Aug 27, 2010

Created for Good Works

Last week, Cathy and I were able to spend some time at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

The Library features multimedia displays and re-creations of historic moments in Billy Graham's life and ministry from the 1940s to the present (more than sixty years!). The exhibits show how God prepared and used Billy Graham to take the message of everlasting life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to the world.

I was excited to see this library partially because the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) has always had a connection with the area of Minnesota where I live. I had also had some personal connections over the years with BGEA: “Decision Magazine” was one of the first Christian publications that I read as a young Christian. I have attended BGEA School of Evangelism. In 1996 I was one of the Supervisors and Captains for the BGEA Crusade.  I always enjoy listening to Billy preach along with Cliff Barrows and George Beverly Shea.

I was moved as we walked from vignette to vignette showing the life of Billy and Ruth Graham; as well as others connected with his ministry. I was moved as I watched how one person’s life could have such an impact on so many people throughout the world; from kings and presidents to paupers and poets.

I was moved as I listened to his humility and incredible focus to remain consistent in his delivery of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What a great man! Billy Graham was a man who knew that he was created for good works.

Because he knew that he was created for good works, Billy Graham was a man, a minister, who kept his nose clean and was known and loved by Christians and non-Christians around the world. It was his conduct (by God’s grace) that was a hallmark of his ministry. Even my neighbors (who don’t go to church) have told me that this was the hallmark they saw in the life of Billy Graham.

The Apostle Peter said that we should live Godly lives among those around us; at all times. “having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”(1Peter 2:12).

I became convicted that I, too, was created for good works, and I had wasted some of those years being content with what I HAD done, instead of going for more of God.

I was moved to tears as I compared my life with Billy Graham’s. I want to state for the record that Billy Graham is a man who has been saved by God’s grace alone; And Billy too would agree that it is Jesus Christ who is the standard for our lives; not Billy Graham.  

After I went through the library, I went to the prayer room to re-dedicate my life to be used however God chose to use me. Amazingly, only a few hours and a flight delay later; I was sitting next to a woman on an airplane who had recently returned to following the Lord. We had a wonderful 2 ½ hour flight as I heard her heart as she was discovering the Father’s love all over again. When I returned home, I had several preaching invites and ministry opportunities; I believe that God was confirming to me once again that I was created in Christ Jesus for good works.

Do you know that you were created for good works? 

The Apostle Paul wrote in one of his letters to the early church; “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

The first step is committing your life to God through Jesus Christ; you can do that right now.

Simply put; “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)

If you’ve already done that, my suggestion (not a formula) would be to get alone and ask God to use you once again as you surrender for His purposes for your life. 

Get ready; God has prepared some good works for you to walk in.

If you get the chance to go to Charlotte, be sure to add this to your places to visit. It is located just a stone’s throw from BGEA offices.

For info on BGEA Library:

Aug 20, 2010

Mighty Warrior

I feel the need to state upfront that I am not really a “paramilitary” person, nor have I ever been a part of the armed forces; I wasn’t even a boy scout. I grew up in a generation that for the most part looked down upon anyone who had anything to do with the military; mostly due to the mishandling of the Vietnam War. During the mid-seventies, my short-term fix (should I have been drafted) would have been to go to Canada and make sure that I was being taken care of, after all, I was free to do what I wanted.

I admit that this mentality was wrong and that I was self-focused and self-serving. Freedom isn’t free; on the contrary is has been paid for sacrificially by men and women; dare I say boys and girls, who chose to lay down their time and some their lives. Everyone who has ever served in the military paid for my freedom to reject any participation in the military service. To each of you reading this who have been or are currently in the military (in one branch or another), I say a long overdue; “Thank you” for paying for my freedoms I receive as an citizen of the United States of America.

My mind has been thinking about the military today partially because this week I attended the graduation ceremonies for my oldest son Jonathan, who (at age 28 ½) graduated from basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. I am now the father of a soldier. Jonathan will continue to pursue his training as an officer and serve as a soldier in the National Guard. I am very proud of my son Jonathan for following a dream that he has since he was ten years old; to be a soldier.   

While at the Fort I saw a plaque that caught my attention. It said; “EVERY SOLIDER IS A WARRIOR”.   

Written below that phrase were the following bullet points:
     • NEVER QUIT.

Surrounding the plaque were seven values:
  1. LOYALTY. Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Army, Army Acquisition Corps, Acquisition Support Center and our Soldiers
  2. DUTY. Fulfill your moral obligations to the best of your ability each and every day
  3. RESPECT. Treat other people as you yourself want to be treated — with dignity and respect
  4. SELFLESS SERVICE. Put the welfare of the Nation, the Army and the Soldiers you support before your own
  5. HONOR. Live up to all the Army Values. Be honest, truthful and sincere in all of your actions
  6. INTEGRITY. Do what's right, legally and morally, in both word and deed
  7. PERSONAL COURAGE. Face fear, danger or adversity (physical or moral). Do what you know is right
Powerful words that caused me to ponder; “What if Christians followed each of these statements throughout their daily lives; would it make a difference?”

What if Christians followed each of these statements on the aforementioned plaque throughout their daily lives; what difference would it make? Read the values and make the translation into how we as Christians should live; I think that you can see the application. These are values that WE as Christians should be living as an example of what it means to be a Christian; a “follower of Christ”.

Jesus, the ultimate Mighty Warrior said; “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:29)

The Apostle Paul wrote: “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” (2 Timothy 2:3-5)

How about you; Are you simply tired of fighting battles in your life with seemingly no results? Do you wish that you were a part of a larger “army” of people who would be willing to come along side of you and fight for you and watch your back?

