Raising Heros

Boys - YoungThe world looks for heroes. Every generation longs for them. Heroes give us hope for a world gone crazy. They give us reasons to continue and a desire for better things.

I’m convinced we look in the wrong places; hollywood, pop music, books and movies. If you are like me, you realized that the real heroes of life comes from the little feet that roam through your house. Yes, our children are heroes. Sometimes we get too busy with the hardships of rearing children that we fail to see and recognize the potential they have. They are the hope for the future…they are the real heroes.

As a father whose children have grown, I become aware more and more that the real heroes in my life were my three boys. Each being different, but providing a unique gift and reflection of God’s character before their mother and me. I wish I would have seen with clarity what I do now. I needed to look no further for heroes than the constantly active little boys and laughing voices that were running through the house. Continue reading

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From the Tomb to the Pulpit

empty-tombEvery pastor is simply a messenger boy. As John Piper says, “Brethren, we are not professionals.” And yet, as simple messengers, we are entrusted with the most important message to mankind–the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Heaven’s glory rests upon our calling and upon our communication. In one true sense, we are all wordsmiths, forging the expression of words to present the gospel with the majesty it deserves. 

Learning some of the nuances of homiletics, speaking methodologies and audience perceptions are beneficial, as material has been written about these issues since the age of the early church fathers. However, we must never get trapped into a style that is foreign to our gifts and uniqueness. Because of the diverse placement of gifts in each pastor, each of us are a ‘little different’ and that difference is where we find our authenticity and freedom.  Continue reading

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A Call for Prayer: Please Pray for Me

planned-parenthoodMy friend and brother in Christ, Marty Schoenleber, Jr., sums up the issues behind the Planned Parenthood fiasco and calls for the church to take an honest look in the mirror. I encourage all my friends to read this post on your knees…in prayer and confession before God. Take a minute and click the link below.

A Call for Prayer: Please Pray for Me.

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The Power of Singing!

Lifted handsI feel that many times we underestimate the power of singing. When the presence of the Holy Spirit permeates our being, our songs are highways of evangelism and life to those walking in darkness. However, as the old saying goes, “A song is not a song until you sing it.” This became ever so true to me as I recently received this testimony from the missionaries I train in India. I pray you will take a moment and let it sink in on the many levels that are present throughout this testimony. Through singing and worship we can reveal the power of the Gospel to others. (The names are changed to protect all involved from radical Muslims and Hindus.)

My name is Sada. I really thank God for the Project India ministries , through which Lord has changed me completely and I received Jesus Christ as my Savior. Joy and hope has come into my life.
 
In 2013 I was planning to running and jumping in front of a train to kill myself. I had no peace, no employment, and starvation and poverty was ruling over my family.
 
I have visited 1347 Hindu gods and goddess temples asking them to give peace, joy, happiness and victory over my difficulties over poverty, and I have waited many years for them to answer me, but I never received an answer.

Continue reading

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How NOT to Communicate With Others

Indian to IndianThere are ways of proper discourse and persuasion, and there are ways guaranteed to fail. The photo to the left sums up vividly how NOT to communicate with others if you want to persuade them. Our culture is filled with the ‘up in your face’ form of shock journalism and dialogue. Even in many Christian circles rudeness and speaking down to people is defined as spiritual boldness. We must do better, we must think biblically, and we must get our example from Scriptures and not from the latest fad in social media.

Here are some quick points (with some sarcasm) on how NOT to communicate:

Fail to Listen – we understand it all anyway, right?

Fight for the floor – if both are talking, keep raising your voice until they yield the floor.

Ad Hominem – fill the discussion with personal assaults and zingers to embarrass. (Or you could dress up to match their culture…see photo at top of post!)

Fail to ask questions – after all, I’ve already googled the subject, so I know what they would say. Continue reading

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Pastor Sunday Afternoon

My friend and fellow laborer in Christ, Marty Schoenleber Jr, wrote a post on Facebook that I must share. Marty has a heart for the Lord, for the Lord’s people, and for those who shepherd local flocks. He nails the experience that pastors have on Sunday evenings while reflecting on the day. An encouraging word from a caring brother–pastors, you are not alone! Thanks, Marty.

Having a typical “pastor Sunday afternoon.” What does that mean? you ask. Like most pastors, a mixture of fatigue, regret and hope. Fatigue because standing and delivering the word of life to a congregation is emotionally and physically exhausting in a way that most don’t understand. The burden of knowing that people need the word of life, that it is not me they need to hear but God, that critical decisions are being made in people’s lives and they need the wisdom of God

Continue reading

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Hindu Priest Comes to Christ

(Hindu Priest) cropThe power of the gospel to change a person’s being is the hope of mankind. Jesus Christ did not come to give us rules and regulations, or burden humanity with more laws and expectations. He came to die on the Cross of Calvary for the payment of our sins, and convict us through the power of the Holy Spirit. At salvation, the Lord changes our ‘being.’ Out of this change comes changed actions and attitudes. The gospel is not about imposing moral transformation or behavioral modification, it is about inward change of being that produces a outward demonstration of a changed life. And this only takes place through the work of the Holy Spirit at salvation.

