Jun 26, 2010

I went to the fights and a graduation broke out.

I love this time of year; actually in Minnesota I love all of the seasons. But this time of year is especially great because I can go to our garden and pick fresh produce. I went to my garden last night to help pick the raspberries and I had hockey on my brain.

Last week I helped out an organization called "DinoMights", an inner-city youth hockey program that each summer puts on a hockey camp called “Hockey in the Hood”. See below for more information on this great ministry.

It’s hot and sunny and nearly 90 degrees; so why would I be writing about hockey? Well, as I picked raspberries, I thought about how well the youth had treated each other in an environment that, in some circles, is known as “hockey always equals fighting”. But this was not the case. All week I watched how these youth, parents, staff, and coaches really brought out the best in each other.  

Today, however, I read an article online that reported that a brawl had erupted at a kindergarten graduation ceremony in California. The article said that the whole school was placed on lockdown after a fight involving 20 adults; ADULTS! The sheriffs on the scene ended up arresting two women (who were mothers of the children who were graduating!) after their argument got a little heated and some men jumped in and started the melee. It is rumored that there could be more arrests.

There is an old quote that goes; "I went to a fight the other night, and a hockey game broke out."

At a hockey game, although not necessary, players seem to think that they need to fight instead of just playing hockey. You go to the game and can almost “expect” that a fight may break out. But I’m not talking about a hockey game; this was a KINDERGARDEN GRADUATION Ceremony! You know what I mean; balloons, cards, cakes, and fisticufts(?) People; what is wrong with you? 

As I was driving down a road today on my way home from work, a driver on the road thought that it was totally acceptable to cut in front of me by making a left-hand turn right across my path (from an intersection at which he had a stop sign, I did not). I hit the brakes and my temperature went up as he mouthed to me; “Hey, what is your problem?” This was the fifth time today that someone cut me off in traffic.

Have we forgotten how to show courtesy and follow the rules as we drive our cars? Have we lost all civility as we get into brawls at kindergarten graduation ceremonies? People; what is wrong with us that we treat each other like this?

Actually, it shouldn’t surprise us that people treat one another this way. Jesus Christ prophesied that in the last days the "love of many would grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). 

The Apostle Paul wrote; “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2Tim. 3:1-5)

The Apostle John wrote; “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. (1 John 4:20-21) 

Jesus calls us to be different; to act differently, to love differently than what we read in the news. He wants us to love, not get into brawls. As this world continues to get crazier, let’s press into God to get the love that we will need to give to others. We need people who will be agents of change to this self-centered world. Let us be the ones of whom it is said; “They went to the fight and love broke out”.

“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:12-14) 

Perhaps this is what the graduation ceremony looked like:

Here is a link to "Dinomights"
DinoMights uses a unique approach that is founded on mentoring relationships. Staff, coaches, and tutors all seek to share the love of God with DinoMights by actively loving them. Good News to urban youth is the opportunity to participate in a positive activity that can truly be a family for them. It is in this environment that they can come to know the great love of God. The four areas that they mentor in are: Developing Physical, Social, Academic, and Spiritual. http://www.dinomights.com/mission

Jun 18, 2010

INTOLERANCE or True Believer

You’ve probably seen the bumper stickers that say; “COEXIST” written out in various symbols that represent different religions and beliefs.

If the bumper sticker is stating that we should live together while respecting each other’s differences then that is a good thing to put on a bumper sticker. I’ve seen enough wars, arguments, and disagreements in my lifetime between and over different beliefs. We should never let our beliefs turn us towards hate or violence or for ostracizing those who don’t share the same beliefs as we do.

However, if the bumper sticker is stating that we should all believe that all world religions like Islam, Paganism, Buddhism, Witchcraft, Wicca, and Christianity are somehow just supposed to coexist, and pretend that there are no conflicting contradicting points of views, then I disagree with the message. It is not possible for us all to join hands and sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and all will be well. What we believe really does matter and all beliefs can’t possibly all be true. 

I personally don’t think that we can really recognize, accept and even embrace the truth of our commonalities without abandoning our convictions about the TRUTH. You must follow the one who started the beliefs that govern your life; and as a Christian, I choose to follow Jesus Christ. Christianity is not about trying to get all of the world religions together under a common belief; except to say that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

In this crazy ‘accept everyone for what they believe’ world, Christianity can seem to be intolerant of other beliefs; and perhaps it is by simply standing firm on a belief system that says that not all ways lead to God. But, as Christians we profess that belief only because we are following Jesus, who said that He was the ONLY way to God.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)

That statement by Jesus is either true or else it is not. If it is false, then there is no need to listen. But if it is true, then there is no other way to God except through Jesus Christ and therefore all other ways are, by deductive reasoning, beliefs that are not truth. And “Truth, by definition, is intolerance” (Dr. James MacDonald).

