Monthly Archives: April 2009

April 24, 2009

Firstly, last week I shared with you the story of a local worship leader/pastor that had been struck down by a massive stroke Easter morning. I also shared about the miracle that had taken place over the next few days. — I am happy to report that the miracle continues! As of this writing, his condition continues to improve. Doctors hope to move him out of intensive care very soon. They have said that this is nothing short of a miracle. — Usually no one walks out of the hospital after one of these types of strokes. In fact, his new name is, “The Miracle Man”. — What a testimony of the healing power of our Lord Jesus Christ. — Continue to pray for his complete recovery. 
!! Praise God !!
Moving on this week, I want to talk about the continuing confusing  messages from our country’s political and church leadership.
To start with, many of today’s Christian leaders are buying into the idea that our “out-dated” messages need to adjust to a new reality. Rather than standing up for truth, they often gravitate towards the position that promises them the most favorable press coverage.
Many of us were stunned to hear Rick Warren back-pedaling over his support for Proposition 8, a California ballot measure that, if passed, would change the state constitution to restrict the definition of marriages to opposite-sex couples. – Here are the statements he said on Larry King’s program.
 “I am not an anti-gay or anti-gay marriage activist. I never have been, never will be. During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never-never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Proposition 8 was going.” But this next remark was even more stunning, “I wrote to all my gay friends – the leaders that I know – and actually apologized to them.”
The new Rick Warren was most likely apologizing for a statement made by the old Rick Warren of just a few months ago, “Let me just say this really clearly. We support Proposition 8. And if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8.” (Rick Warren in an October 23 video to church members.)
This man, who’s been called the next Billy Graham, is falling into a trap that is emblematic of the problem that the entire church is facing in this generation — and that is that we love the applause of man more than we love the work of God and the gospel. It’s a great illustration of America’s most prominent church leader equivocating and back-tracking and saying almost nothing coherent so that he will offend no one. (Seems I said the same thing about his inaugural prayer).
There is nothing Biblical or courageous or principled about this kind of Christian witness.
To add insult to injury, we just witnessed a young woman in the Miss America pageant stand firm on her convictions of the definition of marriage. Regardless of the cost, she was willing to stand up for what she believed to be the Biblical standard. — It was so refreshing to see this! Our “politically correct” Christian leaders need to take notice of the courage of this young Bible college student. — Our churches would be stronger for it.
How about this one. — In a recent speech by President Obama at Georgetown University, his staff asked university officials to cover up a monogram symbolizing Jesus’ name. Their statement said, “The White House wanted a simple backdrop of flags and pipes and drapes for the speech, consistent with what they’ve done for other policy speeches.” — Amazing!  Heaven forbid if Jesus were to have anything to do with their policies! — Titus 1:16 says, “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.” — Denial of Jesus and God’s prescription for living godly lives saturate this generation. The opposite of Christ’s teachings is not only being carried out in the sinful lives of today’s people, the opposition to the Lord is being set in the hardened rebellion of man-made law. 
This next one will really get to you. “Abortion is a blessing and abortionists are doing holy work.” This comes from the new Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Reverend Katherine Hancock Ragsdale. – Ms. Ragsdale, in a recent speech, said that “When a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear the child; and has access to a safe, affordable abortion – there is not a tragedy in sight – only blessing.” – She also went on to say that people who run abortion clinics are heroes. — Now keep in mind that this person will be in charge of the school that teaches and shapes the next generation of leaders for the American Episcopal Church. — Seems she’ll be a perfect fit for the U.S. Episcopal Church Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, who in 2006 when elected, stated that homosexuality was not a sin and homosexuals were created by God to love people of the same gender.
What Bible are these people reading?!
To sum up the condition of our leadership today as it pertains to our Lord, a recent statement by Barak Obama says it all. When confronted on the issue of homosexuality during his recent Presidential campaign, he stated that he “preferred” the Sermon on the Mount verses over some “obscure” passage from the Book of Romans. — So I guess now our leaders can pick and choose what fits into their agendas.
Sorry folks, but this doesn’t work for me. Either you accept it all or not. — Either you are or you aren’t. — But make that decision carefully — it has eternal consequences.
This next one is amazing! — Department of Homeland Security officials have issued a report which links people with pro-life, anti-illegal immigration views, teachers of end-time prophecies, and veterans of war with “right-wing extremist” groups. — In an intelligence assessment issued to law enforcement agencies last week, the agency warned that an extended economic downturn could foster an environment for extremists to recruit members who may not have been supportive of these causes in the past. 
The report goes on to say  that, “Many right-wing extremists are antagonistic toward the new president’s administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues.”
The Homeland Security report also makes reference to the rise of right-wing extremism in the 1990’s and says factors which enhanced the movement were in opposition to things such as abortion and same-sex marriage. — It also says, “Anti-government conspiracy theories and ‘end-times’ prophecies could motivate extremist individuals and groups to stockpile food, ammunition, and weapons.”
So what this says is that anyone with strong, “literal” Biblical views is a threat to our society!
Certainly I’m guilty. – I am pro-life and also believe that homosexuality is a sin. – I am also a veteran of war and do promote end-time prophecy teaching. — Funny, but I never considered myself a threat, but I must be — Guess I’ll change the name of this website to “Dark in the Lightness”.
This is all so ridiculous! The people being singled out here are those who served their country in uniform and those with fundamental Christian beliefs. — Pretty scary stuff.
If I have to be on a list, I’m glad its this one. For myself, the one main goal for my website is to help people understand that all this craziness going on around us is predicted in our beloved, uncompromised Bible. — Fear comes from lack of understanding. If these efforts help some to understand, then the ultimate goal is accomplished.
If promoting the truth of Jesus puts me on a list, then I am honored. — Reach out to as many as you can  ’cause time is short.
Til next time,
Red

