An Open Letter to Pastors and Christians …Stand or Fall

 

July 3, 2018

 

A paraphrase that is often attributed to Alexis De Tocqueville—a Frenchman who authored Democracy in America in the early 1800s, helps to open this letter: “I looked throughout America to find where her greatness originated. I looked for it in her harbors and on her shorelines, in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and in her gold mines and vast world commerce, but it was not there.”

“It was not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her success. America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Over the last few decades, Americans have seen the destruction of the institution of marriage between a man and a woman, the removal of God’s Word in several areas, and the blatant murdering of millions of babies. This is an indictment against America and the pulpit is partially responsible – our silence speaks volumes.

The pulpit regulates the spiritual condition of God’s people which affects the nation. A lukewarm, sex-saturated culture (and church) simply reflects the lack of conviction in the pulpit as well as the pew.

Sadly, many pastors are exchanging truth for passivity, boldness for cowardliness, and conviction for comfort…they are not aflame with righteousness. We aim to be motivational speakers rather than preachers of righteousness.

Pastors (and Christian leaders alike) must take responsibility for the spiritual health of today’s church, and the nation. We don’t need more marketing plans, demographic studies, or giving campaigns; we need men filled with the Spirit of God.

Pastors, we are not just cheerleaders, we are game changers. We are called to stir and to convict so that change takes place. Granted, there are many wonderful pastors and churches—I appreciate their ministry, but, as a whole, the church has drifted off course. They have lost the compass of truth. Here are four ways to re-set the compass.

1. Return to the prayer closet. Without prayer, “the church becomes a graveyard, not an embattled army. Praise and prayer are stifled; worship is dead. The preacher and the preaching encourage sin, not holiness…preaching which kills is prayerless preaching. Without prayer, the preacher creates death, and not life” (E.M. Bounds).

When God brings change, prayer has been the catalyst. Martin Luther prayed and the church was reformed. John Knox prayed and Scotland was revived. John Wesley prayed and America was restored. George Whitefield prayed and nations were changed. D.L. Moody prayed and America fell to her knees. Amy Carmichael prayed and India received the gospel. And so it goes…when you pray, you move the hand of God.

The dry, dead lethargic condition of the church simply reflects an impotent prayer life. While 5-minute devotionals and prayers are good, they aren’t going to cut it in these dire times. We need powerful times of prayer, devotion, and worship. “Without the heartbeat of prayer, the body of Christ will resemble a corpse. The church is dying on her feet because she is not living on her knees” (Al Whittinghill).

Sermons should not come from pop-psychology and the latest fad; they must come from the prayer closet where God prepares the messenger before we prepare the message. It takes broken men to break men. Unplug the tv, turn off Facebook, and get back into the Word of God, prayer, and worship.

2. Return to a separated life. If a pastor fills his mind with the world all week and expects the Spirit of God to speak boldly through him from the pulpit, he will be gravely mistaken. “The sermon cannot rise in its life-giving forces above the man. Dead men give out dead sermons, and dead sermons kill. Everything depends on the spiritual character of the preacher” (E.M. Bounds). Who he is all week is who he will be when he steps to the pulpit.

3. Worship must be a priority. A pastor who does not worship is not prepared to preach. Many sing “about” God but they have never truly experienced Him—head knowledge without heart knowledge. Styles of worship range from the old, beloved hymns to contemporary. All worship should be God-centered, Christ exalted, and doctrinally sound.

Worship allows us to shift our focus and praise toward God. Whether you prefer hymnals and organs or contemporary bands, is really not the issue. The issue is: are you truly worshipping God in “spirit and in truth”? He is the Creator of heaven and earth. He is not a cosmic force, universal love, or a doting grandfather; He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. We must worship Him. He created, redeemed, and saved us. As one of the countless hymns declares so well, “O’ The Blood: washes me; shed for me…what a sacrifice that saved my life, yes the blood, it is my victory!”

4. Preach the difficult truths – they set people free. The church cannot neglect, water-down, or avoid preaching sin, repentance, or the fear of the Lord in the hope of not offending or securing an audience. Difficult truths often offend, and rightly so, sin put Christ on the cross. The goal of preaching is faithfulness to God, not crowd appeal. The church, as a whole, may have forgotten the fear of the Lord, but it doesn’t follow that we should.

Let it not be said of us today: And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord because pastors failed to be preachers of righteousness. The burden of responsibility rests squarely upon our shoulders. It’s our choice—stand, or fall!

But there is hope: “Therefore say to them, Thus declares the LORD of hosts: Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you…” (Zechariah 1:3). That’s a life changing promise – return to Him and He will return to you.

 

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Over 25,000 Sign Petition Demanding Brian Sims Resign After Bullying and Doxxing Pro-Life Women

May 9, 2019 by STEVEN ERTELT

Over 25,000 people have signed a petition sponsored by LifeNews demanding that Pennsylvania state representative Brian Sims resign after he filmed himself twice bullying and harassing pro-life women and teenagers.

His conduct has sparked a national outrage — including a rally planned for Friday with national pro-life leaders in Philadelphia at the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic where Sims harassed pro-life people.

Thousands of people have directed their condemnation of Sims and his actions to an online petition demanding that he resign. Many of the people signing the petition are calling for much more — they want a criminal investigation of Sims for potentially violating state laws against cyberbullying and doxxing. Other signers hope the Pennsylvania state legislature will impeach Sims and remove him from his position as a state representative.

