-2015 A Turning Point in America?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…’’

America is Moving in 2015 But Which Way is it Going to Go?

Many of us have been praying and looking for revival and a new awakening in America and many of us have hopes that 2015 would see the beginning of a new move of God –a turning point to bring the nation back to God and his purposes.

Another Kind of Turning Point

In the midst of that real hope that the Holy Spirit has been guiding many of us to pray for is another reality that is rising up in America. An evil design that could bring a different kind of turning point in our country where our religious liberty and freedom are questioned and re-defined. Where churches are forced to decide between following the Bible or the increasingly secular culture.

If the trend continues like it has so far this year, it is not too difficult to see that conservative churches may find themselves as outcasts and receive real discrimination in the years to come with 2015 being an evil turning point. It is critical that intercessors and prayer warriors rise up now while there is yet day for the night may be descending quickly and take us all by surprise if we stand silent and motionless at this critical time.

Here’s a prophetic word that I found completely on point and one which confirms what I have recently been seeing in the early months of this year and have been concerned about. From Daniel K. Norris:

“2015 will demand believers to be resolute in their beliefs. The media and culture has found a voice of influence into the church and this year will begin to exercise that voice with a greater authority. Culture will seek to define what is and is not acceptable Christianity. Many will allow their faith to be shaken. Some will come into agreement. Many will choose to simply be silent. Very few will stand as a resolute voice. We must unashamedly declare truth and boldly display love. There will be many who disagree with you, but let them not be uncertain about your love for them.”

Read the whole article where he addresses the current trends that support what I am writing about. Evangelicals including Charismatics and Pentecostals are in danger of seeing major divisions in their churches and denominations/associations over homosexuality and same-sex marriage in the near future and this year could be the turning point in America and the American church one way or another.            *Top

-Happy Resurrection Day! 2015

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(Image by abcdz2000 via Flickr)

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 it is again. My favorite message of all time for Good Friday is by Dr. Tony Campolo. It has become a tradition on this blog to post it every year on this day.

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

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

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 a short printed version of the 45 minute sermon–the printed version doesn’t really do justice to the original, but you can at least get an idea what the last part is like:

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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-Christian ‘Forgiving ISIS’ Videos Go Viral in Muslim World and Reports of Revival Among the Refugees


“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Matthew 5:44

Here’s a video of a Christian child, 10 year old Myriam, forgiving ISIS even though her family has lost everything because of the terrorist group.  She said:

“I will only ask God to forgive them.

Now comes the news that the video and several others like it have gone viral in the Middle East demonstrating the teaching of Jesus to ‘love your enemies’ in a culture where ‘eye for an eye’ is the normal response. From Christianity Today:

To date, more than 1 million people have seen her witness online. [Full video at the bottom]

SAT-7’s 5 channels reach an audience of 15 million in North Africa and the Middle East, though it’s impossible to measure how many people watched Myriam. However, numbers can be tracked through the social media campaign, which has reached 25 times its normal audience, with subtitles of the video provided in English, Spanish, Turkish, and Chinese. Word spread not only through SAT-7 affiliates, but also in the local secular press.

Pan-Arabic al-Arabia praised Myriam for confronting ISIS with love. “Everyone who listens to her is astounded,” echoed the Egyptian Youm 7. Leading Lebanese daily al-Nahar called for the clip to be shown in the nation’s schools as a lesson in humanity.

<Read the whole article>

Response: Like I said when I first posted this video on my Answers for the Faith site:

What a lesson in faith! File this story in the  “for such is the Kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16) category. They are far better Christians than I.

Most of us in America wonder what kind of ‘Christians’ these displaced Iraqis really are. Since they mostly attend Catholic and Orthodox affiliated churches many of us have an erroneous impression that they might only be so-called ‘cultural Christians.’ Maybe that is why so few of us are upset or up in arms when we read the reports of their persecution and death. But hundreds of thousands of these Near Eastern Christians have lost everything for their faith and thousands have paid the ultimate price as martyrs. They actually have a greater right to bear the name of Christ than many of us living in safe and comfortable communities in the West.

