Has the American Church Missed it?

Statistics show a steady decline in the membership of mainline Protestant churches over the past several decades. Also, it is easy to see the hostile and anti-christian bashing which takes place among the social and media elites. What is going on? Is there something simple and systemically amiss with us? Has the American Church missed it?

Several issues could be mentioned in regards to the answers for the questions I raise. However, one area is becoming more and more clear as we watch American politics and fundraising among American Churches. Here is the issue at hand: We have failed to recognize the difference between culture and the Church.

In America, preachers and “christian celebrities” are always discussing social issues to a lost and un-regenerated culture. After all, book and DVD marketing finds more clients among the consumer driven economy by targeting the largest audience. Therefore, our message has lost the clear dividing line between culture and Church. Here are three issues we need to revisit for developing a mission toward the lost to regain the biblical focus of a New Testament Church.

Continue reading “Has the American Church Missed it?”

You Might Be A Racist If…

I grew up in the deep south. I’ve seen racism up close and personal. As a 60’s child I lived through the racial uprisings of the civil rights movement. I saw the ugliness, the hatred and the foolishness of racism from a front row seat.

When I became a Christian at the age of 18, I was equally appalled at the racism which existed, and still exists, in much of the Church. It was even uglier and more vile because those spouting it claimed to belong to Jesus Christ…however, their speech and actions betrayed their racist hearts and revealed their true colors. (no pun intended)

Racism is not just a Caucasian or African-American problem…it is a human problem. It exists in all communities and is aimed at those who are different from the personal norm. I am not one to mince words; I leave that for the crooked politicians and phony preachers who seek political correctness. I’m not seeking anyone’s approval. I only desire to be faithful to Christ and His Words…that’s it!

With that, I would like to share some lifelong observations about racism. A litmus test, if you will, to examine our actions and thought processes to determine if there are areas of racism hidden in our heart which we may not be aware of. I’m not concerned with secular Continue reading “You Might Be A Racist If…”

Persecution and the Power of the Gospel

Sometimes, it is in the midst of persecution when Jesus reveals Himself as the Great Shepherd…protecting his sheep with His faithful hands. That is certainly true in this story. Through PROJECT INDIA we have planted 19 churches in the three months of December ’11 through February ’12, with well over 500 new souls brought to Christ and added to these fellowships. We knew it was only a matter of time before the enemy would show his colors and begin to bring persecution. Several events have taken place, but I want to share a special story which is still unfolding. (Names are changed for security reasons!)

In one of the villages Bro. Anand, our PROJECT INDIA church planter, led Mary to Christ. Her salvation, like many others in the villages we are reaching, is from a life of idolatry in the religious practice of Hinduism. However, Mary’s story goes beyond that…as her father is the Brahma Priest who leads worship in one of the local Hindu Temples. Therefore, her family is from the highest caste in Indian culture and has little to do with the lower castes. Continue reading “Persecution and the Power of the Gospel”

Sprinting Toward Death….Finding Life

Death and despair have their strongholds in every culture and among all social classes. The human soul was created to be in fellowship with it’s Creator. However, when men and women have not heard the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, death appears to be the quick exit from pain, agony and emptiness. This is the back drop to the story of mankind in general, and to the following story in particular. (names changed for security reasons)

Lexi is a young lady in a rural village in India. Her young  life had come crashing down as the Doctor informed her she had HIV/AIDS. It was a death sentence. A result from a life of prostitution. However, the pain became even more intense when she was betrayed by close friends who shared her plight with the locals and brought even more pressure to bear upon her heart as she became an outcast to her village. The village Elders asked her to leave and not come back.

