Sunday 24 July 2011

Hal Lindsey Report (7.22.11)

World Counsel of your church a member of this organization? If so, here's what you did not know.  

Thursday 21 July 2011

Families are the basic unit of all civilization

Andy's blog - Go for a Coffee?

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 05:02 AM PDT

Ibof I find it interesting to read these 'textbooks', books written by people in the academic community. This one was the result of a bunch of research on families living in Canada from 1850-1940.

It's interesting to me for a couple of reasons.  One, families are the basic unit of all civilization and to see the family in it's various forms throughout time is very instructive. I like to understand how the family has morphed and changed with the needs and demands placed on it.

Two, it gives me a further insight into the Canadian psyche and helps me to understand where as a culture they have been and a better glimpse at where they might go in the future. Third, it's interesting to compare what we as a church were saying to those families during those times, and how sometimes, we are still emphasizing things that were important back then, but may not be as applicable today. There are a lot of parallels to families back then and today, but there are some differences.

Here's what I learned:

Economics have an enormous impact on families. We are in an age of prosperity right now, children don't work and contribute to the family like they did in the 1800's. Their focus is education and training. Prosperity has given us that ability. It's not like that around the world, and it's hard to tell what comes first, prosperity or a shift in the moral code of families that emphasizes education over work.

The way that we are interdependent has changed. In those days, families were self-sustaining economic units that purchased very little. They were connected through helping one another as neighbors. Today, we aren't self-sustaining at all, but rather sophisticated consumers, purchasing everything and producing only one thing through our training or experience in a narrow part of the economy (job, career). This has shifted the balance inside of families and outside of families.
Back then people married and had families to physically survive, today it seems people leave families and leave marriages in order to emotionally survive. Emotional needs are more important to us today than they were back then. Physical needs were more important back then.
I learned where the Children's Aid Society got it's start, and I could see the seeds of the welfare system that was rolled out in the Great Depression and continues today. The toll on the people that were recipients of aid was well documented and disturbing. More disturbing was reading about Native and Inuit families in those years and how the different attempts at helping them turned out. It's incomprehensible.

Mankind clearly doesn't have an answer for the problems of mankind. We are making things worse and that's when we don't try to do anything about it. When we do, it's often worse than if we had done nothing.

The book I read was used, and the person that read it before me was interested in the role of women throughout the research. My guess would be that they were of the feminist leaning. They highlighted the abuse of women and children through economic hardships and then the shift in the role of women and children in the family through the shift to industry (jobs, career) that happened in the early 1900's. Their notes in the margin were full of passion. Even that was helpful to me, as that is clearly a sentiment in our culture, and it helps me to understand their thought process.

I'm more open now to allowing some flexibility in the dynamics of a family after reading this. It's obvious that families and some of the dynamics have shifted throughout time. There are still some principles that the Bible gives us, love, respect, honor, provide, teach, train, remind, obey, be considerate, but there is still some ambiguity. Any family in an urban, suburban, rural, Western, Eastern, New World and Old World can be mature in these things and still look different than each other. There's a lot of wisdom in the Bible.

I see too, how it's only by the Holy Spirit that we are a blessing to each other. One of the quotes that stuck out to me, was that inside families we are at the same time the best and worst to each other, abusive and nurturing. How we desparately need the wisdom of the Spirit of the Living God and his unconditional love spilling out of us and grace between us. 

Tuesday 19 July 2011

A Call for Mercy - The Voice of the Martyrs


A Call for Mercy - The Voice of the Martyrs

Asia Bibi, a wife and mother, used these words to defend her faith against mocking co-workers who tried to make her convert to Islam. She was later convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death.
In Pakistan, more than 150,000 Christians have signed a petition demanding justice for persecution victims, including Asia Bibi. Now you can join with The Voice of the Martyrs and our Pakistani brothers and sisters in a call for mercy. We hope to gather 1 million signatures on behalf of our sister Asia, who now sits in prison awaiting the Lahore High Court's ruling on her appeal.
Please make copies of the attached petition and gather as many signatures as possible from your friends and family. Then return the petitions to VOM, and we will deliver them to the Pakistani embassy in Washington, D.C.
Photo of Asia Bibi


Tuesday 12 July 2011

Economic crisis: What actuality is going on?

