

4> Human sacrifice was and is offered on this special day more than any other day of the year

5> It encourages occult activities on the part of both children and adults

6> It is a special day to call on spirits via the Ouija board and other forms of spiritism and white witchcraft

7> It is a day noted historically and even today for powerful divination

8> It supports such pagan beliefs and practices as reincarnation, animism, Shamanism, and Druidism

9> It encourages people’s interest in ghosts and the para-normal

10> Occultists use this day especially for winning new converts to their professions and activities

11> It can unequally yoke Christians and pagans

12> No Halloween activity or symbol can be found that does not go back to pagan occultism

So we need to ask some questions…

1> Can we be a part of this event and do so detached from the deeper meaning and significance of the event? Can we be a part of this special occult night and still remain detached spiritually? Realize that it is impossible to remain spiritually neutral. The event either glorifies God or it glorifies and draws attention to the devil. Do we really glorify God by our participation in Halloween activities?

The purpose of our lives as Christians is to glory God so we need to ask: Does this activity glorify God?

1 Corinthians 10:23 “Everything is permissible” – but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible” – but not everything is constructive.

2> But we are not engaging in the original practices or intent – so what harm can it do?

We are just out “Trick or Treating” … we are really imitating the things that the occult does on this day
and the Bible tells us over and over again not to imitate the evil practices of pagan nations.

3 John 11a … do not imitate what is evil but what is good.

Greek for “imitate” means to mimic, to act out or copy. The Scripture is saying not to imitate, mimic, act out, or copy what the occultists are doing. So, we need to ask: Is participation a form of imitation?

3> As we participate are we not, indirectly perhaps, setting up our children to become familiar with the “flavour” or practices of the occult? Afterall, we are mixing in with those who are dressed in a way to celebrate the devil and his night. Even if our children dress in Bible costumes – they still go door-to-door with those who are dressed as demons and represent evil

4> What is your answer when your children ask you why they and other kids dress up in costumes and why they trick or treat? If they ask you where such a practice comes from – can we as their parents give them any other answer that is not tied back to pagan, occult practices?Stick a thin veneer on it – even a religious one … it is still pagan. Even what other members of the Christian faith believe – praying for those in purgatory and shortening their time of penance – is 100% non-Biblical and pagan
There is no Born Again Christian reason for this night of activity

5> How do you reconcile this activity with Scripture?

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

What are we teaching our children to think about and dwell on by participating in Halloween activities?

6> Could being involved in any way with Halloween simply be mocking God?

God’s children involved in and participating in a celebration of the work of the devil, pagan gods, and all kinds of evil – this is not good.

7> If the Ku Klux Klan or the Alberta Arian Nation held a special day and a parade – would you let your children dress as little Klansmen and send them out … even in fun and jest?

The Scriptures:

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

Romans 12:9b Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 Avoid every kind of evil.

3 John 11a do not imitate what is evil but what is good.

Ephesians 5:1, 8-11 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

Can a Christian participate in Halloween and still fulfill these Bible passages?


In my research I came across many more things we could talk about

 Ghosts – what are they and why?

 Haunted houses

 Poltergeists – German: Polter – to make noise / geist – ghost or spirit – So, Poltergeists – noisy ghosts

 Role of demons in the para-normal

 Crop rings

 People who spontaneously catch fire

 Necromancy and séances

Halloween practices and all these other related practices – open the door to the occult and can introduce forces into people’s lives that they do not understand and often cannot combat.

Halloween is not an innocent practice

You cannot be neutral and go along for the ride …

It does not glorify God

Therefore, we need to be very careful with this special day.

If you would like an audio copy of this teaching simply send an email to ralph@ralphhoweministries.com and on the subject line type “Halloween”. Please remember to add your snail mail address to the body of the email. A CD of this message will be sent out within 24 hours at no cost to you. You can also download it from my web site after the 1st of October. Go to www.ralphhoweministries.com and look for the free and downloadable MP3 on the home page – centre right on the page.

So You Are a Disciple, Are You?

