Guns Again!

I came across an as this week for Henry Repeating Rifles. The full ad is here but the image is one I find quite disturbing.

I find it disturbing because I know too many believers (in the US) who get the Bible and the Bill of Rights jumbled together. I know Canadians and Americans who cling to their guns and religion to the point that being a Christian means you are for the right to bear arms. I wrote about this type of thing once before.

I am not saying it is wrong to own a gun. I even think the Henry Repeating Rifles are really nice looking. Let's just keep religion out of it.

Remember the Word of God is "inspired by God and useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God's approval. It equips God's servants so that they are completely prepared to do good things." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Let's keep politics out of the church and focus on the King of Kings.


Bloom Where You Are Planted

1 Thessalonian 5:18 "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

I have seen way too many dissatisfied Christians over the years. These believers are not happy where God currently has them and sadly, they are missing some great opportunities. I've been there myself. When God moved us home from the mission field I wanted to go back. By focusing on where I wanted to be instead of where I was, I missed many opportunities to share Jesus with those around me.

1 Cor. 12:17-18, "If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it."

Where does God have you now? It doesn't matter if you are in full-time ministry or not. God has you right where He wants you. Focus on Him and see what He wants you to do with what He has given you. Let God satisfy you in the here and now. Your situation may change in the future but you need to show faithfulness in the present. I have seen flowers that bloom transplanted to new locales, where they grow to be just as hearty as they were before.

Focus on Him and let Him use you where you are. Relax. He holds the future.


Faith Comes By Hearing

OK I know I just featured this ministry yesterday but this is a ministry I am very excited about.

Illiteracy is a huge problem around the world. No where is it worse than in impoverished nations. I believe we, as believers, should reach this growing generation of people who are auditory learners. This is why I am excited about Faith Comes By Hearing which has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. In the New Testament we find that Jesus taught with stories, parables, and dialogue. Today, just as it was 2,000 years ago, we live in a world where people communicate orally. Faith Comes By Hearing currently has 454 different recordings of Bible translations in over 388 languages. These languages are spoken by people in over 135 countries.

Faith Comes By Hearing has partnered with the American Bible Society, Campus Crusade, Wycliffe International and a host of other ministries to provide auditory Bibles around the world.

Check out this awesome ministry. You can even get a FREE audio Bible download.

Faith Comes By Hearing's website


Military BibleStick Outreach

This week I received a review copy of the Military BibleStick. This Bible Stick is about the size of a pack of chewing gum. It comes pre-loaded with the ENTIRE New Testament. To top it off the New Testament is dramatized with sound effects, music and multiple character voices.

It's very rugged and can be used in low-light situations. The sound is amazing.

15,000 of these have already been distributed to troops in Iraq, Kuwait, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

I do wish there was a clip you can use to attach it to your side or clothing but it does fit into a vest pocket very easily. The soldiers who have received them are very happy with them as well. You can read their BibleStick testimonies here.

You can contribute to this worthy cause and with each stick you purchase for a soldier their spouse will receive a free mp3 audio dramatized Bible. In addition their kids can receive a special Kidz version.

This is something I hope you will all check out.


Bringing the Love!

John 13: 34-35 says "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

My last post asked "Why the Hate?" This time it's all about the love.

There are many churches I know that have demonstrated the love of God to one another. I want to highlight 3 of those. (I have not mentioned our own church, Main Street Christian Fellowship, as I did not want to be self-serving.)

1. The Downtown Zagreb Church of Christ - Located in Zagreb, Croatia, this church has brought the love of Christ to many over the years. They open their doors to the needy and reach out in words and action, demonstrating the love of Christ. Their downtown locale has been a beacon and a haven to refugees, street people and missionaries, demonstrating hospitality and generosity to people of all walks of life. . Pastor Vlado Psenko has been a friend and an encouragement to many around the world including myself and their Christian Radio Ministry is a real blessing as well.

2. Parkway Church of God - Located in Sevierville, TN, is our home congregation in the US. When we first encountered this church I was blown away by the spiritual sensitivity demonstrated by the pastor. God used Pastor Philip Morris and the people of Parkway COG to encourage, bless and strengthen us in our faith. We made numerous friends and experienced the love this congregation demonstrates first hand. Our lives were forever impacted by the people of this congregation.

3. Telkwa CRC - Located in Telkwa, BC; This church and it's pastor have been a blessing to the community of Telkwa and Smithers. They have opened their doors to people of other denominations and have created numerous opportunities for people to go deeper with Christ. The love I have seen eminating from this congregation has blessed me personally. My colleague, Pastor Stanley Groothof, also has an awesome blog that I would encourage you to read. I consider him not only a colleague, but a friend.

