The charlatans of the gospel

March 31, 2008 at 11:26 am | Posted in Christianity | 2 Comments
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In the late 1800s and early 1900s there was a group of people who made their living running cons and scams in many places in the US. These are not the only people that have ever done this, but they are of interest to me. Many of these men and women worked the Mississippi River. They played games like three-card monte and the shell game. There whole purpose was to find people willing to play the games and then take them for as much money as they could. They would make the games look extremely simple and easy to win, but when the person put their money down, they always lost. Not all of the con artists of the time ran these games though. Others worked through fraud or scams to make their money. I bet that you’re wondering what this has to do with Christianity right? Well, while it’s nothing new, there seem to be a lot of charlatans in the church as well.

I’m not talking about those that are (or should be) obvious. I would hope that you would be able to see them for what they are. I’m talking about in the “mainstream” denominations. If we were to look at some of the main denominations, we would find plenty of charlatans. Before I go on, let me define a charlatan. Simply put, a charlatan is a fraud or “quack”. What they are doing or saying is not true. Interestingly, the Webster’s New World dictionary that I got the definition from also said that a charlatan was a seller of papal indulgences…

Many charlatans have used religion as a way for them to make their money. As I said before, this is nothing new. In recent times, people like Father Divine (George Baker), Aimee Semple McPherson, and Peter Popoff have used “faith” to fleece people of untold amounts of money. While their methods differ, each of them used cunning and glib words to deceive people. They told the people what they wanted to hear and used whatever means necessary to prove it.

As charlatans go, nothing seems to have changed. There are numerous preachers around the world and on TV that are using the same methods to draw otherwise faithful people away from God. The messages are a little different depending on whom you’re listening to, but they are all similar in some respects. The greatest similarity in all of those who use “faith” to mislead others, is the twisting of scripture. They will take verses out of context and make them say what they want in order to show that they have “God’s” support. Another similarity is that many of them seem to imply that those who follow them have to believe everything they say. If someone were ever to doubt them, they would be guilty of “not understanding” or being a “black sheep”. Their questioning of the charlatan would show that they “don’t have the faith” to see the “truth”.

Most of these men and women spend time on how God wants people blessed. They talk about the blessing of God in every sermon they preach. Some of them focus on the financial blessing of God while others focus on the power of God. Some have made their focus the “fact” that God wants us to be positive about life. It is a message filled with a lot of New Age ideas about thinking positive and seeing things in a “positive light”. They give light, airy messages about how great life will be if they just follow the right steps. Others have taken things that God clearly says are wrong and made them ok. They spend much of their time focusing on the love of God and His grace toward sinners and lull their congregations into a false sense of security. Still others make out a laundry list of things that their people can or cannot do without risking hell. They tell them what to believe and how to believe it. They make rules for who is forgiven of their sins and who is not.

The sad part about all of this is the fact that there are many people who believe them. There are many people that are so eager to be blessed by God that they completely forgo logic and reasoning. They spend all of their time and what little money they have giving to these ministries and devouring their teachings. They are so captivated with how to “stay positive” that they completely lose sight of who God is and what is really going on in their lives. They deny certain situations because it would cause them to be “negative”. Others are so caught up in their sin that they seek out someone to tell them that what they doing is ok. They don’t want to hear that their lifestyle or actions are wrong and many Christians are afraid to tell them. Instead, they just look for someone who will tickle their ears and tell them what they want to hear. Then there are those who would rather follow man and his ideas. They are allowed to live their lives the way that they want because they’ve learned how to manipulate the rules in their favor. All of these things (and more) are happening in the body of Christ as you read this and it’s an utter tragedy.

It’s a tragedy because people are being hurt and broken due to the false teachings. They are being misled into thinking that what they’re hearing is the truth and they have been conditioned not to see for themselves. Many of them got “saved” because of these ministries and have no inkling of how to check what they’re learning against scripture. They are being taken and the saddest part of all is that it’s not just their money that’s at stake; it’s their eternal future. These charlatans are playing fast and loose with people’s souls and it seems to be growing more common all the time.

So, how do we change this? We have to start by stopping. We have to stop teaching things that are not scripturally correct. Contrary to popular belief, God made a number of things very clear when He had scripture written. There are some things that take a lot of studying, but not things that need to be understood for salvation. Once we stop teaching the things that are false, we have to start teaching the truth. We have to help people to not only read the Bible, but to understand it! If I hand you the gospel of John in Chinese and you can’t read Chinese, then it’s not going to do you a bit of good. It has to be understood because it has to be applied. To know the truth, you have to know what it says the way God said it. That means that the scriptural and historical context has to be understood as well. Not only that, but we also have to drop any presuppositions we have about what the scriptures say. We cannot bring our interpretation into the Bible and make it line up with scripture. We have to let scripture tear down whatever false ideas we may have about what scripture says.

“Gee, that sounds like a lot of work!” Of course it is, but isn’t it worth it? Shouldn’t we have the desire to actually know the truth of the Word of God and how to apply it? Shouldn’t we be hungry to know what God has to say to us? We can’t allow ourselves to get caught up in the “emotion” of it all. I have seen many people that go to church because it’s just so emotional. The music and the message whip them into an emotional frenzy and they end up on a spiritual high for about two days. It’s not about an “emotional high”! It’s about living the truth!

See, while the charlatans will tell you that God wants you “blessed” the Bible says that there is more to it. Does God want to bless us? YES! But, that blessing comes from obedience. And, that blessing is more than just money. While the charlatans will tell you to be positive, scripture gives many examples of people who were in the midst of trials and tribulations and cried out in anger or frustration. They understood who God was and knew that He was there with them, but it didn’t mean that they denied what they were facing. While the charlatans will tell you that you can live how you want because “God loves you”, the Bible says that God’s wrath is on the sons of disobedience. If you’re living in a way that is in opposition to God’s Word, then you’re living in sin and it will send you straight to hell if something isn’t done about it. While the charlatans will tell you that you can go to heaven if you jump through a number of hoops and walk on a razor’s edge, the Bible says that if you repent of your sins (turn from the things that you know are wrong and stop doing them) and put your faith in Jesus Christ as the only One who can save you from eternal damnation, then you will be saved and you can know that you’re going to heaven.

The body of Christ has to stop listening to the world and has to start listening to what God has told us through His Word. We have to stop following the worldly fads and spend our time and money on doing what God said needs to be done so that the lost will come to repentance and be saved from hell. I believe that that means that we have to start calling out the charlatans. Unless we point out the false teaching, it will go on unhindered. I understand that the Bible says that false teachers are going to arise and lead many away, but if we have the truth, then we might be able to see some of those people saved.

Your thoughts?

Newslinks 03/28/08

March 28, 2008 at 10:30 am | Posted in Newslinks | 1 Comment
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Threatened Oklahoma Politician Refuses to Apologize for Saying Homosexuality is Dangerous and Sinful

 An Oklahoma House Representative has received over 30,000 emails (some including hate speech and death threats) and was protested recently by 300 homosexual rights activists for comments she made during a speech on homosexual activism to a Republican club. Sally Kern said that she sees “no reason to apologize for what God says, that homosexuality is a sin”.  Kern said that her comments were made out of concern for those in a “dangerous lifestyle”. During the speech, she predicted the protest and actions that eventually took place but stood on her belief that “God’s Word says that it’s not the right kind of lifestyle”. She also said the First Amendment protects her right to voice her concerns as well as allowing those who disagree to protest her. She said that she has nothing against apologizing for wrongdoing, but refused to apologize for speaking the truth. First, let me just say, “Thank You!” to Sally Kern. Finally there is someone in government that doesn’t hem and haw about issues. I am proud of Miss Kern for standing on the truth of the Word even though she knew that she would face criticism and protest. The fact that she stated what the Word says about homosexuality out of concern for those involved in that lifestyle says a lot about where her heart is. Those who disagree with her have the right to do so, even to the point of sending hate mail and death threats. From what I see, this was handled very well by Miss Kern. She didn’t judge anyone from her own authority, but instead just reiterated what God has already said. If you take that with the fact that she even supported the rights of homosexuals to protest her, I think that she has made an example of how Christians should react to such things. We are not to compromise the Word for any reason. Kudos to Miss Kern!


