Saturday, March 27, 2010

Suicide, a call to win souls

This past week at work we learned of a co-workers death on Sunday morning. By Friday we had to deal with the realization that Larry hung himself. He was 39 years young, excersiced and seemed to be in good health and in good spirits every day.

All week I have been reflecting on an event in chapter 8 of the book Fire Starter where the main characters in this book, and their school, have to deal with the suicide of a popular classmate.

Whereas in Fire Starter it's the empty desk that reminds the students they failed their classmate, for us at MV it's the still posted note with Larry's picture.

All week many of us were still just trying to process through the idea Larry was dead, and now are trying to process the reality that it was suicide. All wondering what any of us could have done to tip the balance in the right direction.

To see Larry and his always present smile, his continual good word and encouragement for fellow drivers, especially the new ones. None of his knew of the demons he was fighting away from work nor the personal hell he was living through.

As a Christian, I wonder, how could Larry not know he could turn to God? Was Larry a Christian? None of us know. We can only hope.

The following is from chapter 8 of Fire Starter and can be found on pages 98-99 for those of you who own this book.

When class dismissed, Nick and I headed to Jen's locker. We found her there, slumped on the floor, arms curled around some textbooks, sobbing her heart out. I reached down and pulled her up and wrapped her gently in my arms. I really didn't trust myself to say anything just then, fearing I would dissolve into tears, too. It was nick who finally helped Jen get control when he said, "Jen, I can see know that Kailey's urgency about sharing Jesus is right. Every student at Brentwood needs the chance to hear about Jesus and the love and hope he offers. We have to spread the word. And we have to do it now, because you never know when it's going to be too late."

Your prayers for Larry's family and friends would be appreciated.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." (Matthew 7:7)

"Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 18:19)

"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matthew 21:22)

"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." (Mark 11:24)

"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11:13)

"And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." (John 14:13-14)

"And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you." (John 16:23)

"For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him." (Romans 10:12)

"For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father." (Ephesians 2:18)

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)

"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. . (Hebrews 10:19)

"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." (1 John 5:14-15)

These passages from God's word tell us there can be no question that God wants us to pray and that He promises to answer our prayers.

Prayer is a wonderful way for us to communicate with our Heavenly Father. Many of us pray on a regular basis, some though only when there is a problem. Some though would rather worry instead of pray.

We read the verses above and it's clear that God wants us to pray to Him and that He wants to answer them. It's also clear that we are to pray according to the will of God. If we pray for our wants and not our needs, we have no business expecting God to answer our prayers.

I think of conversations that I've had with others, and even in situations in my own past, where it's easy to pray and believe God during our prayer, yet after our prayer we doubt that God will answer.

Christians, we need a revival in our prayer lives. We need to humble ourselves, repent, and see God, and trust him 100% to honor His word as He is a God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2) and delights in honoring His word and blessing us.

George Müller was a great man of prayer and faith.

The following is from George Müller the Man and is a good read.

One of the many fascinating aspects of George Müller's life is that it illustrates very simply the power of God. There are those who find it difficult to accept the authenticity of much of the scriptures and view many of the remarkable stories with scepticism. George Müller received £1,500,000 in answer to prayer without ever needing to ask for funds. At present day prices, this would be well over £75,000,000. Had this happened two or three thousand years ago the same sceptics would, undoubtedly, have questioned its authenticity. As it happened in the latter part of the nineteenth century with modern records and factual evidence, the facts can be challenged but certainly not disputed.

We can learn much about how to pray from reading the Bible, and learn that God is God and does answer prayers and His word by reading about men like George Müller.

Friday, March 12, 2010

At A Crossroad

Interesting it is, this journey of life that we are on. various twists and turns. Some things we understand, other things we do not. Some stuff we plan, yet we often are faced with the unplanned and unexpected. That fork in the road where we can't see too far down yet know we must pick one side or the other.

That's where I am.

I spent many years as a staunch King James Bible Only person. As far as I was concerned, for us who read and speak English as our first language, if it wasn't the KJV, it wasn't a complete Bible. If the Church wasn't an Independent Fundamental KJVO hymn singing soul winning Church, that it was a social club at best.

Some of you know how I left just that type of Church and wound up in something almost the exact opposite. It was a good church. A non denominational Church where the Pastor carried an NIV (New International Version) but made use of several translations in his sermons. They also sang both contemporary songs and hymns and every week we saw the unsaved become saved. Always at least 5 people a weekend. I soon found myself using the New Living Translation (NLT) and the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) in my studies and postings on line.