Global Governance is here and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

"Have you noticed that a really bad mood seems to have descended on world financial markets?  Fear and pessimism are everywhere.  The global economy never truly recovered from the financial crisis of 2008,...Does Geithner know something that we don't?  To say that what Americans are facing will be "harder than anything they've experienced in their lifetime now, for a long time to come" is very, very strong language.
Nouriel Roubini in an exclusive TNR interview[1], , professor of economics at NYU's Stern School and chairman of Roubini Global Economics, argues that the worst is yet to come for the global economy. He foresees many more job losses in the U.S. and social upheaval abroad.

Beyond the explanations from all national news media, what actuality is going on?  To find the answer, we may have to look from the Bible prophetic point of view.  I came across an expository in Daniel by Ray C Stedman[2] written in 1969.  He describe the fourth kingdom of the great dream image in the book of Daniel to be the last empire until the time when God sets up his own kingdom on earth; it is within the scope of this kingdom that he believe we still live.  I am amaze by how relevant it is for the present time.  The economic disorder seem to play an important part of bringing nations around the world to nationalize a good portion their banks by bailing them out in order to restore markets confident.

Sarkozy said the G8 meeting should produce "a new capitalism"[3].  He said the problem is international and therefore needs an international solution.  Barroso said, "We need a new global financial order"[4].  Could we be witnessing the making of the 10 toes of the statue dreamed by king Nebuchadnezzar?

It seems to me that we are heading toward global governance. 

What is global governance?  According to James M. Boughton and Colin I. Bradford, Jr[5]
"The ideal of global governance is a process of cooperative leadership that brings together national governments, multilateral public agencies, and civil society to achieve commonly accepted goals.  It provides strategic direction and then marshals collective energies to address global challenges.  What is required is a transition to a global system of reformed institutions and new governance mechanisms that can harness diverse energies and resources in a cohesive way to respond effectively to urgent global challenges in the age of massive economic and social transformation that lies ahead". 

God revealed to Daniel king Nebuchadnezzar’ dream. God describes the sequence of global governance that will take place through the Time of Gentile.  In Daniel 2:42, "And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile." 
The global governance is describes as a mixer of iron and clay, which mean that the alliances between the nations that makeup the global governance although strong are kept together by democracy full of conditional treaties.  That final time of gentile is better known as The Revived Roman Empire, but actually it is much more than that. It is the Revived of All Past Existed Empire.

What you see in the picture is the traditional description of sequence of empires until now.  But what most student of bible prophecy disregards is that the toes support the legs, the legs support the thighs, the thighs support the breast, and the breast supports the head.  It is one body therefore global. The society today is as much Babylonian in costume, religious belief, and traditions as the Romans were.

In the expository in Daniel by Ray C Stedman, he explains Daniel's dream.  He wrote; 

"What is the symbolism of this?  (The feet and toes partly of potter's clay and partly of iron)  The clay is obviously the opposite of iron.  Iron symbolized an imperialistic attitude or form of government, the power and might of imperialism seeking to dominate and to rule by brute force and strength.  Clay, on the other hand, is weak, pliable, easily molded.  Most Bible scholars are right in identifying this as the principle of democracy.  

Perhaps that may cause us to bristle a bit.  We do not like to see democracy attacked.  We like to think that the reason the United States and Great Britain have become strong nations is because they are democracies; that it is the voice of the people that gives strength.  But if you look at history, especially the history of the West, in the light of the revelation of Scripture and in an honest evaluation of democracy, you will discover that democracy is not really a very good form of government.  The voice of the people is always a fickle voice.  It is easily molded, like clay.  That is what politicians capitalize on.  Every election year you can hear them shaping the clay, molding the clay into the opinions they want them to have.  Today we are subject to the tremendous pressures of mass media, which play, upon our minds to mold the will of the people.  That is the weakness of democracy."

Professor Alexander Fraser Tytler[6], nearly two centuries ago, while the thirteen original states were still colonies of Great Britain wrote: 

"Democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government.  It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse out of the public treasure.  From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefit from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy, always to be followed by a dictatorship, and then a monarchy."

Feet mix of iron and clay.  All western nations (an extension of the Roman empire) combining their effort to save the world economy and the environment might bring the fulfilment of this prophetic dream.  The cause for global warming is over rate.  Could it be a guise for global governance?  Now German scientists are predicting a 10 years colder temperature[7].