Jesus commissioned the Church to “go into all the world, preach the Gospel, making disciples of all nations… teaching them…”

Every believer in every church should have a pasport and be prepared, at any time, to pack a bag and “go into all the world”. Yes, I am aware we have jobs and family responsibilities. However, we do have the blessing of free time unlike many believers in numerous nations who work 18 hours a day 7 days a week just to survive and keep food on the table. Leisure time is plentiful here in North America and in some other nations. Accumulate earned days off (EDOs), plan not to have an annual holiday and take that 2 or 3 weeks and go to another nation (or another place in your own nation) where there is a need for people to hear the Gospel – choose a place, any place! Go on a four day mission trip over a long weekend in a town or district near you that does not have a church preaching the gospel. Opportunities are everywhere. And all believers must be prepared to “go” wherever the Lord calls them to go.

A believer without a passport is setting themselves up to be in disobedience towards the Lord. If He tells them to go to a certain place outside their nation – they are unable to do so due to the lack of a passport.

Pastors and Church leaders without mission experience (in their own nation and in foreign nations) are in serious disobedience and should consider stepping down from the pulpit until they get right with the Lord and have begun to reach out to the lost in other nations (and in their own). Evangelism is one of the basic foundational truths for all believers and it must be first – coming before other callings and ministries. Called to be a prophet – and don’t evangelize. Don’t bother to look for the fulfillment of your word to be a prophet. Do the basics that every believer is called to do – evangelize and share your faith regularly – then begin to think and pray about your wonderful calling and anointing to be a prophet (pastor, teacher, apostle, evangelist).

Believers need to have something to say when they get to their destination. They need to be able to “preach the Gospel”. This means they will need to take the time to go to classes where they live and learn how to share the Gospel in a way that others today will understand and that will be culturally relevant. No more Christianese – let’s speak where people are living. And, we need more than one way to share the good news that Jesus saves. So, get busy and do some reading and invest some money in training (at home and in a local church setting) so you can be well prepared and equipped to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Become informed about current issues and stay up-to-date with what is happening in your world so that you have a springboard into conversations with others. [My recent one the last two days – talking about the face that Paul Newman died and so asking people have they ever thought about where he is spending eternity… you will finds works religion rear its ugly head as they mention the good works he did giving away millions to worthy causes.] You get the idea!

Read books – and there are some really good ones – about way of sharing the Gospel and how people today are approaching “faith issues” so that you will not be using flannel graphs while everyone else is looking at video clips. Be relevant and appear relevant. In the world but not of it.

Become intentional about reaching out daily as you go about your work and family activities. Evangelism is something you do as you “live life” and not a program you add to your life on Tuesday evenings. It has to be intentional, however, or it will simply not happen. I set out a dozen or so tracks that I am comfortable using in the morning and work throughout the day to talk with 12 people and give to them a written reminder of the conversation we have had – no matter how brief the conversation may have been. If we are not intentional about talking to others it will simply not happen. I also have one afternoon a week where I do reach out doing some street work and talking to strangers in coffee shops (I am very comfortable doing this and totally enjoy it – but recognize it is not for everyone).

That’s a lot of work! Right you are. But, it is work with and for Jesus and the Kingdom. Nothing could be more fun than to invest your time in the things of the Lord and something that will make a difference for all eternity.

But, don’t stop there … after you “go” and “share the Gospel” you will need to know how to effectively lead someone to faith in Jesus Christ. And, dare I say it, having them “repeat after me” is neither effective nor beneficial nor biblical. Learn to lead them to the Lord in a biblical manner where they become true converts and not simply someone who has said a sinner’s prayer. You will need to know what you are doing and how to do it – this is an important and eternal step for a person to take. Be good at what you do.

Ah! Now you can rest. Not in the least! Now, take this new believer and teach them “everything Jesus has commanded” and show them how to read and study the Word of God; pray effectively in a way that they will receive answers to their prayers; teach them to worship; make sure they know the basic doctrines of the Christian faith; show them the importance of being connected to other believers in the local church; train them in ministry and the spiritual gifts and then release them to minister as you mentor them further in the faith. Like parenting – it never ends.

That may mean you will first need to brush up on “everything I have commanded you” and grow in your own knowledge and application of the Word of God first! Great, more work. Right you are.

Teach them to evangelize – take them with you as you evangelize. Bring this new convert into maturity – teaching them how to disciple others as well – for that is the basic call on their life as well. They need to know what is required to bring a new convert into maturity. So, they will need to know what it was you did for them and how to do it for others. More discipling and mentoring.