1 Cor. 13:13 "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

Do you attend a church that models love? Feel free to give them a shoutout here!


Why the Hate?

God so loved the world that He sent His only Son! (John 3:16) Jesus loved us enough that He submitted His will to the Father and died for our sins!

So how is it that Christians are known more for what we are against than for our love? Ask a non-believer what a Christian stands for and you get a long list of what we are NOT for. We are not for abortion, same-sex marriage, etc. If you do hear what we are for, it falls more along the lines of: war, the death penalty, etc. ..

Why are we not known for our love? Shouldn't we be modeling Christ? Jesus spoke the truth, yet He spoke more to the thirst and the hunger people had. The woman at the well (John 4) is a prime example. Jesus did not endorse her sin, but He pointed out her need more than her sin. He spoke to her thirst. He addressed the reasons WHY she acted out this way.

I believe as Christians we should point people to Jesus instead of trying to play judge and jury. Only Christ can change lives. We can speak the truth but we should be known for our love. We should model love to one another and let the love of Christ pour out to those around us.


5 Questions with Heath Evans

Welcome to 5 Questions With.....

Today's guest is Heath Evans. Heath is the starting fullback for the New Orleans Saints of the NFL. Heath has also played for the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. He has played in 121 regular season games and has 157 carries for 561 yards and three touchdowns. As a receiver out of the backfield, he has 40 receptions for 328 yards with one score. Heath has only missed 3 games in his career in the NFL.

And now without further delay, on to the questions:

Hi Heath,

Question 1: What one word would describe your current relationship with God?


Question 2: Your ministry, the Heath Evans Foundation, seeks to help victims of sexual abuse. What was the catalyst for this type of ministry?

My lovely wife of 9 years was sexually abused as a child by a schoolmate for an entire year of her life. The shame and guilt and pain she experienced had an impact on our lives as a young married couple, because no one had ever helped her address the issue. When we finally found a Christian counselor with experience in sexual abuse counseling, her life was turned around by the love of Christ – the Great Physician who heals all wounds. That pain is now the impetus for our desire to help others who have walked through this specific type of abuse. We now provide counseling for victims of childhood sexual abuse, fostering hope and healing in their lives through Christ. In addition, we host activities and media spots that raise awareness for the epidemic of childhood sexual abuse.

Question 3: How prevalent is childhood sexual abuse?

What is so amazing is that national statistics make clear that one in four young girls and one in six young boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18! In our home of Palm Beach County, Florida, the statistics are even more shocking: one in three girls and one in five boys. Those are statistics that can be Googled and backed up – not just something we inflate to make it seem like an epidemic. It is such a problem. If those numbers of kids got cancer or some other disease that ate away at the body the way sexual abuse eats away at the soul, there would be public outcry like you would not believe. But this is a quiet epidemic – one that we want to bring out in the open and combat!

Question 4: What can Christians do to help in this area?

First of all: Pray! There is only one true cure for this problem – both the abusing and the effects of the abuse. Christ is the only answer to sin, and abuse is rooted in sin. In addition, Christians can bring attention to the Heath Evans Foundation. There are so few organizations focused on this problem that we need exposure and financial gifts. My wife and I give as much as needed, but we are still limited by financial needs. If we can get an army of believers praying and supporting financially, we can grow this ministry on a national level. Even in a tough economy, 1,000 people giving $10 or $20 each month can make a huge impact. The counseling we provide costs appx $500 each month per victim, and there is an almost endless need at this point.

Question 5: How hard is it to be a Christian witness in competitive sports?

It is no harder than men or women who work a normal 9:00 - 5:00. Children of God will act like children of God!! Those who are just playing church will just keep playing church and have no impact where they are. I'm not saying that real men of God will not have bad days or momentary struggles, but at the end of the day, men of God are going to act like Christ consistently. I think the problem with most people who claim to be Christians is that they don't know enough about Christ to even begin acting like Him. Hosea 4:6 says, "My people are destroyed because of their lack of knowledge." What does this mean? It literally means that every day people are losing their lives for all eternity because they do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. I believe it also means Christians are daily losing battles here on earth that have no eternal consequences to them but do drastically affect the lives of themselves and others around them. The Bible says that the children of God are to be a peculiar people. That doesn't mean that we are supposed to be weird, but it does mean that people should see a difference in our daily lives......and it should be a good different!! They need to want what we have!!

