Thursday, October 18, 2012

Link of the week: What do non-Christians REALLY think of Christians?

The title of this article at may make some Christians wince a little--but after reading it, they will find in very encouraging, especially in their stepping out in faith to share about Jesus. Thom Rainer, the article's author, notes one particular fact that stood out to me: "In one study we conducted, we found only 5 percent of non-Christians are antagonistic toward Christians. It’s time to stop believing the lies we have been told."

Give the article a read and see what you think. I believe the insights can really equip us in bringing the Good News of Jesus to those around us.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Jesus wants fans!

Mark 12:30: so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy. (The Message)

A popular Christian cliché that’s been making the rounds lately goes like this: “Jesus wants followers, not fans.” Like lots of Christianese sayings I’ve heard over the years, it may have started out with an important truth—but it has since largely degenerated into a quaint little empty saying to demonstrate the “spirituality” of the person spouting it out. I recently even read it at the end of a diatribe from a “believer” who tagged it to the end of her correspondence—in which, by the way, she used foul language to address my wife and myself.
This got me to thinking that maybe it’s the reverse: Jesus needs fans, not followers. Now why would I think something like THAT? After all, fans are just a bunch of yelling, screaming people sitting in the stands (Jesus wants PARTICIPANTS!!!), who don’t really know what it means to FOLLOW Him, right?
I got to thinking about two important truths:
1                1) Fan is rooted in the word fanatic. Now, that word has taken some hits due to being used to describe, say, Islamic or political fanatics who want to advance an off-the-charts agenda on the rest of us. But the basic dictionary definition of a fan is either “an enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art) usually as a spectator” or “an ardent admirer or enthusiast (as of a celebrity or a pursuit).” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) Those pining for others to be followers instead of fans ignore several good qualities of fans here: enthusiasm and devotion. A lot of Jesus’ “followers” can use a good dose of both of those qualities.
                  2) I’m sure those wistfully proclaiming that “Jesus wants followers not fans” mean “dedicated followers.” The truth is, not all of Jesus’ “followers” in the New Testament stuck with him. For example, Jesus had LOTS of “followers” through the first five chapters of John’s gospel, outside of the 12 apostles. But when He laid down a VERY hard saying in the sixth chapter about total acceptance of Him, John tells us in verse 66: “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” (KJV, emphasis mine) Look, we all DO need to FOLLOW Jesus. But those employing this newest empty Christian cliché miss some important lessons we can learn from fans. And what better place to turn to for these lessons than to America’s real pastime: the NFL.
What can THESE fans teach us about being JESUS’ fans?
Well, for one thing, they stick to their team through thick and thin, win or lose (since I’m a Jets fan, I’m very used to the “lose” part over the years. In baseball, Cub fans could probably relate). Don’t we need LOTS of Christians who stick with their churches the same way, instead of jumping around between churches looking for an elusive “fulfillment” (which can only be found by drawing closer to Jesus anyway)? Don’t we need “fans” who won’t jump ship at the first sign of rough waters to find the “perfect” church (which doesn’t really exist, since it involves human beings)?
And talk about fellowship: you should see these fans with their tailgate parties at the stadiums, or huddled around their TVs each Sunday afternoon—enjoying each other’s company. I wish the land were overflowing with Christians who could do the same—just having time to enjoy each others’ company, sharing about what’s going on with each other. When pro football promotes more camaraderie among followers than the church (which should be the prime example of Psalm 133:1), something’s wrong.
Then there’s the way they dress—and I’m even not talking about the Jets’ Fireman Ed or the barrel guy in Denver. Fans wear their team’s jerseys and hats even in hostile territory—there was even a pretty loud contingent of Cleveland Browns fans in CINCINNATI at a recent game. Fans don’t “adapt” their dress to the opponents’ standards, and they aren’t secretive about their devotion—and isn’t that what CHRISTIANS are supposed to do? (Romans 12:2) These fans, in wearing weird costumes, doing the wave or screaming at the top of their lungs, aren’t afraid to be foolish for their team … while the Apostle Paul says we should never be ashamed of being “fools for Christ” (1 Corinthians 4:10).
Maybe in the end we need followers who are also fans—if by fans, you mean those who are enthusiastic about Jesus and whose devotion continues to burn for Him regardless of what others think or say. The late singer-songwriter Keith Green, after exposing the fallacy that Christians are what they do (e.g., “a Christian is someone who prays” … while lots of religions practice prayer) gave his definition of a Christian: “Someone who is bananas for Jesus!” (see Mark 12:29-31) And if we were even half as bananas for Jesus as NFL fans are for their teams, we would see a revival that would turn this country upside down and inside out!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Link of the week: Can Christians vote for Mormons?