Here is a testimony from a Hindu Priest in India. He shares how he came to Christ in November through Project India, the church planting ministry which began a little over three years ago. Continue reading

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Confession of a Free Christian

Hands raisedMost people hates boxes. They require everyone to fit someone’s narrow view of reality and thought. We find this true in Christianity also. Thank God for sound theology and boundaries of historical thought concerning the person and work of Christ. However, the enemy seeks to divide believers by using self-appointed ‘heresy hunters’ who cause divisions while claiming to protect evangelical orthodoxy.

The Lord calls us to freedom in Christ, freedom in worship, freedom in the power of the Holy Spirit. As a free Christian, we are at liberty to worship God free from the narrow thoughts of man as long as our doctrine and practices are within the boundaries of the Holy Scripture. What does a “Free Christian” believe. It can vary, depending on one’s level of study, influences, or maturity. One thing for sure, the Scriptures will have the final say on all matters of faith and practice. For me, here is my confession. Continue reading

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Apologetics – The Bridge That Holds

Golden Gate Bridge FogThe traction of outreach and life-changing evangelism of the previous generation in America was weak, in my opinion, due to the belittling of apologetics. For the most part, the church failed to engage the mind and heart of the younger generation. Faith became an existential leap apart from a rigorous and coherent view of reality and a reasoned expression of thought. We left the young men and women of the previous generation stranded on a bridge and surrounded by the fog of irrationality. The result was that many ‘church kids’ turned away from faith under the battle cry for intellectual credibility when they went off to college. Their beliefs were assaulted from the secularists and militant atheists who set traps with slick word games that were filled with red-herrings and Zeno paradoxes.

Apologetics is as crucial to the life of a Christian as prayer is. If we do not discover the warrant that undergirds our beliefs, the world will toss us around like a ‘straw blowing in the wind.’ Christianity is not a faith of make believe or fantasy. It carries the evidence of history, archaeology, reason and the existential longings of the heart. We believe, not because we are walking along a foggy bridge, but because Jesus and Scriptures pass the Continue reading

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Sanctity of Life – Do We Really Care?

My good friend, Marty Schoenleber Jr., posted a video recently that was produced by his ministry team at Trinity Church in Watseka, IL. This video is powerful in conveying the senseless loss of millions of lives due to abortion. I have had the privilege of spending a couple of days with Marty. We talked, walked, prayed and cried together. Marty is a man whose soul is marked with wounds of Christ for the lost and hurting. His life is immersed with continual thoughts on reaching and equipping others to be the heart and voice of Jesus to our generation. I am honored to be his friend.

Below is the video. I pray you will STOP whatever you are doing and give 8 minutes to an undisturbed viewing of this video. Then, join me in falling on our faces before our Lord Continue reading

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No to Resolutions…Yes to Surrender

SurrenderAt the beginning of every year, millions of people, including Christians, start the calendar year off with resolutions and self-promises. It is man’s way of attempting to have a better year than the one before. If we look back over several decades, we find that most have repeated the same old resolutions year after year. Obviously, the power of our ‘resolve’ hasn’t been successful.

Maybe, we need to do things differently. Maybe, the answer is not in the strength of the ‘will of man.’ Real change is found in surrender to the Only One who can change us from the inside-out. This is why the Gospel is so powerful–it is not just a message of a historical figure who died in space-time for us. Jesus actively and existentially changes us as we lay ourselves upon the altar of prayer and spend time in His Word and in His presence.  Continue reading

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End of Construction–Thanks for your patience!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn a recent vacation trip with my wife, we visited the Billy Graham Library and museum in Charlotte, NC. It was fantastic! Throughout the visit, the message of the gospel was penetrating, convicting, and refreshing. Being a pastor in my 52nd year of life, and realizing that the sand in my hourglass of time is getting low, I cried and rejoiced at the same time observing the brevity of time and the importance of making every moment count. Kudos to the BGEA for their superbly built and God-honoring museum.

There is so much that could be discussed, but I want to mention the last thing viewed during the tour of the site. It was the gravesite of Ruth Graham, Billy’s wife who passed away in 2007. Ruth grew up in China as one of the children of medical missionaries, married Billy after meeting him at college, and was with him as his dear bride for over 60 years. She had the front row seat of the life of a man who preached face to face with more people than anyone who has ever shared the gospel. Continue reading

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