As a Hindu and a believer in re-incarnation, Lexi began the journey to bring about change in her life. She desired to end her present life and have a re-incarnation to a better life. She planned to accomplish this by casting herself into the nearby river to be taken down by the whirlpool. She ran, with tears in her eyes and brokenness in her heart….she sprinted toward death! Continue reading “Sprinting Toward Death….Finding Life”

Suffer the Little Children

A casual read through the gospels will reveal our Lord’s special love for children and His desire for us to have their disposition. There is a tender innocence toward faith and teachability which Jesus recognized in the children of his culture, and He pointed this out in several of His teachings to the disciples. When our Lord walked the shores of Galilee, one thing was for sure… children were dear to His heart and were given free access into His presence.

We read about God’s love for them from “their angels always see the face the Father” (Mt. 18:2,10) and “except you be converted and become as little children” (Mt. 18:3), to “suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 19:13-15) We read the passages and discover how the Lord used them as examples of what we should be. Also, James instructs us that pure religion and undefiled before our heavenly Father is to visit the “widows and the orphans in their affliction.” (James 1:27)

With that in mind, several have asked how Susanne and I began the orphanage in India. Here is the brief story behind the PROJECT INDIA Orphanage. Continue reading “Suffer the Little Children”

What If?…Paul on the Road to Damascus.

Nearly 2,000 years ago, Saul Paulus of Tarsus was traveling to Damascus to arrest and bring back to Jerusalem those whom the Sanhedrin had labeled as Jewish heretics. These Christians were turning the religious community upside down with their claims of a resurrection and Saul was determined to  stop them. However, his plan was interrupted by the appearance of the risen Christ. What a shock. The one Paul despised because of the teachings of the apostles in Jerusalem, had now stepped across time and smitten him with blindness and a call to ministry. This man of giant intellectual power and strict obedience to religious regulations would never be the same.

Much like Paul, until we are blinded by the love and light of Jesus and stop chasing our self-serving ambitions, we will never hear the Lord’s instructions and purpose for our life. As long as our anger and rage ignites our passions and consumes our actions, we are deaf to the voice of the Lord. Regardless how our actions are ‘approved’ by the modern church or ‘casual believers,’ the Lord alone knows our hearts. He sees us even when no one is around and knows our every thought. He constantly appeals to our conscience to consider the road we are on, and the claims he makes upon our life.

What happened that stopped Paul in his tracks? What changed this Pharisee of religion into an Apostle of the Lamb? He did not meet a salesman, a lifeless religious leader, a wild eyed fanatic or a silver tongued orator… He met Christ! The only one who could change his heart from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness. The only one who could Continue reading “What If?…Paul on the Road to Damascus.”

Christopher Hitchens – Without Excuse

The Apostle Paul wrote in the books of Romans that God has revealed Himself to every man. He teaches us that this knowledge is a result of creation and conscience. Because of this, every man is without excuse. (Rom. 1:18-20) Man’s rejection of God’s existence is not because there isn’t sufficient evidence. Rather, it is because he chooses to suppresses the evidence which exists.

Why would man suppress the witness of God’s existence through the voice of creation and conscience? Because man wants to justify his immorality and sin, and the only way to quiet his innate knowledge and conviction of his sin requires drowning his conscience. This can happen in several ways, however, I want to discuss something different in this post.

Christopher Hitchens died of esophageal cancer this week at the age of 62 in Houston, TX. Hitchens was one of the militant atheists who brazenly spoke against Christianity and those who believe it. He has become the hero and idol of thousands who Continue reading “Christopher Hitchens – Without Excuse”

Letter From a Witchdoctor – Darkness to Light

The power of the Holy Spirit reveals His work through the preaching of the Gospel. As Jesus is proclaimed, the Holy Spirit can break through the powers of darkness and deliver man. Satan’s deception and lies cannot prevent truth from piercing the heart of those seeking truth and setting them free in Christ. Below is a testimony received from a recent outreach meeting in a rural village of India. We rented a community hall and invited people to come to the meeting. Ten people openly came forward to receive the Lord’s offer of salvation. One man, who lived next to the community, just sent this testimony to us. (The English is rough as it has gone through translation from his native language of Telugu.)