Jesus Doesn’t Look Like Jesus Anymore, Says Scholar

 Ben Witherington, author of “What have they done to Jesus?”, believes that the Jesus that is offered in many places today is not the same Jesus that the Bible talks about. He says the identity of Jesus has drifted from the historical, biblical account of who He is to a more acceptable and less confrontational  “buddy”. He used to be known as Messiah, Son of God, Redeemer and Christ. Now, he’s spiritual guru, philosopher, political pundit, hippie, and rock star. “When your culture is biblically illiterate, anything can pass for Jesus,” Witherington states. The New Testament professor at Asbury Theological Seminary believes that the true portrait of Jesus can only be found in the New Testament of the Bible. I have to agree with Mr. Witherington.  Our culture is quickly growing less and less Christian and, unfortunately, it’s creeping into the church. I would have to say that I believe the number one reason this is so, like Witherington says, is because those who profess to know Jesus are biblically illiterate. We have generations of people that don’t know what God’s Word says except through what the sermon notes from last Sunday. We don’t know how to study the Bible, how to understand what we study, or how to apply what it says. This is obvious in the numerous “feel good” gospels that are being preached in churches all over the nation. Jesus has become a fix-all for all the “bad stuff” in our lives. He no longer is the holy, righteous, just Lamb of God who died for our sins (many people don’t even know what sin is…). He is no longer the coming Lion of Judah who will judge the world in righteousness and destroy the enemies of God. He’s become the “big brother” of all of those who can say the name Jesus. He’s the blesser and the empowerer but He’s not the Savior and Lord. If our nation is ever going to turn around, Christians need to start getting their understanding of who God is and what He’s like from the scriptures and not from Oprah… 


Easter Messages Touch on Pressing World Concerns

 Messages given for Easter hit on a lot of current problems in the world. President Bush spoke of the “gift that took away death’s sting” while asking for Americans to pray for our soldiers. Pope Benedict talked about religious freedom throughout the world being a concern. In Israel, church leaders spoke of a desire to see those in their country “demonstrate faith in more positive terms”. The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church spoke on how we can serve God and others by caring for the environment. I find it somewhat odd that while those who spoke on the problems of the world talked about the problems we face, no one seem to touch on the answer. President Bush talked about the removal of death’s sting and the laying down of life. Pope Benedict talked about religious freedom and “living martyrs”. Israel talked about “positive faith” while others talked about “caring for creation”. The fact remains, that all of these things are a result of sin! It is sin that brought in death. Those of you against the war in Iraq, it’s not President Bush’s fault. It’s the fault of sin! Religious freedom for Christians isn’t seen in countries around the world because of sin! What is going on in Israel right now is because of sin! The groaning of the whole of creation is because of sin (Romans 8:22)! While Christians need to have hope for the future, they need to keep that hope in Jesus. Jesus is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). Unless sin is dealt with, all of the rest of this will remain. I lament over the fact that so many people don’t know the simple truth of the gospel. Repent of your sins (turn away from the things that you know are wrong) and trust in Jesus. I lament even more for the numerous times that pastors, priests, teachers, and every Christian have the opportunity to share this truth with others and instead focus on something more palatable to the listeners…


Muslim’s Cross-Less Jesus Film Draws Mixed Reactions


An Iranian director recently released a film depicting the Muslim view of Jesus in hopes that it would “show both Muslims and Christians their common and different beliefs in Jesus and to generate conversation between the two groups who in recent years have been pitted against each other”.  The movie is based on both the teachings of the Quran and the Gospel of Barnabas, a book not in the Christian Bible, in which Mohammed appears. In the movie, both the Muslim and Christian view of the cross are shown. The popular Muslim view (although only one of many) of the crucifixion is that Jesus is not crucified but instead replaced by Judas Iscariot. Many have brought up the questions that this raises like:


When was Jesus replaced?

Why did the disciples not recognize that the man they were following was replaced before the cross?

Why did the mother of Christ not recognize that her son was not present on the Cross?

What was the alleged purpose of Allah in deceiving the crowd, including the disciples and Mary, into thinking Christ was being crucified?

 The director of the movie says that his film is a response to the 2004 movie “The Passion of the Christ”, which, while he praised, he says is “wrong”. While all of the questions that are brought up are valid questions and should be addressed, there is one major question that needs to be asked. If the Muslim belief that Jesus did not die on the cross is true, then how is man reconciled to God? What do you do with sin? If Jesus is just a prophet and not the Savior of the world, then every single human being, from the beginning until now, is going to find themselves judged by the Law of Moses. If this is true, then the only way that mankind can be forgiven of sin is by keeping the law perfectly, and that is not possible. Therefore, there is no hope for mankind. Man has nothing to hope in because no one is righteous or seeks after God. No one can keep the law without fail from the time they are born until the time they die! Every one of us has lied; many have stolen, looked with lust (which is the same as adultery in God’s eyes), blasphemed, hated (which the Bible says is murder), and dishonored their parents. We would all find ourselves tormented in hell for eternity if Muslim beliefs are true about Jesus. Fortunately, they are not. The Bible gives the only truthful account of the life of Jesus on the earth. In this account, we see the Son of God come down to reconcile God to man by living a perfect life and then sacrificing that life and shedding His blood to pay the debt of sin that we owe…


Chaplains Salute Fallen Soldiers as U.S. Toll Passes Milestone

 As Easter approached, so did something that brought a vivid reminder of the truth of life here on earth. It was on Easter night of this year that a total of 4,000 men and women in the US Armed Forces died in the war in Iraq. The tragedy is most well known by those who serve as chaplains in the Armed Forces. Some of those who died were only 18, others were over 45, and nearly 100 were women. It is truly a sad day for those who lost loved ones in this war. I would like to take an opportunity to express my most heartfelt gratitude and thanks to those who are over in Iraq (and other areas) serving their country and giving their lives so that I can sit here and write this. I truly appreciate the sacrifice that all of those who have served our great country have given. With this milestone coming on Easter, it is a reminder of the sacrifice that Christ gave for all of us. The Bible says that He was tempted in all ways like we are and did not sin. He fought the battle against evil and won. He laid down His life for those who would accept Him as Lord and Savior and those who have denied Him. I also cannot help but think of the number 4,000. In the five years that we have been in Iraq, we have lost the precious lives of 4,000 men and women. There are people who constantly protest the war because they think that it is inhuman and that we should not be over there. They have a right to protest the war. They have a right to dislike the fact that our soldiers are over there fighting for our lives and our freedom and keeping us safe. I wonder, though, how many people realize that, in the same 5 years that we have been fighting in Iraq and losing soldiers, we have allowed 7.3 million unborn children to die in our own country…While I am not trying to belittle the deaths of those who have given their lives, I can’t help but wonder why the same people that protest against the war in Iraq aren’t out on the front lines protesting abortion? We lose the same number of lives in one day here in America as we have in five years of war in Iraq. Shouldn’t that tell us something is wrong? Should that point to the atrocities of abortion?


Texas jury rejects insanity plea in baby-microwave case

 A 20 year old man claimed that he was having a “psychotic episode” when he put his 2 month-old daughter in a hotel microwave for 10-20 seconds. Joshua Mauldin said that he was mentally unstable when he committed the act, which resulted in second and third degree burns on the baby’s left ear, cheek, hand, and shoulder. The baby has had to undergo skin grafts, but at a year old seems to be doing well. Before putting the girl in the microwave, Mauldin had punched her and put her in the hotel safe and refrigerator. All of the events occurred in a hotel in Galveston. Mauldin’s attorney said that he was a loving father who tried to run out into traffic to kill himself when he realized what he had done. The prosecutors said that Mauldin was mad because he was in a loveless marriage. The 20-year-old and his wife had recently moved to Galveston so that Mauldin could become a preacher. This is both sad and sick, but it is a result of where the modern gospel has brought us. This young man was in Galveston to become a preacher. Did he have any inkling of what the Bible says about marriage or children? I couldn’t imagine harming my child at 9 years old much less at 2 months old! It is a tragedy both for the man, his wife, the baby, and the church. I hope that this brings healing to all involved…


Israel Recognizes Two Fathers in Landmark Homosexual Adoption Case

 The family court of Tel-Aviv recently allowed two homosexual men to be declared the legal father of their adopted son. Those supporting the decision said that this is a step in the right direction and will allow homosexuals the right to raise children. Those opposed to the decision say that it is not right because it robs the child of one parent when children need both a father and a mother. Israel also recognizes “same sex marriages” from other countries even though they do not allow the rites to be performed within their borders. As if Israel needed more trouble…This will not bode well for Israel or other countries who have consistently defended the traditional definition of marriage. The Bible clearly states that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination in the eyes of God, both in the Old Testament (Torah) and the New Testament. I cannot help but fear that Israel is allowing themselves to be pushed out of where they should be by pagan countries who don’t like them or support them anyway. By accepting homosexuality as ok, Israel has put itself at odds with the Torah and with God Himself. I can’t see anything good coming from this…


Benham: Conservatism ‘backs up’ when truly tested

 Flip Benham recently said that he is surprised by the lack of criticism that Barack Obama’s pastor Jeremiah Wright received from high-profile conservative leaders. He said that he expected them to be more active in exposing the false gospel that the pastor preaches. Benham says that conservatism is “pretend salt” and that while conservatives seem to stand on issues and say  “this is wrong and that is wrong” they are always backing up while they do it. He believes that this is the reason that Christians are always having to prod and poke their “conservative” government leaders to “vote for the positions where God would have them stand”.  I have to say that I agree with Mr. Benham. We are called to be separate and holy. We are supposed to be set apart from the world. We are supposed to expose the darkness instead of taking part in it, and yet, that is exactly what’s happening in churches across America. People talk about their belief in Christ but live their lives in direct opposition to the Word of God. They do what they want, support things that are scripturally aberrant and then profess the name of Jesus. It is a false Christianity that is lulling our nation to sleep by making us feel good instead of making us change…


Ohio Abortion Clinics Required to Provide Ultrasounds, Alternatives

 A new Ohio law now makes it mandatory that abortion clinics offer clients ultrasounds as well as let them know about the alternatives to abortion. According to a study done by A Women’s Concern (a pregnancy counseling group), less than a fourth of the women who received an ultrasound of their baby went through with an abortion. Passing this law makes Ohio the thirteenth state to require abortion practitioners to show clients an ultrasound before the procedure. All I can say is I’m glad to see that my former home state has a governor who stands for the unborn and has made strides to protect them. I hope that this is just the beginning and that it helps to change the face of our nation for the better!


