Saturday, August 29, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Every day we encounter people who have different belief systems. I believe there is a key to reaching each person. I always ask the Holy Spirit to show me how to minister to the people I run into. Sometimes I am able to lead someone to the Lord; often I fail. Today, I crashed and burned…
I met a man in the Atlanta airport today who is a self-proclaimed pagan. He was born a Baptist, but raised hell as a young man, now he is a girl’s volleyball coach. He is well read and has thought through his belief system. He does not believe there is a God who cares about him individually as a person, but he does believe in pagan fertility rites and Zen Buddhism.
His life philosophy comes from his volleyball coaching experience. He said, “Whoever gets the most playing time in life wins.” He said the point of life was to have fun, to play, to spend time in the game.
I shared my testimony with him and gave him a brief overview of the Gospel. He accused me of believing in a “closed-loop system.” He said that once I accepted “by faith” the existence of God and chose to believe the Bible, that I was closed to any other way of thinking. He said that my religion was no different than any other intolerant religion. After a few minutes of talking, he walked away to catch his flight.
My question is: How would you have ministered to him? What would you have said to bring him to Jesus?
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
She began to explain that she felt called by God to go full-time to the mission field but she did not know how to get started.
"If you want to become a full-time missionary, and live for a year or more on the mission field, I encourage you to get some training," I replied.
Several years ago, I was asked by Pastor Billy Joe Daugherty, pastor of Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, OK to be on the board of Victory World Missions Training Center. If you want to become a missionary, you should go through their one-year training program. You will learn how to minister cross culturally, how to learn a foreign language, techniques for effective outreach in foreign lands, plus you will learn how to share your vision and raise money.
As I thought about this woman's desire to become a missionary, I realized that other people who receive my e-mails may want to become missionaries too.
MISSIONARIES: Victory World Missions Training School is a great place to receive training if you want to become a missionary.
OTHER NATIONS: If you already live in a foreign country and want to learn how to be more effective in your ministry, you may want to consider VWMTC as a place for further training.
PASTORS: If there is someone in your church who wants to be a missionary, please consider sending them to this dynamic school before sending them out to the mission field.
For more information, check out their website at: http://www.victorymissions.com. For more information about attending the school, call: Reba Altizer at: 918-491-7630.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Today I rode a shuttle from the airport to my hotel in Denver. The driver was a Pakistani man who has lived in the United States for ten years. His name is Raza. He is Muslim and I had an interesting conversation with him about the Muslim religion. Then, I talked to him about Jesus. I started by telling him what the Koran says about Jesus, then I proceeded to tell him what the Bible says about Jesus. For thirty minutes I presented the entire Gospel message to him. He was interested in what I had to say. I did not get a chance to pray with him, but I did encourage him to find a Bible and read it.
But, the saddest part of the whole encounter is that I asked him if any other Christian has ever talked to him about Jesus. He said, “No.” For ten years he has worked in the United States driving people to and from the airport in Denver, Colorado. In all that time, NO CHRISITIAN HAS EVER TALKED TO HIM ABOUT JESUS.
Monday, August 10, 2009
For years, I have proudly called myself a Charismatic Christian without being completely sure what the term “Charismatic” means. One day my curiosity was peaked and as I began researching, I was pleasantly surprised by the rich meaning of the word. Traditionally, the distinctives of the Charismatic faith include experiencing the infilling of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, believing in healing, and preaching the word of faith. What are some other implications of our name?
1. Charismatics are gifted.
The nine gifts of the Spirit found in 1 Corinthians 12:8-9 are often called charismas which is a Greek word which means “gifts.” The term “charismatic” was coined in the early nineteen sixties to refer to the branch of Christianity that believes in the gifts of the Spirit. Of course, as one professor at Oral Roberts University pointed out, “Those who believe in the Spirit-filled life are not a branch of Christianity, we’re the roots.”
2. Charismatics are leaders.
When a political leader has “charisma,” it means he has a leadership quality that is charming and appealing. In the same way, Charismatics are leaders in the body of Christ and have an undefinable glow which attracts the lost like a light draws bugs on a dark night.
3. Charismatics are graced.
The root in the Greek language for the word “charisma” is charis which is most commonly translated as “grace.” It is defined as “undeserved merit and favor.” So Charismatics are those who are smiled upon by God even when we do not deserve it. We literally walk in the grace of God.
4. Charismatics are joyful.
The Greek word for “joy” is chara, which comes from the word charis. Our joy is not based on a human experience that gives brief pleasure, rather our joy is obtained from the Lord and sticks with us in the midst of both the good times and the bad.
5. Charismatics are healers.
1 Corinthians 12:9 specifically mentions the charismas of healing or “gifts” of healing.
As Charismatics, we use God’s power to heal people: spirit, mind, and body.