The video above should transform our thinking about these fellow believers. I know of several missionaries and relief personnel loosely connected with my home church which are working among these refugees in Iraq. The word and reports we receive from them is that there is real revival going on among these folks with abundant healing and miracles in their midst. Please keep praying for these bothers and sisters and those who are ministering in their midst.            *Top

-Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2015

The Real Charismatic Ministry of St. Patrick

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2015. Here’s the real story of St. Patrick:

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

-Beginning of Revival in L.A. High Schools

There is the beginning of an extraordinary revival in some L.A. and Orange County high schools in Southern California. Here’s the story from God Reports:

About 2,500 students at 15 high schools hear the gospel each week through campus Christian clubs, which invite One Voice representatives to speak, Giglio says. Kids have been saved from drugs, violence, sexual sin, and hopelessness.

The move of God began in Roosevelt High School two years ago. A watershed moment came when opposing gangs put down their weapons and met each other in the gym for prayer, along with 400 other students who had gathered to hear a heartfelt and compelling message. Giglio says the Holy Spirit came into the room and the kids just broke down weeping. …

On-campus Christian clubs, run by students, have a right to use facilities and invite outside speakers, Giglio said. Principals have been known to monitor these meetings but usually are happy to see students hearing positive messages about getting out of gangs, drugs and other life-ruining traps.

<Read the whole article>

This is just the beginning but it is spreading to other schools in Southern California including several Southern Orange County high schools that I know of where kids at our local church come from. I have also heard some antidotal evidence that it is also spreading to some of our area colleges and universities. Somewhat under the radar at the present time but a real move of God none the less.            *Top.

-The Call for Prayer in 2015

CALL TO PRAYER

2015 has begun with a number of different calls for prayer for America. Following the slaughter of two New York policemen Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. of the Church of God in Christ issued a call for justice and prayer. Following that George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, issued a supporting call to prayer for the first week of January. Now beginning Jan. 10, 2015, the Church of God Prayer Ministries is calling for 21 days of prayer and Fasting for revival in the church and awakening in the nation.

This is the first time I can remember any year beginning with such urgency from so many different church leaders seeking to call the American church into prayer for our nation.

Add to that the over 20,000 mostly youth who recently attended the Onething Conference in Kansas City where Reinhard Bonnke called out a new generation of Christian leaders to pick up their mantle and save America and the world and then another 20,000 or so youth meeting at the Passion 2015 Conference in Atlanta and you begin to get the feeling that 2015 may be the beginning of something very different for America and the Christian community.

What I am talking about is the sheer number of Christian leaders that feel that it is important start the year- 2015 by crying out to God for America and Christians all around the world.

2014 was one of the most difficult for Christians both in this country and around the world. According to a report that Open Doors came out with this week, last year was the worst ever for the persecution and killing of believers around the world and yet they expect that the worse is yet to come from the rise of Muslim extremists. Seeing what just happen in France we should all be concerned.

Meanwhile in our own country, Christians are being fined and sued out of business and fired from their jobs over their Biblical faith. Just a couple pf months ago the city of Houston, Texas was demanding pastors to turn over every sermon or speech where they mentioned homosexuality. Later that was dropped but the lawsuit goes on. Most American Christians are still asleep and unaware but we are seriously in danger of losing our freedom of religion in this country or having it re-interpreted to merely be ‘freedom of worship’ within the four walls of an official church or house of worship.

If there was ever a time to pray for America, now is that time.

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-Merry Christmas 2014

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(Image via Wikipedia)


Merry Christmas to you and yours and may God truly bless you this Christmas Day.

The Real Christmas Story

When our children were growing our family had a Christmas Eve tradition to read about the ‘real’ Christmas story in the Bible.