Here is where the crossroad is. I have found myself using the KJV almost exclusively. I am also in a church where the English Standard Version (ESV) is the official version and hymns have yet to be sung.

I love where I am right now. Wondering which path I will choose, wondering what lies at the end of each and what sights and sounds each path has in store. I have a church where the worship through song is wonderful. The joy is evident and the people sing out as the Bible commands. The preaching is solid, with application given for us in each message, and a Pastor who isn't worried about tickling ears. Yet I miss the hymns, and on occasion visit a former church just to partake in singing them with a group.

I know I must pray and seek God for direction, as it is only through the leading of the Holy Spirit that I know I can make the right choice here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Famine In Our Land

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:

And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it. Amos 8:11-12 KJV

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. Psalm 19:7 KJV

The foundation of every reformation of the Holy Spirit is the Word of God made plain to the people. ~ Frank Cooke

We have a spiritual famine in the land today. It's clearly not a famine of Bibles, as we have a plethora of translations and versions to choose from. No, what we have is a famine of the knowledge of what is in the Bible and what it says.

We have Christians who know more about the stats of their favorite athletes and teams for their fantasy leagues, but who would be lucky to name 5 of the 10 commandments and 4 of the 12 apostles. This is a famine that should not be.

It's sad but true that so many Christians are ignorant of what God has said to us in the pages of the Bible.

Psalm 119:105 tells us:

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Yet far too many of us walking in willful darkness.

Do we heed the prophecy of Amos for our generation today? Does it shake us to our very core, or do we really not care? I find myself wondering what the people who lived during the time of Malachi, into the 400 years of silence would say to us about that time when they went from having a prophet to having silence from God. Would they speak more highly of having a prophet and God speaking to them, or of God being silent? Would they encourage us to study the Bible, to learn it, memorize it, and live it in our daily life? We can only wonder.

We sit and watch as our Churches cannot keep their converts. We watch as people leave and either go back to their old way of life, get sucked into a cult, or fall into a church with bad theology. I fear that we do not care, nor that we fully realize and understand the reason this is happening. It is way to easy to point out that very few Churches/denominations will evangelize like the cults. Bad theology churches are tickling the ears of those who have not been grounded in the Bible. We will continue to lose our own people and our converts if our Pastors, our Teachers, our Parents continue to remain ignorant of the Bible and teach those following them to be ignorant as well of what lies from Genesis 1:1 to and through Revelation 22:21.

Christians, it is beyond time to stop playing Church and just going through the motions and get real and get serious. As the apostle Paul said, so say I unto the Church today:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. - Romans 12:1-2

We need to separate from worldliness and obey what is in the Bible, or we are going to lose more than just the next generation.

Lives and souls are at stake. Hell is hot and it is eternal and all those who have not obeyed the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ are going there, and if we do not get serious and warn them, then it is their blood that will be on our hands (Ezekiel 33:6). Are we going to just sit by on our blessed assurance and not care that people around us are headed for hell? People that we can reach, people that are waiting for us to come and share the Gospel will not hear it because we refuse to go. This is a sign of how serious this spiritual famine is. We care more about our comfort, then the lives and souls that Jesus Christ died for on the cross. God forbid that this true any longer of any of us.

I leave you with the following as a challenge for you from my friend Greg Stier, the President and Founder of dare 2 Share Ministries:

I saw the sign
When I was in junior high, my youth pastor sent me to the local shopping mall for a weird visualization exercise. He told me to go by myself on a busy Saturday afternoon and plant myself in a bustling part of the mall. He challenged me to find a bench and just sit there for a half an hour or so. He told me to look intensely at everyone who walked by and mentally imagine a little sign on each of their foreheads with three stark words printed on it: Bound for hell. I told you it was weird. But my youth pastor’s goal was to break my heart for the lost.
He accomplished his goal.
I know this exercise probably sounds morbid to you, but the truth is that it transformed my perspective. For 1,800 seconds this twitchy kid sat and watched people, imagined the unimaginable, and began to cry. I wept as I pictured these people separated from the love of God forever.
Today one of the reasons I train teenagers to evangelize is because of this little exercise my youth pastor had me do so many years ago. I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes. Have your teenagers seen the sign? As awkward as it might feel, it may be time for a trip to the mall.