Dr. Roger Pelke Jr. pointed out in his April 30th Prometheus post after reviewing the Nature piece:  

"If global cooling over the next few decades is consistent with model predictions, then so too is pretty much anything and everything under the sun.  This means that from a practical standpoint climate models are of no practical use beyond providing some intellectual authority in the promotional battle over global climate policy."

Now, it is hard to believe that so many environmentalists are so gullible in listening to Mr Al Gore who plays a good part for global governance.

Jennifer Rast, Contender Ministries[8] stated:  

Since 1995, Mikhail Gorbachev and Maurice Strong have co-chaired a global process with the purpose of implementing the Earth Charter on a global scale and ushering in the one world religion.  Under the cloak of an environmental crisis and impending doom, they hope to gain wide acceptance of the Earth Charter, which contains much more than a new environmental policy.  How many times lately have you heard the terms "global community", "globalization", "world economy", "sustainable development" or "interdependent world"?  These are all phrases that appear throughout the Earth Charter along with other New Age terms such as "circles of compassion", "triangles of meditation", "reverence for Earth and Cosmos", and "Mother Earth".

Eighteen month from now, it may well be a very different world, consisting of ten Kingdoms (ten toes).

Is Canada part of this objective?  The Right Hon. Steven Harper said, 

"We need new infrastructure", explaining that the world doesn't have the mechanisms needed to cope with the current financial crisis. [9].  What policies those the leaders of the oppositions have?  Do they have a mandate to relinquish our economic sovereignty?

In conclusion, what are we to do?  For Christians, Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, meaning, "Draw Near To God, and He will draw near to you".  For non-Christians take this as a witness of things to come.  "Go ye preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to all nations as a witness".  This instruction was not intend to convert the entire world, it was intent to instruct all nations that the King of kings is coming back to claim His dominion.  This was quite different from the "Gospel of Salvation" which is "everlasting life for those who believe in the one that God has sent - Jesus". That is what Christmas reminds us.  God is working out His purpose.

As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man.

May God bless the people of Newfoundland and Labrador for they "Seek the Kingdom of God".

I invite you to listen to this MP3 from Brannon Howse Title "Bank for International Settlements".

[1] Nouriel Roubini

[2] Ray C Stedman Long-time pastor of Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California, and author of Body Life and other books,



[5] James Boughton is IMF Historian and Assistant Director of the Policy Development and Review Department. Colin Bradford, Jr., is Nonresident Senior Fellow for Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institution.

[6] Professor Alexander Fraser Tytler,

[7] German scientists are predicting a 10 years colder temperature.

[8] The Earth Charter's Spiritual Agenda,


Thursday 7 July 2011

"I Will Defend Israel 'whatever the cost'"

I congratulate our Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper

I congratulate our Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper for the courageous stand he is taking since he took office in 2006. Please see letter to Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper by David Harris, Executive Director, American Jewish Committee (AJC) and Senior Associate, St. Antony's College, Oxford University, assesses challenges to Jewish security worldwide.  Here’ an excerpt: 
When Israel responded to the killing and kidnapping of its soldiers on the Lebanese border by targeting Hezbollah, Stephen Harper spoke up for Israel’s right to defend itself, citing Hezbollah as responsible for the violence and asserting that the terrorist group sought Israel’s destruction.

In the same year, the 53 French-speaking countries known as the Francophonie met, Canada vetoed language to condemn Israeli violence against civilians in Lebanon because it failed to mention Israeli civilians targeted by Hezbollah. You stated: “The Francophonie cannot recognize victims according to their nationality. Recognize the victims of Lebanon and the victims of Israel.”

