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,


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?


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?”

San Bernardino and the Talking Heads

San BernardinoBy now, all are aware of the Islamic terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California. A married muslim couple walked into a Christmas party and opened fire upon the very people who had celebrated the birth of their child. When the day ended, fourteen Americans were dead and twenty-one more wounded. Militant Islamic Jihad revealed its presence in the Golden State. This is only the beginning of tragedies that are headed to the shores of our beautiful country. Whenever a nation and its political leaders choose to hide their heads in the sand of denial, it is only a matter of time before what is denied crashes upon its shores.

First, there is President Obama, who claims to be a Christian. But in every major policy and speech, his actions look more like those of an atheist or a Muslim. He spends more time lecturing the American public about respect to Muslims than he does going after Islamic terrorists who desire to kill Americans. His administration is filled with Muslims who sympathize with Islamic terrorists organizations. And they are responsible for helping to forge America’s domestic and foreign policies concerning ISIS and Islamic terrorism. President Obama either a) doesn’t understand the existential threats of Islam, or b) understands it but secretly wants to change the face of America. That’s another debate.

Then there is the liberal news media. Most of them could not recognize truth if it was monogrammed on their shirt. They assume to tell us what the American people want, but only if it fits their narrative for a socialist, anti-Christian, no guns, liberal society. For the most part they are the re-visited ghosts of Hitler’s propaganda machine, demanding that the public embrace Obama’s vision for America. They have sold the average voter short Continue reading “San Bernardino and the Talking Heads”

The Foolishness of Pride

Woodpecker TreeWe live in a culture and generation that celebrates pride. We see it in everything from politics to sports. News organizations give daily updates on the health and extramarital affairs of star athletes while rarely mentioning the sacrifice of the unsung heroes who work with the unfortunate and outcast of society. Even the unlearned and ignorant among Christian circles applaud and promote ministers that strut around like peacocks overflowing with pride.

God said that he “opposes the proud.” (1Pet. 5:5) This is a military term meaning that He sets himself in battle array against the proud. He still does! As Christians, we must never accommodate that which God hates. If we do, it will be to the peril of our own soul.

To illustrate the character of pride, I’m reminded of this story that I heard years ago about Continue reading “The Foolishness of Pride”

The Journey to Faith

Questioning-GodMany in evangelical circles have thin skin. That is, they react unloving to others who do not hold to their view of God, faith, or truth. This must change if we are going to have a voice with the next generation. I have good friends who are atheist, homosexual or agnostic. And yet, we have very respectful and insightful discussions. Sure, we kick things around from different world views and philosophies of life, but we do not view our conversations as competitions or wrestling matches. Instead, we see the conversations as investigations of life and a pursuit of honest reflections.

Until those of us who claim to belong to Christ actually demonstrate a heart felt love for those who see things differently, we will continue to lose our voice in the marketplace of ideas and remain irrelevant to those who may be on a journey to faith. We must hear the questions of the heart from those who are our unbelieving friends before we will understand the questions they are seeking answers to. Continue reading “The Journey to Faith”

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 “From the Tomb to the Pulpit”

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 “How NOT to Communicate With Others”

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 “Pastor Sunday Afternoon”

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 “Sanctity of Life – Do We Really Care?”

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 “End of Construction–Thanks for your patience!”