But many of the people signing believe, at minimum, Sims ought to resign because his bullying and harassment behavior was completely inappropriate and inconsistent with the kind of behavior they expect from elected officials.

And while Sims has received wide-spread media attention and condemnation from Republicans across the country, his fellow Democrats have been silent. Most of the national mainstream media has been silent, too.

As far as LifeNews can tell, no Democratic leaders have condemned Sims’ behavior thus far. One group, the Temple University Democrats club, tweeted that it was “proud” of Sims. It later deleted the tweet, but several other tweets posted this week on its pagesupport Sims with the hashtag #IstandWithSims.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania sent a letter to U.S. Attorney William McSwain, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner urging that Sims be investigated.

SIGN THE PETITION: Rep. Brian Sims Should Resign for Harassing Pro-Life Women

The pro-abortion Democrat politician has been condemned repeatedly since he posted a video of himself berating a pro-life sidewalk counselor last week in Philadelphia. A second video that he posted earlier in April showed him offering $100 for the identities of three pro-life teenage girls who were praying peacefully outside the abortion facility with their mother.

His requests suggest that Sims, a state representative, may have been trying to intimidate the 13- and 15-year-old girls through doxxing, a practice where a person’s name and contact information are posted publicly online usually to encourage harassment.

In the first video, Sims also appeared to be attempting to doxx another pro-life woman – he called her an “old white lady” – by asking his viewers for her name and address.

“Shame on you!” Sims said as the woman asked him to get his camera out of her face. “You have a problem protesting in public? Don’t protest in public!

“If you know who this woman is and you can give me her address, we’ll protest out in front of her home. Let’s go protest out of her house and tell her what’s right for her body,” he continued.

For most of the video, the woman silently bore Sims’ bullying. The exception was when he got his camera close to her face and she told him not to.

Sims also repeatedly exerted his power and privilege by mentioning that he is a state representative, including when the woman appeared to be calling police.

His bullying continued for more than eight minutes, the length of the video.

In the second video that Sims posted several weeks ago, he made a similar request. He offered his viewers $100 to identify three teenage girls who were peacefully praying outside the same Planned Parenthood.

“What we’ve got here is a bunch of … pseudo Christian protesters who’ve been out here shaming young girls for being here. So, here’s the deal, I’ve got $100 to anybody who will identify these three, and I will donate to Planned Parenthood,” Sims said in the video.

His actions may have violated consent and cyberbullying lawsThe Philadelphia police and district attorney’s office said they are looking into the incident.

Sims released a statement late Tuesday where he did not apologize for his behavior. Instead, he chose to attack pro-life advocates even more by claiming they “slur” and “attack” Planned Parenthood patients – without providing any evidence to support his claims.

Several leading pro-life groups are planning a rally on Friday at the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Philadelphia where Sims filmed himself twice harassing and bullying pro-life women.

A LifeNews petition calling for Sims’ resignation amassed more than 24,000 signatures this week. And a fundraiser started by the family of the teenage girls has raised more than $95,000 for a charity that helps mothers and babies in the city.

The Planned Parenthood abortion clinic where Sims harassed the women has failed 13 of its 23 safety inspections.

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VIDEO Pastor Slams Those Who Say, “We Shouldn’t be Political… Just Preach the Gospel”

May 9, 2019 By Shane Idleman

God has given us a wonderful gift known as America. The government isn’t bad or good; her people determine success or failure. Why would God ordain our government and then not want us to steward His gift? Many have been guilty of not getting involved by saying:

“We shouldn’t say or do anything political. All we need to do is preach the gospel.”

Be careful . . . although the gospel is our primary focus, this shouldn’t be an excuse against action. Listen to my thoughts on this by fast forwarding to the 25 minute mark here.

James A. Garfield, an ordained minister and twentieth President of the United States, said:

“Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption.”

We are actually voting for principles, not people—all candidates are sinners. “In what direction will they lead our country?” is the question we should be asking. Even more importantly, what country will we leave for our children?

We don’t have to abandon our ethics or compromise our principles to be involved in politics—what good is salt left in the shaker, or a light that is hidden? Contextually, when Jesus referred to being the “salt and light,” He was referring to holy living at the individual level, but the overlapping principle applies to all areas of life. “Politics” is not a bad word. In simple terms, politics refers to governing or leading a group of people. Again, politics won’t save America, but in order to implement change and help others, we must take action; hence the political process. Would you have remained silent in the 1800s over slavery? Of course not.

Politics that once focused largely on the economy, national security, and the deficit, now tackles important moral issues. These major issues have enormous implications; to remain silent actually makes a statement that we are not concerned enough. This is not just about the loss of jobs; it’s about the loss of morality. We’re not just talking about adding millions of dollars to the national deficit; we’re talking about aborting millions of babies. We’re not only talking about fluctuations in the housing market; we’re talking about creating life simply to destroy it. This shift requires us to stay closely involved. Topics that are “too controversial” are often critically important; we can no longer ignore them.

Interestingly enough, the stability of America is one of the top concerns on the minds of many today. There was a time in recent history when America felt secure knowing that the most formidable enemies were abroad. Not so today. While we are concerned with terrorist attacks, and rightly so, there is a greater threat from corruption within. We, like the mighty Roman Empire that collapsed centuries ago, are crumbling from within. There are people and groups who are strongly committed to the destruction of anything rooted in our nation’s Christian heritage. They attempt to be “one nation ‘above’ God,” rather than “one nation ‘under’ God.” Scripture identifies this as foolishness, self-exaltation, and arrogance—the downfall of nations.

