In Part 4--the final part of the this message titled "Passing Through The Fire"--I encourage us all to endure the inevitable persecution of followers of Jesus to the end--because it's worth it!
In 2 Corinthians 12:10, Paul says…
Here's part 3 of my message "Passing Through The Fire". It's a message that I've preached many times in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, but never in America. I believe in the days to come, its message will become an important one for followers of Jesus in the West. Acts 8:1 says…
I've preached this message many times in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, but I've never shared it in the West--until now! Here is part 2 of my message titled "Passing Through The Fire"...
In Luke 21:12-19, Jesus gives us an extended speech about what disciples living in these end times of ours can expect:
I've preached this message in Asia, Africa and the Middle East at our Christian Leader's Conferences for years, but I've never preached it or even shared it in the Western World yet. It's a long message, so I'll split it up into several parts. This is part 1. I believe that now is the time to share...It's called "Passing Through The Fire".
I just finished watching the movie “Silence”, and wanted to share some of my thoughts. It’s a story about the severe, real-life persecution of Japanese Christians in the 1600s. I’ve never before seen a movie come out of Hollywood that was completely focused on the persecution and martyrdom of sincere followers of Jesus.
If you’re anything like me, lately you’ve been accused of being a bigot, prejudiced and a person who uses hate speech. Why? Because, since I’m a follower of Jesus and someone who believes in the Bible, I sometimes express that sexual activity is meant to remain within the confines of traditional marriage. Anything outside of that is sin, and needs to be repented of and struggled against.
No, this is not a post about parenting. It's rather a post about sin and Hell—remember what those things are? You may very well not, if you've been a faithful church attender for the past few decades. You may very well not, because for the past few decades very little has been preached about sin and Hell in the churches of the Western world. And that reality has led to some pretty disastrous results, hasn't it?
Persecution is coming for believers in the West.
And that may not be a bad thing.
Ever since Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity way back when (313 A.D., to be exact!), life has been pretty good for followers of Jesus Christ in the Western world. Relatively good, at least compared to much of the rest of the world.
One day in Western Europe, around 1960, the Devil was feeling very frustrated. You see, he had been struggling with a problem that had plagued him for a while: He wanted people to be able to have sex, but he didn’t want them to have all the commitments of marriage. Then he had a bright idea: If he could change peoples’ minds about the importance of marriage, and reserving sex for marriage, he could get what he wanted. But how would he do that? The answer: Step by step. Gradually.
When I heard last month that Josh Duggar was unfaithful to his wife, I was grieved, but not surprised. It’s not that I had any suspicions about the sincerity of his faith. Quite the contrary! In fact a friend of mine grew up near Josh and his family, and has informed me about the sincerity of his faith. No, I was not surprised, simply because followers of Jesus are not perfect, just forgiven. We are human. And this side of Heaven, even with Jesus in our lives, humans like you and I and Josh Duggar still sin.
As most of you know, the past few months in America—a time frame that roughly coincides with the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage and Bruce Jenner’s much-publicized transformation from a man to a “woman”—there’s been a new trend coming to a university campus near you. Actually, it’s not just confined to university campuses either—it’s becoming trendy in your local public schools too!
It’s harvest time!
I’m writing this in mid-August, during the dog days of summer. I remember that when I was growing up as a little boy, in August we always made our annual trek out east from Calgary, where I grew up, to Saskatchewan—the bread basket of Canada. My grandparents and uncles farmed—and still do farm—a ridiculously large amount of land out there—tens of thousands of acres—and every summer, right about now, I would have the privilege of spending time out there. It was exciting. It was busy.
Friends and family, I write today with a deep sense of responsibility. Please let me share with you something I believe is one of the most important issues facing us today. I know this message is rather lengthy, but I beg of you to read it carefully.
Many of you, I am sure, are at least somewhat familiar with the issues revolving around the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Others may not know very much at all. Indeed, I am no expert...
…is because I want to see as many people go to Heaven as possible. There’s your answer! In fact, if the only reason you wanted to read this blog post was to find out my answer, you can stop reading right now.
On the other hand, though…If you did have a few minutes to spare, I’d read on, because even though the suspense may be over, the reason for my answer can really help you as you wade through the quagmire of what has become the moral decline of Western civilization.
In less than a century, three large-scale movements have threatened to destroy the world as we know it. And all 3 of them were based on a book.
So, for my daily devotion time today I read 1 Kings 8. Great chapter! Solomon had just finished building the Temple. And as he was dedicating it--and making a TON of sacrifices—he prayed something remarkable--and often overlooked--in front of a huge crowd of people...
It hit me today that I haven’t heard the word “chastity” mentioned in the national media lately. And by lately I mean, since the ‘90s! Have you?
Probably the closest I remember is years ago when Tim Tebow was still playing football and Lolo Jones was still running hurdles. Since both of them are vocal about their Christianity—and also about their intent to remain virgins till they’re married—the national media speculated about how they’d be perfect for each other. But man, how could they survive without sex before marriage?
Now, right from the git-go I need to make it clear that I am using the collective “we” here. My marriage is healthy and happy, thank you very much! 27 years in and I’m still rejoicing with the wife of my youth, as the Good Book tells us to do. Challenges to work through over the years? Yes, but that’s to be expected. But no affairs or anything remotely catastrophic—not even close—thank you, Jesus!
So by “we” I really mean North American culture generally and the Body of Christ specifically. Since I’m a part of both, I’ll lump myself in with most of the rest of you reading this...
I write this with a sort of heaviness and seriousness. As I observe the Church and the Christian community by which I am surrounded, I have noticed a serious problem. Though there are (probably many) exceptions, it is obvious that the modern western church has consistently neglected the Christian teaching on suffering. Popular Christianity in the West seems to have almost completely ignored this fundamental biblical theme.