In 2008, during a radio interview on the eve of Israel’s 60th anniversary, Stephen Harper spoke with characteristic clarity:
“What I see happening in some circles is an anti-Israel sentiment, really just a thinly disguised veil for good old-fashioned anti-Semitism, which I think is completely unacceptable. We learned in the Second World War that those who would hate and destroy the Jewish people would ultimately hate and destroy the rest of us as well, and the same holds today.”
When, a few months later, terrorists attacked a Jewish center in Mumbai, Stephan Harper described the murder of six people, including the rabbi and his pregnant wife, as “affronts to the values that unite all civilized people.” When a new rabbi was quickly installed, you declared that the Jewish people will “never bow to violence and hatred.”
In January 2009, when the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council called on Israel to stop its military operation in Gaza, Canada alone voted against. (Note: The United States was not on the Council at the time.)  Stephen Harper representative explained: “It was regretful that the current draft resolution did not condemn the rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.”
That spring, when the UN planned to convene the Durban II conference in Geneva, a follow-up to the anti-Israel hatefest of 2001, Stephen Harper were the first to declare that Canada would not attend. And now, as Durban III approaches this September, you have again taken the same position.
When, in the fall of 2009, the UN General Assembly endorsed the infamous Goldstone Report, Canada was one of only 18 countries that voted against, while 114 were in favor and 44, including, notably, France and the United Kingdom, abstained.
The next year, when Canada lost a bid for a rotating seat on the UN Security Council, Stephen Harper attributed the result to Ottawa’s pro-Israel stance. You declared that, if this were the price to pay for supporting a friend, you were willing to pay it. As a Winnipeg newspaper editorialized, “We don’t have a seat because we didn’t dance to the UN’s hypocritical tunes.”
 When Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack, is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stance.... I have the bruises to show for it, that whether it is at the UN or any other international forum, the easiest thing to do is simply to just get along and go along with this anti-Israel rhetoric, to pretend it is just about being even-handed, and to excuse oneself with the label of “honest broker”.... There are, after all, a lot more votes – a lot more – in being anti-Israel than in taking a stand. But, as long as I am prime minister, whether it is at the UN or the Francophonie or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost. Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because history shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israel mob tell us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are a threat to all of us.

And when the G8 leaders met in France a few days ago, you again bucked the trend. Drawing from President Obama’s May 19th speech, the final communiqué’s draft language called on Israelis and Palestinians to begin talks on the basis of the 1967 lines, with mutually-agreed territorial swaps. You, however, pointed out that President Obama’s speech touched on other critical elements as well, including recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and Palestine as a non-militarized state. Therefore, it was inappropriate to “cherry pick,” as Stephen Harper successfully insisted, selected elements of the president’s speech for the G8 statement.

"Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for demonstrating that, when it comes to the Middle East, “Moral courage and a hankering to learn the truth” aren’t “on vacation” in Ottawa."

I wish to thank also Honourable Irwin Cotler, Former Liberal party’s Special Counsel on Human Rights and International Justice and Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice of Canada, for calling on Canada to take action under the U.N. Charter to have Iran called to account for its violation of the Convention.  As he point out, “Canada not only have a right to invoke the Convention to prevent genocide but also are under an obligation to do so. Article 8 of the Convention reads: Any Contracting Party may call upon the competent organs of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article 3.”

Irwin Cotler also points out that the making of genocide consists not only of the machinery of death but also the state sponsorship of incitement to hatred, which is forbidden by the Convention. Mr. Cotler writes, “As international tribunals have recognized and affirmed, the Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers; it began with words. These are the chilling facts of history.”

God bless Israel, and God bless Canada.

Do you understand now why Canada is so blessed?  You want God's blessing...all you have to do is to accept His Son Jesus and bless Israel. 

Please visit other commentary on the above subject 

Quartet's Road Map for War
Caliphate vs. Western Democracy

Israel is proof that God exist

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Palestine vs. Israel as the Name of the Holy Land

Dr. Thomas McCall

Dr. Thomas McCall, the Senior Theologian of our ministry, has written many articles for the Levitt Letter. He holds a Th.M. in Old Testament studies and a Th.D. in Semitic languages and Old Testament. He has served as Zola’s co-author, mentor, pastor, and friend for nearly 30 years.

by Thomas S. McCall, Th.D.

This article appeared originally in the December 1997 Levitt Letter.

During the last few centuries, the world, Christians included, has fallen into a bad habit. We have bought into some early Roman propaganda. We have used the name Palestine, which Roman Emperor Hadrian placed on the country of Israel in 135 A.D., for so long that it has become common usage. This would be as incorrect as calling the Russia of today the “Soviet Union” or referring to Berlin as “East Germany.” The thoughts below by our ministry’s senior theologian, Dr. Thomas S. McCall, completely explore the subject. If you know somebody who’s fallen into this habit, please share this article with them.

— Zola

Current Propaganda’s Use of Palestine

There is a propaganda war going on now with regard to the term “Palestine.” At one time it might have been argued that Palestine was an innocuous designation of the Middle Eastern area, that is generally thought of as the Holy Land. During the last few decades, however, the term Palestine has been adopted by Arabs living in Israel in the area west of the Jordan River. It is specifically employed to avoid the use of the name Israel, and must be considered an anti-Israel term. In all Arab maps published in Jordan, Egypt, etc., the area west of the Jordan River is called Palestine, without any reference to Israel. Palestine is the term now used by those who want to deny the legitimate existence of Israel as a genuine nation among the family of nations.

