Monday, October 26, 2009

Who Will Go? Who Will Send?

Who will go for it? Who will send em where they need to serve?

I love the Lord and I love missions! How about you? Wanna hear some very beautiful words: "They sent them away." Wanna have ..or see some beautiful feet? Listen, this is not the day when churches in the West should stop sending out on-fire missionaries!

Jesus said "Go" how can we say "No"?

Western churches aiming to send money only and not Christians is an unbiblical and bad idea. It sounds like "God's calling me to go, but He won't mind if I just send cash in my place." That might salve your guilty conscience for awhile but why miss out? It kinda sounds like "Let the National's blood be shed on that foreign dirt and not ours, but hey, we'll support em all the way!" Ask what He would have you do? Why not pray: "Here am I! Send me."

I love it that so many wonderful Christians are boldly sharing their faith using social networks, emails, websites, cell phones etc, but we all must remember that none of this high tech stuff (fishing tools) should replace God-called Christians from actually going to unbelievers in foreign lands to serve them, to witness and to plant viable Christian churches that will love and minister to the people. We've got to remember that many people still don't have an email inbox ..or a computer for that matter, or speak our language (I should talk, cuz I'm guilty of foisting my English and Danglish on people for years). But it's only right for some of us to go be with them where they live and then learn their language. it's only right for our churches to send strong consistent believers! They've got to see Christ's love and practical ways lived out before them and for some hearers it could take a couple years before they finally trust Christ. Yes, I've seen this in lands like Switzerland where a pastor or Christian must earn the right to be heard. You know, I've been seeing so called "cyber-churches" popping up and I feel really excited about those involved who have a heart to spread the Gospel to as many as possible while we still have time. But starting twitter churches etc (which I am not slighting at all..) is not something any of us should do to replace churches being planted at home and overseas. We are the Church and we need to gather together to encourage and help each other. Fellowship needs to happen face to face and heart to heart a lot as well as adding in the cool supplemental online edification that we've been experiencing!

Did ya know that at the beginning of the 20th century, about 71% of all professing Christians in the whole world.. lived in Europe? It's true. Did ya know that by the end of the 20th century, that number had shrunk down to only 28%? Yup, and approximately 43% of all Christians now live in Latin America and in Africa. i

Did you know that in the year 1900, Africa had ten million Christians living there, which was about 10% of the world's population? By the year 2000, the number of real Christians was 360 million, which is about half the population of the entire continent. This was probably the largest shift in spiritual affiliation that has ever occurred on this planet, anywhere. ii

Did you know that the number of practicing Christians in China right now is approaching the same number that is here in the USA? It's true! iii

Did you know that there are more Presbyterians currently in church in Ghana than there are in all of Scotland? And Scotland is known for having had great preachers.  

Did you know that last Sunday.. more believers attended church in China than in all of so-called Christian Europe (Tactful gracious Muslim evangelism needs to be happening in the EU more and more).

Did ya know that Kenya has more Christians in churches on Sunday than Canada does.. or that more believers already worship together in Nagaland than they do in Norway? It's true, and more righteous fishers of men, women, boys and of girls from Brazil are now active in cross cultural ministry outside of their own homeland than there are from Great Britain or from Canada. Astounding and cool huh! In the Southern part of the world, the churches are increasingly sending believers out in faith. iv

Mark Noll has said, "The Christian church has experienced a larger geographical redistribution in the last fifty years than in any comparable period in its history, with the exception of the very earliest years of church history."  Any of us on any given day can easily become so distracted by our particular social events (big deal), concerts, sports n movie stars, getting the next iPod, video game or larger flat screen TV but here are some more stats that might help bring us to put what's really important in proper perspective:

