Global Warming Nutjobs

II Peter 3:10 – “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

This week we are having lots of snow and very cold temperatures here in the Pacific Northwest.  Last night, when I was leaving the church I thought to myself, “I wish Al Gore was here to warm my car up for me.”  I am always curious as to why we don’t hear very much from all of the global warming advocates during these unseasonable cold snaps.

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We are in a battle in Fundamentalism.  We are fighting against those who attack the Scriptures.  We are fighting against those who attack our Savior.  We are fighting against those who attack the Saints.  With all of the spiritual battles we face from without, it is a terrible thing to have to fight these battles within.  The Bible states in Jude 4, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I am afraid that our Baptist churches are being assaulted by the individuals listed in Jude 4.  As pastors, we need to be constantly on guard against false doctrine and ungodly influences.  We need to root out such things the minute we are aware of them.  I am thankful for men of God who stand for the truth of God’s Word and fight the battles that are still worth fighting.  Unfortunately, there are many churches whose problem is their pastor.  What is a church to do when their leader is the wolf?  Heaven forbid that good churches would have this problem.  God says in Jude that we are to build up ourselves in the faith, pray in the Holy Ghost, keep ourselves in the love of God, and look for the mercy of the Lord.  Beware of wolves…

To Him It Is Sin

James 4:13-17, “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:  Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.  For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.  But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.  Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it sin.”

It is the presumptuous sin of the Christian to boast about tomorrow.  James said that the boasting of one who says they will do this or that while leaving God out of their plans is evil.  What we ought to know is that our life is short.  It is as a vapour the Lord says.  All of the plans we lay out for ourselves can be changed in a moment; in a twinkling of an eye…the Lord and time have a way of changing our agendas.

What we ought to say is…if the Lord wills we will do this or that.  I don’t know how many times I have counseled people who have completely left God out of their decisions.  I don’t believe that the Lord wants us to fail to prepare for tomorrow, but we must never presume upon tomorrow.  If God gives us another day to serve Him, then we will have another day to accomplish His will.

What we ought to do…is the good He has instructed us to do.  Armed with the knowledge that God doesn’t want us to presume upon tomorrow, and that we are to acknowledge Him and His will for our lives, our failure to do so is sin.  Let us all understand the brevity of life and stay focused upon God’s plan for it.

Why I Hate Halloween

“He observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger” (II Chronicles 33:6).

Halloween is an annual celebration, but just what is it actually a celebration of? And how did this peculiar custom originate? Is it, as some claim, a kind of demon worship? Or is it just a harmless vestige of some ancient pagan ritual?

In North America, the yearly observance of Halloween amounts to a multi-billion-dollar industry, second only to Christmas…selling costumes, candy and food items, party supplies, greeting cards, tours of so-called haunted houses, and other forms of entertainment. But what is the history of this particular day? The story may surprise you.

More than two thousand years ago, a people called the Celts (Kelts) lived in what are now Ireland, Great Britain, and France. Among the Celtic people was an elite intellectual class known as the Druids, who served as religious priests, judges, lawmakers, and scientists. They had an elaborate pagan religious festival, along with certain rituals. Chief among these was the Fire Festival called Samhain (pronounced sow-en), observed at harvest time to mark the Celtic New Year.

The Celts believed that on this night the barrier between the natural world and the supernatural was removed, and the spirits of the dead were able to move freely among human beings. Samhain was the most solemn and important night in the Celtic year.

After the Roman Catholic Church brought Christianity to the Celtic peoples in the seventh century, some of their traditional folk customs were Christianized. In 835 A.D. Pope Gregory IV moved the church’s “Feast of All Saints” from the spring to November 1st to replace the observance of Samhain. All Saint’s Day, still observed today by many Christians, honored believers who had died. The night before, which featured a sacred vigil in church, became known as “All Hallow’s Eve,” or Halloween. But the old practices of the Druids died hard and were denounced by the church as witchcraft. This is how Halloween became known as a witch’s holiday.

Dressing in costumes and going door-to-door comes from a much later tradition in the British Isles, a practice not restricted to Halloween. Masked players would go from house-to-house, putting on a simple drama or musical performance in return for food and drink. Often these performances had Christian themes.

The “trick-or-treat” custom we know today is thoroughly American in origin. In the nineteenth century, when Irish and Scotch immigrants brought their Halloween traditions to North America, the night became an occasion for pranks and mischief. Vandals would go through the night, soaping windows, overturning outhouses, and pulling gates from their hinges. These pranks were playfully said to be the work of witches and ghosts, but by the 1920s the joke wasn’t funny anymore. The damage to neighborhoods was mounting.
To counteract Halloween vandalism, community clubs like the Boy Scouts began to organize alternatives that are safe and fun. Children were encouraged to go door-to-door and receive treats from homeowners and merchants, keeping the troublemakers away. By the 1930s, the practice was popular nationwide, and young voices crying, “Trick or treat!” were echoing through neighborhood streets.

In this way, a combination of pagan, Christian, and civic elements formed the Halloween celebration we know today. In recent decades, however, a renewed interest in the old pagan beliefs has blossomed in North America. Popular entertainment, including television shows like “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer,” and even “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” make occult themes and witchcraft seem fun and acceptable. The result is that Halloween today has become strongly associated with the occult and a preoccupation with the dead—two influences that Scripture and the church have always warned against.