There is a saying that one generation plants trees for the next generation. I’m concerned that instead of planting, we are removing and destroying the very covering that protects us. As a result, our legacy as a great and noble nation has all but been forgotten. For instance, most schools no longer teach students about the spiritual foundation that has guided America throughout her history. Consequently, America’s moral and religious heritage is often deleted, grossly distorted, or revised altogether. As stated earlier: Students often miss the critical connection between America’s unparalleled greatness, her rise to world leadership, and the spiritual foundation that made it possible. This should concern us. The ideas of the classroom in one generation will create the ideas of government within the next.

Today, our culture promotes relativism, and man does what is right in his own eyes. Again, according to Scripture, to his own destruction. God’s Word says to confront, confess, and turn from our sins; relativism encourages us to ignore, overlook, and continue in them. Although this position may seem radical or extreme, we are living in extremely critical times. Make no mistake about it: We are witnessing the rapid deterioration of a nation right before our eyes. But there is hope: 2 Chronicles 7:14 calls out from the past with resounding clarity to America today: If My people will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land.

There are times to encourage, motivate, and uplift, but there are also times to confront, challenge, and contend for what is right—that time is now. Let it not be said of us today: And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD (Judges 2:10). The day of the silent pastor who is more concerned about nickels and noses must end . . . are we pleasing God or men . . . are we cowards or watchmen?

Again, fast forward to the 25 minute mark here to hear more.

Free copies of pastor Shane’s book, One Nation Above God can also be found here:  https://shaneidleman.com/books/

Read pastor Shane’s last op-ed, Pastor Speaks Out on Trump Bashing – Enough is Enough!

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My Son Needed the Love of the Church. I Wasn’t Sure It Was Possible

Including the cognitively disabled in ministry is a chance to live in a cross-shaped way.

May 8, 2019 by JENNIFER BROWN JONES

My Son Needed the Love of the Church. I Wasn’t Sure It Was Possible.

“NO! I NOT QUIET!” The meltdown began—of course—just as the prayer was starting. My husband grabbed our son Mischa’s hand and left the sanctuary, as quickly and quietly as possible. It wasn’t quiet. I have no idea what the worship leader was praying, but my own desperate cry had become almost rote: “Lord, I can’t do this. Help. I’m so tired. I don’t remember not being tired. I can’t do this.” The lights came up and people began greeting one another. I took a breath, preparing to apologize. Again. We wouldn’t be able to come back to this church.

Church. It’s where we should be most loved. It’s where my son should feel most loved, accepted, and wanted. But it isn’t. And the very idea that I could bring my special needs son into an actual worship service was a joke, even if it was just for the music and prayer. I don’t even know why we tried. “God, you’re moving us here, but there aren’t any churches with special needs programs. How are we going to make this work?” This time, though, God’s answer wasn’t “wait and see” but “look and see.” We weren’t going to make it work. He was going to show us how people who don’t just tell his story but also live his story are not just transformed themselves but become agents of transformation in the lives of those around them. God and his people would make it work.

Most Christ-followers will agree that God’s church isn’t really a building. It’s the people that God has called and redeemed; it’s a community of people that he is transforming into the image of his Son. Sounds good, but how many of us are actually being transformed and how many of us have experienced the fruit of our own transformation or that of those around us? What does it look like to be transformed into the image of Jesus?

Living cruciform lives

Throughout the New Testament we see a portrait of Jesus that, if we allow it to, will force us to rethink our understanding of God. Jesus subverts our expectations, just as he did 2,000 years ago. He shows us that true divinity, God himself, is fundamentally self-sacrificing, self-emptying, self-humbling, and self-giving or what New Testament scholar Michael Gorman calls “cruciform” (cross-shaped). In Philippians 2 Paul uses a hymn to describe Jesus’ character, calling believers, then and now, to share in it:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

It sounds beautiful, poetic even. For many this passage is familiar, but when was the last time we allowed ourselves to be confronted by its call? These verses include what Gorman describes as the pattern of Jesus’ life and character. Although Jesus had a certain status (“equality with God”), he didn’t choose selfishness (“his own advantage”) but rather selflessness (“made himself nothing” and “humbled himself”).

It is sometimes too easy to simply marvel at what Jesus has done and miss the call to do likewise: have the same mindset; don’t look out for yourself; humble yourself; put others first. Don’t just tell Jesus’ story, live it. Don’t just narrate the gospel, embody it. Like Jesus, our lives are to be cross-shaped, demonstrating a sacrificial focus on the needs and well-being of others. When we, as members of God’s church, take Paul’s instructions seriously, focusing on others and forgetting about our own power and achievement, we not only truly reflect the image of the God that we worship, we become people that he uses in the lives of others here and now. We don’t have to wait for the new heaven and the new earth.

Such a community sounds beautiful, or at least the concept does. But if we’re honest—if I’m honest—too often we aren’t like Jesus. We are more like that old Dostoyevsky quote: “The more I love humanity in general the less I love man in particular.” So how do we live a cruciform life? While it may seem obvious, the first part of the answer is to be involved in the community of believers; Paul assumes believers in the Philippian church have relationships with one another. He’s instructing them on how they are to act in these relationships. Yes, this way of life will spill over beyond the church, but it starts inside of it.