The Need - More Missions Factoids

• Of the 16,344 people groups by country, 6,639 are still considered unreached.
• 9,705 people groups by country are not considered Least-Reached, totaling 3,957,919,000 individuals, or about 59% of the world's population.
• Of the 16,344 total people groups, 6,639 are identified as Least-Reached using Joshua Project criteria, totaling 2,743,659,000 individuals. Of these 6,639 groups, 5,186 are in 10/40 Window countries. That means 78% of all unreached people groups are in the 10/40 Window.
• 1,453 of the Least-Reached groups are NOT in the 10/40 Window, totaling 350,125,000 individuals. These groups are relatively accessible to the Good News of the Gospel.
• Of the 6,639 Least-Reached people groups, about 3,457 (52%) are small groups under 10,000 in population (or population unknown) and all these groups total less than 8,000,000 individuals. Of the remaining 3,182 least-reached groups, about 1,290 are under 50,000 in population. That leaves 1,892 Least-Reached groups 50,000 and over in population. A vibrant church in a large group may take the gospel to a number of smaller satellite people groups that have ethnic similarities. ivb

So what is your part to play in the global arena (actually not to play with, but to take seriously..) in helping to bring about closure on Christ's Great Commission? The Lord of the harvest can still direct each one of us and this is way thrilling to say the least! In fact it makes me think about what that great contemporary theologian, Larry the Cable Guy, always says, "Let's geter done!" 

i.)                   Dana Robert, "Shifting Southward; Global Christianity Since 1945" in International Bulletin of Missionary Research, April, 2000, Vol. 24, No. 2, p. 50.
ii.)                  Philip Jenkins, "Believing in the Global South" in First Things, December, 2006, No. 168, p. 13.
iii.)                Mark Noll, The New Shape of World Christianity, p. 10. The remainder of these statistics are from Noll's book.
iv.)                Ibid. p. 20, p. 21 and ivb

*Basic prerequisites for Christian missions involvement? 1) Be saved.. for real, 2) live a holy spiritual life, 3) Stay connected to a sound Christ honoring, Bible teaching church, 4) Be "sent" rather than "went" (some anxious Christians find it too difficult to wait for God's perfect timing and way in all this (ya know, getting the details of "how to" from Him), so they leave prematurely.. to the hurt of their families and others)!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wanna Finish Well? Sure You Do!

As two very ordinary peeps living in a big city, Liney and I have been doing lots of ordinary practical things lately. We're doing real well, just mainly tending to the basic things of maintaining life as we continue to pursue an ongoing joyous relationship with our extraordinary wonderful Savior. He makes life exciting even when it's fairly simple. These days we seem to be enjoying Him more and more in the little things that many people might find mundane or routine. He is there near you as well and cares. It's been an interesting adventure for us at times. Can hardly wait to see what He has in store next! How has life been for you lately?

We have received a few invitations to come minister overseas (still trying to figure out how to make it all work with our schedules etc. Really wanna go and give but do still need some prayer for that stuff to happen). When, the Lord wants us to go somewhere ..which has required some foot-work and planning in the past.. He always seems to work out the details for us and we've always felt so radically thankful when He has done that. Is it on our minds and in our prayers as well as those old friends we have there? You know it well as being a good witness now, right here with our neighbors is! Liney loves to go visit people down the block here too and she often takes me and the dog along with her.  

We've had a few wonderful guests come over to our house to visit us recently, and last night after my great friend named Mike took off, we pretty much finished off putting in some oak wood stairs at our house.. which is kind of like therapy almost. That's some simple fun for sure! I love working with wood and building stuff, but I'm not much of a carpenter to tell the truth.

Liney is very creative though and she is.. every month ..working hard and busy baking beautiful wedding and birthday cakes.. cookies and pies for all kinds of people she knows. Many of them are her coworkers at the Cooper Clinic. She also loves working out in the garden a lot and even gets me busy with her. Did I tell you about the beautiful purple leaf ash tree I planted. The leaves are just now changing color!

I do miss seeing my folks and relatives.. again ..and seeing the Pacific Ocean out West where I grew up. Gotta get out to California again. There's so many healthy, exciting churches and creative easy going friends out there too.