Obama contends belief in Jesus Christ not necessary for salvation

 Barack Obama recently said that it is entirely possible for a Jew or a Muslim to be in heaven if they live morally upright lives. While he said that he believes that Christ died for his sins, he believes that Jews and Muslims are just as much children of God. He also said that while his mother didn’t share his faith, she was a kind and generous person so he is “sure that she’s in heaven”. I cannot say that I’m all that surprised by this revelation. It should be obvious already to many that Barack Obama is not a true Christian. He consistently and aggressively promotes agendas that are directly opposed to the bible. This is not the type of change that comes about when you receive salvation. This is the very type of gospel that is leading so many away from the truth. When you start saying that Jesus isn’t the only way, then you’re opening the door to pretty much anything. People can do whatever they want and call it their “way” to heaven. Not only that, but you’re calling Jesus a liar! Jesus said in John 14:6 that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father but by Him. Without Jesus’ sacrifice, man is left in his sin and on his way to hell…I wonder what all the “evangelicals” and “conservatives” who said they are going to vote for him will choose to do now…

Oprah labeled ‘false prophet’ and ‘conduit … to Hell’

 A Christian author that was saved out of the new age movement is trying to let others know that Oprah Winfrey is leading them with a false gospel to a false Jesus. Warren Smith says that Oprah may have started as a Baptist, but her support of New Age beliefs is teaching others how to compromise the truth of the bible with false beliefs. Winfrey has been broadcasting Marianne Williamson’s “A Course in Miracles” since the beginning of the year on her XM radio station. The programs have titles like ‘God is in everything I see’, ‘The salvation of the world depends on me’, ‘My self is the ruler of the universe’, and ‘My sinless-ness protects me from all harm’. All of the lessons go directly against the truth found in the Bible. Smith says that this is creating a new worldview where everyone sees themselves as “god”. Once again, I can’t say that I’m surprised. People look at Oprah Winfrey and see that she spends a lot of money doing good things, so she must be a spiritual person. She claims to be a Baptist, but her support and push to reconcile New Age beliefs with scripture puts her in the non-Christian category to be sure. Jesus didn’t compromise the Word in the face of Roman pagan beliefs and we shouldn’t either. Sadly, there are thousands of women who watch Oprah religiously and are being opened to deceptive false doctrines. The only way to combat these  things is to expose them for the lies they are and replace them with the truth found in scripture.


World’s largest abortion provider losing ground in court

 On April 7-8, Planned Parenthood of Kansas City Mid-Missouri(PPKM) will be in court to answer the first of a number of charges including lying, falsifying medical records, committing illegal late-term abortions, and even misreporting diagnoses to the state. PPKM along with the other PP facilities are at least partially federally funded. I look forward to hearing the news that PP has been stopped for good. They are the largest purveyor of abortions in the world and have been responsible for the murder of millions of innocent children. I hope and pray that this ends and I’m grateful for all of those who have been fighting the battle in prayer and words since abortion was legalized in 1973.

Design of the Week 03/26/08 -Satan’s a Moron

March 26, 2008 at 9:42 am | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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This week’s design is one of a completely new section at At Ease Tees. The new line of designs are called Motees (long O).  This specific design has been with me for awhile and just came from the fact that I don’t like the devil and I think that he’s an idiot. I don’t doubt that he’s got some power (he’s tricked me on too many occasions), but he is not the brightest one. He had a position in heaven that was unbelievable. In Ezekiel 28, he’s referred to as the “anointed cherub”. He walked on the holy mountain of God. He was a powerful angelic being, and because of pride, unrighteousness, and iniquity, he was cast down from heaven to spend his time on earth. In the end, he will be no more (Eze. 28:19).


The devil is real and powerful. He is the prince of the power of the air and is at work in the sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:2). He is a roaring lion who wanders the earth seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). He and a third of the angels that were in heaven have spent the time they’ve been on earth trying to stop the Messiah from coming, but they couldn’t do it. When that failed, they tried to get Him to give in or give up. That failed too. When Jesus died on the cross and then rose again three days later, He destroyed the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). Because of this, those who have accepted Christ have no reason to fear the devil. We should understand that he is very deceptive and can fool us if we try to walk in our own strength. We are told to resist the devil (Eph. 6:13, James 4:7). To do this, we must have on the full armor of God (Eph. 6:11-18).


Contrary to what many people seem to believe, I don’t think that we are to go out looking to fight the devil. The Bible does say fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12), but I don’t see that meaning that we are to go “toe to toe” with the devil. The Bible says that we war not with flesh and blood but with powers and principalities, with spiritual wickedness in high places. But I believe that this is something that happens when we go out and obey the Lord’s will. When we are serving God and doing the things that He’s told us to do, the battles will come. We won’t have to go looking for them. Sadly, I think that many Christians today spend more time on the “battle” and less on doing the work of God. In the end, they are shadowboxing and not really accomplishing anything worthwhile for God.


We have to focus on teaching the truth and proclaiming it to the lost the way that God said it so that those who come to Christ come to Him with understanding of who they are and why they need Him. If we don’t, we’ll be doing the devil’s work for him….

What have you done?

March 25, 2008 at 10:47 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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( Note: I had this done yesterday but I got so busy that I didn’t get it up until now. I apologize for it being late….) 

I need you to imagine with me for a moment. Let’s say you had 5 minutes with about 100 or so people. These were people that didn’t believe in Jesus and, after these 5 minutes were up, you wouldn’t see them again. How would you look at them? What would you tell them? What one thing in your vast array of knowledge would you pass on to them?

With the Easter holiday just past, most people may answer something about telling these people about Jesus. Ok…but, what would you tell them? Many would say that it’s not possible to tell someone the gospel in 5 minutes. Many would say that you need to form a friendship with these people and get to know them. Many would say that you can’t be confrontational about it and just have to wait it out and see what they seem to be ready for. I disagree. As a matter of fact, I’ve given the gospel to people in 5 minutes. To complete strangers. That I have never seen again.

Ok. Now, let me change the scenario a little bit. Let’s say that you had these same 100 people for two hours. What would you tell them then? Would you still try to tell them about the gospel? How would you do it? How would you work it into a conversation? What would you do to make sure that these people had the only thing that could truly save them? How much time in those two hours would you spend telling them about the gospel? What gospel would you preach?

The fact that we don’t seem to be spending enough time telling people about Jesus bugs me, but it’s this last question that I’ve spent a lot of time over the past couple days thinking about. What gospel do you preach? If I were to ask that to any number of Christians, I could tell you without a doubt that the number one answer I would get would be “the gospel of Jesus Christ”. But are you really preaching the same gospel? Most of the messages that I’ve read or heard lately sound very little like the gospel. I hear about how God wants us healthy, wealthy, and wise. I hear about how God has a perfect plan for your life. I hear about how if I “pray a simple prayer” that I can have Jesus as my Lord and Savior. He’ll be the answer to all of my problems and my life will get better, all from a “simple prayer”. Is this the gospel? Is this what you would be telling people if you shared the truth of Jesus with them?

It goes deeper than this for me though. Let’s say that you do tell people this. Let’s say that you tell them that God has a perfect plan for their life. Let’s say that your “gospel” is that God wants us all to be healthy, wealthy, and wise. Or let’s say that you tell people that if they just “pray this little prayer” Jesus will answer all of their problems. They can have Jesus in their life and all of their sins will be washed away. Here’s my number one question for those of you that do this: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO SOMEONE WHO IS LOST???

It’s hard to do, but imagine that you didn’t know anything about Jesus Christ. Even worse, imagine that you had heard it all before numerous times through the years and have yet to experience what everyone else seems to find. What would those words mean to you? If someone were to tell you that you “need Jesus in your life”, what would it really mean to you? If they were to tell you that He can free you from your sins, would that matter? Would it make sense? What would you do with it once you heard it? How confident would you be that the little prayer that you prayed would actually work? More than that, what would keep you from just praying that little prayer (again) and then going on living your life how you want?

This is the product of the modern, man-centered gospel. We have a large number of people who have been told this “gospel” and instead of being changed by the truth of the Word; they are just inoculated to the fear of the Lord and the judgment to come. The church is at least partly to blame for the condition of many of the “backsliders” we see in the world. We have not given them the true gospel. Instead, we’ve given them some kind of placebo that has no real power to help them but makes them feel better anyway. We spend our time entertaining people with games and events, and never give them what they really need. The “purpose” of the event is just a façade to help us justify the money, time, and effort spent on doing things our way and hoping God blesses them.