So, Ralph – you’re kidding , of course. There is no way anyone can be expected to that involved in the Christian faith and in the lives of others – believers and non-believers? No, not kidding. Dead serious! This is the call of God on every believer’s life. Jesus never said this was going to be easy and that you could simply go to church on Sundays and Bible study on Wednesdays and live “normally” the rest of the week? You are a disciple – follow Him 24/7.

This is assuming a number of things:

1> You really do believe that Jesus is the only way into Heaven and the Father’s presence and that without a personal relationship with Jesus a person goes to Hell when they die
2> You have personally repented with godly sorrow and come to the foot of the Cross and accepted Jesus’ offer of forgiveness and make Him Lord and Savior. That you are REALLY saved yourself.
3> You have been discipled into the basics of the faith so that you really do know what it is you believe and have removed all the religious thinking and kept yourself clear of all the flacky stuff that floats around in most Christian circles. That you are able to “earnestly contend for the faith once deliverd to the saints” (Jude 3)
4> You have spent enough time in the presence of the Father that He has shared His heart for the lost with you so that you weep about those things that He weeps about. You need to share the passion that God has for seeing the lost saved or you will simply reach out without passion and compassion.
5> You are living the life of a true born again believer and follower (disciple) of the Lord yourself. Afterall, you will be the first example of a Christian that the new believer will see and emulate.

No time like the present to get started if you are missing one or two of this things mentioned above. You can do it. You must do it! The King commands that you do do it! This is not optional when a believer and disciple of the Lord jesus Christ.

I am always encouraged by the verse …

Colossians 1:6 This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours that very first day you heard and understood the truth about God’s great kindness to sinners.

Recently I read about some House church leaders in China – Between Christmas and Chinese New Year the Lord led them into a plan. Leaders were to lead 5 people to Christ and disciple them into the faith including soul-winning. Believers were to lead three to the Lord and do likewise during this same time period. And, guess what – they did. They added thousands to their local churches in just a few days.

The Gospel truly is “going out all over the world” and YOU have been called to be a part of this mighty supernatural work. Time to go into spring training so you can step up to the plate and hit a home run for Jesus.

They Come to Your Door – So Witness to Them

In our world today there are many natural opportunities to reach out to those who have yet to hear about Jesus. One such opportunity is just 34 days away.

Halloween is on the 31st of October and is a wonderful opportunity for you to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with neighbours and friends.

First – Study up on where the “feast of Halloween” came from in the first place – it’s pagan roots. To help you do this we can supply you with a free CD on Halloween from a teaching I did two or three years ago on the celebration of Halloween. (send us an email at ralph@ralphhoweministries.com and on the subject line just write one word “halloween”. Remember to give us your snail mail address)

Second – Make sure you know how to present the gospel, the good news that Jesus saves, in a simple yet accurate manner so that if an opportunity should present itself you can share it in a way that others will understand you and the gospel.

Third – Avail yourself of material that you can pass out along with your regular goodies that will also share the gospel with the children who come to your door. We will be supplying these the two Sundays before Halloween night. Make sure your cell phone number is on the material so people can contact you if they should want to.

Forth – Start praying now for those who will be coming to your door. Pray that God will work in them to soften their hearts so that they – and their parents – will be open to hearing and reading the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation – so pray that the message will penetrate and convict so that they will experience an encounter with God and His love for them.

Fifth – mark your calendar to listen to The Point radio show on the 26th of October (6:30 p.m. at www.1005therock.ca) as I will be discussing Halloween on that specific show.

Peter stated (1 Peter 2:9) that we must be always ready to tell others why we live with such hope and what has caused this night-and-day difference in our lives. So, sixth – it might also be good to be praying for ourselves as we prepare for this wonderful opportunity when people come to you and to your door thus giving you opportunity (brief though it may be) to influence them for all eternity.

An Embarrassing New Young Believer

Peter gets baptized in the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit comes upon this man who denied Jesus and ran away. The Holy Spirit came on this man who had given up on ministry and gone back to what was familiar and comfortable – fishing. The Holy Spirit came upon this man who one minute was flowing in revelation knowledge given to him by God and the next moment was talking as an agent of Satan. This man was changed.