6. Charismatics are givers.
The term “charismatic” refers to a gifted one, but it could equally allude to to one who gives gifts. In 2 Corinthians 8-9, Paul mentions the grace (charis) of giving ten times when urging the church in Corinth to send an offering to the saints in Jerusalem. In other words, the word “Charismatic” could be translated “Givermatic,” defined as people who give automatically and cheerfully. Whenever the offering bucket passes, we are excited about giving.
7. Charismatics are blessed.
A final meaning of the word “charis” is blessing. So, Charismatics are “Blessed-o-matics,” those who are automatically walk in the fullness of God’s blessing.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
It is time to seize the day. Whatever you do in life, I encourage you to do it with all of your might and never stop chasing your dreams.
In the next three months, you have time either to waste or to achieve great things. Some will change lives, some will make millions, and some will vegitate in front of the television set. The choice is up to you, what are you going to accomplish in your life? Here is some advice for those who want to make a difference.
The winners in life are those who plan to be winners. Someone once commented that “the guy at the top of the mountain did not fall there accidentally.” It takes a lot of planning, hard work, and sweat to be able to climb a tall mountain. Life is what happens to us on a day-to-day basis while we dream about the future. Success requires a daily commitment to excellence. Do not allow your dreams to die because you fail to live life to the fullest each day. General George S. Patton exhorted his men to, “Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.”
Leonardo da Vinci, the Renaissance inventor and painter said, “Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.” Leonardo achieved greatness in his life because he pursued greatness each and every day. The journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step. Each day represents a step in life. A series of days well lived will produce a life worth living.
Do something great. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Do not do something that is insignificant, obscure, or unimportant. Norman Vincent Peale said, “I expect the best and with God’s help will attain the best.”
Accomplish something great for God. Love deeply, sing happily, laugh loud, play hard, work harder, perform beyond expectations, leap high, run fast, stay focused, do what is right. These are the keys to happiness and success.
Love God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and body, and love your neighbor as you love yourself. The only way to find love in your life is to give it away. The more you give, the more will be returned to you. Giving love is not a one-time occurrence, it is an every day experience.
Find your purpose. Write your vision down on paper. Follow your heart, not the crowd. Ignore criticism. Concentrate. Maintain high standards. Expand your horizons. Dream big. Put life into your dreams. Set goals. Achieve those goals. Commit to excellence. Settle for nothing less then success. Cultivate relationships. Conquer your fears. Sustain a good attitude. Sow and reap. Make failures temporary. Continue to educate yourself. Develop new skills. Rise above disappointments. Stay on track. Keep your eyes on the prize. Aim high. Create reality. Fulfill your destiny. Give God the glory.
Seize the day, every day, and you will achieve success. God made you to be a winner. He does not want to see you fail. Tools have been placed in your hands which can help you achieve your dreams. If you place the tools away in your tool belt, they will look good, but you will never build anything. However, if you use the tools wisely, you will create something beautiful.
God will place you in situations where you are His only representative. You are called to be a minister of his shining light. Whenever you see a hurting person, tell them about the God who made it possible for you to conquer. Go forth every day and be all that God has called you to be. The place you start is not as important as the place you finish.
Do not give up. Winston Churchill was once asked to give a speech at a boy’s prep school. After a long, eloquent introduction, he stood up and gave an eight word speech, “Never, never, never, never, never, never, give up.” This advice from the man who carried Great Brittan to victory in the midst of her darkest hour rings true today. It is vital to keep seizing the day, every day.
When would you have told this man to give up? He failed in business, was defeated in a bid for the legislature, failed in business a second time, suffered a nervous breakdown, defeated for speaker, defeated for Congress, defeated in a run for the Senate, defeated for Vice President, defeated for Senate a second time, and finally, in 1860, was elected President of the United States of America. His name was Abraham Lincoln, arguably the most successful president this country has ever known. His voice echoes across the years as he says, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.” If you will seize the day, you will achieve great things.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
From: Angelic Building & Construction (AB&C Team - Sector 6)
To: Head of Mansion Construction
Subject: Heavenly Real Estate Boom
During the fourth quarter, there has been a rapid increase in soul winning on earth. While this is wonderful news, it has implications that must be addressed by our division.
As you know, our master carpenter (May he reign forever) promised each believer a mansion. Ever since he arrived back in heaven, our construction division has been working hard. At first, it was easy to keep up with the needs and at one point during the Middle Ages we were actually ahead of schedule. However, in these last days there has been a massive surge in demand.
As a case in point, Daniel & Jessica King just finished a Soul Winning Festival in Ethiopia and had over 45,000 people pray with them for salvation in just four days. When we received the work order for that many new mansions my wings almost fell off.