You may be reading this and wondering what I would tell them. Well, I’ll tell you that but let me explain a few things first. Paul says that anyone that preaches another gospel is to be accursed…that should be enough to get our attention. If we’re not preaching the truth, then we are pushing people away from God instead of leading them to Him. Second, many people will say that Jesus is the answer to all your problems. That’s not true and I’ll tell you why. All of our problems are not problems. They are the symptoms of the problem. All of the teen pregnancies are not the problem. They are a symptom. All of the killings going on in schools and elsewhere are symptoms of the problem. All of the sexual immorality (homosexuality, adultery, lust, etc.) is just a symptom of the problem. Man has one problem and that problem is sin. It is sin that has brought about all of these other things and, tragically, the church spends 95% of its time focusing on treating the symptoms instead of treating the problem! We try to help people through divorce, and we should, but do we treat the problem? We try to help people fight lust and pornography, but do we treat the problem? Man’s problem has been sin from the beginning and will be sin until Jesus returns to put an end to all of this. We need to take the time to treat the symptoms, but we need most of our focus to be on the problem.

So how would I treat the problem? Well, it’s simple really. In Romans 7:7, Paul says that he wouldn’t have known sin but by the law. In Galatians 3:24, he says that the law is our tutor/schoolmaster to lead us to Christ. God’s standard hasn’t changed from the beginning. In the beginning, His standard was the law and it still is. It is this standard that He will use to justly judge the whole of humanity. That means that we can use this same standard to help people see where they stand in the eyes of God. If they’ve ever lied, they have sinned and fallen below God’s standard. If they’ve ever stolen anything (regardless of size, value, or time since the theft), they have missed God’s standard. If they’ve taken God’s name in vain, they will be found guilty. If they’ve even looked at someone with lust, they have committed adultery in the eyes of the Lord (Matt. 5:28) and have broken the law. This is what the law was meant to be used for. Is it hard? Sure. No one wants to hear that they are a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart. But it is the truth from God’s point of view. The Bible says that sin is lawlessness, and this is man’s problem. We want to look at things from our point of view and, when we do, we see that we’re not so bad. But in comparison with a holy, just, righteous, God; we are not at all good. By using God’s standard to show people what sin is and how they are guilty before God, they can understand how desperately they need something (or Someone) to take them out from under God’s wrath. This is what the gospel is. It is not the “prosperity gospel”. It is not the “make you comfortable where you are and hopefully you’ll get closer to God” gospel. The gospel is simple when you understand the law. When someone sees that they have sinned against God and, because of that, are destined to find themselves in hell for eternity, the truth of the gospel makes sense. They see why they need a Savior. They understand why Jesus died on the cross. And they know what they have to do, without having someone lead them in a little prayer. The cross and the sacrifice of Jesus make sense to them and because they see and understand (Matthew 13:23) and the cross becomes precious to them. The first message Jesus preached in Matthew is “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. If you are reading this and never really understood the gospel; if you never realized that you need Jesus to save you because of what you’ve done; then you can know that right now. If you will repent (turn and walk away from your sins) and put your complete trust in Jesus to save you, God will give you a new heart with new desires. It won’t be an easy road at times, but that’s not something Jesus promised anyway…

Newslinks 03/21/08

March 21, 2008 at 2:19 pm | Posted in Newslinks | 13 Comments
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Human Remains Found in Dumpster of Abortion Clinic

The contents of the dumpster of a WomanCare abortion clinic in Michigan are being examined in connection with the finding of patient records, biohazard bags, and human remains in it earlier this month. Sgt. Vincent Lynch, of the Lathrup village Police Department, said, “I was aware of the reality of abortion, but it was unnerving”. Included among the remains found were intact fetuses. The clinic is one of many owned by Alberto Hordari who has been outspoken against the ban on partial birth abortion and even had a 15 year old girl die in one of his clinics, although no charges were filed. I think that the most horrible tragedy aside from the deaths of uncountable human beings is the fact that the only thing that Hodari could get charged for is the improper disposal of patient records and biohazardous waste! Nevermind that the dumpster contained “intact fetuses”. Forget all about the hands the size of a ballpoint pen, or the spinal columns, or the human arms that were found in the black bags! Does this not sicken anyone else? The police officer said that he found it unnerving. I would have retched if I saw what he did. It makes me sick just thinking about it, and yet, the government of Michigan, just like the national government and other state governments just ignore the fact that these are human beings we’re talking about. If they had been outside the womb when they died, it would have been murder, so why isn’t it murder when they’re still inside?


Lutherans Issue Human Sexuality Statement for Review

The ELCA issued a draft of its statement on human sexuality in which it said, “This church recognizes the historic origin of the term ‘marriage’ as a life-long and committed relationship between a woman and man, and does not wish to alter this understanding”. The document also expresses regret that some have used historical Luthern teachings concerning homosexuality to “tear apart” families with homosexual members. Those representing the homosexual community say that they are disappointed because they feel the document urges tolerance but doesn’t allow homosexual couples religious rites to make a lifelong commitment. Those representing conservatives say that the document will basically allow local synods to individually determine what to do with gay clergy. If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know where I stand on the issue. This statement by the Lutherans seems to say nothing at all. They say that they support marriage as a “lifelong commitment between a man and a woman” but they still condone same-sex relationships. The panel that produced the draft – which is composed of layman, Lutheran clergy, and academics – said that they have spent years of study and conversation on trying to come to a consensus about homosexual unions and still have not accomplished it. I like to help people, so I’m going to help the Lutherans come to a consensus on homosexual unions. God says that they are an abomination. See? That wasn’t so hard was it? Now, I know that that probably sounds a little critical to some, but the fact is that God does not condone homosexuality anywhere in scripture. He judged Sodom and Gomorrah for it, He condemned it in Leviticus 18:22. He called it a depraved state of mind and an “unnatural function” in Romans 1:20-32. The panel says that scripture is the basis of Christian ethics, but then goes on to say that they should be interpreted “in light of human experience, culture, and society’s changing circumstances”. SO, what they’re REALLY saying is that scripture isn’t the basis for their “Christian” ethics because if it were, they wouldn’t put “human experience, culture, etc.” above scripture! Instead, they would take scripture as the first and final authority and allow it to change everything else. The executive director of the ELCA Church in Society said that “Lutherans don’t make up a rule book of right and wrong behaviors”. That’s right! God has already done that! This is a good example of what happens when scripture is not authoritative. Now, the world will determine what is the “good of the neighbor” and completely disregard sin…


Go-ahead given to lawsuit against teacher for ‘anti-Christian diatribes’

The lawsuit against a history teacher for making anti-Christian remarks in class has been moved forward. James Corbett will find himself in court defending statements he made in the history class that he teaches Capistrano Valley High School. A sophomore in Corbett’s class recorded him telling his students that “when you put on your ‘Jesus glasses’ you can’t see the truth”. I’m glad that things like this are being brought out, but I wonder how many other schools have stuff like this going on all the time? I know that many of the country’s college professors do the very same thing. This all spawns from the 60’s when we took prayer and the Bible out of schools. Those who think like Mr. Corbett would quickly bring up the “separation of church and state” as their reasoning, but that’s not in the Constitution…It’s actually in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists! But, even if we allow the “separation of church and state” in schools, wouldn’t Mr. Corbett still be in violation of it? Isn’t he pushing his anti-Christian, atheistic agenda on students? Isn’t that what’s happening in schools through the teaching of evolution as “fact”? Aren’t they pushing a materialistic, humanistic view of the world? I hope that something good comes of this, but I seriously wonder if that’s possible…


Study: God Relationship Not Most Important to Americans

A Survey from July 2007 conducted by the Barna research group shows that God is not the most important relationship in the lives of those living in the most “Christian” country in the world. The study said that only 19% of those surveyed said that God was their most important relationship. 70% said that their family was the most important relationship in their lives. The study also asked those surveyed what their most important group in life. 29% said that it was their church group. People from work were next with 18%. With people under 25, church ranked fifth while friends ranked first. Sadly, this gives insight into what the church is becoming. According to the numbers in the survey, people were 50% more likely to say church was the most important group in their lives than they were to say that God is their most important relationship. What does this say about the conduct of the church? What is being taught in church that it has become a wonderful social activity but God is not the most important relationship? I realize that this is just 1000 people, but I have seen the same things in the area that I live. There are probably 20 churches in my small town of about 10, 000. Many of them have some kind of event going on every day of the week, but most of those events seem to be geared toward entertainment and social gathering, even though many of them use the Christian “jargon” and claim that God is present and that it is all about having “a deeper relationship” with Him. I know that there are many churches out there that are keeping the focus where it needs to be, on studying the Word and actually having a relationship with God. I commend those churches and pray that God blesses them immensely. But, shouldn’t that be all churches? Shouldn’t I be able to walk into any church and hear biblical teaching and have scriptural bible study that helps me to develop a closer relationship with God instead of having a non-stop hour of “fun and excitement”? Should we really be surprised that the church is where it’s at when the people in it have something other than their “first love” first?