My name is M________ . I am very bad person. Whenever I see a pastor or hear the gospel, I used to become very angry because I use to think bible belongs to white people. Jesus is not an Indian, why should we pray to him when we have 330 million gods and goddesses?

I am the person who does witchcraft. I practice the witchcraft to control and kill people. I operated in witchcraft with an evil spirit. Continue reading “Letter From a Witchdoctor – Darkness to Light”

Letter From a Terrorist

The power of the Gospel never ceases to amaze me. Satan seeks to destroys people’s lives by keeping them from experiencing the truth that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” (2Cor. 5:19) The dark veil of unbelief that Satan uses to blind mankind is unable to resist the liberating power of truth spoken in love. Below is a testimony I just received from a hindu terrorist who came to an outreach meeting I spoke to, via telephone, in India. I will conceal the name and bits of information for obvious reasons. (The language is not smooth as it has gone through translation, but I wanted you to get the feel of the person.)

My name is R___. I have been suffering from evil spirits and bad dreams. I have gone to many people seeking deliverance and healing, but no one could. The doctors said, ‘we find no problem in your body. You are fully OK.’ I see and hear the evil spirits come to me saying we will take you to hell. Then Bro Continue reading “Letter From a Terrorist”

You Shall Dream Dreams

Many modern attempts of evangelism seem to place their dependance upon music, lighting, eloquence of speech and personal charisma. We ‘convince’ converts through gimmicks, crafty persuasion or emotional manipulations. We make them part of the ‘club’ with alluring benefits of gyms, golf tournaments, concerts and other devised and enticing opportunities if they join up. And, sad to say, our converts reveal the results of these carnal attempts by being no different from the world we are supposed to rescue them from. Usually, instead of genuine believers, we create unregenerated religiousites (my word) who now are under the delusion of being saved. We produce “strange children” because we use our fleshly attempts instead of the simplicity of God’s Word and reliance upon the Holy Spirit.

The Lord promised something much greater. He said,

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:” (Acts 2:17-18, emphasis added)

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which began on the Day of Pentecost after our Lord’s resurrection, is the catalyst which should be the power and clarity of our life and Continue reading “You Shall Dream Dreams”

ReThinking Church, Part 7 – Instantly Evangelistic

When we examine the Biblical text we find another stark contrast between evangelism in the modern church verses what it looked like in the New Testament church. Today, for the most part and with few exceptions, evangelism is relegated to and seen as the responsibility of Pastors and Evangelists. Pastors, because they are continually teaching and preaching to inquirers and visitors on Sunday mornings. Evangelists, because soul winning is innate to their gifting and the thrust of their talents and calling. (Much could be said about this, but it would take us off topic.)

Evangelism in the New Testament church was an immediate and ordinary action following conversion to Jesus as Lord. Fishing for men became the instant and expected norm of a new believer. Today, we make converts comfortably inactive by giving them all the excuses why they need to wait: you’re not prepared, you need to learn, you are not an evangelist, bring your friends to church, get your friends to call the Pastor, etc…  Continue reading “ReThinking Church, Part 7 – Instantly Evangelistic”

Letter – Jesus is God of White People in USA

The power of the gospel is clearly seen when the preacher of the gospel clearly presents it. Too many times, in America, pastors in the pulpits present Jesus as a western version of a middle class idol. While our churches wonder if they can get new lighting equipment, projectors and nicer pews, millions around the world are dying who have never heard the name or gospel of Jesus. We may say we believe men who do not know Jesus will go to eternal damnation, but we sure do not live like it. We are too busy chasing the American dream and wasting our time and finances on the foolish and lustful pleasures of this life.

When others in foreign lands hear about our Jesus, they do not want Him. And that is good, because most of the time, if they get their understanding of Jesus from religious TV, they are not hearing about the Jesus of the Bible anyway. However, when the simplicity of the gospel is presented, the Holy Spirit is powerfully present to arrest the hearts of man to respond in faith. Hallelujah, what a Savior! Continue reading “Letter – Jesus is God of White People in USA”