I came across this link from the Last Resistance website, and found a very informative article on a topic that troubles a good number of Christian voters. I had planned to pen something about this issue after reading a "let's stay away from the polls because both candidates are evil" diatribe--but I believe this article answers that, and other objections, far better. Give it a read and let me know what you think.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

“OMG” and the Third Commandment

I ran across this excellent article at the Acculturated website about a common text acronym especially popular among youth, “OMG,” which means “Oh My God.”

 We are endlessly bombarded with reports about groups being offended by statements made by famous people or other groups—one recent example is the attack on Chik-fil-A and its CEO for an “anti-gay” comment during an interview (in context, his comment was related to fatherlessness in the US, not to homosexuality—but pro-gay groups and their mainstream media allies are never ones to let the facts get in the way of a good slander). Even when some personalities DO make idiotic statements about certain groups and are quick to offer a  very public apology, it’s simply not enough—they are hounded out of the public arena because of those “hateful” words. So much for “Stick and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

 Isn’t it interesting, though, that blaspheming of God’s Name through the cute OMG texting, even by some Christians, is totally acceptable. It’s become a-okay to mindlessly daily offend and demean the Creator of All Things in our culture, and not worry about HIS feelings, as if the Third Commandment—“You shall not use the Lord’s Name in vain”—along with the other nine, somehow went out with Charlton Heston.

 Anyway, check out the article and let me know what you think. How we use words—especially with regard to God—DO matter. The renowned journalist Edward R. Murrow once said of Winston Churchill’s World War II speeches, when Britain was in danger of being overrun by Nazi Germany, “He armed the English language and sent it into battle.” How far has our public discourse fallen since those times. As the article says, “Words–‘the most powerful drug used by mankind,’ according to Kipling–can change minds and alter behavior. OMG invokes Omnipotence in the realm of the trivial and the banal. The informality and brevity of electronic communication guarantees that even God himself is not immune from such casual disregard.”

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Touching up" Jesus' image

You have to see it believe it: an elderly lady in Spain became concerned about how a 19th century painting of Jesus in her church was becoming more and more worn out, with paint peeling away in places. Her solution? Take a brush and pallet in hand and fix it up herself. You can see the “results.” It’s uncertain whether the art can ultimately be repaired from the attempted repair. The irony: according to news reports, the granddaughter of the artist had already given money to the church for a professional restoration; the would-be Rembrandt was unaware of it.
There’s spiritual lesson here. How many times have we worried about how to present Jesus to others, through our words or lives—or conversely, given it no thought at all—and wound up “touching up” His image to others? We like to think that only cults are good at giving people “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4; cf. Galatians 1:9). But when we “touch up” Jesus’ image with manmade rules and traditions, or focus only on one aspect of our Lord Jesus that gives an imbalanced view, we could well be giving others around us a very distorted image of Him that tops even the botched painting “restoration.”
One key to avoiding this: have Paul’s hunger of wanting to know Jesus more each day: “…that I may know Him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death… (Philippians 3:10, ESV). By spending time with Jesus each day in the Word and prayer—however we practice this—we will be sure to give others around us an untainted image that will draw them to Him.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Discussion link of the week: “5 Things God Never Said”

Just wanted to get some of your feedback on this article at, “5 Things God Never Said.” I found the article thought-provoking. You may not agree with everything R. Larry Moyer says in the article, but it should prompt us to examine whether popularly held beliefs in our churches are biblically based, or are merely traditions or misconceptions we only thought were in the Bible. Give the article a read and let me know what you think.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Thank God for in-your-face atheists!

