Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy New Year

“Happy New Year!” is the call of most of the world in these days. That’s precisely what I want for you and me, as well as for so many that I know around the world. 

We can have a Happy New Year. Let me tell you what will make that possible for you:

It will be happy if we do not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scoffers. 

It will be happy if we meditate in God’s precious, wisdom-giving word. 

It will be happy if we ensure that Jesus is Lord in our daily lives. 

We will have a happy new year if we think on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is just, whatever is lovely, and whatever is of a good report [that eliminates the obsession of some for most of the news broadcasts!!]. 

We will be happy if we place into practice those things which Jesus has both taught and commanded. 

Finally, we will have a happy new year if we give more than we receive. 

All these things are simple principles God gives for true happiness. Make this the happiest year of your life; seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.

I look forward to worshiping the Lord God through Christ Jesus in the coming days, weeks, and months. Ultimately, that will produce the deepest joy and greatest measure of happiness.

Let’s be happy together.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Phil Robertson Was Right

Phil Robertson was right. Period. No need to debate this. What Phil said is what nature teaches. What Phil said is what the word of God teaches. What Phil said is what true Christianity teaches. A&E is Christophobic. If they can call practicing Christians homophobic, we have the equal right to call them Christophobic.

Mr. Cruz misunderstands true Christianity if he thinks true Christianity endorses or accepts homosexuality. True Christianity teaches that ALL sexual behavior outside of marriage is sin. True Christianity teaches that ANY practicing sinner can repent, believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, and be washed and justified (See 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Does this mean true Christians are homophobic or that they even hate those who practice same sex? Not at all! A true Christian is compelled by the love of Christ to love and reach out to all. A true Christian loves the practicing sinner enough to warn them that the road they have chosen leads to destruction. To quote Mr. Robertson, The true Christian "would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me." 

By the way, why did Mr. Cruz and A&E overlook that statement? Could it be that their agenda includes silencing the voices of true Christians from the public arena? 

Let me end as I began: Phil Robertson was right. Period.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tis the Week before Christmas and Christ Wants Us To Make Him Known

'Tis the week before Christmas. I suspect there will be thousands of blogs, Facebook posts, and Tweets that admonish us to keep Christ in Christmas. I wonder if, while we are scurrying about, making sure we have the right to say "Merry Christmas," and not just "Happy Holidays," or "Season's Greetings," are we also making sure we take the time to share the Christ of Christmas?

Let's be real about this. Much of what we want is the right to our tradition. Much of what I think Christ wants is our passion to make Him known to the world around us. We need to make him known to the one who cuts our hair. We need to make him known to the clerk at the store--that clerk with tired eyes and a heavy-hearted or bored look as she swipes your purchases across her scanner and announces the charges of your latest run through the store. We need to make him known to the busy server at your next restaurant.

We need to make Christ known in hundreds of people groups and hundreds of countries where his name is a rare thought. A simple offering to a missions agency or society, such as the IMB of the SBC will go a long ways in fulfilling that.

We need to make Christ known to our families. Honestly, that can be a daunting task. Some subjects are off limits at our Christmas celebrations. Oddly, Christ is not invited to his own party in some houses. It's as though we say, "Hey, it's Christmas! But don't you dare mention the J-word around here! You may offend someone!" Well, you know what? Make Christ known, anyway; just don't be obnoxious about it.

[Obnoxious...; I like that word. It sounds like you just let off a sudden stench with your mouth. I could go somewhere with that, but don't want to lose the message of this post.]

Yes, it's the week before Christmas. It's a great time to make Christ known. After all, He is the reason all this stuff started in the first place.

Friday, October 04, 2013

I Have Resources; So Do You!

There are 43 thousand of them. They live in the edge of the Amazon in northern Peru. Thirty dollars a month would be the average income for many of them. 

I am speaking of the Aguaruna Tribe. [that's Ah-gwa-ROON-ah for us Gringos]

Next week I will meet some Aguaruna Baptist pastors in Lima, Peru. They will make the sacrifice and pay around $20 to ride the bus and meet me there. These men are coming because I have the blessing of being able to minister to one of their needs. I have resources...