Just building relationships with other believers isn’t enough, though. The church isn’t a social club. It is a community of people who are cross-shaped, retelling and reliving the self-giving and self-sacrificing life of Jesus. They are enabled to do so as each individual and the community as a whole are molded by the Holy Spirit into Christ’s image. Believers are being transformed into cross-shaped individuals through the work of the Spirit. Christ-followers have to cooperate with the Spirit’s transformative work, though, by reflecting on and identifying with this pattern: Although we may have rights, we are called not to take advantage of them. Instead we are to place the needs of others ahead of our own. Here, in our death to self—our death to personal priorities and our death to personal ambitions—we experience the paradoxical way that God brings life out of death.

The challenge of L’Arche

While he doesn’t use the words cruciform or cruciformity, Jean Vanier’s life and writings gave us a vivid portrait of what such a cross-shaped life looks like and prepares us for our own journeys. In 1964 Vanier founded L’Arche, an organization that creates homes where people with intellectual disabilities live together in a covenant community with typically abled assistants. While L’Arche itself is not explicitly Christian, Vanier’s life and work have been fundamentally motivated by his desire to follow Jesus by living out the gospel as a source of healing, love, trust, friendship, and reconciliation in a world of injustice, pain, and brokenness. Here, in Vanier’s life, we see the way in which a cross-shaped life that relives Jesus’ story spills over into our wider communities.

For Vanier, the beatitudes are at the heart of L’Arche, pointing us to the sometimes-hidden beauty found in the intellectually disabled, a beauty that can be seen in their capacity for life and growth, as well as in their openness to God. He believed that they have the gift of better understanding the Beatitudes and more closely living them out. In The Scandal of Service and The Challenge of L’Arche, Vanier described the roles of the assistants who live in L’Arche communities as not only offering physical support but, more importantly, loving those whom Vanier describes as weak, helping them to grow, to develop, to discover their beauty, and to find the meaning of their lives. Vanier believed God has a prophetic call on the lives of those who are differently abled, one that is often seen in their very ability to live life more simply, in humility, and with love and receptivity to God.

Like Paul’s portrait of Jesus in Philippians 2, Vanier’s portrait of life with the cognitively disabled is heart-achingly beautiful until we get into the nitty-gritty of what it looks like on the ground. Living with those who are differently abled requires us to let go of our self-focus and self-reliance. We have to grow in our willingness to understand people who are different, to share with them, and to sacrifice on their behalf. It is a life that confronts us with our own brokenness and poverty of spirit—our impatience, our self-absorption, our anger, and our insufficiency. In life with the intellectually disabled, we learn that we are the weak ones. Those who are supposedly “disabled” are our teachers. It is here, when we finally welcome our weakness, need, and shortcomings, that we meet Jesus.

Not everyone is called to daily life with the intellectually disabled, but they live around us and among us, as do their families. How do we engage with them on the street and in our churches? Our responses matter, because they hold the potential to embody the healing and love of God’s self-sacrifice. When we tell a parent their autistic daughter is no longer welcome in our youth group because she is too disruptive, are we living out Jesus’ love and sacrifice? Are we focusing on the needs of the “able” and “strong” at the expense of another one of Jesus’ children? Perhaps this beautiful—yes, beautiful—young woman is a crucial part of God’s transformative work. As she learns of her inherent value and beauty, finding love and acceptance, she may also help those around her to be transformed into the self-sacrificing, cross-shaped image of Jesus that is more concerned for others than self. Perhaps this young woman is there to teach the rest of us about who we really are (the broken) and what we really need (the transformative work of the Spirit).

Being confronted with weakness and failure isn’t for the faint of heart. We have to choose to cooperate with the Spirit’s work, staying in the difficult places and relationships. But when we recognize, accept, and then integrate our own weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and brokenness into our lives, God brings healing. It is here where we meet Jesus, for it is only when we welcome our own weakness, need, poverty, and insufficiency that we are able to welcome him. Then, as we encounter Jesus, we become agents of healing for those around us.

Becoming a little more like Jesus

“I’m so sorry!” I told the people around me. They just looked and smiled, telling me not to worry about it. I froze for a moment. One lady commented, smiling, “You’re doing the best you can; so is he.” What? I wasn’t being judged, condemned, and found wanting? And then someone we had met on our way in came up to me. He gently placed his hand on my shoulder and asked, “What can we do to make things easier for him and for you?” Tears welled up. No one had ever asked me that unless they were being paid. Maybe we couldcome back to this church.

Less than a year later, we had not only become regular attendees but also involved members. As we have taken steps to support others in our new community, sometimes sacrificially, we have seen how God works. We’ve seen it when we’ve gone to what was supposed to be a small group meeting and were told that we had a night free to go out to dinner while fellow church members watched our son. We’ve seen it in the way that our campus pastor has stood singing while holding Mischa, who knows without a doubt that he is not just accepted; he is loved. We’ve seen it in the way that one of the regular greeters made Mischa an official member of the welcome team with his own nametag. Each of these acts may seem small, but the sum of many small acts is far greater than the individual parts.

We don’t bear our burdens alone; our joys and sorrows are shared. We have no doubt that our son is welcome. We are welcome. In this place where we are supported and loved. God has enabled us to begin serving others instead of merely trying to survive. Our family has found love, acceptance, and healing. But perhaps the moment where God taught me the most was when a visitor walked into the sanctuary carrying a dandelion. She was beaming and smilingly told me that this beautiful boy outside had made her feel so loved and welcome; he’d given her this flower and a great big smile.