He immediately moved outdoors and preached the Church’s first sermon – telling people about the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and that Jesus was alive. He spoke on sin. Very plain and simple. The Holy Spirit fell on those listening and they experienced conviction with godly sorrow. They asked Peter what they should do. Peter responed: “Repent!” 3,000 were saved that day.

I have been re-reading the life of Charles Finney, the lawyer from upstate New York who was converted and became a radical and effective evangelist for the King. Wrote yesterday (see: New Convert Wins Souls) about how the morning after he was glorious saved (in the woods outside Adams, New York) and baptized in the Holy Spirit (the same night in his law office) he went out into the community and onto he streets and began witnessing to anyone who would listen about what he had seen, heard, and touched (1 John 1:1-4).

The night after he was saved – He went to his first prayer meeting and when asked to pray – he stood and prayed for the first time in publc. Do you have any idea how refreshing that would be? There are many Christians who 20 and 30 years after being born again will still not pray out loud in public. It’s like they are embarrased to do so or simply uncomfortable. Of course, we excuse such behaviour and comment about personality and levels of comfortability. Charles Finney was an introvert.

When Finney prayed people were convicted and God’s presence was felt throughout the meeting room. This is a new convert praying – with little “know-how” or practice. But, a man who had been seriously converted and saved and then saturated in the Holy Spirit. He stands and prays for the first time in public and God answers his simple prayer by allowing His presence to be so thick and heavy that people felt God’s presence upon them and, if in sin, were convicted of their need to get right with God. That would definitely change any of our assemblies on any given Sunday morning.

The next day he got some young people together to pray. Charles Finney – a layman and not a clergy person – felt such a hunger for God and for what he sensed God wanted to do and needed to do that he found a number of young men and started a prayer group. And, this continued as a regular event for years. Prayer was a staple foundation for the young convert. He hungered and thirsted for more of God and, like the early Church which was baptized in the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 and then prayed for more in Acts 4:30-31, he prayed for more on a daily basis.

Shortly after this experience – and this wonderful and immediate start to a solid and powerful Christian walk – he began to preach God’s Word. As he preached – the Holy Spirit would fall on people and convict them of their sins and their need for a Savior – Jesus! Often he would only be a few lines into his well-written and organized sermon and God’s Spirit would be so strong and powerful that conviction would fall on the people assembled and they would fall out into the aisles and cry out for mercy. Many, from the very beginning of his ministry, would get saved. Very similar to the early Church in the books of Acts – with God adding daily to their numbers.

From the time of his conversion – a true conversion – and his infilling with the Spirit, Finney was a man on fire and ablaze for God with holy boldness. He was constantly guided by the Sprit and anointed with power. Usually wherever Finney preached, people quickly became convicted of their sins, humbled themselves in repentance before God and received the assurace of salvation. His revivals spread from town to town like a creeping vine, and wherever he went new spiritual life came to individuals, churches, and communities.

Lord, send us young unsaved men and women who are hungry for you. Gloriously save them and baptize them in your Holy Spirit. Let them receive the baptism of fire that you have promised and immediately move out in power and with anointing to preach and pray so that the unsaved hear of the death and resurrection of Jesus and His offer to them of forgiveness and eternal life. Let them be single-focused, committed, consecrated, empowered, alive and excited about You and Your Kingdom and mandate to the Church to reach the whole world with the Gospel of Jesus. May they never settle for an outward form of religion but always seek after more of You and walk in Your power. And, may their life-style so convict the normal and nominal church attendees and those who give lip-service to the Christian faith but still live like and in the world that they would repent and experience a personal conversion and be drastically transformed into passionate believers, followers, and soul-winners as well. And, let it begin right here and right now! Amen!

New Convert Wins Souls

On October 10, 1821, while praying alone in the woods outside the village of Adams, New York, Charles Finney experienced a powerful conversion. Didn’t just say a sinner’s prayer and then think he was saved. He had an encounter with the living God and knew he was changed – converted – a new creature in Christ as Paul the apostle would say.