Just like the average Aguaruna family, these pastors (there are 35 of them) have few resources. They also have a limited education. Seminary is the proverbial pipe dream for them. But I have resources....

A pastor from Lima called me several weeks ago. He invited me to participate in a world missions conference in Lima. I consulted with the Lord and with my missions team. The team and the Lord both urged me to accept the conference. In the subsequent phone call, the pastor told me about the Aguaruna pastors' needs. And I thought of my resources...

Maybe it was the Smokehouse Salad from Dickey's that did it. Or maybe it was the high-fiber cereal that morning. But I was stirred. I wiped away tears as I listened to Roy. I groaned in my spirit. 

Roy had a vision. He wanted to place a Thompson Study Bible in the hands of 35 pastors. He wanted to know if I could help find funding for that. I love a man or woman with vision. It excites me. I agreed to try and immediately sent out the word. God gave me everything I prayed for and then some. What excitement rang through my heart at that time. I had resources. Others I knew had resources. God gave me and them the resources.Now I get to share them with others. 

I have other resources, as well. These resources are less tangible than dollar bills. I sense that I am about to be called on to use those intangible resources to train some trainers. This is because God equipped me for times like these.

You see, when God equips you, He does so in order to make you a blessing for others. He did not equip you just for you. You are important for the work of the ministry. I bet you have resources you did not even consider to be resources. But they are. I know they are because, as someone once said, "God don't make no junk." 

Just tell God you want to be used in Christ's Kingdom. Then wait patiently for God to lead you to cash in your resources. 

When God calls on you, enjoy the ride!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ready to Risk What It Takes?

I am a preacher. I know there are those who would say, "No; that is what you do." It may be something I do, true; but it is who I am. I was called TO BE a preacher. The verb, "to be" is one that declares my identity. So my identity is that of BEING a preacher.

As a preacher, I must take risks. Among the greatest of those, I must risk failure. Yes, preachers fail. Before you begin to go moral in your thought process, let me explain that. Every time I stand to preach I risk failure. If I have not met with God before preaching, I have failed. If I do not connect with my audience, I have failed. So I must risk failure.

But I have discovered that it is possible to take such risks and also be comfortable in doing so. Standing to preach in a plushly carpeted, air-conditioned, soft-seat and well-lit auditorium in America is comfortable. But now I have observed others and discovered I can sit on a nice, tall chair and preach. I can put on my Ked's or Converse, my jeans, my wrinkled shirt, and I can be one of the guys while I preach. I can expound the word of God for 30 minutes, give a brief invitation to respond to the word, shake some hands, shed some tears with broken believers, and then climb in my air-conditioned, leather-seated SUV and drive off to lunch somewhere. Yes, I can be comfortable, even as I risk failure.

Or, I can risk failure in other ways. I can take up the Pauline mantle and be a missionary to the Gentiles. Or I can take up the Petrine mantle and be a missionary to the Jews. I could even take up the Thomasine mantle and go to India, if church traditions about that are correct. But the risk is far greater. The risk is far more important. Consider the following excellent video from IMB.

There is a big world waiting for you to do what it takes; waiting for you to risk it all.

In case you don't know anything about me and my wife, we did risk it all. Please let me brag, and do it to the glory of the Lord. We were front-line missionaries, appointed in 1988 and who returned in 2010 in obedience to God's call.

We do risk it all. My wife just returned from Chile; I went to a secret location in Asia and ministered to Christ-followers who risked going to jail just by being in the same room with me, as I taught them the word of God. And I am headed to South America in October to challenge Peruvians to go into all the world and to risk it all.

Yes, we risked it all. We risked terrorism. We risked robberies. We risked failing health and major illnesses. We risked persecution. We risked dangers on the road and in the air.

We would risk it again tomorrow if God sent us. The glory of God is worth doing what it takes. The lostness of man and the love of Christ are worth doing what it takes. Are you ready to do that? Are you ready to risk what it takes?

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Why I Love America

I love the United States of America. I have lived half my life outside its borders. But I have never lost my love for this nation. I am not a nationalist, mind you; I do not believe we should equate God with America. But I do see God's hand on this nation in a way I have not seen in other nations. The reasons will be clear in the few lines I will paste below; they are a copy of my afternoon message to my great congregation and church. Perhaps they will bless you, as well. Please overlook the formatting. MS Word and Blogspot do not always agree with one another.