Just happened to meet the singer, John Legend, today (a friend just told me about him cuz sadly.. I didn't know who he was or how talented he is as I was talking with him), who is here in town with former Dallas Cowboy running back Tony Dorsett (a real nice semi-short guy with a humorous and not so short self image. I've had the privilege to talk with him a couple times over the years - used to take care of his FAST Porsche in the '80s when I was a hard working Bible student) and with Martin Luther King III (who literally had four undercover Dallas police bodyguards with him). Mr. King is of course the eldest son of the famous civil rights leader that I'm sure you've seen films about. It's pretty interesting for me to read about his son's  upbringing in Vine City, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. I wonder what it was like back in those days of protesting and so much racial tension. There's sadly still to much of that around in the South, but I tell people here how Jesus is the real solution for racial reconciliation. Heaven will soon be such a wonderful place for people of every background and we each can all choose to enjoy a foretaste of that glory and harmony here as we walk close with Christ. I admit I don't know much of what Mr. King III lives for or believes in I much read on some to find out. But did you know he was only ten years old when his dear father was tragically assassinated for his convictions of equality for all? What a very sad day in America when we lost him!

Anyways, these guys just took off for the game at the new Cowboy Stadium. The "Boys" are playing the Atlanta Falcons today and they, minus Mr Dorsett, being from Atlanta.. are zealous Falcon fans. We know the Cowboys even with lots of room for improvement will pull off a win though.

Wish I could be there with friends to watch that game today but parking is now $75 per car (Jerry has to pay for that building somehow). Maybe I'll see a little of it on TV later on. Of course Liney only pulls for the Denver Broncos, so she won't even be watching the game at home. She is currently staining the wood we laid down ..with a smile on. Now what do you enjoy watching and what are you up to? Do you like watching or playing football? My dad a former coach, who is a real committed UCLA Bruins fan, only likes to watch college football these days (they went to a Tea Party in LA today). How about you, are you a fan of a certain team this year? Do you like Tea Parties, wood work or gardening? 

Enough of my rambling on about all that. Here's a new devo I just did for ya and I pray that it will somehow uplift and really minister to you…

Finish Well!

Not enough is said these days about cultivating Christian character, about knowing the Lord intimately during a times of suffering (not that we should seek or desire suffering), about Hell and how to avoid it, about future judgment of the wicked ..(that we could help today if they became willing), about our battle against the fleshly nature and temptation.. about full no-compromise commitment and inner purity, about true love, about the beautiful Person and personality of Jesus Christ and about FINISHING WELL in Him. I love to be in the Lord and talk about getting things in order with Him! I love to discuss topics like these that are neglected by the Church and even unpopular ..that even get me in vigorous debate or in hot water with angry people at times. It keeps life fresh and stimulating for us to obey and meditate on what God says about such shoved-out-of-the-way things. Tozer once said "To be right with God has often meant to be in trouble with men." But it's very healthy to prayerfully muse over the Word regarding these things early. Yes, before life gets real hairy ..before the silver cord is loosed, or the bowl is broken or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain or the wheel broken at the well or the dust (you) returns to the earth (See Eccl. 12:6). I SO want to finish well. How 'bout you?

You know, I remember how I had to run in relay races as a small boy when I was attending Dunsmore Elementary School in California. I enjoyed running in different races, but my brother Kevin was always faster.

In any race the start was real important.. pace and endurance were also important factors, but so was how you finished your particular part of the race. The other runners were depending upon you to do your best, so you just had to come through for the whole team and for the team captain. As a Christian, we also have a Captain to serve doing our best.

We want to run keeping the rules and start in the will of God. If you start in Jesus, please finish right by His grace. Don't rely upon your own abilities, talent, savvy or whatever you've been gifted with.

When we talk about "finishing" (and this light e-musing here won't be exhaustive by any means..) we must remember that this is not merely a message for the elderly. It's also not merely a message for semi-graying ministers who perhaps are about to trade the spotlight season of their lives for a twilight season. It indeed for young people as well. Young people need to start praying now about how they will walk, serve and eventually end up. We've all got to make for the finish line in a spiritual manner.

Remember how aging Paul urged and encouraged young Tim, his original hearer back in the day when he penned Second Timothy, to, "…continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:14-17). It's so important to continue on to the finish line right!