To all the “in your face” atheists, the militants who want to erase God from every mention in our society, to the likes of Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, I have one message:
Thank you God!
So why would a Christian be thankful for this pushy atheism crowd, the ones who look at the wonder of our creation and somehow conclude that nothing in the way of an intelligent being could ever be behind it all, and who like, at a recent “reason rally” in Washington, bellowed vitriol that would make the most bellicose podium-pounding fundamentalist or jihadist blush with embarrassment?
The negativity. That’s the point.
Now, in-your-face atheists, unlike the armchair variety or others who have sincere questions about the supernatural, believe they have to force feed their “reason” down the throats of the rest of us. Even Dawkins, after claiming he doesn’t despise the religious crowd, later encouraged his followers at the “reason rally”: “Mock them! Ridicule them in public!” Now THAT’s enlightened, reasoned debate for you!
            Let’s look at the bigger picture: the many people around you, hurting and struggling, looking for meaning in this life, deep down knowing there is something more than their day-to-day existence, that they are more than glorified animals living in a randomly-produced universe. Who do you think they would be more inclined to turn to? Someone shouting they are living a pointless existence with no real purpose except to survive? Or someone who shows them in love the exact opposite: that there IS a God who made them with a special purpose, who loves them so much that He sent His only Son so they can experience real life here and afterwards, who is always there for them? Believe me, it makes presenting the truth of salvation through Jesus SO much easier! If THAT isn’t reason to thank God for militant atheists, what is?
Of course, I want these same atheists to turn their hearts over to Jesus. I care for them too. As these “freethinkers” are fond of saying, ignorance is not a virtue—and that includes ignorance of spiritual reality. It never ceases to amaze me that the same atheists who discount the Bible as a collection of fairy tales will in the same breath quote from that same book to make their (non)-point.
So as the Bible (that same book that, unlike the “fairy tale” collections it is ignorantly compared to, is banned in 52 countries) says, “Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, KJV). So let’s keep praying for the salvation of militant (and other kinds of) atheists. And say “thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to God for them!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Stunner of the week: UN wants prostitution legalized

Read this story from ask yourself why we shouldn't ask the UN to locate somewhere else (and while we're at it, stop our government from sending this international joke our money). Let's see how feminist groups will respond to THIS proposed exploitation of women.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Congressman wants U.S. schools turned to Muslim madrassas: ACLU, where are you?

O where o where is the ACLU? O where o where can it be? Try muttering a prayer to Jesus at a high school football game, and a team of their lawyers are penning threatening lawsuit letters and heading to the courthouse with an armful of injunctions to stop this “mingling of church and state.”

But what about when it’s Islam involved? Never is heard a discouraging word from the high and mighty defenders of “civil liberties” and their allies in Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Check this article out, with video included, where a US congressman from Indiana openly admits he and his wife are pushing Muslim based education into the public schools in Indianapolis.

Let’s see the “defenders of liberty” jump to the front of THIS battle (personally, I’m not holding my breath).

Friday, June 29, 2012

Obamacare: do your homework NOW

With the Supreme Court's atrocious ruling upholding President Obama's "health care" law (which will wind up providing neither), it's past time to get educated about what we face--unless Obama and his henchmen are thrown out of office in November.
Here's an excellent overview of Chief Justice John Robert's stupefying "reasoning" to justify his pivotal decision, from The Wall Street Journal.

Coming trends, based on what is happening now under the UK's National Health Service: doctors purposely ending elderly lives to free up hospital beds, and bureaucrats banning life-extending cancer drugs available in other countries.

