Friday, February 27, 2015

Should We Pray God’s Judgment on ISIS, Murderers of Children?

There are many terrorist and rebel groups worldwide who use varying degrees of violence. The ISIS terrorists, however, specifically target children (and Christians), murdering and kidnapping them for child-soldiers, slaves, and concubines.

Would it be right for God’s people worldwide to pray Psalm 35 in regards to the wicked ISIS terrorist; to pray on behalf of these war-torn suffering children to the glory of God?

Should we as Christians pray the following from Psalm 35:1-8?

(vs. 1) “Contest, O Lord, with those who contend with the [children of Syria and Iraq]. Fight against the [wicked demonic ISIS terrorist] who fight [kidnap, rape, and slaughter] against the [defenseless needy children].”

(vs. 2) “…rise up for [the children’s] help.”

(vs. 3) “Draw the spear … to meet [the ISIS murderers] who pursue [the children].”

(vs. 4) “…let those [wicked terrorists] be turned back… who devise evil against [the children of Syria and Iraq].”

(vs. 5) “Let ways [of the violent ISIS terrorist] be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them on.”

(vs. 8) “Let destruction come upon [the wicked ISIS] unawares … into that very destruction let [these slaughterers of children] fall.”

Whether you feel in praying the above or not, please pray for the terrified children and Christians of Syria and Iraq and pray that all those involved with ISIS, the “slayers of widows … and murderers of orphans” (Psalm 94:6) will be brought to an end; “O Lord, God of vengeance, shine forth.” (Psalm 94:1), and that the gracious Lord will bring some to salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Oh My, What a Mess We Are In!

We shake our heads at some of the ignorant, way-out, and, yes, foolish decisions and practices our governments are making and doing worldwide. Decisions are made to push a certain political agenda rather than what is good for the country and people.

In the book of Romans (in the Bible) we see that this is only natural as, "their minds are darkened." So what do we expect? ISIS is running wild while we have demonstrations for gay rights.

In reading the Bible, God's Word, in the book of Leviticus, we also see that God judged His people for their sins, as well as people of other nations who were not His people. In the Old Testament He especially emphasized three sins in which He displayed His wrath; idolatry, sacrifice of children, and homosexuality. However, we are seeing today that these are even accepted in the church. Perhaps this is why the US is especially suffering the effects for poor leadership because we have now pushed sinful homosexuality to a special class, murdered our children by the millions through abortion, and built idols of politics, materialism, sports, and a thousand other things in place of worshiping the Holy God, through Jesus Christ, the savior of all mankind!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Theistic Evolution: Really?

Recently several friends, Margaret and I were discussing the inroads of the teaching of evolution in the church. Even some former evangelical seminars are teaching theistic evolution; that God used evolution to accomplish His purposes of creation.

God's Word, however, teaches otherwise. Genesis says, God only "spoke" and the world came into being, and in only six days. The book of Exodus repeats this several times as does Psalms.

Some "Christians" are now even teaching that the first few chapters of the Bible are allegorical and even that there was no Adam and Eve, even though the Old and New Testaments clearly teach a historical creation, Adam and Eve.

Why is it so difficult to believe what God's Word says about creation, miracles, man/women marriage, homosexuality, sin, heaven, hell, godliness, and salvation in Christ and Him alone? Simple faith in God's Word can answer many questions and issues troubling the church and the world today.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Preach the Gospel, and Since It's Necessary, Use Words

by Ed Stetzer

There’s a popular saying often repeated by Christians. It has found new life on Facebook and Twitter. Maybe you have even uttered these words, commonly attributed to Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel. Use words if necessary.”

I think we can appreciate what many are getting at when they say something like this. As Christians, we should live in such a way that our lives point to the person and work of Jesus. However, good intentions cannot overcome two basic problems with this quote and its supposed origin. One, Francis never said it, and two, the quote is not biblical. Read more ...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Are Evangelicals Upset with Obama for Accurately Recounting History?

by John Hendryx

Online Comment: Evangelicals are mad at Obama for accurately recounting history. For people who are so bent on calling everyone "sinners" it just seems odd to me that they are less willing to call their own tribal members in history "sinners." Paul said he was the "chief." Question for evangelicals: Did Christians ever justify slavery or Jim Crow in the name of Jesus and "the gospel?" Yes or No?