Here are my recommendations for accommodating this new growth:
1. The sector of heaven we are working on is almost full, I recommend opening up a new area. Real estate prices are going way up due to supply and demand. We’ll have to push back the gates of hell and use some of the land they were planning on using. They won’t be needing it anymore.
2. Alert the pavement angels. Increase their gold brick quota ten-fold.
3. Send a messenger to the head office and get blue prints for all the new houses. You know how much Jesus likes to individualize each house plan.
4. Pull some of the angels off “fiesta duty” and send them to help me build. I know its fun throwing a party every time a sinner gets saved, but if we don’t step up the pace we’ll never get finished before the M-SOL (Marriage Supper Of the Lamb).
No one here knows the day or the hour Jesus will be heading back to get his bride, but we do know the time is very close. We anticipate having the greatest harvest of souls in history just prior to his return. If we are going to have the mansions anywhere near complete, we need to get hopping on this immediately. We will have an eternity to rest, but right now there is no time to waste.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Imagine a group of friends gathered together on the porch of your mansion in heaven. You have eaten a scrumptious meal and as the food settles, the group sits down to reminisce about the victories won on earth.
“Moses, tell the story again about how God parted the Red Sea,” you say.
The great patriarch clears his throat and begins to tell the tale, “There were chariots as far as the eye could see. Pharaoh was shaking his spear. The water loomed up on either side of the passageway through the sea. God’s people were quaking in fear. But I lifted up my rod and suddenly the water came tumbling down. Let me tell you, we had a party in the desert that night.”
“Daniel, tell us about God saving you from the lions.” Breathlessly, you listen as he tells about how an angel shut the mouth of the big cats.
For hours, you ask each other questions.
“Luther, what were you feeling when you nailed the ninety-five thesis up on the door?”
“Noah, was it hard to build a big boat when you had never seen rain?”
“Elijah, were you surprised when fire actually fell from heaven?”
“William Carry, we want to hear about the thousands of heathens saved in India.”
“Billy, when you first started preaching, did you ever imagine you would minister to over two hundred million people in your lifetime?”
Suddenly, the party goes silent. A man, with nail scars in his hands, says, “There’s one story we haven’t heard yet this evening.”
A shiver goes up and down your spine. No matter how many times you see Jesus, it’s a rush just being in his presence. You wonder which of heaven’s heros Jesus is talking about. Then you realize everyone is looking at you. You glance at Jesus and his finger is pointed in your direction. You look over your shoulder and there is no one behind you.
Jesus says, “My friend, tell me about the people you witnessed to."
Each day, you write the story you will tell for eternity. What tale will you tell of today’s activities?
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Jessica likes going to garage sales on Saturday mornings...here are some of my thoughts about an estate sale we visited recently.
Visiting an estate sale is depressing. I scan the accumulated junk of an anonymous lifetime and realize nothing is worth buying. It is hard to feel sorry for the poor person who died and left a house full of junk. I wonder who lived here. What was important to this person? Was she happy? Did she live a full life or was she a bitter old unfulfilled person?
Clues about her life are hidden in the piles of shabby sweaters and chipped dishes.
I look at her bookshelf. “How to Fight Cancer, and Win!” one book is titled. "I guess she didn’t win” I think to myself. A mish-mash of other books on healthy eating and proper diet reveal an ultimately futile obsession with health. The Encyclopedia Brittanica from 1974 would be interesting, although the volume for the letter P is missing. A dusty Bible. A dog-eared romantic novel with a picture of a half-naked man and woman overlooking a sunset from a beach catches my attention. A history of the first one hundred years of the First Baptist Church of Tulsa. A book of recipes is stuffed full of yellowed newspaper clippings. Nothing interests me.
The cabinet full of antique china looks like a prized possession. I could own the set for $35. The actual cabinet is unavailable, I am informed by a bright red sticker that proclaims SOLD.
The guest bedroom boasts an assortment of old fashioned cameras, derelict printers, sheet sets, pots, and an old mop.
A picture of a frowning ancestor stares at me from the wall. The frame is for sale, I suppose I could dispose of the picture, but its an ugly frame.
There is a pile of old music cassettes. Beethoven’s Fifth sits next to Elvis’ Greatest Hits.
The livingroom couch has a deep indentation on one cushion directly across from where the television set used to be. I guess someone already bought the TV although I do notice a massive grainy color TV and a black and white TV in one of the bedroom closets. The coffee table is old and stained with liquid rings. An old plastic tree is losing all its leaves in the corner. A tri-fold Chinese screen is in the other corner. It costs $750. No one has bought it yet.
The carpet is shaggy and worn. Upstairs looks like it has newer carpet but a sign informs me there is nothing to buy up there.
Three Hispanic men lug an old wooden piano out the door. Price? $300. They look happy.