You see, Satan is not a joke. He’s real. Though the Bible clearly states that God is the world’s highest authority, He gave Satan a certain amount of power. With God’s permission, the evil in this world is under Satan’s control. This is why the apostle Paul said, Eph. 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Satan was the first one in history to openly defy God. He also started a way of life that was self-centered and rejected God’s authority. That marked the birth of sin, which is nothing more than rebellion against God. Today sin affects the entire human race. We are all guilty, and therefore all deserve sin’s penalty. “For the wages of sin is death….”

I.  It glorifies death. (I Cor. 15:26)

II.  It honors Satan and demons. (I Cor. 10:20; Psalm 78:49; I Peter 5:8)

III.  It is helping to destroy America. (II Chronicles 33:6, 10-11)

IV.  It is not needed by young people. They need God. (II Chronicles 33:12-13)

The longer I live and the longer God allows me to be in a position of leadership, I am ever more convinced that Trust is the main thing in relationships.  It doesn’t matter if it is a marital one, a workplace one, or a pastoral one, if people can’t trust you, your relationship and influence will be damaged if not completely destroyed.  I am even of the opinion that trust is more important in these relationships than love is.  So be trustworthy…say what you mean and mean what you say.  Keep your promises to God and others.  Speak with clarity and make right choices.  Stand for truth and don’t compromise.  We will be a leader to nobody…without trust.

Fun with Sound

My pastor is in town for our missions conference so we have spent most of the afternoon “tweaking” our sound system.  It seems like the devil wants to get in it all of the time, so we are trying to figure out ways to keep him at bay.  I am thankful for Pastor Wagenschutz’s expertise in this area and it will be nice having everything “dialed in” for  a bit.  Many times, in our churches, has the message or invitation been affected in a negative way because of faulty equipment or user error.  If you are gonna have a sound system or use video equipment, make sure the people in your church or you for that matter, don’t have better equipment in your homes than in your church.  It is a shame to have top of the line stuff for us to pump filth into your house, but the church has stuff that has been gathered up from the neighborhood garage sales.  Let’s do our best for the Lord.

Missions Conference 2010

I am looking forward to our annual missions conference that begins this Wednesday at Berean Baptist Church.  We are having my pastor, Mark Wagenschutz from Twin Ports Baptist Church in Superior, Wisconsin as our main speaker.  He will be preaching each evening of the meeting and I am excited to have my pastor here.  Also joining us this year will be two church planting missionaries to Washington State, Dennis Fountain Jr. to Moses Lake, WA and Andy Arrants to Burien, WA.  We will also be having Lance Hohenstreet, with Rock of Ages Prison Ministry during the conference.

I pray that we can be a blessing to our guests and that we can increase our faith promise commitments for this upcoming year.  Not only should we prayerfully support missionaries in to aid in fulfilling the great commission, but we need to understand that God will bless our ministries in a tremendous way as a result of our giving.  May the Lord help us to increase our faith…

Sowing Seed

The Bible states in Ecclesiastes 11:1-6, “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.  Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth. If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be. He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.”

I am so grateful that God allows us to participate in faith promise missions.  By application in Ecclesiastes 11:1-6, we can see that God wants us to sow the seed of charity, trusting that He will give us a return.  We should be liberal in our giving, understanding that the law of sowing and reaping is in effect at all times.  There are many things in life that are inevitable and that we can’t control, and we must never allow “what if’s” to hinder us from giving by faith.  We must take every opportunity we have to give and trust God that He will give in return, especially in the current economic times.  Our giving by faith is really the only “guaranteed” investment we can make now isn’t it?

NMCSA Educator’s Conference

It was my privilege to spend the last few days is Albuquerque, NM at the New Mexico Christian School Association’s 5th Annual Educator’s Conference.  I was invited to be the keynote speaker for this event and had a wonderful time.  From Wednesday to Friday afternoon I spoke a total of 11 times and I am at the airport getting ready to head back to Seattle and I am surprisingly not that tired.  It is always fun to travel and meet new pastors and churches and I am grateful to be able to support the Christian school movement in our country.  The altar responses during all of the preaching services were tremendous and the workshop times were well received.  Many thanks to those who recommended me to come and it was good to see you all.  Looking forward to getting home to see my family tonight…God Bless.

Body Fitly Joined

The Bible states in Ephesians 4:16, “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase o the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

As our church was recently going through a Prayer Revival Meeting with Dr. Benny Beckum, something dawned on me.  Each night (as most pastors do) I looked around the auditorium and took inventory of who was not in attendance.  I pray that everyone in our church would come to the services when the church doors are opened and I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t disappointed when I know people aren’t there.  Even though as  preacher we are to preach to those that are present and give our best, but my mind went to this Scripture in Ephesians 4.

Since the church is a body of believers that is fitly joined together I realized that I have never, ever been a member of the church where the body was completely intact on a Sunday…somebody has always been absent.  If we are to follow that analogy out, that would mean that if part of the body is missing and we have never  been whole, we have been “handicapped” all along the way?  What do you think would happened if the whole body showed up…once?

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