That evening in his small office he had a vision that he fell weeping at Jesus’ feet. He said: “I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost… Without expecting it, without even having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any recollection that I had ever heard the thing mentioned by any person in the world, at a moment entirely unexpected by me, the Holy Spirit decended upon me in a manner that seemed to go through my body and soul.”

The very next day Finney began witnessing to people.

Well, of course. That’s the reason for this encounter with the Holy Spirit we call the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Jesus said (Acts 1:8) that “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be My witnesses…” Finney believed that and so after his encounter with the Holy Spirit he immediately went about witnessing to all who would listen.

So, today we have a lot of folks baptized in the Holy Spirit. They have the power upon them to witness. They have to mandate of the Lord to His Church (every believer) to “go into all the world and witness…” They have the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) within them and available to supernaturally touch others. They have the greatest gift to offer to all who listen and respond – eternal life – a relationship with go the father and Jesus Christ His Son (John 17:3). Yet…

I have to tell you – we are creative. Everywhere I go I hear reasons why people are not going out and telling others about the Lord. It’s not their gift. Their personality is quiet and shy and introverted. They live in a small town and it won’t go over big. People just are not interested. Their Church does not emphasize evangelism and winning the lost. They are busy. Don’t want to upset people. Don’t want to bother people. Don’t want people to think they are some type of religious fanatic. They are not comfortable witnessing to others. Thy are afraid of what might happen to them. On and on the excuses go.

In reality, the reason they don’t go out and use the supernatural power and gifts that God gave to them – His equipping of them for the task – is that they are in rebellion and chosing not to obey the mandate o the Lord to all believers and to the Church – The Great Commiission (Matthew 28:18-20). Let’s call a spade a spade.

I like Charles Finney – a new convert himself – he instantly went out to tell others of his new found joy and peace – and share with them how they too could experience what he had just experienced.

This is the norm – and it is time we measured up and began to do what the Lord has called us to do … “seek and save the lost”. Each one – reach one. Win the lost at all costs. It is time for the Church to be the Church! And for believers to be bold and speak up about this Jesus they love, follow and (sometimes) obey!

Do We REALLY Want Revival?

There is a great deal of talk about revival. Lakeland in its short-lived hayday under Todd Bentley was being called a revival that was going to influence the world and bring healing back to front and center in the Church. Didn’t happen. Wasn’t a revival.

At times the Church seems to pursue revival as if it were an idol that we are worshipping. Instead of focusing on revival and praying for revival it would be good to actually prepare ourselves for revival. When the Church is prepared then God will send a revival our way. You see, I believe that “revival” is God’s norm and His standard. So, the Church should be living in a perpetual state of revival.

The Toronto Airport – The Father’s Blessing – was being called a revival near the end of its run a few years back. It was not a revival.

Pensacola was called a revival – it seemed to come closer to the classic look and feel of a revival. But it was not a revival.

Many things are called revivals but so far I have not seen one although I have been in a number of major moves of God and a few renewals.

So, what is a revival? I have been studying them for years and it is hard to get a lot of agreement on any given definition. However, one thing they all seemed to have in common …

They were days of the church when God manifested His presence in overwhelming reality. They always left you with a profound realization of God’s greatness and transcendence and of your own unworthiness and dependence upon Him. Sinners felt a fearsome awareness of God’s presence and their own sinfulness.

There’s the key. The believers and non-believers became aware of the awesomeness of God and, as a result, they had a sense of fear towards Him. They also had a great sense of their own sinfulness and their unworthyness. It was serious business as the Holy Spirit would come upon people and bring conviction regarding their sins and they would fall out wailing and crying out to God … not laughing, not demanding more from God, not looking for angels, wind, visions and dreams, or other manifestations. It was a serious time of conviction, godly sorrow, repentance, and salvation.

As I look at what is passed off as revival today – not even close. Man-made enthusiasm and emotionalism is superficial and cheap. In real revival emotion is not produced or manipulated by man. It is a response to the unsought, unexpected, and powerful working of God’s Spirit upon the inner depths of people’s souls. In fact, in Finney’s revivals he worked hard at shutting down any sign of emotionalism. But often it came as a result of a serious and deep conviction of sin that fell upon people – sometimes just a few sentences into his sermon. Sovereign, non-hype, God-centered and God-initiated.