Yes. That was my son. The one who still occasionally has meltdowns during the music or prayer. The one who knows he is safe and loved. And I’m still the mom who struggles and who needs to welcome her own brokenness. But we’re all making progress. We’re each becoming a little more like Jesus and seeing how God brings life, healing, and love among people who not only tell Jesus’ story but relive it in their everyday lives.

Jennifer Brown Jones is a PhD candidate in Christian theology (Old Testament) at McMaster Divinity College and adjunct faculty at Ecclesia College. Her research focuses on the Psalter, the Minor Prophets, and the intersection of Christian life with disability studies. She attends Capital Church in Park City, Utah. You can learn more about her personal journey and read her recent reflection about Jean Vanier on her website: https://jenniferbrownjones.com

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/may-web-only/cross-shaped-living-with-cognitively-disability-vanier.html

VIDEO Everything About Angels – Short of Reformation Is Rebellion the Option for Salvation?

Even though a number of early settlers that colonized America were from non-British European countries including the Netherlands, France, Spain, Portugal, Denmark and others, the British crown managed to assume complete control of all of the American colonies.

During the colonial times, Great Britain was involved in several major wars with other European countries. The costs of those wars exceeded the British purses and they needed to find money from as many different sources as possible.

One of the readily available sources was the American colonies, so the British began to impose one act after another to milk the colonies of every penny and farthing they could. They taxed paper, sugar, tea, alcohol, gun powder and many more items until the colonists were paying most of their income to the British.

At the same time, the British imposed laws to govern what they could print in the news papers and what they could openly say. Any negative comments about the British were considered acts of sedition and were punished. The British passed laws to prevent the colonists from gathering together in groups in public, except for church and even then they tried to dictate what was being preached. The British tried to impose their own Church of England on some areas of the colonies.

You need to know that many of the earliest settlers fled the religious tyranny of their home countries and came to America in order to worship as they saw fit. When the British began pushing the Church of England on some colonists, it didn’t set very well.

By 1774, the British tyranny and taxation of the colonists became so oppressive that the colonists began talking about open rebellion. On April 19, 1775, the first shots of the American Revolution were fired on the commons of Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.

Two hundred and forty-four years later, Americans once again are finding themselves being oppressed by the tyrannical left.

The leftists want to tax everyone to death, just like the British did so long ago. The left is also trying to take away as many rights as possible. They are busy passing laws that make preaching the Bible illegal because parts on sin are considered offensive hate language. Conservatives and Christians are being openly targeted in an effort to silence their voices. Their websites and social media pages are being blacklisted and shutdown by leftists. If a conservative and/or Christian is scheduled to speak in public, extreme leftists threaten violence.

In many ways, America today is much like the American colonies 250 years ago and short of a biblical reformation the likes this nation has never seen, it seems obvious that the only hope of saving America is for Christians and conservatives do what they did 244 years ago when they armed themselves and rebelled against the tyrants that were oppressing them.

Am I calling for a rebellion? If necessary, YES, I am. First I ask everyone to pray for a complete reformation, but short of that reformation, I urge conservatives and Christians to be ready to take up arms and fight for our country. If they don’t, the America we all love and cherish will quickly disappear.


Well what do you think?

 

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Everything About Angels (With Greg Laurie)

Have you ever wondered about angels? Do we have guardian angels? What does the Bible say about angels? In this message Pastor and teacher, Greg Laurie opens the word of God and lifts the veil of secrecy surrounding angels and reveals to us who they are and what they are meant to do!


 

VIDEO Godly Christian Living in Evil Times

June 14, 2016 BY AMERICAN COUNCIL OF CHRISTIAN CHURCHES

 

Few will deny that we are living in evil times. The enemy has “come in like a flood.” Every perversion imaginable to sinful man is now promoted as “good” or “normal.” Basic standards of morality and decency, which once prevailed in the United States, now have been largely abandoned. Sadly, as our society’s culture has sunk further into the swamp of moral degeneracy, a love for the world has eroded the standards of many Christians, which were once grounded upon the teachings of God’s Word. Selections of music, entertainment, clothing, and other choices necessary to godly living have become more similar to and less distinct from those of the lusts of the world.  Many of God’s people lack a zeal for putting a cultural difference between the clean and the unclean (Lev. 20:22-26).

The true child of God must reject and resist such worldliness.  The Bible warns that the world in which we live is in an important sense the domain of the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2). What God has ordained for life in this world, Satan has sought to corrupt.  For this reason, Paul warns in Romans 12:1-2, “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.”

1 John 2:15-17 commands us to “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”  To love the world in this sense is to fail to love the Father.  To conform to the cultural norms produced by this lack of love for the Father is to communicate a similar lack of love for Him.

Some justify a greater conformity to the world by divorcing what is in the heart of a Christian from his outward appearance and actions. God indeed told Samuel: “for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). However, what is in the heart will always manifest itself outwardly. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil” (Luke 6:45). Paul is concerned with both the transformation of the mind and the consecration of the body to holiness (Rom. 12:2).  Matthew Henry, in commenting on the holy behavior of older Christian women in Titus 2:3, says that Christians should have “an inward principle and habit of holiness, influencing and ordering the outward conduct at all times.”