I.     I love America because the Founding Fathers had the right vision
A.      I particularly appreciate the wisdom in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:
1. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
2. Where did that vision come from?
B.      The founding fathers envisioned a nation with Christ in the center
1. Daniel Webster said, “[T]he Christian religion – its general principles – must ever be regarded among us as the foundation of civil society.”
2. George Washington said, “You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.”
3. Benjamin Rush said, “I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as satisfied that it is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament.”
II.   I love America because it was founded with the right virtues
A.      In modern times we have been called first, a post-Christian nation; second, a post-modern society
B.      Our own president has claimed we are not a Christian nation
1. He said on a recent presidential trip to Turkey that Americans “do not consider ourselves a Christian nation.”
2. The truth of the matter is that most who agree with this are ignorant of the facts of the foundation of this nation
3. That is not surprising, given the rabid race to revise our history and remove all vestiges of Christianity from its pages
C.      Please let me quote a few of founding fathers
1.  John Adams said, “[I]t is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.
2. John Quincy Adams said, “There are three points of doctrine the belief of which forms the foundation of all morality. The first is the existence of God; the second is the immortality of the human soul; and the third is a future state of rewards and punishments. Suppose it possible for a man to disbelieve either of these three articles of faith and that man will have no conscience, he will have no other law than that of the tiger or the shark. The laws of man may bind him in chains or may put him to death, but they never can make him wise, virtuous, or happy.”
3. Fisher Ames, who framed the first amendment said, “There are three points of doctrine the belief of which forms the foundation of all morality. The first is the existence of God; the second is the immortality of the human soul; and the third is a future state of rewards and punishments. Suppose it possible for a man to disbelieve either of these three articles of faith and that man will have no conscience, he will have no other law than that of the tiger or the shark. The laws of man may bind him in chains or may put him to death, but they never can make him wise, virtuous, or happy.”
4. Charles Carroll, who signed the Declaration of Independence said, “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime & pure, [and] which denounces against the wicked eternal misery, and [which] insured to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”
III.  I love America because we have the possibility of the right victory
1. Barton said, “There must be two reversals, the first and most obvious one must occur in our national public stance toward God: the Supreme Court's current ban on the acknowledgment of God and the use of His principles in public is a direct challenge to Him and has thus triggered the law of national accountability, subjecting the nation to severe consequences. Therefore, our current national public stand against God must be set aside.”
2. Barton continued, “The second reversal must center on the restoration of the personal benefits derived from living by Godly principles”
B.      Here are some of the steps Barton recommended
1. Pray – if my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray…
2. Teach your children and grandchildren both to pray and the truth of the foundation of this nation
3. Pray devout Christians will run for public office

4. Christians need to be involved in public media

May God give us a little more time before he brings judgment on this nation that I love.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

SCOTUS and Their Rulings

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
(Jud 1:3)

As I contemplated today’s announced Supreme Court rulings, I could only think of these words, given by Jude in a dark and dangerous time for the church.  I could not continue our study in John tonight—not with the dark news that has wafted across our land like a slowly-thickening smoke that promises a forest fire is on the horizon. I want to give my opinion as to what it likely means for the church and what our response should be.

First, you should know that the actual laws governing marriage in our state have not changed. These rulings did not say that Mississippi or any other state must recognize gay marriage. Mississippi and 29 other states have already passed a binding statement that marriage is between a man and a woman.

On a federal level, however, things have changed. If a homosexual couple travels to a state that recognizes homosexual marriage, and if they marry there, then wherever they may choose to live no longer matters, when it comes to recognition on a federal level. So if Joe and John “marry” in Maine, but live in Mississippi, they can now file federal taxes as “married, filing jointly” even if Mississippi does not recognize the marriage on a state level. That was the immediate impact of the demise of the defense of marriage act. It also means all federal employees will receive all federal benefits.