The term now adopted by the political entity within Israel that is gradually obtaining more and more pockets of territory through the “peace process,” is “the PA (Palestinian Authority). Although it must deal daily with Israeli officials, the PA hates to use the term Israel in any of its communications.

Palestine, therefore, must now be considered a political propaganda term with massive anti-Israel implications. The world press uses the term to question the legitimacy of modern Israel. Christians also have used the term Palestine for centuries in referring to the Holy Land. In earlier times this might have been excused (although biblically questionable) because of its common usage. In light of the current propaganda war against Israel, however, Christians must now re-evaluate the term Palestine and consider whether it is biblically, theologically or prophetically accurate.

Biblical Use of Palestine

The term Palestine is rarely used in the Old Testament, and when it is, it refers specifically to the southwestern coastal area of Israel occupied by the Philistines. It is a translation of the Hebrew word “Pelesheth.” The term is never used to refer to the whole land occupied by Israel. Before Israel occupied the land, it would be generally accurate to say that the southwestern coastal area was called Philistia (the Way of the Philistines, or Palestine), while the central highlands were called Canaan. Both the Canaanites and the Philistines had disappeared as distinct peoples at least by the time of the Babylonian Captivity of Judea (586 B.C.), and they no longer exist.

In the New Testament, the term Palestine is never used. The term Israel is primarily used to refer to the people of Israel, rather than the Land. However, in at least two passages, Israel is used to refer to the Land:
Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead who sought the young child’s life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. (Matt. 2:20-21)
But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say to you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man shall have come. (Matt. 10:23)
The first passage is when Joseph, Mary and Jesus returned from Egypt to Israel, and the second has reference to the proclamation of the Gospel throughout the Land of Israel. Jesus, Matthew and the angel speaking to Joseph use the term Israel with reference to the Land, even though the term was not then recognized by the Roman authorities.

It is clear, then, that the Bible never uses the term Palestine to refer to the Holy Land as a whole, and that Bible maps that refer to Palestine in the Old or New Testament are, at best, inaccurate, and, at worst, are a conscious denial of the biblical name of Israel.

History of the Term Palestine

Where did the term Palestine originate from? How did the world and the church get into the habit of calling the land of Israel “Palestine”? One of the guides we use in our tours to Israel is Zvi Rivai, an Israeli Messianic believer, who has done considerable research on this subject. Zvi informs us that before 135 A.D., the Romans used the terms Judea and Galilee to refer to the Land of Israel. When Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the Roman government struck a coin with the phrase “Judea Capta,” meaning Judea has been captured. The term Palestine was never used in the early Roman designations.

It was not until the Romans crushed the second Jewish revolt against Rome in 135 A.D. under Bar Kochba that Emperor Hadrian applied the term Palestine to the Land of Israel. Hadrian, like many dictators since his time realized the propaganda power of terms and symbols. He replaced the shrines of the Jewish Temple and the Sepulchre of Christ in Jerusalem with temples to pagan deities. He changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitalina, and changed the name of Israel and Judea to Palestine. Hadrian’s selection of Palestine was purposeful, not accidental. He took the name of the ancient enemies of Israel, the Philistines, Latinized it to Palestine, and applied it to the Land of Israel. He hoped to erase the name Israel from all memory. Thus, the term Palestine as applied to the Land of Israel was invented by the inveterate enemy of the Bible and the Jewish people, Emperor Hadrian.

It is interesting to note that the original Philistines were not Middle Eastern at all. They were European peoples from the Adriatic sea next to Greece. It may have pleased Hadrian to utilize this Hellenistic term for the Jewish land. In any case, the original “Palestinians” had nothing to do, whatsoever, with any Arabs.

Christian Adoption of the Term Palestine

One of the first Christian uses of the term Palestine is found in the works of the Church historian Eusebius, who lived in Caesarea. He wrote around 300 A.D., as the Roman persecution of Christians was ending and the Emperor Constantine began to accept Christianity as legal. Eusebius did not accept Hadrian’s designation of Jerusalem as Aelia Capitalina, but he did use Hadrian’s term Palestine. Eusebius considered himself to be one of the bishops of Palestine. Thus, the anti-Israel, anti-Christian name of Palestine was assimilated into the Church’s vocabulary as the Byzantine Empire was being established.