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. ~Paul, 2 Timothy 4:7

We too can end the Christian race well, even if we began late, started slow, or faltered along the way. The secret is to stay true to Christ to the last moment. ~Haddon Robinson

Are you thoroughly equipped or currently getting yourself built up for every good work? Those words of Paul are good for you and me today huh. We Christians need to hold fast to what we've been taught. We need to hold to the good convictions that we've been given.. hold to our first Love (Christ) and His great evangelistic mandate for the Church. We need to hold together in unity for the benefit of all. Moffat used to speak a lot about this kinda stuff.

Paul went the distance praying to and worshipping the Lord with fresh passion. He fished for souls using the Word (vv. 2 & 5) his whole life through as a natural outgrowth of his devotion to Jesus and Paul wanted his son in the faith, Tim, to also do the same. And that's what I want for you and me!

These words of Paul make me kinda wanna ponder how Abe, the father of faith, finished his life real strong…

and how Joshua the conqueror of the land finished…

and how faithful Samuel the prophet finished…

and how Jesus our precious Lord finished…

and how James, the half brother of Christ finished…

and even how Billy Graham is finishing his race well.

Will you? The Apostle Paul basically told Tim to hang in there babe (he wasn't' really a babe in Christ—it's just my figure of speech). He challenged Tim and subsequently us to…

Continue in what you have learned (2 Tim. 3:14).

Become convinced of what you already know (v.15).

Place value on what God values and has revealed (v.16).

Allow the Truth of the Word [which is alive, active and sharp] to radically change you (v.17 ..that's my free translation if you will).

Yeah, you've got to believe that the Word we find it in the Bible was transmitted to man supernaturally, with high accuracy!!! The Scriptures have supernatural origin, not natural and you've gotta know this in your knower. This is a watershed issue of every generation—it will effect how we each make our decisions!

The Bible wasn't written to you, but for you. We've first got to ask what it would have meant to the original hearers back in the day, and then ask what the eternal truth is for us in our day, to properly apply. The Scriptures came from God through human authors supernaturally ..who recorded it without error. Yes, even the order of the words were recorded without error! God overshadowed all this, cuz He is big enough to handle all that for us. He is sovereign. Pretty cool huh! That's what we need today..

* Revelation (this is not some unclear message for a privileged few in some priesthood, or a message logged in some unclear Latin that I can't ever grasp.. or in some unknown written language that none of us can understand. God wants us to understand His will and Word).

* Inspiration (this speaks of the receiving of what was recorded by the writers for the Church [the accepted Canon]).

* Illumination (That's the work of the Holy Spirit to ignite and make clear God's Message, for the purpose of helping us understand and apply it. It's a personal spiritual thing so that you and I can be equipped, encouraged, and fully motivated to go do God's will out in the world).

Revelation, Inspiration, Illumination – all three were given supernaturally! The Bible is God's Revelation to man—it's profitable for your family and mine! And it doesn't have to be confusing at all. Many Christians speak of how they are having an experience where they're receiving "revelation knowledge" but after I hear them explain what is happening, we can tell that as they prayerfully study their Bibles, they are simply receiving illumination as the Holy Spirit applies it to their hearts personally. How exciting!    

"Those who make a lasting difference.. finish well. They don't merely start well, they finish well. They stay in the race all the way to the finish line. They endure. They persevere to the end. As one man put it, they sustain 'long obedience in the same direction.' This was Paul's great hope for Timothy, who had received a solid foundation that set him on his way—he started well. He had proved himself a faithful traveling companion and a loyal disciple of Paul for years—he maintained well. Both of these aspects were certainly commendable, but neither was enough; Timothy needed to finish well! How? The answer has everything to do with how greatly he values, how diligently he studies, how strongly he defends, and how personally he embraces and applies the God-breathed truth of Holy Scripture. What was true for Timothy is equally true for us: we will finish only as well as we stand for the Truth." ~Chuck Swindoll

You too can experience God's illumination for your life after you get in Christ. I know, that might kind of sound like religious jibberishness, but it simply means that you too, through repentance, faith and Jesus the Son of God, can become a real Christian who hears from the Lord. You see, God has no grandchildren, just children. You can't get into God's holy heaven one day just because you have Christian parents.