Dr. W. Graham Scroggie once said: “there has never been a spiritual revival which did not begin with an acute sense of sin. We are never prepared for a spiritual advance until we see the necessity of getting rid of that which has been hindering it, and that, in the sight of God, is sin.”

Didn’t see that in Lakeland or in the moves of the Holy Spirit I have been a part of. And, if I dare offer an opinion, unless God moves sovereignly and supernaturally we will not see one in the near future. They are not man-made – they are God-given. They don’t come because we announce that what we are holding is a revival. They don’t come as a result of man’s hype and emotions. They are a serious move of God. And, the Church needs to become serious, once again, about the things of God – holiness, repentance, and soul-winning to name just a few. When we become serious about what we already know then we will see God move upon His people taking us to a whole new level. Whden we walk in the fear of the Lord and obedience to His Word – something we have not seen for a number of decades – then He will release His Spirit to bring sinners (Christians and non-Christians) to repentance.

We are too tolerant of sin in the camp and in our personal lives. With this tolerance comes a lack of God’s presence and power which are necessary ingredients for a real revival. In fact, in a real revival people are morally transformed – and it usually starts with the leaders. That definitely rules out Lakeland as a “revival”.

If we dare risk it – and if we really want a revival for the sake of seeing the believers get right with God and rid their lives of compromise and sin and seeing non-believers saved and discipled … then we need to pray this wonderful prayer found in Isaiah 64:1-2 NKJV

Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence – as fire burns brushwood, as fire causes water to boil – to make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence!

And, may I add, that not just the unsaved and nations would tremble in His presence – but that the Church would too. We have lost the sense of the holiness and awesomeness of God – our reverence and fear of our holy God. We are much too familiar, demanding, and irreverent when talking about and talking to Yahweh.

Do I Hear the Toilet Flushing?

The U.S. Census Bureau has recently reported that cohabitation among heterosexual couples has hit record numbers as living together – as opposed to getting married – becomes more and more mainstream and totally acceptable.

Before I review some of the statistics – we need to recognize, as Christians, that the reality of sexual intimacy outside of marriage always comes with a moral and spiritual cost – and that the culture is in denial and so will reject the idea of a cost being involved when marriage breaks down and being shacked up is on the rise. But the cost will be paid!

Here are some statistics and a comment or two:

1> In 1977 less than one million opposite-sex couples lived together. In 2007 (just 30 years later) 6.4 million couples co-habited. Cohabiting couples now make up almost 10% of all opposite-sex couples, married and unmarried.

2> In 2006 the Census Bureau reported 5 million unmarried opposite-sex households. In 2007 (1 year later) we see 6.4 million unmarried opposite-sex households.

3> Co-habitation is now accepted by the society in which we live. Marriage between two people of the opposite sex is no longer seen as nor treated as the norm.

4> The good news – We still lag behind Europe in this trend away from “marriage” as we have known it. The percentage of unmarried couples living together in Europe is much higher than here in North America.

5> Cohabitation is not seen as a permanent lifestyle here in North America. It is viewed as a “life stage” which either takes those involved into calling it off and living separately once again or to being married after their “trial period” of ‘seeing if it will work’. Linda Waite, a sociologist, states: “If it doesn’t lead to marriage, it leads to splitsville.”

6> There is a move to have cohabitating couples recognized as “a family form in its own right” which would be totally distinct from marriage.

What does all this amount to?

A fundamental change in one of the foundational institutions of our culture – the family. Add to the above ‘new family form’ the other ‘new family form’ of children growing up with 2 dads or 2 moms because they are living with a homosexual couple … who legally have been able to get ‘married’ in Canada for some years – and in the U.S.A. we are seeing a similar trend towards wide-spread acceptance of this lifestyle and the fact that it is marriage and not simply a “civil union” as some like to call it. Add these two new forms of ‘marriage’ and the Christian concept of marriage ’till death do us part’ is almost toally lost in the turmoil being created.

Call it a social trend. Call it a temporary transition. Call it a “part of the life course”. Call it a trial run. Call it being shacked up. Call it cohabitation. Call it by as many other names as you want. It still boils down to THE FACT that according to God and His Word this is out and out sin. He is not moved by our arguments nor is He fooled by us calling it whatever we want to call it so as to make ourselves feel better about the situation. In God’s eyes it is sin. Plain and simple – sin! It is sin! Did you hear that – it is sin!

