Saturday, November 01, 2008

Another Holiday Somewhere in South America

November 1st is a holiday where we live. It's All Saints Day. Had this day fallen during the week, schools and businesses would have closed, for the most part. It's that important to some here.

So what goes on? What do people do on All Saints Day? I can't speak for all parts of the world. But here, entire families often go to the cemetery where their departed loved were buried. Often musical bands will be in the cemeteries. The families makea big party out of the event. They bring food, flowers, and beverages. Strong beverages. Intoxicating beverages. They will place the flowers and plates of the deceased's favorite food, and pour them a drink. Then the living family members will often begin to drink along with them. The particpants drink themselves drunk. They dance, tell tales, and drink some more.

This morning, our house helper showed up early--8 AM. She told us that the streets were filled with drunks. I asked if she was speaking of her neighborhood, some 90 minutes away from here. She told me that yes, in that part of the city they were drunk; but right in front of my house the local security personnel had loaded up several who were drunk. Fights, she said, broke out all over. Men fighting men, women fighting women (I have seen the same, as well).

Seeing such a sight is heartbreaking. There is no way I can convey the images through words. Men and women alike pour themselves into this raucous carnival-like event. God is dishonored. Christ is ignored. He is mentioned, but only the most perfunctory manner. After all, it's All SAINTS Day. It's not about Jesus. It's about the dead.

I see little root difference between this kind of celebration and that of ancestor worship. I am pretty sure the same devil dreamed up both of them. And I am fully persuaded that God is not honored in either.

Why does it happen? It's because mankind has set up false gods to satisfy his desire to live free from the God of glory. Mankind seeks a means to justify his life; this is just another of many false truths circulating around the world.

May we seek the living Lord, not celebrate the dead!

Where Do They Stand?

Before you in America cast your vote, know where the two primary candidates stand on the main moral issues. As I said a few weeks back, it is not about the economy; this is about the moral future of our nation.

Vote with wisdom!

Friday, October 31, 2008

No Room for Complaints!

I don't know who originally wrote the following. It has been attributed to various TV celebs. It doesn't matter who the author was. I think it is worth a read:

'As most of you know I am not a President Bush fan, nor have I ever been, but this is not about Bush, it is about us, as Americans, and it seems to hit the mark.'

'The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some Poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right? The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President. In essence 2/3 of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change. So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, 'What are we so unhappy about?'

A. Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 Days a week?

B. Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?

C. Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?

D. Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

E. Maybe it is the ability to drive our cars and trucks from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move thro ugh each state.

F. Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter?

G. I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough either.

H. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

I. Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home.

J. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family, and your belongings.

K. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.

L. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90% of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

M. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world?

Maybe that i s what has 67% of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. , yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see ;us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks? The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me?

Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad? Think about it......are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the 'Media' told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day.

Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an 'other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans?

Say what you want, but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer wha t sell s, and when criticized, try to defend their actions by 'justifying' them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way......Insane!

Turn off the TV, burn Newsweek , and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad. We are among the most blessed people on Earth and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative.' 'With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, 'Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?'

Thursday, October 30, 2008

When We Pray for the Harvest

If the name were not a trademark, I would call myself an International Harvester. That is the calling upon my life. I am involved in soul-harvesting. It's a life-changing thing, both for me and the ones that respond to God's call.

Jesus told us the fields were white--ready to be harvested (John 4). He also said that there were few laborers to be found. I live in South America, where the harvest is big enough. But I try to think globally, not just about South America. So one thing I do is pray for the harvest. As Jesus told us to do, I pray for laborers.

Now when we pray for the harvest, we need to be ready. Two weeks ago a man approached me with a claim on his life. God answered our prayers for the harvest for a closed country. This man and his wife feel called to go. So, knowing I try to find ways for men and women to fulfill that call, the man asked me how I could help him get to his harvest field.

Not long before the man I just mentioned, I received other calls and e mails from other people who have answered God's call. They have the same question: how do they get from South America to the place where God has told them to go?

We are delighted to actually see God answering our prayers for laborers for the world. I want to encourage you to continue to pray for laborers. God is answering. God is sending his laborers. When we pray, the Lord of the Harvest answers...

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Time for Intolerance

The skinheads are on the march. Their latest antics include threats against Obama and promises to murder blacks in Tennessee.

Now is the time for intolerance. We should stand up and speak out against such a reprehensible plan. Such racial bigotry is repugnant. Thank God these thugs were found out before they could perpetrate such evil.

Christ broke down the middle wall of separation. As we sang when I was a child, "Red and yellow, black and white; they are precious in his sight." Obama may not share my values; but he has the right to his own personal journey. God said we should pray for him, not persecute him.

Where Can We Serve?

That was the question posed to me yesterday. The young man asking it is from Colombia. He has been in Peru for two years. I had just preached a message on answering the call of God.

Miguel told me that he has been overwhelmed by the plight of the Peruvian people, especially the poor. He told me that he had seen poverty before; but that poverty did not compare to the destitution he has seen in parts of Lima. I would have to agree. I have stepped across open sewage, running down the middle of the dirt road. I have stepped in all kinds of nastiness, including human waste. (You never get back into your vehicle without first checking your shoes.) The strong smell of dirt and mold in some homes and even in some worship centers is stifling. And I have seen worse: young and old alike combing through mounds of garbage, hoping for something of value they might be able to sell for a few cents.

But Miguel and his wife are discerning people. They know that the physical poverty is nothing compared to the spiritual destitution. Sin is rampant. Souls perish, lost and separated from God. Religion replaces a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Praise God for men and women like Miguel and his wife, who have lifted their eyes and seen the harvest around them. Pray they will find that place God is speaking to them about. Pray their own economic conditions will not interfere or distract them from the calling God has placed upon them. And pray for more laborers for this vast harvest around us.


The Democrat presidential candidate wants to spread the wealth around. Is that new thing with him? No; he thinks the courts failed to address that issue when they had the chance.

I have a message for the gentleman who would be my president; SPREAD YOUR OWN WEALTH AROUND AND TAKE YOUR HAND AWAY FROM MY WALLET! The same goes for the next elected congress. Get away from my wallet! I work hard for what little I earn.

When you speak of redistribution of wealth, you are singing a Marxist song. We have done enough when it comes to stripping away our rights. Let's not take the next step this man asks us to take. It will be a fatal one for all Americans, not just the ones with a little money.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Song of Praise

It's Sunday. The Lord's Day. Resurrection Day.

Think of it: around the world in the past several hours men, women, and children confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord. Some did it for the first time, giving control of their lives over to the one whose name is above all names. How many times today do you suppose the pure joy over repentant sinners caused the halls of heaven to thunder with praise to the Lamb? In that glimpse of heaven, John said the praise to the Lamb was thunderous, like the sound of many waters. And to think, we had the opportunity to unite our voices with theirs, bringing glory to the Lord all over the world.

And the Lord has to be praised. Jesus said that if man did not praise God, the rocks themselves would cry out. All creation praises the Lord. Those pesky birds we hear at daylight praise God. The cricket in the middle of the night praises God. The lion roaring out in the wilds of Africa praises God. Everything that has breath will praise God, because God will be praised.

All mankind will confess Jesus as Lord; some will do it now (May it be billions who do so!); some, sadly enough, will do it as they suffer forever in a hell God never wanted to send them to.

Confess the Lord Jesus now. Praise him now. Honor him now. Sing to the Lord a song of praise.