Have you been born again? You must be! Don't get mad at me for saying that. Those aren't my words—God's Word tells us this. Why? It's because none of us were born right the first time (See Jn. 3:3). Have ya gotten honest with the Lord about all this before—you know, gotten right with God through his sinless Son? This is way important above all else!

Listen up; it's true! You and I can finish our race well.. but not outside of having this vital relationship with Jesus Christ. You and I need intimacy with Him.. we need cooperation with the Holy Spirit, and a hunger for the Bible to finish well! May the Lord revive, restore, renew and help us to put first things first as we look to Christ the ultimate Finisher. He said "it is finished" when He hung there on that cross for us.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More Authority Than What’s Written In The Bible? Naw, Like ..Not So Much.

Q: Does the alleged "leading of the Spirit" for a Christian or for anyone for that matter.. have more authority than what's written in the Bible?

A: No. Paul sez the Spirit does indeed lead Christians (See 1Cor. 12-14 ..and yes, systematically check it out in the New Testament how he himself was led by the Spirit as he went everywhere sharing the Gospel for decisions). But Paul would first test all that "alleged leading" before just leaping. Ya know, it's totally OK to be sure that what you are hearing is actually in the will of God and listen to the Lord who really doesn't mind you checking things to be certain you've got a green light from Him all!

Paul put all that "leading" stuff (inner impulses, dreams, gift-messages etc) under the authority of the Word of God and we should too. Check it out.. Paul actually put it under his own authority.. the very Scriptures that he penned saying, " should recognize that what I am saying is a command from the Lord Himself. But if you do not recognize this, you will not be recognized" (1 Cor. 14:37).

Paul was speaking by the inspiration of the Spirit.

All the apostles viewed their teachings of truth as coming from God in an authoritative kind of way—totally inerrant. Of course not all of what they each said during their lifetimes became Scripture but what did in the Cannon, is what I am saying that we should trust more than any so called gift or gifted minister.

Why? Cuz all of the spiritual gifts were given from God in a non-authoritative kind of way—non-inerrant.

Factoid: The Pope and us Christians from other church persuasions much as God loves us.. do not speak hexahedra, so the gifts of the Spirit are therefore always to be subordinate to the inspired, written Word of God. Oh yes! Even the Catholic Bible teaches that (I used to be an altar-boy and wear that black kinda dress and white fluffy blouse.. don't laugh).

Don't get me wrong. I believe that the gifts are for today, but over the years we've all heard many horrific stories about the tragic mistakes that people have made publicly presumption, that literally brought reproach against the work of Christ. We don't need any more of that jive!!! Can we be reminded of these thoughts too much. Don't think so.

We know how countless precious lives (followers) have been deeply damaged and worse.. by people who were absolutely sure that they heard from God via some prophecy, an interpretation to a message given in a church in tongues etc... and then how such people went and hurt other valuable people in serious ways simply because they.. as Maxwell Smart used to put it: "Missed it by that much!" What they "heard" didn't actually come to pass. It didn't turn out exactly the way that they thought it would turn out. Then disapointed people bail out on God and church altogether. So sad! Being disillusioned and disappointed, like God somehow let em down.. it makes em wanna take a stride from their loving Master's side. The church needs anointed accurate Bible teaching today, but it also needs wise anointed hearers too. Following the Lord has got to be practical for us, because He is very practical. 

Remember Jim Jones and the Kool-Aid ..please!

No beloved politician or so called spiritual leader today should ever feel appalled or arrogantly incensed inside ..when people or News networks are asking hard questions and testing what these people with so much weighty responsibility are saying.

No follower should be so gullible, naive, or enraptured in some weird love affair with a popular charismatic leader who ostensibly has a beautiful, warmhearted family ..having an attitude that this leader simply can not fail them. We want people and leaders to succeed, of course, but it's imperative that we succeed spiritually. We all can fail. We all can influence people in a good or a bad way and constantly need to be aware of what we say and how we live before a wayward watching world. Please test what I say too! What exactly am I saying here? Let's be balanced, filled and led by the Holy Spirit, but also be like the Bereans ..and Paul. They were indeed "led" but they also leaned-hard on what the Word of God actually said because at when you think about it, the Holy Spirit and the Word will always be in perfect harmony with each other. Duh!

"Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in heaven." ~Psalm 119:89


Monday, October 5, 2009

There Is Line By Man Unseen.. But Someone Sees It

Can an unbeliever cross a line and reach a so called “point of no return" in sinning? Kind of a good question to think about huh?

A: Yes, and it is not that Mister or Ms Hardhearted would not be forgiven by a merciful Christ while they are alive on this planet, (of course Jesus would forgive them if they would only come to Him on God's terms as found in the Bible)’s just findin’ that place where they will want to turn and believe in Jesus Christ. Many get so set in their hyper-independent ways and the idea of getting right with Him no longer seems to enter their minds. Some people have resisted the Holy Spirit’s Message so many times and their hearts have been hardened to the point where they simply never ever opt to come.. asking for true repentance and forgiveness from Christ. It just doesn’t even dawn on them that this is the real root priority issue above em all.

Case in point? The Pharaoh who kept saying “No” to Mo ..until it finally cost him everything. Yes, and it was Pharaoh's fault, not God's. In love, God did everything He could to persuade this prideful man to turn. Mo was like a missionary to this prideful man. And God indeed had a very compassionate missionary-heart back then to send Mo reach out to the Egyptian King and the Egyptians. He gave them ample time to believe.. to have a change of heart, of mind and of behavior. OF COURSE, just like He has now as he wait for many of us. He doesn't change. We are the ones who are fickle and change.. who need a change of thought pasterns, of habits and of life through the cleansing power of the blood that was shed for us at Calvary!

Why is this an important subject? Well time runs out for people who are loved and still in error. And contrary to popular religious belief, there is really no salvation for those on the under-side of the sod (yeah, I mean buried). If you are outside of Christ today, please don’t put off coming to Him as you are ..with a true willingness to change Him. For He alone can change you from the inside out and make you into what He wants you to be--He can transform your inner desires to hate what you used to love (what's destructive) and to love what you used to hate (what's really best for you and others)! My point in writing this is to say: Please don’t wait until it is too late! Esau a man of the world; a man of the flesh, “found no place of repentance though he sought it carefully with tears.”

Man, I am thankful today about the blessing it is.. that God’s Spirit will.. for a time, strive with man (beloved lost people that He died to rescue). I had the time to think things through logically and pray. But He will not always (See Gen. 6:3) strive with unregenerate people. There is a limit and that is why there must be a sense of urgency about what we Christians are doing, as we go and do our part to obey Christ and His Great Commission! Time is such a precious commodity these days. Everyday I think about the minutes I have and what I will do with each of them. The Bible admonishes us to…

“Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6, nlt

Daily fervent prayer (with the right address attached to it – I mean to the Father through Jesus the Son [that’s a given, but you’d be surprised to who and how people are praying to these days..]) is key in us wanting to reach out and actually be doing it. It’s key for us sensing a real burden inside first—a deep supernatural heartfelt concern for the irreligious in their plight and then, yes, rightly acting upon it.

Chuck Smith (a great soul-winner who exampled this outward concern for me to see..) once told me something very important, and as I check out what he said against the Book, there was indeed a ring of truth in it. He said there is a line that sinners can cross in their sinning. Never forgot that!

"There is a time, we know not when. There is a point, we know not where, that leads to glory or despair. There is line by us unseen that crosses every path, the hidden boundary between God’s patience and His wrath.

To pass that limit is to die, to die as if by stealth. It does not quench the beaming eye or pale the glow of physical health. The conscience may still be at ease.. their spirit’s light and gay. That which is pleasing still may please, and care be thrust away.

But on that forehead God has set indelibly a mark, unseen by man for man is yet blind and in the dark. And yet the doomed man’s path below may bloom as Eden bloomed. He did not, does not, will not ..know or feel that he is doomed. He knows he feels that all is well, and every fear is calmed. He lives, he dies and he wakes in hell, not only doomed, but dammed.

Oh where is that mysterious born by which our path is crossed. Beyond which God Himself has sworn that He who goes is lost.