Regarding Proposition 8 for California, the Court sent that ruling back, basically saying it was a state matter. The state judge had overturned the will of the people as unconstitutional. So the will of the people in California has been defeated by judicial fiat to ignore the will people.

That being said, here are some serious implications: one, the judge who wrote the majority opinion for the DOMA ruling has asserted that to disagree with this ruling is to be an enemy of the human race. That means you have been classified and placed into a holocaustic category. Why do I say that? Disease, by implication, is an enemy of the human race; and we eradicate disease. War and famine are enemies of the human race, something else we seek to eradicate. Now the conservative Christian is an enemy of the human race. What will be the outcome?

Look for biblical passages about homosexuality to be classified as hate speech before long. The DOMA ruling states categorically that SCOTUS sees homosexuals as a class of people. They are conferring civil rights upon a chosen, albeit alternate, lifestyle and calling those adherents "a class." What about pedophiles? What about polygamists? If one chosen lifestyle deserves civil protection, what about the others? 

Military Chaplains are about to be in trouble, as well. The military is federally controlled; that includes chaplains. There will be chaplains who will be asked to marry soldiers at the base chapel. They will be on federal territory, under strict federal jurisdiction. The chaplains are federal employees. They will be forced to choose Christ or the government.

The wording of the DOMA ruling implies that SCOTUS sees as inevitable the enactment of marriage for all within a decade. That is what many Christian leaders have concluded. While not federally mandated at this point, don’t be surprised when that happens in the case of homosexual marriage.

The ruling of Prop 8 shows that the will of the people is no longer important in this nation. The deeper implication is that our nation is no longer a republic for the people, by the people, or of the people. We are ruled by the elite few. We are still a representative government; but we have shown that the will of the people can be taken away by the will of the few.

For the American church, we have an opportunity, if we don’t blow it. We can be counter-culture, as was the church in the book of Acts. We can provide a haven of rest for the storm-tossed souls who need Christ. We can show the world what true marriage is like. We can preach Christ and show Him as the Bread of Life that satisfies. 

SCOTUS' rulings today did not change America culturally; they only changed it legally. The cultural change happened far too long ago. It happened while the church slept. So to the church I say, I hope you are awake now.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Welcome to 1984, America!

You asked for it, ladies and gentlemen; now you have it. Your wildest dreams have come true. I refer to the steady, calculated, and unmitigated encroachment of the government upon your freedoms. Your liberties have changed in ways some never dreamed would happen. But when we give the government a free hand, the government is going to do what governments do; it is going to absorb you and your assets so that it can continue to grow.

Via the multiple social programs the government initially offered and that we subsequently demanded, the government has leeched out of the majority the will to live free. By "live free," I mean that the people no longer care if their governments (local, state, and federal) make many decisions for them, or not. As long as the government keeps on giving what I want, I am happy.

But the government is not happy. The government needs more of you and your money. The government fears you; therefore the government must control you. This is an unintended consequence (Or is it?) to what is known as The Patriot Act.  The Patriot Act gave the government broad powers in its attempt to obstruct terrorism. But someone somewhere in that machine called the Federal Government saw an opportunity--a legal opportunity--to broaden its scope and use, misuse, and abuse those mechanisms put into action by The Patriot Act.

The latest revealed action is by the NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden, a professed supporter of Mr. Obama. While some legislators are angry that Snowden blew the whistle on them, others are at least pretending to be dismayed that our government dared to be so far reaching in their ravenous grasp of our personal information. Can I say something really inane? DUH!! What in the world did you think would happen?

And what do you think will happen when medical staff begin to question you about weapons in your home? Or what will happen when you must present your medical records--YOUR PERSONAL HEALTH INFORMATION--to the IRS?

You asked for it, America. You failed to follow the principles that make any nation great. The government cannot and will not govern itself. The government is for the people only if it is by the people and of the people. Ours no longer is. Ours is a government of the few--an oligarchy. And the few fear you will wake up to that. They will, therefore, continue to swallow your rights and mine, unless American citizens lose their appetite for all the superficial junk food the government gives them through its programs.