April 17, 2009

This past Sunday was Easter and oh, what a glorious day of celebration for God’s children! This day represents the miracle of our Lord’s resurrection into eternal glory and thus illustrates the promise of salvation for each of us. —- Hallelujah!!
I and my wife, along with her brother and his wife, attended a church where they celebrated Christ’s resurrection through drama and song. What a joy it was to be reminded of this true miracle. – Anyone who saw this presentation could not have been left untouched by the power of that displayed moment in time which took place some two thousand years ago. 
After arriving home that evening, we had a message on our phone telling us that the worship pastor of a local church we had previously attended had suffered a massive stroke right before services were to begin that morning.
What?! – How could this be?! This guy is strong and vibrant and only fifty three years old!! Stunned, I called his pastor and he informed me that the prognosis was dire. Truth was, they really didn’t expect him to live.
Again, I was in a state of shock. I’d served with this man of God on his worship team for a period of time and knew him to be totally committed to his ministry.
The next morning I went to the hospital and what I encountered was nothing short of incredible. People were singing and praying and contending for a miracle. When I spoke with his wife, I witnessed an example of faith that I wish I could package and send out to this fallen world. It was simply unwavering with an assurance of victory in this time of trepidation.
What I also saw was not just one church body, but several coming together in a common cause to support this assurance of victory. — Plainly said, this was an example of the “Acts 2” church on display. Anyone who encountered the Body of Christ this day would come away knowing that something special was taking place — faith and strength abounded!
After a short time, his pastor and I snuck away for a quick cup of coffee. — He told me that at the beginning, there was virtually no hope — that these types of physical events were almost always fatal. — Then he told me of a gentleman who showed up and asked to pray and lay hands on this fallen soldier. — With permission, he did so. Pastor said he spent five to six minutes praying, then turned and smiled, and stated that this warrior would walk out of this place. — He then left and no one had seen him since. —  WOW!!
Needless to say, this worship pastor’s condition is improving !! — As of the update last night on his condition, he is conscious and recognizing family and friends, and has movement in all parts of his body. To quote a line from the update, “We are witnessing an incredible miracle! Keep praying!”
Psalm 77:14 says, “You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.” — I wish every person who has any doubt about our Lord and savior could witness this miracle that is taking place. Seeing this display of church unity and the pure power of prayer is life-changing.
Matthew 11:24 states, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” — When I witnessed the strength of his wife and kids in their time of need, this scripture was their mantle. — They seemed to just know the outcome and wouldn’t consider the alternative. — It was clear that the enemy would be defeated this day!
For a guy that has regularly criticized the modern church for its weakened condition and powerless state, this experience was a renewing hope of what our church can be. There are the life-changing examples that can still be experienced in today’s world. — What I saw this day was what I believe God intended the church to be. — This is pure proof that we cannot give up on each other and our gathering together. 
This is the true example of the “Light in the Darkness” that will change lives forever.
Until next time,
Red