God has commanded us: “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16). The Scripture is clear about the fruit of true holiness in the child of God: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23). This fruitful holiness produced by God’s Spirit is antithetical to worldliness, the works of a flesh that produces both sinful desires and a wicked walk (Gal. 5:16-21).  Cultural choices are included among the works of the flesh.  Any music, clothing, entertainment, speech, or other cultural choice promoting fruitful holiness must not be conformed to styles developed to promote the worldliness of 1 John 2:15-17. This mandate applies equally to our personal lives and our corporate worship.  Our love for the Father provides powerful motivation for careful conservatism that draws a clear line well-removed from the gray of compromise in this regard.

Therefore, the American Council of Christian Churches, at its 71st Annual Convention, October 23-25, 2012, in the Cedar View Independent Methodist Church, Kingsport, Tennessee, affirms the need for all Bible-believing churches and individual Christians to separate from conformity to the cultural norms produced by this world’s love for possessions, pleasures, and pride.  As children determined to love our heavenly Father faithfully, we commit ourselves to the promotion and practice of consistently conservative, godly Christian living, regulated by cultural standards that demonstrate the distinctiveness of our calling as pilgrims and strangers in a world ruled by “the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience.”  It is our desire that in every area of our lives, the change that has called us “out of darkness into His marvelous light” would be seen plainly by others in a way that will “glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:9-12).

Picture: https://pixabay.com/en/hills-flowering-desert-flowers-960106/

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A Call for Godly Christian Living in Evil Times
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Psalm 91:1-66

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, …


Derek Prince – Evil Forces At the End Time


The First Christian Woman Sentenced to Death Under Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws Is Freed

May 8, 2019 By Patrick Goodenough

Asia Bibi has left Pakistan for freedom in Canada, ten years after being arrested and accused of blasphemy, and six months after being acquitted and having her death sentence overturned. (Photo: Twitter)

(CNSNews.com) – Asia Bibi, the Pakistani mother of four who became the first Christian woman to be sentenced to death in the country for purportedly blaspheming Mohammed, has finally been allowed to leave Pakistan, more than six months after the Supreme Court acquitted her and ordered her release.

Her lawyer told the BBC she has arrived in Canada, which had earlier offered her and her family asylum.

Freedom for Asia Bibi, also known as Aasiya Noreen, comes a decade after a row with Muslim co-workers led to her arrest and eventual conviction under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws.

According to published accounts, the Muslims accused the only non-Muslim among the group of farmworkers of defiling shared drinking water. After she said she did not believe Mohammed would share that opinion the Muslims reportedly demanded that Asia Bibi convert to Islam, which she refused to do.

Several days later a mob led by a local cleric attacked her. Police took her into custody, and in 2010 she was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death.

The decision was upheld by the Lahore High Court in Oct. 2014, and four more years were to pass until the Supreme Court acquittal last October.

Although the court ordered her release, Asia Bibi remained in protective custody as Muslim zealots held protests across the country, demanding her execution, and calling for the acquitting judges to be killed as well.

In November she was flown from her prison in Punjab province to Islamabad, where her whereabouts have remained closely guarded. Supporters have feared for her safety should she not be allowed to leave the country, where zeal for Mohammed is extreme among the Barelvi stream of Sunni Islam.

Asia Bibi’s case, more than any other, turned a spotlight on Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which carry the death penalty for insulting Mohammed; life imprisonment for defiling the Qur’an; and shorter jail terms for insulting any of Mohammed’s wives, relatives or “companions.”

Christians, Ahmadis – members of a Muslim sect considered heretical by mainstream Muslims – and other minorities have been disproportionately targeted under the laws, and people accused of blasphemy have often been attacked – and sometimes killed – by enraged mobs.

Lawyers for blasphemy accused have been threatened and gone into hiding, and in 1997 a High Court judge in Lahore was shot dead in his chambers after acquitting a man who had been convicted in a lower court of blasphemy.

Asia Bibi’s plight was taken up by religious freedom advocates around the world – and in Pakistan, where two high-profile supporters were murdered.

In 2011, the Muslim governor of Punjab province, Salman Taseer, was assassinated by a Barelvi bodyguard, after speaking out in support of Bibi.

The killer, who shot Taseer 27 times, was hailed as a hero by many, with hundreds of Muslim scholars issuing a statement declaring him “Lover of the Prophet.” He was convicted and hanged in February 2016.

Two months after Taseer was killed, Pakistan’s federal minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti – a Christian – was shot dead by gunmen who left pamphlets at the scene, accusing him of blasphemy.

Eight years after Taseer and Bhatti were gunned down, Pakistan’s blasphemy laws remain in place. According to the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom at least 40 people are currently on death row or serving life sentenced after being convicted under them.

Successive governments have resisted calls to annul or amend the laws.

https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/first-christian-woman-sentenced-death-under-pakistans-blasphemy-laws

Russian Evangelicals Penalized Most Under Anti-Evangelism Law

The tight restrictions on minority faiths have increasingly gotten Protestants in trouble and continue to raise concerns over religious freedom.

May 8, 2019 by Kate Shellnutt

Russian Evangelicals Penalized Most Under Anti-Evangelism Law

Following Russia’s ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses, evangelical Protestants have become the most-punished group under the country’s controversial “anti-missionary” laws.

More than half of all cases of alleged violations last year were against evangelicals. Of the 159 individuals and organizations prosecuted for demonstrating their faith in public, 50 were Pentecostals and 39 were Baptists, according to analysis by Forum 18, a news service covering religious freedom issues in Russia and surrounding countries.

