Grow Up, Church…It’s Just “A Shack”

the-shackThe movie, “The Shack,” like the book that preceded it, is causing a stir among evangelicals. Accusations are flying left and right. Some are fuming and warning others not to see it. Others are in a borderline state of worshipping the story. You may agree or disagree, but here is another $0.02 worth of opinion.

Before I start, I’m not advocating or supporting the film…but neither am I announcing with a voice of ‘grave danger’ to those who choose to see it. Whenever an artistic expression comes out, it is easy for shallow-minded and infantile believers to jump on the bandwagon of protest. After all, we can feel spiritual by focusing and judging things outside of our own soul, and avoid the deep personal issues within our heart. That way, we can keep God’s finger off the real pressure point.

Simple points to remember:

  1. It is a fictional movie – it’s make believe.
  2. It is not true or truth – it’s fantasy.
  3. It can be enjoyed as fantasy.
  4. It does not threaten the faith of the Gospel with its fantasy leaps of confusion.
  5. It will not shake the faith of those who know Christ.
  6. It is not a theological treatise.
  7. It is entertainment.
  8. It is not the first or the last movie to misrepresent Christ or the Trinity.

Continue reading “Grow Up, Church…It’s Just “A Shack””

A Fresh Look at Matthew’s Gospel

matthew“The men who were tax collectors had no fellowship with other countrymen except fellow tax collectors. They were regarded as puppets to the Roman government, and traitors and heathens to the ordinary Jews. They were viewed as unclean and vile, and the average Jew, especially the religious ones, would not even sit at a meal with them, as sharing a meal was viewed as acceptance into fellowship.

Matthew knew what it felt like to have his own countrymen regard him as the chiefest of sinners. He understood the condemning stares and the rejection from the religious men of his day. And yet, Jesus chose Matthew as a member of his inner circle of followers. This is the same tax collector the Holy Spirit used to record one of the four gospels. Continue reading “A Fresh Look at Matthew’s Gospel”

Biblical Meditation

meditationBiblical meditation is our quiet time with God. This does not mean we must always be alone in a quiet place to meditate on the Lord and His Word. We can find the quietness of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the midst of the bustle of our day. However, we should seek times of solitude in quiet places to pray and seek the mind of the Lord as a regular practice. This is how meditation is such a vital part of praying in the Spirit. The Lord trains us to pursue His personal direction through waiting, patience and prayer. He slows us down and protects us from making knee-jerk reactions and impulsive decisions.

The proper state of biblical meditation is a pure heart and a spiritual mind, and unlike meditation taught from other religions, it does not focus upon body posture. When we keep our sins confessed up to date, we maintain a pure heart. When we pursue God’s truth and wisdom, we maintain a spiritual mind. From a pure heart and spiritual mind, we can have confidence about the Holy Spirit’s leading because we seek no agenda or purpose but to do God’s will. We also understand that we are created for His purposes and plans. When we maintain a pure heart and walk spiritually minded, we will desire to know and remain faithful to God’s will—not ours. Continue reading “Biblical Meditation”

Jihad Rising

This will be a difficult post to communicate clearly for a couple of reasons. First, because so many Americans are unfamiliar with the international intent of the Islamic religion. Second, because Americans seems to see things with a narrow myopic view. It will be challenging for some to see, rejected by others, and appear to be a warning to others.

jihadDonald Trump’s election will bring an increase of unrest and danger. I’m not talking about the protests and complaining we have witnessed from the left leaning socialist ideologues. Instead, I’m honing in on the underlying mantra and intentions of those who embrace Islam. Islam, at its core, is more than a simple belief system. It is a political, cultural, governmental, social, and religious belief system that creates a culture of control over its followers AND all non-believers who are allowed to live within its borders.

For eight years under the George W. Bush presidency, Islam had a friend. Even though it was under his presidential term that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon took place, Bush continued to tell the public that Islam had been hijacked by radicals and that it was a “religion of peace”. This is double talk and demonstrates both ignorance of Islam and an attempt to demonstrate political compromise. Continue reading “Jihad Rising”

Maybe… Just Maybe!

Who would have thought the political campaign would still be going? I guess the question about how Hillary could possibly lose the election is beyond the comprehension of some people. America seems to have reached a boiling point of nausea about the failure of Washington to hear the voices of working class men and women.

electionWe had two very flawed major candidates. And those who are in power in D.C. and in the main stream media can not find it within themselves why the nation chose Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. Could there be reasons she lost, or a combination of reasons, that the liberal left refuses to see or acknowledge?

Well, maybe…just maybe Hillary lost because…

1. The working class that pays the bills is tired of being trampled over.
2. God fearing people are tired of being told they must be quiet and let the secularists take over.
3. Democracy loving people are seeing the socialism promoted by the far left.
4. Honest people are tired of being lectured by Obama on how to respond to Muslims while he refuses to distinguish between terrorists and peaceful Muslims. Continue reading “Maybe… Just Maybe!”

Worth it All

Every now and then a song comes along that encourages believers along our journey. This is one such song. I pray it does for you what it has done for me the past several weeks. The message captures the heart of all our labor for Christ.

God bless,

Terry

John Wesley’s Prophecy

FUMCLogoWrittenWithout a doubt, John Wesley was one of the greatest influences within the history of Christianity. His passion, vision and organization was second to none in expanding the kingdom of God through missionary efforts and church planting. Wesley’s writings and pattern of church planting have had a huge impact on many leaders for over two hundred years, including myself. The stories of circuit riders blazing the trail of early American history are legendary. And yet within his vision of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, Wesley was well aware of the dangers that would attack his work if natural minded men slipped into the church and turned it into a dead society.