How far may we go on in sin? How long will God forbear? Where does hope end and where begins the confines of despair? An answer from the sky is sent, ‘Ye that from God depart, while it is called today, repent and harden not your heart!’

It’s a tragic day when man goes beyond that line and God comes no more to mind.

There is a time we know not when. There is line we know not where, that marks the destiny of men twix sorrow and despair. There is a line though by man unseen, once it has been crossed ..even God Himself in all of His love Has sworn, that all is lost.”

Too many people say “Kurt, I’ll wait ‘til I’m older. I want to have some fun while I’m young!” Hey, I can understand how they feel can't you, but God ain't out to rip people off. Solomon said, “Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well. Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecc. 12:6,7). We need to respond while we can.

The hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed. —Matthew 13:15

The sins that would entangle us must never be ignored;
If we do not get rid of them they'll pierce us like a sword. —Sper

A bad habit is like a soft chair—easy to get into but hard to get out of. —Anon

Do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. —Romans 6:12

We all reap what we sow, and what people don’t seem to realize is that we each will actually reap more than we sow. That's how it is on a farm at planting time! And that’s why it’s time to sow abundantly to the Spirit rather than to the flesh or to the wind. No time for mixed sowing either! What have you been sowing to? Do you mind if I ask you such pointed questions? How will it hold up for you (what you've been sowing to..) at the judgment seat that just around the corner? Behold, now is the accepted time! Not to decide to decide. The devil says Mañana—put it off just one more day dude! But God basically says Come to Jesus today! Christ died on a cruel cross for you, He was buried and then He rose from the dead... for you.. so you could have a chance to be born anew inside! So what are you waiting for to become popular? Don't hold your breath!

Please remember how God hardened Pharaoh’s heart after being very patient with him for quite some time! In the Hebrew language, that means: God made firm his hard heart ..after Pharaoh already decided. Yup, He made the wrong choice and then God did this. Cuz there is a line that people can cross in their sinning, where God’s Spirit will no longer strive with them anymore. Hey gang, don’t go there! Hang a U-turn from that kind of lifestyle of sin, pride and rebellion.

Don’t delay! Go humbly confessing your sins specifically (yup, as broad as the offense, make the confession that broad ..both vertically and then horizontally).. turning from em to Jesus today ..if you are not currently right with Him. Remember; when personal sin is understood superficially, it is typically dealt with superficially. The Bible was written so we could see things as they really are.

A Christian's duty? We keep on praying for beloved unbelievers as long as they are alive. God wants us to. They might stay closed, or they might soften up inside and become open to the truth. Whatever, we’ve got to be ready with an apologia (an Answer) for them.

Of course we can't see the inner heart of individuals as God does, so we don't pretend to. And sometimes things might look hopeless for that certain loved one, but we must not become discouraged. Oh no! What is impossible with man is not with God—He can save the worst of us (He did me) ..if the sinners become willing. I wasn’t out looking for Him, but He found me. Men I know often think this nation has seen way too many man-child leaders--don't ever want to be like em! How girly-boy and wrong for me to become a man-puddle with religion.. a roll-over lay down, a beat-down defeatist, a humble "godly person," but Christ wasn't religious or wimpy ever! And He can grant you true repentance and saving faith today like He did for me, as you cry out to Him in faith.

Remember well that it is a great blessing that God’s Spirit will ..for a time.. strive with man, but let’s also keep it firmly in mind that He will not do that forever. There is a limit. Sadly we've got too many false converts who have said a prayer to be "born again" ..maybe even shook a preacher's hand, cried some crocodile tears, filled out a card in a church altar putting them on a mailing list.. but never repented of sin. So sad! Has God or maybe the circumstances of life.. been working on you some? Has the Lord been trying to get  your attention lately for some honest transparency with Him? What are you waiting for? Is there any good reason preventing you from making things right with Him today? Your life.. is kinda like an hourglass super-glued to the table so to speak. And once the sand has run down, there is NO MO. No reincarnation babe! This is no hype-job. Not guiltin' U into anything--I can't do that! So respond appropriately while you still can before you cross that line!  Wanna Read About Fishin' For Your Friends?