Response, Thank you for your question regarding Obama's moral equivalence of Islam with Christianity. Fair question. However, I don't think the main reason the vast majority evangelicals are offended is, as you say, because they are being called out on their past sins (though some may be).

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Twelve Benefits of Team Leadership

by David Mathis

Christian leadership is not for the lone wolf. The labor is too important when souls are in the balance, and all of us are simply too frail and shortsighted, with too much indwelling sin and too many blind spots, to go at it on our own.

Whatever the role, whether on the college campus, or in the inner city, or among an unreached people group, or in the local church, we desperately need each other in all of life, and especially in leadership. Christian leadership is a team sport, and in a post-Enlightenment society, still deeply affected by modernist individualism, the biblical model of plurality in leadership is a desperately needed corrective, and a powerfully redemptive grace.

Team leadership does not mean there is no “chief among equals”; it’s both inevitable and good among any group that one person eventually functions as the “senior” or the final buck-stopper — might as well name that and make it plain. But the clear model in the New Testament is team leadership in the local church — plurality, we call it. “Without exception,” says Gregg Allison, “every time the New Testament mentions the government of a particular church, the leadership structure is a plurality of elders” (Sojourners and Strangers, 293).
Wiser Together

Before providing a dozen additional benefits of plurality in leadership, here is a headlining principle: We are wiser together. “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22). “By wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory” (Proverbs 24:6).

The vast majority of decisions we face in life each day are not clearly laid out in biblical do’s and don’ts. The way we learn to do “what is good and acceptable and perfect” is by being “transformed by the renewal of your minds, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God” (Romans 12:2). We don’t live life following a list. Rather, God remakes us from the inside into increasingly new people, and as we’re “renewed in the spirit of your minds” (Ephesians 4:23), we exercise wisdom as we “try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10). As we are “filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Colossians 1:9), we learn to “approve what is excellent” (Philippians 1:10).

Plurality in leadership, then, is the corporate manifestation of such sobermindedness, sanctified level-headedness. The toughest decisions we face in leadership are not clear do’s and don’ts. And in leadership, the messes multiply, and the decisions become more difficult. What we desperately need is to exercise a collective wisdom stemming from God’s remaking of us, not just individually but together. We need to supplement each other’s judgment, and seek to discern together God’s path for the ministry we lead. Which is why one of the first characteristics required of elders in the church is “sober-mindedness” (1 Timothy 3:2).

A Dozen More Gifts

When we have carefully guarded the door to leadership on the way in, and we know each other well enough to confirm we’re walking together in the light, then we can exercise great trust in the team’s sense of direction. We are significantly wiser together than alone.

Of course, there are drawbacks to plurality in leadership. Even though it’s more likely that an individual will be led astray, whole groups have been deceived and corrupted. And as Alexander Strauch concedes, “Team leadership in a church family can be painfully slow and terribly aggravating” (Biblical Eldership, 44). That’s true. But on the whole, the benefits of leading together far outweigh going at it alone.

Here, then, are a dozen more benefits, among others, to supplement the truth that we indeed are wiser together. (These are not meant to heap discouragement on those who are in singular leadership situations and would love to be surrounded by fellows but have none. Rather, we hope they will give you incentive to keep praying for, and investing in the lives of, future teammates in ministry.)

1. More Strengths, Fewer Weaknesses

Plurality in leadership means rounding out our giftings with the talents of others, and pooling our complementary gifts to do the work more effectively. God gives “gifts that differ according to the grace given to us” (Romans 12:6). Even among leaders, there are varieties of gifts, service, and activities (1 Corinthians 12:4–6). Leadership is better when together we are “good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10).

And as we pool our strengths, we make up for our deficiencies. Leading together covers many of our weaknesses. In a team setting, our individual lapses in judgment cause less damage, if any; other voices can speak up and point in another direction. It’s okay to be imperfect; others can see our blind spots and bring correction. And leading together can guard against domineering tendencies in individual leaders, as peers stand alongside to sharpen and challenge them.

2. Healthier Teaching

It’s good for individual teachers to make their provocative points, have their well-placed hyperboles, and exhibit their own winsome quirks and idiosyncrasies. But when they’re alone over the long haul, they can introduce wobbles and imbalances into local church life. Any group with only one teacher will become painfully like that leader if you give it enough time.