Thanks you very much Heath.

So there you have it. I would encourage you to check out Heath's website and if you would like to help contribute financially to the work among the sexually abused click here.

To see past 5 Question guests, check out the rotating interview links on the sidebar.


Facebook and Myspace and Twitter - Oh My!

"Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!" (Psalms 37:7)

Over the last 30 years our society has become more advanced, more technologically savvy, than any generation in history. Every year sees an increase in time saving devices. So why are we so busy?

Cell phones, Email, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and laptops mean that we never have to be out of touch for one moment of our day. Yet with all the ability to communicate we know each other, truly know each other, less than ever. Not to mention the distractions these devices bring us in our daily life. On the job, in the car, at the movies, our cellphones have become extensions of our hands as we text every minute detail of our existence to people around the world.

Can we not be still one minute? One hour? One day?

"Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" (Psalms 46:10)

If God truly comes in a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12) than we are in danger of missing Him due to all the hustle and bustle around us. Don't me wrong. I love and USE tech myself. Yet I realize I spend more time teching out with others than chilling out with God!

SO I want to challenge you. Take a day of rest. Set aside 1 day and leave the technology alone. Stay off the cell phone, the computer, etc and re-connect with God. Spend time LISTENING for Him. I am going to give Sundays a try.

Anyone up for the challenge?


The Story of a Killer Sermon

Have you ever felt that your pastor was so long winded you could not stay awake in church? I know when I was co-pastor of a church in TN, many years ago, we had a man who would come to church, sit near a window and fall asleep. EVERY WEEK! He claimed he felt so relaxed when he came to church.

How many people feel bored to death?

Well this week I was reminded of a Scripture where Paul is teaching and a guy falls asleep and dies!

"After the Festival of Unleavened Bread, we boarded a ship at Philippi. Five days later we joined them in Troas and stayed there for seven days. On Sunday we met to break bread. Paul was discussing Scripture with the people. Since he intended to leave the next day, he kept talking until midnight. (Many lamps were lit in the upstairs room where we were meeting.) A young man named Eutychus was sitting in a window. As Paul was talking on and on, Eutychus was gradually falling asleep. Finally, overcome by sleep, he fell from the third story and was dead when they picked him up. Paul went to him, took him into his arms, and said, "Don't worry! He's alive!" Then Eutychus went upstairs again, broke the bread, and ate. Paul talked with the people for a long time, until sunrise, and then left. The people took the boy home. They were greatly relieved that he was alive." (Acts 20:6-12)

No one forced these people to hear the Word and no one forced them to stay! Their hunger for God was such that they stayed all night. Even the guy who died! He ate and resumed listening to Paul talk.

In Russia, years ago, I remember being at a church service that started at 8 am and by 1 pm they had to force people to leave. People were hungry for God's Word. In N. America people have a hard time being ON TIME for a 1 - 2 hour service!

Psalm 84:2 talks about our heart and flesh crying out for the living God! Do you feel the hunger? A hunger for the Word, for prayer, for fellowship. Seek the Lord. Pursue Him!

Get an appetite for God.


He Holds The Future - Just A Thought #36

Where do you see yourself five years from now? What are you doing tomorrow? Do you have any plans next week?

Have you ever heard those questions before? I have heard these, and numerous variations on the theme. For some reason, people seem more focused on what the future holds than on what is happening right now. I like the section in Matthew 6:25-34 where Jesus talks about not being anxious about tomorrow. There is a whole passage on not worrying about our future. In fact the Scripture is loaded with passages that talk about God being in control.

In Psalms it is mentioned how God created us, knit us together, and how each day is recorded in His book before it ever takes place. (Psalms 139:13-18) God tells Jeremiah how He knows the plans He has for Him. (Jeremiah 29:11) In Isaiah 46:10 it says: "From the beginning He revealed the End." Numerous Scriptures say He will never leave us or forsake us and in Romans 8 it says NOTHING can separate us from God's love. (vs 35-39)

No matter what you are going through today, God is in control. He has a plan. You may be going through a hard time physically. Your finances may be in the tank. God is still in control. I have seen the mountaintop and I have seen the valley and God is always there! I was homeless and my marriage was on the rocks but God was always there. He moves mountains. He walks with us in the valley's . He is in control. Let His will be accomplished in your life. His will!

Seek first God's kingdom. Cling to Him, latch on an don't let go. Even now begin to thank God for what you do have. Develop a habit of thankfulness.

Trust me God will not let you down!