In just a few days on November 8 it will be election day. Many people have become disappointed, disillusioned or even outright disgusted at the Presidential Candidates running for office.
As I look at each candidate, I have seen and heard things that are very disturbing. The scandals, the name calling, law suits, FBI investigations and it just seems to keep coming. The bottom line is either Trump or Clinton will be elected into the most powerful office in the free world. How you and I vote will have consequences not just for the next four years but potentially this election will determine the future path of American policy for the next 30 years.
When you vote for the President in this election, you need to also look past the person who will be elected and look at the Republican and Democrat party platform. The party behind Trump and Clinton both have an agenda that will be pushed forward. One party wants to stop the killing of innocent unborn children being done through abortion and the other wants to remove all restrictions regarding limiting abortion. One party wants to see God given traditional marriage protected, while the other is in favor of removing all conventional husband and wife identity roles. How you vote, what party you support in place as President has consequences.
The next President will probably appoint 3 to 4 Supreme Court Justices who will then serve for the next three decades. The Supreme Court has the power to strike down any law or do redefine how they see any current legal matter. The choice of abortion was taken away from the individual states and determined to be the law of the land by the Supreme Court. The decision of same sex marriage, though voted down overwhelmingly by every state that voted on it, the Supreme Court made it the law of the land forcing every state to abide by their decision.
Your vote for President this coming Tuesday will have far reaching Consequences. Not just for the next four years but for the direction of this country for the next generation. The last election reports that over 25 million people who claim to be Christians did not vote. Not voting also has consequences. For the sake of America’s future please prayerfully consider the consequences of your decision on November 8th.
The month of June is filled with graduations and open houses. Life is a series of steps and graduating from one level to the next. Some may take steps toward college or tech school, some may pursue finding a job or entering into a career. But I have found no matter which path you travel that these three steps will bring you success.
1.Face Your Fears- One of the greatest hazards to success is fear. Because of fear, many people have missed taking another step that would allow them to graduate to the next level.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
There are very, very, many times that the Bible tells us not to fear. Almost always it is connected with God wanting to accomplish something in us and through us. Stepping into something new or different can be fearful if we try to do it alone. For those who will trust the Lord, God promises to give you strength and direction. The enemy of your soul will use fear to keep you from taking steps toward success. Face your fear in the name of Jesus and take that next step.
2.Forget Your Failures- Failure is not the end. Everyone has failed at something, at some point in their life. It is not if you fail but when you fail. To fail is part of life. It is how we learn and grow. Walking, talking, riding a bike. All of these were accomplished through of series of failure and success. There only way you can never fail is to never do anything.
“but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” Philippians 3:13.
Never allow failure to make you quit trying. Forget your failures and move on.
3.Follow Your Faith- If you want to have a successful life both now and for eternity you need to follow your faith and let nothing hold you down.
"Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith"
Pressures of life can become overwhelming.
Follow your faith.
There will be times when it seems no one really cares what is happening to you.
Follow your faith.
Voices will call out to you to quit, to go down a path you know is wrong.
Follow your faith.
Remember there is a path God has for you and to succeed you must follow your faith. Fix your eyes on Jesus as the only way of salvation. The bible as the only inspired word of God. And with meaning and with purpose follow your faith no matter what.
I have been asked by two atheist to respond to these remarks. So here is my short response to each statement. Just a reminder that an Atheist comes with a preconceived perception that there is no God and I come with the perception that there is a God, a Creator.
To make sure we are all on the same page when you refer to a Fundamentalist Christian by definition what you are saying is that a Fundamentalist believes in these 5 basic fundamental beliefs:
1. The inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture
2. The deity of Jesus Christ
3. The virgin birth of Christ
4. The substitutionary, atoning work of Christ on the cross
5. The physical resurrection and the personal bodily return of Christ to the earth.
These five beliefs are the fundamental beliefs of the overwhelming majority of all Christian Churches. …………………………………
Top Ten Signs You’re a Fundamentalist Christian
10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
There are thousands of gods claimed by other religions but there is only One True God. I don’t feel outraged you don’t believe in the One True God, I feel sadden because your eternal soul is at stake.
9 – You feel insulted and “dehumanized” when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
I have never felt insulted or dehumanized because someone else wants to believe that all life came from nothing, from inanimate substance into life and then all life came from this. I am amazed how much faith they have to choose to believe that over believing that there is a Creator who designed and put together all of creation. Intelligent design would be attributed to anything else that is as complex as our universe but atheist refuse to admit that it took more than natural evolution to take nothing and now have life.
