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Monday, September 28, 2015


We all have our own ideas of what revival looks like, or at least what we think it should look like. Most of those ideas are based on what we’ve personally witnessed in past years.  However, God doesn’t always consult with us to see how we think He should do things before He does them. Sometimes, God does things differently than we might expect. 

I’m reminded of stories in the Bible when people, no doubt, expected God to do things one way but He did something differently.  I can imagine the Children of Israel never expected to defeat Jericho by marching around the city, or shouting at that wall.  They probably expected a show of military might, or of strategic genius, but victory came thought obedience.  I’m sure King Saul wasn’t expecting deliverance from the Philistines, and their champion  Goliath, to come through a teen-aged shepherd boy who wasn’t even old enough to be in the army.  Yet David fought for Israel, and God fought for David.  I doubt that Peter expected to have money to pay his taxes by catching a fish and finding a coin in its mouth, but that’s what happened at Jesus’ command.

We should remember that God says, “My ways are not your ways…” (Isa. 55:8-9).  I’m steadfast in my belief that what God is doing among us, and in many other American churches, is unlike what we’ve seen in the past or even have expected for our future.  I believe that God has likely done things this way before, but our experience is so limited that we may not have seen it. 

I was talking to a pastor last week who had heard about God doing some miracles here in our fellowship.  He told me that he had been confronted with a woman who was in need of healing from cancer, and was reminded of what God had done in Sister Edith’s body with the removal of tumors, so he decided to pray for that woman right then and there!  I earnestly hope and expect to hear a good report from that prayer.  I talked to another pastor this morning who has been in ministry for more than 40 years.  He told me that he had witnessed God move this past weekend in a way he had never seen.  God had given such specific information to a man of God about a woman they were praying for, that it was absolutely astounding.  That woman was convinced of God’s power, she was touched and filled with the Spirit of God!  I’ve heard others within the last month, people who have been in church all of their lives, say they have never felt God so strongly or seen Him move in such a powerful way.

My point is that we shouldn’t be surprised when God does something surprising.  He does things His own way. He’s God after all!  What we call revival is simply the restoration of what was once alive, back to a state of life or vitality!  That’s what revive actually means and that’s what God is doing in His church!  It might look different than we expected. It might sound different.  It might even leave us a little perplexed, as was probably the case for the nation of Israel, for King Saul, and even Peter in the previous examples.  God does things differently than we expect.  Yet if God is the one doing it, it’s good… and I’m all in!  How about you?  Revive us Lord!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What We Hold As Convictions...

We love to judge others by what we hold as convictions.  All the while, we are seemingly oblivious that things we are doing may not be considered holy enough by someone else.
This is not a personal jab at someone.  I'm not here to start a 'holy war' among the self righteous. I'm not here to condone the practice of habitual sin. I'm writing this blog today to remind you, and me, that we will all stand before God for ourselves, and He will judge each of us. I also want to remind us all, that the Bible says that each of us should work out our "own soul's salvation with fear and trembling."

In the last two days I have been approached by as many people who want to address my 'relaxed stance' on purchasing Starbucks coffee, or actually allowing my daughters to purchase it. See Starbucks is very pro-homosexual in its worldview and is known to support homosexual marriage. I don't support that, or even agree with the ideology. My worldview is undeniably Christian. Yet, I haven't stopped my daughters from their patronage of the said establishment and for that I am perhaps being misunderstood.

What I'm hearing from these folks is that some may see that choice to not stop our patronage as hypocritical. I understand that. I have even been right there! In 1996 when the Southern Baptist Convention boycotted the Walt Disney Company for it's "anti-Christian, anti-family direction", I participated even though I'm not Southern Baptist. In 1997 when Ellen Degeneres came out as openly lesbian and ABC Television chose to air her show 'Ellen', I was very disappointed and, for a while, was determined not to watch ABC.  In 2005 when the American Family Association called for a boycott of Ford Motor Company, I was in! I was determined that I would do my part to make the difference! ...But where were all the bold Christians in 1996, 1997, 2005?  I felt alone then. Just a few of us were willing to take a stand and I was a little put off by their lack of action.

Now, let's fast forward about ten years from that last date.  Today, September 22, 2015, I am being questioned for my stance as perhaps being too soft and appearing hypocritical. For the record, as far as I know no one has called me hypocritical, but concerns have been expressed that my lack of boycott might be seen as support. Again, I understand that but let me say on record, my values have not changed. I still believe that marriage is to be only between one man and one woman.  I still believe the Bible is true and that it declares the homosexuality is a sin, just as it declares that heterosexual sex outside marriage is a sin. I still believe God will judge all sin, of all types. I also believe in boldly declaring it!

Today however, we live in an America that is far different than it was when I grew up. In this society there are extremely few non-homosexual supporting corporate entities out there.  Yet there are multitudes of companies that do support homosexuality.  Here's a list of 379 companies that urged the Supreme Court to rule in favor of same-sex marriage.  Do you use the products or services any of these corporations in your daily life?  Probably. (Amazon, Apple, CBS, Colegate-Palmolive, DirectTV, CVS Pharmacy, Ebay, Estee' Lauder, Facebook, General Electric, Google, Johnson & Johnson, J.P.Morgan/Chase Bank, Levi Strauss & Co, Microsoft, Nationwide Insurance, Office Depot, PepsiCo, Starrtek, Target, United Airlines, VISA, Verizon, Wells Fargo, Wyndham Worldwide Corp... and 354 more.)

We have arrived at a day when it's virtually impossible to buy anything without supporting someone with whom we disagree morally. The previous list only includes a fraction of those who actually support the homosexual agenda, they are the few that spoke up on behalf of the agenda to the Supreme Court.  A great number of others are on board as well, but didn't address the Supreme Court. Among those are favorites like Walmart, Nabisco, Frito-Lay, and the list goes on. 

So where does that leave us, as Christians?  It leaves us to consider our own convictions.  To me, today's issues seem very similar to an early New Testament Church issue. People of differing convictions, tried to decide whether or not to eat meat sacrificed to idols. One group of believers considered it completely unethical. Another group of Christians, including the Apostle Paul, saw no danger in it. Paul dealt with this topic in 1 Cor. 8:4-13, and then dealt with our Christian liberties in 1 Cor. 10:25-32.  The basic ideas found in these scriptures would teach us to not judge one another for seeing things differently, but to also try not to offend one another with our liberty. 

Here is my conclusion: I'm not willing to give up my faith!  I'm not willing to compromise my values.  I am not willing to turn my back on the Bible, or to wink at sin. However, on issues like this one I am willing to concede the 'culture war', for now. The only hope for America is revival! We need Jesus! It's too late for boycotts! Also, judging others for their convictions only divides a Body of Christ that really needs to be in unity right now. I urge you to stand for your own convictions. I urge you to not bow to religious persecution. I urge you to pursue God and grow in your faith! What we hold as convictions may slightly differ. What we hold as convictions may be used in judgment against us by God one day if we ignore them... so live by them! Yet what we hold as convictions should guide us, they should not divide us.