At the heart of Christian leadership is speaking God’s words (Hebrews 13:7). So pastors and elders must be skillful in teaching (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9). And it’s just as important to have a plurality of elders in public teaching as it is in private meetings and decisions. Also, when there is a team of qualified teacher-leaders, they can teach in various settings. In this way, there are multiple significant influences on the people. No one teacher has all the gifts, and all the balance, that a healthy, vibrant community needs.

3. Lightening the Workload

Pastoral leadership can be very demanding. Not only is there the proactive labors of preparation and delivery of public teaching, and the long meetings to make mind-bending decisions, but also the intensive reactive ministry of responding to needs in the flock. When we lead together, we share the heavy load that shepherding can be at times. When we divide the labor and distribute the weight of ministry, we make everyday life more livable for leaders and protect them from exhaustion and burn out.

4. Being Pastored and Accountable

Plurality in leadership also provides essential care and accountability. When the church’s most public leader has peers who can speak into his life, and hold him to the fire, there is less room for subtly taking advantage of privilege and making self-serving decisions. And for every Christian shepherd, our more fundamental identity is being one of the sheep (Luke 10:20). Pastors need to be pastored. We all need to be held accountable and have some structure for being called out if we get off track, as well as led proactively into greener pastures.

5. More Safety Together

Often in Christian leadership, we encounter situations that seem far beyond us as individuals. We simply don’t know what to do, or what counsel to give. We’re confused and torn; we feel stuck.

Leading together not only makes us wiser together when many options are on the table, but also helps us to move carefully forward, one step at a time, into a situation in which we’re not even sure there’s one good option. As Proverbs 11:14says, “in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”

6. More Support from the Church

Because elders are first and foremost sheep, not shepherds, they are “of the people.” This office is different than that of Apostle, as those who represent the Chief Shepherd in a more significant sense. We might say that while the apostles are “of God,” the elders are “of the people.”

The elders are from the people, and among the people, and having a plurality of elders among the people helps to create congregational support for decisions, before and after the fact. A single leader is not able to influence and win support and deal with individual circumstances nearly so strongly as a team working together.

7. Less Sting from Unjust Criticism

Flying solo in leadership means all the sting lands squarely on the lone wolf. But when we lead as a team, and make and own decisions as a team, we’re less exposed to unjust criticism for those decisions. We still feel the sting, but not nearly so sharply as when we take it together. Which connects, then, to our ability to encourage one another in difficulty.

8. More Encouragement in Difficulty

All leadership in a fallen world involves difficulty sooner than later. It’s just a matter of time. And perhaps all the more in Christian leadership, because so much is at stake, and because there is a genuine Enemy with schemes against us.

Trials will come, but when we lead together, we’re in much better condition to walk in those trials without losing hope. Together, we strengthen each other to continue truly, deeply, continually rejoicing, even as we experience great sorrow. Having peers in leadership proves to be a priceless encouragement in trouble.

9. More Stable in Transition

Transition comes to every leadership team if the organization is healthy and survives for much duration of time. In particular, when the senior leader transitions, whether to retirement or some other vocation, the plurality contributes greatly to stability during change.

10. More Sanctifying

Not only is there the collective wisdom, but leading together makes us better as individuals. Shared leadership is more sanctifying than leading alone. Leading together, says Strauch, exposes our impatience with one another, our stubborn pride, our bull-headedness, our selfish immaturity, our domineering disposition, our lack of love and understanding of one another, and our prayerlessness. It also shows us how underdeveloped and immature we really are in humility, brotherly love, and true servant spirit. (114)

Leading together makes each of us better. “Iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17).

11. Greater Joy Together

Leading together also brings greater joy than going at it alone. “It is much more satisfying . . . to pastor as a team than to be a lone-wolf shepherd” (Jeremie Rinne,Church Elders, 95). While at times it may feel easier to make all the calls yourself, the joy of leading together, with all its attendant difficulties, far surpasses the simplicity of being the king of the hill.

12. Together Under the Chief

Finally, and most significantly, working as a team of undershepherds should remind us continually that there is only one “chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4). We undershepherds are plural, but there is a singular great “Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25), only one “great shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13:20). He is the one with shoulders broad enough to role all our burdens for the flock onto him (1 Peter 5:7). He is the one who has promised that he will build his church (Matthew 16:18) and that his gospel will go to all the nations (Matthew 24:14) through the church (Ephesians 1:22; 3:21).