April 10, 2009
In the 24th chapter of Matthew, we are told that the Tribulation hour will be preceded by a significant surge of activity in areas such as spiritual, natural, societal, and world political events. Verse 8 describes these events as “The beginning of birth pains.”
In my thirty plus years of following Bible prophecy, I’ve never seen these “birth pains” accelerate at such a rapid pace as they are right now. – I remember back in the 80’s and 90’s when the spacing of major events was usually several years apart. – But now, these contractions are occurring only weeks and even days apart. — It’s amazing when I look back and compare.
Let’s for example explore the recent explosion of societal violence across our land:
• March 14 – The Reverend Fred Winters was gunned down during a church service.
• March 21 – Four Oakland, California police officers and one suspect were shot and killed.
• March 28 – Kirby Revelus, 23, stabbed his seventeen-year old sister to death and also attacked his nine-year old sister. He then decapitated his five-year old sister.
• March 29 – A gunman opened fire inside a nursing home in a small North Carolina town, killing eight people.
• March 29 – An engineer at Yahoo gunned down his family in an apparent murder-suicide that left six people dead.
• April 1 – A Massachusetts woman who believes she was being stalked by a cult has been charged with using a pair of scissors to inflict one hundred wounds on her two-year old daughter.
• April 3 – Vietnamese immigrant Jiverly Wong killed thirteen people and then himself at an immigration services center in New York.
• April 4 – Three police officers in Oakland, California were shot and killed after a routine traffic stop.
• April 7 – A man shot and killed his estranged wife, their teenage daughter and two other relatives in rural Alabama and then killed himself.
• April 8 – A gunman opened fire at a Korean Christian center in California, killing one woman and injuring four others.
• April 8 – A central Florida woman fatally shot her twenty-year old son and then herself at a shooting range.
All of these events have occurred over just the past couple of weeks! – Until just recently, these types of events happened maybe once or twice a year!
The “birth pains” have become so active, they are starting to overlap. Here we are looking at violent crime and at the same time, global leaders are in Europe working on the worldwide financial crisis. As well, North Korea’s launch of a long-range missile is another “birth pain” simmering on the back burner — and that’s just this week!!
1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Also, 1 John 5:19 states, “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the the evil one.”
While watching a news show last evening, a sociologist was the guest and the host asked him what could be done about all of this “out-of-control” social violence. — After several feeble attempts at relevance, his suggestion was that the government should send trained social workers into the communities and hold town hall meetings on how to deal with the stresses of our world. — I thought to myself, “This guy is serious.” — But then again, what other way is there from a secular position?
Of course, the first thought that would come to the Christian mind would be — “Instead of town hall meetings, get them all to church. After all, that’s where the hope is!” —Then frustration overcame me. — Didn’t we just talk last week about how poor a job the churches did in the last national crisis? — Didn’t the churches fill up after 9/11 only to fall back to their original numbers just eight short weeks later?
1 John 4:5 says, “They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.”
— BUT —
1 John 5:4 states, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
In the seven-church teachings of Revelation, chapters two and three, Jesus speaks of the remnant of believers that overcome the difficulties of their times. — They that have an ear listen to the truths of God’s word. — This tells me that we should not, and cannot, give up on Christ’s church, even with all its flaws.
While I often rant about our modern-day churches and their leadership, I somehow always knew there were exceptions out there somewhere. — This past weekend proved this to be right. — my wife and I, along with her brother and wife, attended church in a different city and we actually heard a clear and uncompromising message. The pastor spoke specifically about how Jesus was and is the only way to salvation and eternal life. In addition, this fellowship was filled with joy. — What a concept! Clarity and joy! — It can work!! — When people left His church that day, I can guarantee you that they will NOT be part of the 57% of “believers” who think that there are many ways to Heaven. 
So here’s my challenge to each of you. Read the Bible and learn the truth. If you don’t understand something, e-mail me and I will get the answer for you. — Once you know the truth, hold your church and its leaders accountable. ” Call them — e-mail them — meet with them — challenge them. It is our responsibility to do so. Too many of us are going on our merry ways and are oblivious to what is happening around us. We need to look around — It’s clear to me that we have only a little time left to make a difference to those we care about. — We need to repent and turn to Jesus Christ, the one who bled on the cross on a Friday we call “Good” — and then rose from the dead three days later. — Hallelujah!!!!
The alternative is to continue to be tolerant of what we know is wrong. — I would like to share a poem with you. It was written by Janet Porter, a member and writer for “Faith2Action”.
Where Tolerance Leads
When we disagreed while watching the news,
You chose to ignore my misguided views.
When I fell for the lie “my body, my choice”,
Fear of offending me silenced your voice.
When the courts destroyed marriage, you bit your lip,
You were too afraid that you wouldn’t look “hip”.
I wore a “Christian label”, but was it not strange,
When I cast my vote for “hope” and for “change”?
You never mentioned, when we talked till the a.m.
To follow Christ means I have to “obey Him?”
I know that was hard, it seemed so “uncouth”,
“Tolerance” was easier than speaking the truth.
You didn’t tell me Jesus was the ONLY way,
After all, that’s what He had to say.
To forgive us and save us, that’s why He was sent,
But I never knew of my need to repent.
My sins were paid for by a God who loved me,
You could have explained it so I could see.
You call it “tolerance”, but it was not love,
And now it’s too late – Who were you thinking of?
I trusted you and thought you were my friend,
But rather than speak up, 
you chose to stand by and pretend.
And for the first time, I can now tell,
With a warm, pleasant smile, you let me go to Hell.
——————————
As Easter approaches, there’s something much more important than all that’s happening in the world. — The most important thing is where we’re going to spend eternity.
Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Until next time,
Red
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