So far this year, Russian authorities interrupted a Baptist worship service in April and charged its 71-year-old pastor with illegal missionary activity. In January, two Baptists were punished for discussing their faith at a bus stop.

The 2016 Yarovaya laws ban Russians from inviting outsiders to join their faith, even online or in their own homes, unless they have a government permit through a registered religious organization, and even then they can only evangelize in designated churches and religious sites.

Evangelicals in the former Soviet country say that even as many Christians outside the state-affiliated Russian Orthodox Church heed the restrictions, violators are more likely to face punishment when charged by authorities. The fines start at 5,000 rubles for individuals (~$75) and at least 50,000 rubles ($750) for organizations.

“Believers are afraid to carry the Word of God to the masses, because they fear fines,” Pentecostal Union lawyer Vladimir Ozolin told Forum 18. “As ever, law enforcement agencies assume that any church activity is missionary activity, which is certainly not true.”

For some Protestant Christians, the rules have turned into a no-win situation: Even displaying the full name of their organization to comply with one provision of the law has been interpreted as a violation of another. Last year, a Baptist pastor in the Perm region was found guilty for hanging a sign reading, “House of Prayer of the International Council of Churches of Evangelical Christian-Baptists, worship service every Sunday from 10am,” Forum 18 wrote.

“The placement … suggests that [the defendant] carries out missionary activity aimed at disseminating information about the beliefs of [the church] among other persons who are not members,” the verdict concluded. (The vast majority of Protestant congregations worship on property designated for residential use since laws restrict churches’ ability to lease or buy land for themselves.)

Russia ended up issuing a clarifying ruling last March after churches were being penalized for distributing basic information to their own flocks. The Constitutional Court decided that notices about services, ceremonies, or events only violate the anti-missionary laws if they indicate missionary activity will be a “defining feature” of the gathering.

But evangelicals still haven’t been able to avoid the penalties. Last month, authorities appeared in the middle of a Sunday worship service near Novorossiisk, along the coast of the Black Sea. According to reports, the choir stopped singing “Jesus Is My Lighthouse” as the pastor, Yury Korniyenko, disputed with officials. Two days later, he received a summons alleging illegal missionary activity.

Yevgeny Kokora, an elder in the 50-person congregation, told Radio Free Europe that they had started receiving weekly calls from investigators demanding summaries of Korniyenko’s sermons and reports of attendance. Meanwhile, their neighbors in Novorossiisk also suffered under the recent crackdown. In March, authorities tore down an “unauthorized” Pentecostal meeting house, banned the Seventh-day Adventists gathering, and deported two Mormon missionaries back to the US.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) annual report, released last week, also called out Russia’s continued violations, writing, “Religious and other communities can be financially blacklisted or liquidated, and individuals can be subjected to criminal prosecution for social media posts that are arbitrarily determined to offend the religious sensibilities of others.”

Russia made its way onto the USCIRF list for the first time in 2017, largely due to the evangelism restrictions enacted the year before.

US ambassador to Russia John Huntsman referred to the state of religious freedom in Russia as “very difficult and very troubling.”

“We’re not only seeing religious organizations shut down, we’re seeing individual members punished for their religious beliefs, which goes against everything we in the United States and a whole lot of other countries in this world stand for,” he said in a recent interview.

Earlier in the year in Ryazan, southeast of Moscow, a pair of Baptists were punished for sharing Christian materials at a bus stop. Sergei Roshchin and Valery Turkin were charged in January for not having authorization from a religious group to conduct missionary activity, but they insisted that they were merely sharing their personal beliefs. Their case failed in court and on appeal, with the judge ruling that they had invited others to a service.

According to Forum 18, Russia is increasingly prosecuting individuals for not having religious authorization, even if they do belong to an official religious group to begin with. “This is a particular problem for both independent Baptists and Council of Churches Baptists. The latter refuse on principle to seek any kind of state registration,” the site reported.

Overall, more than 56 organizations and 103 individuals were prosecuted for violations of Russia’s anti-missionary laws last year, fewer than the year before only because Jehovah’s Witnesses had been banned as an “extremist group” and are no longer publicly active in the country.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/may/russian-evangelicals-anti-missionary-fined-yarovaya-law.html

Expected Questions On The Last Day

May 2, 2019

Who is your father?

Have you ever prayed for your enemies and those that trouble you?

What is your countenance when your neighbor made a mistake?

Do you visit hospitals to share my love and word with those that are sick?

Have you ever fasted just because you want to reconcile with your offenders?

How do you react if someone share his problems with you?

How do you treat your maid or man servant at home?

What are your contributions to the growth and propagation of the Gospel?

What have you lost for my names sake?

Have you ever lend money to proffer solutions to a strangers problem before?

Who is your last hope in your helpless situations?

How many times have you appreciated the life you have been given free off charge?

How do you feel when you mistakenly commit an unknown sin?

Why should I remember you?

Read  (Isaiah 59:1)

Psalm 106:7-8 tells us,

“When our ancestors were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known.”

Immediately after,

“They believed his promises and sang his praise. But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.” (v. 12-13)

Mercy Oh Lord!

VIDEO Times Square Rally

May 6, 2019 by beautybeyondbones

 

Well, here we are — It’s Monday. It’s May. And boy, do I have a story for YOU!

Allow me to set the scene —

I think the fact that I am both a writer and an actor, gives me this really unique filter through which I see the world. Because I never just see it — but rather, I’m looking for meaning. So sometimes, things just strike meas highly compelling.