Numerous links on what we face under Obamacare can be found at Joel Rosenberg's blog.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Seeking silence before God

Psalm 46:10: Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. (KJV)

In stillness and simplicity
In the silence of the heart I see
The mystery of eternity
Who lives in side of me
In stillness and simplicity
I hear the Spirit's silent plea
That You, oh Lord, are close to me
In stillness and simplicity
You're the Word Who must be heard
By those who listen quietly
Is the reason we're not still
To hear You speak because
We don't believe You will
In stillness and simplicity
I lose myself in finding Thee
Oh Lord, You mean so much to me
In stillness and simplicity
So, seek the One who dwells in you
The kingdom that within is true
That innermost reality
In stillness and simplicity

When I thought about this verse during the morning service, this song from Michael Card came to mind. Now I’m aware that this verse, in context, is God telling the nations opposed to Israel to, as Smith’s Literal Translation says, “Desist, and know that I am God …” Still, does not God also speak this to our hearts, to the thoughts, desires and noise that constantly war for our attention? Many Christians miss the “stillness and simplicity” with the constant noise to which we subject ourselves.

A recently-published book talks about how constant, excessive noise endangers our health—and how even several European cities are trying to deal with this problem. I also wonder if the constant noise we as believers experience each day—even in churches—in the same way harm our spiritual life. I’m not at all against loud music in church or using different media to proclaim God’s Word. But when are we taught to simply come before God in silence, in a place where we can escape the noise and distractions (outside the Catholic and Orthodox traditions)? And while I’m aware that distracting thoughts will come our way while we spend time in this silence, I believe that standing on the verse above, and speaking it to those distracting thoughts, will bring us back to “stillness and simplicity.” Even using recited prayer in this instance can help us.

I’m reminded of Peter receiving that life-changing vision in Acts 10:10. I could not picture him going into that trance without being in a place of quietness before God. And we see Jesus responding to Nathanael’s time of quietness in John 1:48: “…Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.” The fig tree was a place for Jews to escape the noise and distractions of their house, to pray and meditate. Jesus told Nathanael He saw him there—and I believe Jesus’ special presence await us there, “in stillness and simplicity.”

Monday, May 21, 2012

Quote of the week

"I expect to die in bed. My successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square."--Francis Cardinal George, former president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on the increasing persecution of American Christians, particularly the Catholic Church, by the Obama administration (from the New Oxford Review, May 2012 issue).

Monday, May 14, 2012

Game, set, match ... to President Romney

After seeing this Newsweek cover, all I could think was ...congratulations Mitt Romney, on being elected the 45th President of the United States in January 2013.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Honesty quote of the week

“We’re not really set up to cover the extreme Left.”--A Southern Poverty Law Center spokesman, on why a plot to blow up a Cleveland bridge by five people affiliated with Occupy Wall Street movement didn't warrant tracking of the movement. You can read the hilarious interview by Charles Cooke of The National Review here. Keep in mind, this is the same organization that labels Christian ministries such as Focus on the Family as "hate groups." I guess left wing groups aren't capable of hate? The quote is a gem for another reason: does this not accurately reflect the mentality of the mainstream media? (hat tip to Drudge Report)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


This just in from White House Dossier's Keith Koffler (via Drudge Report): "As part of its Easter Egg Roll festivities, the White House is conducting a basketball clinic for kids featuring pro players. Have a look the ball being used, as Tweeted by ABC White House Correspondent Jake Tapper."

Koffler adds: "Apparently, the basketball lesson doesn’t include instruction in humility."

Such self-puffery is a little, er, short of Christian modesty, wouldn't you say, Jim Wallis?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Here’s hope: Rush, Sandra Fluke and the conscience of America’s parents

What happened to the great “Hush Rush” boycott?

