Creative Boredom

“We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.”1

“A young boy complained to his father that most of the church hymns were boring to him—too far behind the times, tiresome tunes and meaningless words. His father put an end to the discussion by saying, ‘If you think you can write better hymns, then why don’t you?’ The boy went to his room and wrote his first hymn. The year was 1690. The teenager was Isaac Watts. ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross’ and ‘Joy to the World‘ are among almost 350 hymns written by him. Feeling Bored? Let the world remember you for 300+ years!”2

I recall reading about a lady who said to Evangelist Dwight L. Moody, “I don’t like the way you preach,” to which Mr. Moody replied, “I don’t either. How do you do it?” I recalled Moody’s response when the president of a denominational college (seminary) in Australia was questioning the value of our outreach work and asked, “And how do you handle your follow-up?” So I asked him how he handled his. He replied, “I don’t. I teach.” A businessman once asked me the same question so I said to him, “If you give us the needed financial support we’ll develop the best follow-up program.” He walked out without saying a word.

Constructive criticism is fine—providing we are prepared to do something about what we are being critical about—rather than just being negative and becoming a part of the problem.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please deliver me from having a negative critical attitude always looking for the faults and weaknesses in what others do. However, when I see a need for improvement in any area, please help me so that any criticism I give will be constructive—and help me to be willing to do what I can to help fix what needs to be fixed. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

from Daily Encounter, 02-14-2008

Is Atheism an Intellectual or a Moral Issue?

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.”1

I recently watched the DVD, “Journey Toward Creation … Travel Back to When Light First Sprang from Darkness,” narrated by astronomer and author, Dr. Hugh Ross. Because of modern technology we are now able to view vast areas of the universe going back millions of light years. The incredible vastness of the universe and its formation is staggering. To accept all of this as happening by chance would take a mountain more of faith than to believe it all happened by intelligent design by a divine creator. And still the atheist says there is no God.

If I say there is no God, I make myself the final voice of authority and therein usurp the role of God in my life. I become a god unto myself. Furthermore, the more we learn about life and the more educated we become the more we realize how little we know about this world let alone about the vast expanse of the universe. As Thomas A. Edison said, “Until man duplicates a blade of grass, Nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge … it is obvious that we don’t understand one millionth of one percent about anything.”2

Undoubtedly there are many factors as to why we believe what we do. For many, much is shaped by their upbringing and what they were taught in their formative years. One’s belief system is also affected by how personally honest or dishonest he/she is with his/her inner truth. For instance, if I have unresolved supercharged repressed negative emotions, the defenses I have developed to protect myself from being in touch with these painful emotions give me warped lenses through which I view life’s events and end up with a distorted world view. As Cecil Osborne said, “Every unshed tear [and buried emotion] is a prism through which all of life’s hurts are distorted.”

In the end we ultimately believe what we choose to believe—often what is the most convenient for us. For instance, if I choose to believe in God, I know I am morally responsible. On the other hand, if I chose not to believe in God, I delude myself into thinking I am not morally responsible and can live as I please. For example, “Philosopher Mortimer Adler, one of the great intellectuals of the twentieth century, believed Christianity was true, but refused to accept it because it would interfere with his lifestyle. In time, he overcame that objection and became a Christian, which, given the evidence, was the only rational thing to do.”3 I would dare to suggest that maybe, just maybe, his honesty led him in his choice to make a commitment of his life to God and become a Christian.

So is atheism an intellectual or a moral problem? As Bill O’Reilly would say, “We report—you decide.”

Note: If you have never made a commitment of your life to God and would like to do so today, be sure to read the article, “How to Be Sure You’re a Real Christian—without having to be religious” at: http://tinyurl.com/8glq9.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please help me to be personally honest so that I will not have a distorted world view and a distorted view of reality. Please lead me on the path to truth so that I will clearly see all truth including the truth about you, the universe and all creation. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

from DailyEncounter, 02-13-2008

Witnessing Made Easy

Witnessing – some, I mean most, of us find this part of our faith hard to do. So we need some tips to do that. Here’s some…

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things.”1

“Do you remember the Mercedes TV commercial a few years ago that showed a Mercedes crashing into a concrete wall during a safety test? An engineer in a white lab coat walks over after the crash and kneels down to examine the damage, which is minimal. A reporter then asks the engineer about Mercedes’ energy absorbing car body. After the engineer tells all about the unique design the reporter asks him why Mercedes doesn’t enforce their patent on the design, a design evidently copied by several other companies because of its success.