8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God. Polytheists believe in many gods, whereas we believe in One True God who has revealed Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Not that far of a stretch. I am one person but I am also known as a father, a son and a husband and yet I am one.
7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in “Exodus” and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in “Joshua” including women, children, and trees!
First of all Allah is not God, never was God but is a selection made by Mohamed of what he thought was the most important, most powerful god of all the gods he was looking into. Any actions done by his followers are being done by those who are following a false god who in effect is demoniac in origin. The actions of God in the Old Testament that you refer to were severe. They were the results of entire people groups refusing to obey God, refusing to follow His commandments. God had created us for a special purpose and when that purpose was not being fulfilled does not the Creator have the choice then to make sure the rest of creation is not permanently marred. God chose Israel to be a people who would represent Him. After the coming of Christ, you see that God is now working through the message of the salvation that is available to all who will believe.
6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
The answer is too long for this but basically the Bible contains hundreds of prophecies given over thousands of years by dozens of different authors most of who never read the others writings but yet they all agree and point to a coming Messiah, a Savior. From the place of His birth, growing up, betrayal, execution, resurrection it was all foretold.
5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
There is no established age of the Earth. No scientist will say there is. No one but God knows exactly how old the Earth is. Believing in the Creator it is not hard to accept that He is able to create all things. When He created a tree during the six days of creation, it looked like a full grown mature tree but it was only one day old.
4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs — though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most “tolerant” and “loving.”
The majority of all Christian churches agree on 98% of the same beliefs. The few differences are usually more on the practice and not on the fundamentals of the faith such as listed earlier. There is only One True God and Jesus Himself said, “I am the truth, the life and the way. No man comes to the Father except through Me.” The way of salvation is only by believing and accepting Jesus. Period. Rival sects if they believe and accept Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation they will make heaven. Hell and suffering is where man is headed because of sin. Because of God’s love and mercy, He has provided the way to be saved from that destination. Man is already headed for Hell, God is trying to save him.
3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to “prove” Christianity.
"Some idiot rolling around", wow how condescending you are. Those actions you describe don’t provide any evidence what so ever to proving Christianity. A true, mature Christian is a follower of Christ. One “proves” Christianity by their character, integrity and desire to obey the plan and purpose God has shown us.
2 – You define 0.01% as a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
Don’t know where you pulled that figure out of the air but I have seen answered prayer, miraculous answers many times.
1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.
Being a Christian is not based on knowledge of church history or even the Bible. To call yourself a Christian is to say that you have believed and accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. It is not based on works or religion but on a personal relationship with your Creator.
Let me tell you what lead up to that darkest day.
In June on a warm summer day I married my high school sweetheart. We were so much in love, so excited about the future.
I already a good job and an apartment and together we started our new life. In just a few months we received the news that we were going to have a baby. Christmas took on a new perspective as we celebrated the birth of Christ we began looking forward to the birth of our own child.
We began to stock up diapers, bottles and all the things that will be needed to bring a baby into your family. The future looked bright as we planned together for this new little life that would soon arrive. That bright future turned very dark in just a few short hours.
At seven months into the pregnancy something went terribly wrong. There was blood and water and excruciating pain. We quickly made a panic filled drive to the emergency room. My wife was rushed away and I felt a fear that I had never experienced in my life. My wife was dying along with my unborn child.
The medical staff was doing everything that could be done but this was not going to be a day filled with sunshine but one that would become the darkest day of our life. The doctor walked into the waiting room to inform me that they had done all that could be done. That they could not stop the labor and that my wife had given birth to a very small premature baby boy. My wife was going to be okay but the baby although alive at the moment would not survive.
I entered the room to be with my wife and they brought that little tiny bundle wrapped in a blanket and placed him in her arms. We named him Jason and for just a few short hours we held our first born son. That day of his birth that we had so looked forward to had now become the darkest day of our life.
We have faith in the resurrection and know that our son went directly to heaven.
On that day when God watched His Son die on the cross darkness also covered the earth for three hours. The penalty of sin was death and only through accepting Jesus Christ as Lord will anyone see heaven. What gives me hope is knowing that God knows my pain, and offers His amazing comfort that can only be found in Him. Only Jesus can bring hope and healing into your darkest day.
On January 22, 1973 the United States Supreme Court struck down every state law nationwide that restricted abortions. Through that decision a door was open that made abortion on demand for any reason throughout all nine months of pregnancy the law of the land. For 43 years abortion has been a legal right that has resulted in the deaths of over 57 million innocent unborn children.