There was a hue and cry from feminists and Obama bankroller George-Soros’ puppet media watchdog Media Matters for America, when Rush Limbaugh commented on his radio show about college student Sandra Fluke, who testified before Congress about how her promiscuous campus lifestyle costs her too much money for contraceptives—so she and other such women needed the federal government to pay for her “protection.”

Rush called her a “slut” and “prostitute,” which sparked the feigned outrage against him in the mainstream media. Rush later apologized for his choice of language—but not for his central point about the absurdity of Fluke’s demand. And herein lies the hope that America is NOT past the point of redemption or revival.

Think about the “result” of the great boycott: 1) Rush’s audience actually INCREASED—in some areas, it went up 65%; 2) The few advertisers who dropped Rush’s show were quickly replaced; 3) One advertiser who stopped advertising to Rush’s 20 million listeners, loudly protesting against him to the applause of the Left, saw its stock prices drop through the floor.

But how does this indicate America’s soul is not totally seared with a hot iron? Think of all those parents out there, trying their best to raise their children right. These multitude of parents—regardless of their situation, whether they lead two-parent or single-parent homes—who have at least an inkling of a conscience and to are raising their children to make right choices, simply asked themselves one or two questions. Questions which sank the “Hush Rush” crusade:

Would you want your own daughter saying those kinds of things in front of millions of people?

Would you want your son dating that kind of girl?

Those honest, concerned questions that crossed the minds of those parents sank the Soros-funded boycott like that iceberg sank the Titanic.

I have expressed concern about our culture, and how it has infected the church, especially the youth. And yet, this episode shows that there is a conscience left in this country—and that we should never lose heart in fervently praying for revival to sweep our land.

And Sandra, if you are so concerned about saving your college money, try this: ask Jesus into your heart as you Lord and Savior, receive forgiveness for all your sins through His blood that He shed for you on Good Friday, and as He said, "Go and sin no more." (John 8:11)

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Evangelical Industrial Complex? Palm Sunday and celebrity pastors

Palm Sunday shows the starkest contrast in the ministry of Jesus on this earth: the same crowd who shouted “Hosanna in the highest” that day was screaming “crucify Him” five days later on Good Friday. This wasn’t the first time Jesus lost popularity: in John 6, for example, thousands of His disciples left Him when they couldn’t handle His challenging message.

Jesus’ disregard for human popularity seems to starkly contrast with trends in the American Evangelical church world, especially among the great evangelical superstar pastors who have a massive following (among and outside their megachurch congregations), a sure-fire audience for the Christian bookselling industry.

The article here at about the Evangelical Industrial Complex (a play on President Eisenhower’s famed “Military Industrial Complex” speech of 1961, before he left office) is chilling. Has the American church sold out to a fandom mentality regarding its celebrity pastors, showing a fawning allegiance to them that would make a rock star blush? Give this article a good read and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ironic Picture of Year ... so far ...

What a contrast ... President Obama, whose administration is doing a bangup job of crushing religious freedom in America on an unprecedented scale, holding up an image of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian and martyr who is an iconic figure of religious resistance to tyranny. The president received a copy of the book Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy from author Eric Metaxas, the keynote speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast. Now, we can certainly pray that Obama will read this book and learn a thing or two about freedom of religion (as opposed to mere "freedom of worship" he and his co-religionist mouthpieces spout, where religious beliefs, practice and expression stay safely confined in the home or church building while we're forced to worship the "almighty" state).

And here's a Bonhoeffer quote our president can look up, from a radio speech Bonhoeffer gave two days after Hitler came to power in Germany: "Should the leader allow himself to succumb to the wishes of those he leads, who will always seek to turn him into an idol, then the image of the leader will gradually become the image of the misleader. This is the leader who makes an idol of himself and who thus mocks God."

Monday, March 19, 2012

Supreme Court: Colleges can ban Christian groups that disallow homosexual leaders

In one way, it shouldn't be surprising... given that we're in the end times. Plus, this is in the state where a city banned Bible meetings at a private home. But it's still a shocker. The Supreme Court said California universities can ban Christian groups for not alllowing homosexuals to be leaders. The story is here.