“The engineer then replied matter-of-factly, ‘Because some things in life are too important not to share.’ How true this is. There are many things in life that fall into this ‘too important not to share category.’ Advances in science, in medicine, in technology. But all of these pale in importance to that of sharing our faith.”2

As Billy Graham said, “I am convinced the greatest act of love we can ever perform for people is to tell them about God’s love for them in Christ.”

There are many ways we can do this. Here’s one very simple way. For example, whenever I eat at a restaurant, I always leave one of my Good News business witness cards with the tip. And whenever a suitable opportunity arises, without being pushy, I ask the person I am talking to if I can give him or her one of my cards. It is a very attractive card that invites people to visit one of our Good News websites. The site has many articles that speak to the felt needs of the average person—articles that deal with overcoming worry, stress, marriage, relationships, and the like.

And, by the way, speaking to an individual’s felt needs is the only known sure-fire way to get people to read any message. The website also has a highly visible link to the clear gospel message, “How to Be Sure You’re a Real Christian … without having to be religious.” The general card I give out in the U.S. points to: www.GoodNewsfor.com/usa. (In time we will have them for other countries and in other languages as well.)

I’ve never had anyone ever refuse to accept one of these cards. They are attractively printed and are not in any way preachy. This is a very easy, attractive, and non-offensive way to witness even for the most timid person. If you live in the U.S., or have friends who live in the U.S., I encourage you to send for a package of 50 of the “Good News for USA” business witness cards to give to family, friends and contacts. They are only a web click away at: https://actscom.com/donate.php and are available for a donation, not only to cover the cost of printing and postage, but also to help support the building and maintaining of this gospel web outreach ministry.

It is true, the gospel message of Jesus Christ is far too important not to share. Please send today for a pack of Good News Business Witness cards so you, too, can be involved in what God is doing in the world today.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, I come to you with all my fears making myself available for you to use as a witness for Jesus Christ. Please use me to be ‘as Christ’ in some way to someone in need today, and give me the courage to share my Christian faith in a non-offensive and gracious way. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

from DailyEncounter, 02-11-2008

Christian Music of Today and Yesterday

It’s been sooooo long since I last wrote here…

And it’s also been long since i had rebirth…

I just wanna share this with you guys…

Read on…

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.”1

One of the biggest areas of conflict in today’s church is music. Older generation Christians tend to like the “good old hymns” while the younger generation lean more toward what Joy and I like to call “happy clappy” gospel songs. So whose music is the best for worship?

Allow me to answer in a roundabout way. A few years ago I had the opportunity to preach in the Sunday morning services at an Anglican (Episcopal) church in Perth, Western Australia. It was in the middle of winter and I was so cold that a doctor’s wife loaned me her overcoat. So here I am sitting on the front pew dressed in a woman’s overcoat waiting for the service to commence. The moment the congregation began to sing it hit me like a thunderbolt. “Wow,” I said to myself, “surely the presence of the Lord is in this place!”

When I got up to preach, never in my life had I experienced such incredible liberty with such an overwhelming sense of God’s presence.

Very interesting, too, that in that service was a professor from the University of Western Australia. This lady had recently emigrated from China where she grew up under Mao with the teaching that said there is no God. This was only the second time in her life she had ever been in a church. She told friends who were with me that when I was preaching, she saw me encircled by an aura of rainbow colored light. She also said she now knew that there was a God because she felt his presence so strongly in that service.

So what does this have to do with church music? Everything. It’s not the form of music that matters but the attitude of the heart of those who are singing. When preaching, I can pretty much tell on the first line of the first song whether or not it will be easy or hard to preach in that service because one can easily sense whether God is in the music or not. If God is not in the music, you can be certain his Spirit is not in the rest of the service.

So the question is, is the music from the heart as Paul stated in today’s Scripture? If not, it isn’t worship—no matter how talented the singers may be. To put it another way, is our music a sweet smelling savor to God as an act of genuine worship, or is it nothing more than an obnoxious effluvium as were some of the sacrifices in the Old Testament era where the sacrifices were merely ritualistic and not from the heart?”

got this from DailyEncounter…