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”

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!”

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””

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”

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”

Dear ISIS…a letter from Beelzebub

I don’t get involved in political issues much, but if I was the enemy of mankind, this is a letter I would write to ISIS concerning the destruction of America. In the spirit of C.S. Lewis’ “Screwtape” character, I offer this post.

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Dear ISIS,

mask of IslamThis is your supreme commander, General Beelzebub. You have been working successfully toward our goal of world domination. In order to help you to continue to further our goals upon the earth, I would like to give you some tips and schematic outlines for success. My advice especially involves conquering that evil nation known as America. Continue reading “Dear ISIS…a letter from Beelzebub”

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”

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 “Apologetics – The Bridge That Holds”

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?”