Many religious people consider this to be a political issue while many politicians consider this to be a religious issue. I want to mention that according to what the Bible says, it seems that God also has something to say about this issue.
In Deuteronomy 30:19 the people are encouraged to make a choice. “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”
In 1984 President Ronald Regan established Sanctity of Life Sunday as the third Sunday in January to coincide with the anniversary of the infamous decision made by the Supreme Court. Why the sanctity of human life?
-We Are Created In God’s Image
In Genesis we read that God created man in His image and breathed into him the breath of life. Man is not just another animal but a unique creation of God that not only was made in His image but received the breath of God to receive life.
-God Has A Plan For Your Life
Psalm 139 tells us that God saw us being formed in our mother’s womb and from the moment of conception God had a plan for our life. Ephesians mentions that we are God’s workmanship or masterpiece and that He has things planned for us to do.
When God says to “Choose Life” it means that we are to trust God’s Word as being true.
Proverbs 6:17 tells us that God considers hands that shed innocent blood as being something He hates.
How much more innocent can you be than to be an innocent unborn baby? God does not hate the sinner but God does hate the sin. God wants us to “Choose Life”. To truly “Choose Life” is to choose to accept Jesus Christ as “the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
How can a person really
“Choose Life”? You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land
(Deuteronomy 30:20). If you have been wounded by abortion or any other sin God offers forgiveness and healing through Jesus Christ. God loves you and wants you to “Choose Life”.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
God has revealed in is Word that He has divine plans for you and me. Many of the troubles that we encounter in this life happen because we either don’t know God’s plan or we have chosen to ignore God’s plan, thinking that we have a better one. Let me share one of the areas that God has revealed the plans He has for us, plans for good, plans to give you a future and a hope.
God has a plan for your Spiritual Life. Jesus revealed this plan very clearly when He said “You must be born again”. No amount of good deeds, no religious affiliation can put you in right standing with God. Only being born again spiritually can accomplish this. Jesus went on to say, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man can come to the Father except through Me.” God’s plan to provide salvation for you and me is only by and through Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul explained it by saying, “If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord you will be saved.”
This is the most important part of God’s plan for your life. If you don’t understand and accept this part of God’s plan none of the rest really matters. Accepting or rejecting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior will determine where you will spend eternity.
There really is a heaven and there really is a hell. Because of sin every man is condemned already. God’s plan of redemption is a good plan that gives us a future and a hope.
Notice that this plan God has for your Spiritual Life is focused on you and I accepting God’s plan of salvation which is completely dependent on accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Finding a good Bible believing church is important but that can’t save you. Being a good moral person is something we all should strive for but that can’t save you. Giving to the poor is commendable but that does not open heaven for you. God’s plan is for you to accept His Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. This is the only way to be born again spiritually and begin your new life with God.
The word hypocrite as used in the Bible is a term that comes from ancient Greek theater, where one actor would often play two parts. When saying something humorous, he would hold up a mask with a smiley face; when playing a tragic part, he would hold up a mask with a sad face. A good actor could imitate the speech, mannerisms, and conduct of the character he was portraying. The word literally means, “One who hides behind a mask.”
Real Christians Are Forgiven Sinners. There’s a difference between being a sinner and being a hypocrite.
1 John 1:8 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
A hypocrite, or one who wears a mask, claims to be free from faults. A Christian, on the other hand, freely admits the fact that he or she is a sinner.
The next verse, 1 John 1:9 describes the difference between a hypocrite and an honest sinner:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
A forgiven sinner consistently seeks cleansing from sin.
The real church is not a meeting place of super saints but a hospital for sick and hurting sinners. To keep from being a hypocrite be quick to admit that you are a sinner who needs forgiveness.
Since Christians are not perfect, it follows that churches are not full of perfect people. That’s one of the things I like about New Hope Community Church. We’re a church full of forgiven failures. We are the perfect place for imperfect people.
Real Christians Are Not What They Used To Be. Some of you may look at a Christian and wonder why they behave a certain way. Instead of focusing on how far people fall short, why not think about how far they’ve come?
Real Christians Are Becoming What They Will Be. A real Christian will become perfect one day. That perfection will not be complete until we are with Christ.