Palestinian Authority Hails Seminary Gunman As Martyred ‘Groom’

The Palestinian Authority and news media are calling the Palestinian gunman who killed 8 Jewish seminary students, seven of who were teenagers, a groom. The gunman was killed by an Israeli soldier and held by Israeli authorities for a week. When the family finally agreed on a small funeral with no press coverage, the body of the Jerusalem resident was given over to his family. His funeral was called a “wedding procession” which is common in Palestinian society for those who are martyrs during terror attacks and in Israeli military operations. The fact that this happened while President Bush continues to push “peace talks” with Palestine and Israel should be a clue to the President that words don’t mean anything to the Palestinians. It seems that President Bush is pushing for “peace” by the end of his term so that he will leave behind some kind of legacy. Instead of worrying about a legacy, how about we protect Israel and support their country? How about we truly fight the “war on terror” by condemning the Palestinian actions against Israel and their open support of those actions? Is it only a “war on terror” when it’s good for publicity? Don’t get me wrong; I think that we are justified in being in Iraq and that we should remain there until the job is done. But, if we’re going to fight terror, let’s at least be consistent alright?


New NY governor now admits to several affairs

David Patterson, New York’s first black governor, recently came clean about extra-marital affairs that he had while holding various state government offices. He said that he is not currently in an affair and that “I do not feel I have broken my commitment to the citizens of New York State”. Patterson and his wife Michelle believe that the counseling that they received because of the infidelity has made their marriage stronger. I think that it’s great that Mr. Patterson and his wife have stopped their affairs and sought to build a stronger family. I hope that they do so according to scripture. The problem that I have with this is when the new governor of New York starts to justify his affairs as “just like many Americans, maybe even yours”. When he says that government officials are “just a reflection of the people they represent” I would like to disagree with him but I don’t know if I can. The fact that this is commonplace in society does not in any way make it right! It is not “the norm” for marriage that God set forth in the Bible! If you are married and are having a difficult time, then you take it to the Lord and you work with your spouse to resolve it according to scripture! You don’t have an affair and then seek counseling. I don’t know David Patterson from Adam and therefore can’t honestly say whether he’s repented of his sin or not. I won’t forecast whether I think that he’ll do it again or that his attitude toward adultery is a reflection of a lot of other things. I just hope for the sake of New York that they’re not…


Gays Still Looking for Love from Christians

A former homosexual spoke out concerning the attitude that many Christians have toward homosexuals. He said that many still tend judge homosexuality even though they say they “hate the sin and love the sinner”. He also said that instead of pointing the finger at the sins of the culture and it’s moral state, “we should be concerned about the moral state of the church”. He said that the rhetoric has become more balanced and responsible and that it is more important to win homosexuals into the kingdom of God that it is to politically defeat them. Well, at least we agree that the moral state of the church is not what it should be…To some degree it is the moral state of the church that is the cause of the dilemma that we have homosexuality. I am all for seeing EVERYONE come to repentance and salvation through the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but I’m not going to compromise the truth of the gospel to dialogue with anyone. I will talk to others with respect (and expect them to do the same), but I will refuse to water down the gospel and make it into something that it’s not so that others can feel comfortable in their sins. It is not through “balanced and responsible” rhetoric that people are saved. It is through the truth of God cutting to the core of their being and helping them to realize that without repentance and faith they will find themselves in hell, whether they’re a homosexual, an adulterer, a liar, or a thief (Rev. 21:8). The truth is, if I really love someone living in any type of sin, I will not spare them the little bit of pain that truth brings to hopefully save them from the eternal pain their sin will put them in…The fact remains that God sees homosexuality as a sin (see the my comments above) and that should be enough.


Foolish Preaching of Cross Needed in Churches, Say Speakers

Speakers at Ligonier Ministries annual national conference spent three days speaking on a topic that most people try to avoid – death. The speakers at the conference encouraged those attending to consider what Easter is all about. It is about death. They continued by talking about how the “foolishness” of the gospel is the only thing that has the power to save those who are lost. They also lamented over the fact that many modern churches have replaced “theology with theatrics and expository preaching with entertainment”. The conference was titled “Evangelism According to Jesus” and showed how the modern methods of evangelism and preaching introduce people to the wrong Jesus. First, let me start off by saying AMEN! I never thought that I was the only one who felt this way, but it is good to hear that others are just as concerned and just as disgusted as I am. What happened during the last week of Jesus’ life was and is the bloodiest and most horrible scene in human history hands down. Why, you ask? Haven’t their been bloodier events like the Civil War, Vietnam, and the Holocaust? If you’re going by the number of people killed, yes. But, as far as the magnitude of the event, nothing matches the cross. The crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth was like nothing else in history. In this one life we see God Himself coming down from heaven, living like His creation and among His creation. We see Him spending time preaching the truth about God and how man can be reconciled to Him through repentance and faith in Him. And then we see this sinless man who is God whipped, beaten, mocked, and spit upon to the point that He is almost unrecognizable as a man at all. We then see Him being forced to carry a large wooden cross (for most of the way) for 600 yards to the hill called Calvary. Then, after all of this (not to mention having no sleep since Wednesday night), God allows Himself to be nailed to a cross by those He came to save and hangs there bleeding profusely, unable to breathe, and broken. What little breath the Son of God has, He uses to forgive those who have caused Him so much pain. He then gives Himself up as a sacrifice for the sins of the world (none of which He committed) and dies. THAT is the truth of Easter! But it doesn’t stop there. Jesus then is buried in a borrowed tomb and lays there for three days. On the third day, He is resurrected and thus completes the salvation of mankind. To receive salvation means not only to believe that all of this happened, but it means to repent of (turn away from) the sins that nailed Jesus to the cross and trust in Jesus like you would trust in a parachute.

Design of the Week 03/19/08 – Lion Tamer

March 19, 2008 at 11:53 am | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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This design was born out of family history and the fertile mind of my daughter. My great grandfather was a lion tamer in Czechoslovakia. My family actually found a picture of him with his lions!

In a way, God is our lion tamer. In 1 Peter 5:8, Peter warns believers that the devil roams the earth like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. We also see this in the devil’s response to God in Job. Ephesians 2 says that the devil (the prince of the power of the air) is the spirit that is at work in the sons of disobedience.

The wonderful news is that Jesus made the devil powerless through His death on the cross (Hebrews 2). 1 John 3:8 says that Jesus came and destroyed the works of the devil! It was through the sacrifice Jesus made that we have the opportunity to be free. But, to truly understand the depth of what Jesus did, you have to understand why He did it.

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden of Eden, they brought death into the world through that sin. The whole of creation was cursed and all descendants of Adam are born into sin. Because of this, we have a natural tendency to do the things that we want to do and not the things that God wants. When we break God’s laws, we are guilty of sinning against Him. So, if you’ve lied, you’ve broken the 9th commandment, and therefore, have sinned against God. If you’ve ever stolen something (no matter how small or how little it cost or how long ago it was), you’ve broken the 8th commandment and sinned. What about adultery? Most people would be able to say that they haven’t committed adultery, but have you ever looked with lust? Jesus said, in Matthew 5:28, if you look at someone with lust it’s the same as adultery. What about murder? Many of us haven’t murdered anyone, but 1 John 3:15 says that anyone who hates his brother is a murderer. These are four of the Ten Commandments. There are six more that I haven’t brought up. If you’ve broken one of them, you’ve broken them all, have sinned against God, and are guilty. If you’re guilty, the Bible says that you will find yourself in hell because you can’t pay for your sins. There is only one way out of that predicament. To be saved from the eternal punishment of hell, you must REPENT OF YOUR SINS (stop sinning) and trust in Jesus (like you would trust in a parachute). If you do this, the Bible says that you will pass from death into life and find yourself saved from the fires of hell.

Let God be your lion tamer!

What’s the answer?

March 17, 2008 at 9:44 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I’ve been writing this blog to reach out to Christians and non-Christians alike with the truth of the gospel. That sounds funny even as I type it. Surely, if you were a Christian, you would know the truth of the gospel. And yet, from the stories I’ve read and the sermons that I’ve heard from all over the world, it is clear to me that people don’t know.

I’ve seen and heard churches that try to be relevant. They talk about sports, movies, and the latest Disney program, but they rarely (if ever) get to the gospel. I’ve seen others that are so busy with the agenda they’ve created that they neglect the one thing that could change the lives of their congregations. Still others are familiar with the Word, but only through bits and pieces. They pick out a verse or two here and a verse or two there and then make it say what they want. I believe that many, not all, pastors fit into this last category. Most of the sermons that you hear today are topical. They touch on one topic and are a conglomeration of numerous scriptures that are sown together with quips and anecdotes to make the scriptures all seem to fit. The topics that are talked about are usually uplifting and energizing. They range from things like finances, to spiritual growth, to relationships, to evangelism. They almost always seem to be focused on the “good” things that Christians can experience.