Five years before his death Wesley wrote,

“I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out.” (‘Thoughts Upon Methodism,’ 1786.)

These words seem to be prophetic. United Methodism is on the verge of becoming a spiritually dead form of religion. Its present leaders have moved so far away from God’s Word and historic Christianity, that the general conference will consider changing the moral code of Scriptures to embrace homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle, and opening up the practice of performing and blessing homosexual marriages in United Methodist Churches. You can read about it on the UMC official website Here and see the prominence of it Here. Continue reading “John Wesley’s Prophecy”

Does God Still Speak?

A13914.jpg
Rembrandt

If you want to create a lively-and sometimes ungodly-conversation among believers, ask the simple question, “Does God speak to people today?” It is like tossing a hand grenade into a busy mess hall during boot camp and watching the soldiers rush for the door. Depending upon one’s background and theological bent, the answers will range from ‘of course He still speaks’ to ‘not since the canon of Scriptures has been completed.’ This is a frequent question among young believers, especially in light of the fact they wish to walk free from a dead and lifeless form of Christianity.

Theologians of previous generations must be read carefully, as they were combating errors and heresy unique to their time. This is why we have to be very careful not to ‘over-judge’ the statements from previous generations unless we know with reasonable certainty the layers to the theological battles that raged during their life of ministry. Equally so, we must be careful when using their quotes in our generation, as they may not be bringing out the essential issues we face.

It is easy for us to read famous quotes from writers and theologians and turn them into false dilemmas by using them and presenting an either/or option when more than two options are available. One such case can be illustrated with this quote I ran across some time back while reading puritan writer, John Owen. It is similar to some quotes I’ve read in various systematic theology books that were written during times when the church was battling the dangers of mysticism that is not grounded in sound doctrine.  Continue reading “Does God Still Speak?”

Passion Born Out of Conflict

Conflict PassionConflict is painful. It presses us beyond our strength and understanding, and forces us to seek solutions outside the box of our perception. Once we have faced conflict through the truth of Scriptures, a passion from God ignites in our soul concerning what we discover. It is that passion that plunges us into new dimensions of faith and a Spirit-filled walk.

Christian faith is filled with passion. It only becomes passionless when we fail to cultivate intimacy with our risen Lord. For believers there are several areas of interest concerning passion, and each one of them is born out of some type of conflict. Here are five: Continue reading “Passion Born Out of Conflict”

Radicalized – the “Red Herring”

RadicalIn today’s constant terrorist activity news cycle, whenever an attack from Islamic jihadists occurs, the word “radicalized” is regularly tossed out. The impression is to convey the thought that a radicalized Muslim has abandoned the faith of Islam and taken on a violent and non-Islamic path of terror. This is a red herring (diversionary attempt) with the goal of being politically correct and to try and appease the Muslim community.

Are most Western Muslims violent? No. Most are peaceful and simply want to have a life of success with acceptance in our democracy, while providing for their families. However, there is no easy way to state the truth and keep it from stinging–Islam is a violent religion at its core. Based upon the Quran and the teachings of Muhammad in the Hadith, Islam teaches, promotes and endorses extreme violence against those who reject it.

Peaceful and law-abiding Muslims are those who have either rejected parts of the Quran and Hadith, or who fail to know the violent teachings contained in them. These facts become the greatest avenue to reach Muslims with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can offer them a coherent and truthful worldview that upholds the supreme ethic of love as its highest standard, while showing them the violent teachings of Islam.

All it takes for a Muslim to be a “radical” jihadist, is for him to simply believe in the truthfulness of the Quran and Hadith, gain the knowledge that they teach and command violence, and then simply obey those commands. In short, what the news media calls a radical Muslim is a faithful Muslim!  Continue reading “Radicalized – the “Red Herring””

From Allah to Jesus

BehaTraining church planters in India, raising support for orphans and missionaries, writing gospel tracks, and preaching through technology can be laborious, especially when all of that is on top of leading a church here in the USA. However, whenever I get a testimony like I just received, all I can do is fall on my knees before the Lord and thank Him for allowing me to be a small part of His work of the great commission.

This is the testimony I recently received from Beha*, who is pictured to the left. Read through the entire story and you’ll see the miraculous change that only Christ can do in the hearts of people. The entire testimony is below, including the words she capitalized for emphasis. Continue reading “From Allah to Jesus”

Freedom of Religion…But not Freedom to Kill

First AmendmentThe political landscape in America has been going through a major shift for many years. As God is squeezed out of the inclusion in serious debate, man is left with only secular and naturalist input to attempt to solve major issues. Hence, the hot debate over what to do with Islam in America is one such debate that rages like a blazing fire. Wisdom from godly counsel could be gained if our leaders would seek out understanding of the issues instead of just looking for another talking point to up their standing in the political polls.

Our Constitution was written by men who understood religious persecution. They did not desire to ‘kick God out’ of the public arena. Instead, they wanted to protect religious liberty in the market square. Today, most politicians, especially liberals, want to exclude God from a place at the table of ideas. And most conservatives want to invoke Him and claim to speak for Him, while many times failing to have an understanding of sound Christian Theology. Therefore, the options of policy offered by our leaders usually vacillates somewhere between over-simplistic and foolish, to outright ridiculous. Continue reading “Freedom of Religion…But not Freedom to Kill”