You’ve probably seen a dozen or so ‘Christmas stories’ on TV in the last couple of weeks but the real Christmas story is found in Matthew (Matt. 1:18-2:18) and in Luke ( Luke 1:26-56, 2:1-40). However, Isaiah should never be ignored:

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Matthew gives us the story largely from the perspective of Joseph, including the dreams that he had and his family genealogy. In this gospel the ‘Kingship’ of Jesus is the major topic. Starting with the Davidic Kingly genealogy through Joseph and the coming of the Magi (Wisemen) who are looking for the new king. Also King Herod’s reaction is in Matthew.

The events in Luke are given to us from Mary’s view. The angel Gabriel appears to Mary and announces the coming of the child. Mary’s genealogy is also given in Luke (Luke 3:23-38), she was also a descendant of David, but not in the ‘Kingly’ line. Chapter 2 begins with the Christmas story that everyone is familiar with:

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

However, nothing explains the real reason for the season better than John 3:16-17:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  -KJV

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-Messianic Jews Making Gains in Israel

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Messianic Judaism is a movement of Jewish folks who have accepted Jesus (Yeshua) as their savior and Messiah. Yet they continue to maintain their identity as Jews and embrace many of the traditions of their people. A recent article by Rabbi Barry Rubin in Ministry Today Magazine celebrates the gains that Messianic groups have recently made in Israel- “Messianic Judaism Gaining Momentum in Israel.” The following are a few quotes:

The primary evangelistic work in Israel is not through missions. It is being done through local Messianic congregations. … There are 150-plus congregations in Israel with as many as 15,000 Messianic Jewish believers…

The growth in the number of congregations has increased over the last 20 years…Nearly every year, another indigenous congregation or two springs up, and as more and more Jews from around the world return home, this will only increase.

Israel is a small country—about the size of New Jersey—so these congregations are easily noticed by their fellow Israelis. More and more, Israel is increasingly aware that there are Jews who trust Yeshua as the Messiah and savior, much as it was in the New Testament era.

These Messianic Jewish congregations are now led by Israelis, even though they may have a mix of Jews and Gentiles. Most services are in Hebrew (sometimes Russian, Amharic, French or Spanish). The music too is indigenous, as is the style of worship —very Israeli. The melodies have a distinctly Middle Eastern tone to them. Most meet on Saturday when Jews generally hold worship services. These congregations of Yeshua-followers are clearly Jewish.

Messianic Jews are gaining more acceptance in Israel. Instead of being perceived as threats to the Israelis, due to prejudices going back 2,000 years, they are recognized as friends, fellow citizens, and an active part of Israeli society.

<Read the whole article>

Response: This is really good news and we should remember to pray for our fellow believers in Israel. For years the Messianic Movement was opposed in Israel but now because of the faithfulness of the Jewish Israeli believers they are increasingly being accepted as never before. You can add Israel to the many nations that are seeing an exponential growth in the number of believers and  groups.

Meanwhile the enemy is trying to destroy Israel but the Lord has plans of His own for that land and people.            *Top

-Happy Thanksgiving 2014

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       ("The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth": Wikipedia)

Happy Thanksgiving 2014 to you and yours. Our traditional Thanksgiving message follows:

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American celebration that began nearly four centuries ago with a deeply religious people, the Pilgrims, giving thanks to God for preserving them though a very hard year and bringing them their first bountiful harvest which they gratefully shared with their indigenous neighbors.

It was our first President George Washington who proclaimed that our first official national day of public thanksgiving should be dedicated by observing and:

“…by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.

In recent years the ‘politically correct’/secular crowd has rewritten the history of the first Thanksgiving placing an emphasis upon the hand that the indigenous American Indians played in helping the original Pilgrim community to survive. In the process they have redirected the emphasis on thanks towards neighbors and friends and away from the providence of Almighty God.

While it is always good to be thankful for others who have enriched our own lives and certainly that has a good part to play in the celebration. Nevertheless the major emphasis of Thanksgiving should always be upon God as it was on that very first occasion.

For my family and I, we will be praising and thanking the Lord God Almighty for the bounties and the providence that he has bestowed upon us this year in the name of his Son Jesus Christ. May Our Heavenly Father bless your family today and continue to bless all of us and this nation during this holiday season and in the year to come.           *Top