-National Day of Prayer 2016

Today is the 65th annual National Day of Prayer.

The theme for 2016 is Wake Up America, emphasizing the need for individuals, corporately and individually, to return to the God of our Fathers in reverence for His Holy Name. To further highlight the theme, Isaiah 58:1a is the key Scripture chosen for this year:  “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet.

Please take the time to pray today for America and for our leaders. May God continue to bless America as we continue to honor him and his Son Jesus.

Today America is at a fork in the road. It could continue to decline and fall away from the religious foundation it was built upon. This is the enemies plan for our nation as he continues to sows fear and division in our land. Let us pray for revival and a new awakening instead that would bring our nation back to God and bring hope, faith, love, and healing among our people. 

Here’s a link to the National Day of Prayer website for more information and a list of activities for the day.             *Top

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-Will the Chinese Host the Largest Revival?

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                                                             Pastor Kong Hee with his wife, Sun Ho. (Facebook)

Will the largest ‘end-time’ revival take place among the Chinese? According to Pastor Kong Hee that will be the case. Here’s the story from Charisma News:

“Many pop celebrities have received Christ and are boldly proclaiming their faith on traditional and new media. I have no doubt that the largest revival in the End-Times will be a move of God in the Chinese-speaking world,” Kong wrote.

Response: In many ways a hidden revival has been on-going in China since the Communists shut down the churches and missions after WWII. At the time there were less than a million Christians in the country but a generation later there are at least 100 million and maybe as many as 150 million Chinese believers mostly worshipping in house churches.

Now the Chinese church seems to be ready to go prime time and maybe affect the entire culture. However government persecution has also increased as many of the house churches came out of the closet and began building large worship facilities to hold all of the converts.

It will be interesting to see how a hundred million or so Christians will end up affecting the economy and the government in the future. According to reports, there have been numerous conversions of government officials in some areas. Will the supposedly pragmatic current Communist regime continue to crack down on the churches or allow them to be mainstreamed? A turning point one way or another seems to have been reached and the exponential growth of the Christian church in China can no longer be culturally ignored.                *Top

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-Happy Resurrection Day 2016

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He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

May You and your family have a wonderful Easter. May we all remember and reflect upon what is really important after all the cultural fun of Easter bunnies, colored eggs, and special ham dinners and family get togethers. May we remember what the day is really all about—the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Happy Resurrection Day!

When the women went to the tomb on Easter morning the rock was rolled away and the tomb was empty. Not only that but an angel met them there and said:

“Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come see the place where he lay.”

…And behold Jesus met them and said, “Greetings! Do not be afraid…” –Matt.28:5-10

Another good scripture to remember–this is what Jesus told Martha before he raised her brother Lazarus from the grave:

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?  –John 11:25-26

The good question for each one of us today—Do you believe this?

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-“It’s Friday But Sunday’s Coming”

Here’s my favorite message of all time for Good Friday: “It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming” by Dr. Tony Campolo. It has become a tradition on this blog to post it every year on this day.

Here’s a link to where the famous tape can be downloaded.

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The whole tape is great but the best part is toward the end when Tony Campolo recalls one Sunday when he had a little preaching competition with the head pastor at the church where he was attending.

Dr. Campolo tells how he preached the perfect sermon in every way and had taken the congregation to ‘the heights of glory’. As he sat down beside his pastor, Dr. Tony patted him on the knee and simply said, “Top that.” The older black pastor looked at him and said, “Boy, watch the master.” Then Dr. Campolo recalls for us the very brilliant message which followed.

The following is just a taste of what the climax is like in the 45 minute tape/sermon.  it doesn’t really do justice to the original but this printed abbreviated version is inspirational none the less:

It’s Friday But Sunday’s Coming—

It was a simple sermon, starting softly, building in volume and intensity until the entire congregation was completely involved, repeating the phrases in unison. The sermon went something like this:

It’s Friday. Jesus is arrested in the garden where He was praying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The disciples are hiding and Peter’s denying that he knows the Lord. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is standing before the high priest of Israel, silent as a lamb before the slaughter. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is beaten, mocked, and spit upon. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Those Roman soldiers are flogging our Lord with a leather scourge that has bits of bones and glass and metal, tearing at his flesh. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The Son of man stands firm as they press the crown of thorns down into his brow. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. See Him walking to Calvary, the blood dripping from His body. See the cross crashing down on His back as He stumbles beneath the load. It’s Friday; but Sunday’s a coming.