The Apostle Paul, writing to a church in Greece that was filled with Christians who used to follow many gods, wrote this: "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “ I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)

Fellow Christians; it’s time for us to be “True Believers” and follow Jesus without compromise. Don’t look for ways to divide or to isolate or argue. But at the same time, don’t water down the words of the Bible just to coexist; it will never work. In fact, what you are doing is denying who Jesus is by watering down the truth of the Bible.

Jesus had some pretty strong words to those who will deny who He is: “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33)

I pray that we are able to find ways to reach a lost world with the wonderful grace and love and even truth that only Jesus can offer.
All Scriptures from New King James Version © 1984 Thomas Nelson

Confused about what Christians believe?  

"True Believers" by Phil Keaggy
Just don't know where, where to begin
When earthly kings surrender to this world of sin.
To walk the walk, talk the talk, truth is
Heaven on earth is one stairway
That can't be bought.
The price is paid, we believe that our God reigns,

The true believers stand on every word You say,
The true believers made alive in Christ today,
This is how we survive and where we mean to stay.
The true believers.

You've had enough, all you can take
When your river of tears
Runs into an ocean of heartbreak.
He'll be your moon when your sun goes down,
Fire for you if ice is all that's on your ground.
When your music has died,
And silence is the sound,

The true believers stand on every word You say,
The true believers made alive in Christ today,
This is how we survive and where we mean to stay.
The true believers.

So if you need to call on a friend,
He's there for you right until the very end,
His love is alive forever and amen.

The true believers stand on every word You say,
The true believers made alive in Christ today,
This is how we survive and where we mean to stay.
The true believers.

Jun 11, 2010

3 Simple Words

Sometimes, three simple words say it all; "I Surrender All"

          Song written by Judson W. Van DeVenter 1855-1939

This note was written by my Daughter Anna on the day of my ordination March 12, 1995  

Jun 4, 2010


Last Monday was Memorial Day and I was (appropriately) thinking about freedom.  

Memorial Day is a day to honor those who died serving the nation during war; a day of remembrance for those who gave it all so that we can have freedom in this country; the United States of America. And to those men and women; dare I say boys and girls who gave it all, we are grateful. This is a great country; a land filled with opportunities; praise be to God.  

But in having freedom in the USA, some of the freedoms that we get (at the expense of soldiers who died for this country) really aren't freedoms at all. Vices, etc are all "legal" in this country, but they are definitely not freedoms. Just because we are free to do something, does that make us free? 

Our nation, in pursuing freedom, has become a nation of disease, and immorality, and brokenness. Suicide runs rampant among our youth. In spite of all that we know, we as a nation continue to die of AIDS and venereal diseases. How is that really freedom? Is that what veterans gave their lives for?  
Homes continue to be broken by the “freedom” we have as a nation to throw away marriages, and kids, and all that should be valuable. If we are free to leave, shouldn’t we be also free to work things out?  
America has become a place of empty, idle amusement and frivolity. We have built cities dedicated to our freedoms; the most famous one we have dubbed as “Sin City” where we have the freedom to fulfill all of our lusts and feed our senses all with the promise that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”; including our innocence, faithfulness, purity, and our bank accounts. 

Each spring, in the name of freedom, our youth flee the safety of their homes (often with their parents’ blessing and money) to places like Cancun and New Orleans. These youth throw away their time in drunkenness, immorality; hoping to see or be seen by others for the price of a few strings of beads. “Hey, you’re not really going to distribute those photos you took, are you?”  

We built our whole entertainment industry on pushing the envelope, on breaking the barriers, bending the rules. No longer is “smut” a word we associate with something done in secret. “Porn” has become the norm because we have freedom. “Hey, maybe this video will make it big and I will be known!”  

Our freedom has produced dependency and imprisonment. America is covered with facilities to help us out of the bondages we are in as we walked our so called “freedoms”. How many shattered, abused lives do we need to go through before we stop this insanity? Christians, why do you continue to get caught up in this folly?  

The Apostle Paul wrote concerning this; “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1 Corinthians 6:12). 

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1) 

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)  

Jesus said: … "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." 33 They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, 'You will be made free'?" 34 Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:31-36) 

Have you had enough of what this world has to offer and want true freedom? 

Call 1-888-NEED HIM. Someone is waiting to talk with you