The Church has, since that time, broadly used the term Palestine in literature and in maps to refer to the Land of Israel. It should be noted, however, that the Crusaders called their land the Kingdom of Jerusalem. When the British received the mandate after World War I, though, they called the land on both sides of the Jordan River, Palestine. This became the accepted geo-political term for several decades, and those who lived in the land were called Palestinians, whether they were Jews, Arabs or Europeans.

Even evangelical Christians who believe in the future of Israel have used the term Palestine. The New Scofield Reference Edition of the Bible has maps in the back entitled “Palestine under the Herods.” There never was a Palestine under the Herods. This is a serious misidentification. It would be something like looking at a modern map of Texas and having it titled “Mexico in the Twentieth Century.”

The MacArthur Study Bible published just last year contains a map called “Palestine in Christ’s Time” There are numerous references in the notes to something called first-century Palestine.

It appears that Bible-believing Christians have either knowingly or unwittingly followed the world, pagans and haters of Israel in calling Israel by the anti-Israel term Palestine. It is found throughout Bible maps, Bible commentaries and textbooks.

Proper Designation of the Land

The use of the term Palestine was biblically inaccurate and wrong throughout the Church age. However, it is more than just wrong, it is devastating in our time, when the term Palestine is the cornerstone of the propaganda war against Israel and the Jewish people. Do we want to use terms invented by those who hate Christ, the Bible and Israel? Do we want to utilize terms used by the enemies of Israel who desire to accomplish nothing less than the destruction of the Jewish people? I think not.

Christians should use the terminology of the Bible wherever possible. Why not go back to the terms used in the New Testament? The Gospel writers used the term Israel to refer to the Land. Why should we use any other term when referring to the Land, especially now that the Jews are back in the Land and have re-established the nation of Israel among the family of nations?

As we draw closer to the Second Coming of Christ, we should understand that Satan’s fury against the Church and Israel will grow exponentially. Satan hates the Gospel of the crucified and risen Messiah, and he hates the reality of the restoration of Israel as the nation that will ultimately receive Jesus as the Messiah at His return, and the nation that will be Christ’s earthly headquarters. The only term we should use for the Land is Israel, or its subdivisions of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. We should make every effort to remove the term Palestine from our Bible maps and textbooks, and use only biblical terms with reference to the Holy Land of Israel.

Saturday 2 July 2011

The Problem in Going Public

From: Joe McKeever
"Your words have stood men on their feet." Job 4:4

The problem in writing a blog is that you are putting your opinions and convictions out there--exposing them to the world--where they can be shot down, vilified, criticized, and dissected. Yes, and also praised, lauded, reprinted, reposted, and remembered.

That's what keeps us blogging, I suppose, the knowledge that someone somewhere reads it and is blessed or helped, encouraged or instructed.

The trick is to think seriously about what you're writing and not post anything you're not prepared to go to the mat for. Nor do you want to take a position on something sure to enrage a lot of your readers, particularly if the payoff is poor. That is, you will not see me attacking President Obama's position on almost anything on this website. The issues are far more complex than most of of my friends think them to be, I'm not smart enough to know all I should on the subjects, and most importantly, I have something far more important in mind than who's in the White House at the moment.

I'm working for eternity here.

This is a God thing for me.

You'll not find me opening up an article here announcing that "this morning God told me to tell you" anything. Even so, I know the inner voice of the Lord. As all believers, I know what it is to hear God speaking to my heart, guiding me toward this and away from that. (See John 10:27 and Psalm 23:3b)

Still, it's a precarious business, writing a blog, particularly if your ego is fragile and constantly in need of a booster shot. (Instead of "ego," however, I prefer to call it a reasonable self-confidence. I am well aware of Paul's admonition "not to think more highly" of oneself than we ought to.--Romans 12:3)

So with preaching.

A man--and sometimes, but less frequently, a woman--stands in front of a handful or a multitude, opens the Word and declares "Thus saith the Lord."

He's putting himself at risk.

In a typical congregation there are people sitting before him who are offended he would:

--be so presumptuous as to speak for God.

--call himself a holy man with the right to address them on celestial matters.

--overlook the flaws in his own life and counsel them as to theirs.

--speak to them about death and the afterlife, make claims about Jesus and God, when we know so little.