It’s Friday. See those Roman soldiers driving the nails into the feet and hands of my Lord. Hear my Jesus cry, “Father, forgive them.” It’s Friday; but Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, bloody and dying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The sky grows dark, the earth begins to tremble, and He who knew no sin became sin for us. Holy God who will not abide with sin pours out His wrath on that perfect sacrificial lamb who cries out, “My God, My God. Why hast thou forsaken me?” What a horrible cry. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. And at the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil of the Temple that separates sinful man from Holy God was torn from the top to the bottom because Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, heaven is weeping and hell is partying. But that’s because it’s Friday, and they don’t know it, but Sunday’s a coming.

And on that horrible day 2000 years ago, Jesus the Christ, the Lord of glory, the only begotten Son of God, the only perfect man died on the cross of Calvary. Satan thought that he had won the victory. Surely he had destroyed the Son of God. Finally he had disproved the prophecy God had uttered in the Garden and the one who was to crush his head had been destroyed. But that was Friday.

Now it’s Sunday. And just about dawn on that first day of the week, there was a great earthquake. But that wasn’t the only thing that was shaking because now it’s Sunday. And the angel of the Lord is coming down out of heaven and rolling the stone away from the door of the tomb. Yes, it’s Sunday, and the angel of the Lord is sitting on that stone and the guards posted at the tomb to keep the body from disappearing were shaking in their boots because it’s Sunday, and the lamb that was silent before the slaughter is now the resurrected lion from the tribe of Judah, for He is not here, the angel says. He is risen indeed.

It’s Sunday, and the crucified and resurrected Christ has defeated death, hell, sin and the grave. It’s Sunday. And now everything has changed. It’s the age of grace, God’s grace poured out on all who would look to that crucified lamb of Calvary. Grace freely given to all who would believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary was buried and rose again. All because it’s Sunday.

At the end of the message the pastor shouts out:

It’s Friiidaaaay!

And the whole congregation responds:

But Sunday’s Coming!

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-The Real Story of St. Patrick

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2016. The following is our traditional post for this special holiday:

The Real Story of St. Patrick’s Apostolic Ministry

image Happy St. Patrick’s Day! A day to go to your favorite pub, eat corned beef and cabbage and wash it all down with plenty of green beer. Oh yes–a day of parades and celebration of Irish nationality.

But who was this Patrick anyway? A man born into a wealthy Christian Roman family in Wales around 385 AD with a given name of Macwyn Succat. He didn’t make it to Ireland until he was kidnapped at age 16 and enslaved by Irish Celtic raiders. He tended sheep for his new masters for 6 years and like David became closer to the Lord in the process. Then he heard a voice from God instructing him how to escape and make it back home.

After he miraculously escaped slavery he went on to study at a Christian seminary and became a Priest. Then one day he had a vision from God commissioning him to return to Ireland as a Christian missionary.

Today a holiday is celebrated in his memory. But beyond the green beer and rowdy drunken debauchery that typically surrounds the occasion is a historical character that was God’s apostle to Ireland—forget ‘Saint’ this guy functioned as an apostle and a power evangelist.

There is all sorts of stories about Patrick that today they call ‘myths’. I believe that a lot of the myths were probably based upon true events that seem far too supernatural for secular folks to accept today.

It is said in documents from that period that he “baptized thousands of people”, and ordained hundreds of priests to lead the new Christian communities and villages he established. He also converted the sons of Kings, noblemen, and chieftains leading to the conversion of an entire pagan nation to Christ.

Legend has it that he was a healer and that he banished snakes from the island though scientists today wonder if there were that many snakes if any on the island at the time.

Here’s an example of the spiritual condition of the church that St. Patrick left behind—part of a prayer attributed to him but maybe written a couple of generations later:

From “Saint Patrick’s Breastplate”:

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ below me, Christ above me, Christ to the right of me, Christ to the left of me, Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I stand, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye which sees me, Christ in every ear which hears me.

We could use this kind of spiritual maturity today. What a great declaration to live by–an example for those seeking a Kingdom culture and economy.   

Rather than a day with a built-in excuse to get drunk, I believe that it is a day for Christians to celebrate the reality and continual miracles of the Christian faith. A day to celebrate that God continues to give visions and directions to missionaries even today.

St. Patrick transformed an entire nation bringing the Gospel to an Island in darkness. Missionaries continue to leave the comforts of home and family to spread the word of Jesus Christ to every nation in the world.  Praise the Lord!        *Top

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