What’s the difference between being a Christian who still messes up from time to time and being a hypocrite? A Christian who still messes up, who falls and sins will admit that they have sinned. They will be quick to ask for forgiveness. They will desire for the Lord to continue to complete the good work that He is doing in their life. A hypocrite will put the mask on and pretend like everything is okay when they know that they are sinning put won’t admit it.
In a community that has over 30 churches people often ask why so many different churches. Of course the people who attend these different churches all have reasons why they think that their particular church is unique. Some churches have a long established history in this community such as Crossroads United Brethren Church that just celebrated 150 years of ministry in this community. That is quite impressive seeing that the city of Charlotte is just 152 years old. Then you have several smaller churches that have begun in a home or a rented building that are only a few years old.
New Hope Community Church falls in between with our church being 42 years old. One of my goals has been to connect with other pastors and churches in our city who have a similar vision to reach the lost and hurting.
For many years as I was trying to make this connection I kept running into more of a spirit of competition than cooperation. Many churches would not become involved in activities with other believers unless it was going to directly benefit their own church. I had pastors refuse to become involved unless the activity was happening at their church or they had to be the keynote speaker.
Let me say that in the last few years I have seen a greater spirit of cooperation than ever before. Several pastors from this community have been meeting together on a weekly basis for several months to pray, to plan and to believe that God wants to see the lost saved and the hurting healed. They are believing for a spiritual revival to sweep through this community that will change lives and entire families for eternity.
How did this change come about? We began to focus on what we do agree on, such as these basic beliefs:
-There is One True God who has revealed Himself as God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
-The Bible is the inspired word of God and that only is what we use for doctrine.
-That the only way of salvation is through believing and accepting Jesus Christ by faith. That Jesus was crucified, died for our sins, was buried and rose bodily from the grave three days later and then ascended to the Father.
-That Jesus is coming again and that both the righteousness and the unbelievers will receive rewards. The righteous everlasting life with God, the unbelievers everlasting life in torment.
Together these fellow pastors are praying that the true church of born again believers will have one voice that will point the lost and the hurting to find salvation and healing in Jesus Christ.
“Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” John 12:42-43
How will you live your life? Will you live your life for the praise of men
or for the praise of God? When Jesus
was speaking here this was the climax of three years
of teaching, healing, miracles and we read that many
believed in Him but they did not confess Him.
Let me make it very clear that you can believe in Christ and not be a Christian. You can believe in Jesus Christ but not be saved. We just read that many believed but they would not confess Him for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
“You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe and tremble!” James 2:19.
There is more to being a Christian than just saying you believe. To believe is something that you can just keep to yourself. Many wrongly think that your relationship with God is something that you keep to yourself. The Word of God never teaches this. Here is what Jesus said
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32-33.
Tithing is an outward confession that God has your heart. Jesus said where your heart is so is your treasure. When a person is tithing it is a public confession that God has first place in your life.
How can we confess the Lord in our life?
-Repent and be baptized.
On the Day of Pentecost when Peter was asked what shall we do? His answer was
“Repent and let everyone of you be baptized” Acts 2:38.
-By how we walk and how we talk.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (NLT).
Thoughts become words and words become actions. How you walk and talk plays a huge part in confessing Christ.
Bravely live for Him!
I grew up in a home that never prayed before a meal, never prayed before going to sleep, never once as a family did we attend church. My parents were good people and lived their lives in a way that most would consider upright and moral. But Christ was not a part of our home or upbringing. We were not anti-church or Christ it was just not a part of our life.
When Christmas came as a very small child we did the Santa Claus thing. Pictures with Santa, the gifts under the tree came from Santa. We even left out cookies and something to drink for Santa when he came by to drop off the gifts Christmas eve while we slept. But Christmas was Christ-less. It seems like there may have been some angels as part of the decorations, snowmen, elves, mistletoe and such but there was no Christ in Christmas.
I remember as a child around 10-12 years old, watching the Peanuts Christmas Special with Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the whole gang. Linus gets up on the stage and proceeds to share a portion right out of the bible Luke chapter 2.
Linus says To Charlie Brown,
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night, and lo the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid, and the angel said unto them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, it is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
The words of Linus, the Word of God touched something in my child’s heart. There was something more to Christmas than all the glitter, the tree, the presents. I still didn’t really know what it was but I knew something was missing from Christmas. It would be many more Christmas’s before I came to realize that for my entire life I had celebrated a Christ-less Christmas.
I know that this has become a cliche' but, “Jesus is the reason for the season”. Christmas is about celebrating that God sent us a Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. This is the gift of God that I pray you will receive and make a part of your life now and for the entire year.