The reality of plurality reminds us that we are not the lone leader of Christ’s church. He is.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ministries to Street and Other Needy Children (especially in the Philippines).

Jesus said, "Allow the children to come to Me and do not hinder them" (Matthew 19:14).

Although none of us would do anything purposely to hinder a child from coming to Jesus, what are we doing to make it each for the extremely needy children of the world to come to Him?

After serving in the Lord in evangelism and compassionate care in Metro Manila for over 40 years (20 years living in the Philippines and every year several weeks to months since), we have participated and witnessed many effective ministries to street children (100,000 in Manila) and to other extremely poor children in depressed areas.

Perhaps the Lord will lead you to begin one or several ministries below, all which would be expensive, BUT TREMENDOUSLY EFFECTIVE FOR THE SALVATION OF MANY AND THE CARE OF THOUSANDS! (Each staff and volunteer would receive Child Safety and Protecting Training, and sign and be approved with a Child Protection Policy!)

1. Midnight Ministry to Street Children.
There are 17 cities of Metro Manila with total population of 12-20 million people. An average of 6000 street children are in each city. Teams of 4-6 could be formed to travel the streets by van of each city ministering food, clothing, compassionate care and the gospel to children. Good-News-type meetings and feeding could be held throughout the night from the hours of 10 pm to 4 am. Volunteers would come from local evangelical churches to work in these teams. Not only would thousands of children be reached but churches would be encouraged and trained to work with the poor!

2. Camps for Street and Other Needy Children.
As often as funds are available, 3- to 5-day camps could be held for 30-100 of these children where they receive food, medical care, clothing, compassionate care and especially the good news of the gospel! Follow up can be handled by Homes for Orphans, Ministries of Home Care for Groups of Older Children, Discipleship and Vocational Training, etc.

3. Safety Centers (24 Hour).
24-Hour Safety Centers (Drop In Centers) are places where street and other needy children can go at any time day or night for loving care and safety; a place for bathing, medical care, food, counseling, and a safe place to sleep. This would entail a large rotating full time staff and volunteers from local churches. Much care would be given to the safety and care of each child and possibly take younger, abandoned children ages 2-9 to homes for orphans and locate the parents of lost children. This would be a great ministry for all local churches to participate in in evangelism and loving care.

4. Day Care Centers for Small Children.
These will be on main streets near depressed (squatter) areas to enable poor working mothers to drop off their little babies and younger children on the way to work. The center would need to have two shifts for full time staff as well as volunteers, as it needs to be open from 4 am to about 8pm (16 hours) because many poor mothers need to leave for work early and return home late. The second shift of workers would need to be prepared to give refreshment and counsel to the mothers in the evening when they pick up their children; to encourage them, to ask how their day went, to counsel them regarding their children, and to share the gospel. This ministry would be a great help to local churches ministering to the poor.

5. Regular Weekly Bible Clubs and Sport Events.
These could be held weekly for 200-300 children in poor and squatter areas! To include Bible lessons (stories, memory verses and scripture songs), sports and games and a light healthy snack! A full time staff of 10-15 could have a club in four different areas weekly with many volunteers from local churches.

Each team and ministry would be responsible to trust the Lord for finances, equipment, food, and volunteers.

Let's do all we can for the needy children of Manila.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Yeah, Well, But What About the Crusades? by Kevin DeYoung.

We are coming up on a thousand years, and Christians still haven’t made up for the Crusades. No matter how many times Billy Graham makes the most admired list, we’ll still have the Crusades to deal with. When President Obama encouraged humility in denouncing ISIS today in light of the Crusades from close to a millennium ago, he may have been making a clumsy moral equivalence argument, but he was only voicing what many Americans (and many Christians) have articulated before. Read more …

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)

from Heinz Lycklama

This is a book written by Robert Spencer in 2005. It documents the true history of the Muslim wars to impose Islamic law on non-Muslim states starting about 100 years after Mohammad. They overtook largely 2/3 of the lands dominated by Christians by the sword, as commanded by their prophet.

The Crusades were initiated to defend Christian lands against the invading Muslim armies. Today's Muslim terrorists have the same motives and goals as the Muslims who fought the Crusaders. Nothing has changed over the last 1300 years.