Welcome to 1984, America!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

When Persecution Becomes Personal

The past two weeks have been surreal for most of us in the western hemisphere. We are not accustomed to pressure-cooker bombs at family events. We do not know what to do when sociopaths declare jihad and inflict this kind of mayhem on non-military personnel. We thought we were prepared; April 15th showed us that we were not. For too many, persecution became personal. When that happens, what do we do? How do we handle it?

More important for most who will read this is the Christian perspective. What do Christians do when persecution becomes personal? What response should the Christian give? Make no mistake about it, please; I am an American. But I am a Christ-follower above all else. My worldview is not American. My worldview is Christian. I view the world through the lens of Scripture. I view America through the lens of Scripture. Please let me give you three simple thoughts that will hopefully help you should persecution become personal.

First, recognize reality. The reality is this: we live in the last days. I can hear someone now grunt, "Shades of Tim LaHaye!" Think what you will, but Paul told Timothy in 2 Tim. 3:1-5 that the last days would be filled with perilous times. There will be wars and rumors of wars, according to Jesus. There will be mayhem in many places.

Not only do we live in the last days, we also live among lost people. Yes, I said that; if you are not a Christ-follower you are still what the Bible calls lost. You are one whom Jesus came to seek and to save. We seem surprised when lost people do not behave like saved people. We become perplexed when we find ourselves passing more and more laws to govern the actions of the lawless. Lawlessness is only the outward behavior of an inward problem. These are the last days; we live among lost people.

Second, respond prayerfully. Acts 12 relates the story of Peter being jailed by one of the King Herods found in the Bible. James had already lost his head; it was a politically popular thing to do, so Peter was to be next. But the church prayed. As should we. Do not be as those who too often say that the only thing they can do is pray. It is still the greatest thing you can do. It may well be that it is not the only thing you can do; but it is the greatest thing. I recall a friend who was kidnapped with her daughter and taken to a remote road outside a city in Peru. She did the one thing she knew to do: she prayed in the heart language of the kidnappers. They suddenly stopped and released her and her daughter. Do not dismiss the power of prayer.

Finally, rest confidently. When Peter was jailed, he did what he could: he went to sleep. As a fisherman, Peter had slept through storms, I am sure. He was in a new kind of storm, though. And he slept. The angel sent by God to rescue Peter had to poke him in the side to wake him from his sleep.

This is what you need to know: God will keep you in the midst of the storm. He may not deliver you from the storm. But he will be with you in the storm. Christian, you win! No matter what, you win!

Do not take my words as platitudes. I have my thoughts about the vicious young men who murdered and maimed so many in Boston. I confess those thoughts are not kind. Personal thoughts notwithstanding, we Christ-followers need to respond as Christ would. Persecution may well become personal for you one day. I hope these words will give you some handles as to the best response.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Looking back to be able to look forward

Early yesterday, I sat in a local hospital to check in for a minor procedure. As I looked down at my watch, contemplating being out before local traffic had even cranked up, I realized that the time and the date carried some real significance for us.

So when we finished with the registration desk, I turned to Pam and asked her if she knew what the day meant for us. She looked with one of those looks wives can give their husbands and slowly said, "Nooo..." I reminded her that 3 years ago on April 9th, at 6:40 CDT, we were in Atlanta, clearing customs to reenter the United States. We had left behind our 20-year careers as missionaries to assume a new career as pastor of the great 38th Avenue Baptist Church, nestled midtown, in a southern city.

Over the past 3 years I have preached and taught more than 800 times. That is just the beginning. I hope to preach and teach more than 150 times a year for then next several years. But that is not an end for me; I look forward to watching God change lives, save souls, and grow Christ-followers into mature men and women.

Even that is not the end I seek. I live to please One and only One. While my ministry is with the people of God and the world at large, my primary audience and source for inspiration is the Lord Jesus Christ.

It took a moment of looking back to be able to look forward. What about you? What spiritual markers dot the paths you have walked that may point you to paths you have yet to walk? Take a look back; it may help you continue to look forward.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Marriage Debate: A Nation Hangs in the Balance

Yesterday it was Proposition 8 before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS); today it was DOMA: the Defense of Marriage Act. Pundits from every side of this Rubric's Cube think they have twisted the cube around enough to figure out why the two came so closely together, and what the outcome will be. Someone may well pin the tail on the donkey, too. I mean, with so many opinions floating around in the cybosphere, someone is bound to get it right. Even a blind hog finds an acorn or two.

