Tuesday, June 27, 2006


On the road again...

I just returned from Chile yesterday and today I fly out to Louisville, Ky. In Chile we were working with our campaign for the Herald of Truth Nation by Nation project. Rex Morgan out of Miami produces our television shows and the local congregations handle the follow-up responses. Four different congregations hosted sessions for the campaign. Alabanza, the praise team led by Sam Cook, also worked with us on the campaign. They had about 50 visitors, set up many studies, and baptized one while we were there. I preached lots, prayed lots, planned lots, and talked lots. I'm worn out but in a good way.

I always enjoy worshipping in different cultures. It reminds me how wonderful the family of God is around this world. It also reminds me to keep sharing with everyone with our world the wonderful news of Jesus. I am convinced that all over this world there are souls hungry for the good news of Jesus. The urgency to tell this world about Jesus sure makes some of our local issues difficult to deal with.

I will be in Louisville for the North American Christian Conference. This event is a gathering of restoration churches and is hosted by the independent Christian church. There is lots of talk about our "coming together". There are lots of misunderstandings I hear floating about, and maybe I'll share my thoughts in a future blog. I have preached for some of these churches and talked to many of their preachers. I admire their passion for evangelism and their conviction to preach the Bible. However, I don't think they have everything figured out and we have everything messed up.

I don't agree with everything they believe, but then I don't agree with everything some of our churches believe. And I do think that we agree on what I consider to be gospel. Anyway, I look forward to being with them and continuing to build bridges of fellowship.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Close calls and angels...

Marsha and I were in Atlanta a few days ago to perform a wedding. The trip was wonderful except for one scary experience. We were coming back from the wedding and turning into the road for the hotel. All of sudden a SUV came out of a fast food lot and never looked at us. I remember praying that God would help me swerve enough so that it would hit us in back portion of the car and not right in Marsha's door. I clearly remember being thankful it was going to miss the door and nail us in the rear panel. And then it missed us. It shouldn't have, don't know how it did, but it did.

It was as if God scooted us over another couple of feet. Or did God's angels protect us? Maybe it was just dumb luck. Or maybe I miscalulated how close it was. But we're believers so we are going to give God the credit. And because I do believe in angels, I think maybe they were watching over us.

I've had many close calls and so have my kids. And so have you. How do you explain your escape from near death experiences? Skill, luck, fate...or God. I can't explain everything, but when in doubt-I think I'll give God the credit.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


When I am afraid...

I know you are supposed to monitor blog feedback, but I am always a day or two behind. However, Denise's comment the other day struck a real chord about fear. We all battle fears of different kinds and at different times in our lives. Sometimes there are childhood fears- of the dark, of the first day of school, and of mastering all the new things you have to learn growing up. Then there are the growing up fears- sexuality, physical traits, school choices, marriage, raising children, and career fears. And it doesn't stop there: you still have aging fears, empty nest fear, health issues, and end of life issues. So I am going to share my three favorite stories that help me face my fears.

The first is Elijah on Mount Carmel in I Kings 18. He is outnumbered 450-1 by the prophets of Baal and God wins... convincingly, powerfully and completely. My God is bigger and stronger than anything that can frighten me. I just need to trust Him and not me.

The second is also about Elijah and is found in I Kings 19, right after this great triumph. So it reminds me that Satan is always going to want me to be afraid. Fear paralyzes, it causes us to be timid, it does make us cowards. And all of those things are opposite of how God intends us to live in this world. But when Elijah is scared and feeling sorry for himself, notice what God does: He sustains him with physical provisions, He appears to him, and He reminds him that there are 7000 others remaining faithful to God. So I realize God will provide for me, He will be there for me, and there are lots more believers out there facing the same kind of difficulties and remaining faithful. So I am never alone.

The last story is from Elisha in II Kings 6:17. When the servant of Elisha sees the enemy surrounding them and becomes very afraid. Elisha asks for his servant's eyes to be opened. When he look, he sees the hosts of the Lord's army, and they are more than the enemy. It once again reminds me that the Lord's army is greater than the army of Satan, and I belong to the winning side.

These are the stories I use when I am afraid. Maybe they will help you.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Thinking about sin and Satan...

One of the difficult things I do as an elder and preacher is talk to people devastated by the sin of others. It happens every time a Christian leader sins. Those who looked up to them are hurt, disappointed, betrayed, and confused. I have had those same feelings when I found those I respected to be sinners. And I have caused those feelings in people who looked up to me. This is a situation as old as the Bible (God's leaders sinned then too) and as new as today (almost every week I get a call from someone regarding this issue). So let me share a few thoughts about when your spiritual leaders sin.

First, remember that all of God's people are sinners. Abraham, Moses, Saul, David, Peter, Judas, and Paul all sinned while they were leading God's people. Of course Satan is going to attack the leaders of God's people. It is the quickest way to inflict damage on the family of God. This doesn't make it right and it is not to excuse it, but it is reality. So remember that all of us are human. Pray for your leaders to stay strong.

Do not let your faith rest on people. God and Jesus are the focus of our faith and the source of our salvation. Parents, preachers, elders, teachers, and leaders should not be the focus of our faith. We must remember this in practice, not just in theory. Leaders need to keep their ego in check and we do not need to feed an unhealthy view of those in spiritual leadership.

Remember that it is really hard to know someone's heart. We can all say the right things, or put up the right image. Saul did not do near as many bad things as David seemed to... but David got it and Saul did not. Saul never really gave his life to God, and David never really quit on God. So I try to be very careful not to assume who is David and who is Saul.

I would encourage you to focus on the good. If they taught you God's Word, that is something you will always have. If they really helped you spiritually, be thankful. If they are broken and penitent, be glad they get it. If they are in rebellion against God, use that as a warning in your life.

Faithful Christians sometimes mess up. Extend compassion and help. It may be that after helping so many others, they find themselves in need of help. Remember that Jesus still loves them. Pray for them, cry with them, love them, and seek restoration for them.

Sometimes there are church leaders who do not know Jesus. Let that remind us to be more careful who we follow and who we put in positions of leadership. That is why the emphasis must always be on Jesus.

Finally, remember that Jesus had twelve apostles and one of them really didn't get it. Another great failure became the leader of the early church. Most of them ran under the pressure of the cross. And they came back and spread the news of Jesus all over the world. And sometimes real spiritual leadership is not about the falling down...it is about the getting up. And that may be where you see who is Peter or David, and who is Judas or Saul.

So treat Christian leaders who stumble just like you would want to be treated if it happened to you.

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