Our president invokes revisionist history to defend what the Muslim terrorists are doing in light of what some Crusaders did to the Muslims 1000 years ago.
Here are three articles on what the Crusades were
really about:


Yes, some Crusaders were wrong and did not follow the teachings of Christ (love your enemies). Mohammad's followers were doing what Mohammad taught them to do in practice and according to the Koran (kill the infidels). Still happening today.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

UN Reports Little Girls Raped and Killed Daily by ISIS

Amnesty International and the United Nations reported Thursday February 5, that little girls age 10-12 are raped, forced into marriage, enslaved and killed daily in Iraq and Syria by ISIS. The world leaders talk of basic human rights, so 'where o where' are the world leaders not only speaking against this vile Muslim terrorist wickedness but doing something about it? There are only 40,000 ISIS, so cannot the UK, Germany, Turkey, the Philippines, New Zealand, Australia, the US or Canada together or alone deal with this brutal resurgence of Nazism? As Christians, let us pray for righteousness and the practice of justice by our country's leaders, and also pray for the safety of these little ones of Iraq and Syria. "God be gracious to [these little girls] and bless [and protect them] and cause His face to shine upon [them], that Your way may be known on the earth, Your salvation among all nations." (Psalm 67:1-2)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Wally (unknown saint) and the Orphans of the Philippines

Recently my wife Margaret and I were speaking in a missions conference in a small community outside of Portland, Oregon. The first meeting included a potluck supper before I spoke. During the meal together several began to tell us of a recent memorial of a very godly, older Christian man in the area who had a real love for the Philippine people. His name was Wally. At the memorial service several spoke of Wally's life: how he never married, had a good job at the post office, but lived on very little to send most of his money to ministry in the Philippines. In fact, he lived in a small one-room trailer in the back of relatives, and the only electricity he had was a cord that ran from his trailer to the main house so he could have a little heat in the cold, snowy Oregon winter. In the summer he even slept in a cave to keep cool! With his modest salary, this one man, Wally, was able to assist a poor ministry and church in the Philippines and THE COMPLETE SUPPORT OF 100 ORPHANS! The orphans probably never knew Wally's name, but God does. Hebrews 11 uses the phrase of people like Wally, ...of whom the world was not worthy..., but Wally possible would have smiled and said he was simply trying to obey what the Bible says in James 1:27, Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God our Father is to CARE FOR ORPHANS...

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Weekend Ministry and Anti-Jewish Sentiment

Would appreciate prayer as Margaret and I leave tomorrow for a mission conference in Oregon where we will speak a total of six times. We both are suffering bad colds and I am on antibiotic for a lung infection and cough.

Pray for the Jewish people and reach out to them with the Gospel. Anti-Semitism seems to raising its ugly, vile, sinful self again worldwide. Even recently I actually saw someone with a shirt with the lettering, "I am Anti-Semitic."

The following is an excellent recent article for you to read and share.

We are living in a wicked world! Let's shine as lights for Christ with the truth and love of the Gospel.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Networking for the Kingdom

Margaret and I spent two day at the largest missions conference in the world, Missions Fest Vancouver, BC, Canada, with over 35,000 attendees. There were many seminars; most of which were packed. For example, the room for my small seminar had only 70 chairs so several were turned away.

There were over 250 missions and ministries represented; each with a display with literature and staffed with workers to answer questions and encourage to missions to the glory of God.

Missions Fest is excellent to network with literature, workers, new discoveries in technology, radio, TV, medical, ministry to orphans, Muslims, Catholics, the poor, etc. What is sad, however, is that so many missions, ministries, and organizations seem to show little or any interest in networking either to learn how to help others or to learn from others to assist and improve their own work. Will we ever learn?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Elderly Missionaries and Ticket to Super Bowl

The day before the Super Bowl, Margaret and I had lunch in Canada with an older missionary couple who have served the Lord faithfully and sacrificially for nearly 50 years in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It was shocking to learn that the cheapest ticket to the Super Bowl, in the worst seats, was $8500, but then to 
learn that this is more than this couple have in worldly possessions! They have no home, little in the bank, no plans for the future at all. They want to continue to serve the Lord trusting Him for health and provision! What faith. My wife later asked me, "What are we going to do to help them?"