The master bedroom contains almost nothing. The closet has been cleared of everything but three empty hat boxes. A headboard and footboard lean against the wall. In the bathroom, I see an empty toothbrush holder and shower curtain rings.
I check out the bargain bin. The carefully sewn sampler is 50% off. The monogrammed towels are nice, if my initials happened to be RHF I would buy them in a heartbeat.
In the garage, I see some tools. One old Craftsman plane with cracked wooden handles. Three hammers, various sizes. A rake. A dusty hoe. A box full of hundreds of assorted nails, screws, and metal do-hickies. I notice a broken sowing machine and an ironing board.
I walk out without buying anything. This person’s life has nothing that interests me. That is depressing.
As I leave the house and walk back into the sunlight I ask myself these questions: Will anyone buy what is left of my life after I die? Will all my precious paperbacks be sold for $0.10 each? What useless item will I store for forty years in a closet? Will my stuff end up in a bargain basket or a trash bin? What story will my house tell? Will the leftover dregs of my life inspire or depress? What can I do to end my life with deeper significance than just a pile of assorted junk?
No one on their deathbed wishes for more stuff in their closets. However, many wish they had spent more time with their kids, done more for God, or positively influenced future generations. What are you doing to make a difference? Is your life focused on getting more stuff or are you focused on creating a life of significance?
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Last year, after our Gospel Festival in Pakistan we gave an offering to help plant house churches and to pay the salary of some of the local pastors in Pakistan. This morning, I found out that one of the pastors of the organization we work with has died because of the violence.
I spoke with our dear friend in Pakistan just moments ago. He cried as he told me about what has happened.
He explained through his tears, "I received a phone call from the Christians in Gojra as the attack was going on. The Muslims were burning the houses and as the Christians fled they called us. We left immediately to go help them. When we arrived, the houses were still smoldering. Many of our house churches were burned and one of our pastors has died."
He pleaded, "Please, can you do anything to help? They don't even have a cup for drinking water. They have no food. They have no place to sleep. Can you help them?"
Our hearts are moved by this crisis. Jessica and I promised to send some money immediately by Western Union to help the local believers in this time of tragedy.
The Christians of Gojra are left with nothing. Their houses have been burned, their churches were destroyed, some of them have died.
Would you help us provide IMMEDIATE food, clothing, and shelter for our dear brothers and sisters in Pakistan?
The next forty-eight hours are crucial. Whatever you can give will help these persecuted believers in the midst of their darkest hour.
this weekend, at least eight Christians were viciously murdered and dozens of Christian homes were burned by Muslim militants. of Pakistan need our help immediately.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Last night, I received an e-mail from our dear friend in Pakistan, Bishop M. In the last few days, Christians have been attacked and their homes have been burnt. Here is what happened in his words:
According to different sources in Toba Tek, the situation was like this. There was a marriage ceremony of a Christian in village Korian on 26th July where large gathering of children, women and men of relatives were present for celebration.
The Muslims accused one boy in marriage ceremony of burning the pages of the Holy Koran. The elders of Christians and Muslims in village met to defuse tension on clarification of Christian youth that he have not burnt pages of Koran.
On night of July 30, 2009, at 9:00 PM the Muslims of Village Korian announced on loudspeakers of Mosque to gather and teach lesson to infidel Christians who are accused of blasphemy by burning the holy pages of the Koran. The nearby villages also made same announcements from Mosques and Muslims gathered before homes of Christians in large numbers. Shouts of "Allah Akbar" and "Kill Infidels" rang out as the Muslim mob started setting on fire homes of Christians.
Many children, women and men were burnt to death inside homes. When news of attack on Christians came to District Police Officer in Toba Tek, he ordered deployment of police and Fire Brigade but Muslim mob blocked the roads by lying on the road.
The march of Muslims started from Railway Station Gojra at 10:00 am. It was attended by thousands of local and from near by villages marched towards Christian Colony. The Christian Colony Gojra is residence of one thousand Christian families who have settled here for over fifty years.
When Muslim marchers approached the Christian Colony, some two hundred Muslims hiding their faces with traditional Islamic scarf opened fire on the Christian houses. The Christians fled from their homes but were trapped and were executed by face covered Muslims with automatic firearms. The Muslim attackers looted 100 homes and set on fire more than fifty Christian houses.
These Militants used a particular type of chemical that is hard to extinguish to burn Christian homes.
They fired at one of the person whose name was Hameed Masih. He died at the spot. Then all the family of Hameed were crying and asking the Muslims, "Please don't kill us what ever you want to take from our home we will give you." But they threw the chemical on them & they burned all the family. 6 members of that family were burnt & died.
Please Pray & Help these Suffering Christian People, they need your Urgent Support in this difficult situation."
I feel that help is needed urgently. Would you help us go to the nation of Pakistan?