I'd like to see the California university system try this with Muslim groups. Mark Steyn recently reported that a British school system promoted the pro-lesbian children book Heather Has Two Mommies--but pulled it from the curriculum overnight when Muslim parents protested against it.

Maybe the Christian groups should forget the "university recognition," keep their meetings off campus and evangelize on campus.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Santorum and leftist gutter attacks

With former US Senator Rick Santorum's ascendency in the Republican presidential primary, it was only a matter of time before leftist critics tried to drag his name in through the mud. If you Google his name, you will, on the first page, more than likely see a homosexual activist's ugly, repulsive attack on Santorum's name, due to Santorum's stand against homosexuality. But what do you expect from such leftists? Enlightened debate? Really, such ugly attacks is all the Left HAS to fight with, and it further shows the sad, truly degenerate nature of the "activist" (see Romans 1:27-32).

Now, as the primary continues to wind down, there might be some shortcomings in Santorum's political record that will be brought to light. The ugly activist attack, however, may throw some more conservative Christian votes his way--and any person of good will must surely be repulsed by the attack. (Side note: I mentioned Santorum in a March 2008 blog that you can read here).

Monday, February 13, 2012

State of education: sinking fast (unless you believe bin Laden is our vice president)

If this video doesn't at least make you consider homeschooling or private school, nothing will. These high school students' answers to basic civics questions are guaranteed to make you laugh--and shake your head in disbelief so hard, you'll get whiplash. See our educational system in action here.

Yes, a student actually said that Osama bin Laden WAS our vice president. Of course, the way President Obama has been destroying our economy, attacking American churches, keeping us dependant on Middle East oil (No Keystone pipeline for YOU! Drill off of Brazil, but not here), and appeasing Islamic aggressors who hate us and Israel ... it makes you wonder ...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

News story of the week

This won't get any headlines in the MSM, but it's a major story nonetheless, testifying to the power of Jesus to save! Check the link here about a Kuwaiti prince's public testimony of leaving Islam to follow Jesus.

Monday, January 9, 2012

More Tebow Time!!!

Yes, I'm supposed to be concentrating on important "spiritual" matters on this blog. And yes, I'm sure this will raise a few eyebrows among those who know my true football allegiance (GO GIANTS!!) But I can't go another second without posting the greatest moment from the NFL wildcard round this weekend. See it here.

You can debate the reason I love this clip: a) It was just such an exciting play; b) Watching Tebow come back after being slammed so much in the last weeks (as if other QBs never had losing streaks); c) Picturing the sickened expression on Bill Maher's face as the play unfolded; d) Tebow praising Jesus yet again at the end of the game; e) All of the above (and maybe more reasons). I can't get enough of this clip!!!

Or as I used to say in my campus minister days, "WOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!"

Friday, January 6, 2012

Best books I read last year

Books that I read this past year that I recommend:

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas: An outstanding work on the German pastor and theologian who stood up to Hitler and paid with his life. Metaxas shows Bonhoeffer's deep faith in Jesus and the Bible and how, trying to save the Jews in Nazi Germany, he put his faith into action.

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent: Burpo's four-year-old son Colby, during a near-death experience, is shown heaven, later describing what he saw to his family in a way only a child could relate details. A book that is sure to encourage your faith.

The Shack by William P. Young: A novel about a man who endures a gruesome tragedy in his family, who is invited by God to revisit the place of his daughter's apparent murder. The meeting transforms the man's life--and will transform your thinking about God's overwhelming love and grace.

Pagan Christianity? by Frank Viola and George Barna: Notwithstanding Viola's simplistic "solutions" to returning to true early church worship, and fuzziness about a few historic facts, this book is still an eye-opener about common church practices that are accepted as "Christian"--but which are not rooted in the New Testament at all. A clarion call for discerning what church practices and teachings are mere adaptations from non-Christian culture.