If this describes you or someone you know, you may be wondering, “How can I/they expound on all those scriptures when I/they only have so much time?” Here’s a tip from someone who’s heard plenty of topical sermons. STOP! There is nothing wrong with a topical sermon now and then. But if you can’t give those listening the truth and help them to understand it the way that God meant it, then you’re just adding to the problem. When I hear a topical sermon and there are 40 scripture references, I immediately begin wondering whether or not the pastor actually knows what he’s talking about (I’m exaggerating here, I usually start wondering at about 8, unless they’re explained). It’s like the pastor is trying to hurl elephants and just throw so much scripture at people that they give under the sheer weight of the amount of scripture. It’s like modern pastors think that if they just toss out enough scripture references, then the congregation won’t question the topic, even if the references have nothing to do with it! I find this to be deplorable. The weight of scripture comes from the truth found in it and if you don’t help them to understand that truth, then it’s meaningless. I have gotten more out of two verses that I’ve heard explained rightly than I have out of entire months of sermons so full of references that they seem ready to burst.

I think that this type of preaching is popular because there is no confrontation in it. The topics uplift those who hear them and they aren’t made to feel uncomfortable about sin or hell or judgment. It stems from a few things that shouldn’t even be happening:

We don’t know the Word – This goes for the congregation as well as the pastor. We casually glance at it. We read chapters of it. We read entire books of it, but we don’t know it. Sure, we can quote some of the verses because we’ve been told that they hold special meaning for us, but do we understand them? Are we sure that what we’ve been told they say is actually what they say? Nine times out of ten, the references that I’ve heard given don’t actually mean what they’re touted to mean…

We don’t understand the Word – This is in direct correlation to the first point. We don’t actually know the Word the way it is written, so we don’t understand it either. We don’t know anything about hermeneutics or context. We don’t actually know how to study so that we can get the meaning that God desires for us to have. Instead, we take the popular meaning that has been passed down as tradition. The sad thing is, we’re not taught how to study the Word either. Instead, we’re taught how to understand the verse in light of what “we feel” it means. “Well, I think that this verse means…” That’s not how scripture was meant to be used…

We don’t live out the Word – Again, this is a result of the two points above. Because we don’t know the Word, and because we don’t understand the Word, we can’t apply the Word. We misuse it like we’ve been taught to. Sometimes, it’s used to amputate a limb when it may have been better to just make an incision. Other times, we use it to poke around when there’s major surgery needed! Most often, it’s used to cut down others or to justify the way that we’re living, or how we’re doing things that are “scriptural” while others are disillusioned and blind to the “danger” they’re in. We use it to stab others in the back and lift ourselves up, and this is in the church!


So what’s the answer?

First, for those pastors out there who are copying sermons from the internet (yes, it’s happening), either take the time to study or step down. It amazes me that there are pastors out there who get up every Sunday and tell their flock that they have a Word from God just for them, when they actually just plagiarized the hottest sermon on the internet.

Second, whether you’re a pastor or a part of the congregation, learn how to study the Word. Learn how to use hermeneutics to get the context, the historical background, and other information that will allow you to correctly interpret what you’re reading. This may mean that you end up talking about a smaller portion of scripture, but it will also mean that God will reveal Himself in that scripture and honestly change people’s lives. For a person in the congregation, it’s imperative that you know what scripture says. If you don’t, then you will perpetuate this endless cycle of mishandling the Word. You need to know what it says so that you can be obedient to it!

Third, instead of all of the programs that I see out there that are “designed to bring you face to face with God” and “radically change your life forever”, just teach people the Word. In Nehemiah 8, Ezra the scribe is asked to bring the book of the law out. He brings it out and as soon as he opens it all the people stand and begin to praise God. He reads it to all of those who are able to understand it and explains it to them. There isn’t anything topical or “hip”. He just reads them the law and makes sure that they understand it. The response is amazing:

 Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law. (Neh. 8:9) 

The people wept when they hear the law in a way they could understand! It’s not Ezra making it say what he wants! He was a scribe and considered the Word of God much to holy to ever do something like that! (Sadly, the Word isn’t given near the respect it deserves in our time). But Ezra didn’t stop there. The people were sent away and the Bible says that they rejoiced over the Word they heard and the fact that THEY UNDERSTOOD IT!  On the second day, Ezra calls together all of the heads of the households, the priests, and the scribes. They come together and Ezra begins to teach them, to “give them insight into the law”. Through this teaching, they were reminded of the Feast of Booths. Moses instituted this feast through the Levitical laws (Leviticus 23:34-44). The feast started on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. Ezra was teaching them on the second day of the seventh month. The insight they gained from the law being understood by them helped them to be obedient to it and to observe the appointed times, something that hadn’t been done since Joshua’s day!  

This is a part of Old Testament history but it has a lot of value for those of us who live after the sacrifice of Christ. We don’t need to be relevant. We don’t need to be hip and have the newest equipment or the hottest band or the most entertaining events. What we need is the Word rightly taught and rightly understood. When Ezra read the law to the congregation, all he had was a wooden podium. That’s it. But the effect that it had on those who returned from captivity was amazing. They wept and mourned but they also rejoiced and celebrated. They understood the very words that God had given Moses! They knew what it said and they understood how it applied to them. Because of this, they knew what they had to do and they did it. 

 There is one thing that I wanted to point out from Nehemiah 8. When Ezra read the law to the people on the first day, it was to all of the men, women, and children that were able to understand. I believe that there are a number of children who understand the Word (many of them better than a lot of adults I know) who are kept in “children’s church” or some other program when they are perfectly capable of hearing and knowing the Word.

On the second day, when Ezra began to explain the Word it was to certain groups of people. One group was the heads of households. If the head of a household doesn’t know the Word, understand the Word, and doesn’t know how to apply the Word; then his household is doomed. As the head of a household, it is extremely important for you to know the truth of the Word of God the way that He meant it.  

The second group was the priests. In the Old Testament, these were the ministers of God. They were the ones who took care of the tabernacle and the holy things. They were the ones who administered justice/judgment, oversaw the sacrifices, and were even doctors. There are many today who view the church the same way. But, that’s not the case. When Jesus shed His blood on Calvary and died the substitutionary death for you and I, it had an awesome effect. It rent the veil in the temple in two. The Holy of Holies was accessible to man. This is confirmed in the New Testament when Peter calls all believers a royal priesthood. We have a responsibility to understand the truth found in scripture according to how God says it and not according to what we want to make it say. Because we are all priests now through Christ, we need to rightly divide and know how to apply the Word to our lives.  

The third group was the scribes. These men were the ones who handled the Word of God. Ezra was a scribe. They were the copiers of the Word, but they were also the teachers of it. They needed to understand it more correctly than anyone else because they were the ones that were teaching it to others. In Jesus’ time, the scribes were corrupt because they hadn’t taught the Word in truth. They twisted it and added to it (which God specifically condemns – Prov. 30:5-6) and used it for their own purposes. In 2 Peter 2, Peter writes to warn us of the false teachers that will come among us and tickle our ears. They will introduce destructive heresies and exploit the people with false words. Those who teach the Word in churches (pastors, Sunday school teachers, etc…) need to make sure that they are teaching the truth of the Word and not introducing a false doctrine or destructive heresy. The only way to do that is to know the Word, understand the Word, and live the Word.  

I lament over the Body of Christ often. I see the potential that there is for those who believe in Christ to impact the world and change things. Sadly, that isn’t happening like it should because there are a small number who seem to respect and fear the Word of God. Many don’t know it and just as many don’t live by it. If you are a Christian, please put everything you have into studying the Word of God the way God wrote it. Please show God and His Word the respect that they deserve. And please learn how to apply that Word to your life and let it change you to be more like Christ instead of changing it to fit you how you are…

Newslinks 03/14/08

March 14, 2008 at 10:17 am | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Pastors Weigh in on Proposed Tenn. Bible Park

 SafeHarbor Holdings LLC presented their plans for a 282 acre Bible theme park in Rutheford County Tennessee last April and have continued to meet with pastors and ministers in the area to show them what the theme park is all about. Some who have met with the non-Christian owners of SafeHarbor have expressed belief that the park will be “good for the economy” and “boost local businesses, raise values of surrounding properties, create new jobs and build lasting infrastructure such as roads for the county”. Those opposed to the park say that it is wrong to have non-Christian builders making money off of Scripture. The park would be named Bible Park USA when completed and, according to the Jewish owners would be “a family-friendly place” that would be “open for anyone who wants to come, including those who do not believe in the Bible. No one will be made to feel unpleasant because they have a different belief system”.  This is probably one of the most ridiculous things that I’ve heard of in a long time. Here you have non-Christian businessmen who propose a bible “theme park” that won’t make people feel uncomfortable if they don’t believe in Jesus Christ. I have to agree with the pastors that are opposed to this. The whole purpose of the scriptures is to show mankind how they are lost and headed straight for hell due to sin. They will be responsible for every idle word they speak (Matt. 12:36) and will be required to pay for those sins unless they accept the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross. No matter how you look at it, for someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus (and that includes many who profess to follow Him), that’s uncomfortable. Having a theme park dedicated to the “stories” found in the Bible without presenting the truth of the gospel is ridiculous… 


Girl Once Comatose and Scheduled for Euthanasia Will Testify against Attacker

 A young girl who had been severely beaten by her adoptive parents may be well enough to testify in court against them even though she was not supposed to live through the ordeal. The girl’s stepfather beat her into a coma. When she was taken to the hospital, she was found to have new and old bruises, cuts, and weeping wounds. When the adoptive parents were arrested, the mother committed suicide. The girl then became a ward of Massachusetts. Not long after the state took her in, they had planned to cut her off of life support. Ironically, the stepfather that beat her pleaded to leave her on (possibly to avoid murder charges…). Days before she was scheduled to be removed from life support, she started breathing on her own and responding to others. She is now at a Franciscan School, communicating with others through a keyboard and computer.  Personally, I think that the state of Massachusetts should be on trial right along with the father. What criteria are used to determine whether or not someone may live? This is just another example of how little we really know about life and how little we care.  Why was the state so quick to dismiss the little girl’s life as of no value? It’s things like this that show that the government does not need to control every facet of life like a “big brother”.