And, the sin does not just go away if the couple “make it right” by getting married in a Church by a pastor or by a Justice of the Peace. To make it right the couple need to repent of their sin and do so with godly sorrow like King David did in Psalm 51 after sleeping with Bathsheba when they were not married. Repent with godly sorrow and receive forgiveness and let God cleanse you of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Then begin to live according to His Word and by His moral code – The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). Otherwise your declaration of being a believer and follower of Jesus Christ rings hallow.

So, cohabitation is now acceptable by society – accepted by those who are living together and by others who are their friends and neighbours. But, according to God’s Word – it is still not acceptable to Him – it is sin – and so should not be tolerated in the life of a believer. Even if the whole world comes to believe it is right – it does not mean the Christian must agree with them and go along with the flow. The flow is downhill into the sewer.

Do I hear the toilet flushing?

To Hear You Have to Actively Listen

I love the way the Lord continues to open the scriptures to me and how I see something new almost every day. Recent ones have included the fact that the devil does not have a kingdom as this would make him a king. There is only one King – Jesus! The Bible says in Colossians 1:13 that his territory is called a “domain”. Insignificant? Not at all – as I had the Devil misplaced in my head and thus saw him as though he were powerful and a ruler in his own right.

The one before that was about the phrase “My house shall be called a house of Prayer” and how I realized it was a house of prayer “for all nations”. Then linking this verse back to where it was first found in the Old Testament and fast forwarding to the days when Jesus cleansed the temple – and where it was (the physical place in the temple structure) He was expressing His anger and what area of the temple he was clearing of the money changers and those who sold sacrifical animals … and how all that tied together and relates to evangelism. Wow!

These revelations are wonderful and both encourage me to continue reading the Word of God as well as helping me to realize that the Holy Spirit continues to lead me into all truth. Exciting.

Well, there is a current ‘revelation’ that probably everyone else knows – but it just hit me like a ton of bricks and thrills meas I realize what this means and how gracious God was to reveal this to me.

There is a verse in John 10 that states: “My sheep hear My voice…” Neat verse. Truth well spoken. The NASV states it this way (John 10:27) “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me…”

That’s how I know the verse reads. The sheep hear the Great Shepherd’s voice and then follow Him.

But the NIV states it this way: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

Ah! See the subtle difference. “My sheep HEAR…” and “My sheep LISTEN to My voice”. Obvious, of course. But it really means a whole lot more than “My sheep hear…”

To “hear” you can be half-listening and half daydreaming. To “hear” you may be multi-tasking as you wait. To “hear” Him He is the one who is needing to make the move and you can have little to nothing of an investment in His speaking and your hearing.

But to “listen”“My sheep listen to My voice…” means a concerted effort to actually turn off other voices and all noise so that you can actually hear Him as you listen. To listen means you are not passive but actually just the opposite – you are proactive and very involved in the process of ‘hearing’ as you are “LISTENING” for Him and then, eventually, to Him.

Elijah realized this when he did not hear God in the earthquake, the fire or the wind. Then he heard His God speak in a still quiet voice – a whisper – because He was LISTENING. He was actively seeking to hear God. He was involved in the process. He was working at hearing God by listening.

Brother Yun states (page 134 of “Living Waters”) that: “…God does not often shout. If the world is making a lot of noise, God does not make Himself heard by speaking even louder than it. Rather, He speaks in a whisper and only those who are willing to get away from the roar of the world will be able to hear Him speak.”

Actively listening for God is a discipline we need to cultivate and this will take an investment of time and some serious work. There is much we will need to introduce into the lives of believers. To start with – stillness, silence, and solitude and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. These ancient disciplines of the Christian faith will help us to place ourselves in position to be actively listening for the voice of God, without distractions, and then receiving what is said into our hearts and not just our heads.

Then, there is the whole area of obedience – acting upon what we have heard. I discovered many years ago that God expects you to obey and if we don’t apply and use what He has spoken it can become fairly quiet fairly quickly.

As we learn to actively listen for the voice of God and to the voice of God we will find our ability to discern right from wrong, truth from falsehood, and things of the Spirit from things of “another spirit” growing and becoming much more sensitive and accurate.

