-Independence Day 2017: Freedom Comes from God

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Happy Independence Day 2017.

The following is our traditional message for the 4th of July:

Flags are flying, parades are moving, drinks are flowing, and politicians are speaking today in America.

240 years ago a message was confirmed by representatives of 13 colonies proclaiming their freedom, a freedom that was considered to be derived from God:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Much has been made of the variety of beliefs held by the founders of this country but their words and convictions remain not only on paper but also in the hearts of the people.

Declaration of Independence: The Emphasis Upon God

When it comes to the Declaration of Independence, the words- “by their Creator” were a major part of the message, the subject, and the emphasis.

Many secularists and atheists today want to de-emphasize the role of faith in the founding of this country to the point that many are attempting to actually rewrite history itself. For them, God could have easily been left out of the document with little or no effect.

But in the context of 1776, those words were the whole linchpin of the document and appealed to as the ultimate authority and source for the rights of the Americans to rebel against the King of England.

In the context of the 18th century the Europeans believed that their Kings reigned and ruled ‘by Divine right’ under the authority of God and were His direct representatives. In fact, the King of England was also the head of the church and was supposed to defend the Christian faith against heresy and all enemies. In that cultural context, to rebel against the King was tantamount to rebelling against God the Creator himself.

In the Declaration the founders made it clear that they were not rebelling against God but that the Creator was actually the ultimate authority they were appealing to saying that their ‘rights’ were derived directly from the Creator and not given to them by the King of England or some parchment or Parliament.

It was a radical document at the time and changed the whole course of human history and ‘the Creator’ was part and parcel of the Declaration of Independence and the ultimate authority appealed to in the whole process.            *Top

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-Hungary: ‘Greatest Revival of Our Time’?

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Here’s a link to an article by Ted Baehr who claims that the ‘greatest revival of our time’ is breaking out in Hungary:

Recently, I returned from speaking and teaching in Hungary with my son Robby, … Hungary was a wonderful, definitive, different experience because Hungary is in the midst of revival. More than 60 percent of the members of Parliament there are Christian. The prime minister, who was once a typical European leftist, who started out a Communist Youth leader, came to Christ and is on fire for God. Members of the cabinet are pastors and leaders in Reformed and other Hungarian churches.

Besides speaking at the conference that brought me to Hungary, World Congress of Families, I got the chance to speak in the largest Christian church, 60,000 people, one of the largest churches in the world. That church owns the biggest news network in Hungary, reaching 2 million people.

What makes all of this so exceptional is the history of Hungary.

<Read the whole article>

Response: This is really good news.  Most of the time when we read about Europe it is all about how Muslims are taking over significant parts of Germany, UK, Sweden, and causing trouble in France. We forget about what is happening in the former communist countries in the East where Christianity seems to be flourishing more than in the West which is seemingly becoming more secular.

Add this to the on-going secret revivals taking place among Muslims and in China and North Korea. Meanwhile in this country we have a prominent senator and former presidential candidate questioning whether conservative Christians should be allowed to even serve in the government.                 *Top

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-Tent Revival in North Carolina

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(YouTube capture)

There’s an old fashion tent revival going on in North Carolina. From Charisma News:

A remarkable move of God that began last May in Burlington, North Carolina, stirred many hearts through July. Pastor Randy Hobbs had only scheduled evangelist C.T. Townsend to spend a week in his church, but as the power of God fell, many were saved and the revival stretched on in a borrowed tent for weeks—filled to capacity every night.

“The only reason the (revival) meeting shut down (in July) is because we couldn’t keep the tent any longer. The man needed the tent back,” recounts D.R. Harrison, one of those saved during the revival.

Remarkably the revival started all over again this year with another tent:

No one knew what would happen when Townsend and his team re-launched their crusade two weeks ago under a newly constructed tent holding 5,000 people.

“It’s been incredible,” Harrison exclaims. “This last Friday night was our biggest night with over 4,000 people, and there were 78 saved.

During the first two weeks of the crusade, 130-140 made professions of faith, and crowds averaged about 2,000 a night. The momentum seems to be building, according to Harrison.

Some of the services have been viewed over 100,000 times on the internet, and their livestream crashed May 12 due to traffic that overwhelmed server capacity.

<Read the whole report>

Response: I believe we are in a season when similar revivals can happen all around North America. The character of each might be considerably different in every place but one of the major themes is going to be the unity of the American church. This move of God across America is destined to go beyond denominations, affiliations, or any of the designations that we are familiar with including race. Look for Mainliners, Catholics, non-denominational evangelicals, Baptists, black and white and Latino churches and all colors to participate along with the Charismatics and Pentecostals that you would expect.

Pastors and leaders, It is time to pray for guidance on what you can do to facilitate a unique move of God in your community. It might be among the youth in your neighborhood, city or town. Now is the time. It might not be in a tent, it might be in an auditorium or field, on in the street. It is time for a new awakening.                 *Top

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-Happy Resurrection Day 2017

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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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