New Oregon Law Requires Hospitals to offer Sexual Assault Victims “Emergency Contraceptives”

 A new Oregon law puts Catholic hospitals in a moral dilemma. The new law requires all state hospitals to inform patients about “emergency abortifacients”, their right to receive them, and to offer them when requested. The pope has stated that any Catholic that “directly cooperate” with the distribution and use of abortifacients are “morally responsible” for the abortions themselves. According to bishop Elio Sgreccia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, this would include cases of rape. “Emergency contraceptives”? What other type of politically correct terms will they use to deny the truth? When is needing a contraceptive an emergency? In cases of rape? I disagree. I know that rape is a horrible thing to happen to any woman. I agree that it is a sin and that rapists will be judged. But, I don’t believe that this horrible tragedy is an automatic excuse for adding two more tragedies – one being the death of a child and two being the trauma of an abortion being added to the trauma of the rape. Instead of providing the states with money to distribute abortifacients, how about putting that money to better use? If the gospel were preached and lived out by Christians, it would provide many with the opportunity to turn from sin and the “need” for “emergency contraceptives” would disappear… 


Forensic Report Indicates Manslaughter at Florida Abortion Mill – Baby Was Born Alive

 A forensic report on an abortion clinic in Florida may show that the staff committed manslaughter when they stuffed a baby born alive into a biohazard bag and put it on the roof. The worker who performed the botched abortion has been guilty of practicing medicine without a license before and could be convicted of manslaughter. Many of the assistants, as well as the lawyer representing the clinical worker, have also been convicted of practicing medicine without a license. What kind of person are you when you can take a moving, living, breathing HUMAN BEING, toss them into a biohazard bag, and leave them on the roof? This is the kind of cold-hearted attitude that develops when the value of life is erased. Those who are involved in this case should be convicted of manslaughter. Sadly, they are no different than any of the other abortionists in the country who do the same thing to a human being in the womb. For those of you who say that man is inherently good, this is good proof that man left to his own devices and methods is the most disgusting, evil, uncaring creature there can be… 


Brazilian Government Prosecutes Homeschooling Family, Threatens to Remove Children

 In Brazil, a family is being threatened with criminal prosecution for homeschooling their children. The government has also warned that the family could lose their children for the “crime”. The Nunes children were removed from public school two years ago by their parents because of the growing influence of immorality and the low education standards. The children showed great improvement since being removed from public school, including passing entrance exams for law school. Unfortunately, because the children are only 13 and 14 years old, they are too young to be allowed admission into law school. This plight is shared by others in Brazil who have had their children ridiculed, beaten, and summarily ignored by students and teachers. They have been told that prostitutes “are professionals like any one else”. The end result has been that some of the Brazilians have fled to neighboring Paraguay. Sadly, this is happening right here in the US as well. There have been increased attacks on those who decide to homeschool their children with the government trying to take control away from the parents of homeschooled children. Our country is often heard talking about respect and diversity, but this is not the truth. There are many in the US that are not respectful of those who hold traditional Christian values. They like diversity, as long as there is nothing to do with Judeo-Christian values and morality. And one of the saddest things about all of this is the fact that the government that is supposed to be “by the people, for the people” is often at the head of the pack in regards to removing the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit. What is the government worried about? Are they really worried about “the children” and “the future” or are they worried about not getting the money for their state funded public schools because they don’t have as many kids? If you look at statistics, homeschooled children fare just as well, and often better, then those in public school. IF the government truly cares about the children and the future of this country, then they will support homeschooling efforts. They will stop trying to force kids to stay in a public school that has increasingly grown more and more immoral at the same time that it has decreased in it’s actual education of children. I am proud to say that my daughter is homeschooled and would encourage anyone considering it to gather as much information as you can about it, pray, and if it is something that you feel the need to do, GO FOR IT! 

Related Articles:

California Home-Schooling Ruling Called ‘Assault on Family’

CA home school mom says ‘we will have to move’


Parents encouraged to keep students home on ‘Day of Silence’

 On April 25th, more than 4000 schools are participating in the “Day of Silence” in an effort to make their students aware of the homosexual lifestyle. Many Christian leaders have supported parents keeping the kids out of school that day.  To find out if your child’s school is participating, go to and click on the Day of Silence action alert. This is the kind of “education” our children are getting at public school? And the government wonders why more people are homeschooling their children… ____________________________________________

Capitol Hill legislation would try to remove ‘pork’ from lawmakers’ diet

 A few congressmen have introduced a bill that would put a one year moratorium on “pork barrel” spending earmarks that would allow reform of the process.  Those supporting the bill say that the current process is “too secretive, too many earmarks are benefiting campaign contributors, and they are funding too many personal projects — like the Woodstock music festival and museum in Upstate New York”. Personally, I think that all pork barrel spending should be gotten rid of. What need is there for funding projects like those being hidden in needed bills. We are spending millions of dollars a year on unnecessary efforts and events while our economy continues to falter and we’re told that we need to be more frugal. What if those in Washington who are supposed to be looking out for all of us actually took care of the money and handled it like they were supposed to? Would we be fearing a recession? If the millions of dollars that were going for personal projects were going toward defense, security, and the economy, would we be in the shape that we’re in right now? Would we be needing to rush to pass a tax cut to boost our economy? Would we be so dependent on other countries? Why can’t the government let us see what they’re spending the money we give them on? Are they ashamed of what they’re spending it on? Do the know that the American public would be outraged if they knew what millions of dollars of their money was being spent on? I think that they would. I think that it would severely anger the American people who actually WORK for their money to know that that money (which the government seems to say is never enough) is going to such wasteful things. It’s really sad that the American government is basically sponging off the people and then saying it’s not enough. Retired congressmen and presidents get an enormous salary while people who have given their lives in service to the country are forced to eke out a meager existence on what little Social Security they can get…Tell me again why “pork barrel” spending is necessary? ____________________________________________

Bush: Jewish seminary attack ‘barbaric, vicious’

 President Bush called the attacks on a Jewish seminary a “barbaric and vicious attack on innocent civilians” and Condoleezza Rice called the attacks an “act of terror and depravity”. President Bush talked with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and told him that the US stands with Israel. The US stands with Israel? Really? Is that why our countries leaders are trying to tear Israel apart? Is that why President Bush is trying to pressure Israel into giving up land that was given to them by the God that the president supposedly believes in? It’s amazing how the president can “stand” with Israel with there is a terror attack and offer condolences, and then turn around and be part of a political “terror attack” by trying to divide Israel. If the US truly supports Israel, then we will support her 100% and not try to divide the country! We will truly stand with Israel then…


The World’s “Most Dangerous” Spiritual Guru: Oprah Begins 10-Week Online New Age Class

 Oprah Winfrey has added another in her long list of New Age recommendations when she recently began a 10 week online course with New Age author and guru Eckhart Tolle. Winfrey, who has been identified as one of the most dangerous woman in the world by Bill Keller, has invited many of the New Age movement’s leaders onto her talk show and has supported them through broadcasts and having their products on her book list, even though she is a self-professing Christian. Eckhart Tolle’s new book, “A New Earth” is basically a mixture of religious relativism. It is also sprinkled with scriptures and references to Christ. In response to a caller who said that she had trouble reconciling Tolle’s view of spirituality with her Catholic beliefs, Oprah responded by saying that “While Christianity is a valid way to achieve high states of spirituality, it must not be considered a unique way, or a ‘correct way’” and that she didn’t believe that “Jesus came to start Christianity”.  She stated that she believed in the “new spirituality” where you are your own best authority as you work to know and love yourself, you discover how to live a more spiritual life”. Oprah says all of this and still claims to be a Christian?!?!?!?! How do you reconcile her beliefs with the truth of the Bible? Oprah says that she believes that Jesus is just one way to achieve “higher consciousness”. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). She says that you know best how to live and love yourself and in doing so, you learn to live a “more spiritual life”. The bible says that the heart is deceitful above all things and desparately wicked (Jer. 17:9). It says that the times that Israel was in it’s sin the deepest is when they disobeyed God and did what was right in their own eyes. And yet, there were 500,000 people logged on for the first installment and many are trying to reconcile the truth of the Bible with the “spiritual teachings” of man. When will we realize that the Bible is enough (2 Tim. 3:16-17)? When will we STOP TRYING TO REDEFINE JESUS AND TAKE HIM AT HIS WORD! God has given us everything that we need through His Word, but we turn instead to the teachings of sinful man who is just as desparately wicked as we are! WAKE UP CHURCH!!!!