The Bible says that when we surrendered our lives to His Lordship, we become a member of the family of God; the Body of Christ. Have you ever surrendered your life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Listen my friend; you can be a part of this great “army” today by simply:

Go to the following link at

Or drop me an email.

Mighty Warrior Lyrics and Music by Debbye Graafsma
Mighty Warrior, dressed for battle
Holy Lord of all is He
Commander in chief, bring us to attention
Lead us into battle to crush the enemy

Satan has no authority in this place
he has no authority here
For this habitation
Was fashioned for the Lord’s presence
No authority here

Jesus has all authority in this place
He has all authority here
For this habitation
Was fashioned for the Lord’s presence
No authority here

Aug 13, 2010


As recorded by the band “LUST CONTROL” (Gene, Butch, Bradford, Bob) From the album “Fun Fun Feeling” copyright Blonde Vinyl Records

I thought about it,
Dreamed about it for a long time.
It filled my mind,
and finally that happy day came,
When I couldn't just think.
I had to act,
So my girl-friend and I, we, well,
well, you know.
It felt so good
Fun, fun, fun,
fun, fun, fun!

Goin' to Hell is a fun, fun feeling
Goin' to Hell is a fun, fun feeling
Goin' to Hell is a fun, fun feeling
It feels so good!

I wondered if I should try it,
so one day I finally did.
Just one puff at first,
then another and another.
The joint did wild things to my mind,
and everything was funny and,
It felt so good.
Fun, fun, fun,
fun, fun, fun!

Goin' to Hell is a fun, fun feeling
Goin' to Hell is a fun, fun feeling
Goin' to Hell is a fun, fun feeling
It feels so good!

I always wanted to be Jesse James
to take what I want when I want.
My friends and I finally got our act together
and one night we knocked off a 7-11,
with guns and everything!
We got all kinds of cool stuff,
it felt so good.
Fun, fun, fun,
fun, fun, fun!

Goin' to Hell is a fun, fun feeling
Goin' to Hell is a fun, fun feeling
Goin' to Hell is a fun, fun feeling
It feels so good!

I didn't mean to get her pregnant.
We got an abortion,

The grass led to coke and then to heroin.
I sold my body for the next fix.
I slept shaking in the gutter every night,

I warned the cashier that I had a gun.
He forced me to use it!
And now I'm on death row,
waiting for midnight...

Fun, FUN! FUN!?!

Somebody lied to me.

It was a LIE!!!

"7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." (Galatians 6:7-8 )
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
"And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:17)

Aug 6, 2010

“I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up”

We’ve all seen the commercial: A dramatization of an elderly woman, who appears to be all alone, lying on her living room floor with no one to help her; crying out; “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

The commercial is for a medical alarm and protection company. The company provides a monitor that can be activated to call a dispatch service for help when someone who has fallen is unable to reach a phone. These type companies can help provide peace of mind for elderly people who live alone.

And then, as if to add validity, the former Attorney General of the United States of America comes on to let us know that he, too, has subscribed to this service provider. 

You can tell how old you are based upon how you respond to that commercial. If you are young, you probably respond with laughter at the corniness of the commercial. If you are older, you probably get upset; because you can’t find paper and pen to write down the number... hey where are my glasses??

So, what do you do when you have fallen and you can’t get up? Who do you call out to when you are all alone and can’t get yourself back up? Do you have a monitor that can be activated to call a dispatch service for help when you have fallen and are unable to reach a phone? 

Do you have a company that can help provide peace of mind for you when you have fallen? Where do you turn? Who do you call out to? If you look to yourself, there is probably a pretty good chance that you will fall once again. Proverbs 26:11 says; “As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly.” 

That may sound judgmental, but I’m writing this for all of us. Don’t be deceived and think that because you are a Christian you can’t or won’t fall. That’s why it shouldn’t surprise us to hear of a Christian falling; sadden us (yes!), but not surprise us. NONE of us are pre-destined to be without sin. And that is precisely why we need Jesus Christ. HE is the “Author and Finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). 

Simply put, all of us are prone to wander; that’s correct, I said ALL of us. We, like sheep (metaphorically), see a piece of grass and head off the wrong way. The Bible says; “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6). 

God and God alone is the One we need to turn to when we have fallen and can’t get up. Not some “self-help” or saying some formulated set of religious sayings. When we’ve blown it and fallen, we need to look to Our Heavenly Father thru Jesus Christ to get us up once again.  

Jesse Ventura was quoted ten years ago or so as saying; “Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers.” Personally, I think that Christianity is more like a “stretcher”. With crutches you are able to hobble around. With a stretcher, you are dependent on someone else to pick you up.

Don’t believe for a minute when you fall that you are able to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”. We are saved by God’s grace and His grace ALONE! (Ephesians 2:8). Jesus Christ is called “Savior” because that is what He did when He died on the cross.

When you study the life of the Apostle Paul in the Bible, you will notice that when he first became a Christian he called himself a “Pharisee” and “blameless” (Philippians 3:5-6). But as he grew older in the Lord he called himself the “chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).

In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Rome he writes; “18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. … v 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:18-19, & 24-25)

The older I get and the more I realize the depravity and wanderings of my own heart, the more I appreciate just how good God’s mercy is. Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”

On this I take my stand when I have fallen. How about you?

I'm forever grateful Written by Mark Altrogge
You did not wait for me
to draw near to You
But You clothed Yourself
with frail humanity

You did not wait for me
to cry out to You
But You let me hear Your Voice
calling me

And I'm Forever Grateful to You
I'm Forever Grateful for The Cross
I'm Forever Grateful to You
That You came to seek and save the lost

(repeat all)

That You came to seek and save the lost