The passage in John 10 goes on to say: “…The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

They know His voice and they will never follow a stranger and will run away because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice. We really need this ‘discernment’ in the Church today.

The Resurrection From the Dead

Heard a sermon recently about the resurrection of Jesus from the dead?

Other than occasionally on Easter Sunday – have you heard a sermon on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead? I mean, preachers can even turn their message around to ‘self-help’ even on Easter Sunday and totally miss preaching on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Yes I know Paul said that He knew nothing but (and preached nothing but) “Christ and Him crucified”. But, read the book of Acts and see what the early Church spoke about when preaching to the lost. The talked about “Him whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead“. It seems the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and the empty tomb was a major focus and theme of the preaching in the early church.

What has happened to this message?

Is not the resurrection central to the Christian faith? Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15 that if there is no resurrection – if Christ was not raised – than we have believed in vain. Seems central to me! Seems to be a foundational truth of the faith!

Paul preached and said: (Acts 17:30-31) “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” So, apparently repentance and judgment are both connected to the resurrection. The resurrection is proof that judgment is a given fact and that Jesus is the One who will do the judging when that day comes.

Think about it – is not the resurrection of Jesus from the dead to live forever the key building block of our faith. Without the resurrection – you could not have a relationship with Jesus – you would be talking to a dead person which is strickly forbidden by Scripture in spite of the “Cloud of Witnesses” teaching current in the Church today. A heresy, by the way.

Think about it – is not the resurrection of Jesus (our Founder) from the dead to live forever the major event that separates us from other religions and separates Jesus from others who have started various other religions around the world?

Think about it – did Paul not pray that he might experience the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10)

Think about it – is not the resurrection the one event that gives us hope that our loved ones will also be raised from the dead and be with Jesus in Heaven IF they were believers?

Think about it – is not the resurrection of Jesus from the dead the reason we believe that He will one day return to judge the living the the dead? You do believe that, don’t you? Many Christians apparently no longer believe this truth.

Think about it – if He was right about being raised from the dead – then we can believe that He was right about everything else that He taught and said!

It is time that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead became a central focus of the teaching and the witness of the Christian Church once again. From the pulpits of our nations, on the street corners and in the coffee shops – we need to be sharing Jesus – His death AND RESURRECTION and His coming again to judge the living and the dead. That’s our message as believers -as born again Christians – and we need to “not be ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation.”

My Trusted Old Friend

Just switched over to a new desktop computer this past weekend while I was out of town. My IT guy took away an old and slow-running model Saturday and brought back a new and fasting running one Sunday evening. The new one processes information at a speed 4 times faster than the old one and has more information storage than my mind can even imagine. Amazing! And the Bible programs, maps, commentaries, notes, 10 versions… better than ever.

But, Monday morning I still took out my battered and beaten old sword of the Lord and sat down with my long-time, leather-bound friend and read from her pages the never-changing, eternal words of the God whom I had worshiped and served all weekend. A time to soak in His presence and receive refreshment. A time to let His Word sink into my heart and mind and renew me after teaching and ministering for 16 hours in two days. A time to turn the pages and see where God had spoken to me in the past (I mark these places in the margin) and to listen afresh to this timeless Word to hear His voice once again for the day that was dawning upon my world.

All this high tech stuff is great. Makes researching and writing so much easier. It makes publishing and recording very manageable in my somewhat large and very up-to-date and functional office. But when it comes to hearing God’s voice I need a Bible in my hands and the absence of a screen in front of my face. When it comes to recording what He is saying to me for His people at the next place I will be ministering or what He is speaking to me personally – I still take notes using a wooden pencil and a legal pad. Hey, if it’s not broken don’t fix it. If it’s working, don’t make adjustments.

What is most important is that I do hear the voice of God for me personally and for those I will be ministering to. It happens every day without fail. Amazing and at times seriously overwhelming as I sit and weep before Him. He is so awesome and wonderful. So gracious and kind. So merciful and loving.

Remember, no matter how or where you do it, listen for God’s voice every day. He speaks to every believer every day. It is one of the wonderful privileges of being His children. We can and do hear His voice.