UMC officials expected to address issue of ‘transgendered’ clergy at upcoming meeting

 The United Methodist Church is facing a meeting where they will have to decide whether or not a minister who has had a sex change operation should be allowed to continue their duties as a minister. The debate seems to revolve around whether or not gender is determined as a fixed thing by God or that it’s something that man determines. Should this discussion even need to take place? COME ON! When I was born, I was born a male. When my daughter was born, she was born a female. God determined both of our genders when we were conceived. Because God determined them at conception, there shouldn’t be any question as to gender. God determined that I should be a man. If that’s what He chooses, then who I am to put myself above Him and say that I should be a woman? When will the church start to use the common sense that God has given us and stop all of these meetings over ludicrous issues that should be no-brainers!

Presbyterian Candidates Protest Affirmed Ban on Gay Ordination

 28 candidates for Presbyterian ministry have voiced their disapproval of the affirmation of the ban on the ordination of homosexuals. They purport that the decision is “demeaning to the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer persons by again reducing our lives to sexual acts. It fails to recognize God’s ability to choose whomever God wills to serve the Church. It perpetuates the mythology that sexual orientation is simply a matter of behavior. It says that we are not filled with God’s grace.” Many, however, support the church’s resolve to keep hold of the biblical standards. The signers of the letter expressed that they hoped that “our sisters and brothers in Christ will know us, in the fullness of how God creates us, and affirm our gifts and call”. My question (once again) is why would God call someone to preach the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ when they are living in open rebellion to that truth? How can someone who is living an openly homosexual lifestyle, which the Bible states is an abomination (whether it’s open or hidden), believe that they would be blessed by God to minister the truth when they themselves reject it! If you are a homosexual and you truly feel that God has called you to be a minister of His, then why won’t you obey Him? Why do you continue to insist on living in sin and being an example of compromise by trying to minister the gospel? Why won’t you admit the sin, repent of it, and be free from it? There is nothing in the Bible that shows that God calls to ministry anyone who continues to live a lifestyle that He abhors…

“Idol Gives Back” Project Supports Abortion


American Idol once again has started it’s “Idol Gives Back” program which raises money to “raise awareness of the effects of poverty on children and young people”. The money raised from the project is funneled into the organizations Save the Children and UNICEF, both of which are pro-abortion.  A study released by the International Organizations Research Group shows that UNICEF is tied to abortion and radical feminism. UNICEF has made numerous contributions and endorsements including “good quality abortion services” and raising their contributions from $2 million to $5 million for the UN’s support of China’s “one child” policy. Save the Children has connections to many openly pro-abortion organizations including, Better World Fund, Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Population Action International, and the U.S. Committee for UNICEF.

Human Rights, Liberty Are Values Practiced by Most Muslims, Says Rice

 As Washington appointed it’s first special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Secretary of State Rice said that Muslims practice the values of human rights, liberty and the rule of law, and that these values are universal. This seems to be an effort to smooth over any issues that arise from the actions we take in the “War on Terror”. While there are certainly Muslims who practice these values listed, they are sadly in the minority, especially outside the US. In the OIC, only 6 of the 57 members are actually considered “free”. Many of the Islamic ruled nations do not hold to human rights for women or Christians, there is also no liberty for anything that goes against Islam. They do believe in the rule of the law, as long as that law is Sharia law.

Vatican Releases New List of Sinful Acts

 The Vatican supoosedly released a new list of sinful acts that include drug abuse, environmental pollution, and social injustice. The Vatican responded by saying that this was not a new list or a list to replace the “old” list, but a commentary on “new forms of social sin”. The original interview stated that while sin used to be individual, it is now taking on a more social aspect. Huh? First, where in scripture does it say that men, whether they go to church or lead a church, can decide what sin is and is not? Second, I was under the impression that God had already clearly defined what sin was in the Word that He gave us. I didn’t think that we needed to add anything to the list that He gave us already…Third, when has sin not had a social effect? If you look at Achan and his sin in the book of Joshua, it was the sin of one man that caused hundreds to die in war the next few days. If you go back further and look at Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden, it definitely had a “social” effect. While I think that the “new, social” sins listed above need to be tended to, I think that the church would be a better steward of its time if it went ahead and focused on actually living like it should and avoiding the list of sins that God already gave us. More likely than not, that would take care of these new, social sins as well…  Related Articles:

No “New Deadly Sins” – Media Perpetrating Massive Distortion

Study: Behaviors Americans Consider ‘Sinful’

 According to a new study by Ellison Research, Americans believe in sin whether they are religiously involved or not. Sin was defined as “something that is almost always considered wrong, particularly from a religious or moral perspective”. The study asked 1,000 people whether or not they considered 30 different behaviors to be sinful. Adultery was identified by the most people to be sinful. After this, in order of highest response were racism, use of “hard” drugs, not saying anything when the cashier gives too much change, abortion, and homosexuality. Those who attend religious services weekly were more likely to believe things to be sinful. There were differences between Catholics and Protestants. Evangelicals also had some differing responses. I don’t really know that this study proves anything other than the fact that most people (including many Christians) really don’t care about what God says. The fact that 81% of Americans think that adultery is sinful doesn’t keep those kinds of things from happening and it doesn’t keep it out of television and movies. There are a few things in this article/study that stand out to me. First is the fact that even though 81% of Americans see adultery as sinful, only 43% see having sexual thoughts about someone you’re not married to is sinful. This comes in spite of the fact that Jesus said, if you look at someone with lust you commit adultery with them in your heart! The study seems to also show that even though many “Christians” profess things as sinful, it doesn’t keep them from doing those very same things. This shows a lack of the fear of God and not concern for how their sin affects them or others. We are becoming a nation that professes God with its lips but whose hearts are far from Him. If we are Christians, the things that God considers sinful are what we should consider sinful. If God considers something sinful, then we should not do it. If we are doing it then we should STOP! Only when Christians start truly being obedient to what God says, the way that He said it, will we truly see change in our country.

Design of the Week 03/12/08 – Who needs luck?

March 12, 2008 at 11:02 am | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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With St. Patrick’s Day drawing near, many people will be focused on drinking and being merry. Unfortunately, many will get drunk (including many “Christians”). The sad part about all of this is that the modern celebration of the holiday completely forgets the person that it was named for!

Nowadays, many people believe in luck and good fortune. They have good days and attribute it to good luck, and bad days are attributed to bad luck. The Bible gives no indication that there is any such thing as luck. It makes it clear that there are some things that happen to us because of choices we’ve made in the past. Some things happen because the devil is trying to attack, defeat, and devour us. Some things happen because God is testing us. In reality, many things happen because of sin. The disease and death that is here is due to the fact that Adam disobeyed God. People try to avoid even thinking about that by attributing their bad circumstances to “bad luck”. As Christians, we don’t need luck. If we live our lives in obedience to the Word of God, then we will find ourselves less likely to end up in trying situations. We are still promised to go through tribulation and trial, but it will be because God is trying to shape us and mold us. And we have the promise that He will be there with us through it all!

So, as you prepare to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, why not take a little time to consider what God would have you do with your life and avoid those things that would dishonor Him?

A new endeavor and I need YOUR help!

March 10, 2008 at 12:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I would like to start posting examples of “twisted scripture” here on the At Ease Tees blog. I don’t want this to be a bashing session against pastors or preachers. Instead, I want to show readers examples of scriptures that people are twisting to make them say what they want. You can also post something here that you’re not really sure is twisted and hopefully we’ll be able to come to some sort of answer. I’m not looking for general things like “homosexuality is ok and here’s why” or “the Bible says that you should have an overflowing blessing and here’s the proof”…I’m looking for specific things that have been preached or taught over the last week. I would like them to be from your local churches instead of the televangelists on TV. If I get enough, I’ll do it every week.

 I will have a certain format for the submissions though. If you’re going to send something in, here’s how I want it to look:

 The subject of the email needs to contain the words TWISTED SCRIPTURE in all caps. This will help me flag it if it gets sent to junk mail. In the body of the mail here’s what I’m looking for:

 Premise: write a short explanation of what the pastor/preacher/priest/teacher was trying to say.

Scripture(s) Twisted: List the scriptures here used to support the premise above.

Why this should be considered twisted scripture: Give a concise but adequate explanation of why you believe this is twisted scripture and what the verse(s) really mean.

 I’ll post some twisted scripture each week on Tuesday (the exact number will depend on how many I get sent), and would love to have some discussion as to the validity of the premise and the amount of twisting that has taken place.

To email a TWISTED SCRIPTURE go the the At Ease Tees homepage and click on the link that says contact us (it’s right above the section thumbnails).

 As I said above, this isn’t so that we can bash pastors or preachers. To that effect, please leave the names of those involved out. All I want to do is to start discussing how the Word of God is being used and how to get back to a biblical viewpoint.

I’m looking forward to some interesting discussions!

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