Many of us are shaking our heads, wondering how we ever got to this point to begin with. Who among us ever dreamed we would face the day when our courts would be asked to redefine marriage? Who among us ever dreamed we would face the day when our courts would be asked to determine something that could be so far-reaching that it actually erodes our first amendment rights?

Do think that is too far-fetched an idea? Well, just ask the couple in New Mexico what happens when you exercise your right to your beliefs.

If DOMA and Prop. 8 are overturned, you can bet some homosexual couple somewhere will find a small church with no apparent resources and will seek to force the pastor to marry them. Then that case will eventually wind its way before the courts and the courts will begin to determine what churches may and may not do. Or perhaps, as some have suggested, they will remove said church's tax exempt status. I could even foresee a scenario where the pastor would be incarcerated for contempt.

I am not alone in my fears. Consider Al Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary: Just as urgently, such a decision would put a host of threats to religious liberty into action, threatening the rights of churches, religious institutions, and citizens who are opposed to same-sex marriage on religious grounds.

The issue before SCOTUS, ladies and gentlemen, as Dr. Mohler also said, is nothing less than a blow at the foundation of any society found in this world. If the institution of marriage is allowed to be redefined to permit the wholesale approval of perversion in our society, we will have successfully dealt a moral death blow to the greatest nation of modern history.

To be sure, the justices have voted. If the press is to be believed, the decisions will favor gay marriage. Now they will assign someone to pen the legal justification for their vote. We can only pray that during the next few months of research (done mostly by junior staff) someone will be stirred and come to themselves and return to the Father in Heaven, who will readily forgive and cleanse them of such perversion, and that said person will change their vote before the ruling. May they not be as Judas, who cried too late, "I have betrayed innocent blood!"

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Where I've Been...

It's been over 3  months since I posted anything in this blog. I needed the break. I was in cyber-information overload. Good bloggers don't quit. They post more and more. I guess we know what that makes me...

It's time to say something. It's time to catch up. So let me tell you where I've been.

I've been to heaven. Yes, I said heaven. No, not like the little boy who authored a book about heaven. I went like the rest of you do, if you go there. I went in my prayers. I guess I could have and maybe should have said I have been praying a lot. But it sounds better to tell you the focus of my prayers is the throne room. I felt the lightest brush of the hem of our Lord's garment a time or two. I heard the sounds of praise. I sensed the glory of God--albeit from a distance. What a place to be.

I've also been to Peru. I went there weekly. Yes, in my prayers. I stood beside stalwart men and women of God. Men like Wayne, Roy, Victor, Tommy, Phil, Don, and my old buddy Manolo; women like Debbie, Beth, Margarita, Lisa, and Amy. People who have given their all to serve the Lord were the objects of my prayers. I went to the great Andes and to the mega-cities of Peru. I rode the streets of Lima, Arequipa, Huaraz, and a host of other places. I stood on the roadsides, looking at village after village that needs the gospel witness.

I've been to Brazil, Mexico, Kansas, Georgia, and Virginia. I have been to several cities in Tennessee and Mississippi. I have been to New Orleans. What joys awaited me there as I prayed for my friends around the world.

I've been to Washington. I wish I could say my prayer travels there were joyful. They are not. I grieve for this once great nation. We gave up greatness for gold and glitter. Our greatness was found in our submission to the Lord Jesus. Now we toss his name about with disdain and mockery. Our greatness was found in our love for life. Now we kill our babies and call pregnancy disease (read all about it in the Affordable Care Act) so that we can force abortive pills on religious groups.

In a moment I will travel again. Our wonderful church family has entrusted us with the great task of praying for their needs. We called that day, "Lord, Move My Mountain!" We promised to pray every day for 30 days for the needs they placed before us. So I, along with my staff and our prayer ministry, try to do just that. I fear we may be praying weakly. But if we have faith even as a mustard seed, oh, the things God will do!

I urge you to get on board this faster-than-sound spiritual ship and take a trip yourself. You will enjoy the ride. And you will discover just how good life really is.