Welcome to the ministry, young pastor. The antagonism you are picking up from a few members of your congregation is normal, widespread, and probably good for you.

If you can't handle that, you had no business accepting the call to represent Jesus Christ before mankind. This, incidentally, is what your call into the ministry amounts to. I hope you are clear on that.

The Lord has planned for every one of us to go public with our faith in Him.

You don't have to be a blogger or a preacher to step out of the crowd and own up to following Jesus. It's not par for the course; it's the course.

Want to see it in black and white? (Or red, in some translations.) Here goes, from Matthew chapter 10....

Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light. And what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. (10:27)

Whoever confesses me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven. (10:32-33)

And in case anyone wonders what kind of repercussions this might cause, wonder no longer:

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother.... (10:34-35)

There are in the ministry young men (and yes, the occasional woman) who entered this work under false expectations. Suited more for the life of a hermit--or at least a monk on a permanent desert retreat--these fellows are unprepared for the harassment they get from doing nothing more threatening than standing in the pulpit and bringing a message from the Bible. As odd as it seems to the rest of us, when they enrolled in seminary and signed up for ordination, they really did think they were in for a life of peace and godliness, quiet and reflection.

The best preparation for ministry is for the young believer to go really, really public with his/her faith in Jesus.

Take it out of wraps and let your classmates in school or your co-workers in the factory or your colleagues on the faculty know that everything has changed for you, that you are now a follower of Jesus Christ and you take that with the utmost seriousness.

That will be the best decision you could ever make for your spiritual growth. Going public will put you on display. People will start watching you to see if you live up to the teachings of Jesus. And when you make mistakes, which you will, it will back you into a corner where you will have to do one of two things: humble yourself or become a hypocrite.

Sooner or later, every believer who goes public for Jesus in school, on the job, and at home, has to emphasize to his closest friends that he/she is a baby Christian with a long way to grow. That's what humility does.

Without your doing this, you end up bluffing your way through life, trying to make your co-workers and friends believe you are better and stronger than you are. The hypocrisy of that will eat at your soul and destroy your witness.

So, go public for Jesus. This means, among other things....

--Get baptized. This act is the initial declaration that you do not intend to be a secret follower of Jesus, amd tjat you are burning your bridges behind you, turning your hopes and ambitions all over to Him, and throwing in your lot with other believers.

--Tell your friends. Tell them naturally and normally. Don't make a big show of it. If they are also believers or if they aren't but truly love you, they will rejoice and encourage you. Mark 5:19 instructs us in this.

--Take your Bible to work. Lay it on your desk, and read it (sometimes) at lunch hour or during breaks. Again, not for show, but for two reasons: you will be needing its guidance and you will be bearing a witness.

--Bring the Lord into the conversation as is fitting. Careful here. No one is asking you to be self-righteous or to preach to your friends or to condemn sinners for anything. Even our Lord said, "I did not come to condemn the world" (John 3:17). Particularly in one-on-one conversations, if you feel a prompting from the Spirit to mention the difference Christ makes, go for it.

--Stay alert to the inner urgings of the Spirit. This is where you are going to do your best work. The Lord sees needs in your community you overlook, knows people in your city you don't, and is at work in places and people you would be surprised to hear. Trust Him. When you sense His prompting to stop and talk to that person, to offer help to that one, obey it. See what He does with it.

Do these things and you will soon be in the devil's crosshairs.

The enemy of Jesus Christ turns his infernal attention to you also when he learns you intend to take your devotion to Christ seriously. Until then, he has left you alone. (I do not have to remind you that millions of church members have no dealings with the devil. In fact, they wonder whether he even exists. They receive no opposition or harassment or temptations or criticism, for the simple reason that they are causing him no problem. But let them move up to the front line for Jesus and they will soon become a prime target for the enemy.)

Had you lain low in your burrow and never raised your head, no one on the other side would have ever shot in your direction.

Welcome to the Christian life. This is what it's all about--going public with your faith in Jesus and taking your licks for Him. In that same Matthew 10 passage, the Lord reminds us: A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.... If they called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household. (10:24-25)

This--and this is my point--is the best preparation for the ministry you could ever receive.

Harry Truman used to say, "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen."

Our variation on that might go something like: "If you want everyone to like you and cannot endure criticism, whatever you do, don't become a disciple of Jesus Christ. They crucified Him."

Too long? Okay, we shorten it to: "If you can't stand the hate, stay out of the ministry."