That, and I’m always looking for God’s little winks and whispers through any and all lines of communication.

But this weekend, I faced several juxtapositions that really got me thinking.

SO – now to the story!

I was one of the 10,000 people at the Alive from New York prolife rally in Times Square on Saturday!

Francesca Battistelli singing at the #AliveFromNY Event

And, if this is the first you’re learning of this event, well — that’s because ZERO of the mainstream media channels (aside from FOX) covered the event — even though it was the largest ProLife rally in Times Square ever.

Oh — wait, I stand corrected. There were two negatively slanted articles: The New York Post flippantly posted an inaccurate article citing a protest of “400 Pro-Lifers” — which is not only numerically inaccurate by about 9,600 people, but also — a) so flippant in their clearly negative “Pro-Lifer” slang, and b) it wasn’t a protest.

Photo: New York Post

Newsweek covered the “Anti-Abortion Rally” with a video of a young, beautiful abortion provider, talking about how prolife arguments are based on lies and misinformation, and that abortion is health care.

Photo: Newsweek

But I digress.

The event was so powerful. It was put on by Focus on the Family. And, contrary to Newsweek’s spin…it was a huge celebration of life, right in the heart of Times Square!

Abby Johnson, speaking!

There were speakers, and a concert by Francesca Battistelli. The phenomenal movie, Unplanned played a huge role in the event — ((and Yours Truly was actually interviewed for their promotional material! I’ll let you know when it’s live so you can see it!))

Ashley Bratcher from Unplanned

Unplanned’s star actress, Ashley Bratcher, spoke, as well as Abby Johnson — the former Planned Parenthood clinical director, and whose story Unplanned tells. And the pinnacle event was that they broadcast over a jumbotron, Abby Johnson’s 4D ultrasound of her 3rd trimester child!

4D Ultrasound broadcast live at the #AliveFromNewYork event

It was absolutely incredible.

But not everyone was thrilled about the event.

First of all, Planned Parenthood took out a huge billboard right above where the event was being held that read, “PLANNED PARENTHOOD IS HEALTH CARE” in big bold letters.

And then, when I arrived, there were cops everywhere, because swarming both sides of Times Square were hundreds of protestors, shouting profanities and grotesque remarks at the attendees of the beautiful celebration of life in the middle.

They were banging drums and shouting things that would make a sailor blush.

But the event attendees paid them no mind, and continued on in their joyful gathering.

But here’s the crazy thing — as soon as that 4D ultrasound came on the screen, and you saw Abby Johnson’s baby sucking its thumb, and you heard the whooshing of the baby’s heartbeat over the loudspeaker — Times Square was silent. No more protestor rants, no more drums. Just the beautiful sound of life, and a mother’s cooing remarks to her child in the womb, and right underneath the Planned Parenthood billboard.

But after the ultrasound — the protestors went home.

It was the wildest thing.

Maybe the prayers that were in my heart for the souls of those protestors were answered! Who knows.

But coming home that night, I was looking up coverage about the event, and not surprisingly, I was discouraged to see that it was, in essence, completely erased from history by the mainstream media.

But in my search, I did happen to come across this video, which shows Pennsylvania State Representative, Brian Sims, absolutely berating this elderly woman, simply standing outside of a Planned Parenthood in Philly, saying a rosary.

Brian Sims’ 9 minute AGGRESSIVE livestream

He puts a camera in her face and arrogantly and aggressively attacks her, verbally for over eight minutes. Seriously, watch it. It made my blood boil.

But it was at this point, that all the juxtapositions I had experienced that day, finally caught up with me.

This issue of life is absolutely tearing our country apart.

I mean, I even see it on this blog!

People are coming after supporters of life, and they’re thirsty for BLOOD.

Some of the names I have been called when I have stood silently, praying outside of Planned Parenthood — without signs, without talking to people, without anything but love in my heart — the derogatory things would make my mother cry. I’ve had cameras shoved in my face, horns blared right in front of me. Even teenaged kids, shouting rude things.

There is a real hatred for people who support life. And I saw that over and over again this weekend.

So what was the take away?

Love wins.

Love wins. Period.

There’s such a misconception, that people who support life are in some way shaming people who support abortion. Or are trying to control women’s bodies. Or you name it.

But the reality is, the prolife movement is driven by love.

Love for the child in the womb. For the pregnant mothers and fathers. For life in all its stages — even the smallest and most vulnerable.

And as witnessed in Times Square that day, love won. When those protestors heard that heartbeat, and heard Abby Johnson speaking so tenderly to her “little guy” as only a mother does — they packed up and left.

So my prayer is this: to stay hopeful. Yes, it seems like an uphill battle – when not a single news outlet will cover this celebration of life. When publically elected officals like Brian Sims act like petulant children and berate a praying elderly woman, when people personally attack you with hatred spewing from their every pore — stay hopeful.

Life is worth it. Love is worth it.

And someday, the world will see that, too.

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5

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Live 4D Ultrasound Highlight of Focus on the Family’s ‘Alive from New York’ Even


Update on “Alive From New York”

Jim Daly and John Fuller share a retrospective look at Focus on the Family’s May 4th “Alive From New York” event celebrating the sanctity of human life and discuss the public reaction to the event. Did you know that just $60 can help save a life through the Option Ultrasound™ program? Your monthly support will help us equip more pregnancy medical clinics across the country with ultrasound machines.

https://store.focusonthefamily.com/singleitem/checkout/donation/item/chooselife-2019-5-6?